Every True Minister is Entirely Devoted to Jesus

by | Sep 1, 2012

Every true Christian, called to be a disciple of the blessed Jesus, rather than refusing this offered privilege, renounces his all to follow Him. This is even more conspicuous in the character of every true minister.

Such a person, who is inwardly called by the grace of God to a state of faithful discipleship with Christ and outwardly consecrated to such a state by ordination to the ministry by the Church, gives himself unreservedly to the service of his Master. He does not resist our Lord’s command, “Follow me.”

Nor is he discouraged when Christ continues,

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16:24).

 

“No man having put his hand to the plow, and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).

 

“He that loveth father or mother, son or daughter, more than me, is not worthy of me.”

 

“He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt. 10:37-39).

If there is found any pastor who cannot say with the first ministers of Christ, “Lo, we have left all and followed thee” (Luke 18:28), that man is in no situation to copy the examples of his forerunners in the Christian Church and is altogether unworthy of his holy calling. For without this detachment from the world and this devotion to Jesus the Son of God, he is no true minister or even a real follower of Jesus Christ.

Observe these words of St. Paul who is always to be remembered for his faithfulness to his Master,

“Those things which were gain to me, 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 but dung, that I may win Christ and be found in him, having the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:7-9).

“For none of us” – whether true Christians or true ministers – ”liveth to himself, or dieth to himself; but whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord” (Rom. 14:7-8).

Professing to be either a minister of Christ or a believer in His Gospel without this entire devotion to Jesus Christ is to live in a state of the most dangerous hypocrisy. It is neither more nor less than saying, “Lord! Lord!” without having any firm resolution to do what our gracious Master has commanded us to do.

Let Zion’s watchmen all awake

 

And heed the alarm they give;

 

Now let them from the mouth of God

 

Their solemn charge receive.

 

’Tis not a cause of small import

 

The pastor’s care demands,

 

But what might fill an angel’s heart,

 

And filled a Saviour’s hands.

 

They watch for souls for which Our Lord

 

Did heavenly bliss forego;

 

For souls which must forever live

 

In glory or in woe.

 

May they in Jesus whom they preach,

 

Their own Redeemer see;

 

And watch, Lord, daily for their souls,

 

That they may watch for Thee.

 

—Philip Doddridge

The Rev. John Fletcher (1729-1785), the famous Vicar of Madeley in England, was a faithful associate of John Wesley, advocate of Christian holiness, and an articulate theological writer. This selection is taken from his Portrait of St. Paul. The hymn was written by Philip Doddridge (1702-1751), a Congregational leader, educator, and hymnwriter.

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