Summary: Christian ministry is a broad and detailed topic. Let’s simplify it with two all-important ministry questions: (1) What to do? and (2) How to do it? In brief, the answers are: (1) Preach Jesus Christ (2) in the power of the Holy Spirit. I was deeply stirred by this simple, one-sentence truth in a sermon by the late evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, who won 78 million souls to Jesus Christ in his lifetime. May that simple biblical strategy stir your soul and your ministry too.
This is the “what to do” that anchors Christian ministry — preach, teach, and share about Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior. Without Christ, there is no Christianity, no Christian faith, just generalized “religion” that brings salvation and eternal life to no one.
The early Christian Church recorded in the Book of Acts and the epistles made it their central task to actively, purposely preach and teach about Jesus Christ. They spoke to the people of their own hometowns, as well as in other cities and even foreign nations, sharing the soul-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The first-century believers were very active in this, even incurring great resistance by Jerusalem’s Jewish leaders, who said to them angrily, “You have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about Him” — that is, about Jesus (Acts 5:28, NLT). Let’s look briefly at some other examples of the early Church prioritizing the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Christians in the very first church that Jesus created — the Jerusalem church — devoted themselves daily to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ both at the temple area and in every house. One of them named Philip went up to the city of Samaria and preached Christ (Acts 8:5-8). Many received Philip’s Gospel message and came to Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Later a fierce opponent of Christianity, Saul of Tarsus, was converted to faith in Jesus and became the great apostle Paul, who eventually wrote about half of the 27 books of the New Testament. Paul took the Good News of the Savior Jesus Christ to many cities and even nations on the northern shores of (and also inland from) the Mediterranean Sea. In his own words, Paul “preached Christ crucified” to the Jews and also to thousands of Gentiles, with a great harvest of souls and many churches planted.
Paul summarized his extensive theological knowledge into what I believe is the best definition of Christ’s Gospel, found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 — “…the gospel I preached to you …  By this gospel you are saved …  that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” There it is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we are to preach, teach, and share with those we can speak to — Jesus died on a cross to take on Himself the punishment for our sins; He was buried; and on the third day He rose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, available and ready to grant salvation and eternal life to all who will come to Him in “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21, KJV).
Jesus is “the way,” the only way (John 14:6) to come to God the Father for forgiveness of sins and entry into the family of God and eternal life. You don’t have to be an ordained minister to share this truth with your family and friends. Any believer in Jesus can do this. He will be pleased that you are sharing His salvation invitation with others. And the Holy Spirit will enable you to speak the right words to the right people. So that’s the “what to do” that we can all get involved in — that is, preach, teach, and share Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior. You have the simple message of eternal life in Jesus Christ. Go for it! Share it with your friends and family.
Now let’s take a look at the Bible’s “how to do” this Gospel-sharing ministry.
Jesus the Son of God had been with His chosen disciples for 3-1/2 years before He was crucified, buried, rose from the grave, and ascended back to God the Father in heaven. He taught them. He opened the Scriptures to them. He sent them out in pairs to minister under His directions and gave them feedback afterward. One might conclude safely that His disciples had 3-1/2 years of ministry training that was better than any earthly seminary could ever provide.
But did Jesus then after His resurrection tell them to go ahead and start ministering? Not yet! In fact, He told them not to go out and begin their new ministries until they received Holy Spirit power from heaven to minister effectively. And Jesus specifically told them that this ministry power, to “be His witnesses” to the world, would come in the baptism with the Holy Spirit. He explicitly told His well-trained disciples not to go, but to wait in Jerusalem until they received this Holy Spirit power for ministry.
What you will read in the next few lines below is NOT that Holy Spirit power. It was their new birth (not baptism) by the Spirit. After that we will look at their subsequent baptism with the Holy Spirit and power.
This is reminiscent of the creation of Adam in Genesis 2:7 — “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life. Similarly, Jesus breathed on His followers to “receive the Holy Spirit.” And life, born-again life by the Spirit, came into them by this new indwelling of the Holy Spirit that Jesus breathed into them.
This is not the event of the later Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) — which occurred about 7 weeks later — when these same disciples received their baptism with the Holy Spirit. Rather, on this very first day of His resurrection we see here the fulfillment of Jesus’ earlier promise to them before His death on the cross: “Even the Spirit…he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:17). Before Jesus’ death and resurrection for our salvation He told His disciples that the Holy Spirit was “WITH” them, but that at a future time the Spirit would be “IN” them. That’s what happened when Jesus breathed on them the very day of His resurrection and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit of God was now in them, and this represents their being “born again” by the Holy Spirit, a term that was not part of pre-Cross theology. Every New Testament believer, that is, every born-again Christian, has this experience of the in-breathed Holy Spirit now dwelling “IN” them as temples of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). If you are a born-again Christian, you have the Holy Spirit in you.
But…and this is a major doctrinal “but” — to these newly Spirit-born and Spirit-indwelt believers in Him, Jesus firmly commanded that they wait for one more action of the Holy Spirit upon their lives, that is, the baptism, the filling with the Holy Spirit. Read these Scriptures, please:
In Luke’s overlapping accounts in Luke 24 and Acts 1 we hear Jesus saying to His already Spirit-born followers (John 20:22), “Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high [Luke 24:49] … “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait…in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit … You will receive power…and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth.”
About 7 weeks before Pentecost Jesus had breathed the Holy Spirit into His highly trained and taught disciples. Nevertheless, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem until they were subsequently baptized with the Holy Spirit and power, for the purpose of being His witnesses to the ends of the earth. And they received that Holy Spirit baptism with power at Pentecost. After that His Spirit-empowered disciples began fruitful ministry for Jesus in Jerusalem, Samaria, elsewhere in Israel, and even to other Mediterranean cities and nations.
At a missions conference I once heard the late German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke describe his soulwinning ministry in one sentence: “I
I personally consider the late evangelist Billy Graham to be among my 2 or 3 most respected men of the 20th century. Christianity Today wrote that 3 million people at his many crusades turned in decision cards declaring their acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior. That is remarkable! My love for this great saint is almost boundless. In fact, I attended his Madison Square Garden crusade many, many years ago.
That said, how did another evangelist, the German Reinhard Bonnke, fare in his soulwinning crusades? His ministry — which included Jesus-centered preaching along with healings and miracles and other supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit — recorded 78 million decision cards for Jesus in Bonnke’s lifelong ministry.
I mean no negativity whatsoever in this comparison of these two remarkable evangelistic ministries. The ministry of Billy Graham was spectacularly successful and fruitful for Jesus Christ. The soul harvest experienced by brother Bonnke was likewise spectacularly fruitful for the Lord. These two great saints, now with the Lord in heaven, preached salvation in the same Lord Jesus Christ, as all of us should.
What then was the difference? Simply this: in his ministry Reinhard Bonnke included the Holy Spirit’s supernatural “signs following” that Jesus included in the Great Commission in Mark 16:15-20. Filled with/baptized with the Holy Spirit, Bonnke preached Jesus Christ AND allowed verse 20 of that Great Commission to accompany the preaching. That is, just as Jesus’ disciples did, brother Bonnke “went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and
In his own words, Bonnke “preached Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.” So did Jesus’ disciples in the Book of Acts. And every Christian, including you, can do the same today. Every born-again Christian can receive the power-imparting baptism with the Holy Spirit and can minister Jesus Christ to people with the supernatural power of God confirming their preaching, teaching, or personal sharing about Jesus.
It doesn’t have to be from a pulpit or a platform. Simply talk to your friends and family. Tell them about the wonderful Savior Jesus, who died for their sins so they can have forgiveness and eternal life. If they have needs, pray for them and ask God to confirm His word with healings and other Holy Spirit gifts.
You too, like the believers in the Bible and in our recent Church history, can see much fruit born unto the Lord as you “preach Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Postscript: For all who are interested in receiving this biblical baptism with the Holy Spirit, I recommend a very informative video by my good friend, Dr. Berin Gilfillan, the founder of the International School of Ministry (ISOM). He teaches what the Bible says and will then pray with you to receive this blessing from God. You can see his video here.
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