Father, Son, and Spirit continually engage, equip, empower, and encourage us as we participate with Jesus in loving others as he loves us.
By Bob Regazzoli, Pastor, Australia
We’ve been seeing a lot of emphasis in GCI on the 4 E’s. This is a process of involvement in ministry that isn’t just something a church leader thought would be a good idea but is in fact how our triune God includes our participation in the ministry of Jesus. Let’s look at each of these steps and see how God has been working in our lives.
First, God is the one who has engaged us and called us to follow Jesus. When Jesus began his ministry, he called his disciples. “As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Mark 1:16-18) Later, Jesus made God’s calling and engaging us very clear: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:44)
Following their calling, the disciples were taught and equipped for ministry by Jesus. They were to learn, observe, and then practice Jesus’ way of ministry. When they failed to understand him, he patiently explained to these disciples the meaning of his teachings. Within the body of Christ, we read how Jesus has appointed various ministries for the purpose of equipping the members. “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
All the members of the body are to be involved in ministry. Following the equipping of the saints, we are then empowered by the Holy Spirit to serve according to the gifting that each member is given. Jesus gave his disciples the hands-on experience. “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” (Matthew 10:1) They didn’t just follow Jesus around observing him doing ministry, he actively involved them. “It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters…” (Matthew 10:25) Through this involvement in his ministry, we are being transformed into the image of Jesus.
God’s Spirit is with us to encourage us. He is the parakletos, the one who intercedes for us, the Comforter, and the encourager. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17) Father, Son and Holy Spirit are always with us to provide us with the encouragement and support that we need. It is Jesus’ ministry, after all.
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
Let us be fully engaged, fully equipped, empowered and encouraged in our participation in the ministry of Jesus.