Joseph Herrin (01-27-09)
II Timothy 1:6
Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
It is not the place of ministers to perform all the functions of the body while the majority of the body lies dormant. The human body would be in very sorry shape if it operated in this way. Ministers are to set an example of the proper functioning of the parts of the body, and they are to exhort and admonish the individual members to stir up and exercise those gifts that are in them.
I Corinthians 12:12
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.
There is no member of the body of Christ that has not been endowed with a specific function to perform, in the absence of which the body will suffer. Many members of the body have been receivers, always taking from the other members of the body, but rarely, if ever, giving back. At times the cause of this is ignorance of their calling. At other times it is unbelief, a failure to embrace the truth that Christ is in them and has deposited in them something precious that the rest of the body needs. On many occasions the cause may be carnal laziness, or a selfish heart that wants others to give to them, but expressed in an unwillingness to burden themselves with the effort required to give back.
Oftentimes Christians do not look at the rest of the body, discerning the great need there. Adamic man is very selfish, thinking primarily of its own wants, and desires. Christians must cast off the old man and put on Christ. Christ did not seek His own will, but the will of the Father who sent Him. I would venture to say that there are few Christians today who are looking to the Father’s desire. They are consumed by their own desires and plans, and as a result they do not contribute to the needs of the body of Christ.
Christ would have us to view the body, discerning His desire to see it functioning in health and vitality. He would have us to share His passion to see the body cleansed, purged of toxins, and operating under a gracious anointing as the Spirit motivates and empowers all things. He would have us to consider what we can do to stimulate the other parts to life and health, and to supply all diligence in supplying what we are able to meet the lack in the other parts.
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which EVERY joint supplies, according to the proper working of EACH individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
The Christian religious system today does not encourage the body to function as it was called. The clergy/laity mindset that is so prevalent resigns the vast majority of the body to be ever on the receiving end, giving little more than their money and a small amount of their time. The leaders of the church actually discourage members from being Spirit led, hearing the voice of the Spirit of Christ, and laboring to do that which the Spirit directs them to do.
If the body were to be Spirit directed in their activities it would mess up the neat, carefully scheduled programs of the church. What would happen to the typical one hour Sunday morning church service if the body truly began functioning? If each one had a prophecy, a tongue, an interpretation, a song, a hymn, a word of knowledge, a teaching, etc., not only would the meeting no longer fit into the assigned time slot that the church has adopted for their own convenience, but the ministers would feel threatened as their unique role as the sole source of spiritual sustenance would be forfeit.
I can tell you Yahweh’s opinion of the typical church service. It is recorded in Scripture:
I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.”
The church services are scheduled completely to cater to the carnal desires of man. They have nothing to do with honoring God. Services start late enough where people need not trouble themselves with getting up early on their day off from work. They are scheduled to end at the optimum time for the members to rush out and feed their flesh as they converge on the restaurants with a zeal and anticipation rarely observed inside the church building. The services are kept short, often providing no more than 15 minutes of teaching after the announcements, music and various entertainments of the church are set forth before them.
When all is set-up to cater to the selfish nature of man, why would we anticipate that the body would be acting unselfishly in their care of one another, and their desire to see the pleasure of the Father done? Where is the rising early to seek the face of God that those gathering together as a body might be prepared to give of the life that is in them, building up the members of the body whom they will meet with that day? Where is the patience to minister, tarrying before the Spirit, and setting aside the physical appetites that the will of the Father might be satisfied? Where is there a heart prepared to hear clearly the voice of the Spirit and to move and speak and He directs?
The church has no place for such things, and the saints do not practice them. It was not so in the early church, nor under the ministry of Christ. There were times when the multitudes were gathered to Christ for several days, and Christ and His disciples ministered without eating.
And Yahshua called His disciples to Him, and said, "I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way."
The early disciples often spent all day together in ministry to one another, and even went long into the night.
Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message.
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together.
The early church not only met for long periods of time, they met daily.
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
If the whole body is to be edified, and have opportunity to minister life to one another, it will require more than an hour or two on Sunday morning and Wednesday night. We must get over the mindset of arranging all things for the convenience of man and begin to seek the will of the Father. Ministering the life of Christ to others is to be our manner of living every day, whether gathered together corporately, or as we move throughout our day in those encounters that come to us.
Body life is to be marked by the entire body contributing that which is needed among the members.
I Peter 4:10
As EACH ONE has received a gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Yes, EACH ONE has received a gift, and these gifts must be employed in serving one another. The Spirit of Christ has left no part of the body without a gift.
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Not all are called to teach. Not all are called to lead. But all have a call. Do you know what your call is? The church has dumbed down the saints of God to lead them to think that their call is to give money and support the programs of the church. The body of Christ is organic. It is not some sterile business that functions with blue prints and planning sessions and board meetings. The body is a living thing, and the Spirit of Christ would motivate and empower all the activities of the body.
I Corinthians 12:7-11
But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit , and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
There is to be NO exercise of the gifts apart from the direction of the Spirit. Neither is there to be a failure to exercise the gifts given.
You may say, “What am I to do? My church does not allow the opportunity for the members to exercise their gifts when gathered together?” Then ask the Father to lead you to opportunities outside the meetings of the organized church. The body is not limited to functioning only during officially sanctioned meetings. The Spirit is present within you 24/7. If you have a desire and expectation to be an active member of the body of Christ, the Spirit will set opportunities before you. Don’t be constrained by traditional thoughts regarding the way ministry must be conducted.
The one who is called to serve, cannot they serve anywhere and anytime? The one who is called to show mercy, is there not a need for others around you to partake of the mercy of Christ throughout the day? Must healing only take place inside the sanctuary? Christ healed everywhere He went, and He also prophesied, and fed the people, and as we are His body, His life serves as a pattern for us. Our ministry goes forth with us into the world in which we live.
STIR UP THE GIFT THAT IS IN YOU!
Don’t let another day go by where you are not actively seeking the Lord that He might use you to minister His precious life to others. Cast off the religious mind. We do not only minister by evangelizing, or by preaching. His ministry for you today may be to visit a sick person in the hospital, or to sing a song to the prisoner in jail. His ministry may be to take some of the excess clothes out of your closet and put them in your car, asking the Spirit to guide you to someone who needs them. His ministry may be to take a meal to someone who is shut-in, or to sit with one who is lonely, spending some time in conversation with them. His ministry may be to make some craft item that shares a message of love and hope and give it to someone who needs to receive it.
It is not up to us to choose the mode of ministry. Many would choose that which is the most convenient, or the least costly, or most comfortable. This is the error of the church today. All is done for man’s convenience. We must simply surrender ourselves to the Lord and declare “Here I am. Use me as You desire.”
I have at times prayed to the Lord in the following way. “Lord, you know I am here in Middle Georgia and I know there are many needy people in this area. I know you need a body to reach those You have upon Your heart. Please use me whether it be to meet a physical or spiritual need. Guide me by Your Spirit and supply that which is needed to minister to their need. I am willing Lord. Please use me.”
Very often we do not find ourselves being used because we are not looking for the opportunity. Mankind becomes comfortable in receiving mode. We must stir ourselves up in the spirit that our minds might be ready for action, ready to be used to give of that which we have received to another. Whether that which we have is physical, or spiritual, all have something to give.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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