Putting the heart back in ministry

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”  So said the great apostle Paul in his first letter to Timothy (1:15).    He continues with: “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.” (vs.16).

Sometimes we forget the pit from which God has delivered us and that which God is desiring to do in us to help rescue sinners.  I have long thought how Jesus must have dealt inwardly when around such blatant sin as He walked the earth, how He treated the fake Judas in the three years or so they were together, how He must’ve inwardly shaken His head at Peter’s brash comments and actions but really thought deep down about this man.  As you scan the gospels, it appears Jesus had a Master plan for each of these rag tag disciples, some of them lived up to it in large measure, some failed greatly but I see that the Lord did what he could to show His grace to them all so that they could live their lives well and to His glory.  For example, in Jn.21 Jesus asked Peter thrice if he loved Him (a counter to Peter’s three denials to restore him for His great work).  Even Judas was given the prominent place at the Last Supper and spoken to graciously (despite Christ knowing Judas had betrayed Him) to work upon this man’s cold, cold heart.  God had great hopes for His disciples then and He still does !

So look around your church and your community, your workplace, your neighborhood.  Yes, sin is increasing, kids aren’t often parented well today and have carte blanche access to sin as moms and dads (if they even have both) look the other way.  Kids are worse today due to the sins they are exposed to on TV, the internet, etc.  Adults are tempted also in great ways to love money, position, pleasures.  So yes, sin is increasing but we must meet this with increasing love and grace to the sinner.

If you’re serious about living for the Lord and have learned a good deal about living for Him, its easy to settle into a smug self-righteousness and not give sinners the time of day and view them as beyond redemption.   We musn’t forget that anything good in us is because we are what we are only by the grace of God.  And He still wants us to do something we must not be careful to lose sight off: not writing off sinners but MINISTERING out of love to them !  What if someone had written you off?     We must make sure to keep in mind the two greatest commands of loving God and our neighbors or we run the risk of becoming like those spiritually destitute Pharisees who had the outward form of righteousness but inside were full of dead man’s bones !  We will actually start to despise the sinner and not even try to help God turn him around. So, pray for a sinner today, spend some time getting to know one and HUMBLY help them toward our Savior.  Aren’t you glad God used someone to help you? It’s your turn, even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister !!  Don’t lose the heart for this great work for God.

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