Every Christian is a minister. According to the book of Romans, every Christian is called upon by God to minister the Word of God to other believers (see Romans 15:14 and the words “able to instruct one another”). But what does that actually look like? How can normal people like you and me fulfill this responsibility? Truthfully, there are as many ways as there are Christians and congregations. Still, let me offer a few common ways you can minister God’s truth to others, even this week as you gather with your church.
First, minister truth in resolving conflict. Because we are sinful people, we will at times behave sinfully toward one another. There will always be some measure of interpersonal conflict within a church, and in Matthew 18 Jesus clearly addresses how such disputes are to be handled. It is interesting and important to note that the elders are not mentioned until the very end of the process. Conflict resolution begins with an individual approaching another individual and showing from the Bible how that person has sinned. If he does not repent, then two church members approach that individual and demonstrate from the Bible how that person has sinned. First alone and then together, they minister truth and trust that this ministry of the Word will confront the person and cause him to repent.
Second, minister truth in mentoring. The Bible calls on us to be intentionally involved in the lives of other people, especially people who are younger than we are. You might think of yourself as a mountain climber who has nearly reached the summit, then looks back to see someone following the trail behind you. You know this trail is dangerous, full of sheer cliffs, unexpected twists, and sudden turns. What that person needs is someone who has already walked the trail to instruct him in navigating it safely. This is why passages like Titus 2 tell us that older men are to be involved in the lives of younger men and older women in the lives of younger women. We are to teach and train them, to minister truth from God’s Word that will help them successfully navigate life.
Third, minister truth in putting sin to death. We enter the Christian life with deep patterns of sin and sinfulness. God calls us to put such sin to death and to come alive to righteousness. This represents a greater challenge than we can face on our own. We need others to help us and we, in turn, need to help others. We help them by ministering the truth to them. So we open the Word to show them what it means to be holy in this area. We open the Word to remind them of the gospel when they’ve stumbled and fallen yet again. We open the Word so we can memorize appropriate passages together. We open the Word to pray its truths for that other person. In all these ways, we minister God’s Word to help another person put an ugly sin to death.
Fourth, minister truth in weaker/stronger disputes. This passage in the book of Romans falls immediately after Paul’s discussion of the weaker/stronger dispute that threatened to undermine the unity and effectiveness of that church. In that first-century context, this was a dispute between people who freely ate meat and people who remained vegetarian in an attempt to maintain the Old Testament laws. In our contemporary context it is unlikely we will encounter this exact situation, but there will still always be issues that threaten to divide us. Like this situation in Rome, it may not be an issue of truth and error, but an issue of weaker and stronger. When we see people struggling with such issues, we need to go to God’s Word and to minister his truth to them in order to foster unity and destroy division.
Fifth, minister truth in intentional spiritual friendships. At Grace Fellowship Church we have recently been emphasizing intentional spiritual friendships. We are intentionally making ourselves available to others to develop meaningful relationships with them, and in one way or another these friendships are bound together by God’s Word. So we have groups of women meeting together to study the Bible, groups of men meeting together to overcome a common sin, groups of men and women meeting together to read books. In its own way, each group is offering the opportunity for church members to minister God’s truth to others. In some way, each group is looking to God’s Word and bringing its truth to bear.
These are just 5 simple ways out of the countless thousands we could number. The simple reality is this: In every part of the life we share together as a church, we have the ability to minister the truth of God’s Word to others. Who in your church needs you to minister the word to them this Sunday?