Holy Resolution #3
Our third Holy Resolution for the new year is to be involved in ministries that present the saving Grace of Christ and build up the people of God. The word “ministry” comes from two Greek words, diakonia and leitourgia. Diakonia is the office and work of a diakonos (minister, deacon, servant). Leitourgia was used for sacred service performed by priests and is also used for the service Christians perform for each other.
Here are some examples from the NKJV that show the diversity of the use of the words.
“But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” Luke 10:40
“And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, ‘Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry … And they prayed and said, ‘You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.’ And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” Acts 1:15-17,24-26
“Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:3-4
“And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.” Acts 12:25
“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24
“On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.” Acts 21:18-19
“For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.” Romans 11:13-14
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:6-8
“Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.” Romans 15:30-32
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
“I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints— that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.” 1 Corinthians 16:15-16
“But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.” 2 Corinthians 3:7-11
“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.” 2 Corinthians 4:1
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
“We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.” 2 Corinthians 6:3
“For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” 2 Corinthians 8:3-4
“Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority … For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.” 2 Corinthians 9:1-2, 12-14
“Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.” 2 Corinthians 11:7-8
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” 1 Timothy 1:12-13
“But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5
“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.” Revelation 2:19
“And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless. So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house.” Luke 1:21-23
“Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all … Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.” Philippians 2:17, 29-30
“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6
“For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.’ Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Hebrews 9:19-22
Ministry is the work of serving others. It’s about meeting the immediate and long-range needs of people. Jesus did it, Peter did it, John did it, James did it, Paul did, Christians all over the world have done it for almost 2,000 years. Ministry is something God has called every Christian to do. Being involved in ministry is like breathing; it’s a vital part of our life.
Paul made that clear when he explained the simplicity of salvation: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10) We are God’s workmanship and created us in Christ Jesus for “good works” (agathois ergois).
Ergois is our work, employment, task, enterprise, deeds, actions, ministries. We are God’s “good work” and He has given us the task of doing “good works” for Jesus and others. In fact, we were “created” in Christ Jesus for the express purpose of doing good works! Good works was not an afterthought for God. He always intended that “good works” would be part of our faith-walk. We are saved by grace through faith with a view toward the accomplishment of good works that God intended for us to do as part of His amazing plan for our life. Wow!
If you’re already involved in serving others for the glory of Christ, enjoy another great year of ministry! However, if you’re not involved in service, let’s take a look at how to get started.
Paul explained the ministry process beautifully in 1 Corinthians 12:
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
Notice the path of service:
- diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit
- differences of ministries, but the same Lord
- diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all
What Paul shows us here is how the Triune God is involved in our service. The Spirit gives the various spiritual gifts (charismaton – gifts of grace), Jesus gives the different ministries (diakonion – service), and the Father gives us all the activities (energematon – power) we need to accomplish His purpose for the “good works” He created us to do.
God is so wonderful! Everything comes from Him. He chose us from before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) and part of that choice included our spiritual gifts, ministries and the power to accomplish God’s purposes within our service to Him and others. God will reveal His will for us clearly as we look to Him for guidance.
First, look at the lists of spiritual gifts in the Bible (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4) and see which ones God has given to you. Talk with Christians who are busy in ministry and ask them how they discovered their spiritual gifts. Your spiritual gifts are often well-suited to your personality and interests. Remember, God created us in Christ Jesus for good works, “which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” God knew everything about you before you were born. It’s no surprise that so many Christians are good at what they do. God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Our personal interests and physical and mental abilities usually go well with the spiritual gifts God gives us. Also, look for people in your church who God is using in ministry who have similar spiritual gifts to yours. Ask to spend time with them, learn from them, see what goes into using the particular gifts you have for the glory of God.
Second, look at the many examples of ministries in the Bible and in the church today. There are so many ways we can serve God and others. We can minister to people in our family, our neighborhood, our church, our school, our workplace, our government, our armed forces, etc. Truck drivers have ministries to truck drivers. Martial artists have ministries to martial artists. Computer programmers have ministries to computer programmers. Entertainers have ministries to entertainers. Inmates have ministries to inmates. Moms have ministries to moms. Dads have ministries to dads. Kids have ministries to kids. Seniors have ministries to seniors. And the list goes on and on. There is no end to the creative ways we can minister. If you can imagine it, you can do it, with God’s help.
Third, look to God for the power to minister. The Greek word energematon comes from energeia, which is used in the Bible for the power of God to accomplish great and mighty things. It’s the word used in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (“and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Ephesians 1:19-21). It’s the word used for the power of Jesus Christ in subduing all things to Himself (“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:20-21).
This is a stunning statement in light of what God will do through us as we use our spiritual gifts in creative ministries. He will use His miraculous energy and power to bring about eternal results through our efforts. We are not strong, but He is mighty to conquer!
Resolve this coming year to use your spiritual gifts to serve God and others and look to the Lord for the mighty working of His power in your ministry to accomplish great things for God.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,