SWAT REPORT # 87 07-07-07

Col 4:17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

Just a brief report this time to praise the Lord that all is very well in our ministry. If I be faithful to report the trials and tribulations from the valley, I also will be faithful to shout the praises from the mountain top. I will also officially announce that the latest book entitled THE MINISTRY is being sent to my faithful webmaster Ron Knudson today for him to post at his earliest convenience. This book is written to be used as a textbook for all who desire the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a manual for preparation and delivery of sermons and a word of encouragement and instruction for all who name the name of Christ and thereby have the ministry, in some form or fashion, offered to them.

SOMETHING FOR FREE

Do you like free stuff… well, help yourself… this book is free. Please download, read, use, copy, send, translate, or print and distribute this book any way and anywhere you want… you need not ask my permission for any of these. Just do not sell it. The whole book will be on my website www.streetpreaching.com ASAP…but the introduction is attached below as an appetizer. Also attached is a recent photo of Mary Bethany and Bethany Ann Logan playing an instrumental duet this past Sunday… they are not little girls anymore.

Shouting in the battle on the eastern front
Gerald Sutek and the SWAT TEAM FOR CHRIST
Amos 5:10, 2Tim. 1:8

 

THE MINISTRY

Col 4:17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

INTRODUCTION

There are twelve verses in the King James Bible which specifically use the phrase, "the ministry." Two of these verses are found in the Old Testament. Numbers 4:47 speaks of the burden of the ministry in reference to the ministry of the priests. Certainly theirs was a burden in their continual supply of appropriate sacrifices and maintenance of a currency of relationship between a Holy God and His errant people. Since this relationship is maintained in the New Testament by the sealing of the Holy Spirit, the burden of the ministry becomes a necessity and an urgency to reconcile the Lord with His enemies through the gospel. 2 Cor. 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 1Cor. 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

In Hosea, the Lord speaks of His ministry of supplying His people with the message of His will for their lives through the many-faceted ministries of the prophets. Hos. 12:9 And I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast. Hos. 12:10 I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets. Truly, the prophets were called upon to employ many strange ways and means whereby they could command the attention of God’s people for the purpose of the ministry. Many set a good example to the ministers of today when, without hesitation, they made spectacles of themselves (Isa. 20:2,3), stifled their personal emotions (Ezek. 24:16-25), suffered repeated disappointment (Jer. 42,43), made life’s most important decisions in consideration of the ministry without thought of personal happiness (Hos. 1:2,3 and Jer. 16:2), kept under their bodies to the point of loathing from the world (Dan. 1:8), hazarded their freedom and lives (1Kings 17:1-5) and in many other areas deprived themselves for the sake of the ministry. Though today the office of prophet may be absent, their duty, example, design and purpose needs to be evidenced to a world which is distracted from the message of the Lord.

In our opening text, Paul admonishes Archippus concerning the ministry. If I can make much of the specific wording of the preserved Word of God in the King James Bible, and I believe that I can, note carefully that Paul says that Archippus received the ministry "in the Lord." Paul could have used the word, "of" or "from" but the wise translators preserved it as "in." If you are "in the Lord" in the sense of 2 Cor. 5:17 and have "received him" in the sense of Jn. 1:12, then the ministry awaits your reception. "It is a truth that stands out with startling distinctness on the pages of the New Testament that God has no sons who are not servants." –Ward

In other words, if you are in Christ you are in the ministry. The only question that remains is to what degree you will fulfill your ministry. I cannot emphasize the importance of this concept of the ministry. It is out of sync with the teaching and thinking of mainstream fundamentalism. If a Christian man or woman can ever bring the course of their vessel to line up with this doctrine they will realize the full meaning of the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ when He said, "…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" John 10:10. A careful reading of Acts 8:1-4 will exemplify this Biblical truth.

"In this theater of man's life, it is reserved only for God and angels to be lookers-on."-Pythagoras

In my early Christian life I served in a fine unit of spiritual military headed by a great general. I quickly found service there and filled many gaps in our hedge. However, all of the brass in this unit received their training and commissions from institutions where a common Biblical error was taught without question. This being, that if you dare to enter the field of preaching without a call from God you are likely to cause a great deal of damage. The standard line was, "If you can be happy doing anything besides preaching then you are not called of God." This unbiblical theology gendered two great evils. First, those who "felt the call" were instantly given a commission and treated as officers while those who did not "feel the call" remained non-commissioned; thus producing somewhat of a caste system, the roots of which seek nutrition from Calvinism. Secondly, it gently excused those who, in their sincerity, examined themselves and though they may have had the desire, lacked initial courage, example, and challenge to pursue an officer status for fear that they might add to the category of "mama-called and papa-sent" hypocrites already flooding the ministry.

If you are saved, the ministry awaits your embracement; and the blessings, provisions, fruit, rewards and longevity of your ministry will be paid in proportion to your faith and zeal.

Certainly, there are different fields of service within the ministry just as there are in the army. Within the army there is work for all to do. There is work that suits the ladies; there is work for the simple man. There is a place for the brave at heart and there is opportunity for the timid to serve. The work of the ministry among the saints requires a great variety of gifts and services; Eph. 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: as opposed to the simpler ministry of reconciliation, 2 Cor. 5: 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; This particular work of the ministry offers employment for all who are in Christ, both men and women. The variety of services both challenges the talented and welcomes the faithful beginner. A wise man once said, "Successful is the man who, after he finds a job, looks for work." Christian, you have a job; now you must look for work.

As a young Christian, I heard Dr. John R. Rice preach that God took volunteers. I immediately signed on. I began basic training by studying the manual, as well as field training with a buddy. I was invited to accompany a veteran on door-to-door witnessing. I was to be his prayer warrior as he ministered the Word of God to the enemies of our Lord. Soon I was the veteran and had my own prayer warrior.

I was assigned to a platoon on the front lines. These brave ministers drew blood with their sword (Jer. 48:10) as they publickly preached the message of the gospel. I never dreamed I could be that brave but with the undertow of righteous camaraderie, combined with the tender draw of the Holy Spirit, by the end of the day I had become addicted to this exhilarating form of the ministry of reconciliation.

A specialty position within the ministry of the saints opened in front of me and I stepped through this open door and took a Sunday School class. A slight advancement to department supervisor gave me the responsibility of offering open doors to other gifted teachers. As I gave more of myself, the ministry began to unfold before me. I yearned to minister from the pulpit, besides going on the street. I looked for work in that capacity and found myself ministering several times a week in the early morning devotion, as well as preaching in the evening services at the rescue mission associated with my church. Whatever I yielded to the Lord He took, (Amos 7:15) and with the taking, He gave back double in blessings and a desire for more.

Soon my zeal threatened to outrun my ability. I found myself in need of a larger and longer supply line with which to maintain my offensive movement in the ministry. Bible college served this need. Too often though, Bible college knowledge becomes so weighty and inanimate as to become a drag on the offensive, but the academic skills I obtained only served to fuel the forward movement of my ministry. At the beginning of the final year I had numbered the days to graduation with a great longing to put to use these acquired skills to hasten the drive of my ministry. My time in Bible college was also filled with sought-out chances to hone my ministry abilities in the publick ministry as well as in the pulpit and classroom teaching.

In taking heed to fulfill my ministry, I developed a talent in music ministry with the accordion. I also followed Spirit-filled leadership in writing things helpful to the ministry of others. I have held the office of pastor, evangelist, and teacher, all in the work of the ministry. But these developments came as a result of my taking heed, through necessity to fulfill my ministry in the Lord.

The root of the ministry both in word and deed is to minister. Any dictionary will define this word to mean, "MIN'ISTER, v.t. [L. ministro.] To give; to afford; to supply. MIN'ISTER, v.i. To attend and serve; to perform service in any office, sacred or secular." Shortly summarized, these examples state, "To minister means to meet the need at present." The ministry is the performance of this verb whether that be material or spiritual. Since the greater need in our world and in our day is of a spiritual supply, it stands to reason that the only agents who can supply that need are those who have access to the warehouse. Simply put, if the Lord has done something for you or supplied you with something spiritual, it is your responsibility to minister that to those who are in need. The recipient of spiritual substance has no option; he must minister. To do otherwise is to default on payment due and will bring upon one the fearful prospect of accountability before the bar of the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Consider the words of an ancient, but worthy, commentator, Matthew Henry. "Ministers have a dispensation of the gospel, or stewardship (Lu. 16:2), committed to them. Note, Christ’s willing servants shall not fail of a recompence, and that proportioned to their fidelity, zeal, and diligence; and his slothful and unwilling servants shall all be called to an account. Taking His name, and professing to do His business, will make men accountable at His bar. And how sad an account have slothful servants to give!"

"The measure of a man is not the number of his servants, but the number of people he serves." –Moody

The Word of God defines a minister as the following: Psa. 103:21 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. A fuller definition is found to include faithfulness, Eph. 6:21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord,… Paul claimed he was put into the ministry because the Lord had counted him faithful. (1Tim. 1:12)

Adolph Hitler was a preacher, but he did not minister the Lord’s pleasure. Herod was a preacher, yet he did not do the Lord’s pleasure. We have plenty of preachers…what we need are faithful ministers.

"It is not the possession of extraordinary gifts that makes extraordinary usefulness, but the dedication of what we have to the service of God." –Robertson

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