Our Philosophy of Ministry

 Our Philosophy of Ministry

Towdah Christian Church is committed to the preaching of the unchanging Word of God, and to the application of God’s grace to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and to the blessing of others.  “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” - Philippians 2:13    

-          Towdah Christian Church Mission Statement

Our mission statement represents our purpose for being. It is based on Philippians 2:13, which I believe is the most concise statement of God’s grace and God’s work in us in the whole of Scripture.

We will look at this verse, phrase by phrase. But it needs to be understood in the light of the previous verse.

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. - Philippians 2:12

The moment we are saved, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live within us. And His desire is to use our lives to exalt Jesus Christ. To do this, He desires to “work His way out” from our spirits, into our souls, and then though our physical bodies, our words and actions.

But He does not force this upon us. He desires that we yield to Him as He prompts us to give Him every area of our lives. Thus the instruction of Philippians 2:12. As we yield to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, we “work out our salvation.”

Taken alone, it might be understandable if someone were to misunderstand this verse.  But as we look at verse 13 in detail, we discover the basis of God’s working in this world, and the tremendous power of His grace.

 

“It is God”

A proper understanding of grace is essential to Christian maturity and effective Christian ministry. That understanding starts with God.

The reason that so many charitable/religious works yield so little lasting results is that God is not in it. He is not driving it. Without the power of God in the work, nothing is accomplished (see John 15:4-5).

If any good use is to come of our lives and our ministry, God must be the beginning of it, and the end of it.

 

“Which worketh”

If there is one thing which is central to our understanding of Christian ministry it is this: God does the work. We are the instruments through which His work is done.

Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. - Colossians 1:25-29 (emphasis mine)

 

“In you”

Ephesians 3:20 is one of the most popular verses in the Bible. Many believers recite it as a source of comfort and encouragement.

The problem is that many people quote only a portion of it, and miss its full meaning. You’ve probably heard it: “Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think…” I put the ellipsis there for a reason. Look at the entire verse, as well as verse 21:

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Look at what I’ve italicized here, and be amazed. That incredible power of God by which He does more than we can even imagine, is at work within us!

An essential point of Christian doctrine is this: God Himself comes to live within us when He saves us (see Romans 8:9-11; Galatians 4:6). As I mentioned before, when the Spirit of God gets inside of us, He gets busy!

 

“Both”

What does God do in our hearts? Does He just “educate” our minds by telling us what to do? Does He stir up in us a host of desires and then leave us to do them in our own strength?  No, the work of God in us is thorough and complete.

 

“To will”

As we see especially in the lives of people like King David, God works to create in us new, godly desires to replace our old selfish desires.

Psalm 42:1-2 – “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?”

Ps 63:1-5 – “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.  My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips”

Philippians 3:7-11 – “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

 

“And to do”

God empowers us to do what He wants. A cornerstone of grace is this: God never commands what He does not provide for. It is illogical to think that God would ask us to obey Him in our own strength. Rather, for every command in His Word, He also provides grace to enable us to obey it.

Philippians 2:1-4 is a good example. Verse one reminds us of the things God provides us (consolation, love, etc.). The point is that since God has provided so richly for us, we can then care for one another.

Another wonderful example is Matthew 28:18-20. In giving His disciples the Great Commission, Jesus reminds them of two things, before and after the commission:

-          He has all authority (v. 18)

-          He will always be with them (v. 20)

We need not be discouraged when we read God’s commands. He always makes a way to do them!

 

“Of his good pleasure”

Why is God doing all of this?  He’s doing it for His glory.  As the people of God do the things He has called them to do, more people are attracted to the Savior. As we yield to God’s Spirit, and follow His leading in His strength, good things are guaranteed to happen. As Christ is seen in us for who He really is, the risen Lord, He will receive glory and praise as people give their lives to Him.

 

Thus Philippians 2:13 is really a “philosophy of ministry.” If the principles of this verse are understood and practiced, grace will flow from Heaven, and Jesus will be exalted.