Ministers Are Called By God
Paul, called to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God..... 1 Corinthians 1:1a
Submitted for your approval, (again a nod to Mr. Serling) a young man gets up on Sunday morning, turns on the television. On the screen is an internationally known Pastor feverishly preaching to his congregation of ten thousand. At one point the crowd rises up as one person to give their minister a standing ovation for a point of a statement well-driven. The young man seeing a chance at easy money and celebrity says, “this can’t be too hard.” Afterward, he goes into his room takes a pack of cigarettes and a matchbook off the night-stand. He flips open the matchbook, rips out a match, notices an ad that reads “Become a minister in ten easy lessons.” “Yeah” he says, and the rest as they say is history.
Having a desire to minister does not make one a true minister of Jesus Christ. Attending a seminary or taking an internet course alone does not make one a minister; it does however help to increase one’s knowledge of the Bible and determine the characteristics of a minister.
The religious world is rife with false systems of worship; false teachers espousing man-made doctrines; some taking a snippet of a biblical verse, and creating an entire religion around that one verse. There are cults that completely subvert the Word of God for their own perverse ends preying on the simple-minded and the dispossessed. There are some ministers that started out right as ministers of our Lord, but succumbed to the Devil’s Lure of fame and fortune, denying even the Lord Jesus. Even still there are some ministers in mainstream religious institutions that alter the Word to support their sinful lifestyle.
The question remains, what are the characteristics of a minister of Jesus Christ?
A minister is called. God calls or summons his ministers before he’s born. Every person on this planet God has created for a purpose. Many of us will never know what that purpose is, because we have not submitted to His Will. In the Book of Jeremiah, God tells the prophet that he knew him and called him to his office before he was formed in the womb.
A minister is trained. The person that God calls to carry His Word goes through the “Wilderness Experience” it is a time of testing that pits the candidate against life’s hardships. He is like gold tried in the fire, and in the end is purified and ready for the Master’s use. Moses was tried in the wilderness for 40 years, until he was ready to be the Redeemer of Israel. Before Jesus ever delivered a sermon or taught a parable, he spent 40 days in the wilderness without food to be tempted of the Devil, and came out victorious.
A minister is Holy Ghost filled. It is unbelievable how many churches fail to teach or even recognize the Holy Ghost, or Spirit if you prefer. Actually to teach God’s Word or preach a sermon without Him is ludicrous. He is the Witness that every believer should be baptized with. It is He that delivers the sermon or lesson -- we’re just vessels He works through. The Apostles turned the world upside-down with their messages not because they were men of Letters; They did not have degrees or sport titles like Doctor of Divinity; the Bible called them ignorant and unlearned men, but they were called of the Lord Jesus and yielded themselves to the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
A minister is a servant. Jesus says he came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. God’s ministers are not lords over His people; Some are guilty of pointing the flock to themselves and away from Christ. The Called are sent to serve the people; this involves humility; it involves coming off one’s pedestal, and coming down to where the real people are. Sadly to say, there are some ministers that do not have a “Servant’s Heart.”
Ministers are under intense scrutiny both in the church and outside. False ones are killing the credibility of the men God has actually called. Brethren, let us endeavor to make our calling and election sure.