...Principles for successful ministry
There are three principles that help believers succeed in accomplishing the desire of God’s heart: to help a hurting world know Jesus. These principles are found in Luke 4
- the voice of the Good News
- the validity of our message
- and the value of humanity.
The voice of the Good News
Jesus read from the book of Isaiah: ‘“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me or heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD’” (Lk. 4:18,19). Then He said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk. 4:21)
When Jesus spoke, things happened because “His word was with authority” (Lk. 4:32). When a person is cognizant of the power of God at work in him as he speaks, people take notice. They bring their needs to him, and he can minister to them. We have been commissioned to preach the Good News -- the Gospel. We do not have bad news for our world. The voice of the Good News is the voice that triumphs!
Our message is unique. We can proclaim to the would that through Jesus, God not only forgives our sins, but blots them out forever. That’s the sweetest message in the world. Our God heals diseases and gives us creative ideas to solve our problems.
The gospel message consists of God’s creation, Satan’s deception, Christ’s substitution and our restoration. The world needs to hear that message. People will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ if we tell them why and how.
Other religions of the world are afraid of God. They don’t know who He is. But we can acquaint the world with Jesus and tell them that He came to show us what God is like. Jesus is the express image of God. When we present Jesus, we present the living God.
Jesus not only preached the Good News, He demonstrated it!
Paul said, “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (I Cor. 1:17 ). We are sent for the same reason. We should never forget how to talk to the unsaved. It is not wise to use “holy talk” with the unsaved. Christians have come up with their own vocabulary and lingo, and the unsaved cannot comprehend what is being said. The voice of the Good News is a simple message.
The validity of our message
The second principle to remember to have a successful ministry is the validity of our message. “Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria ; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him” (Matt. 4:23-25).
Jesus not only preached the Good News, He demonstrated it. He said: “These signs will follow those who believe; In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sic, and they will recover” (Mk. 16:17,18). Miracles will follow ministry.
Redemption was not accomplished until Jesus paid the price. He called them and said, “Follow Me.” Soon a multitude was following Him. He demonstrated for three-and-a-half years that people could be like Him if they watched, studied and learned from Him. He wanted them to know that after He went back to the Father they would be able to do just what He did, only in a greater measure. In John 17:18 Jesus prayed, “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”
The Holy Spirit was sent, and now His kingdom is at work in us! We are now His representatives -- His ambassadors. The same power that was at work in Jesus is at work in us. Let’s never forget the validity of our message.
Outside of Christianity, there’s not a representative of any religion who could lecture the people, and when he finished, his god or gods would descend and perform signs and wonders to validate what was said. The idea originated in the mind of God, and it is the platform on which the Christian message stands. We are able to proclaim the Good News of our Savior with power before the people; and when we are through, we can pray to our God. He will validate our message with signs and wonders following. They will know the truth of our message.
After hearing about Jesus, the people need a chance to experience His presence firsthand. If we preach the Jesus of the Bible, He will be everything we proclaim. God wants the world to know that Jesus is alive. But they won’t know it unless we tell them.
Because God validates the message of the Gospel with power, the people will be convinced that the Jesus in the Bible is truly God’s Son, that God has raised Him from the dead and that He is alive. He is the only Savior of the world.
The value of humanity
The third principle we must understand is that God values individuals. He believes in us so much that He has entrusted all of His work into our hands. I believe God has a specific purpose for every person, whether saint or sinner. God has a dream for everyone born into this world. We are all made in the image of God, even the rebels, the gang leaders, the homosexuals and the prostitutes. They were born with a gift to influence people and to lead people to Jesus, but no one has told them. So they use the gift in the wrong way and destroy people.
I realized at an early age that I had a destiny because somebody presented the Gospel to me when I was young, and I embraced it. People told me I was going to be a preacher someday. One day in the pasture, I fell down by a rock. I started crying, but didn’t know why. I had a thought: “How would you feel if you were going to be a preacher?” That is as much of a call as I ever had. As I thought about it, I got so intensely happy that my convulsive weeping turned into hilarity. I suddenly realized I had a destiny. I was made in the image of God, and I was valuable to Him.
Paul was a very wicked person. He was destroying the Christians. No one had told him he was born in God’s image, gifted and had a destiny. He was killing the very thing he should have been building. When he had an encounter with Christ, he realized his purpose in life was to be separated unto God so Jesus could be revealed through him. He was a changed man.
One night a crippled gang leader came to one of our meetings. He had a clubfoot and couldn’t walk, so his gang members carried him. But he had such charisma that people obeyed him, though he couldn’t even walk by himself. He was leader of a pickpocket gang. They had come to the meeting to steal from the congregation. He stayed and listened that one night, and the Word of God reached him and he was saved. He now pastors seven churches.
We need to see people as God sees them. Don’t just give monetary help to the beggars; that won’t change them. Give them the Gospel, and watch the Holy Spirit change their lives. Like Peter we should answer, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3: 6). They can rise up and walk with what we give them. They won’t have to bow or cower anymore. Jesus paid the supreme sacrifice for their souls, too.
The principles at work
These three principles must become a reality in our lives. May we be a people who never condemn or judge others - only help them. Yes, we are human; but God through us, is doing kingdom business. People will change when they hear the message, see it validated, and know they are valuable to God. Our destiny is to open the eyes of those around us and help them realize that they, too, have destiny. Let’s do it.
T. L. Osborn is a missionary-evangelist who has conducted some of the largest mass evangelism crusades in the world during the past 50 years.