15 And he said unto them, Go YE into all the world and PREACH THE GOSPEL to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow THEM THAT BELIEVE; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and CONFIRMING THE WORD with signs following. Amen. - Mark 16:15-20
Many Christians today are in a state of confusion, and many others are absolutely clueless as to what their involvement should be in terms of ministry within the Body of Christ. Well, let's end all the confusion and wondering today. The Word of God teaches us that we as Christians are supposed to take our place in the Church, and to do so by the knowledge and the wisdom of God. Notice:
For I say through the grace given unto me, TO EVERY MAN THAT IS AMONG YOU,
NOT TO THINK OF HIMSELF MORE HIGHLY THAN HE OUGHT TO THINK; but to
think SOBERLY, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
First of all, notice that the Apostle Paul in writing to the Church at Rome says he is speaking "...to every man that is among you..." This doesn't mean he was speaking to everyone in the world. It means that he was speaking to all that were Christians at Rome, or in other words the Church at large. He is basically talking to the Body of Christ. Paul goes on to say "...not to THINK of himself more highly than he ought to..." What do you think with? Your mind. The exhortation continues "...but to think SOBERLY..." How do you think soberly? Let's back up to verse two of the same chapter and notice what it says:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed BY THE RENEWING
OF YOUR MIND, that ye may PROVE what is that GOOD, and ACCEPTABLE, and
PERFECT, WILL OF GOD. - Romans 12:3
Our thinking is transformed by "...the renewing of our minds..." For what purpose? So that we can "...PROVE what is that GOOD, and ACCEPTABLE, and PERFECT, WILL OF GOD." You will never be able to discern what the will of God is for your life until you get your mind renewed to the Word of God. Why? God's Word is His will. That's where you will find clarity of purpose and direction. There are three categories of ministry listings in the New Testament. One of them is right here in Romans chapter 12. Now when Paul wrote this to the Romans, he gave an example and began a discourse on understanding your place within the local church. The other two listings are in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and Ephesians chapter 4, where the Apostle Paul describes the five fold ministry.
Interestingly enough, there are four other ministries that are inconspicuous by their absence. They are prayer, evangelism, healing and deliverance. The reason why you won't find these ministries listed in any of the others in the New Testament is because every believer in the Body of Christ is called to pray, evangelize, heal the sick, and cast out devils. How do I know this? Our opening text says so. Some think that Mark chapter sixteen was just for the disciples. Still others believe that verses nine through twenty are not even in the original manuscripts, therefore, they aren't considered to be authorized canonical writings. Fortunately for us, the Book of Acts confirms that Jesus not only commissioned the disciples to carry out Mark chapter sixteen, but us as well.
Prayer, specifically intercessory prayer, is the most crucial of the three because it will empower us to operate in the other two. There was a doctrine that surfaced years ago where people were teaching that intercessory prayer was a specific ministry calling. However, that is untrue. You won't find that in the Bible. Why? Everyone is called to pray. Some are more seasoned than others, because they have been at it a lot longer. Nevertheless, it is our spiritual responsibility to pray for the lost.
In Psalm 2:8, God commands us to ask Him for "...the heathen as thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." As we intercede for the lost before we go out and evangelize, it is to break up the fallow ground of the hearts of men and women so that the seed of the Word of God can be sown into their hearts. That seed will produce faith for them to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. Not only do we need to pray for the seed to be planted in people's hearts, but we also need to pray for them after they get saved so that they can get connected to a local church and grow up in the things of God.
We are also called to evangelize. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:18 says that God has given to us "...the ministry of reconciliation..." God has ordained us as mediators on the earth to grab hold of His hand and the hand of those who are lost and bring them together in reconciliation. Therefore, it is not only our responsibility to learn how to pray effectively in intercession, but to show ourselves "...approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV) Most Christians you meet today have probably never shared the gospel with someone else, much less prayed for them to be healed or delivered. Yet, we are all called to do these things as ministers of reconciliation.
The Bible says over in 1 Peter 3:15 "...BE READY ALWAYS to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you..." The Bible also says over in 2 Timothy 4:2 says "Preach the word! BE READY in season and out of season..." (NKJV) Colossians 4:5 says "...Let your speech BE ALWAYS with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." These scriptures are exhorting us as believers to always be ready to minister the Word of God to others. But how can we be ready if we are not full of the Word of God. Colossians 3:16 tells us that we are to "Let the word of Christ dwell in you RICHLY..." Did you catch that? It said richly, not poorly! We need to be full of the Word! It is out of the abundance of your heart that your mouth will speak (Matthew 12:34).
Thirdly, we are called to heal the sick. Again, in our opening text, Jesus spoke of laying our hands upon sick folk and they would recover. The purpose of "the laying on of hands" (which by the way is also a doctrine of the Word of God - Hebrews 6:2) is to transfer the anointing (or power) of the Holy Spirit into a person that will drive out the spirit of infirmity and effect a healing in their body. One preacher said many years ago that "Healing is the dinner bell of the gospel!" Healing the sick is an integral part of the gospel because it draws people to Jesus. Jesus' ministry was comprised of teaching, preaching, and healing (Matthew 9:35). If we are going to replicate the works of Jesus, then we too must teach, preach and heal the sick (John 14:12). If we will be willing and obedient to do the works of Jesus, the Bible says in Mark 16:20 that God will confirm His Word with signs following. Amen!
Finally, we are called to minister deliverance. Let's get one thing straight: deliverance is not a bad word! Jesus said in Luke 4:18 that He was anointed "...to PREACH DELIVERANCE to the captives..." Well, if we are the Body of Christ, then we are in Him, therefore, we too are anointed to cast out devils (Luke 10:19). The problem with a lot of so called Christians today is that they've been watching too much Hollywood! Satan has Hollywood wrapped around his scrawny little finger and has Christians believing that he is more powerful than God. Newsflash: the devil has already been defeated! All we have to do is get rooted and grounded in the Word so that we can learn how to enforce his defeat.
Let's go back to Luke 4:18. I want you to notice that you have to preach deliverance to the captives before you can minister deliverance to the captives. A lot of Christians are going out to minister deliverance to people and they're going out half cocked. They are taking the cart before the horse! You have to lay a foundation of faith first. Once the foundation is laid, then you can minister deliverance. I can hear somebody saying right now "Yeah, but how are you supposed to preach to somebody that's bound by the devil?" The same way you do to someone who needs salvation or healing. A person might be bound by the devil, but their spirit can still hear what you're saying; and faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Say amen to that!
Most Christians have never cast a devil out of somebody. The thought never even crossed their mind. They think that an "exorcism" can only be performed by a high ranking priest in the Catholic church. What's funny about that is that it's funny. Sorry. It's not my intention to be sarcastic or offensive. But let me give it to you in great plainness of speech: none of that junk is in the Bible! I've been casting out devils since I was 19 years old, and I didn't get permission from the Catholic church to do it. It's time that we get delivered from the spirit of religion and start believing what the Bible really says. Only then can we truly operate in effective evangelism.
Prayer of Consecration:
Father, I thank You today for revealing the truth to me. Thank You for showing me my responsibility as a member of the Body of Christ. I present myself to You as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is my spiritual worship in life. I make a quality decision today to begin preparing myself for the harvest of souls that are ready to be reaped. As I study to show myself approved, I thank You for teaching me how to pray effectively for the lost, how to share the gospel with them, and how to minister biblical deliverance to them, if necessary. Lord, here am I, send me, in Jesus' name, Amen.