There are two kinds of ministry.
The kind that God likes is encouraging and comforts the heart.
Isaiah 40:1-2 (NKJV) “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God.
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the LORD’S hand Double for all her sins.”
The Good News of salvation must always be GOOD news.
Jesus preached against sin but He always attracted sinners with his genuine love and encouragement.
Jesus was a nice person to be with.
The religious leaders despised him because he associated with sinners. He was known as the friend of sinners.
John 3:16-17 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
The other kind of ministry is judgmental and controlling.
Matthew 23:4 (NKJV) For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, we see both kinds of ministry contrasted.
Paul shows us the best kind of ministry in Chapter 1.
Firstly Paul directs his readers to focus on God and particularly His love, grace, mercy and peace.
2 Corinthians 1:2-3 (NKJV) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort..
Certainly God wants us to be virtuous and moral but He is not interested in virtue that is not motivated by a heart of love and mercy.
In 1999 there was a day of public prayer organised by Christians in Argentina. Homosexuals responded by organising a protest march.
The hostility was defused by the believers who went to the homosexuals and asked their forgiveness for the cruel judgment they had suffered from Christians.
They blessed the homosexuals. Some of them left the protest to talk to the Christians and nine accepted salvation.
A young homosexual man was dying of Aids in a Chilean hospital.
Cold hearted people went the hospital like visitors at the zoo but one Christian grandmother visited to show love and mercy.
- She prophesied over the young man that his next blood transfusion was to be his last and God would heal and save him.
- The young man believed and was transformed by the love of God.
- The change in the young man’s life impacted the hospital. Doctors and nurses were converted. A new church was established based on the miracle power and love of Jesus.
The second kind of ministry is controlling, based on authority, titles and positions. Paul deals with this very directly but sadly we often don’t take any notice.
2 Corinthians 11:19-20 (NLT) After all, you think you are so wise, but you enjoy putting up with fools!
You put up with it when someone enslaves you, takes everything you have, takes advantage of you, takes control of everything, and slaps you in the face.
There are Christians who base their Christian lives on the ministry of preachers who control them.
They are deceived by pride, by the pride of the preacher who takes the place of Jesus in the life of the believers.
- The followers of these preachers also can become infected with pride. They imagine they are superior because they follower the superior doctrine of their chosen leader.
If you pastor discourages you from visiting other churches or listening to other preachers, don’t be intimidated.
Exercise your God given freedom.