Training for Service

MEMORY VERSE: “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” —Mark 1:17

MARK 1:16-20

IN MOST of the larger denominational churches of today it is considered necessary for one to spend several years in a theological college in order to be properly trained as a minister of the Gospel. However, there is no evidence in the Scriptures that any such training is necessary. In any case, the Scriptures do not authorize a separation of the church into clergy and laity groups. From God’s standpoint, every dedicated follower of the Master is anointed, or authorized, by the Holy Spirit to be a minister, or servant.

When Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John to be his followers, he said that he would make them “fishers of men.” He used this description of those who would be his witnesses because they were in the fishing business when he called them. But the same description applies well to all the Master’s followers, for they, like the apostles, are to seek to interest others in the Gospel, and hold before them the opportunity of becoming followers of Jesus.

While Jesus did not set up theological colleges for the training of his disciples, he did impart to them a knowledge of his Father’s Word and plan to the point their minds were able to grasp his teachings before receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. In prayer to his Father, Jesus said concerning his apostles, “I have given unto them the words which thou gayest me.”—John 17:8

But Jesus realized that his disciples were not yet prepared to receive and understand the fullness of his message, and he said to them, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, [it] the Spirit of truth, is come, he [it] will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:12,13) This promise by Jesus was fulfilled at Pentecost. It was there that the Holy Spirit came upon those waiting in the “upper room” in Jerusalem, giving them an enlightenment of mind; and the Holy Spirit has continued with Jesus’ faithful followers ever since.

At Pentecost Peter explained that Jesus had been raised from the dead and exalted to a position at the right hand of God, “and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” (Acts 2:32,33) Paul understood the significance of this great event, and in the second portion of our lesson, after mentioning Jesus’ resurrection and exaltation, adds:

“He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

Here we have the apostle outlining God’s program for training his servants throughout the present age. It began with Jesus, who passed on the truth of his Father to his disciples to the extent that it could be done before they received the Holy Spirit. And then, raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of God, Jesus “shed forth” the Holy Spirit upon his waiting disciples, and under the direction of that Spirit of revelation and discernment there were set in the church the various servants whom Paul identifies.

Our Lord Jesus, the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New Testament are the inspired servants of God in this wonderful arrangement. Their word is inspired to the dedicated follower of the Master. The servants are helpers, interpreters, we might say, who help the church as a whole to understand more fully what has been imparted by the inspired servants. But we should never lose sight of the fact that in this wonderful arrangement the final word of authority is vested in Jesus and in the prophets and apostles.

While in a congregation of the consecrated some may be appointed to serve as teachers, or evangelists, or pastors (elders), it is important to keep in mind that every consecrated child of God has a responsibility, through the use of the Scriptures, to build up his brethren in the faith, and to witness the Gospel of Christ to the world.


Outline God’s training program for his servants of the present age.

Who are the inspired servants of God?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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