Just before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed a special prayer for his disciples.
John 17:17-18King James Version (KJV)
17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18As thou hast sent me into the world, even so, have I also sent them into the world.
As we all know, to sanctify means to “separate” or “set apart.”
We are separated from sin and set apart unto righteousness so, to have an effective ministry – Key Four helps us to remember that we must strip away everything in the world from our lives until there is nothing left but the Word and things of God.
One of the first and most important things that must be rooted out is sin and sin consciousness!
The sin part is, I think, fairly obvious.
But what do I mean by “sin-consciousness”?
How many times have you heard, or ever said, like me: “I’m just an old sinner, saved by grace”?
The Bible truth – which is often hard for us to understand and accept is that we were sinners; but now, we have been saved by grace.
Since the time of our new birth, we’ve been made the righteousness of God in Christ!
2 Corinthians 5:21King James Version (KJV)
21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
1 Corinthians 1:30King James Version (KJV)
30But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
What am I trying to say? Or, more importantly – not say?
Do we still sin? Of course we do!
But when we sin, we then go on to access and appropriate our right standing with God by confessing our sin and receiving forgiveness.
He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us.
For our part, we must begin to emphasize our right standing with God.
When we help people get born again, we need to teach them “who they are in Christ,” and what a glorious inheritance they have, not, “over yonder” but right now, because of what he has done for us.
Second – we must strip away negative confessions.
Don’t confess that you are sick, sinful, needy, weak and fearful.
Find out what God has to say about you in His Word and begin to confess those things instead.
Say to yourself:
- I’m the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
- By his stripes, I am healed
- The joy of the Lord is my strength.
- The Lord meets all my needs according to his riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.
Begin to confess what the Word says you are.
The Lord is plain – He says what He means and means what He says.
His word is truth!
We must learn to control our speech.
Matthew 12:34-37King James Version (KJV)
34O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
35A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
36But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
37For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
We take for granted, common expressions in clichés.
- I was scared to death, or
- That tickled me to death or
- I’m just dying to see that!
We must rid ourselves of this kind of thinking!
Do it out of respect for Jesus!
Do it out of respect for the word!
Let’s began to express ourselves, based on the truth of that word!
Besides, expressions like this are simply untrue.
You weren’t scared to death; you weren’t tickled to death. You were never even close to death.
But we pick up these expressions and they become such a habit that we’re not aware of what we are really saying.
When we have grown to the point in our spiritual lives where we have confidence in the integrity of our own words; we won’t have any difficulty believing the absolute truth of God’s word.
We must get rid of our “idle words.”
As ministers of the Gospel; whether it’s pulpit ministry or the ministry of the saints, we set the example.
We must make absolutely sure that what we say is accurate, true, and honest.
Thirdly, get rid of spiritual junk food!
Romans 12:2King James Version (KJV)
2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Put the Word of God first in your life and let it strip away all the other things.
That’s not to say we can’t relax and have personal and family time. But, none of these principles will work while we sit and watch TV day and night.
There are habits we must break sometimes!
By putting God first — we are establishing priorities.
Ever get bored? I know I do!
Boredom indicates that our Word level is low.
It has been put into second place to some natural, physical thing.
These are not necessarily sins per se – most are simply time wasters.
A steady diet of newspapers and social media, ( Facebook, Twitter etc.), is harmful to our spiritual well-being, just as junk food is to our physical health.
We simply cannot feed on carnal distractions and be effective ministers of Jesus Christ.
The media generally dwells on the negative side of life – wars, inflation, accidents, death, conflicts.
The Bible says in Matthew 13:22, that the cares and worries of the world will choke the word.
We must not allow the worldly media and circumstances around us to determine what we believe. We must instead, put our trust in God alone and what His Word says.
Everything in moderation! That’s the key!
Nothing wrong with reading the newspaper.
But for some, reading their Bible the way they read the newspaper, would make all the difference in the world.
Finally, lay aside the cares of the world!
Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us to, “be careful for nothing”, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let our requests be made known unto God. And when we do that, it assures us that: the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard or keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Let’s say we have a problem or face a crisis.
By focusing on the situation – we begin to act out of fear and even panic, rather than by faith and the promise of God.
Some say, “Well brother, we’re only human!”
That’s simply no longer true!
We are sons and daughters of the Most High God.
By allowing ourselves to be consumed by the problem; doubt, fear, and confusion can take over.
If we do that, we simply close the door to what God wants to give.
We must let the Word of God separate us from the cares of the world.
For example: for pressing needs, find the scriptures that promise that the Lord will meet our needs.
Matthew 6:33King James Version (KJV)
33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 7:7King James Version (KJV)
7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Philippians 4:19King James Version (KJV)
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
So, number four in the Keys to Effective Ministry is to Strip away all but the Word!
The Holy Ghost will always lead us in accordance with the Word, so our victory is assured.