Compared to the early church, we live in a generation that barely sees the power of God at work. As a result, we need to use other methods to promote God’s kingdom. Do you know what these powerless methods look like?
I believe that if God’s people would spend time with the Holy Spirit, and then obey what they hear, we would see society changed. Instead, we rely on human plans to try and do God’s work. It’s sad, but I think that we’ve simply gotten used to ministry without power.
A few posts ago I talked about how Paul’s view of the Gospel was a demonstration of the power of God. Now he explains what it’s not…
For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you.
1 Thessalonians 2:3
Without operating in the power of the Spirit, leaders must find other ways of getting people to serve God. Paul lists three of them here. I think you’ll be surprised at what he says to us.
The first word he uses is error, which means wandering. This word literally means to stray because you’ve left the right way and are now simply roaming around.
It’s very easy to leave the right path if I never seek God’s will to begin with. Ministries with this problem are always trying something new, because they saw it work somewhere else. They wander from new program to new program, hoping for something that works.
For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
1 Peter 2:25
The goal should be to seek the Lord’s will for my life, then walk in it. That will keep me from wandering around, hoping to someday stumble upon God’s plan for me.
The next issue is that of impure motives. The reason behind the ministry is as important as the ministry itself. There are some ministries that seem like their only goal is to exalt themselves.
We live in a society where many of the advertising and political campaigns are based upon negativity. It’s not about what I’m trying to do, but what you’re doing wrong. Unfortunately we’ve carried this kind of thinking into the church.
I believe that I should be able to do what God has called me to do without having to put down any other ministry. The fact is that making someone else look bad, doesn’t make me look any better.
The final issue Paul talked about was trickery. It’s believed that this Greek word means to set up a decoy or bait in hunting. It’s unfortunate that there are ministries that view believers as prey.
To make things worse, the decoy or bait they use, is the Scripture. Please understand me; I’m not saying that all televangelists are bad. Most of them are trying to do God’s will. But there are some who, I believe, only study the Bible in order to find a Scripture verse that will convince you to take money out of your wallet and put it into theirs.
Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
2 Corinthians 4:2
I truly believe that if I’m doing God’s will, then God will provide my needs. Yes, He will use people to give into my ministry. But I won’t need to make them feel guilty or use any other form of trickery or deceit.
We need to be looking at the fruit of the ministries that we want to support. We should only give into those works that are proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ.
Question: What do you think are the marks of a ministry of integrity?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017