Seven Counsels for Aspiring MinistersBro. Ron Rupé
9/6/2009 6:00 PM
1 Timothy 3:1-7
This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, nor striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Why do aspiring ministers need counsel? Because ministry makes you more exposed to the snares of the devil. "…lest being filled up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil … lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." The minister walks the line between the condemnation and snares of the devil. ("lest I be cast away" "dishonorest thou God"; blasphemed through you"; "eat as doth a canker") <--Ministers don’t want these to be the results of their ministry. They want to help, not harm. Ministers need instruction/counsel/guidance because of this.
1. You are desiring a work. "…he desireth a good work"
It is something good, but it’s also a work. It isn’t about position/honor/career/reward. It is a work (effort/strain/hardship). It is a service done by a servant. It isn’t about being a preacher, even though that’s part of the job. The world is full of preachers. They’re a "dime a dozen."
Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of stranger gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
If all you strive to be is a preacher, your title is "babbler." These people ran around to see what these "babblers" said. Seek to minister, not just to preach. Seek to help, to connect, to cause them to go away better. Let your preaching be an extension of the ministering you do to the people through prayer, counsel and other help.
Work looks like:
2 Corinthians 6:4-6; 11:27
But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned.
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
This is what work looks like. If you avoid these things now, reconsider your aspirations. If you won’t pitch in and help now, you’re not qualified to be a minister. Why would anyone want this work?
2. Covet charity
1 Corinthians 12:31; 13:1-3
But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge: and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Why would anyone want this and then endure it well? The motivation is the love of God. It is a love for souls, a desire to help people to turn to God.
Covet charity; desire it; pray for it; seek for it to increase more and more.
Romans 9:1-3; 10:1
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
Paul was motivated to sign up for a rough road because he loved the people and wanted them to be saved. This is what should motivate someone to be a minister. It should go beyond your commission and become your passion.
The message of a commissioned one is that Jesus desires you to be saved. For one who has the passion for souls will carry the message, "I want you to be saved." Speak the truth in love.
3. Covet to prophesy
1 Corinthians 12:31; 14:1, 23-25
But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
The best fruit of the Spirit is love. The best gift of the Spirit is prophecy. Prophecy is to speak under the inspiration and motivation of the Holy Spirit. Foretelling the future is only a small portion of prophesy. The gift of prophesy is for all and should be aspired for by all, not just those in the pulpit. It’s much more necessary for the pulpit, but is needed by all. This gift persuades those that don’t believe until they are convinced. That’s the result of prophesy. Without this gift, you will speak as if in a foreign language. If God’s Spirit doesn’t help the person understand it from a spiritual perspective, they won’t get it.
4. The gift of prophesy is really a manifestation of the Spirit, not a natural gift of your own.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gift of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
One snare of a novice is becoming exalted with pride. Our language makes a distinction between a gift and a manifestation. We think of a gift as permanently ours. (ex: I’m gifted. I have a gift.) We think it is part of us and something we’ll have no matter what and will always carry with us. All the gifts are a manifestation of the Spirit of God through you. If the Spirit goes, the gift goes. You’re just an empty vessel God has chosen to use. Without him, you’re nothing. The gift is the Holy Spirit choosing to manifest himself through you to help someone else. "Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." – Zechariah 4:6
5. You have nothing of value to offer.
"Alone you are worthless and empty" and have nothing to offer. Souls are hungry for manna and thirsty for living water, and realize that the manna only comes from heaven and the water only comes from the Rock, Jesus. Pray that you never come before them without these.
6. The body is not one member.
Numbers 11:10-17, 24-29
Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly; Moses was also displeased. And Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down an talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.
And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!
Beware the snare of the young and the elder. "And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them." The young man wanted Moses to forbid them. Moses said, "Enviest thou…?" The snare of the young is pride. "If God uses someone else, it displaces me." They view things as positions, not works. "Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" We want this attitude. There’s plenty of room for everyone to work. We’re not competing for work.
Avoid the snare of the elder: "And Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?" The snare of the elder is feeling like you have to do it all because you’re the only one competent. Let the younger ones take part in the work. How else will they learn?
1 Corinthians 12:14; 14:24-25
For the body is not one member, but many.
But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
This is the body working as it should. All God’s people are prophets and his Spirit rests on us all. We all contribute to the work of God. God isn’t limited to working through one person. The elder is in danger of wearing himself out. We can engage everyone in the work.
7. It isn’t the method; it’s the message.
1 Corinthians 1:17-24
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
The method is preaching. Preaching is one of many methods to spread the gospel. "…it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." You could mistakenly believe that people have to be preached to in order to be saved. It is the message of the cross that saves, not the method of delivery. "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness…" It’s the cross that’s the "foolishness." "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness." They wanted to hear "the babbler" and to them the message was foolishness. "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:1-2) "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect." (1 Cor. 1:17) These are further proof that it’s the message that saves. The cross is the only message that will save the soul. There’s room for other messages to help the saints to grow.
Tonight’s message is to help establish others to go and preach the message of the cross.
Bonus: Know when the message is over.