A minister of the New Covenant is a spectacle to the world. He is like a city that is set on a hill. He cannot be hidden. The world is watching
“We put no obstacle in any one’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labours, watching, hunger; by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:3-10).
A minister of the New Covenant is a spectacle to the world. He is like a city that is set on a hill. He cannot be hidden. The world is watching. The world of fallen angels is watching, looking for any fault or failure so as to accuse the minister before God and blame the ministry. The world of men and women is looking, watching each step, and analyzing each action. It is as if they carry electron microscopes to ensure that the smallest spot or failure, neglect or thoughtlessness is seen and used. The world does not want to believe, and if she can find anything in the believer’s conduct and actions as grounds for remaining in unbelief, she will use it. The world sees the evidence of transformed lives and the evidence is forceful. It is also convincing and convicting. So the world is uncomfortable wherever an ambassador of the New Covenant appears. However, if the world can find evidence in the life of the minister to discredit the gospel and the ministry, it will use it.
Even when the world does not find any evidence, it makes up hopeless stories about this believer and that one. The more significant a man’s ministry is, the more will be the attempts made to destroy him, if not physically, then on moral grounds. l say this from personal experience. The stories that have been circulated about me would provide material for many books – books of scandal beyond description. Stories on any type and every type of grounds. If you read the biographies of saintly Watchman Nee, you will find shocking stories told about him. Everything was done to destroy him, not only physically but even more morally. The same thing can be said about any minister of the New Covenant who has dared do something for God. You yourselves know what has been said about you. It is not only the false accusations of the unbelievers but the very painful accusations of the Body. So there are three levels of sources of accusations:
saints out of touch with the Lord, and
The fact that demons, believers, and the world will create stories, twist facts and misinterpret things just to discredit, implies that, if there are actual failures and weaknesses in us and in our ministry, that will provide grounds for attacks and accusations. There will be no limits to where the enemy, working through those three sources, can go to destroy us and blame the ministry. This means that we must be very careful. We must be correct before God. All our motives, actions, ways of thinking, relationships must be blameless before God. l believe that all ministers will easily agree with this. But this is not all. All our motives, methods, things, appearances, etc., must be so correct that fallen angels, saints out of touch with God, and the world will not find any grounds that they could legitimately use to blame our ministry. We must be so correct that anything that they say must be false or a distortion of the truth. Then our ministry will be blameless. Do you see then that it is not enough to be blameless before God? Do you see that for the ministry to be unhindered we have to deal with God, with evil spirits, with saints, and with the world?
Before we look at what it takes to be blameless, let us look at the life of the Lord Jesus to see that He went out of His way to be blameless. When He went to the temple with His parents He was lost in the crowd. The Bible says:
“And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and l have been looking for you anxiously.’ And he said to them, ‘How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that l must be in my Father’s house?…’ And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them” (Luke 2:48-51).
The Lord told them that He had to be about His Father’s business, but He went down with them and was obedient to them. He was a minor then and He submitted to them so that His ministry should not be blamed. Again,
“When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to Peter and said, ‘Does not your teacher pay the tax?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, ‘What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from others?’ And when he said, ‘From others,’ Jesus said to him, ‘Then the son are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give it to them for me and for yourself’” (Matthew 17:24-27).
Peter had wrongly committed the Lord. Should the Lord honor the commitment or not? He decided to honor it in order not to give offense to them. So the apostle insists that we are to do all to ensure that the ministry is not blamed. From his own life, he illustrated how he carried out his ministry, such that it was not blamed.
The most outstanding condition under which a blameless ministry is to be carried out is “through great endurance”. Without great endurance, it would be impossible to carry out a blameless ministry. There will be trials and problems from the left and from the right. There will be attacks from demons, men, and beasts. Even winds will be used if need be. Such a minister will know opposition in all directions, but he must endure. What must be endured?