A Ministry to Serve

It is very inappropriate to consider obtaining the will of God as redundant. In fact, I would say, it is atrocious to say there is no such thing as the specific will of God for Christians. For not having His will makes us vagabonds. We would be a people without purpose; a people without determination. It would make God, who called us through Christ, not all that wise. The fact that He called us into His kingdom through His Son means He redeemed us from being wanderers, who do not have a specific direction and place to go to. There is no such thing as vagabonds in God’s kingdom. For everyone called by Him is led by Him. He leads them, because He assigns them a purpose; His omnipotence is in it. Therefore, we do not have to fear bearing His witness to men and walk by His ways. Our focus remains on His wonderful purpose for us. And the one called said, “Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God…” (1 Cor. 1:1).

Numerous people today read Paul’s salutations to the churches. Many often go through them not realizing the reason for his new life in Christ. Their lack of understanding is the basis for them to undermine the specific will of God to the called. In order to avoid this fallacy we must first realize why God called us. It is because He desired us. Then, there appears the opportunity to have His purpose. Paul came to know he is an apostle of Jesus, because he was absolutely sure God desired him. God thought it right to have him as His servant. So, He called him and made him an apostle. From then on we know what kind of person he was to Christ. That God desired us means it was purely His choice of us. There is nothing in us that made us desirable to Him. People with this insight will always have the specific will of God. God leads them to it.

Paul always acknowledged that it was by the mercy of God he was given a ministry to serve Jesus. Today if we are called to serve Him, it is by His mercy. God willed to pass over everything we did to make us His people. It is because of this will or desire that He allots us a purpose. And Paul also gives the reason as to how he obtained it. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:1). Then, this strikes off any reasoning or principle that says there is no specific will of God to the called. It is only those who do not have the promise of life that have the impudence to speak against God’s purposes to the called. If the promise of life in Christ is to all believers, there remains God’s purpose to each one of them. For this reason, Paul elsewhere goes on to speak of the many members of the body. Churches have been accustomed to wrong reasoning. They do not reason to be absolutely sure God desired them for a purpose. Yet, of his apostleship, Paul in his salutations said: ‘this is what God has appointed for me and it is by His will.’

Do you have the life God promised in Christ Jesus? Then you should know you have been allotted a purpose by Him. The life which He gave you when you believed in Christ is the promise. You know what kind it is. It is the kind that helps you see His kingdom through His purpose. So, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’” (John 3:3). To have been born again is to possess the life God gives. Without it no one sees His power. Notice Jesus was not speaking of entering the Kingdom, but seeing it. We see it, i.e. God’s power, through His purpose for us. So, Paul, when he was born again, was able to see the Kingdom. God’s power mightily worked in him for the apostleship he received. And he at one place insisted the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power. It taught him, led him and strengthened him for the Lord. Even so, it will be in your case. The promise of life in Jesus will enable you for it.

God has many ways to lead us just as He has many purposes to give to all the called. In the life of Paul alone we see Him work in many ways for being an apostle of Jesus. Paul never depended or had to depend on his own power and understanding. God supplied them. All he did was to make sure he submitted himself to realize every thought and way of God. And we see that God led him mightily. “When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:10). Does this mean we must all obtain the same purpose as Paul and be supplied in the same manner? Not necessarily. But it does mean that when God called us to be His people, it is with a purpose by His will that is according to the promise of life in Jesus. Never rule out or estimate the ways by which God works. This allows Him to work mightily in us.

What God gave to Paul was for him and He also gives us by that which He intends to fulfill in us. A purpose of God is like a rudder that controls the ship. It leads us to do whatever He asks of us and accept whatever ways He gives us to serve Christ. How sure Paul had to be that the vision was indeed from God! He was with absolute surety that God desired him for His kingdom. And he lived in accordance with that desire. Because he submitted himself to do exactly as God needed, God blessed him more and more to see His kingdom. He became very apt for the work he was elected in as much as everything he said to the churches and did was in the Spirit. God even gave him the courage to tell others to follow him just as he also followed Christ. Surely, he did not mean it apart from the purpose God gives to serve Christ. For it was only fitting for him to say it after having obtained His purpose. It is certain that if you fully submit yourself to God, you will only do that which He wants. “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law” (Gal. 5:18).

As God gives His ways to you, you will no longer be under the administration of the flesh or its reasoning. Being led by the Spirit is a unique experience. There is nothing like it. You will surely know, because you will be in the presence of God; even Satan cannot lead you away from it. And the reason for such awesome experience is your total submission to Him. So, Paul understood all of God’s guidance and fulfilled his ministry. How truthful must be his experience in the Spirit that he spoke of being led by Him! It all began by the promise of life in Christ and by which he was given a purpose according to God’s desire for him. When you imitate Paul’s life for Christ, there is no reason for you to miss being led by His Spirit. So, “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:22).

A sincere heart in full assurance of faith is the way to have an intimate relationship with God through Word and prayer. It helps us to understand that God has indeed desired us. With an intimate relationship with Him we can be sure of obtaining His ways that fulfill His purpose in us. Having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience is to put our minds in total submission to God. Our thoughts and ways are to no longer interrupt the God that works in us. Having our bodies washed in pure water is a symbol that calls for the preparedness God seeks in us. With such wholesome attitude we become whatever God wants us to be for Christ. The Spirit leads us thoroughly. God has made this His intent concerning His people from the days of the apostles to the time He set to end it. To this end He said, “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets” (Rev. 10:7).

Posted in 2012, Archives.