Building up believers and the New Testament church

God's Call to Ministry

The Training of a Minister

The religious system has training programs that are supposed to turn out ministers. But it does not matter whom the teachers or sponsors are or how good the program sounds; unless the Spirit is in control and doing both the building and the equipping for building, we are only working in the natural realm. Men can be most sincere, and seeing the need, but without the Holy Ghost in control, man is still just trying to do something for God.

With transportation being what it is today, men have brought men together from around the world, in order to equip those who would minister to do what the Holy Ghost alone can do. They have had schools in evangelism, congresses on evangelism, and many other good intentions, but are missing one thing--the Holy Ghost and God's plan. Many good men have had their minds corrupted by other well-meaning men moving in a natural way, blind to the true spiritual revelation of what God is doing Himself. God never gives the control of what He is doing into man's hands, in any area of His kingdom. God uses men, but never gives them control.

Jesus did not tell His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they finished Bible college; He commanded them to wait until they were filled with the Holy Ghost. Then, that still is not enough. Before we can labor, we must have God's ability with God's plan (revelation). Paul didn't go out and do what he wanted to do for God. The Spirit himself separated and prepared him for the work He had called him for. Why does a man think that because he sees the needs around him, he can go out and meet needs, without the Spirit's ability and timing? Jesus tells us that we can do nothing of ourselves. We must be abiding in the Vine, moving in union with God. This is the only way we are going to see fruit come forth that will be a glory to our heavenly Father.

Moses had the best education Egypt had to offer, but when it came to God's plan, it was God who instructed Moses and sent him to Pharaoh. Moses came before Pharaoh in the power and demonstration of God's working, not with the wisdom of man. What good would the education and wisdom of man do for Moses before Pharaoh? Moses was there by God's appointment and in God's power. Moses was not there to speak meaningless words or to tell Pharaoh a Bible story; he was there to speak for God.

We see another man called of God who already had the best education man could offer. Paul sat at the feet of Gamaliel, and "was taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the Fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day" (Acts 22:3). Yet when he needed an education for the call Christ gave him, he did not go to man. Ananias was sent to speak to Paul, and this is what he said, "The God of our Fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldst know His will, and see that Just One, and shouldst hear the voice of His mouth" (Acts 22:14).

Paul's own testimony was, "The gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:12). Paul didn't go to a religious school, but went to Arabia, and there he was taught and prepared by God for the work God had called him for. Then again Paul tells us plainly, "And my speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (I Corinthians 2:4).

If we want God's results today, and want to see God's people brought to maturity and spirituality, there is only one way--God's way. God's ministers are those who are called and prepared by God; there are no exceptions. If you want to learn how to preach, then go to man. If you want to speak for God, you must come to Him. Man, with only his knowledge about church history, his schooling about the church and how to preach and how to evangelize, cannot know what the church is, or know the head of the church, Christ. I would not make a place for ignorance in ministry--all I am saying is that when it comes to God and His call, we cannot go to man to learn how to do what is spiritual. It all comes from God by His Spirit.

The apostle Paul couldn't possibly get into the religious clubs of our day. He had no degree. He was not Dr. Paul or Rev. Paul--he was just Brother Paul, one sent by God. He spoke for God. This is what preparation for the ministry is all about. In God's presence, we experience God by faith and become men with the revelation that is from God, with the living word burning in our hearts. God's ministers are being trained in life, not in methods and theology. God's church must have the living bread; it must drink from the fountain that will never run dry. There must be rivers of living water flowing out from the church.

It is evident in all we see around us that we do not have many men called of God or prepared by God. If we did, we would clearly see the testimony of the oneness of the church. Jesus said, speaking to His Father, "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou has loved me" (John 17:22-23).

This is not the ecumenical movement of our day with its characteristic compromise, but true oneness that comes from obedience to His Word. This is the new and living way. It would seem that only severe persecution such as China has gone through is enough to purge man-made methods from the church and bring forth the testimony God has designed.