A true pastor’s concern

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Sat, 16 Sep 2017 Source: James Quansah

ONE SCRIPTURAL passage that greatly strikes my heart is found in Ephesians 4: 11- 15. It teaches about the gifts of the fivefold ministry which the Lord Jesus Christ gave to His Church. These are gifts from Christ alone; they are not from man. Christ Jesus possesses them in Himself, and He gives them to whosoever He deems fit.

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers” (Ephesians 4: 11). Yes, Christ gives these gifts because He has them. He Himself stood and functioned in all of them during His earthly ministry. One cannot give what he does not have. Our Lord was the great Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd and Teacher. But what does the King of glory give the gifts for?

“To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4: 12- 15).

Men of God are basically appointed to feed Christians with the unadulterated Word of God to grow their inner men from the babyhood stage, childhood stage and finally to manhood stage. There is the need for us to grow up spiritually to conform to the image of Christ. An untrained, unprepared or unequipped Christian is unfit for the work of ministry.

The Bible warns against the appointment of a spiritual infant to undertake ministry work. “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3: 6). Samuel never was called and functioned as a prophet of God when he was a boy serving under Eli until he grew up spiritually and physically.

However, these days, many people who have not been divinely chosen, prepared and graced by God to stand in ministry offices have planted churches, doing many evil things thereby denting the glorious Church of God. What can we do? Let the genuine and the fake continue to grow until the day of harvest and judgment.

But a genuine minister filled with the Spirit of Christ is greatly concerned about the spiritual growth of his congregation. He knows that spiritual growth is the fulcrum around which educational, financial, numerical and all other growths revolve.

Growing up Christians spiritually begins with the formation of Christ Jesus in their hearts. This is largely achieved through the preaching and teaching of the pure Word of God. The apostle Paul shares this truth in his letter to the church in Galatia.

“My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until CHRIST IS FORMED in you” (Galatians 4: 19). The formation of Christ in our hearts comes about by hearing and abiding in the Word of Christ. This means we must hear God’s Word with our ears, receive it into our hearts and allow it to influence our conducts.

Today, there are so many church people who gladly say, “Christ in me the hope of glory”. A person may confess, “Christ in me” whereas there is no Christ in him. Everyone can quote Colossians 1: 27 and say, “Christ in me” without difficulty. But only God, Satan and the person himself know if Christ truly is in his heart.

Do you really have Christ in you? I mean do you really have the Word of Christ dwelling in your heart? If He is, then, you will naturally be influenced to exhibit Christ-like character. You will learn to speak what Christ will speak, watch what Christ will watch, go to places where Christ will go, sing songs Christ will sing, sleep at places where Christ will sleep. In other words, you will obediently follow Christ Jesus.

If you have Christ in you, people around you will see some traits of Christ in you because He is in you and you are in Him. A person who has Christ in his heart, making him a Christian does not own himself. He is not on his own. His self-will ceases to control his life; instead the will of the Lord controls him.

If we read about the Apostles particularly Paul talking about, “Christ in me…” we must first consider what they mean, and who they were. They were not jokers or hypocrites; they were prepared men in the teachings of Christ; full of the Word and the Spirit. They were spiritual Christians, who demonstrated that Christ was in them.

Columnist: James Quansah