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  • Rick LoPresti

The main priority of the ministry

People place many different demands upon the church and the ministry. The world likes to criticize them for not meeting their expectations, even though they have no intention of being a part of either themselves. Sincere and legitimate critiques are not to be shunned, but the measure of the church and the ministry does not come from people. It comes from God and His word - the Bible. The purpose and mission of the church is assigned by the Lord, who is the head of the church. As long as it is doing that, it does not matter what people think. If Jesus had tried to do what people thought he should instead of His true purpose, He would not have purchased our salvation. His own disciples did not understand that He came to die for our sins:

1. Mt 16:21-25

2. Mt 17:22-23

3. Mt 20:17-19

4. Mt 26:31

5. Mk 9:9-10

6. Mk 9:31-32

7. Mk 10:32-34

8. Lk 9:44-45

9. Lk 18:31-34

10. Jn 16:32

Some people think the church is here to serve them. While the church certainly seeks to meet the needs of people, its primary purpose is to serve the Lord (Gal 1:10). The church should help people with their earthly needs (Jam 2:15-16), but that is not its primary mission (Acts 6:1-4). The mission of the church is to help people find salvation in Jesus Christ, and after is accomplished to help them be disciples, and after that to help them fulfill the purpose of God for them. These things are accomplished through the delivery of the word of God. That is the main priority of the ministry. The following points confirm this:

1. Moses saw many mighty miracles, but the vast majority of Exodus-Deuteronomy is not devoted to the accounts of the miracles. It is devoted to the delivery of the word of God.The miracles in Egypt were to get them to Sinai where they could receive the Word. The miracles in the wilderness were to get them to Canaan where they could fulfill the Word.

2. Daniel saw great prophetic visions from God, but the foundation of his ministry was the word of God:

A. Dan 1:5-16 – dietary laws

1. Lev 7:19-26, Lev 11, Deut 14

2. He apparently was taught these things before the captivity

3. vs 17-20 - his gifts were not manifested until after he chose to obey the scripture

B. Dan 7:10 – the judgment was set, and the books were opened (Rev 20:12)

C. Dan 9:2 – I Daniel understood by books (Jer 25:11-12, Jer 29:10)

1. He got a copy of Jeremiah and read it

2. vs 2-20 – a prayer based in the law (Lev 26, Deut 28, 1Ki 8, 2Chr 7)

a. vs 10-14 – in his laws, thy law, the oath that is written in the law of Moses, he hath

confirmed his words, as it is written in the law of Moses

D. Dan 10:21 – the scripture of truth

E. Dan 12:1 & 4 – every one that shall be found written in the book, seal up the book

3. The main priority of Jesus was teaching and preaching the word (Mk 1:38). There are

43 references to Him teaching and preaching in the gospels. The ultimate purpose of His

miracles was to inspire faith in the word (Mk 16:17, Jn 4:48, Jn 5:36, Jn 10:25 & 37-38, Jn

14:10-11, Jn 15:24). He directed people to the word for salvation (Mk 19:16-17, Lk 16:27-31,

Lk 24:25-43, Jn 5:39, Jn 10:24-27, Jn 12:37-38).

4. Doing his word is more important than “being in His presence”

A. Gen 4:16 – Cain was in His presence

B. Ex 33:14-15 – the backslidden Israelites were in His presence (2Chr 20:9, Is 63:9, Jer 23:39,

Jer 52:3, Zeph 1:6-7)

C. Job 1:6-12, Job 2:1-7, Lk 10:18, Rev 12:7-9 – Satan was in His presence

D. Ps 139:7-8 – whither shall I flee from thy presence? …if I make my bed in hell

E. Eze 38:20 – the sinners of the world are in His presence

F. Lk 13:23-30 – hypocrite Jews were in His presence

G. Being in His presence but not keeping His commandments is Calvinism, latter rain,

charismatic, emerging church

H. The presence of God is mentioned 54 times. The words commandment(s), law(s), ordinance

(s), statutes, and judgments appear a combined 1202 times

5. The main priority in the book of Acts was preaching the word 2:40-41, 4:4, 4:29-31 (miracles

were secondary and to confirm the word – vs 30), 6:2-7, 8:4 & 14 & 25, 10:36-37 & 42 & 44,

11:1 & 16 & 19, 12:24, 13:5 & 7 & 15 & 26 & 44 & 46 & 48-49, 14:3 & 7 & 21 & 25, 15:7 & 35-36,

16:6 & 10 & 32, 17:11 & 13, 18:5 & 11, 19:10 & 20, 20:24 & 32, 22:22, 23:11, 28:25). There are

68 references to the apostles teaching and preaching in the New Testament. The only

discourse in the epistles about spiritual gifts is 1Cor12-14 which includes chapter 13 about

love being superior. Love is keeping God's commandments. The pastoral epistles have

nothing on spiritual gifts, but 23 references to preaching/teaching. The only spiritual

gifts that do not appear in the Old Testament are tongues and interpretation of tongues.

6. There are16 references to singing/music in the N.T., only 7 of Jesus or the church actually

singing. The word worship appears 30 times, and the word praise appears 16 times.

7. Teaching is a spiritual gift (Rom 12:7, 1Cor 14:1 & 19, Eph 4:11, 1Tim 4:13-16, 1Pet 4:10-11).

8. The Bible makes the essentiality of sound doctrine, and the eternal danger of false doctrine,

abundantly clear.

We are living in a society that is totally caught up in its selfish needs. What we need is a revival of hunger for truth, and a realization that it can only be found in the Bible. Then the church and the ministry can focus on its main priority, which is delivering it.

Needs vs. the need

hunger for truth vs. tradition and self

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