Monday, January 26, 2015

Truthfulness in Ministry (part 1)

Criticism of the gospel ministry is nothing new (ol’ Solomon was right, you know: there is nothing new under the sun), so we can find great encouragement to remain faithful in all we do out of love for the Lord by considering how the apostle Paul rooted the defense of his ministry in truth. He writes:

“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. But I call God to witness against me--it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.” [2Co 1:19-24 ESV]

Paul is truthful in ministry because Jesus is truthful--and why not? He IS The truth! Jesus is Paul’s message! Notice what he says: “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ,” Paul uses the full title of Jesus, leaving no room for doubt as to the content and authority of the message; “whom we proclaimed among you” . Who is “we”? Me [Paul], Silvanus,  [aka Silas] and Timothy [people you know]. This congregation knew the messengers personally (they were not strangers) and the message they brought “was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes.” Nothing is more true than the Son of God, Jesus Christ. “For all the promises of God in Him [are] Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”

Test anyone who says they are a minister of the gospel by examining their words and works in the context of truth. 
  • Do they look out for themselves, surrounding themselves with body guards and "yes" men? 
  • Do they always talk about Jesus, or have a platform for other topics? 
  • Are their words and works supported by a God who cannot lie? 
  • Is Jesus the guarantee of every promise (Heb 7:22)? 
  • Can the Holy Spirit confirm that what they say is in fact, true?
Paul reminds his reader that the reason they have this relationship is because of the God-approved the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Everything God does for us is a done-deal in Christ--there is not guessing about what He has done, what He means or intends. Their criticism of Paul is unfounded.

You can stand on God's promises because they are time-tested in the reality of Jesus’ presence on earth through an actual people who exist. Every time you watch the news and hear the name “Israel,” you should be reminded of His promise given at the fall of man in the garden of the coming redeemer.

You can stand on the promises because Christ is the way it is with God. He is the Word of God, made flesh and dwelt among us, and He is our solemn prayer to God. 

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