EVERY CHRISTIAN ought to know and understand that not all the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers we see and hear about are true servants of Christ Jesus. A man or woman wearing a Ghanaian shirt, singing Ghanaian songs or making references to Ghana’s constitution does not necessarily make them citizens of Ghana. Many may do these things, and yet be citizens of other nations.
We live in a world of religious oppression, deception, manipulation and exploitation, and so a Christian ought to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ to fight the good of the faith. When a man says he is a prophet or pastor, we must critically examine his fruits, that is, his works to see if indeed he is called of Christ and sent by Christ to do God’s work in the world.
A person who preaches and teaches from the Bible, prays and prophesies is not necessarily a servant of Christ Jesus. A person who gathers people, preaches to them, prophesies to them and prays for them may be called a pastor or prophet, but he or she may not be a true servant of Jesus Christ. Since the beginning of the Christian church, Satan has always planted men and women he possesses to counterfeit the activities of true ministers of the gospel.
Today, in Ghana, many sorcerers, necromancers, magicians, fetish priests, diviners, traditional healers have cleverly modified and turned their operations into what looks like Christianity. This has been done purposely to dent the image of Christianity and exploit ignorant believers. This development is worrying, but it is not strange. False ministers, who are enemies of Christ and servants of the devil, must surely arise. Jesus Christ and the early apostles prophesied about their emergence to deceive many people.
Moreover, the Bible makes us aware that some of the ministers Christ personally calls will be tempted to rebel against God; they will not gladly obey the commandments of God. They will not abide in the doctrines of Christ Jesus and faithfully discharge the duties assigned to them. These ministers will speak “twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20: 30). Christ Jesus refers to them as wicked servants (Matthew 24: 48). Their end is eternal damnation.
However, God knows the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers who are His throughout the world. They gladly obey His commandments and follow His leadings. They fear the Lord and give Him reverence in everything they do. Though they make mistakes, they quickly repent of their sins to avoid giving opportunity to unbelievers to profane the glorious name of God.
True servants of Christ are loyal to Jesus Christ, their Master, who called and placed them in ministry. They do not fail to preach the whole counsel of God, explaining the mysteries of God including the mystery of Christ, mystery of faith, mystery of the church, mystery of Babylon, mystery of iniquity, mystery of godliness and others to build up believers.
They are guided by godly knowledge and wisdom in shepherding the Church of God. They do not claim to own the churches they shepherd. Rather, they consider themselves as under shepherds, God’s co-workers and Christ’s ambassadors; they honour Christ Jesus as the Great Apostle and Chief Shepherd or the only Archbishop of the church.
They are always careful to exercise their oversight responsibility not under compulsion, but willingly; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in their charge, but being examples to the flock. They serve this way to glorify God, and in the hope of receiving the unfading crown of glory when Jesus Christ appears (1 Peter 5: 1-4).
Loyal servants of Christ are in ministry with their eyes fixed on one great thing – salvation of souls. Concerning this, the apostle Paul, in his letter to the church in Thessalonica asked, “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2: 19 -20). Again, in Philippians 4: 1, Paul wrote, “…my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved”.
Paul made it clear to the churches he wrote to that their greatest joy and hope for doing the work of the Lord was not about the wealth they would flaunt, but souls they would present to the Lord on the last day.
Paul saw superior wisdom in boasting about souls he saved than material wealth he had. He knew that one soul was worthier than the whole world. He knew from the onset that the Christian ministry was all about Christ and the preparation of souls for eternal salvation. For this reason, servants of Christ preach and teach about Christ Jesus, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that they might present everyone mature in Christ (Colossians 1: 28).
Indeed, the eye of the Lord is on His ministers. He will never forget their labour; He will greatly reward them on the day Christ Jesus, the righteous Judge, will appear to repay everyone according to their works. On that day, after they have been judged right for using the gifts, abilities and talents God gave them to do His work, they will be told, “Well done, good and faithful servants. You have been faithful…Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25: 23).
By James Quansah