Jesus Creed

The two focal points of the one called to minister the gospel, or in the gift of ministering the gospel (which is not the whole of our task), are people and the Word of God. Before getting into each, let me emphasize that the purpose of preaching is not to relay information only nor is it to be received well by the congregation, but to bring both into a relationship in such a way that the Word of God implicates the congregation (and the preacher/teacher) into its own story.
By the way, in what follows I do not mean that this only about the “stand in front on Sunday morning with three points” sort of task. A minister of the gospel is always on duty for ministering the gospel — he or she is always a minister, both personally and pastorally.
Notice how frequently, in this one passage when Paul extends his discussion about ministering the gospel, Paul brings up the church.
1:24: for you, for the sake of his Body
1:25: to you
1:26: now disclosed to the saints
1:27: among the Gentiles
1:28: everyone, everyone
One of the foci of Paul’s sense of what ministers of the gospel do is work with people — it is not about becoming well known, not about being famous, not about being the best preacher in the county, State, country, province, or world — but about a life focused on those to whom God has given us to preach and teach. One of the first questions a good minister of the gospel asks is this: “Who are these folks God has given me?”
But it is not just about studying the community. We also need to observe what Paul says about what one is called to preach or minstry. Better yet, “whom” one is called to preach or minister.
1:25: to present to you the Word of God in its fullness
1:26: the mystery… now disclosed
1:27: to make known
Let me make something clear that is sometimes neglected. What Paul means by Word of God is more than the Bible Paul had — it is the Bible come to completion in the redemptive plan of God in Christ and the Spirit. “Bible” is not enough: the Bible is designed to lead us to God and to be transformed for the good of others and the world in the process. We are called to be ministers of the trinitarian God whereby we stand between the people and the Word of God, behind the Bible, however you’d like to image it, and we are called to summon people to the triune Person: God in Christ through the Spirit.
We do this by how we live and what we say.

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