I started writing a post with the preliminary title: “is this ministry” in which I am beginning to examine the things we call ministry. I am seeking to ascertain if what we call “ministry” is really all that we claim it to be, or if it is just our modernized pseudo-christian secular humanist way of trying to earn our salvation and/or appear pious. After doing some writing on that subject I realized that was a little too in depth a subject to tackle without a strong foundation. That foundation is this post (I hope.)
To determine whether or not something is Christian ministry requires 2 fundamental definitions: “what is Christianity” and within that context: “what is ministry?” I am sure we have all heard a thousand different definitions of what Christianity is. Google spits out this definition: “the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices.”
I also found this lengthy and fairly good definition from the Christian Apologetics & research Ministry (CARM). But my point is more basic than that lengthy definition, I think. Christianity is quite literally following Christ. Revolutionary, I know, but yet not common.
In John 14:23&24 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” It sounds like Jesus gave us a fairly simple guideline. So is that what we so-called Christians are doing?
Although Jesus had quite a few commands, I am not intending to make this an exhaustive list. I really want to focus on three: repent, believe, and obey.
As Christians, we can (generally) agree on what sin is: murder, adultery, theft to name a few. What we don’t seem to agree on is what repentance is. This is repentance: turning away from a sinful and worldly life and turning towards God. It isn’t just stopping the bad things you do, but rather that you replace the evil things in your life with the pursuit of God.
How often have we gone to church on Sunday, sang the songs, loved the message, then made a beeline for the car to get home to watch “the game”? Wait, am I implying that being a sports fan is a sin? No. What I am implying is that we spend so much time focused on the world and so little time focused on God. I say this not only to the shame of the Church, but also to my own shame. Can I say that my whole and undivided attention is solely on the Lord and His Son Jesus every waking moment of the day? No, but I think this should be the goal. But don’t I need to eat? Eat to the glory of God. What about my job? Do it to glorify God. Does this sound over the top – it should. Jesus said the road is narrow and few will find it (Matthew 7:14).
So saying all this, what do you do with it? I think you take the Word of God for what it is. The inspired Word of God, a book authored by the author of creation, commands to live a life pleasing to God. Our God is a God to be sought after. This is belief. This is the point I would ask: “do you really believe what you claim to believe?” Do you believe the Bible to be the book I have described it as?
So, what then, is obedience? King David is the example most often given, called: “a man after God’s own heart” in Acts 13:22. This is a reference to 1 Samuel 13:14, where it is written: “…the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” Surely you say: “But didn’t he sleep with another man’s wife, and then kill the man?” Yeah, he did that. But although that is horrible, we have to look at the wider context of his life. He sought constantly to please God. We see him killing Goliath for mocking God (1 Samuel 17). We see him refusing to kill God’s anointed king (1 Samuel 24). Throughout the whole of Davids life, he made decisions like these, that were foolish from a worldly standpoint, but that honored God.
David made mistakes along the way. But I think he spent more time concentrating on the Lord and His will for us than we do today, and most likely more than a great many people for thousands of years. I don’t say this to discourage, but only to say this: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)
So what is Christianity? In summary, follow Jesus, the Christ. Repent, Believe, Obey. repeat.
Disclaimer: The truths held in scripture are much more broad-based and all encompassing than this small article. To learn more, read the Bible 🙂