What is a Successful Ministry?
In this day of big business religion, when churches are measured not by their orthodoxy, but by the opinions of men, when a preacher’s success is measured not by his faithfulness, but by the number of names added to the church roll, it might be wise to consider what a successful ministry is according to the measure of Holy Scripture.
According to the word of God, those preachers and churches are successful who are faithful to the work to which God has called them. Never in the Old Testament or in the New was a prophet, apostle, or preacher measured by the opinions of men. God’s servants never courted the favor of men, and were never favored by the majority of the people. The church of God has always been out of step with society. The servants of God have always been looked upon as peculiar, bigoted dogmatists, intolerant and incapable of compromise. But they were faithful, faithful to God, faithful to his truth and faithful to the souls of men.
Do not be so foolish as to measure God’s work by man’s yardstick. Do not measure the success or failure of preachers and churches by men, by numbers, or by popular opinion. The only measure of success for churches and preachers is faithfulness (I Cor. 4:2). Those who faithfully seek and
promote the glory of God, who faithfully proclaim the truth of God, and who faithfully serve the eternal interests of immortal souls are successful. Those who are not are failures. The one will stand the fire of judgment. The other will not
(1 Cor. 3:11-15). —Don Fortner
STORY OF A LITTLE CHILD
I once knew a little boy who loved to go with his dad to the farm, and time and again he would ask if he could do some little job or chore which he considered a “grown-up job.” Whenever his dad would permit him to do such a little job, it was heart-warming to watch the little lad. As he worked away he would often glance up at his dad for his smile of approval. A frown of disapproval would make him very sad, even cry. He so very much wanted to please his daddy, to see his smile of approval. The little lad was not working for pay, or out of fear of punishment. One thing was first and foremost in his mind: pleasing his dad, seeing his dad’s smile.
Does the story of this little lad not bring to mind and illustrate the life and conduct of the children of the Heavenly Father? Unlike the Pharisees of every age who do what they do in religion to be seen, approved and applauded of men; and unlike the legalists of every age who do what they do in religion, thinking that by deed and by day they are becoming holier before God and man; and all the while gaining spiritual self-esteem and pride through their self-improvement.
My brothers and sisters, scattered throughout this present evil world there are children of the living God, who by virtue of being born of God and being made partakers of the divine nature, have the attitude of their Redeemer who said, “He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29). Only the Lord Jesus Christ could say in truth, “I do always those things that please him.” But all who have the Spirit of Christ have the desire to please His Father and their Father; not out of fear of punishment for their sins, nor to be seen and approved of men. No, no, they just do not want to offend their Father. They love their Father. They want to do what He says, because He tells them to, because it is the right thing to do, and because they want to please Him. They love His presence. They love His smile. They love to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. Are you and I such children? —Pastor Maurice Montgomery
John Newton once wrote, “When I get to heaven, I shall see three wonders there. The first wonder will be to see people there whom I did not expect to see. The second wonder will be to miss many people whom I did expect to see. The third and greatest wonder of all will be to find myself there!”
“And sitting down they watched him there.”
I have often read this verse with wonder. How could these men just sit down and watch the Lord Jesus Christ die on that wretched piece of lumber? What were they thinking as they sat there looking up and seeing this bloodied piece of humanity ready to expire and take His last Breath?
Perhaps the real question for you and me is: What do you see when you look at this one hanging upon the tree? Do you see the will of God played out to an exact measure and predetermined decree? Do you see the only way in which God could be both just and yet justify the ungodly? Do you behold the wonder of a full and complete humility that was never nor shall ever be seen again? Do you see the perfect method of substitution for vile sinners such as you and me? Do you see, as you sit there in your pew, the result of a total and absolute salvation and forgiveness wrought out for us in this one as He bore our sins on His body on that cursed tree?
I wonder, when the gospel of His free and sovereign mercy is proclaimed, do we behold our darling Redeemer dying a sinner’s death for worms like us, or are we just sitting there watching and listening in an ignorant stupor playing religion and wasting time as these men did? Oh may the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ be all and everything to us who have tasted that He is gracious. ––Drew Dietz
“Believe ye that I am able to do this?”
This was a question the Lord asked two blind men regarding His ability to give them – sight. Their answer was “Yea Lord.” Here we are given an illustration of what faith really it. Faith is not believing you are saved, or believing that God loves you and Christ died for you, or believing that all of your sins are forgiven, or believing you are perfect in Christ’s sight. These things belong to the realm of assurance. Faith is neither more nor less than believing that He is able to save you. Paul said in II Timothy 1:12, “I am persuaded that He is able…” Assurance that you are saved and all of your sins are forgiven will come out of that, but the actual act of faith is believing He is able. Believing He is able will lead to the assurance of these things, because you are relying on His ability, and not your own. —Unknown