Stage 3

Joining the Work of God

"...As the Father has sent me, I am sending you" John 20:21.

We have been sent by God in the same way Jesus was sent. In fact, Jesus has passed on His ministry to us (John 14:12). This means that if we are called to the same ministry as Jesus, it is important for us to understand how Jesus ministered.

"Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work" John 14:10 (see v.11).

Jesus was not just working for God. God was working through Him. Jesus saw it clearly as His Father's ministry, not His own. That was why He was able to say:

"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" John 14:12 (see also 6:28-29 ).

A New View of Ministry

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus" Philippians 2:5.

The ministry of Jesus was founded on an attitude - a way of looking at Himself, at His Father and at the world. If our ministry is to be like that of Jesus, we must learn from Him (Matthew 11:29). The attitude of Jesus toward ministry included three elements:

Jesus was working with the Father

"Jesus said to them, 'My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working'" John 5:17.

The ministry of Jesus was not a nine-to-five job. Because His Father was continually at work, so Jesus was continually at work. Jesus joined in the work of His Father.

Jesus could do nothing by Himself

"I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does" John 5:19 (see also verse 20).

Jesus stated very clearly that He was not doing His ministry in His own strength or by His own initiative (read also verse 30). He only did what He saw His Father doing. His ministry was an outworking of His obedience.

Jesus sought to please His Father

"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me" John 5:30 (see also verse 36).

The sole goal of Jesus in all His ministry was to please His Father. In the same way, our ministry must not have a self-focus (2 Corinthians.2:17; 3:4-6; 4:5). Our ministry should be aimed at pleasing God, not men (Galations.1:10; Romans.12:1; Hebrews.11:6).

"'My food,' said Jesus, 'is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work'" John 4:34 (see also Hebrews 10:5-7).

We can never be greater than Jesus but He wants us to be trained to be like Him (Luke 6:40). If Jesus said that He could do nothing by Himself, how much more does that apply to us?

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" John 15:5 (see also verse 4).

Doing Things God's Way

"When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (see also 2 Corinthians.4:1-2).

When we work with God in ministry, we cannot rely on our own talents. We cannot rely on our own wisdom. We are totally dependent on the wisdom and power of God (1 Corinthians 2:3-5). We need to learn to do things God's way, not our own way. This means that, like God, we must:

Target the heart, not the mind

"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" 2 Corinthians 4:4 (see also 3:14).

The focus of Satan is to blind the minds of people against the understanding of the Gospel (Romans 1:21-28; Colossians 1:21; Titus 1:15). But God does not aim for the mind. He aims for the heart.

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" 2 Corinthians 4:6.

After a person receives Christ by faith, God then begins to renew the mind (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:22-24). When we share with unbelievers, we must not try to convince them - mind to mind. Instead, we can cooperate with God and speak the words that He gives us - heart to heart.

Target the root, not the fruit

"The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire" Matthew 3:10.

Many times we target the fruit of a person's life (read Galatians 5:19-21). But the more we pick off the fruit, the more it continues to grow back. This is because the fruit of a person's life simply reveals the condition of the roots (Luke 6:43-44). God wants to target the roots of our life. If our roots are in Him, we will produce the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me" John 15:4.

Fellow Workers with God

"As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain" 2 Corinthians 6:1 (see also 1 Corinthians 3:9; 15:58).

If we are to be fellow workers with God, then we need God's daily and continual grace (Acts 14:26; 1 Corinthians.15:10; 2 Corinthians.9:8; 12:9-10). Ministry is all about hearing from God, seeing what God has prepared and stepping into the work of God Himself.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" Ephesians 2:10.



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