Edwards on the Ministry (15)
Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach… Mark 3.14
Jesus came to earth with a specific objective in mind. He didn’t come merely to preach, teach, do good, and help the needy. These were means to an end. He came to bring salvation to men, and to those who would become saved, a deeper and richer experience of that salvation day by day.
More specifically, He came to bring the Kingdom of God, which, in the Holy Spirit, is the great salvation Christ has earned for us through His life, death, and resurrection (Matt. 4.17). If we are merely preaching salvation, some might mistake our message as concerned primarily with knowing we are forgiven and going to heaven. But if we preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, that will include salvation but gather up such other important topics as sanctification, service, making disciples, building the Church, restoring the reconciled world, revival, and more.
What Jesus preached, we should preach. As Edwards put it in “Christ the Example of Ministers”, “Ministers of the gospel are in some respects called and devoted to the same work and business that Christ himself was appointed to…ministers of the gospel, as Christ’s servants and officers under him, are appointed to promote the designs of that great work of Christ, the work of salvation.”
Ministers and all shepherds of God’s flocks are similarly called. Jesus proclaimed, exemplified, and called His followers to pray for and seek the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6.10, 33). We must be careful lest we fall into the habit of treating the means of promoting salvation – preaching, teaching, counseling, and the like – as the ends of ministry themselves. Our preaching, teaching, training, counseling, visiting, and all the rest must always be unto salvation in specific ways, specifically, the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Resources for Shepherds
If you missed our Prayer Action Summit on Tuesday, let me share a few of the free resources we’re making available to enhance your prayer life, help you recruit other men for prayer, and show you why and how to form a group of men who are praying for revival.
God’s Prayer Program shows you how to use the psalms in your prayers so that you are praying God’s words and thoughts back to Him.
If Men Will Pray is a booklet you can use to enlist a prayer partner and help both of you begin to grow in your prayer life.
Restore Us! explains why we should gather together to seek God for revival and how we can do that effectively.
Follow the links to these free resources and make prayer a more prominent and fruitful facet of your walk with and work for the Lord.
One more resource that might be of benefit: Now you can subscribe to receive the monthly Personal Mission Field Workshop in print and audio, explaining how we can be more effective in making disciples as we are going about our daily lives. Teaching, exercises, resources – the whole bit. Sign up by updating your Ailbe subscriptions. Click here.
From the Celtic Revival
The monastic communities of Ireland in the 6th and 7th century – and later – were effective in making disciples, building community, preserving and advancing scholarship, and sending out missionaries for the Kingdom of God. One of the reasons they were is that the monks lived together according to rules of discipline that helped them manage their time and work together in serving the Lord. Here are a few brief excerpts from the monastic rules surviving from this period
Let him [the monk] satisfy the need of each infirm person, and let him assist everyone who is ill...Let him be the servant of everyone...Let him be the servant of all, humble and kind.
- The Rule of Ailbe (possibly 6th century)
Show humility and joy towards friend and stranger alike, and homage, obedience, and fealty towards every person.
- The Rule of Carthage (6th century)
Each day carries with it three duties: prayer, work, and reading. There should be no idleness in the monastery, and so instruction, writing, and the repair of clothing or other useful work should be provided as the Lord says, “that you appear not before me empty-handed.”
- Rule of the Céli Dè (9th century)
Our PDF book, Living to Rule, offers a survey and explanation of these rules, and suggests ways we might learn from our Celtic Christian forebears how to be more effective for Christ and His Kingdom in our own lives. Download your free copy of Living to Rule by clicking here.
T. M. Moore
Cowper on Preaching
William Cowper, hymn writer and poet, offered some compelling and convicting insight into the work of preaching in his lengthy poem, The Task. Our book, An Essay on Preaching, arranges those excerpts into a comprehensive overview of Cowper’s views on late 19th century preaching in England. A free copy awaits you by clicking here.
It is our privilege to provide resources and opportunities to equip and encourage church leaders in building the Lord’s Church and advancing His Kingdom. Please pray that God will move many of those we serve through this ministry to share with us financially in its support. If the Lord moves you to give, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.