The Principles of Ministry for Mission and Church Revival
By Rev. Dr. Yong Mok Cho
Dr. Stephen R Covey, is the author of "THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE" which has sold over 5 million copies, held 7 consecutive years' as a best seller in the U.S.A., and translated into 32 languages, emphasizes the importance of principle. Dr. Covey drafted an article for a Korean magazine discussing principles in the following parable.
Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities. Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, "Light, bearing on the starboard bow." "Is it steady or moving astern?" the captain called out. Lookout replied, "Steady, captain," which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship." The captain then called to the signalman. "Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees." Back came a signal, "Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees." The captain said, "Send, I'm a captain, change course 20 degrees." "I'm a seaman second class," came the reply. "You had better change course 20 degrees." By that time, the captain was furious. He spat out, "Send, I'm a battleship. Change course 20 degrees." Back came the flashing light, "I'm a lighthouse."
Dr. Covey surmised the following lessons from this story.
The principle are like lighthouses. They are natural laws that cannot be broken. The princi;oe here is neither difficult nor mysterious. If people are sincere, diligent and honest, they will surely succeed. But the speedier the change of society, the easier it can be governed by the theory of reformation, and it can rather fall into the atmosphere to despise keeping the principles.
Dr. Stephen Covey's emphasis of the importance of principle is good advice and provides lessons throughout today's society, where views of ethics and values are often confused. Above all things, to emphasize the importance of the principle is the mission to which the church should bring. The Bible is where unchangeable principles of life are revealed and recorded. We can say that Christians are the ones who learn these unchangeable principles and apply them to life. But in today's churches, a grave trend is appearing. It's a fact that church leaders and saints without principles are increasing. The wave of human-centered ideas, pluralism, heresy and secularization is the reality of Christian churches today. There is a trend to regard keeping the principle as defect of character, which is inflexible, stubborn or foolish, as compromising has roughly become a wise and good thing. People like short-cuts. But if this trend goes too far, people will throw away principles and look for easy methods to navigate through life. To accomplish this goal, they use fair means or foul. It is the pit into which anyone is likely to fall. In the work of serving God and gospel, keeping the principle, which God gave, is the best way. In the work of mission and church revival, the following principles are realized.
First, people should have a sense of mission.
1. The sense of mission of the worker for gospel comes from the consciousness of calling. Calling means that we are called by God to serve some special purpose. We can divide God's calling into two main parts.
There is a calling into Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7 says, "To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to grace and peace to you from God, our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." There is a calling as a worker for the gospel. Romans 1;1 says, "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God" Corinthians 1:1 says, "Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes"
2. Clear consciousness of calling provides people with a sense of mission. I'll make the example with people in the Bible telling this fact.
Moses was called on the Mount of Horeb. So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight-why the bush does not burn up." When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look. God called to him from within the bush "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am" "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." (Exodus 3:3-5) Paul was called on the way to Damascus by God.
3. God does not always call his workers just like Moses or Paul experienced. Nowadays, how do we know that we received the mission as workers for the gospel?
1) It's an enthusiasm for preaching the gospel. Philippians 2:13 says "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." There can be the various personal experiences and ways, but we can't skip two basic things.
The apostle Paul confessed in 1 Corinthians 9:16, "Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!"
The confession of David Breinard, "If I can lead the souls to Christ, wherever I go, however I live, or whatever I bear, I don't care. When I sleep, I dream of them, the first thought when I awake is about lost souls. However fluently I may preach by this intelligent, skillful and deep sermon to an inspired audience, this can never be substituted with the lack of deep, warm and sympathetic love about the spirits of human beings."
2) It's the joy in carrying out the mission.
Acts 20:20-24 say, "And now, compelled by the spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."
4. Because the people who have conviction and work with the mission and work with worth and joy, can carry out what is deemed hard and suffering. The people who work with a burning heart because of the sense of mission, regard the preaching of the gospel itself as the best boasting and glory to gain.
Second, People should be filled with the Holy Spirit.
1. One of the scriptures, which the worker for gospel should keep in their mind is Acts 1:4-8. "On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." So when they met together, they asked him " Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel? " He said to them, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." It was the words which Jesus Christ told to the disciples just before he ascended into heaven. It was his last request and it was the words, which has weight just like a will. The disciples of Jesus were the ones who were called by Jesus Christ and educated directly over 3 years. If so, they should preach the gospel right after Jesus Christ was ascended, but Jesus Christ ordered them to wait. He told them to wait until they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. He said " You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you."
2. The preaching of the gospel is not sufficient only with knowledge. The preaching of the gospel is not sufficient only with enthusiasm, nor is it sufficient with organization. For we must receive the power. We shall receive the power through the Holy Spirit. Apostle Paul said, "My message and my preachings were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power." (1Corinthians 2:4, 5)
3. One hundred and twenty people, who gathered in a house in Jerusalem obeying to the order of Jesus, waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit and prayed constantly. When the day of Pentecost came, all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. And they preached the gospel with boldness and miracles, and wonders appeared and numerous people accepted Jesus Christ. Marvelous signs appeared. Jewish religious leaders who were surprised at these events called Peter and John and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus and threatened them, and let them go. Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all these facts. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in praying to God. "Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." (Acts 4: 29,30) At that time, the place where they were meeting was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
4. So for the work of the gospel, we should have experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit repeatedly. We should be in the continuous status of being filled with the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, there are two words, fill and full, which have different meanings.
The word, "full" comes from the Greek word "pleth", and it means the temporary status of being filled ; for example, it is used in the case where a ship is filled with fishes fully or when a battery is charged fully. But what we know here is that the thing which becomes full, will soon be emptied.
The word, "filled" comes from the Greek word "pler" and it means the state of continuous and consecutive saturation for a long time. It is the same situation as a tree is filled with sap.
Ephesians 5;18 says "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." "Plerouste" which means, "Be filled with" is present imperative. This can be translated into "Be filled with the Holy Spirit continuously".
5. What should we do to be filled with the Holy Spirit continuously? For we don't have the time to handle this matter intensively, I'll tell you only one important thing. Rely not on ourselves, but on the Holy Spirit deeply in all things.
You may know the story of Moses and the burning bush. Moses was an adopted son of the princess of Egyptian king, and learned academic knowledge and physical exercise in the palace. When he relied on his background and abilities, God didn't use him. In the end, Moses' plan failed, so he fled and became a shepherd who tended sheep in the house of Jethro, the priest of Midian. From that time, 40 years had passed in vain. Moses, who was 80 years old, became mere one just like bush. His youth disappeared. And also disappearing was his brave and bold spirit. His tremendous dreams and expectations became burned ashes. Moses thought about himself who became a worthless bush. Amazingly, God made a strong and strange fire surrounding the bush, and then came into it. This has a very wonderful symbolic meaning. While Moses regarded himself like cedar of Lebanon, God didn't appear to him, but while he regarded himself like the bush of Mt. Horeb, God came to him and committed a great and religious mission to him.
We should learn the lessons from the experience of the apostle Paul. Paul had many worldly and physical boastful conditions. He was a man of the tribe of Benjamin. He grew up in Tarsus, which was a famous city, comparable to Rome and Alexandria. He was very good at not only Greek but also Hebrew. He was a student of the great scholar, Gamaliel. He was a Roman citizen. If he had relied on these things, he would not have been used by God greatly. He considered them rubbish. He had many spiritual experiences and he received great and various revelations very much. God let Paul suffer and gave a thorn in his flesh so that he might not rely on even them.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 say, "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelation there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me "My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, and in difficulties. For when I am week then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 1:8,9 say, "We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffer in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despair in life. Indeed, in our hearts we feel the sentence of death. But this happened so that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead."
So Paul did not come to rely on himself but on the Holy Spirit through his life. So he was always in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The power accompanied him in his work. And to the end, he had fought a good fight and finished the race as a faithful worker in response to the calling of worker for the gospel. Successful work for the gospel has inseparable relationship of fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Third, people should be faithful to the Bible.
1. The words which we preach are the words revealed in the Bible. We must not preach anything that does not coincided with the Bible. Whatever philosophy or idea that falls shortof the words of the Bible, or goes too far, should be rejected. We should reject any kind of such doctrines.
We should gather the lesson from the star which led Magi to the place where Jesus was born. "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jew. We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." When King Herod heard this, he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, for this is what the prophet has written: "But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel." Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." After they heard where the king was born, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was." (Matthew 2:1-9)
The star was not tempted by the luxurious city, Jerusalem, and did not stay there. The people teaching new theology and liberalism are the ones who stopped in the middle of the work. Robinson, the overseer said "Because the history of Christ is the transcendental history and the language of the Bible is mythological language, they should be reinterpreted in today's reality. The preacher, Postic said, "The biological event which modern society cannot accept is the birth of Christ from Virgin." We can see the phenomena that there is a theological challenge about the theory of the birth of Jesus Christ from Mary, a virgin. In theologians and saints, it is this that influences modern trends of liberal theology and secular philosophy that are shaking the traditional faith of the birth from a virgin. At the end of the 19th century, especially in Europe, many scholars have had religion research meetings and started to introduce the Higher Criticism about the Bible. They were zealous and they used the research, which was developed in the field of irreligious education, to investigate the history and accuracy of the Bible.
This influence of Satan spread through the research meetings in Europe and America just like a forest fire. And in 1920s, pastors from American Churches started to respond. Because the western world is seized by scientific and philosophic rationalism, and many leaders have not experienced to be born again in Christ, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit, the church fell into a whirlpool. If so, God whom they believe in cannot be God. Incapable and powerless God cannot be God.
The star did not go too far from Bethlehem. The people who teach Mysticism and Pluralism are the ones who go too far. Christianity is the religion of miracles and that of mysteries. The Christianity which excludes miracles and mysteries is not Christianity. The whole Bible is filled with miracles and mysteries. But we must not ignore the reason completely and become the mystics with biased mystery.
If people become mystic, various evil practices will be brought about. Our faith should rule over our emotions, but in mysticism, emotion rules over faith. People are enthusiastic to their mysterious experience. They want to put more authority to their mysterious experience than the Bible.
To people who preach a different gospel to get people's praise and favor, condemnation was declared. "Which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven, should someone preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:7-9)
We should not try to deliver according to our will and intention.
The question, which the apostle Paul made when he fell down before the risen Jesus Christ on the way to Damascus, gives us the lesson about the right attitude of the worker of the gospel. "Who are you, Lord?" "What shall I do, Lord?" 2 Corinthians 2:17 says, "Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God."
Our work of gospel should start from the Bible and should be progressed by the Bible and should finish with the Bible. It must not fall short of the Bible or go too far from the Bible. It should go where the Bible goes and stop where the Bible stops.
2. The important thing next to these facts, are the ways in how to preach. If the word of God is food, the way is like a vessel, which contains the food. To preach the gospel in various situations and various people effectively, it is necessary for us to use various ways and means. But the way and means should be holy.
Greatness without holiness should be rejected. The corruption of the angel is the result of pursuing greatness ignoring holiness. The corruption of Adam was the result of pursuing greatness departing holiness. What occurred in Babel was the event of pursuing greatness ignoring holiness." They said to each other. "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."(Genesis 11:3,4)
At the end, the great city Babylon will be judged and abandoned. And then, the new holy city Jerusalem will come. Revelation 18:10, 21 say, "Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry:" Woe! Woe. O great city. O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your time has come!" Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: "With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again. Revelation 21:1, 2 say, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband"
3. There is an old saying "Where there is a will, there is a way " In the Chinese expression there is a similar saying, "Bon Rib Do Sung." It means where there is a basic way, means come into being. If we follow the right principle, wise and good ways come into being. Missions and church revival should be accomplished in the faithfulness to the biblical principle.
To the worker for gospel, the facts of the words that he preaches, and the ways and means in which he delivers, all of them should be fitted to the Bible faithfully. If not, even though he took much labor and work, he will not receive praise, but rather be judged. He should keep it in his heart.
Workers for the gospel must not think about what a great thing they will do, but think about doing what a faithful work to the principle. The work which is faithful to the principle doesn't matter whether the visible result is big or small. It belongs to God's sovereignty. The work itself, which is faithful to the principle, means the success of the work.