called to minister what ?

What does the New Testament say that those called to minister for God should do ? In the previous post in this series from Matthew’s Gospel we considered the qualities required for ministry. In this post we consider the final verses in Matthew chapter 4, from verse 18.

Matthew records that Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow him. They did so immediately, forsaking their livelihoods and all they knew. But he called them to something not unrelated to their previous experience – fishing.

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

All Christian ministry is concerned with this.


The purpose is to bring people to faith in Christ – and to maintain them in that faith in Christ.

And the minister can only do that because he himself has,  and will, follow Christ. How can anyone plausibly and sincerely be a minister for Jesus Christ who does not himself live under the rule of Christ ?

Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their manifest hypocrisy. He does not call men to minister for him in order that they might commit the same mistake !

It is clear that Jesus himself lived in close and continuing relationship with the Father. And from that close and continual relationship ministered what the Father wanted ministered.

The minister of Christ must then live in continual and close relationship with Jesus Christ. Because it is Jesus Christ he is called to minister – the life of Christ through his Words and the example of Christ for our lifestyle.

Jesus set the example. As we read in verse 23, Jesus went about all Galilee

  • teaching in their synagogues, and

  • preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and

  • healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people

The four essential functions of the Church as a whole are listed in Acts chapter 2 and verse 42 [enumerated in the Church Functions page on the menu above]. And that is absolutely critical to understand.

But here we are looking at What the Ministers of Christ are called to do, namely to seek the lost, and to maintain them in their faith in Christ.

They do this by teaching, preaching and ministering Christ’s healing.

Teaching is mentioned first. For good reason, because the message of Christ needs to be properly understood and delivered. It is mentioned first because once a person has come into the church through faith and baptism, they will need to be constantly and carefully taught the Word of God. They need to grow in their understanding of both God himself and his ways – the distinct ways by which he requires us to live.

Teaching is explaining. Preaching is proclaiming. And the proclamation to those who remain outside the church is the message of God’s rule.

Please note – the message of God’s rule. That is not the false message which is too often passed off today as the gospel, the good news of Jesus. This false message is framed in the terms and mentality of this fallen world’s philosophy of ME – what benefits me; what I want; what the product or service can do for me; what do I get out of it , etc.

So we hear all about Jesus loves you [he does] and what he has done for you [a great deal – in fact everything that is important]. But that is all.

So we therefore get so called ministers and evangelists serving up this complete distortion because they neglect the entire message – as we observed last time, Paul did not shrink from delivering the WHOLE counsel of God.

And the whole counsel of God is summed up in the words, the Kingdom of God – GOD’S KINGLY RULE OVER US. Not the insipid powerless example of today’s constitutional monarchies where politicians and people determine their laws. But the age old former understanding of the Absolute Ruler – one whose word was law,and one who had the power of summary life and death.

So the message to be proclaimed concerns God’s Right to Rule us and to determine our entire lives. And to do that, we must first be reconciled to God through the once-for-all eternal sacrifice which Jesus Christ made on the cross for us.

That reconciliation by virtue of his shed blood is but the essential first step into a totally new life where God reigns and rules; a life of learning to live under that rule, and by that rule. A life of being given over to God, not self, or Satan or this world’s false and shallow ways.

To use the theological jargon, a life of SANCTIFICATION. A concept and practice neglected today because neglected and misunderstood in the hearts and minds of men who are called Ministers or Clergy.

And that process of sanctification brings us to the third head, namely Healing.

The primary healing ministered by Jesus is the reconciliation of our souls to God our Maker and our Judge. It is the Royal Pardon from above.

But that is manifestly not the only healing Christ himself undertook. In this account in Matthew, we read of Jesus healing physical sickness and disease. We see Christ meeting the most fundamental need of our physical existence, our physical welfare.

And yes, the true minister of Christ is called also to minister this in a needy world. There is a particular provision for this among believers – James chapter 5, from verse 14.

But Jesus clearly also ministered to the world at large. And this is the great challenge for the sick and emasculated professing church today. To minister the power and grace of God in a very real way.

And the need is manifestly there. Despite the unprecedented capabilities of human medicines and health systems, there remain considerable health issues for people. The increasing resistance of antibiotics is one concern.

Another is the sheer scale of physical illness brought on by mental and emotional conditions – conditions which arise from dissolute and undisciplined lifestyles in a world which worships Materialism.

And the answer to that will always be:


By Christianity

The personal icon photograph shows God's creation, the world. It reminds us that God is the Creator of all - the almighty, the all knowing and all present - the one who is most important of all. The one to whom we owe all, and the one to whom we will answer for all. The site's header image of the Bible [King James Authorised Version], a map, a light and a compass represent to us that God's word in the Bible is our spiritual map, illumination and guide through this life. Those who obey his teaching will know his presence and power - Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 23

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