EQUIPPING FOR MINISTRY

Jesus said "I am the true vine and my Father is the husband man. Every branch in me that bears no fruit is taken away, and every branch which bears fruit he purges that it may bring forth more fruit... Abide in me and I in you. As the branch can not bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, no more can you except you abide in me" (John 15:1-4). Jesus said abide in me and I in you. This indicates a two fold thing. Us in him and him in us. Let us consider these things one at a time.

CHRIST IN US

The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to express through us the character of Jesus. This is the "fruit of the Spirit".

The "fruit of the Spirit" is the character of Christ imparted to us through the work of the Spirit. The proof of the Spirit within us is that "we love one another as He loves us" (John 13:12).

US IN CHRIST

If we are in Christ then we are a part of him physically and spiritually. The body of Christ is the physical extension of its heavenly "head", Jesus.

Jesus was anointed with power from God to perform miracles, heal the sick, cast out demons and speak for God. In short Jesus was anointed in all areas of Spiritual gifts.

If we are the "body" of Christ we are joined to Christ. Jesus said to his disciples "He who believes in me, the works that I have done he shall do also, and greater works than these, because I go to the Father" (John 14:12).

Why did Jesus go to the Father? To prepare a place for us, and to send the Holy Spirit to us. "Behold I send the promise of the Father upon you, but stay in Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).

What is this power and why is it so important ?

The power He spoke of was the "power of the Holy Spirit". He was given to the disciples so they could do" all the things that Jesus had done" (John 14:12). He was given so the disciples could become a part of the "Body of Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:12-14) and so they could effectively witness to the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 1:18).

Jesus said that signs would follow believers (Mark 16:17-18). These signs are a direct result of the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was verifying what the apostles said by performing signs and wonders in the presence of the people.

Signs are important in the on-going work of God. When God commissioned Moses to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt he gave Moses certain signs to show his authority as the chosen leader of God's people (Exodus 4:1-17).

Jesus himself was given certain "signs" to show his authority to be the Messiah. When John the baptist wanted to know if Jesus was the messiah, Jesus replied, the "Blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have the Gospel preached to them". These were all "signs" that he was the Messiah.

Jesus said that certain signs would follow believers. "In my name they shall cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up snakes, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them. They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover" (Mark 16:17-18). These are all signs that we are Christ's ambassadors here in the earth acting under his authority (Matthew 28:18-20).

Signs and wonders played a very important part of the on-going work of the Gospel. Paul says the salvation which the Lord began to speak, was confirmed to those who heard the apostles as "God bore witness with signs, wonders, diverse miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit according to his will" (Hebrews 2:4).

The Lord himself was witnessing for the early apostles with signs and wonders. We also know Jesus is unchanging, the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus also said he would be with us until the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). If the Lord hasn't changed and he is still with us as he promised there should still be signs and wonders accompanying the believers (Mark 16:17-18).

Why don't we see many signs and wonders in the church ? Jesus hasn't changed. The Holy Spirit hasn't changed. We have !!!

Unbelief and pride are robbing God's people. Jesus said signs "would follow those who believe". If we don't believe, no signs.

Of much greater concern is our presumptuous pride. We do not see signs in the Church because we have convinced ourselves that we know better than God how to save sinners. We have believed a lie, which Satan began in the garden of Eden when he said "you shall be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). We have made ourselves equal with God (Isaiah 14:12 - 14) and "fallen into the same condemnation as the devil" (1 Timothy 3:6). God will have no fellowship with sin, for "what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness ? And what communion has light with darkness ?" (2 Corinthians 6:14).

Let us humble ourselves and repent of our sin and God will lift us up (James 4:10), and establish our testimony with signs and wonders.

Let us look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) who can transform our minds (Romans 12:2) and conform us to his image (Romans 8:29). He will establish our testimony of his power and resurrection with signs and wonders from the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 2:4).

MINISTRY

Jesus is the source of all ministry. Ministry is the expression within and through the Body of Christ of the Person and Power of Jesus. It results from the "manifestations of the Holy Spirit" in the form of "fruit" (Galatians 5:22-23), "gifts" (1 Corinthians 12:8-10), "signs and wonders" (Mark 16:17-18) and "protection" (Ephesians 6:11-19)as we take up the Keys of the Kingdom to fully develop the various "ministries" (Ephesians 4:11) the Lord has appointed us to. The only requirement for "ministry" is to have the precious "anointing" of the Holy Spirit.

As an example of ministry let us consider Peter and the lame man at the gate of the Temple. Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus, stand up and walk. And the man walked (Acts 3:1-8)". What Peter had was the Holy Spirit dwelling within him. It was the Spirit of God who healed the man.

It is the same with us. We have the Spirit in us and He manifests Himself differently in different people. We call these manifestations "gifts" or "signs". What they are is the Spirit which is resident in our bodies expressing Himself through us.

Women in the Church

In the Beginning God created men and women equal (Genesis 1:27). Man was created first (Genesis 2:7) and woman was created later (Genesis 2:22). The woman was created as a "helper" for the man (Genesis 2:21).

After the fall - God's order of things is that man should rule over the woman (Genesis 3:16).

The Virtuous Wife:

Read Proverbs 31:10-31

There is a definite indication here that a wife is to "minister" to the material needs of her husband and family. This then frees the man to take his place among the "elders" of the land (Proverbs 31:23). Such women should be highly honoured.

Women in Christ's Ministry:

Read Luke 8:1-3

Women supported Jesus while He was involved in ministry.

Women in the Church:

Read 1 Timothy 2:9-15

In the Church women should:

  1. Dress modestly
  2. Learn in silence
  3. Not hold positions of authority
  4. Continue in faith, love, holiness and self control
  5. should engage in good works, providing for their families and the poor.

Exhortation to Women:

Read Titus 2:3-5

Women Should:

  1. Be discreet
  2. Be chaste
  3. Be home-makers
  4. Be good
  5. Be obedient to their husbands
  6. Love their husbands
  7. Love their children

Women's Ministry

A woman is a "helper" and a "provider". Her ministry is to provide for the needs of:

  1. Her household
  2. Those in need around her (Acts 9:36-39)
She may exercise Spiritual gifts within the Body, but is to be subject to the ruling authority of men. (E.g.. Acts 21:9).

Such women should be highly honoured by the Church, for they are doing the will of God.

SUMMARY

The Holy Spirit and His work in our lives is the equipping we need as saints. The basic points we need to know are:

  1. It is Jesus who gives us the Holy Spirit.
  2. The Spirit dwells within the believer.
  3. The Spirit teaches us about God and Jesus, opening our understanding, leading us along the "paths of righteousness" and revealing the Lord to us.
  4. The Spirit "manifests" himself through the believer through "signs", "fruit", "gifts" and "ministries".
  5. We know when we have been "empowered" by the Spirit when he does manifest himself.
  6. The Holy Spirit is not in heaven but is in us. Therefore he speaks to God through us ("he who speaks in tongues does not speak to men but to God").
  7. The Holy Spirit in us speaks through us to the Church. Thus we have prophecy, words of knowledge and words of wisdom, etc.
  8. The Holy Spirit in us ministers to others through us i.e. healing, miracles etc. This is where "laying on of hands" has it's place. The Spirit imparts his power into another through the hands of the believer.
  9. There is a sense in which the Holy Spirit's gift may be expressed at various levels. For example one person may manifest a gift which is for the Local Body only, while another, with exactly the same gift, may manifest the gift in a much wider sphere of activity. The Spirit is the same, the gift is the same, but the people have been prepared for different purposes. One is not greater than the other.
There are four "signs of the Holy Spirit". These are:

  1. Casting out Demons.
  2. Speaking in tongues.
  3. Protection from poisons and snakes.
  4. Healing the sick. (Mark 16:17-18).

Created: 23 - Jan - 1997.
Last modified: 18 - Sept - 1998.
Copyright 1998, Graham Brodie.

Maintainer: Graham Brodie, Email