There is a method of ministry that Paul displays and which 21st century churches should emulate. That method is clearly seen in Acts 20:20, “[And] how I kept back nothing that was profitable [unto you], but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house.” Basically, what we find here is the concept of a total presentation of God’s Word.
Paul is telling the Ephesian elders that he did not conceal or withhold anything from them. Paul is saying, “I didn’t keep anything off the table. I put the food on the table!” Indeed he tells them in v.27, “I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” In order for a church to minister effectively in this century, or any century for that matter, there needs to be a total presentation of God’s Word.
There needs to be a lot less preaching and a lot less leading from folks who have their wet finger stuck up in the air trying to discern which way the wind is blowing. Instead, we need pastors and leaders who are “rightfully dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We also need congregations who want to be feed and who’ll eat when the spread is on the table! This century needs men who say “Thus saith the Lord!” and congregations who say “Bring out the book!” There is no room for saying just what the crowd wants to hear.
In 2 Timothy 4:3 Paul told Timothy to “Preach the word!” In Acts 20:26 Paul said, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.” Why? Because Paul had faithfully, boldly, consistently, and unashamedly proclaimed the gospel message of Christ crucified and resurrected: to them that perish a message of foolishness, but unto the saved the very hope to which they cling (1 Corinthians 1:18).
A total presentation of God’s Word is the only acceptable method for ministry.
Paul’s method was a total presentation of God’s word, and also a special proclamation of the Word. Notice v. 20b, “but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly.” God’s word must be at the center of everything that happens in church! Thank God for the music, testimonies, and prayers that happen here, but the central focus of the service is the preaching of God’s Holy Word. And everything else that happens in our services is to prepare our hearts for the proclamation of and response to God’s Word! Please understand, it is not “worship and the word” because you cannot have worship without the word! Everything that happens before and during our worship services is leading up to the time when God’s man in the pulpit opens up God’s word, and preaches God’s truth; giving people an opportunity to trust God’s Son or to rededicate themselves to God’s plan. And that is the only way to provide people with the answers for the real needs of their life.
Paul’s method of ministry was to provide a total presentation of God’s word, a special proclamation of God’s word, and finally a personal demonstration of God’s word.
“And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house.” Let me give you that in the original Greek: “from house to house”! God has a very simple plan for getting His word to people: go where people are. The method is not to sit back and say, “Come on in you lucky sinners and get saved.” You won’t find that method employed in the scripture.
I have heard of politicians, especially grassroots politicians, who have a saying: “The battle (political race) will be won on the doorsteps.” Who will be on the doorsteps? The JWs? The Mormons? The Cultists? We need to be salt and light! We need to be thinking “God, You have set me down here, so how can I display Your worth in this community, in this job?” Ask yourself: “How can my life count for the glory of God in my job?” As Christians our aim should be to joyfully magnify Christ, to make Him look good, in all that we do?
Personally demonstrate to the lost and saved alike the Lord Jesus dwelling within you. To the lost demonstrate with your life and your words the gospel. To the brethren, be a source of accountability and encouragement, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). Minister to one another; help meet the needs of one another.
In every possible way, with every person, and in every situation there needs to be that personal demonstration of God’s Word! There are many things that we can do as a church to get people under the sound of the gospel. There are many things that you can do as an individual in your neighborhood, family, school, or workplace that will put people under the sound of the gospel. Pass out tracts; lead a Bible study, live and in person or over the Internet; conversations over coffee. Just be intentional instead of accidental with your evangelism and with your ministry to one another.
How are we to minister in the 21st century? Our manner must be consistent, consecrated, compassionate, and courageous, and our ministry method has to be a total presentation, special proclamation, and personal demonstration of God’s Word.