Recognizing True Ministry
Luke 6:39-40, 43-45 NKJV: And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. 43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Here, in this parable, the Lord Jesus teaches how to recognize true ministry and to follow only true ministry, since if you follow defective or ‘blind’ ministry you will fall into the ‘ditch’.
We recognize genuine ministry by the ‘fruit’ or the character of the minister and the quality of the Word of God that proceeds out of his mouth.
In this portion of scripture, the Lord warns us to be careful who we follow by implying, we should not follow the ‘blind’ and so we ourselves are not to be ‘blind’ but rather to judge who we are to follow: we are not to follow blindly. Paul said:
1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV: Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
The fruit we are to look for is the fruit of love and humility. A minister of God with these fruits in his life will not love titles and the pride of life, like the Pharisees did:
Matthew 23:6-12 NKJV: They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 “But you, do not be called Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
He will be patient and kind with the weak and ignorant:
Rom 14:1; 15:1-4 NIV: Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. NIV
He, like Jesus, will be more interested in restoration than condemnation:
Galatians 6:1 NIV: Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.
John 3:16-17 NIV: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Washing the feet of the brethren, serving them with His spirit by frequent, fervent intercession so laying down his life for the sheep:
Colossians 4:12 NKJV: Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
John 10:11 NIV: The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
We are to obey the teachings, in line with the written Word, of those in positions of spiritual leadership. However, we are not to follow or copy their examples if they do not have the fruit of the spirit exhibited in their conduct.
Matthew 23:1-3 NIV: Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
Many are instructors but very few are true fathers whose example we can follow.
1 Corinthians 4:15-16 NKJV: For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
Philippians 3:17 NKJV: Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.
In our article next week, we see how to judge or discern, by the Word and power, who to follow.