Friday, August 6, 2010

MARKS OF A TRUE MINISTER OF JESUS CHRIST

MARKS OF A TRUE MINISTER OF JESUS CHRIST
T. AUSTIN-SPARKS

TEXT: 1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 3

1. Liberty

Being occupied with Christ results, firstly, in the Holy Spirit setting us free.

The Apostle says, "When it shall turn to the Lord the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty". Turn to the Lord, and the veil is taken away. The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.

Liberty from what? Well, if we turn to the Lord, and are occupied with Him in the way we have indicated, the Holy Spirit sets us free. It may be you are struggling, striving, fighting, wrestling, praying, pleading, longing, yearning, asking the Lord to set you free from condemnation, free from fear, from those paralyzing bonds in which Israel was when the glory appeared. Do you want to be free from fear, from dread, from terror, from condemnation? What are you doing to get free?

There is one simple, direct way, namely, to be occupied with the Lord, to turn to the Lord. Get Christ as God's satisfaction in your view, and cease trying to satisfy God yourself. Faith in Christ is all God's requirement. How deeply true were His words, "Apart from me ye can do nothing". "Abide in me. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me".

That is only figurative language, which means, Be occupied with Him, set your mind on Him, dwell in Him, rest in Him, abide in Him; or, as Paul would say, Gaze on Him, behold Him, let Him be the object of your occupation, and the Spirit will make you free.

2. Conformity

More than that, this beholding of Christ means that the Holy Spirit changes you into God's likeness: "Beholding... we are changed".

It is not said, Beholding, we begin to change ourselves, we embark upon self-transformation with all its struggle, and conflict, and battle. We are changed by the Lord the Spirit. Be occupied with Christ, and the Spirit takes up the matter of transforming into His image. Be occupied with yourself, and you will see that the law of conformity to type operates.

If you are the type, then you will conform to that type. If Christ is the type, then the Holy Spirit will conform to His likeness.

3. Sufficiency

Then this being occupied with Christ means that the Holy Spirit makes us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant. I do not think that ministry is such an onerous thing after all.

We need to came back to the simplicity, the spontaneity of ministry. Be occupied with Christ, and the Holy Spirit will show you more and more in Christ with which to be occupied, and as He makes that livingly real you will have something to give to others.

Your ministry may not be a platform ministry, but it will be ministry, something for others. Who wants more than that? Oh, the snare of the platform idea that so often constitutes the whole conception of ministry, as though other people are not ministers at all.
It is just as much your privilege to behold Christ as any man's in this universe, and, that being so, it is just as much your calling to minister what you see in Christ to others. Beholding Him we are changed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. This is the latter glory, the glory of the new covenant.

Christ is the glory of the new covenant. The difference is not in God, it is the difference between the mediators, and the difference in the position which we occupy because of the Mediator; we are now in Christ, Who satisfies God.

The Lord give us the ministry issuing from a continuous and ever-growing contemplation of His fullness in Christ.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you Brother. I see the transformation daily. Praise Yahweh!! I am moved by your messages and touched by your sincerity.

    In Yeshua,
    Cassie

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