God talking to another human being through you. Now, that’s what we call the miracle of the ministry.
And hello radio friends! How in the world are you? You doing alright? Oh I’m feeling fine, thank God, no complaints today. I often make these broadcasts in the early morning hours and today is no exception, still dark outside, but I realize that so very many of you listen during the morning hours and I sort of like to get what I call, a morning feel, about things so that I know how you feel while I’m talking with you.
We’re talking about this matter of a faithful minister of Christ. Ministry means a helping, to lift a burden. Ministry means sharing your Lord with people, enthusiastically sharing Him and how to know Him, with people. Ministry means helping other folk in the sense of what the New Testament calls edifying, you minister to people, when you edify or build them up spiritually.
Now, you don’t make a federal case of it and say, “I’m going to help you grow, my brother”! No, no, but in sharing Christ and in opening the Word and in teaching God’s Word to people, and in showing them how to obey God, day by day in their lives, you help to build them up. Now that’s one of the things that we would hope this broadcast would do, and from the letters that people send, it seems to me that the Spirit of God is using His Word to do that very thing in many of your lives, for which we do thank Him, don’t we?
I just had a letter, well it was yesterday, that told me that there had been constant growth in grace and in the knowledge of Christ since that individual had started to listen to this broadcast. Well, praise the Lord, it’s His doing and we’re just thankful to Him. That’s a kind of ministry, isn’t it? Helping took to build people up in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then of course, ministry involves proclaiming God’s blessed truth. There are times when you and I need to take our stand and say, this is what God says, “The authority of the ancient prophets had to do with their statement thus saith the Lord”. Now, we wouldn’t say it that way today- I doubt I’ve ever heard anybody say, thus saith the Lord in ordinary conversation or even in speeches- we would say, God says, the Bible says, God told me this, God says, that’s what we would say. In any case, your claim to any authority at all is that you are conveying a message. You see, Paul says, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ’s stead”.
Now, this is an awesome concept. You and I are actually speaking on the behalf of our blessed Lord, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Let me read this passage for you from 2 Corinthians 5, “All things are of God who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ and hath given to us the ministry”, see there’s your ministry, “of reconciliation to it”, that’s our phrase that is, “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation”.
Now, in verse 18, “The ministry of reconciliation”, in verse 19, “The word of reconciliation”. One has to do with your position, the second has to do with your message. Now then he says in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ’s stead be ye reconciled to God for He hath made Him Christ, to be sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him”. “God is reconciled there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus”. Paul says in Romans 8. “He was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself and He’s committed to us now the word of reconciliation be ye reconciled to God”.
Let your heart turn to God and let that ancient enmity that sin had placed there, that separates you from God, let that be all done with and be one with your loving, heavenly Father. That’s the word of reconciliation.
Now, this proclamation then and the authority of it comes from the fact that you and I actually are speaking for God. “We are ambassadors for Christ as though God did beseech you by us”. God to you, by way of me. That, beloved, is an awesome concept, isn’t it? God talking to another human being through you. Now, that’s what we call the miracle of the ministry. Proclaiming the truth of God doesn’t always mean preaching, just talking to people and giving them God’s Truth, proclaiming the truth of God, speaking for God.
I’ve often said people filled with the Spirit of God bring His Presence into a situation and I’ve gone on to say when you walk into a room, people should sense God’s Presence, not just your personality. That is the Christian norm, beloved.
That doesn’t mean you’re going to be pious all the time. You are a normal, wholesome, happy human being and if God made you full of humor and mischief, you’ll still be full of humor and mischief when you’re filled with the Spirit, but it will be love controlled humor, won’t it? You’ll still be yourself, Peter was still the same Simon Peter, open mouth insert foot was his rule during his disciple days, but he still was one to speak up after he was filled with the Spirit of God, but when he spoke after that, every word had power. You see the point, God won’t change your personality, but He’ll control it by His blessed Holy Spirit, and when people meet you and me, then the Christian norm is that they meet God.
Oh, that shakes me up, that makes me want to go down on my face before my Lord and say, “Oh, God how often have people felt something other than Thy Presence when I contacted their life?”, and it makes me want to just open my life all over again to the fullness of the Spirit of God, that His love and His power might be in everything that I do. Don’t you feel the same way? I know you do.
Ministry, a faithful minister of Christ. Ministry involves sharing the truth of God, proclaiming the truth of God, and speaking on behalf of God. Oh, think about that the next time you have any kind of a conversation with anybody, you are speaking on God’s behalf. God wants to talk to people through you. It’s the old function of an interpreter.
I have preached all over the world by God’s gracious provision and many times it’s been necessary for me to speak by the use of an interpreter. When I went to Japan years ago, my interpreter was Reverend Oda, they called him Oda sensei. The suffix sensei is an honorable suffix, it means teacher, wise person, and so Oda sensei was my interpreter, and you know, any of you who’ve traveled and spoken through an interpreter, that when you have a person filled with the Spirit of God, and who is also your friend and who understands you, speaking by interpretation can be a most delightful experience. You speak in short complete sentences, you leave all of the dangling modifiers, and all of the fancy illustrations, and all of the complex sentences and you lay them all aside, and you speak in short, complete sentences. You omit idioms and, and slang expressions because your interpreter doesn’t get it.
Dr. O.J. Smith was speaking at Beatenberg on one occasion, his famous sermon, “The Man God Uses”, and he had gotten around to this matter of praying and he said, Frau Wasserzug, precious servant of God that she was and is was interpreting, and he said, “If you don’t pray, if you’re not faithful in praying, your whole ministry will go haywire”.
Well now, we understand what that means, but she turned to him and she said, “Haywire? Haywire? What is this haywire”? Well, we all laughed, those who understood English. So, when you’re speaking by interpreter, you lay aside all of the slang expressions and all of the complex sentences, and you speak very simply and directly, to the point that you trying to bring across, and your interpreter does the same thing and when you are and in tune, so to speak together, it’s a delightful experience and God uses it to be sure.
Oh friend, think of this now. You are God’s interpreter in giving the message of the Good News of the Gospel to people everywhere. How they hear the Good News from God, He gives it straight and He gives it sweet and He gives it powerful, but how they hear it, depends upon the way you interpreted to them. “As though God did beseech you by us”. You want to think about that today? Whether you use the figure speech that Paul used in 2 Corinthians 5, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ”, or whether you want to use the figure speech I just used in that little illustration of interpreter, so close to the speaker that you can convey his meaning.
Oda sensei said to me on one occasion, “Brother Cook, I feel very close to you”. I said, “Oh that’s wonderful. I love you too my brother. We are indeed close”. He said, “I am so close to you that when you’re speaking, even when you cough, I cough”. Well that’s pretty close, isn’t it? Oh, to be so close to God that you catch every nuance of His blessed diction, that you know what He wants to convey and that you give it to people clearly, without any static whatsoever. Ministry.
Now, the modifier on the word minister is faithful, a faithful minister. Beloved, listen, listen to me. You are never off duty, you are always on call. The modern physician or surgeon or specialist has what we call a beeper, and that beeper will call him to an emergency almost any time of day or night.
I was in a church service some years ago, when there was this strange strident beeping, you know, beep, beep, beep, beep, and then we saw a gentleman arise from the middle of the congregation, make his way to the aisle, and go on about rather hurriedly, someone said, well there goes Dr. so-and-so, he’s got an emergency and he has to go. My friend, to be faithful means that you are always on call and whenever the blessed Holy Spirit of God sounds, so to speak, the beeper in your soul, whenever God says, “This is what I want you to do”, faithfulness means you do it.
Dear Father today, may we have the authority of God Himself and what we share about our Lord Jesus, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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