Last week I wrote about my visit with Troy, a 34-year-old man who is terminally ill with cancer. It was my joy and privilege to sit down at his bed side and speak with him about his soul. I shared with him the good news of Jesus Christ and what God has done to save sinners through the life, death and resurrection of His Son.
If you prayed for Troy, I want to express my gratitude and request that you continue to pray for him. But, as far this article is concerned, I want you to consider a question: Is what I did with Troy just the work of the pastor or is it the work of every Christian? Before you answer, I think we have to acknowledge that most churches, and Christians in general, have relegated the work of the ministry to the “professionals.” Evangelism, discipleship, teaching the word, these are duties of the pastoral staff. This is why we pay pastors. This is why they go to school. That seems to be the mindset many believers have, but is it biblical?
Last Sunday, I began preaching through the book of Titus. Paul’s opening words (Read Titus 1:1-4) clarify the work that all believers are called to do, not just pastors. Now, I will say, the first four verses of Titus describe Paul’s ministry priorities, but I think we have to concede that every task he mentions also applies to us. It’s not just for Paul, and it is not just for pastors.
Let’s take a look.
First of all, Paul calls himself a “servant of God.” The term translated “servant” is the Greek word, doulos. It literally means slave. Paul could have opened up this letter any way he wanted. “Paul, a witness to the risen Christ. Paul, the church’s authority on theology and biblical studies.” But, in humility, the apostle says, “I am God’s slave.”
Paul understood that his life wasn’t his own. He was purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:20). He is no longer a slave of sin but a slave of righteousness (Romans 6:15-23). Therefore, Paul was a man under complete divine control and mastery, and we should view ourselves in the same light. Christians, if you belong to Jesus, your life is not your own. Christ purchased you for His good purposes. You should be doing His will, not your own.
What is Christ’s will for us? Paul explains this too. Two things stand out in the text. First, Christians are God’s servants, “for the sake of the faith of God’s elect.” We should be working to share the gospel so that God’s chosen children, the bride of Christ, will be saved. God has a people, elected before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5), and believers are tasked with the responsibility of sharing the gospel with the lost so God’s elect will come to Christ.
But, we don’t stop there. Yes, we want people to know Christ, but we also want them to grow in their faith. Paul says, I am a servant of God for the faith of God’s chosen “and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness.” He says, I want them to be saved and then grow in the faith. The way believers grow is by gaining more knowledge of God and His work in redemption (2 Peter 1:3).
Christians, God’s will for our lives is really quite simple. We are to share the gospel with unbelievers and then work to build up other Christians in their faith.