Sufficient as Ministers Pt. 1


Sunday 08/25/19

Series: Walking the Talk

Message – Sufficient as Ministers


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Sufficient as Ministers Pt. 1

Over the past four weeks we have been learning about the Holy Spirit – beginning with a lesson  called “The Believer’s Forgotten Friend” . 

I’ve headed this direction out of some inner promptings I’ve had from the Lord (the Holy Spirit) in response to what I have perceived as stagnation  in the Sheep. By stagnation I mean a creeping and increasingly casual response to the call of Christ to experience personal growth, development into Christ’s image and Joy as a result. 

So, even though your relationship with Christ is your own and your growth is not held back by mine any more than it is automatically advanced by mine, it is never the less affected by mine and to some degree or another I too have sensed a stirring  to refocus my attention toward the Holy Spirit in my personal life . 

It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit brought the two together that these lessons came to me. We are focusing on an essential that we’ve known for a very long time, but in practice I believe we’ve all but forgotten. Our interaction with the Holy Spirit as our advocate and friend, our koinonia from heaven – our great gift of immeasurable value from God.

Personally, It isn’t that I’ve not acknowledged Him and been very grateful to Him – but my interactions were more about someone Who might as well have not been in the room with me. As if the Holy Spirit were somehow a silent partner or someone helping from afar.

Our year has thus far been focused on Walking the Talk. This requires that we walk with our helper, guide, advocate and friend the Holy Spirit – deliberately, with EYES WIDE OPEN so to speak. 

Being very intentional in our interactions with Him, our reliance upon Him and our gratefulness to Him.

So with that in mind, over the past few weeks I have  then reminding you of these basics…

  • The Holy Spirit and His role in the Life of Jesus
  • That the Holy Spirit is to us what Jesus was to His disciples. 
  • How Jesus interacted with the Holy Spirit in life and ministry. 
  • How Paul relied upon the Holy Spirit for teaching with power.
  • That the Holy Spirit is and why the Holy Spirit is highly motivated to be gracious and kind and caring and loving to us facilitate ting the formation of Jesus in our hearts.
  • That our personal filters affect how we hear what the Holy Spirit says and how we interpret what he does.

Now, lets look at another work of the Holy Spirit to & in us and again I believe you will see some similarities between our relationship with the Holy Spirit and that of Jesus’ and the early apostles. 

The primary point being that just like the Holy Spirit revealed the Father to Jesus that He might reveal the Father to the world even so the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us that we might reveal Jesus to the world. 

This is done… 

  1. Through the testimony of a life changed into the image of the Jesus Holy Spirit as reveals to us.
  2. This is done secondly by the Holy Spirit bearing that testimony before the world and empowering us with those words and miraculous signs necessary for the work of the kingdom. 

We’ve spent a considerable amount of time talking about our relationship with Jesus as our vine and it is a mere extension of those teachings to cause us to realize that the vine life that flows between Jesus and us is nothing less or rather no one less than the Holy Spirit. [ I did a whole series on it beginning in May 6th of 2015 called Abiding in the Vine’ . And more recently on November 5th 2018 I did a single teaching called Branches where I expounded on John 15

While I mentioned the holy spirit in those teachings  the bulk of the teaching was about our relationship with Jesus our Vine. 

The Holy Spirit is the Vine life that flows from the root  which represents the Father supporting the entire plant and out of which the entire plant grows,  the vine is of course our Lord Jesus Who is our connection to the Father and finally we are the branches  bearing the fruit of the Kingdom and character of Our Lord. But the entire structure breaks down and becomes completely  ineffective without the vine life flowing through the entire structure. 

Borrowing from other biblical metaphors  the Holy Spirit is the anointing oil, the unction, the lamp oil that fills the virgin’s lamps for the wedding feast, He is the oil that flows through the center staff of the Menorah to the branches which bear the fruit and which empowers the flax to burn brightly revealing the center staff in all of its glory without itself being consumed. 

So we are going to now concentrate on being equipped for ministry by the Spirit, and the first lesson about being a minister of the Kingdom is that it is NOT your personal holiness that qualifies you, it is the Spirit that qualifies you. THIS DOES NOT MEAN that character is not important – it is, but so long as you have continual and uninterrupted progression of Christ being formed in you, you are well suited for ministry. You will never be perfect this side of the grave, so perfection is NOT a prerequisite for ministry – devotion and consecration are!

Wait in Jerusalem… 

Luke 24:44-49, “(44)Then He told them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you–that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (45)  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.  (46) He also said to them, “This is what is written: the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, (47)  and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (48)  You are witnesses of these things. (49) And look, I am sending you what My Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.”

Acts 1:1-8, “(1) I wrote the first narrative, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach  (2) until the day He was taken up, after He had given orders through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen.  (3) After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.  (4) While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “This,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; (5) for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (6)  So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, at this time are You restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (7) He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. (8) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

This is significant because  Jesus’ answer had to do with the kingdom. 

JESUS had just talked them for 40 days about the kingdom of God which brought back to the disciples minds their old long standing believe that when the Messiah came he would deliver Israel from all captivity and all captures and deliver the promised land once and for all back into their control being ruled by Messiah Himself. 

So naturally they asked Him if it was at this time that the kingdom would be delivered back to Israel. 

Jesus’ response was not a confirmation of their assumptions but an actual answer towards the establishment of God’s kingdom. 

He told them that they would be His witnesses by which they would further and established the kingdom of God, but they needed the aid of their helper, their guide, their friend the Holy Spirit as well as His supernatural enabling power. So He told them to wait in Jerusalem until the promise of the Father came to them. Which is to say, until the Feast of Weeks. 

The Feast of Weeks

Lev. 23:15-22,

“(15) You are to count seven complete weeks starting from the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the presentation offering.

(16) You are to count 50 days until the day after the seventh Sabbath and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.

(17) Bring two loaves of bread from your settlements as a presentation offering, each of them made from four quarts of fine flour, baked with yeast, as firstfruits to the LORD.

(18) You are to present with the bread seven unblemished male lambs a year old, one young bull, and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offerings and drink offerings, a fire offering of a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

(19) You are also to prepare one male goat as a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a fellowship sacrifice.

(20) The priest will wave the lambs with the bread of firstfruits as a presentation offering before the LORD; the bread and the two lambs will be holy to the LORD for the priest.

(21) On that same day you are to make a proclamation and hold a sacred assembly. You are not to do any daily work. This is to be a permanent statute wherever you live throughout your generations.

(22) When you reap the harvest of your land, you are not to reap all the way to the edge of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the foreign resident; I am the LORD your God.”

Here the feast of first fruits is brought up in relation to the Feast of Weeks. Why is that significant? Because, this feast was ONLY to be observed once the second generation ENTERED the promised land – Lev. 23:9-10. Now that the promise of Messiah has come and the new birth in God’s Kingdom was available they had entered into the true Promised Land. This is the second generation those who seek after Him. 

God told Moses, 

“(10) Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you enter the land I am giving you and reap its harvest, you are to bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest.”

So Firstfruits was the first ripened gathering of the Barley harvest which is a warmer climate harvest. This was just following the resurrection of Jesus when His disciples we’re born again.

For this Feast of Weeks, they were to count 50 days from the Feast of Firstfruits at the end of the wheat harvest and then celebrate the bringing in of the new grain offering for the Lord. For the first 40 of these days he had been among them teaching them about the kingdom of God. Then he told them to go into Jerusalem and wait until the promise of the Father when they would be given power from on high to be His Witnesses… His testifiers or in our parable of the year the Servants of the nobleman would you business until His return.

We have the advantage of knowing part of what this was “rehearsing” due to the day of Pentecost to which this feast corresponds. Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for POWER from on High. You remember what Peter said on that day, This is that which the prophet Joel said… which was recorded in Joel 2:18-32.

This Feast represented the initial “harvest of souls” – those from among the Jews as well as the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh (by which was meant all Jews – at the time) on the day of Pentecost.

Mark 9:1, “Then He said to them, I assure you: There are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God come in power.”

1Thess. 1:5, For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we were among you for your benefit,”

1Cor. 4:20, For the kingdom of God is not in talk but in power.”

NOTE: If you need a review of these things (which is VERY important to New Covenant life) go back and listen and/or read the message entitled, “Israel’s Festivals were Rehearsals – Leviticus 23” on Sept. 5th, 2018.

Now, lets look at another work of the Holy Spirit to & in us and again I believe you will see some similarities between our relationship with the Holy Spirit and that of Jesus’ and the early apostles. 

The primary point being that just like the Holy Spirit revealed the Father to Jesus that He might reveal the Father to the world even so the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us that we might reveal Jesus to the world. 

This is done… 

  1. Through the testimony of a life changed into the image of the Jesus Holy Spirit as reveals to us.
  2. This is done secondly by the Holy Spirit bearing that testimony before the world and empowering us with those words and miraculous signs necessary for the work of the kingdom. 

God Bless!

I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!