A NEW BEING
You cannot put off your old cloth by yourself; it has to be changed when you become a new creator.
Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. 2ND Corinthian 5:17.
But ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2nd Corinthians 5: 17-21
Judgment and promises
Therefore, will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.
Therefore, thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:
Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.
And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name:
That he who blessed himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. Isaiah 65: 12-16
New Heavens and Earth
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die a hundred years old; but the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eats: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.
And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. Isaiah 65: 17-25
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Colossians 1: 23.
Well, this term triggers Paul’s thoughts for the next section, because in verses 24-29 he describes his ministry. He says, “I am made a minister,” and then launches into a description of what that ministry involved proclaiming the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Colossians 1:25 Paul says, “Of which I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God.” The word “dispensation” in the Greek is literally, means “to rule a house,” or “to be a steward of somebody else’s possessions.”
A steward didn’t own anything; he just managed something for somebody else. In those days, a homeowner with a large estate would have a steward who would manage his whole house. He would take care of everything, employment, wages, supplies and make sure everything was carried out. It was a very great responsibility.
Well, God owns the church; it’s His house and His temple. So, when Paul says, “Of which I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me,” he is saying, “God appointed me to rule in His church on His behalf.” The wording in this verse also suggests that God gave him a great estate to manage. It was a God given responsibility a divine office. Paul says, “It’s God’s plan, God’s church, God’s gospel, God’s Christ, God’s message, God’s truth, and God’s Word. And God wants me to manage it for Him. I’m in the ministry because God has put me here. I’m a steward.”
“Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” So Paul says, “God has given me a task, a divine responsibility. I’m obligated to fulfil it. God is the source of my ministry.” 1st Corinthians 4:2
“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” Paul is saying is not by choice, if I don’t fulfil what I’ve been called to do, I will be in a lot of trouble, so just had to do it. Then in verse 17 he says, “For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.” In other words, Paul says, “If I had entered the ministry willingly, I could be commended. But I did it against my will. It is strictly a responsibility that was committed to me. 1st Corinthians 9:16-17.
Paul says, “But, on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel to the circumcision was committed unto me….” The gospel to the Gentiles was committed to Paul. He didn’t have any choice. Galatians 2:7
“For this cause I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles–if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me toward you, how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery…of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me. Ephesians 3:1-3, 7.
“In other words, Paul says, “God has called me and made me a prisoner of Christ. I’m chained to Christ; I can’t get away. I have this tremendous responsibility to dispense the mysteries that God has given me the truths of God’s Word.” So, Paul was made a minister.
God has given each one of us a tremendous responsibility. No matter who you are as a Christian, the Spirit of God has given you certain gifts and called you to minister those gifts to the body of Christ. It’s a serious responsibility. When you possess a gift of the Spirit, you possess something that belongs to God. And as a steward, you are to minister that gift and dispense it to those in need of it.
If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11.
The source of all ministries is God. Search your own heart to see what your spiritual gifts are.
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
1st Corinthians 12:4-6 “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God who worketh all in all.” Everybody has been given a different gift by God, but we’ve all been given a stewardship. Someday when you face Jesus Christ, the record of your stewardship is going to be based upon what you did with the gifts you were given. Are you going to be like the servant who buried what was given to him, or are you going to be like the servant who used good principles of stewardship and multiplied what was given to him? So, whatever the ministry, God calls us, equips us, and assigns us. Maybe it won’t be as dramatic as Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus, but it will be just as true.
So, the source of the ministry is God. Paul says in verse 23, “…I, Paul, am made a minister,” and then in verse 25, “…I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God….” Second, Paul not only talks about the source of the ministry, he talks about…
THE SPIRIT OF THE MINISTRY
As we serve the Lord Jesus Christ with the recognition that God has called us, what kind of attitude should we have? What spirit should we have? Paul answers this in the first three words of verse 24: “Who now rejoice….” What’s the spirit of the ministry? Joy. The spirit of the ministry is joy. Whatever ministry you have been given is to be enjoyed.
- The Attitude of Joy
- Its Cessation
It’s a sad reality that many ministering Christians don’t have the right attitude. There just aren’t enough joyous, happy Christians.