The Mind and the Ministries

March 2, 2010

A number of years ago my wife and I owned a mid 1970’s era Audi. It was the ‘coolest’ car. We absolutely loved it. It had that classic ‘Euro’ look – rounded body style, two-tone beige and burgundy paint, wood-grain dashboard with old fashioned analog instruments, and a plush, wine-red, fabric interior. It looked like an automobile that you would expect to see driving around Piccadilly Circle in some old movie filmed in London. It had that old car smell, and when you took it on a road trip, it was the most comfortable car imaginable to drive. It would always run better after taking it out on the road to ‘unwind’ a bit. (We use to call it de-gunking the engine). But, boy oh boy, it was finicky.

It was love at first site when we bought it. We paid around $1,500 for it I think, but whatever we paid for it initially, paled, compared to what it cost us after that. In the first year we owned it, we put something like $5,000 into it. It got so bad we began calling it the “O-w-w-w-d-e-e!” The engine had to constantly be tweaked and tuned (by trained professionals of course….at $100 per hour). On a trip to California, the thermostat went out, and, so, we had to run the heater full blast so the car wouldn’t overheat, while driving across Death Valley in mid-July! On another occasion, while taking a leisurely weekend drive around our beautiful State of Colorado, we were traveling through the mountains when we encountered an unexpected blizzard. As if that wasn’t frightening enough, we hit a bump in the road and the engine mounts broke, so that the engine was ‘hanging’ by a thread (almost quite literally) under the hood, with the pulleys grinding and sparking on the frame as we slowly made our way through the storm. Eventually, as much as we loved that old car, we had to say goodbye, farewell, ciao, avidisene, au revoir, good riddance!

The truth of the matter is that the human mind can be as finicky as an old automobile. The mind has to constantly be tuned, and tweaked (by a professional). And, while it does need to be taken out on the road to ‘unwind’ occasionally, in order to ‘de-gunk’ the engine, and can be extremely comfortable and enjoyable to ‘drive,’ if we allow ourselves to get complacent, or ‘rev the engine’ beyond its capability, as it were, just when we least expect it, we ‘blow the motor’, or we hit a bump and the engine mounts break, or the steering linkage gets out of whack and we run it off the road.

The mind can be person’s greatest asset at times or their own worst enemy at other times. The thought processes of a person, when held in bounds by a moral or ethical standard (i.e. the Word of God), can produce tremendous intellectual fruit in a person’s life that may spill over into, and be a positive contribution to society. However, if those same thought processes are let loose, and left unchecked, or unrestrained, they can wreck havoc on themselves and others. There are countless examples in history of individuals, societies, religious orders, and governments where this has happened.

For a Christian believer, the accurate knowledge of God’s Word provides that moral and ethical restraint, the boundaries within which the mind can best function and produce.

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” II Corinthians 10:5

The best translation of this verse that I have ever read is, “Demolish your human logic from the high position to which you have lifted it vertically against the knowledge of God, which you have known by experience. Be wise, lead captive everything to Christ, which you have attentively listened to and heard.”

It is human nature to lift human logic and intellect vertically against the knowledge of God.

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord pondereth the hearts.” Proverbs 21:2

Human logic must constantly be destroyed and brought captive to the obedience of Christ. The mind must constantly be ‘tweaked’ and ‘tuned’ by a ‘professional,’ just like that old Audi. The best professional for the job is, first of all, the individual believer themselves, by their freedom of will, as they learn and study and grow in a knowledge of God’s Word.

“And 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.” Romans 12:2

God has also provided a ‘team of professionals’ to help the believers, five distinct ministries in the Body of Christ – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers – whose ‘job description’ Paul lays out in his letter to the Ephesians.

“For the perfecting of the saints (in their renewed minds), for the work of the ministry, for the edifying (the building up) of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12

These five ministries in the Church of the Body of Christ are here to help the believers in their renewed mind walk with God, to be ‘in the trenches’ carrying out the work of the ministry, and always be building up the body of Christ. There are five of these ministries because five is how many God determined He needed to give. (‘If people don’t like that, they can argue with the management,’ as my mentor use to say). If the record of the Word of God is true (and I believe it is), then, if there are apostles, then there must be some prophets. If there are prophets, then there must be some evangelists. If there are evangelists, then there must be some pastors and teachers. At any one time, one, or more, of these five ministries may be needed, or preferred, above another, or may carry more responsibility, but all five are vital to the Church.

During the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, while Nehemiah oversaw the rebuilding of the wall, and Ezra oversaw the rebuilding of the Temple, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah also were at work, and prophesying among the people.

“And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo.” Ezra 6:14a

These men worked together caring for God’s people, as well as taking care of the work at hand. There was no fear, envy, or jealousy among them. The five ministries in the Church today have the same opportunity and responsibility to bless God’s people, and work together “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Fear, envy, jealousy, and in-fighting among the ministries is counter-productive and is hurtful to the Body). God knows what He is doing. Having these five distinct ministries, men and women with these different long-suits and abilities, sees to it that all the needs in the Church in any area and at any time, are taken care of.

The book of Proverbs tells us that “iron sharpeneth iron” (Proverbs 27:17). So also are these ministries to keep one another sharp on God’s Word. Confrontation in the early Church was vital and necessary to its continued success and growth, and it still is vital and necessary for the success and growth of the Church today. The book of Acts records numerous instances of confrontation among leadership, and how matters of great importance and consequence were brought before the apostles (plural) and elders (plural), where things were discussed, considered, sometimes even argued about, until an agreement in accordance with the Word of God was reached.

Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, refers to these five ministries as the “rulers” (plural), the “higher powers” (plural) that every soul (in the Church) should be subject to.

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers (plural). For there is no power but of God: the powers (plural) that be are ordained of God.” Romans 13:1

The greatest leaders have to be the greatest servants to their fellow man. These five ‘ruling’ ministries, in genuine operation, will never laud their authority over people, but by example, love, and service earn peoples love, respect, support, and subjection. And that subjection by the souls in the Church will be autonomic, an outcrop, a response out of love, never out of dictation, legislation, or fear, else both (the ministries and the subjection) are counterfeit.

Some of you reading this article may have one or more of these ministries, and you may have a tremendous desire to serve and heed the call of God in your life. It is the responsibility, and should be the heart’s desire of the elder ministers in the Church to help you, and teach you, and bring the greatness of what God has given you on the inside to the surface, to help you grow and develop to your greatest potential, so that you too can serve the call of God in your life.

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