The Reformed Theological Seminary, Mkar

The Ministry of the Word

UNDERSTANDING GOD'S WORD AND ITS IMPLICATION - Rev. Moses Kater Wuakera (Lecturer, Reformed Bible College, Harga)
INTRODUCTION

The foundation of all Christian ministry is Jesus himself: who he is and what he said and did. The writers of the New Testament portray the ministry of Jesus in scenes of teaching and proclaiming the gospel, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, serving and self-offering in suffering and death. A theology of ministry seeking to understand What ever God said or want must first seek to understand Jesus in terms of his life and actions and what these mean for the shape of the ministry of his followers.

However, this does not mean considering all the Christological titles through which New Testament theologians sought to understand Jesus' identity. Rather, focus is on the words and actions which the evangelists attributed to Jesus' historical life and ministry. These will be considered within the context of the great ministerial traditions as seen from the late Judaism

Therefore, it has become paramount to understand whether the ministry of Jesus fit within the tradition of the ministry Of the Word or whether the early Church experiment with a more understanding than one from the antecedent traditions before defining its own Structures and forms of ministry. Has the final decision for the forms of ministry of the word within the new era coincide with the character of the life and ministry of Jesus and the type of ministry he personally demanded of his followers? We ought to examine and see how this has a bearing upon how ministers and Christians look at the Word and responds to it today.

THE WORD AND ITS SCOPE

What is called the word of God can be understood best from the scripture itself God Himself has revealed to us. What His word is. The Word is the sole content of what every message preaches in Christianity. This is the source of life, which satisfy the human person’s deepest hunger and thirst.

Historically, the "word," or "reason,' is called logos or “plan” plural logoi in Greek philosophy and theology which was regarded as the divine reason implicit in the universe, ordering the world and giving it form and meaning. It is the reason for the validity and meaningfulness in the world. For Without it (Word or logos) the universe knows no Order, form, meaning and its validity unascertained (Britannica Encyclopedia 2015).

Nevertheless, the concept distinct by the term logos is found in Greek, Indian, Egyptian, and Persian philosophical and theological Structures, it became predominantly substantial in Christian literatures and canons to describe or define the role of Jesus Christ as the standard of God as He is active in the creation and His constant structuring of the universe, revealing the divine plan of salvation to man. Thus, the concept triggers the clear picture of the Christian doctrine of the preexistence of Jesus.

The gospel according to John offers the major hints of the concept of Christ as the Logos the “word” or “principle” that issues from God in eternity. This answered the questions of the Neoplatonic metaphysics of being and the interest in the relationship of the "oneness" of God to the "triplicity" of divine manifestations, presenting Christ as the one and only answer (Brumbough 2009).

JESUS MINISTRY OF THE WORD

Jesus is portrayed by the Evangelists as being more than just a wisdom teacher. He is wisdom itself (Matt. 3:3- 4). He is himself the bread and the word of life. Thus in every aspect of his teaching Jesus went far beyond the tradition of the rabbis, He did not repeat their traditional interpretations of the Torah (Mk 7:15). He proclaimed and himself embodied a radically new “word” which only seems like genuine.

THE PRESENCE OF GODS WORD IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH

Genesis speaks of the beginning Where God created everything and in verse 3, it records that God did all the creation work through uttered Word — “And God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light" The silent expression of the Word in this place seems to make the Word somewhat hidden. However. John, the Apostle has done a good work of properly introducing this spoken Word of God to us He says, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was With God, and the Word was God He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made in him was life, and that life was the light of men.

The light shines in the darkness, but Torah. He proclaimed not the words of others, but the Word of God which was Himself. He did not only feed the minds of his listeners with instruction. He fed human persons in their Wholeness, healing their brokenness and feeding them with his word of life (Lk5:17. 66.1310-11). And also. John 9 presents the story of the man born blind, where Jesus teaching is connected with healing, and the healing bearing witness to Jesus.

Thus, Jesus is the great teacher who concentrated on teaching and expounding God’s word but He above all is the Word that He teaches. He bears witness to Himself and so every Christian's duty in word, action and even thought. This must always be what is expected, if one does not intend to address rather a parallel the darkness has not understood it (John 1:1-5, NV).

Note, in verse 12, he clearly speaks of the same Word as giving life (the power to become sons of God) to people who believe in Him and His name: “Yet to all who receive Him, to all those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." In verses 14, he speaks of the word as becoming flesh to dwell among men.

Note also that, all the four evangelists present Jesus as a teacher. Despite the evangelists' different theological understandings of Jesus identity they nonetheless consistently portrayed him as a teacher, both in his own actions and words, and in the response of those who heard him. Jesus was commonly addressed by the people as “teacher” not healer or seer or all the other titles (Is 53212) He taught in the synagogues on numerous occasions, Jesus was addressed in Aramaic as rabbi or rabboni. These terms were often translated into Greek in the NT as (“teacher”) and also in the Temple (Mt 4:23, 9:35, 13:54, Mk Lk 4:15, 31-33.6:6, on 18:20).

Further in Acts 1:8, Christ gave the disciples the promise of the Father — the Holy Spirit. He promised them that when He comes, he will give them the power to witness Him (Christ). The Holy Spirit gives Christians power to witness Christ in preaching. That is why any message that do not center on Christ has fears, no matter how good, often Christians are heard saying, “it is the Holy Spirit speaking in me” When actually their messages do not at all present Christ as the Word but emphasize it With utmost ferocity and persuade people to believe them. Actually, any message that is without Christ at its center, do not project Christ and is not powered by God's own Spirit. God's Spirit witness Christ everywhere. This is because, the devil is not afraid of a message that it’s content not solely God's Word.

Also the early Church preached Christ as their message these early Christians were those who took after Christ and had the firsthand knowledge of what God intended. In Acts 8:5 Philip whom God's Spirit took to preach to the Ethiopian Eunuch is said to have preached Christ to him.

Further, in Matt 17:5. God witness of the Word as His Son and concluded that. He (the Word) be listened to. By this, it IS noteworthy that there were good teachers of moral life, of ceremonial purity, the law and others, but God asked that, it should be His Son. Who is also His Word that should be listened to. This shows that, it does not matter how good a teaching or any other word is. He desires that His Son be listened to.

Further still, John 3:16 and chapter 1:1-3 shows that, God places His word above all other things living and nonliving, God has shown clearly that if the wounds of the lost man in a lost world can be healed, it must be through His Son alone. For no other name is given among men by which anyone shall be saved but only by the name of Christ, not by the name of any law, commandment, day of worship or prophecy but by Christ alone; "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none Other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12 KJV).

Paul affirms this further that. "I am not ashamed of the Word, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jews, then for the Gentile" (Rom. 1:16 NIV). This clearly specifies that, God's word is always living, alive and active wherever He (the Word) is proclaimed. It (or He) is all powerful to save and deliver whoever professes Him, from even the most powerful hand that anyone can think of, call it the Boko Haram or stubbornness of a child, husband, wife etc. God's Word can tear down rock-walls to deliver, when a door is opened for Him. In fact, this can be done in a much better way than the most stunning and powerful therapy any man can ever develop or think of.

Most of the world's religions understand and profess this eschatological fact to prove that it is an established fact. However, the problem with this and the religions is the way through which one gets to be saved in order to enter this everlasting life and not come to damnation. This is when every religion presents its way overall the years. It is the only question that has brought about Christianity and her task of preaching— to reach the lost people with the revealed answer to the core question of life as gotten from the Lord of the heavens and the earth.

Christian preaching is therefore, all about pointing people to Christ Jesus, their saviour who is the only way to God Almighty and the right and only way to their life in abundance, beginning right here on earth, unto the escape of eternal doom in hell. This is why, preaching is the core task of P CHINCIS THEREFORE,


“… PREACHING THEREFORE IS ALL ABOUT POINTING PEOPLE TO CHRIST JESUS, THEIR SAVIOR”

Christianity and the reason for which we are called to serve our Lord. It is also noteworthy of the fact that, any preaching in the name of Christianity that do not point its audience to Christ' salvation for them but preaches rather good works, morality, law, piety, prosperity, signs, entertainment, days of worship or of rest, Etc. instead of preaching the essence Of Christian preaching are useless and needless, They are just equal to nothing, In fact, such messages should be preached in either the mosques, shrines, theaters, or everywhere else but not the Church. Thus in general, we can summarize the total value of the Word in these ways as follows:

i. It satisfies man's need to be informed about his God.
ii. It gives man a sense of limitation, making him see God as the infinite One.
iii. It allows him the privilege to contact the Highest Spiritual Power with ease.
iv. It gives man the hope and forgiveness for his sense of guilt
v. It also gives man spiritual and physical satisfaction as in Matt 5:6
vi. A sense of correction (Ps, 51:1-6)
vii. The sense of healing and comfort (Jn. 14:1)
viii. The restoration of every hopelessness.

Therefore, there is need for Christians to understand that. God's Word is Jesus Christ He alone is thus the theme of every song, message or thought of a Christian who is of God. This do not just mean preaching any message in Christ name but emphasizing Christ in word, deed and thoughts and representing the essence of His Cross — Christ and His Crucifixion, as Paul says in 1Cor. 2:1,2, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (NIV). The word of God itself is living and powerful enough to save (John 8.32) because it is true and not just true but the absolute truth (John 1426). God Himself asks concerning trust in the Word He has given us: "Is not my word like as a fire? Saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" (Jeremiah 23:29 KJV), Also. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12 KJV). Its power can heal, feed, restore and sustain all who believe and trust It.

References

James D Dunn (1975), Jesus and the Spirit, Philadelphia: Westminster, JD Publications.

Brumbaugh. Robert S. (2009) 'Logos (philosophy and religion).' Microsoft-Encarta' Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008 logos. (2015). Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica,