The Defining Boundaries of Ministry (by Dr. Glenn Jago)
Jesus Christ promised, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” though many still try. At first, the growth of the church seemed isolated to the Jewish people only. However, through the power of the Holy Spirit, it quickly spread to all nations beginning in Jerusalem and Samaria. As expected, Satan was relentless in his quest to stop this growth by using persecution, mystical false teachers, authoritarian religious leaders, controversies within the church, and conflict between leaders. Nevertheless, the church grew and spread under each attack. In the time of persecution, Christ spread His disciples, and they continued to preach the Gospel in every place. When the false teachers arose, Christ defeated them with the power of God and the Word of God. The religious elite was no match for the sound preaching of God’s Word as Paul refused to compromise. The attempt to divide from within through controversy over doctrine failed through the clarity of God’s Word. Even unity remained by the sending of two mission teams in the face of conflict. But, how are we to deal with closed doors and closed hearts, when your heart is passionate about spreading the Gospel?
An essential reality for all ministers of Jesus Christ is to recognize the path to Gospel success is not always a straight and smooth path. Yes, Jesus Christ will build His church, but we must be sure to be in alignment with His plan, rather than our own. In this section, there is an emphasis on direction and guidance as Paul sought a location to preach the Gospel. Amazingly, the Lord was defining the boundaries of ministry for Paul uniquely. Let us look at the path the Lord provided and the heart He opened and learn how Christ determines outcomes.
Truths to hold:
- The directing hand of the Lord is essential – Acts 16:6-12
- The delivering message of the Lord is effectual – Acts 16:13-15
Applications to practice:
- When Christ changes your direction, it should never change your calling and passion
- When you preach Christ, your dependence is on the Holy Spirit to bring conversion
- Salvation only comes when the Lord opens your heart, and you respond in faith in Christ