In Ephesians 4, Paul spells out clearly the responsibility of ministers in God’s Church.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” (Eph. 4:11-13)
Now compare what Christ says about the spiritual condition of God’s Church in this final era of Laodicea to see if the ministry is fulfilling what Paul said in Ephesians 4.
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth. Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked” (Rev. 3:15-17)
These verses clearly demonstrate Christ’s displeasure with the spiritual condition of God’s Church today. Why? Simply put, the ministry is not properly fulfilling their ministerial responsibilities to God’s Church.
The ministry not doing its job is nothing new in God’s Church. The history of God’s Church is filled with multiple examples of ministers being the main source of trouble for God’s people.
Notice Paul’s concerns about the ministry in Ephesus, which he communicated to them personally.
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:28-30)
Peter warned about ministerial motivations, which had nothing to do with serving God’s Church.
“But there were also false prophets among the people (ancient Israel), even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly being in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you (God’s Church) with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”
Notice Peter identifies the ministry’s problem as “covetousness.” He re-iterates this point in verse 14b.
“They have a heart trained in covetous practices and are accursed children.”
The motivation of the ministry in the era of Laodicea has not changed since the 1st century.
Jude gave strong exhortation to God’s Church on how to maintain the faith delivered to them and points out where to look for trouble.
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:3-4)
These verses point to a clear dereliction of duty by the ministry of God’s Church.
Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice defines dereliction of duty as follows.
Any person subject to this chapter who:
(1) violates or fails to obey any lawful general order or regulation;
(2) having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by a member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or
(3) is derelict in the performance of his duties; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
Christ told Peter in John 21 to “Feed My Sheep.” This was not a suggestion, but a command pointing to the responsibility Peter had as a minister of God.
When Christ returns, He will take notice of the job His ministry is doing.
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.” (Matt. 24:45-46)
“But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and cut him in two and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 24:48-51)
Those ministers fulfilling their duty are helping God’s people be ready for Christ’s 2nd Coming. Those ministers derelict in their duty are not.
Is your ministry preparing you by providing you spiritual food at the right time? Or is it derelict by providing food lacking in spiritual nourishment, leaving you spiritually hungry and malnourished?