“The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.”
(John 1:35-37 ESV)
Ministry can take on many different forms. And people, churches, and church bodies tend to focus their ministry in specific ways. Some will focus on feeding the poor. Others will focus on providing medical care. Some will focus on providing clothing or shoes. Some will focus on ministry to abused women. Some will seek to provide clean water for those who do not have it. And others will focus on the ministry of the Word.
For many, ministry and mission work is nothing more than the “social gospel.” It’s nothing more than demonstrating love for others in a tangible way. There is nothing, in their ministry, that sets them apart from a government funded social service agency.
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say. This type of ministry is needed and should be carried out. We see, in the New Testament, how the early church took collections for the poor. However, as the church, as a people called by Christ, the primary focus of our ministry must be something more.
The focus of our ministry is seen in the above passage. As John the Baptist looked at Jesus walking by, he said: “Behold, the Lamb of God!” In saying this, he was declaring Jesus to be the Savior. He was declaring Jesus to be the sacrifice who would redeem us from our sin.
Two of John’s disciples, who heard this statement, then followed Jesus. One of these men is not identified. Some believe him to be the apostle John. However, the other was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter.
John the Baptist pointed people to Jesus. He testified to others regarding Jesus’ identity and purpose. And these men, then, followed Jesus.
This, you see, must be the primary focus of our ministry. While we can and should meet the needs of our neighbors, and while we should reach out to them in a spirit of love, this cannot be the extent of our ministry. Our love for others should be demonstrated as we, first and foremost, point people to Jesus.
We cannot lose sight of this. We cannot lose sight of this because the greatest need of mankind is salvation. We can meet every worldly need people may have. But, apart from Jesus, it will mean nothing. It will mean nothing because, as Jesus asks in Matthew 16:26, what will it profit a man if he gains the world and loses his soul.
Pastor Kent Sperry, World Mission Committee member