What Ministry Looks Like Today – By Daniel W. Sheridan
—Everyone Can Teach In This Dispensation
“Let the Word of Christ DWELL in you RICHLY, in all wisdom TEACHING and ADMONISHING one another; in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs SINGING with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16
1. Every believer should “let” the word DWELL in them. This means that the word has a permanent place in your thinking. This can only be accomplished by reading it on a regular basis. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY. Don’t let signs, personalities, or gimmicks rob you of YOUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY to search the Scriptures.
2. The word “RICHLY” is from a family of words from whence we get our Plutocrat/Plutocracy – a government of the wealthy. The word of God is the Plutocrat of our hearts! We should value it, as Job and Jeremiah did, above our daily food.
3. Every believer who follows #1 and #2 can TEACH and ADMONISH. There’s no “gift of teaching” today. There’s absolutely no reason why every believer can’t in some measure teach today. Never confuse teaching with methods of delivery or charisma. Most people “choose” their teachers because they like their “style.” This is a sign of great immaturity.
4. Good teaching leads to joy. People SING when they’re happy. When the word of God is dwelling in us richly, and we are teaching and admonishing each other, we increase our joy! If there’s little joy, you might want to examine your doctrine and practices.
The Word of God, rightly divided, makes us all teachers, not competitors in the “teaching game.” This is true ministry for today.
We need each other! You owe it to yourself and your brethren to let the Word of God dwell in you richly so you will be capable of teaching and admonishing your brethren. This will lead to more joy for everyone.
—Epaphras: What “Ministry” Looks Like Today
Read Colossians 1:3-8.
Paul heard a few things about the believers in Colosse:
1. Their faith in Christ Jesus.
2. Their love for all the saints which was inspired by their common expectation that was reserved for them in the future Government of God among the most-elevated ones.
Where did they get this info from? A simple guy named Epaphras.
He wasn’t an Apostle, that is, one who had a commission from God with the accompanying signs. He wasn’t a “pastor” of a “church” who gave “sermons.” He wasn’t a “sweaty preacher” who marched around on a stage making emotional appeals. He wasn’t a guy trying to make a name and an image for himself in the “ministry.” He was a simply guy who passed on truth.
Paul says the Colossians LEARNED the word of the truth of the gospel from Epaphras. That means Epaphras personally sat down with these people in their homes, one at a time, maybe ten at a time, and patiently and lovingly went over Scripture with them. Epaphras taught the Colossians about God, Jesus Christ, God’s plan for the future, their role in that future, and how they should live their lives in this dispensation of grace while waiting for that future Government to come.
The only form of ministry that accords with this dispensation of Grace is a quiet, patient, teaching ministry. Anyone who has a hunger for the word and a desire to pass it on can do it. You don’t need eloquence, stage presence, or a certain kind of public persona. If you love the Word of God, study it, and love people, you’ve got what it takes.
Note too that Paul in his post-Acts letters never talks about “signs” being present with the saints (Like 1 Co.1:7; Gal. 3:5; etc..). We live in the time of the silence of God. We live in a time when God is writing into the history of the human race a record of His transcendent grace. This is why the heavens are silent and why there are no signs to look for or expect. This is time where the greatest virtue a believer can possess is patience because this is a time in which truth is spread quietly, one by one, by people like Epaphras.
Learning requires time and patience. Teaching requires love and patience. Will you make the time? Are you patient?