The authority of God’s ministers – Part 1
Many people trifle with ministers of God. They neglect them, maltreat them, and disobey their words. Often, this arises because of their physical frame, for they are not usually too imposing and physically impressive. They do not look anything special. They may not possess the greatest educational, economic or social qualifications. People see them as just any other group of men and women. Even some ministers consider themselves as among the dregs of society, and in their humility, they yield themselves to the oppression, ridicule and maltreatment of others.
In reality, all true ministers are special in the sight of God. Ministers are appointed to carry out God’s authoritative mandate in His church on earth. One such minister in the Bible was Titus. A young man, he received a mandate from Christ through Paul the apostle. Also, the mandate Joshua, another minister in the Old Testament received to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land was from God, though it came through Moses. For us, contemporary believers, a mandate may come through our leaders; yet, it must be regarded as from the Lord.
Titus was left in Crete “to set in order the things that are wanting,” which were not according to God’s plan for the church, and he was expected to “ordain elders” there. He was also required to speak “the things which (align with, encourage and confirm) sound doctrine”. Concerning his ministry, calling and commission, Titus was to prove that his appointment was not a mistake by showing himself to be “a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity”. The kind of mandate he received was evidently a real challenge.
Before a minister can carry out God’s mandate, he ought to, first have genuine salvation and a clear conscience void of offence toward God and men. Guilt or condemnation on a minister’s mind will make him or her to lack the courage to declare God’s word in the public. He or she must also possess a sincere experience of entire sanctification, maintain victory over sin and temptation, triumph over self and be imbued with power from on high.
Ministers must not lose sight of the purpose for which they are appointed. They must not be distracted or yield to pressure to concentrate on public opinions. Ministers must have courage and stamina with strong conviction, higher knowledge and wisdom than the people they lead, to be able to set them in order. The minister must stand on a platform that is higher spiritually and morally.
He or she must have the character and the charisma to appoint the right people at the right time, who will be able to rebuke, challenge, lift up and correct erring members of the congregation in the strength of the Lord. Ministers, as well as every true believer, must know that it is blessed to know God’s mandate and do them; and that “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). We must not ignore the things that should be set in order. In addition to prayer, something should be done about things that are disorderly in the church.
Apostle Paul warned Titus of the corrupting features of the people of Crete and charged him to speak “the things which become sound doctrine”. We are not to be like those who easily imbibe the wrong practices of their host community. Rather, we should be different, preach and stand for sound doctrine. Ministers should “rebuke (erring members) sharply, that they might be sound in the faith”.
We will not be change agents, if we are like the people of the world. But if we are different, clean, truthful, straightforward and firm in the Lord, our decision and character will enable us to set in order the things that are wanting in the church. In our places of work and business, we must not give or take bribes, tell lies or deceive. Believers, whose hearts are purified, must not fulfil the heathen practice of forbidding certain foods because, “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled”.
We should not follow people who profess to know God, but their character and disrespect for the things of God say otherwise. Our pastors, choir, ushers, youths, men and women must be different from the people in the community. If we are saved, sanctified, circumcised spiritually, live by the faith in the Son of God and are filled with love and holiness, our lives will attract others to God.
Further Reading (King James Version): Titus 1:5; 2:1,7,8; 1:5,9; Titus 2:1; 1:10-16; 2 Timothy 4:2-5; Titus 2:7; 1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Corinthians 2:9; 6:4; Ephesians 4:15; Hebrews 13:18; 1 Peter 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:5; Titus 2:7; Titus 2:7,8; Luke 24:32; Acts 14:1; 18:24,28.
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