So you want to be in the ministry?…

Leviticus 21. Conduct for those in the ministry. This chapter contains the regulations for the conduct of priests. YHVH’s standards are high, and a priest could easily be disqualified from service for failing to measure up. YHVH demands higher standards of righteousness, obedience and holiness for those in leadership over his people. 

The higher up in leadership one desires to go, the more one’s walk must characterize service, sacrifice, self-deprecation and holiness (see 1 Tim 3:1–13; Tit 1:5–9). The standards of holiness rise as one seeks to attain a deeper and more intimate relationship with YHVH, for as he entrusts a person with greater spiritual responsibility he gives a greater level of anointing commensurate with the responsibilities of the ministerial office. Spiritual responsibility and divine anointing aren’t things to be trifled with or taken for granted.

Yeshua condemned the religious leaders of his day for not practicing what they preached (i.e. hypocrisy), for living lives of pretense and show (he called such ones “whited sepulchers full of dead man’s bones”), and for greediness and pride. 

Check your walk in these areas. Do you want to “go places” with YHVH in service to him and his people? Are you willing to pay the price of self-sacrifice and self-deprecation? The sacrifices necessary to be Yeshua’s bondservant comes at a high price (especially for the flesh), but the spiritual rewards are priceless!

 

Yeshua’s Boot Camp Experience—Precursor to His Launch into Ministry

Mark Chapters 1–3: Yeshua is launched into the ministry—an example for us to follow.

As believers in and disciples and imitators of Yeshua, we endeavor to follow the example of how he lived. This isn’t easy to do, for Yeshua experienced much that we as normal humans who prefer the comfort zones of our existence would rather not go through.

Yet, we must all face the stark reality: There is no gain where there is no pain. Every body-builder and athlete knows this. That means to be like Yeshua we will have to endure and overcome trials, suffering, resistance, hardships, persecution and growth pains. This is part of growing up spiritually.

The great thing is that Yeshua is there to help us along the journey with the help of his word and example. He also didn’t leave us comfortless—without the Helper of his Set-Apart Spirit to guide, strengthen and succor us along the way.

It is interesting to note the order of events as Yeshua was launching his ministry. He was about to enter a war zone! After John baptized Yeshua and he received his heavenly empowerment (Mark 1:9–11), he first went through a spiritual boot camp before stepping onto the battlefield of public ministry. Once in the “war,” it’s worth noting where the battle
lines fell.  Continue reading


 

Yeshua on Self-Promoting, Self-Appointed Leaders and Teachers

Luke 6:40, Perfectly/fully trained. Those disciples of Yeshua the Master-Teacher who are properly trained, fit out, prepared or equipped can become like Yeshua the Master-Teacher. Those who aren’t properly equipped or trained to teach are like the blind leading the blind and will cause others to fall into a spiritual ditch (Luke 6:39).

Those who aren’t properly trained not only will be like a blind man leading the blind, but will also be hypocritical in his judgments and assessments of things. This is because he lacks the experience, wisdom and skills to be able to point out the faults of others because he is still inexperienced and has too many blind spots himself and is still like the blind leading the blind (Luke 6:41–42).

This is why Paul very carefully lays out the qualifications for those in spiritual leadership in the local congregation. A spiritual leader was not to be an inexperienced individual, a new convert or a novice (1 Tim 3:6), but well-discipled in YHVH’s truth before hand (Tit 1:9).

Paul says that it is good thing for a man to desire to be a spiritual leader (1 Tim 3:1), but it isn’t a good thing if he doesn’t meet the criteria or qualifications, which Paul then lays out (1 Tim 3:2–13).

The problem is that in our day, there are many individuals who desire to be leaders and teachers, who are self-appointed, and who have not been perfectly or fully trained. Since the advent of the internet, such people now have an easily accessible pulpit-platform from which to influence others. Sadly, they are like the blind hypocrite in Yeshua’s parable leading many astray and causing many to stumble and to fall into spiritual ditches of false doctrines and errant teachings.

Just because someone has a website, a YouTube channel, has published a book, spoken at a conference, has academic credentials or been on radio and television doesn’t mean they have been perfectly equipped or fully trained for the position of Bible teacher or a spiritual leader in the spiritual body of Yeshua.

We may not always know what a person’s background or qualifications are, but the spiritual fruit they produce, whether good or bad, can be an excellent indicator as to what type of spiritual tree they are, as Yeshua goes on to say in the next verses (Luke 6:43–45).

Those who sense a divine calling on their lives to teach or to lead YHVH’s people need to be first discipled and raised up by older and mature, wise spiritual leaders who have a proven track record of good spiritual fruit. This is the biblical way!


 

Wimps and Bullies Versus Godly Shepherds

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1 Timothy 3:3, Violent. This passage (vv. 3–7) lists the qualifications of an elder or leader of a congregation. One of the of character traits that he is not to posses is that of being a brawler (KJV),violent (NKJV) or pugnacious (NAS). What do the words brawler, violent or pugnacious mean here? It is the Greek word amachos meaning one who is by nature “a fighter, brawler, contentious, quarrelsome, one who causes strife, or one who is combative.” In modern terms, he’s a bully. Perhaps you remember the neighborhood bully from your years as a school child. An elder, overseer or shepherd of a congregation is not to be such a person. This is what Paul had in mind when he gave these instructions concerning the qualifications of an elder.

So let’s now explore this issue a little further. Is there ever a time when spiritual leaders may need to resort to forceful words or even to forceful actions to protect YHVH’s spiritual sheep? What, for example, did David mean when he asks the following question in Psalm 94:16?

Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?

What did Yeshua mean when describing a good shepherd versus an evil hireling shepherd when he said that unlike the evil shepherd, a good shepherd lays his life down for the sheep and protects them from those who come to kill, steal and destroy the sheep? He says that the good shepherd defends the sheep, Continue reading


 

Boot Camp and Battle in Store for Yeshua’s True Disciples

Mark 1–3

It is interesting to note the order of events as Yeshua was launching his ministry. He was about to enter a war zone! After John baptized Yeshua and he received his heavenly empowerment, he first went through a spiritual boot camp before stepping onto the battlefield of public ministry. Once in the “war,” it’s worth noting where the battle lines fell.

Оружие

  • Yeshua’s spiritual boot camp was the wilderness where he fasted for forty days and nights to get his body, soul and spirit, and his mind, will and emotions in sync with the will of his Father in heaven (Mark 1:12–15).
  • His first battle was an internal one. The devil tested him in three areas: his body, soul and spirit, or, to put it another way, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (Mark 1:13). After overcoming himself and submitting to the will of his Father, he was now ready to launch into the war zone of public ministry.
  • His mission was to preach the message of the gospel of the kingdom of Elohim and repentance from sin (i.e. Torahlessness, 1 John 3:4; Mark 1:14–15).
  • Next he chose his cadre of spiritual warriors — his “army”— the twelve disciples (Mark 1:16–20).
  • Where better to start proclaiming the gospel message than in the local synagogue on the Sabbath (Mark 1:21)? After all, the religious folks there should be overjoyed to hear this good news, fresh message from heaven. Right?
  • His first recorded act, other than preaching, was to cast an unclean spirit out of someone Continue reading

 

Are You A Commissioned Officer of Yeshua?

As in the military, you don’t make yourself an officer. You can desire to be an officer, and even go to officers’ training school. But you have to first go through training and then those above you in authority elevate you to the status of an officer. 

The same is true in Yeshua’s spiritual army. 

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In the church system, many have the desire to become officers in Yeshua’s army, but are really self-appointed hirelings who haven’t gone through Yeshua’s discipleship training school and haven’t been commissioned as officers.

In the scripture passage below, we see how Yeshua’s training and commissioning program works.

Matthew 10:5ff, Yeshua sent out. The Commissioning of the Twelve Disciples.

There are several notable aspects to consider when Yeshua commissioned his disciples. As modern-day disciples of Yeshua, we need to take these into consideration when assuming a ministry role. These are the requirements of his laborers who will work in his harvest field (see Matt 9:37 for context).

Yeshua calls one into the ministry (Matt 10:1). Some people go into the ministry as a career like any other job by their own choice. This is unbiblical. Involvement in Yeshua’s ministry is by his invitation only.

After calling one into the ministry, there is a time of training. This is the biblical norm. For some, it was five years (e.g., the Levites), or forty years (Moses and Joshua). David had a period of training before becoming king, as did Paul the apostle and Elisha. For Yeshua’s disciples, it was three-and-one-half years. The Matthew ten account is part of the disciples’ training program.

After calling them, Yeshua gives his disciples their marching orders by telling them where to go and not to go (Matt 10:5–6). They were to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, although, later on Yeshua instructed them to go the Gentiles. Paul even taught in several places that the lost sheep of Israel were to be found among the Gentiles, as the ancient biblical prophets predicted they would be.

Yeshua then instructs them what their ministry was to be (Matt 10:7–8). They were to do exactly as Yeshua himself did: preach the gospel of repentance and the kingdom of Elohim, and to heal the sick.

He then gives them instructions pertaining to travel arrangements — what they were to take on their journey, where they were to stay, and how to act when encountering resistance (Matt 10:9–15). This includes lodging, food and financial remuneration. On the latter point, today many itinerant  evangelists flagrantly violate Yeshua’s strictures in this regard and have become nothing more than travelling salesmen and peddlers always with their hands out for financial gain. They have simply become merchandisers of the gospel, sadly.

Next, Yeshua warns his disciples against persecution (Matt 10:16–26). He assumes that persecution would be a natural result of preaching the gospel. Conversely, it could be assumed that something is out of spiritual order when one preaches the gospel and persecution doesn’t occur.

Yeshua then instructs his disciples about fear — who to fear and not to fear. They are to fear YHVH, not men (Matt 10:27–31). This is an important point, since preaching the gospel to the lost can be intimidating, which is why so few do it. Yeshua promises divine protection for his disciples who preach the gospel as he has instructed (Matt 10:29–30).

The workman is worthy of his hire. Yeshua promises spiritual rewards to those who preach the gospel (Matt 10:32–33).

For those who are called into Yeshua’s ministry, he demands total commitment. One must put Yeshua first above all other human relationships. For this, expect rejection from family and friends (Matt 10:34–39).

Again, Yeshua holds out the promise of spiritual rewards for those who heed his call to become a disciple who works in his spiritual harvest field (Matt 10:39 cp. Matt 9:37).

Matthew 10:6, 23, You will not have gone through all the cities of Israel regathering all the lost sheep before the son of man comes. The sheep of Israel will not be totally regathered before the return of Yeshua. John 11:52 says that this is where the lost sheep of Israel were—abroad in that nations. Only recently, thanks to modern communications and travel, has Yeshua’s prophecy been fulfilled that the gospel would be preached to all nations before his coming (Matt 24:14).


 

The Moral Integrity of Spiritual Leadership or a Moral Morass?

1 Samuel 12:3, Whose ass have I taken? The moral integrity of spiritual leadership is essential.

Most leaders in Christian or Messianic circles would strongly assert their probity (honesty and decency), and at the same time would deny that they are building their ministry kingdoms for personal benefit, but what is the real truth?

Greedy dogs!

Greedy dogs!

  • How do they treat their children and wives behind the scenes?
  • What is their response toward their detractors? How do they treat other “competing” ministries?
  • Do they live off of YHVH’s sheep, or do they use tithes and offerings for the care and feeding of YHVH’s sheep?
  • If they do receive income from their flocks, how dependent are they on that income?
  • To what degree do they make decisions affecting the congregation in order to solicit a response that will ensure the security of their position as chief leader and beneficiary of the congregation’s largesse?
  • To what degree do they angle their teaching and preaching to curry the favor of their constituents thus keeping the funds flowing toward them?

These are questions that spiritual leaders all need to ask of themselves from time to time.