The service of ministry


Numbers 4:47: from thirty years old up to fifty years old, everyone who could come to do the service of ministry and the service of bearing burdens in the tent of meeting,

Everyone Christian has received at least a gift from God that he is supposed to use for the benefit of the rest of the body of Christ. There are three lists of gifts for spiritual functioning for Christians from the Letters of Paul.

There are the gifts of God (7) (Romans 12:1-8), the gifts of Christ (5) (Ephesians 4:1-16), and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (9) (1Corinthians 12). The gifts of God are identity gifts that are permanent fixtures of our lives. The gifts of Christ are headship gifts for leadership positions in the church (they are called ministry offices) while the gifts of the spirit are not native with the operators but they are manifested in anyone at any time for the benefit of others. Both gifts of God and gifts of Christ are native with individuals but the difference is that the latter is limited to some, while the former is general.

Peter classified spiritual service into two, those that have to do with speaking (1Peter 4:10-11), and those that has to do with other things other than speaking, including helps, administration, mercy and others that are not expressed in public pulpit ministry. Those you call behind the scene ministry, where certain skills are deployed like the music ministry.

Paul wrote that after the crucifixion of Jesus, he went to the lower parts of the earth. Though his body was laid in the grave, spiritually he went to Hell, the place of Satan, to shake things up a bit there.

There he received the keys of hell and death, and preached to departed spirit. He was in there for three days and three nights.

Paul says that the one (Jesus) who descended in the one who ascended far above all heavens, so that he may fill all things. And for that to be achieved, he gave gifts to men.

Then Paul mentioned fives gifts of leadership service in the church- apostle, prophet, teacher, evangelist and pastor. No one should presume to be one of them. The bible says that no one takes this honour upon himself except those who are called, like Aaron (Hebrews 5:4). A ministry gift must have your name on it before you can presume to function in it.

Everyone who is called into those ministries need to stand up and be counted. You need to function as you are called, apply yourself to your calling. And everyone needs to submit to the functioning of these headship ministries to be properly shaped.

The apostles and prophets are called foundational ministries. The bible says that the church is built on the foundation of apostles and prophets with Christ as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20).

If we understand that the church is not organizational, but functional relationship with God and consist of individuals, we would realise that the place of apostles and prophets in this time for their foundational role are still important in our individual lives; hence the need for real life, real time apostles and prophets functioning in their offices and us receiving them as such.

There is a foundation of Christ that every life needs, there is also a foundation of apostles and prophets, and to properly position us in the things God is saying and doing per time. Christianity is not just an historical religion, it has a functional dynamics for fulfilling the ongoing plan of God for the earth and it involves his people, and we need to understand our place individually. We need to be structurally connected with apostolic and prophetic ministries for this.

The five headship ministries are important for what God wants to do. They are meant to raise up the saints into what they are supposed to be in the fullness of Christ. Through the ministry of the word from the headship ministry, there is transformation in all our lives.

The apostles said that they will not serve table but would commit themselves to pray and minister the word (Acts 6:4). The ministers are responsible for the spiritual changes they want to see in the saints. When God was sending letters to the church in Asia through John, the beloved, he sent them to the “angels” of those churches (Romans 2-3). They are those who are supposed to be responsible for those churches.

You may ask: how can God send a letter through a man to angels? A better understanding is that the Greek word translated angel is also translated messenger  in the bible.

It was the same word used to describe John the Baptist. God said: I send my messenger (John) before you (Christ). That messenger was John the Baptiser. The messenger has a work of service to do, which is to prepare the way of the Lord, to make his path straight, to facilitate the revelation of Christ to the people (Mark 1:1-4). John defined his aim thus: to point the people to Jesus. He said that he must increase but I must decrease (John 3:30).

All service is to help people come into better union with Christ. That was the mission of John the Baptist. He was called a man sent from God. He was sent on a mission. He said that the reason he was sent to baptise was to reveal Jesus to that generation (John 1:31). That was the ultimate mission of all who serve. It is not about you it is about him.

Paul had the same mission, saying that he will preach nothing else except Christ and him crucified (1Corinthians 1:22, 2:2, 2Corinthians 2:12, 4:5, Colossians 1:27-28). He charged Timothy: preach the word (2Timothy 4:2), and who is the word? – Jesus Christ (John 1:1-2).

The work of service at all levels is all the context of being part of the body of Christ. No part of the body of Christ should be redundant. As much as the life of God is flowing through you, realise that there is a purpose for the kingdom of God that you must serve in your life-time.

Of David it was said that he served the purpose of God in his generation (Acts 13:36). His famous achievement apart from the warfare he was involved in was in providing supplies for the building of the temple of God.

He made a decision to build the house of God, though he was refused the opportunity. And for being concerned with the House of God, God promised to establish his own house (1Chronicles 17, 29:1-21). Through Prophet Haggai God spoke to Israel, that it was because they did not pay enough attention to his house that is why their personal issues were degenerating.

The service of the house of God is that important. It is a matter of life and death. It is a matter of eternity; it is a matter of building treasure for ourselves in heaven. It is being in the service of a king with the kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:27-29).


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