From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 8- Tabernacles – The Feast of Unity, continued
THE TRUE MINISTER WILL LOVE THE FLOCK
The good shepherd, Jesus tells us, will be prepared to lay down his life for the sheep. (Jn. 10:11). In this hour of comparative security and ease, there are thousands of hirelings ruling over the sheep. But let persecution come our way, or let some difficulty arise in the assembly that is apt to prove dangerous to the minister–and the hireling will flee because he is a hireling and careth not for the sheep. But the true shepherd will lay down his life for the sheep.
THE TRUE MINISTER WILL NOT BE COVETOUS
The size of the congregation, the amount of money one is to receive, the kind of place a man will have to live in–these will not matter to the true minister. He will as readily preach to the ones and the twos, as to the hundreds and thousands. And if necessary, he will work with his own hands to sustain himself, rather than burden the flock. Paul said, “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound…” (Phil. 4:12). Very few “know how to abound.” Riches have deceived many and ruined their ministry. The true minister, as a pattern of the flock, must know how to suffer hardship in times of difficulty, and to use the world without “abusing it” in times of plenty.
THE TRUE MINISTER WILL SHOW THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” We must admit there is a woeful lack of the real fruit of the Spirit everywhere; but it is beginning, nevertheless, to become manifest in those who are going on with God. And this fruit shall be the final test: “Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith (fulness), meekness, temperance (self-control)…” (Gal. 5:22, 23).
THE TRUE MINISTER SHALL NOT SEEK HIS OWN GLORY
“He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true…” (Jn. 7:18). It is usually not difficult to discern whether the minister is taking the glory unto himself, or ascribing all the glory unto Christ. The true minister will exalt Christ, and Christ only; and not merely with lipservice, but from the heart.
THE TRUE MINISTER SHALL DISCERN THE BODY
He shall recognize the ministries which God is beginning, and will continue, to establish in the Church. God is going to vindicate his true ministers so that there will be no confusion in the minds of those who are really seeking to follow the Lord. The ministries will be contested, as with any ministry God ever established in Old Testament or New. They contested the authority of Moses, of Aaron, of Elijah, of Elisha, of David, of Solomon, of Jeremiah, of all the prophets, and of Christ Himself. But God vindicated them all in one way or another–and in such a manner that the people feared God, knowing that of a truth they were His chosen. The ministries will not be established by self-appointment, nor by human-appointment, but by Divine Appointment; their word shall be with power and authority, and not as the Scribes; and the servants of Christ shall recognize and acknowledge them. GHW
We are at a time when it is vital to discern true Ascension Gift ministries from the false. Many claim to be this or that without the recognition of the body of Christ. It is in relational accountability that we find safety. Sometimes this accountability is within the local congregation. Sometimes it comes from a network of other fivefold ministries, whether that be a formal or informal network. What it comes down to is being accountable to others who might see weaknesses in our actions or character and having the humility to prayerfully consider their counsel to us. There is safety in many counselors.
We now move on to Chapter 9- Tabernacles, The Feast of Joy.