1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. — 2 Cor. 4:1, 2 NIV
When we hear the word minister or ministry, we tend to think of pastors. evangelists, missionaries and offices of that sort. But, God has given each of us a ministry. Each one of us has been called to service by God. Our mission field is where we live, work or go to school. Our congregations are our families, neighbors, fellow workers and/or fellow students. Just as surely as a pastor is responsible to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ and His resurrection to his congregation, we are to do the same for those God has placed in our circle of influence. Just as surely as a pastor should pray for those in his congregation, we are responsible to pray for those around us. Just as surely as a church staff should minister to the needs of the congregation, we should minister to the needs of those God has put in our “congregations”. Whether those needs be spiritual, emotional, physical or financial, we have a responsibility to use the resources God has given us to comfort others. 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.– 2 Cor. 1:3, 4 NIV
Our lifestyles should reflect the truth that we are letters sent from Christ written on hearts of flesh by the Holy Spirit and read by everyone who knows us.
2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. — 2 Cor. 3:1, 2 NIV
We should use every ministry opportunity to contend for the faith that has been entrusted to us by God Himself.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. — Hebrews 6:10-12 NIV
Accepting Jesus as our Savior is the first step on a journey from here to heaven. We know our destination and we know that our arrival has been secured by the blood of Jesus. The huge difference in this trip and one that we might plan to take here on earth is that we don’t know the specifics of the route. Generally, we know that it is ever onward and upward, but what does that entail on a minute by minute basis? We are facing a great unknown and we must take every step by faith.
17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” — Romans 1:17 NIV
So we must study the gospel to know the way. There is no earthly GPS that is going to lead us to heaven. But, God, in His great mercy and love for us installed a guide within us when we accepted His Son as our Savior. We must learn to listen to the Guide to stay on the path. The way will not always be smooth and level. It can get rocky and there will be valleys and mountains. Just remember that every valley has two mountains and we travel from mountain to mountain not knowing what is over the next one. The important thing to KNOW is that we are never alone and if we get lost on the journey, the great Shepherd will leave the flock, come find us and carry us back to the straight and narrow path.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.— Proverbs 3:5, 6 NIV
18 Do not fool yourselves. If you think you are wise in this world, you should become a fool so that you can become truly wise, 19 because the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. It is written in the Scriptures, “He catches those who are wise in their own clever traps.” 20 It is also written in the Scriptures, “The Lord knows what wise people think. He knows their thoughts are just a puff of wind.”–1 Cor. 3:18-20 NCV
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Compared to the wisdom of God, anything that we call wisdom here on earth is nothing but foolishness. Divine wisdom far exceeds anything we can think or imagine, not only in quality, but also in quantity. Men who think themselves wise and try to deceive others will be dealt with by God.
12 He ruins the plans of those who trick others so they have no success. 13 He catches the wise in their own clever traps and sweeps away the plans of those who try to trick others.—Job 5:12 NCV
Admitting that our wisdom is useless for getting into heaven is part of the humbling process. It is also one of the objections that worldly wise people have to becoming a Christian. That is why so many of us do not accept Jesus until He has allowed us to get to the end of our resources, then we will turn to Him. We can see Job as an example of this. He lost everything here on earth and was advised by His wife to curse God and die, Job refused and his “wise” friends tried to counsel him. but it took a confrontation with God himself for Job to humble himself and be redeemed.
25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Job 19:25 NASB
17 They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”—John 19:17-22 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Jesus went out bearing His own cross to the place called Golgotha, So Pilate causes an inscription to be written and attached to the cross. Pilate thinks he is mocking Jesus. The chief priests want Pilate to change the title, but he refuses. After all of his dancing around the situation, he now wants everyone to think that he is really in control. “What I have written I have written” states Pilate. Yes, you have Pilate and it is the truth that you have written, but it is long after God had written it. God had established that fact before the first human was ever formed.
1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.—Hebrews 1:1-3 (NLT)
Yes, Pilate, your title was true but incomplete, not only King of the Jews, but King of Kings and Lord of Lords! How majestic is Your Name!
9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!—Psalm 8:9 (NASB)