From all the reports that we have received, attendees at our Feast sites in the United States and England had an enjoyable, uplifting and spiritually refreshing time. The messages that were delivered should help us on our journey toward the Kingdom of God. As the old saying goes, “And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). Feast messages, as well as weekly Sabbath sermons, are given by God’s “preachers” or ministers, as well as those who have been selected by the ministry: “And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” (verse 15).
Many understand the need for true and faithful ministers of Christ, who have proven, through their service and dedication to the truth, that they CAN be trusted. But due to the disappointments in times past, when the teaching, behavior and approach by certain ministers fell far short of the required standard, some have concluded that NO minister can or should be followed. They have set themselves on a course of constant criticism
— trying to find fault with the messages delivered — only to find a reason as why NOT to follow.
This is not the attitude we ought to have regarding true and faithful ministers of God. Rather, “As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!'” (Romans 10:15).
It is true, of course, that we are not to follow a minister — even a true minister of God — when he deviates from the Word of truth or acts in a way that is opposed to true Christianity. This does not mean, however, that we are to spend all of our time in desperately looking for mistakes. Since nobody is perfect, mistakes will be made, and if we look long and hard, we will find them. If that is all we are looking for, we are judged by the Bible as self-righteous, proud, and contentious. This is not the attitude, which the proverbial Bereans had. Rather, we read: “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all READINESS, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). They did not accept and follow blindly, what was preached. They compared what was said with the Scriptures. They SEARCHED the Scriptures to see whether these things were so. Notice, however: They did NOT search the Scriptures to “establish” that these things were NOT so. Their attitude was one of wanting to accept the truth, not one of wanting to find error!
What was the consequence? “THEREFORE many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men” (verse 12).
The ministry of God is here to serve and feed God’s sheep. God’s sheep will recognize the voice of God, as it is being preached through His shepherds, and they will follow them (John 10:1-5). This is the attitude we ought to have toward God’s ministry, as so strongly and boldly put by John, an apostle of Jesus Christ: “We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us” (1 John 4:6). Didn’t Christ Himself say: “If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:20)? And: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word” (John 17:20)?
Someone who rejects God’s ministers, thinking that he has no need of them, is in mortal spiritual danger. God gave the ministry to the body of Christ to edify, strengthen and enlighten the body (compare Ephesians 4:11-16).
Paul encouraged the brethren to follow him, as he followed Christ. He URGED the brethren to follow or imitate him (1 Corinthians 4:16). He said: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). He reminded the Thessalonians that they “became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6). Paul did not preach: “Don’t trust us! Rely on your own understanding. There is no minister whom you could trust or follow.” No, Paul preached exactly the opposite.
Paul had proven, through his converted life, that he was approved of God. And as such, he could and should be followed. He held fast the faithful word as he had been taught (compare Titus 1:9). He, as well as all of those with the same mindset, kept and would keep Christ’s word, never denying His name (compare Revelation 3:8).
In these last days, God has preserved faithful ministers to lead and serve His body — the Church. Christ said that the “gates of hell (in Greek, Hades)” would never prevail against it (Matthew 16:18), and that He would be always with His Church — until the very end of this age (Matthew 28:19-20). For, so He said, the gospel of the kingdom of God will be preached (through God’s faithful ministry, which is supported by the body of Christ) in all the world as a witness unto all nations, and THEN the end WILL come (Matthew 24:14). The end has not yet arrived. The Church of God still has a job to do. And true and faithful ministers are needed, as well as the loyal and dedicated flock, to carry out this job. Many are waiting to hear God’s truth: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14). And so, Paul continues, as we read earlier: “And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (verse 14). This world, as well as God’s Church, NEEDS true ministers of God. Christ tells us that we are to pray: “…The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore PRAY the Lord of the harvest to SEND OUT laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).
Why the ministry? To help fulfill the job that God has given His Church to do. And what a great and awesome job it is!