Called by God to Minister
Are you called? To what ministry are you called? This 5 part series seeks to answer those questions. Part 3 continues to examine our calling to the Ministry by examining first, that all believers are called to minister.
By no means is this an exhaustive list of our calling, as believers, to minister. The following is simply a short list, an overview. Parts 4 and 5 will look at the calling to specific ministries and how you can begin your quest of finding your calling, or your specific ministry.
Called to make disciples
When Jesus said, “Go and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19) he wasn’t talking only to the twelve apostles, but to all his followers, to all his disciples, or in other words, me and you. It is true that historically the modern church did not always view this mandate as for all believers, but as a directive for the apostles only. However, William Carey, known as the father of modern missions, in his paper Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of Heathens (1792), promoted (if not introduced) the idea that the words of the Great Commission were not only directions for his disciples, but words to all followers of Jesus, to all who are disciples. In fact, in order to call yourself a disciple you must make disciples.
I will digress here just a moment to respond to an argument that does appear from time to time regarding the translation of Matthew 28:19. The argument says that the translation should be or could be, “As you go make disciples…” and that there is a suggestion that we are not commanded to “Go” but simply as we go through life…make disciples. This is simply not in keeping with Greek grammar. The word “Go” is an aorist participle and when that is combined with the aorist imperative of “make” it must be translated with the understanding that the whole is a command. “Go and make disciples.” If it were to be translated “As we go…” then the participle would have been in the present not the aorist. (For a wonderful explanation of the Greek grammar in this translation, see the explanation of Greek scholar and Professor, Daniel B. Wallace at http://danielbwallace.com/2014/02/17/the-great-commission-or-the-great-suggestion/ ).
Therefore, if you are a disciple, then you are called—commanded—to go and make disciples. This is the calling of all disciples and this calling is presented to us in the written word of God.
Peter says that even though he was with Jesus and heard the “very voice” of God talk about Jesus as the beloved Son in whom God was well please, he had a “more sure” word-that of the prophets. It is the same with the calling of God. The greatest calling, the most sure calling you will receive is the one of all disciples written in Matthew. “Go, therefore, and make disciples.” Matthew 28:19.
In summary, the calling to go and make disciples is not a calling to be taken lightly, neither is it only for a few, but it is for all believers. It is a calling that is intentional. We must “go” with intention, not passively, but with purpose, making disciples.
Called to be witnesses
Should you think that the Great Commission was only for the twelve apostles, let’s look quickly at the purpose and role of the Holy Spirit. Whole seminary courses, books, and systematic theology articles exist on the purpose of the Holy Spirit. He is a comforter, an advisor, he is a teacher about Jesus, the giver of gifts, he helps us in prayer and he convicts us of sin, and he is so much more that is far outside the scope of this article. But the Holy Spirit does something else that we often overlook. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would give us power to be his witness unto the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). If we are not his witness we are not using the power the Holy Spirit gives us. In fact, if you are not being witnesses for Jesus, then you don’t need the power of the Holy Spirit. In short, you are called and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses for Jesus to the ends of the earth.
Called to love and rescue our neighbor
Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 to a lawyer illustrating the significance of loving your neighbor. The story begins with a “certain man.” It is significant that the man is not named, nor is he identified by ethnicity, dialect, clothing. In fact, he is intentionally not identified because he is any man and every man in need. After priest and Levite, compelled by religion and its rules, passed the naked and beaten man and left him to die, the Good Samaritan responds. He rescues the man, bandages his wounds, pouring oil and wine on his wounds and then takes on the responsibility and price to make sure the man is further cared for until he is healed. And Jesus tells us to do the same.
Can this be a call to medicine? Of course. But the illustration is in principal to meet the need of any man that needs rescue. I would underline that the thief in this parable can easily be seen as the devil and sin that has beaten this man and left him to eternal damnation. What greater rescue is there than from hell? What greater rescue than to that of eternal life? Go and do likewise.
Called to the body
There is a perception floating around Christianity today that because there are so many wonderful Christian ministers preaching on television, radio, and the internet, it is unnecessary to go to the local church. After all, a Christian can listen to good sermons anytime. However, the church service is more, or at least should be much more, than simply a good sermon. Paul clearly states that believers are all members of the body of Christ, all with varying functions (1 Cor. 12:14). In our body the hand cannot do the job of the eye, the ear cannot do the job of the foot. So, it is in the body of Christ. In the church at large and in our local body we have a function that we must carry out. No one is called to be a pew sitter. No one is called to contribute nothing. Those contributions cannot be made while sitting in front of a television screen.
Paul also says that the Spirit gives gifts to each of us for the common good (1 Cor. 12:7). It is God’s design that we are called to be part of a body and to help each other to grow. As a part of the body of Christ, each fulfilling the role God gave us to fill, we are stronger.
As a Christian, each of us are called, at least, to the above callings: Going and making disciples of Christ, being a witness of Christ to the reaches of the world through the empowering of the Holy Spirit, rescuing those who have been beaten down in this world, and ministering through God’s gifting to our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
Part 4 will look at an evaluation you can examine regarding your call into ministry and Part 5 will begin to examine ministries.