The New Testament Ministry

The word "ministry" means "to serve," especially in a religious charge. In the Old Testament there were prophets, priests and kings; while in the New Tes­tament Paul mentions "the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers" and their work was "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the min­istry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." (Ephesians 4:10-12) They were to "give themselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word," and were not to "leave the word of God and serve tables." (Acts 6:2, 4)

 

An apostle is a person called of God into the ministry. (Matthew 10:20; Luke 10:1; Romans 1:1; 16:7)

 

A prophet is one who speaks unto men to edification, ex­hortation and comfort. (1 Corinthians14:3)

 

An evangelist is one who sounds out the glad tidings of the Kingdom, who can contact sinners and bring them to Christ, who can make living for God look good and sound good.

 

A pastor is a shepherd, one who loves the sheep of God, and cares for them with a heart-interest. (Philemon 2:20)

 

A teacher is one who is able to teach and instruct, open up the Scrip­tures to others.

 

All in the ministry must be apostles--called and sent of God. All must be prophets, in that they have a message from God; but all have the evangelistic, pastor and teaching qualities to varying degrees. 

 

The ministry is also to be "witnesses" (Acts 26:16); "stewards, (1 Corinthians 4:1,2); and "ambassadors" (2 Corinthians 5:20).

 

As a young person, Jesus was the example to all young folks; as a carpenter He was the example for all lay-member Christians; as a preacher from the age of 30, He became the example for all ministers. (Matthew 4:19; 9:36; 11:29; John 14:6; 20:21; Philemon 2:5; 1 Peter 2:21).

 

CALLING INTO THE MINISTRY: Jesus called the 12 disciples and sent them forth to preach, following His example: (Matthew 10; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6;) others: (Luke 10:1-20; Acts 16:1-6) Included women also:(Judges 4:4; Exodus 15:20; 2 Kings 22:14; Nehemiah 6:14; Luke 2:36; Acts 2:16-18; 21:9; Romans 16:1,12)

 

FIRST COMMISSION: "to the lost sheep of Israel." (Matthew 10:5,6) This was later extended to "the uttermost parts of the world." (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 1:8)

 

Their Message: "Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17; 10:7)

 

Their qualifications: "Must have a good report". (Acts 16:2,3; 2 Corinthians 4:1,2-18; 1 Timonthy 4:12; Titus 2:7)

 

MUST PROVE THEIR FAITH:

(1) By forsaking all: Jesus did this: (Matthew 8:20; John 19:23,24) Peter and others followed suit: (Matthew 19:27; Mark 10:23; Luke 5:10-11, 28; 12:33; 18:28) (Jesus asked the "rich young ruler" or young rabbi to do this, in order to be right as a minister, but he wasn't willing: Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-25)

 

(2) By becoming homeless: (Matthew 19:29; Luke 4:42-43; 9:58; John 7:53; 8:1)

 

(3) By preaching the gospel freely: (Matthew 10:8) Paul and others continued this: (1 Corinthians 9:18; 2 Corinthians 11:7) In Acts 18:1-3 we read of Paul staying with Aquila and Priscilla for a short while, giving them a hand with their tent-making when he could, while preaching the Gospel in that area. This was just a temporary "courtesy situation."

 

In 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 we read about Paul and his companions working with their hands while amongst them, not of necessity, but to give an example to some who would not work. (verse 11) Preaching for money was forbidden: (Judges 17:10-13; Micah 3:10-11; John 10:10-13, Luke 12:22-33)

 

(4) By making no provision for food nor clothing: (Matt. 6:24-34; 10:9-10). Their "hire" was "hospitality." (Matt. 10:9,10; Luke 8:3; 10:7; Acts 20:33-­35; Phil. 4:10-19). The "wages" mentioned in 2 Cor. 11:8 was a term used to de­note the rations given to soldiers, issued as they needed it. In that instance, as in all instances where true preachers are in a part where they have no con­verts, they were supported by voluntary contributions from Christians in other parts, as this passage indicates.

 

In Luke 22:34-38 Jesus was dealing with the "transgressing disciples", bringing to light how they were straying from His requirements for the ministry. They admitted that "being sent without purse nor script" worked perfectly.

 

If the ministers fulfilled the above mentioned conditions and qualifica­tions, then they were promised what is mentioned in Matt. 19:27-29; Mark 10:28­-30; Luke 18:28-30.

 

Their Spirit: (Acts 20-26-33; Matt. 9:36; John 10:11; Gal.1:9-10)

Their titles: (Matt 23:8-12)

Their education: (Matt. 4:18-19; John 6:45; 7:15; Acts 4:13; Phil.3:5-8; Gal.1:11-12) Marital status: (Matt. 19:10-12;1 Cor.7:7; 9:5)

 

THEIR AUTHORITY: This ministry is the supreme test to the world: (Matt. 10:40; 23:39; Luke 10:16; John 13:20; 20:21; Heb. 13:8)

 

This ministry appointed the elders, deacons and bishops from amongst the local church group. (Acts 14:23: 1 Tim. 3; Titus 1:5) The church was subject to these, and these were subject to the ministry, and the ministry to Christ.

 

All who received salvation in the New Testament were in fellowship with this ministry: (Matt. 10:11-14; Acts 16:15, 34, 40; Phil. 1:5; 1 John 1:3)

 

This ministry, with Christ, is the foundation. (Eph. 2:20) It is represen­ted as that in Heaven: (Rev. 21:14)