Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

Free The Church

The Ministry of God’s Word

Acts 6:2-4
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. (KJV)

This passage of Scripture seems to support a distinction between clergy and laity, servants and ministers of the Word. This post is only interested in addressing what it means to “minister … the Word” and will leave discussion of the clergy, laity and servant-hood to another time.

There is a ministry of the Word. However, is that what one usually hears every Sunday morning in the pulpit? Is this what one hears on the radio or television? Or, even more closer to home, on the internet, including this post? The answer is sometimes and many times not for all of the above. What is the ministry of the Word?

In Bible School I took a homiletics class.   Homiletics is the craft of creating sermons.

Homiletics has its place as much as any other craft in communication. There are means of communication that are more effective than others. But homiletics itself is not the ministry of the Word.

If we look back to our text we see that the first thing the apostles said was that they “will give ourselves continually to prayer”. This tells us that they were seeking the Word from the Lord first.In other words the ministry of the Word is to seek what the Lord wants said, and then to communicate that to the believers. So when we listen to speakers whether in the pulpit, radio, TV or internet, the question we have to ask is, “Are they speaking on behalf of the Lord directly, or are they speaking from their own opinion?”

One justification for professional clergy is that their being paid frees up their time so that they may seek the Lord in prayer to know His Will and His Word for the believers. The stumbling block, however, to professional ministry is that the pursuit of the business can overtake the pursuit of the Lord. Consequently, there are many grinding out regular sermons, writings, and so on because of obligation without the time of prayer since their time has been consumed with the needs of the business. There are godly men and women who do pray and speak on behalf of the Lord in professional ministry, so my point is not a blanket condemnation of professional clergy.

However, my post is a warning to believers to judge the Word that is spoken. We are to judge.

1 Cor 14:29
29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. (KJV)

I Jn 4:1
1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (KJV)

Matt 7:20
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (KJV)

1 Cor 6:2-4
2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. (KJV)

And many more such verse can be made to show that we are to judge what we hear. Do not accept everything that a pastor preaches at face value. Judge each
sermon. Judge each radio broadcast you listen to . Even judge this post.

If the Lord has spoken through a message, you will know it. Doctrine is useful as a guide for our Christian living, but is not the Word of the Lord. Doctrine can be the Word of the Lord if the Lord wishes to speak it, but in of itself it is not. Homiletics is a craft for effective speaking, but the craft is not the Word. The Word is the content. There are many writers in the world as well as the church that are enamored with their craft, but lack content. Many movies have craft but lack content. A communication with significant content, but is poorly crafted will have greater impact on the recipient than a well crafted communication without significant content. I fear too many believers applaud craft over content for they do not know what the content should be.

Outstanding ministers of the Word know the craft of communication, but also speak on behalf of the Lord. The two work together, which means that the Ministry of God’s Word is not a prophecy, but is prophetic in source combined with an explanation of the meaning of the Lord’s communication. Beloved brethren seek the content first and the craft second. Seek the true Word of the Lord and judge what you hear.

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