THE MARKS OF A TRUE MINISTER!
BY: ALAN MC SAVAGE
We are hearing a lot about the five-fold ministry today, and the Apostolic Team Ministry in particular. We are also being subjected to a great test; as we are being called upon to receive God’s ministers on the one hand, and to refuse the false minister on the other.
Just what is the criteria of a true minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many modern day Scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees, men who loved to wear the garb of religion, and say long prayers, and receive greetings in the market place, and to be called “Father,” and receive the applause of men. (SOUND FAMILIAR) But there are few shepherds. Even Paul in his day was forced to testify Phil 2:21 “For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.” It therefore behooves us to put on the mind of Christ to help discern the true from the false. And though it may be difficult to discern we should look to God’s word to find the answers.
THE TRUE MINISTER WILL LOVE THE FLOCK
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” The good shepherd will be prepared to lay down his life for the sheep. In this hour of comparative security and ease, there are thousands of employees (KJV hirelings) ruling over the body of Christ. But let persecution come their way, or let some difficulty arise in the assembly that is apt to prove dangerous to the minister, and the employee (KJV hireling) will flee because he is a employee (KJV hireling) and cares nothing for the sheep. But the true shepherd will lay down his life for the sheep.
THE TRUE MINISTER WILL NOT BE COVETOUS
The size of the congregation, the amount of money one is to receive, the kind of place a man will have to live in – these will not matter to the true minister. He will readily preach to the ones and two’s as to the hundreds and thousands. And if necessary, he will WORK WITH HIS OWN HANDS to sustain himself, rather than burden the flock. (I have a problem with ministers who contact me and say that God called them into the full time ministry and so they quit there jobs and either started to scrounge from everyone with pleas for money, or go on welfare, or social subsistence, or worse still, “fleece the flock”. (If God has called you my friend He will provide. You may very well have to work for a while until your calling and election are sure.) A true minister is a pattern for the flock, he must know how to suffer hardship in times of difficulty, and to use the world without “abusing it” in times of plenty.
THE TRUE MINISTER WILL SHOW THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Jesus Said “By their fruits you shall know them.” We must admit there is a severe lack of real fruit of the Spirit anywhere; but it is beginning to become manifest in those who are going on with God. And this fruit shall be the final test: “Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith (fullness), Meekness, Temperance (Self Control).” (Gal. 5:22-23)
THE TRUE MINSTER SHALL NOT SEEK HIS OWN GLORY
John 7:18 “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.” It is usually not difficult to discern whether the minister is taking the glory unto himself, or ascribing all the glory unto Christ. The true minister will exalt Christ, and Christ only; and not merely with lip-service, but from the heart.
THE TRUE MINISTER SHALL DISCERN THE BODY
He shall recognize the ministries which God is beginning, and establishing in the Church. God is going to vindicate his true ministers so that there will be no confusion in the minds of those who are really seeking to follow the Lord. The ministries will be contested, as with any ministry God has ever established. They contested the authority of Moses, of Aaron, of Elijah, of Elisha, of David, of Solomon, of Jeremiah, of all the prophets, and of Christ himself. But God vindicated them all in one way or another – and in such a manner that the people feared God, knowing that of a truth they were His chosen. The ministries will not be established by self-appointment, not by human-appointment, but by Divine appointment; their word shall be with power and authority, and not as the Scribes; and the true minister of Christ shall recognize and acknowledge them.
MARKS OF A TRUE MINISTER, THE [Alan McSavage] 1