The Ministry

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
(Acts 20:24)

I often hear people saying that someone “has gone into the ministry” or that they have some kind of specific ministry. A minister is simply a servant. Paul described himself as a willing bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ and a servant has no ground or reason to boast of themselves or call attention to themselves. Actually, as Paul here demonstrates, there is a danger in true ministry. Paul had just been warned of the danger he faced in going to Jerusalem to minister and preach the gospel of Christ. This verse also tells us exactly what it is to be a minister of Jesus Christ. It is first to have received this ministry from Christ. One does not simply “decide to go into the ministry,” no, they are decided upon by Christ and sent by Him! Furthermore, none have this ministry except those who preach or “testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Preaching the gospel is not the center of a ministry or the most important part of a ministry, it is the ministry! Before it or without it there is no ministry. As Paul says, to minister as the LORD’s servant and a servant to His people it to preach the gospel of “the grace of God.” The gospel of God which is the gospel of His Son is the gospel of GRACE, a declaration of God’s salvation by His free and sovereign grace to a people that He loved and chose in Christ. It is the testimony of God concerning what He has done for them in Christ through His coming into the world and saving them through the death of His cross. It is the preaching of Christ crucified! It glorifies God alone. It comes by His Spirit to elect sinners as good news. It is a sacred trust which is committed by God to His messengers. “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;” (1st Timothy 1:11-12) It is a message, a declaration of something done, accomplished by God in Christ: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2nd Corinthians 5:18-19) Peter describes gospel ministers as “stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1st Peter 4:10) and it is required of a steward that he be found faithful, faithful to that message. “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1st Peter 4:11)

G. Shepard

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