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Servants of a New Covenant

As we continue looking at Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church, we’ll begin to see his view of ministry.  But in order to understand clearly, we must strip away our “Christianization” of some important words.

Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.  Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.  He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6

If you read my last post, then you know the context of this passage.  Paul is talking about his confidence that his ministry is life-changing.  The Corinthian church was proof of that.

He makes it clear that his ability to accomplish this was not from himself.  It was God working through him.  God made him competent.

Paul describes this work as being a minister of a new covenant.  That’s where we have to be careful in how we understand what he’s saying.

The covenant we have in Christ is the same one God gave to Abraham (Galatians 3:16-18).  But now in Christ, it’s been refreshed, which is what the Greek word, new, means in that verse.

Now we get to one of our problem words – minister.  This is the Greek word, diakonos.  This word means a household servant.  It’s someone who does what their master tells them to do.

Paul is clear that he and his ministry team are servants of this covenant with Christ.  But more than that, they’re servants of the Spirit of this covenant.

There’s a difference between the letter of the covenant and the Spirit.  That word, letter, means something that’s written down.  I believe that this includes what we call the New Testament in our Bibles.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I believe that the New Testament is the Holy, Authoritative, and Infallible Word of God.  I’m not trying to diminish its place in the life of a believer.

However, if I turn the New Testament into a law, then I’m falling into the same trap of legalism that Israel did.  I serve Christ through the Holy Spirit.  The Bible simply serves as the guide to bring me to Christ (John 5:39-40).

The apostles understood this truth.  They knew who they served.  It was brought out when they needed to start a ministry to the widows of Jerusalem.

So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.  Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.  We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Acts 6:2-4

They had a choice either to be a servant of the Word of God or servant of the widow’s ministry.  They chose to pray and then to serve the Word that they heard from the Holy Spirit during their time of prayer.

When did being a minister change from being a servant of the Holy Spirit to become an authority over church people?  We need to get back to our first calling.

We must spend time with the Holy Spirit, hearing His voice.  Then be obedient to do what He desires.

Question: What does the word, minister, mean to you?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2020 in Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Word of God

 

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How do You View Jesus?

JesusDo you know that how you view your relationship with Christ determines your walk? As I was reading Paul’s introduction in his letter to the Romans, it stood out to me. It made me stop and assess how I view the Lord.

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 1:1-4

There’s so much here that caught my attention. The first thing I noticed was that Paul talked about Christ’s human nature as being descended form David. I wondered about that. As a Jew; why not a descendant of Abraham?

I started to look deeper into it and found that this was a big part of Paul’s message.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…
2 Timothy 2:8

The fact that Jesus was in King David’s family was a big part of Paul’s message. It seems to me that Paul placed this on even par with Christ’s resurrection from the dead. The two go hand in hand in the Apostle’s preaching.

This truth is the key to Paul’s attitude toward the Lord. It’s something that we need to return to in our generation. Jesus Christ is King, Lord, and Sovereign. There’s no authority higher than Him in the entire universe.

We like to refer to the Lord in a number of different ways. We call Him Savior, Redeemer, and Friend of sinners. These titles are all true of Christ and speak to us of what He’s done for us. But I refer to them as “safe” titles. They carry with them no inconvenience to us.

Notice how Paul introduces himself in relation to Christ in that first verse. He doesn’t call himself a follower of Christ. He doesn’t say he’s a believer, a minister, or even a disciple. He refers to himself as a servant of Christ Jesus.

This means that above all, Paul’s mission in life was to please his Master. It wasn’t about doing something for the Lord “when he finds the time.” His life was devoted to serving Jesus.

This is the attitude we need to return to in this generation of the church. We need to once again discover the place of servanthood to Christ. Yes, He is our Redeemer, our Savior, our best Friend, and a whole lot more. But we live to please Him.

As we live the life of a servant of Christ, this is one of the fastest ways to receive His power and authority in our lives. We must pick up this attitude – “Lord, not my will, but yours be done in my life.”

Question: What role does servanthood play in your walk with the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2015 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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