The Minister – God’s Servant
About knowing if a minister is God’s servant or not, the apostle Paul in his second epistle to the Corinthian Church wrote, “We show that we are God’s servants by our pure lives, by our understanding, by our patience, and by our kindness. We show it by the Holy Spirit, by genuine love, by speaking the truth, and by depending on God’s power” (2 Corinthians 6:6-7).
In this passage the apostle Paul presented the moral and spiritual qualities that must accompany the life of the Christian minister to prove his commission as servant of God. These positive qualities enable him to patiently teach the truth, guide the church and bear the hardships and persecution that may fall upon him. Let’s examine them closely:
Paul clearly referred to both pure motives and pure conduct, to chastity of both mind and body. Purity is a main condition of a blameless minister (2 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:10; 1 Peter 3:2; 1 John 3:3; Matthew 5:8).
A minister must have the knowledge of the kingdom of heaven, including the entire field of divine truth that is revealed in the Bible. True faith is not founded on ignorance. One of the most serious duties that every minister must do is to obtain a clear and full knowledge of the gospel as set forth in the Scriptures (Luke 1:77; 11:52; 1 Corinthians 1:5).
This word means “perseverance,” “steadfastness,” and “endurance.” The quality of long-suffering enables the minister to endure the mistakes of the members of the body of Christ and of those who oppose the truth. He should be patient with the week and new members to guide them until they mature.
This word means “moral goodness” and “integrity” (Romans 3:12). Knowledge by itself leads to arrogance (1 Corinthians 8:1–3). Many nominal Christians who claim to know the truth find it hard to defend their beliefs except by heated arguments. They cannot share the truth without getting angry with those who disagree with them.
The Christian minister, in a special sense, needs to protect himself against this danger. Even among persecution, under false accusation, or when his converts do not seem to appreciate him as they should, he must be careful not to offend them or be harsh with them.
This is the agapē kind of love (Matthew 5:43, 44). The main characteristic of the gospel minister is this great and all-pervading fruit of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 13). Without this characteristic the minister of Christ becomes not sensitive, cold, self-complacent, and a critic. Purity and power are impossible without love.
The Christian minister should be identified by preaching the truth without diluting it, or adding to, it. He must be the embodiment of truth, in life and word. This is the ultimate test of genuineness. God is truth (Psalms 31:5; Jeremiah 10:10). And truth is eternal as God is eternal (Psalms 100:5; 146:6). Christ was a living example of the truth (John 14:6). And truth must be not just spoken but applied in the life (James 1:18). It must lead to sanctification (John 17:17) and holiness (3 John 3, 4).
Truth is of little worth when adopted as a mental concept only (John 3:21; 1 John 1:6). For the genuine acceptance of truth means full submission to God and obedience to all His commands (John 14:15). The practice of truth is the sign of a true minster (Matthew 7:21–27).
Dependence on God’s Power
This word means “strength,” “ability” and “inherent power.” Truth and power go hand in hand. The truth of God without the power of God has no real meaning. Power alone, without truth, leads to bondage. Truth and power both originate from God, and both must be under His loving control (2 Corinthians 5:14). The only real authority for religious doctrine is truth as set forth in the Scriptures, applied to the life by the power of God, and held under the control of His love.
Moved by the Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the active agency in cultivating all these virtues in the Christian minister (Galatians 5:22, 23). It is possible to possess these qualities in some form, externally at least, apart from the Holy Spirit, but never in their fullness.
In His service,