Fulfill your ministry
A long awaited commentary on what God is doing in me.
What could that possibly mean? I mean I know I am called to teach and pastor ‘cause that is what I am doing now but when a long time, respected buddy and pastor call you up out of the blue and says to you “Fulfill your ministry”, what does that mean.
As men we all have a biblical list of God’s will for our lives and possibly some time I will expound to the point of conviction and hopefully contrition on each of these points but for now let me just list them:
- We are first disciples, so ministering unto the Lord
- Be the husband my wife needs, so minister or serve my wife.
- Train my kids, all day long, rising, sitting, along the way etc.
- In the work place, even if your boss is a slave driver; be the best employee ever for you do not work for man but for God.
- Gospel Ministry….whatever that may be, either building up the saints or preaching the gospel to the lost, through words backed up with a self rejecting, others serving lifestyle.
These are the basic, biblical, God given ministries that all men are called to, but what about knowing what God has specifically made each of us for? After all, we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. Bezaleel was specifically gifted by God to build the Tabernacle, and God has gifted each one of us. Plus I had been crying out for years for God to use me for His glory and to provide me with a ministry to be a steward over. Once men are fulfilling the four top ministries, shouldn’t we be striving to fulfill the fifth? Once we have transformed our minds with His word shouldn’t it be natural for God’s good perfect and pleasing will to be manifested to us. I believe that is what the bible tells us. “Fulfill your ministry”? What exactly is that? For each of us it is different and it is specially appointed to you by God and you are spiritually equipped by God’s Spirit to fulfill it. Here is mine.
After I hung up the phone where I had been lovingly exhorted to “fulfill my ministry” It took about as much time for me to remember what my “ministry” is as it takes for an overly hungry 9 year old to say his lunch time prayers before he devours his bologna and chip sandwich. Something I knew but was not living out fully. And it was eating me up.
To be expended to His gloryMy Ministry…I was hiding out in the basement meditating on a bible passage and there in my mind was a faint imagination or a vision, what ever it was I saw an action in my minds eye. I am not claiming “God said to me” and definitely not claiming to have special revelation nor that I am hyper spiritual, I am just conveying what events have brought me to the place I am in now. (Please don’t label me an heretic until you hear what I believe and teach, maybe you are the apostate one ;)
This is what I “saw”. Nothing profound or exciting, it was just a pen, writing.
Now, at this point in my walk I was keeping a prayer list of the folks I had shared the gospel with. I was praying to be broken and used of God. I was a youth pastor and doing the work of an evangelist. It was a time of growth for me, and God helped to give me direction in my ministry.
What did this mean? With all that was going on in my life and the things of Christ that I was desiring after I had a pretty good idea that it was about the gospel. After pondering what I saw I came up with a single line definition and goal, it goes like this;
To Be Expended to His Glory.When an artist picks up a pen to draw, he never is concerned for the pen. He doesn’t begin his drawing reluctantly worried that he will run out of ink and that the pen will be tired after pouring out what it had inside to be useful to the artist. A writer doesn’t hold in his thoughts, keeping them from paper for fear of the pen’s feelings about being expended in the production of a great story.
Here is how I express it in print form. And this is my “logo”
I had been working construction and used a pencil every day, all day and even though I may be marking out lines to cut in concrete and my pencil had to be sharpened every few inches because of the rough surface I was scribing on, I would just get out my knife and wittle a new edge. The pencil was designed for this purpose. I never hesitated thinking I was wasting graphite. I rarely, if ever contemplated the world’s reserves of pencil lead. I used the pencil for the job at hand and the pencil, if sharp, aided the work I did by drawing a true and straight line and scribing a correct measurement. With about fourty years of pencil use, I can’t recall a once that my pencil complained or attempted to receive a compliment for how well it drew, not once.
In a nut shell this is what I saw in the eye of my mind. God wanting to use me to set forth the line of His perfection, to measure out His righteous standard before men and to do so without worrying about running out of lead. I was to offer myself to God as an instrument to write the gospel before men, to be expended for His awesome glory. I wept.
So wonderful a thought that the One who needs nothing is asking for one who is in need of everything, “come to Me, abide in Me, in Me you will bear much fruit. I will be your God and I will do more than you could ever ask or imagine.” Why, o why would the Great King recruit me into His awesome service? to be a front line soldier and ambassador of His Eternal Grace and Glory. I know I am not worthy and most of the time I am not faithful. I am so weak and often weary, wearied not from bearing my cross but foolishly bearing my own burdens. I am an untrained and uneducated man; I am neither eloquent nor smooth. I talk too fast; I loose my train of thought. I can’t focus to study for more that fifteen minutes at a time. To this world I am an unimportant failure, and that may be the very reason that God has chosen for me to be a mouth piece for Him; so that He may receive all, all, I mean all the glory…I weep again.
What about you friend? Do you know Jesus? Are you in love with Him and His Grace? Do you marvel at the incredible exchange that happened there on the cross of Calvary, there in you the day you repented and placed your faith in the Eternal Lord of Glory? Do you know why he did this unmatchable act of mercy? Love, yes love, but I believe there is so much more. You see, the very second that God saved you, He made you an ambassador of the Kingdom to which you now belong. He transformed you from a minister of the flesh to a royal priest unto Him, His own special people and He has a ministry for you that He ordained before the foundation of the world. Yup, just for you. This is a really big thing with God. Jesus told us about the unfaithful servant who took his one talent and buried it and at the return of the master that unprofitable servant is “cast into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” I have personally feared hearing those words. Jesus has given me so much and I am so unfaithful and feel so very unprofitable to Him, yet He is so good to me. How about you? I personally don’t think God is looking for another tele-evangelist, there are too many of those already. He isn’t looking for powerful people to preach, not the eloquent, He is looking for folks like Peter, just a simple fisherman who followed Jesus, and Jesus made him into an apostle and a fisher of men. He is looking for men and women who when they share are scared to near death, just as Paul came and preached with fear and much trembling. He is looking for people who are meek, and lowly, folks that are humble and broken, these are the ones that God can use to turn lives around, to turn your neighborhood around, your town and even this nation around to Jesus. All through folks who first love God, love their families, love the Body of Christ and then go, in the same manner as Jesus and love the lost and share with them the wonderful things that God has done for man. He wants to use you, you who are just lowly vessels of His grace, we who are trophies of what He has accomplished there on Calvary in defeating sin and owning it in His own body while still remaining perfect and untarnished from it. He wants to use the lowly so that He gets all of the credit that He so rightly deserves, now Go. Go out to the highways and the byways, bring in the broken and rejected, bring in the wealthy and proud. Bring in all who are willing to bow the knee to the Lord and in bringing in the elect, you will be accomplishing the greater reason that God calls and equips the weak and willing, you will be bringing the Savior of our souls, the glory He deserves….now go. Go!
Go for the King and “Be Expended to His Glory.”
Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
The second week in a row evangelizing in the same place, it can feel awkward. People hear what you are saying; they listen in and wonder why you would do this. They talk about you when you leave but more than that, I believe the Holy Spirit talks to them and that is why they stare. Do you remember the stories of the prophets of old? They would walk into a town and the people would get a little uneasy, saying “here comes the prophet of God” or “here comes that one who troubles Israel”. Now I am not comparing myself to a prophet and the message that we bring is not one of judgment and destruction of our city and the warning of captivity but one of God’s amazing grace. I also want to say that I am not boasting. Please don’t think that, I want to encourage and even convict some into sharing their faith more and that is why I write to you tonight.
The evangelist of today, he is, in a very literal sense an Elijah, attempting to turn the hearts of the people to God. He is also a Jeremiah or Isaiah, warning that if those whom the message is for do not turn to God, that they will stay in bondage and that destruction does await them. We are very much an Ezekiel, prophesying to dry bones, to dead men and hoping by faith that God will breathe His Breath into them and open their hearts and make them alive!
I use the testimony of tonight’s evangelism encounters to illustrate what I believe God desires of His Church. Young men, not yet believing in Jesus but recognizing that their friends need to hear the gospel too, pointing out the most wayward of the crew, they themselves personally experiencing the conviction of the Holy Spirit, restraining them from their sins at least for a time. From a distance, others seeing the “evangelist” who spent time with them the week prior and wanting to learn more about God from him.
Paul said that one sows and another waters but God brings the increase. What if you began to water what I had sown, I believe God to be faithful to bring in the increase of a saved soul.
What if we began to plow and plow and break up the fallow ground of people’s hearts? What if God’s Bride were to continually sow in righteousness? Exposing people’s sin and comparing it to Jesus’ perfection. Teaching people about the perfect righteousness of God, dispelling the myth that if a sinner asks for forgiveness, God must just forgive. Did that confuse you? 1 john 1:9 is for the Saint, not the sinner, God is just, He doesn’t just forgive, there must be a full payment for the penalty, there must be a full atonement for the sins that have been committed against Him and there must be faith in the one who paid the penalty.
Reap in mercy, Jude says “And on some have compassion, making a distinction;
but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by
the flesh.” Clothed in the righteousness of Christ, with great hearts of mercy, sow in
truth and wait for God to reap in His harvest. Laboring, loving and languishing for the
gospel. If you want to have a heart of mercy, share the gospel. God prepares your heart
and makes it yearn for even strangers to come to Him. True mercy towards man was
born out of the gospel. Sow in Righteousness and Reap in Mercy.
Break up fallow ground. This is the hard work of the gospel preacher. This is where we must trust the Spirit and swallow our pride. Yielding God’s commands and probing deep into a person’s heart and exposing to them the rebellious dark sins that they love but that God hates, exposing the sins that are producing wrath for the day of wrath and righteous judgment against them from God. Why do you think that the moral law, the Ten Commandments has been removed from so many places? Why do you think that the most popular verse in America is “judge not lest you be judged?” It is because men love darkness and love to keep their sins deeply hidden in their heart. But that is not the call from the Bible, we are to use the Law, lawfully, to open every eye and to shut every mouth, to leave every person speechless in their guilt before God. If we continue to allow antinomianism to be the standard operation of all people a very grievous result will multiply worse than it is today, it will be a destructive, damning loss of love towards God.
Mat 24:12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
At such a vital time in our nation, we need one thing more and more and that is a love towards God. Our politicians can’t bring it, unless that is; they begin to preach the gospel. Yes you can legislate morality; you just can’t get people to obey it. But if we teach them about God and His love through Christ Jesus and His impossible standard of righteousness and we trust that the Holy Spirit is drawing them to the Son. Then morality will become a God given desire. We must break up the fallow ground.
If we are doing this, we will be seeking the Lord. This can’t be done without first seeking God, waiting on Him and at least attempting to abide in Him.
Again, what if the Bride of Christ did this; sow and reap and break up and seek until He came. He will come, five virgins will have oil in their lamps and five will not, but all of them were caught off guard.
If you and I, and the Christian next door and the one down the street were to all continue on in this. If we all were to live by this decree…. For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 2Co 5:14-15
I cannot profess to say I know what God’s plan is for this country, but if His spotless Bride were to; sow and reap and break up and seek until He came I am willing to trust in His ability to accomplish what He promises. I truly trust that He will rain down righteousness on us.
Joh 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."
Men, women, all of those who are called by the name of Christ:
Be expended to His gloryJason