Series: Walking the Talk
Message – Sufficient as Ministers Pt. 2
Sufficient as Ministers Pt. 2
We’re still learning about “The Believer’s Forgotten Friend” the Holy Spirit. The One Who enables and empowers us to do the work of the kingdom until the Lord returns. [Parable of the Nobleman]
Now, last week we began to look at another work of the Holy Spirit to & in us… that of equipping us for ministry – that is free work of the kingdom.
The primary point of ministry 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. End game is to win as many hearts in devotion to God, resulting in Christ likeness as possible.
This is done…
- Through the testimony of a life changed into the image of the Jesus Holy Spirit as reveals to us.
- 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.
So two things we learned last week were :
- The work of the ministry in not just in word but in power.
- 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!
If you remember, Jesus told His disciples that they would be His witnesses.
Who can tell me why Jesus spoke to them in terms of BEING rather than Doing? It isn’t words that convince and influence to a heart change. It is a life that has been changed itself. If God has your heart, He’ll have your mouth as well.
So as His witnesses, we further and established the kingdom of God, but we needed the aid of our helper, our guide, our 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
If you remember, the Feast of Weeks is 50 days following the Festival of First Fruits which is the bringing in of the first cuttings of the Barley harvest. This corresponds with Passover which was when Jesus was Crucified. For 40 days He taught them about the Kingdom of God, then He told them to go to Jerusalem and wait for power to come upon them from heaven. This occurred 10 days later on the Feast of Weeks which was the the bringing in of the Wheat harvest.
Peter, now filled with the Spirit understood the significance of this day – he was the first human to explain what this Feast had been rehearsing all these years. Turn with me to Joel 2:18-32.
“(18) Then the LORD became jealous for His land and spared His people. (19) The LORD answered His people: Look, I am about to send you grain, new wine, and olive oil. You will be satiated with them, and I will no longer make you a disgrace among the nations. (20) I will drive the northerner far from you and banish him to a dry and desolate land, his front ranks into the Dead Sea, and his rear guard into the Mediterranean Sea. His stench will rise; yes, his rotten smell will rise, for he has done catastrophic things. (21) Don’t be afraid, land; rejoice and be glad, for the LORD has done great things. (22) Don’t be afraid, wild animals, for the wilderness pastures have turned green, the trees bear their fruit, and the fig tree and grapevine yield their riches. (23) Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the LORD your God, because He gives you the autumn rain for your vindication. He sends showers for you, both autumn and spring rain as before. (24) The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with new wine and olive oil. (25) I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust ate, the young locust, the destroying locust, and the devouring locust–My great army that I sent against you. (26) You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied. You will praise the name of Yahweh your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. My people will never again be put to shame. (27) You will know that I am present in Israel and that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other. My people will never again be put to shame. (28) After this I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions. (29) I will even pour out My Spirit on the male and female slaves in those days. (30) I will display wonders in the heavens and on the earth: blood, fire, and columns of smoke. (31) The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and awe-inspiring Day of the LORD comes. (32) Then everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved, for there will be an escape for those on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as the LORD promised, among the survivors the LORD calls.”
So the Feast of Weeks was a rehearsal for the giving of the promised Spirit of God. It is perhaps this that Jesus was referring to when he said that you cannot put new wine into old wineskins. The New Covenant would not fit within the framework of Old Testament Judaism nor would it fit into vessels which have themselves not been changed. Both the Covenant, the understanding and application of The Testament and the people themselves must all be made new.
Now, Compare this statement of the Spirit being poured out with what God did concerning Jesus at the beginning of His ministry of being a testifier of the Father:
Matt. 12:18 “BEHOLD! MY SERVANT WHOM I HAVE CHOSEN, MY BELOVED IN WHOM MY SOUL IS WELL PLEASED! I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT UPON HIM, AND HE WILL DECLARE JUSTICE TO THE GENTILES.”
Sufficient as ministers
Now remember that I told you last week that you’re personal holiness is not what qualifies you for ministry.
But not only that, it is God Himself through the Holy Spirit Who makes us sufficient as ministers of His.
2Cor. 3:5,6, “(5) Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, (6) Who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
Holman says, “the Spirit produces life.”
Weymouth – 2 Corinthians 3
” 4 Such is the confidence which we have through Christ in the presence of God; 5 not that of ourselves we are competent to decide anything by our own reasonings, but our competency comes from God. 6 It is He also who has made us competent to serve Him in connexion with a new Covenant, which is not a written code but a Spirit; for the written code inflicts death, but the Spirit gives Life. 7 If, however, the service that proclaims death –its code being engraved in writing upon stones– came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily on the face of Moses because of the brightness of his face–a vanishing brightness; 8 will not the service of the Spirit be far more glorious? 9 For if the service which pronounces doom had glory, far more glorious still is the service which tells of righteousness.”
Now let’s see all of this come together in 2 Cor. 5:17-21,
“(17) Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. (18) Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (19) that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.
(20) Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”
(21) He made the One Who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Two Examples of Co-Ministry
Acts 10:17-48, “(1) Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. (18) And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. (19) While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. (20) Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” (21) Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, “Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?” (22) And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” (23) Then he invited them in and lodged them. On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him. (24) And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. (25) As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. (26) But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” (27) And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. (28) Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. (29) Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?” (30) So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, (31) and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. (32) Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ (33) So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.” (34) Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. (35) But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. (36) The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— (37) that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: (38) how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (39) And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. (40) Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, (41) not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. (42) And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He Who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. (43) To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (44) While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. [koinonia] (45) And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. (46) For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, (47) “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (48) And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.”
Acts 8:5-40, “(5) Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. (6) And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. (7) For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. (8) And there was great joy in that city. (9) But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, (10) to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” (11) And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. (12) But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. (13) Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done. (14) Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, (15) who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. (16) For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (17) Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (18) And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, (19) saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” (20) But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! (21) You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. (22) Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. (23) For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” (24) Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.” (25) So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans. (26) Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. (27) So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, (28) was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. (29) Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” (30) So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (31) And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. (32) The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO THE SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE OPENED NOT HIS MOUTH. (33) IN HIS HUMILIATION HIS JUSTICE WAS TAKEN AWAY, AND WHO WILL DECLARE HIS GENERATION? FOR HIS LIFE IS TAKEN FROM THE EARTH.” (34) So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” (35) Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. (36) Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” (37) Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (38) So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. (39) Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. (40) But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.”
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.
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