"Releasing Into Ministry"
For the week of June 2, 2012
Releasing Into Ministry
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me. John 12:32
The primary requirement for our own release into ministry, and the witness of a harmonious, responsible, growing team is the presence of the Holy Spirit. As the lesson points out, the promise of power through the Spirit is "for all who are willing to deny self and work for the salvation of others."
But Christ Himself is the great selfless One, who draws all to himself as he is lifted up. It is as we have a personal appreciation for what our salvation has cost that we can most effectively team up with others who share the same witness and experience (Acts 1:21,22).
Of course, the disciples had a measure of success in soul winning even as they struggled, as we do, with the sin of self-exaltation (Luke 10:17, Mt. 10, Mt. 18:1, Mark 9:34). Christ's command to go included the promise of success, both internally and externally. Indeed, working for others is the best antidote to the sickness of self (cf Is. 1:5), both corporately and individually:
The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah is a prescription for maladies of the body and of the soul. … If those who are suffering from ill-health would forget self in their interest for others; if they would fulfill the Lord's command to minister to those more needy than themselves, they would realize the truthfulness of the prophetic promise, "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily." Ministry of Healing, p. 256-8.
Jesus' promise in Mt. 10:19, 20 tells us that our success is not so much from training and expertise (although we should seek both), but upon such a vital connection with Him that he can speak through us. It is out of the peace of this assurance that we can truly be released from self and into ministry:
Abiding peace, true rest of spirit, has but one Source. It was of this that Christ spoke when He said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." John 14:27. This peace is not something that He gives apart from Himself. It is in Christ, and we can receive it only by receiving Him.
Christ is the wellspring of life. That which many need is to have a clearer knowledge of Him; they need to be patiently and kindly, yet earnestly, taught how the whole being may be thrown open to the healing agencies of heaven. When the sunlight of God's love illuminates the darkened chambers of the soul, restless weariness and dissatisfaction will cease, and satisfying joys will give vigor to the mind and health and energy to the body. Ministry of Healing, p. 247.
With the peace of the indwelling Christ, there is no problem releasing our ministry and authority to others (Sunday), taking risks for the kingdom (Monday), willingness to serve in various capacities (Tuesday), growing spiritually in ministry (Wednesday), and cultivating harmony even in the face of disagreement (Thursday).
CHRIST MUST DWELL IN THE HEART - W.W. Prescott
It is not enough to talk of Christ and of the beauty of His character. Christianity without Christ dwelling in the heart is not genuine Christianity. He only is a genuine Christian who has Christ dwelling in his heart, and we can live the life of Christ only by having Him dwelling in us. He wants us to lay hold upon the life and power of Christianity. Do not be satisfied with anything else. Heed no one who would lead you in any other path. "Christ in you, the hope of glory," His power, His indwelling presence, that is Christianity. That is what we need today; and I am thankful that there are hearts that are longing for that experience, and who will recognize it when it comes. It does not make any difference what your name or denomination has been. Recognize Jesus Christ, and let Him dwell in you. By following where He leads, we shall know what Christian experience is, and what it is to dwell in the light of His presence. I tell you this is a wondrous truth. Human language cannot put more into human thought or language than is said in these words: "The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us." This is our salvation.
The object in these remarks is not merely to establish a line of thought. It is to bring new life into our soul, and open up our ideas of the word of God and the gift of God, that we may be able to grasp His love for us. We need it. Nothing short of that will meet what we have to meet, the world, the flesh, and the devil. But He that is for us is mightier than he that is against us. Let us have in our daily lives Jesus Christ, "the Word" that "became flesh." (BEST January 13, 1896, p. 13.4)