Key One — Dedication: A Decision, Not a Feeling

The first key to effective ministry is dedication.

True dedication is a choice – it is a decision of quality. 

A quality decision is a decision for which there is no turning back.

True dedication makes a decision based on one’s commitment to God, rather than on feelings or emotions.

It is a decision, that with God’s help, you will never violate:

  • Men will not be able to change you,
  • Matters of life and death will not be able to change you,

and

  • Feelings will have no bearing on this commitment.

True commitment is like losing the engine in a single-engine airplane – you are committed to land!

Feelings of fear, doubt or inadequacy are of absolutely no consequence – you will land that plane.

When you accepted the call to ministry, you faced this kind of a commitment. 

How you handle it now could determine whether you succeed or fail or even whether you live or die.

For those of you who consider yourselves lay people or perhaps are newer to the ministry:

Take the time to get before God, and dig into the word.  Stay there and rest in the Lord, until the Holy Ghost and the Word of God transform your level of commitment.

Without this firm, quality decision, Satan will take advantage of every opportunity to make your life and ministry a failure.

But remember:

God is at work in us both to will and to do for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

He is faithful.  He will create in you the power and desire to make that uncompromising decision.

When you finally make a full, no quit, no turning back, forever commitment or renew that commitment to God – fulfilling and continuing your calling will be the most exciting thing you have ever done!

Don’t be intimidated by the commitment – God has provided the power, furnished the weapons and equipped you with everything you need.

It’s the same as when you experience the New Birth.

Once you made a quality decision to obey the Gospel, God met you there and he did the rest.

His power, His Spirit, and His words performed their functions and you were Born Again. 

A decision was all it took.  Your part is to determine in your heart to obey your calling and God will do his part.

What about finding your place in ministry?

Each and every believer is anointed and endued with the power to fulfill a specific function in the body of Christ.

By the Spirit of God, every individual is able to perform their calling with mastery and excellence.

The Bible says in Romans 11:29 that the gifts in the callings of God are without repentance.

Whether you are called to the five-fold ministry or to the all-important Ministry of the Saints – the Lord will not revoke your assignment.

What is the ministry of the saints? Notice, it’s not, “ministry to the saints.”

1 Corinthians 16:15–I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)

Every saint has a ministry calling!

He ordained you from the foundation of the world!

Consider 2 Timothy 2:20:

We’re going to knock a tradition right in the head.

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of the earth, and some to honor, and some to dishonor.”

Most times, people will stop reading right there and say, “Well brother you know…”

Right there, you know a tradition is coming at you.

“Well brother, yes!  But you know, we can’t all be vessels of gold.  Some of us are meant to be earthen vessels.”

We have a word for that in Texas.

Hogwash!

Satan will always attempt to twist the scriptures to keep believers bowed down with false humility, trying to live for God based on their feelings and their performance. 

Look at verse 21:

“If a man, therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”

It is important to God, that we become vessels of honor – yielded to his word and dedicated to doing his will in the Earth.

Here is the important point:

Whether you become a gold vessel or a mud pot is not the Master’s decision – it’s yours!

A decision for total dedication includes a determination to please God and a commitment to the truth.

The decision to please the Father must include the decision to live in victory.

God gets no enjoyment from our defeat. 

He was grieved with the children of Israel because they were overcome in the wilderness.

The victory that overcomes the world – is our faith (I John 5:4).

Put on the armor of God and fight the good fight of faith.

What is a good fight?  A good fight is the fight you win!

Take control of your life and resist the devil, by standing firm on the Word of God and controlling your feelings and emotions.

To control your feelings, you must control your tongue!

James 3:2 says that the person who can control his words can gain mastery over his whole body.

So, step one is Dedication – make a quality decision and commitment to the word and the things of God.

Become dedicated:

  • Decide to please the father
  • Decide to walk in victory
  • Decide to live the life of love
  • Decide to live by faith

Make the quality, no turning back decision, that if your faith won’t get it, then you won’t have it – because you are determined to please God by living by faith. 

Never go back on your faith!

Keys to Excellence in Ministry

Introduction

We demand excellence of God!  Have you ever thought about that?

  • We won’t allow him one little mistake!
  • We won’t allow him one little lie!
  • We won’t allow him one little failure!

Since we expect excellence from God, we should be ready, willing, and dedicated to demanding the highest form of excellence, both from ourselves and the ministry He has entrusted to us.

Matthew 5: 48 tells us to Be perfect as our father in heaven is perfect.

Ephesians 4:1 instructs as well that we are to–walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we were called.

This applies to whatever field of ministry we find ourselves in.  It applies both to the lay person, as well as, the fivefold vocational ministry equally.

Excellence of ministry – I want that to soak in.

You must become willing to demand excellence of the ministries you are involved in.

We also want to demand excellence from those that labor with us.

The Apostle Paul took the training of his disciples very seriously because he realized that they were handling the mightiest power in the universe.

The Gospel is not only the power by which people are saved from hell, it is more broadly, God’s unlimited power to save, heal, and deliver!

Paul told Timothy in I Tim. 1:11, that this Glorious Gospel had been “committed to his trust.”

As ministers of the Gospel you are entrusted with God’s awesome power and might.

You are, therefore faced with two responsibilities:

1) to develop and maintain a ministry of excellence and

2) to deal with satan directly.

By virtue of our role as Apostolics, we have been positioned and categorized, particularly as far as Satan is concerned, as some of the most dangerous and often hated human beings on the planet!

We pose a serious threat to satan and his people.

Our second responsibility then, is to deal with him effectively.

Without a firm decision to succeed, with God’s help, we cannot hope to maintain the measure of maturity and perfection that our ministries must command.

Not only Born Again and full of the Spirit but knowing how to use the Sword of the Lord and the power of Almighty God to change lives forever.

This requires boldness on our part.

We represent God’s divine power and authority in this world, the adversary must reckon with us.

Romans 1:16 –for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that BELIEVETH; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Now it’s real easy to read right past this verse and miss what the spirit is really saying:

Salvation is the great, inclusive word of the gospel, gathering into itself all of the redemptive acts and processes:

  • Forgiveness,
  • Justification,
  • Sanctification,
  • Grace,
  • Redemption,
  • Propitiation,
  • Imputation
  • Sanctification, and
  • Glorification.

The Hebrew and Greek words for salvation imply:

  • deliverance,
  • safety,
  • preservation,
  • healing and
  • soundness.

The gospel is not only the power by which we are saved from hell, it is more specifically: God’s unlimited ability to save heal and deliver in all realms.

The gospel is the power of God manifested.

If you think about that for a while, you begin to understand the need for a ministry of excellence.

A ministry of excellence:

  • Is built on faith – it absolutely will not tolerate unbelief in itself.
  • It will not tolerate taking the easy way out.
  • It does not rely on gimmicks and carnal methods.
  • It will pay any price to get the job done the right way – God’s way – based on the Word.
  • It will proudly uphold God’s name and will represent Jesus Christ to the world.
  • It will accurately handle the Word of God and again.
  • It does not plan for failure

This is not easy to do because as representatives of God, you’re going to have to do twice as much as everybody else.

We have to live exemplary lives by a higher standard — the world expects it — God expects it!

We have been entrusted with a grave responsibility.

Can I just admit to you, I have not always appreciated or lived up to that responsibility and I’ve had to repent.

We all have our heroes of the faith we wish we could emulate.

But, let me ask you a question: Do we really?! Do we really want that kind of ministry? Are we willing to pay the price to get it?

Let me give a Personal example:

In High School I was in ROTC, and competed as a marksman, gaining Distinguished Expert status.

It was quite common for me to have fellow competitors say to me, “Man, I wish I could shoot like that!”

I’d always thank them, politely.

What I really wanted to say was, “No you don’t!”

“If you did, you’d be up at 5:00 AM to be early enough to school to shoot 100 rounds every morning in order to perfect your technique and you’d stay after school every day to practice again.”

The same can be said for golf, tennis, football, or any other sport.

You excel at what you’re committed to.

Can you say along with me, “I can stand to increase my commitment to effectiveness in ministry?”

Success in ministry, as you know, doesn’t come because of personality or great speaking ability.

It comes as a result of what you have dedicated yourself to.

What do you long to do with this gospel?

Not just your good ideas, but what are your dreams!?

What will we actually commit to and what will we lay our lives down for?

As ministers of the gospel we have been entrusted not only with the truth; we have been equipped with the Lord’s strength and might.

Remember, satan is limited, you are not!

Your victory is assured, because:

Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

and we can say with the Apostle Paul,

“Thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph through the Lord Jesus Christ.”

It is this ministry of excellence we will be talking about in this series!

What Do We Really Believe?

(1Timothy 3:16)

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

The Misconception

Where most trinitarians go wrong is in the accusation they bring against their oneness counterparts. They have labeled us things like “Jesus-only” and “deniers of the Father.” Some have said we do not believe in the work of the Father in the life of Jesus. They are very quick to point out that “we want everyone to go to hell who isn’t baptized like us”, when we ourselves have no such desire. In fact, our earnestness in sharing our message is proof that the opposite is in fact true.

The fact is that most people now-a-days have not looked into these topics for themselves, rather they have simply taken what they have heard from people and church tradition and trustingly believed it. Combine this with the accusations brought against oneness believers of denying the work of the Father, and our supposed insularity and you will soon realize why some have become such adamant enemies of the Apostolic Pentecostal church without ever having learned our true beliefs.

Reconciling For Truth’s Sake

The first step in reconciling the issues between oneness and trinitarian people is to understand the real differences in doctrine, as opposed to ones that have falsely been thrown around. We have to allow the bible to speak for itself without using vernacular that is not native to its pages. We must agree to see the truth for what it is; truth, without letting the personal opinions of our families, churches and ancestors to be stumbling blocks to our understanding of God.

We must commit to accepting truth whether it is what we previously believed or not. Let God be true and every man a liar (Rm. 3:4).

False Accusations

Oneness people have been falsely labeled as “Jesus-only”. It has been said that we do not believe in the Father. We have been called a cult for denying the traditional stance that there are three persons in the Godhead. We have said in return that we are not “Jesus-only”, we are “Jesus-everything”.

The Importance of Biblical Terminology

Many times, it has been said that oneness and trinitarian people are saying the same thing in different ways. Some have said that even if we use different words, the meaning is still the same. Truth is, these two doctrines are as far apart as the beliefs of Creation and evolution. To say three persons is simply not the same thing as saying three manifestations. It is actually quite the opposite.

The trinitarians are content to use non-biblical terminology such as the word trinity itself. They use oil in terms like: God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, triune, persons, three persons, eternal generation, etc…, also. Why are they so enthralled by a doctrine that they have to move away from the bible to prove?

The oneness movement uses such language as; one God, manifest in the flesh, Son of God, image of God, etc… (Mai. 2:10; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:15; Col. 1:15). These are terms that are used in the bible. They were used by the apostles themselves. The first mark of the right doctrine is always the one that stays within the parameters of the inspired word of God.

 Lifetime Warranty

As Christians, one of our core doctrines is the fact that the bible, in and of itself, is complete and void of nothing (2 Tim. 3:16). Everything that we need to know concerning this doctrine is found in the pages of the bible.

When someone buys a vehicle from the dealership they will receive paperwork that informs them that their vehicle is covered under a warranty. This warranty will cover certain parts and services that are needed in case of the automobile malfunctioning in some way. If the car breaks down, the warranty will usually cover the problem and thedealer will take care of it, because of the agreement made in the warranty’s contract.

If you read the fine print you will see where the warranty becomes null and void if you do not adhere to certain restrictions and policy. Once you have an aftermarket paint job done to the vehicle, the paint is no longer eovered under the original warranty. If you change the size tires you use, it will void certain parts of the warranty that tires pertain to. This is because there is a clause in the contract that states that the warranty will be void if you “change the original design of the vehicle”. Once the automobile is no longer the same way it was when the manufacturer made it, the warranty issues are no longer their responsibility. This is because the problems usually come from attaching aftermarket parts, which did not come from the manufacturer, to the car.

This is much the same guarantee that the bible comes with. We are under a guarantee from God that His words are true. The problem does not appear until we start adding aftermarket parts to the vehicle, which in this case is the doctrine of the Godhead. As the church, we are guaranteed to be under a blood covering warranty. The stipulation is that we do not change the original design of the vehicle. It is imperative that we stay within the bounds of the warranty if we are sure to be covered.

This is why it is so important to stick to using biblical vernacular when describing the doctrines of God throughout the bible. No good can come of Christians straying outside of the Master’s gate to find new vocabulary to bring inside of the discussion of biblical doctrines.

The Father

To say that the oneness doctrine denies the Father is an ignorant statement. The whole basis of the oneness message is the Father’s existence. If God is not in Christ then our message fails miserably. It is the existence of the Father that makes the message so harmonious with scripture.

We believe wholeheartedly in the Father’s existence. We believe that God is a Spirit (Jn. 4:24) and that Spirit exists in all of eternity. That Spirit is the Father (He. 12:9). The Father created all that is created (Ge. 1:1) and gave life to humanity by breathing His breath into man’s nostrils (Ge. 2:7). Everything that we see is here by the Father’s decree.

The Son

Understanding who the Son of God is equally as vital as the knowledge of the Father. It is this manifestation of God that gives the opportunity of salvation to fallen mankind.

The Son of God was a completely sinless human (2 Cor. 5:21). Though He was God manifest in the flesh, the flesh was very real. He was completely human while being completely God (Ph. 2:6-8). The Son of God was the most perfect and absolute manifestation of the Father that the world had ever seen (Jn. 10:30).

Man could not change its status as to its fallen nature and therefore was separated from God. The Father had a plan in place and the plan had a name; Jesus (Jn. 1:1). The Father came into the world in the form of His own Son and gave the life of that Son on the cross for sin and death to be abolished (Ph. 2:6-8). Man could not do the work of atonement for themselves, so God came as the redeemer and did the work on their behalf (Ac. 20:28). He is the judge, the jury and the advocate and He took the case pro bono.

This was not the work a separate and distinct person from the Father; this was the Father Himself who walked the earth in a perfect union of Deity and humanity. He went around healing the sick, doing miracles in the midst of the people showing exactly who He was; God (Jn. 10:33). Jesus stated that it wasn’t Him that did the works, but the Father that dwelt in Him (Jn. 14:10). What He was saying is that in His humanity He did not have the ability to do all the things they had seen Him do, but that in His divine or Spirit nature He could do anything (Jn. 5:19). Jesus, as a human, just did what He saw in the Spirit (Jn. 5:19).

This is all proof that the Father dwelt in Jesus. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the Father. He is the Father robed in Humanity. Not just flesh, but humanity. He possessed the flesh, plus the weaknesses that come with humanity such as hunger, thirst, weariness and emotions. Jesus was the Father as a human being.

The Holy Ghost

To say Holy Ghost is another way of saying Holy Spirit. There is only one Spirit (Ep. 4:4). The Father is a Spirit (Jn. 4:24) and He is Holy (1 Pet. 1:16), therefore, He is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost is not a separate and distinct person from the Father. The Holy Ghost is the Father.

When a person is born again they receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Jn. 3:5). Much like when God came to the world as His son, doing the work of redemption Himself; so also is it with the work of regeneration in the Holy Ghost. When one receives the Holy Ghost they literally receive the Spirit of God; the same Spirit that is the Father. It is literally the Spirit of the Father (Mt. 10:20). It is not a different person, but the same Spirit that created the world now living in the heart of a human being.

This Holy Spirit is also called the Spirit of Christ (Rm. 8:9). This shows us that the same Spirit that was in Christ is in the believer (Ac. 2:17). Again, this is not a separate and distinct person from Christ, but the very Spirit that emanates from Christ. Christ was full of the Spirit limitlessly. He had the fulness of God in Him (Co. 2:9). We do not have the Spirit in us to the same measure; therefore, we cannot call ourselves God. Christ is full of the Spirit of God without measure; He is literally the center of operation for the Father (Co. 2:9-10).

Oneness

In a nutshell, The Father created everything that exists. His will is to save mankind from its fallen state. The bible says that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins (He. 9:22). Since a Spirit does not have blood, God being the only perfect and sinless being, came to earth in the form of His son Jesus Christ (1 Ti. 3:16). He now had a body with blood that He could purchase the redemption of His people with (Ac. 20:28). He died upon the cross for our sins and rose again on the third day (1 Co. 15:1 -4). Jesus ascended to heaven after being seen 40 days alive (Ac. 1:9). Before He left, He told the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father, which is the Holy Ghost (Lk. 24:49).

In the upper room, the disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance (Ac. 2:4). This Spirit that filled them was none other than the Father, the same Spirit that was in Christ and the same Spirit that created the world (Jn. 14:26). It is the Spirit of the Father that works in the church today under the title Holy Ghost. This is the oneness of God.

Conclusion

Oneness believers do not deny the existence of the Father; we deny that He is a distinct of the Godhead. We do not deny that there is any distinction between the Father and the Son; we deny that the distinction is that of two separate persons. The distinction is not in two persons, but in two natures. The Father and Son are not first person and second  person, but Spirit nature and human nature. We call the Spirit, Father and we call the humanity, Son. That perfect union grants us access to the Spirit, from which we were separated (1 Ti. 2:5), allowing us to receive the Holy Ghost, which is God in the church.

The Father of the Old Testament (Jehovah) became in the New. Jehovah-Jireh (Provider) became Jehovah-Shua (Savior). A God who we had no access to because of our sin became the mediator (1 Ti. 2:5) by which we would be reconciled to Him (2Co. 5:19). Paul said it best, “And without doubt great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (ITi. 3:16).

Scripture References

Romans 3:4

God forbid: yea, let God lie true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

Malachi 2:10

Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?

1 Timothy 3:16

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

1 John 4:15

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

Colossians 1:15

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

2 Timothy 3:16

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable l>» doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

John 4:24

 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Hebrews 12:9

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Genesis 2:7

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.     

2 Corinthians 5:21

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.

Philippians 2:6-8

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

John 10:30

I and my Father are one.

John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Acts 20:28

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

John 10:33

The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thy self God.

John 14:10

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

John 5:19

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

Ephesians 4:4

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your catting;

1 Peter 1:16

Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

John 3:5

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Matthew 10:20

For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

Romans 8:9

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Acts 2:17

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

Colossians 2:9-10

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Hebrews 9:22

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to  the scriptures:

Acts 1:9

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

Luke 24:49

And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry i/c in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Acts 2:4

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

John 14:26

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

1 Timothy 2:5

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;