Partnership One With Another
Chapter 3 Our MinistryThere
is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ
Jesus. I Tim. 2:5 This arrangement that God has set in place is
essential to the understanding of relationships within the church.
God's word is reliable. When our thoughts and traditions place us in
opposition to what God has spoken, then we are wrong. There is no
mediator between God and us except the one Christ Jesus.
Luke 22:24-27, Jesus makes it very clear that within the body of
believers, there are to be no rulers exercising dominion over God's
people. In the body of Christ, we lead by serving one another.
Matthew 23:8, Jesus again clarifies this truth by stating: "One is your
master, even Christ; and all ye are breathren." Paul, by revelation, in
the book of Ephesians, tells us that, "God hath gave him (Christ) to be
head over all, to the church, which is His body." Christ is the head.
Christ is the mediator. Christ is our example.
The nations have kings that rule over them ... but ye shall not be
so. Luke 22:25,26
Over the past 1900
years, men have set up innumerable organizations that have claimed to
be representative of God's will. Christ said: "But ye shall not be so."
This truth continues to stand. Any time a person or organization claims
to represent "God's government" or claims to hold God's authority to
rule over others, the word of God proves them false. We have one
master, Christ; and we are brethren.
We are called into
partnership with God through Christ Jesus, therefore we can be in
partnership with one another. There are two Greek word groups
that need to be understood to grasp the reality of the truth concerning
our relationship with God and with one another.
related words are the first group that are usually translated
"servant". The second group of words revolve around diakonos which is
also sometimes translated servant. To get to the truth of God's word,
we must see the difference between these words.
Corinthians 7:23, we are told, "be ye not the servant of men," but in
Galatians 5:13, it is written, "serve one another." These two
statements seem to be a contradiction. They are not. We are not to be a
servant (doulos) to men, but as a doulos to God we are to be a servant,
(diakonos) to one another in the body of Christ.
literally means "bond slave". In the Old Testament, according to the
law, an Israelite slave had to serve his master seven years to buy his
freedom. At the end of those seven years, he was set free. He then had
a choice. He could go free, or he could choose to stay with his master
as a slave for life. If he made the choice to stay a slave, he became a
"doulos" or bond a slave by choice.
We are not under the law.
The New Testament tells us that we are free and that we are not to be
bond slaves to men. However, I Corinthians 7:23 also says
that "we are bought with a price". The price was the death of Jesus
Christ. He paid the ransom if full to make us free from sin and death.
He made it available for us to be in partnership with God. He is our
only mediator. To be a faithful partner with God we must (like the Old
Testament slave) choose to "sell out to God." We need be a
"doulos for God. He is the boss. We are the servant. (By choice) He
bought us with the price of Jesus Christ to set us free. Now we can
choose to be a doulos. To sell out to God is to reject all else but God
and His word.
This is the first step toward being an effective
partner with God. But this does not deal with what the Bible says about
being partners one with another. For that understanding we must look to
the words diakonos, diakonia, and diakoneo.
Diakonos: noun, means "a servant"
Diakonia: noun, means "service" or "what a servant does"
Diakoneo: verb, means "to serve" or "wait upon"
These three words are all forms of one word. That word is diako,
which means "to run errands."
ruler does not run errands, nor does an administrator. Within the body
of Christ there are no administrators, only ministers. There is no
leadership "offices" or "positions", only ministers. Christ is
the only administrator, he is the head of the body. The body only has
one head. We are the body. We serve (diakoneo) one another under the
leadership of Christ in us, the gift, holy Spirit.
used is Matthew 4:11: "Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels
came and ministered unto him. Angels came and ministered, served,
provided his needs, physically, mentally, spiritually to him.
Luke 10:40: "But Martha was cumbered about much serving." "Serving" is
diakonia. Martha was extremely busy being a hostess. (She was preparing
food, providing places for people to sit, greeting people as they came
Diakonos's usage is extremely revealing in relation
to the role of individuals within the partnership. "But Jesus called
them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles
exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority
upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be
great among you, let him be your minister". (diakonos) Matt. 20:25,26
the contrast that Jesus is emphasizing here. Dominion vs minister. The
nations (Gentiles) have rulers (princes) that have privilege over them.
We do not. In contrast to the nations, the body of Christ has but one
ruler, God through His son, Christ Jesus. We are to serve one another
as brethren. Not exalting any man above the other. We minister one to
another in equal partnership.
All of us in the partnership
have received the gift of Holy Spirit. Every one of us is responsible
to minister to the other via the gift of Holy Spirit. "As every man
hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as
good stewards of the manifold grace of God." I Peter 4:10
doulos for God, we all have one ministry. We all have one errand to run
for God, the ministry of reconciliation: "And all things (new) are of
God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given
to us the ministry of reconciliation;" II Corinthians 5:18
are all ministers (diakonos) of reconciliation. God, through Christ has
made it available for people to be brought into partnership and
fellowship with God. We have been commissioned and sent in place of
Christ as messengers to the word with the word of reconciliation.
"Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we
faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not
walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by
manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's
conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to
them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the
minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel
of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." II
We have this ministry of reconciliation,
which is understood via the word of God. We can carry out our ministry
only to the extent that we understand, believe and carry out the
rightly divided word of God.
From the very first, the devil
has subverted the word of God. Deceitful use of the Word only comes
from the devil. It is his goal to hide the truth of our power, position
and ministry. By blinding the minds of multitudes throughout
history, Satan has inspired mankind to build huge organizations with
ruling positions to prevent us from rightly dividing the word of truth.
By crafty translation, the Bible becomes powerless. We must be
very careful to remove the subtle mysticism from the translations of
the word of God. We must cut through the organizational terminology
intrinsic to the translations and go straight to the original meaning
of the word of God:
Diakoneo is a generic word: It means the
same thing every time it is used. It always means "to serve" or "to
minister" in the original language.
Diakonos is rendered "to
serve" tables in Acts 6:2. But in I Timothy 3:10, 13 where it is
erroneously put as "office of a deacon", it still means "to serve" and
should be understood accordingly.
All who are born again are
diakonos (ministers). All have a diakonia (ministry). We all should be
diakoneo. (serving or ministering)
The ministry of
reconciliation is the central pivot at which point our partnership with
one another revolves around. There are many aspects to this ministry.
It is according to our believing of God's word, how we individually
carry it out.
Removing pompous, man made titles is the key to
understanding the many ministries that combine to accomplish our
ministry of reconciliation. We render many "services" to carry out our
"service" of reconciliation.
The Bible is a "how to" manual for ministers of reconciliation. It spells out how to carry out the many aspects of our ministry
Link to Chapter 4 By Neil Tolman