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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Jesus' Real Ministry

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Today, the modern church has gotten quite creative. It's doing a lot of ministries that seem to compete even with government programs or the rotary club, like dental and medical missions, sports clinics, bikers' clubs and feeding programs, to name a few. It also has crowd-drawing programs like concerts, music fests and non-stop worship that target especially the youth.

These are all good and in keeping with Paul's maxim, "All things to all men, that I may save some." Indeed, we can lend the world our creative minds in Christ to help more people. For instance, instead of just giving poor folks free meals or helping calamity victims with relief goods, we add a little spiritual color by sharing God's Word, too.


What Jesus Actually Did

But we should be careful not to neglect Jesus' real ministry in the bible. Ministry diversification is good---exploring more ways to reach people by becoming creatively responsive to their needs---but it turns diversionary if it drifts us far from Jesus' original and genuine ministry---to the point where we look very different from Jesus. We always have to go back to the basics---God's basics.

Doing ministry as Jesus did it. Click here.

Here's his original and genuine ministry:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. 
Jesus' life translated it this way:
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. [Matthew 9]
So, basically, it's all about teaching, preaching and miracles, designed to "free" captives and the oppressed in spirit.  Funny thing is, we do a lot of things except free captives and the oppressed---oftentimes, these captives and oppressed people are right inside our churches doing ministry. Peter put it so succinctly: "They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for "people are slaves to whatever has mastered them." 

And look at pastors who are too stressed out in ministry and incur all kinds of ailments from it. That's "oppression" they have to be freed from.

Slaves that Claim They're Free

Peter said there were believers who claimed Jesus had freed them when in fact they were still slaves of sin. And then they shared the Gospel. The problem didn't end with them. It's still very much a problem today. In Peter's time, God provided a way out of this spiritual slavery at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came powerfully on them.

The key to Pentecostal experience is to wait seriously and expectantly for it. Even today, Holy Spirit empowerment remains a spiritual fact, though seldom seen in church because it has become too busy with a lot of other "ministries." A lot of people in church do not know what quiet time is, let alone actually doing it. Church, in its busyness, can't afford to wait for anything. It wants instant gratification.

But even wine quality improves with time.

In fact, because ministries are outgrowing the number of workers available, they just get anybody to man the posts. You can be in ministry even if you're happily soaking in sin as long as you're talented, talkative and has leadership skills. Pastors would say you have a "calling" just because you possess these qualities. If you are prophetic, calling is not discerned through outward qualities. You've got to look deep inside the heart, soul and spirit.

And only God can see these things. You got to have God's eyes. You have His eyes through Christ in you, but it won't work if you don't believe these things (like discernment and prophecy) are still relevant today. Your tendency, even if think you're so spiritual, is to judge by what you see in the flesh. You see a person is "good" because he looks nice and friendly.

This was Samuel's error when he thought Eliab was the Lord's chosen king because of his obvious qualities. The Lord said, "The LORD does not see as man does. For man sees the outward appearance, but the LORD sees the heart." This discernment gift is rare in church today. They're always just guessing things or looking at your scholastic credentials---pretty much how the world operates.

Signs and Wonders?

And where are the signs and wonders? It's frustrating how even some pastors mock at them today. But truth is, along with teaching and preaching the Gospel, they were what Jesus' ministry was all about. It's God's genuine ministry. The church should be pursuing it with everything it has. We should be desperately reclaiming this back to our churches before we do (or invent) other ministries.

Radical ministry helps. Click here.

Jesus did it first. He demonstrated how to do it. Later, he told his disciples to do likewise.
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness..."As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. [Matthew 10]
 The church is commanded likewise:
I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. [John 14]
Anyone who believes. "Anyone" is the church worldwide regardless of doctrine, denomination or sect. Regardless of time. But we tend to focus on other "ministries" we form (or invent) to our liking (or what we think would please people) rather than focus on Jesus' real ministry. We major on the minors to the point that we even disdain the major things eventually.

Before we begin looking the complete opposite of Jesus (worse, like the anti-Chris), let's go back to Jesus' real ministry while keeping the good things we have already started.

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