Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God.
On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God – 2 Cor. 4:1-2 (VIV)
Challenge Enterprises of Ghana organized a National Pastors’ and Christian Leaders Conference 2010 themed “HOLDING FORTH THE BANNER OF MINISTERIAL INTEGRITY” in Accra and Kumasi from 30th August – 3rd September 2010 and 6th – 10th September, 2010 respectively. The speakers included Dr. Charles C. Bing – Grace Life Ministries, USA, Bro. Gbile Akanni – Living Seed Ministries, Nigeria, Most Rev. Dr. Aboagye Mensah – Former Presiding Bishop, the Methodist Church, Ghana. In the next couple of weeks, we will be publishing the notes of the conference. Please continue to enjoy!
We have discussed how to keep the gospel of grace pure. We have also been reminded that Jesus has sent us into the world to preach the gospel and to make disciples of all people.
We know that this is our task, and I hope you do that willingly, obediently, and enthusiastically. Our problem is that others who support our ministries expect us to obey the Great Commission and they expect to see results. Supporters in church, or supporters outside the church, or denominational leaders often expect to see positive statistics about the number of people we have evangelised or converted. There is a pressure to perform, and with that pressure comes the temptation to alter our methods.
When pastors get together, they sometimes compare their ministries. We ask, “How big is your church?” “How many members do you have?” or “How many have you baptised?” Many pastors fee pressure to make things sound good like their ministry is growing. Maybe it is growing, but maybe it is not. We all want to be able to report that our ministries are growing. There is a constant temptation to get results. That temptation can compromise our methods.
Integrity demands that our methods of sharing the gospel be consistent with the truth and grace of the gospel. We can have the right message but the wrong method. If someone sees a lack of integrity in our methods, they will likely reject our message.
a. Use blameless methods – 2 Cor. 4:1-6; 1 Thess. 2:3-6
b. Give a clear gospel – Colo. 4:3-4; 1 Cor. 15:1-4
c. Give a clear gospel content – John 3:16
d. Give a clear gospel invitation – Acts 16:30-31
Clear communication is an art. When it comes to sharing the gospel, it is an art worth refining. Tell the gospel as honestly and clearly as possibly. In a ministry of light there is no room for darkness. If we are clear in our motives, our message, and our minds, we remove obstacles for God’s power to work in a mighty way to bring people to salvation.
Do not be tempted to pressure people into a premature or an emotional response. If you make a false professor, you will find he will be even harder to reach with the truth later.
If people hear a confusing invitation, they may think they are saved, but they are only trusting in something they have done. If so, they will have a false assurance of salvation.
The next time you preach the gospel, make sure that you invite people to believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Simply believe; only believe.
It is said that the Emperor Napoleon had only three instructions for his generals when communicating with their troops: “Be clear! “Be clear! “Be clear! That is a good charge for us today: Be clear!
Our Great Commission methods are a test of our ministerial integrity. I will give the last word to the Bible: “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts” – 1 Thess. 2:4.
INTEGRITY IN FULFILLING OUR MINISTRY
However, I consider myself worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace – Acts 20:24 (NIV)
Today is the last of the messages on ministry, but the beginning of the rest of your ministry. You have made it this far in your ministry, but the question is, how far and how long will you go?
We can compare ministry to a race. There are different kinds of races. The ministry is not a sprint, but a marathon. A sprint is only 100 meters, a marathon is over 42 kilometers. Did you enter the race to begin, or did you enter the race to finish?
Many people start well. They have confidence, enthusiasm, and best intentions. But when the hardships of ministry come, they fall away from ministry. They do not finish. Have you known anyone who began ministry with a good start, but sooner or later fell away and did not stay in the ministry? When a friend of mine was ordained into the ministry, he told his professor that he was excited about beginning his ministry. The professor said, “It’s good that you are excited now, but the real question is – will you be just as excited 40 years from now?”
When I was in Bible college sitting in a chapel service, a speaker told us look at the person on our right, and the person on our left. He said, “Only one of you will finish all four years of college.” I said to myself, “That will be me!” I was committed to a Bible education no matter how much time, trouble, or expense. I was in this to finish. Each of us in ministry is in a race. The race is not against others; it is against yourself. Can you finish what God has given you to do? Can you fulfil your ministry? Finish your race? What is the race that He has given you to run?
We have talked about the importance of integrity this week, because integrity in your ministry all ensure integrity in your ministry. The Apostle Paul had a long and fruitful ministry, and he finished what God have him to do. In 2 Timothy we have his last words as he looks backwards and forwards. It is a stirring and emotional passage as the Apostle prepares for his own death.
So how does Paul tell us we should fulfil our ministries? We will see how 2 Timothy 4:6-8.
a. Recognise there will be an end – 2 Timothy 4:6
b. Stay faithful to the end – 2 Timothy 4:7
c. It will be worth it in the end – 2 Timothy 4:8
Perhaps you have been in ministry only a short time. Perhaps a long time. No matter where you are in the race you need to know that if you are faithful to fulfill your ministry, you will be rewarded. It will be worth it to finish well. God did not call you to begin your ministry, he called you to finish your ministry. Ministry is not a sprint but a marathon.
In the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City< a marathon runner from Tanzania named John
Stephen Akwari began the race. However, he fell and was injured. Long after the race was over and most of the crowd had left the stadium, Akwari staggered in injured and ran the last lap to finish the race. When asked why he finished when he did not have a chance to win, he answered, “My country did not send me 7000 miles away to start the race. They sent me 7000 miles to finish the race.
God did not send His Son from heaven to earth to die for you and then call you into ministry to begin the race but to finish the race. He called you to fulfil your ministry, to fulfil it with integrity, so that you will receive a reward. Your faith, your sacrifice, your labour, your persecution, all will be worth it in the end.
God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, on a mission to save us. He did not send Jesus to begin His saving mission, but to finish His saving mission. When Jesus died on the cross, He said, “It is finished!” He finished well. Every sin was paid forever. He is the “author and finisher of our faith. Now it is our turn to run and to finish. By God’s grace we will finish well!
Invitation: Christmas Concert
We are privileged to invite you to our Christmas Concert with the Harmonious Chorale performing. Details of the programme are as follows:
Theme: Welcoming the King of Glory
Date: Saturday, December 18, 2010
Venue: Labone Secondary School, Accra
We will be honoured to have you join us to make the evening a memorable one.