Because of Christ, we can do something that is not only significant for a generation or two, but for all eternity. Understanding this helps us persevere in doing good when things get hard.
God equips you with his Word, his power, and his people so that you might do something eternally significant.
13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:13-16 ESV)
The Significance of Kingdom Ministry
“The people are the ministers. The pastors are the equippers. (cf. Eph. 4:11-12)” MeadowBrook’s Membership Luncheon Booklet
Salvation, understood most broadly, is a not merely past event for the disciple of Jesus Christ, but a present and future reality as well. This is the sense Paul has in mind in this passage, and he communicates a profound truth about ministry in and through the local church, and that is:
God has ordained ministry in and through the local church to be the chief means through which we work out our salvation with fear and trembling as we walk in the good works God has prepared for us beforehand. This is what Paul means when he says, “You will save yourself.”
And God has ordained ministry in and through the local church to be the chief means through which God reaches the lost and keeps them in the faith. This is what he means when he says, “You will save your hearers.”
Our ministry does not only happen in the gathered congregation; however, our ministry must never be disconnected from it.
God has called you to ministry that is eternally significant. By participating in it, you will make an eternal difference both for yourself and others.
In light of this, how should this passage shape your ministry?
- Let your ministry be shaped by the Bible.
- Share Scripture with others.
- Come alongside others to help them live out the Scriptures.
- Teach others the Scriptures.
We shape our ministry by the Bible because we humbly confess that the power for effective ministry comes not from ourselves or the limited wisdom gained from our experiences, but from the Spirit-inspired word of the Living God which never returns void.
- Cultivate your gifts by regularly using them for the common good.
Spiritual Gifts are…
- possessed by and unique to you.
- given to you by God.
- affirmed by others (the church).
- for the common good—primarily the upbuilding of the body of Christ and the expansion/revelation of his kingdom.
(See also Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7, 1 Corinthians 14:12)
- Remember: Ministry is not a head game. Pay attention to both your character and your doctrine.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2 ESV; see also Galatians 5:22-23a)
- Be in ministry for the long game.
To the weary: Timothy was not seeing the fruit he would have liked, but Paul called him to perseverance. There is no promise of immediate results in Christian ministry. If you are in a seemingly fruitless season, keep at it. You do not know what the Lord is accomplishing behind the scenes.
To the aging: “Aging is not for wimps. So far as bodily health allows, we should aim to be found running the last lap of the race of our Christian life, as we would say, flat out.” J.I. Packer
The church needs the ministry of all its members, especially the ministry of our elders. Persist in your ministry. Don’t pull back. We need your wisdom. We need your zeal. If you have pulled back, today is a great day to jump back in it.
I am grateful for the ministry of the older population at MeadowBrook. You encourage me, challenge me, and inspire me to greater levels of faithfulness. Thank you.