In pulpit ministry, before one becomes eligible to receive credits for good works, one must first be saved—baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; received the baptism of the Holy Ghost; matured in their discipleship under God’s authorized pastor or bishop. Then, any pulpit ministry work will begin when God sees fit. He will direct the pastor or bishop somewhat like He said in Acts 13:2, “…Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”
The Lord will inform the pastor or bishop to move the minister to pulpit ministry to be trained further by Him AND by the pastor or bishop to help the minister:
- perfect their discipleship;
- make full proof of their ministry;
- know how to till the ground;
- be temperate in all things for the mastery;
- keep under their body, and bring it into subjection;
- endure trials and persecutions for the Lord’s name sake;
- learn how to strive and press to finish their course with joy;
- endure the thorn in the flesh given by God;
- endure buffets from the messenger of Satan;
- strive not to be exalted above measure, through humility;
- hear the word at God’s mouth, and give the people warning from Him;
- preach the word in season, out of season;
- preach and teach as necessity is laid upon them by the Lord;
- speak and make things manifest as they ought to speak;
- never speak from his/her own heart;
- never seek the honor of men;
- never speak of themselves;
- never seek their own glory….
…and so much more….
Oh, and by the way, the Lord does not send His pulpit ministers to seminary nor theologian schools. We know according to scripture and biblical history, Paul went to the best schools and finished with the highest honors. But, after his conversion and salvation, he counted all things which were gain to him as loss for Christ … he counted all things but dung so he might win Christ — Philippians 3:4-8
He unlearned what he had learned!
God Trains His Pastors & Bishops—
God trains His pastors and bishops, exclusively …and… in a sense like Moses was set apart for ministerial leadership. We know in scriptures, God sent him to deliver the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt; he led them across the Red Sea to mount Horeb to worship God; he led them through the wilderness (for 40 years).
The time in the wilderness should have been shortened because it was actually designed for them to be there for development and preparation, so that they‘d be ready to take on new challenges which awaited them ahead across the Jordan river in the land which the Lord promised to Abraham. But, their stay in the wilderness was extended to 40 years in order to die off all who gave an evil report after they spied the land of Canaan—the promised land (Numbers 13:30-33; 14:36-38).
As a result, only two (Joshua and Caleb with their families) who wholly followed the Lord, and gave the good report, were permitted by God to cross the Jordan river and enter into the promised land (Numbers 32:10-13).
But as we know, Moses was not permitted to enter the promised land. He was only allowed to see it from a distance because he hit the rock, i.e., he did not sanctify the Lord in the eyes of the people (Numbers 20:12; Deuteronomy 32:48-52). Joshua was charged by the Lord God, directly, to lead the people across the Jordan river into the land of Canaan (Joshua 1:1-2).
Now, there is one part we need to discuss — it concerns their stay in the wilderness when Moses’ father-in-law visited and saw the massive load of ministry work laid upon his shoulders. “And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.” — Exodus 18:17-18
After Moses entreated the Lord of what his father-in-law humbly advised, it was confirmed as truth, and the Lord taught Moses (after the entreaty of his father-in-law) to teach “…able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over…” the people and assign them to certain groups to judge the people in all seasons …and… to share the burden with Moses and to make things easier on him during his tenure; but Moses judged every great matter — Exodus 18:13-27
First Special Note: God will NOT say anything to anyone that someone else is suppose to say to them — the conversation between Moses and his father-in-law is one confirmed point of reference.
Other Interesting Factoids—
Aaron and Hur were appointed to hold up Moses’ arms during battle (Exodus 17:12). Joshua was on the mountain (midway up) while Moses was on the top to commune and receive the word directly from God (Exodus 24:13; 32:17). Paul attended schools (and viciously mistreated the church) ignorantly in unbelief prior to his conversion and salvation (Acts 9:1-18; Philippians 3:4-6). Many pulpit leaders (but not all) of today, have some form of seminary or theologian training or another, also ignorantly in unbelief.
Second Special Note: We know that the word “seminary” was first known to be used around the sixteenth century in 1524 a.d., but we will use the words seminary and theologian in this exhortation to identify the school systems of the first century.
I attended seminary at one time, but gladly followed Paul’s example to unlearn what I had learned after the pastor God gave me “expounded the way of God more perfectly” as Aquila and Priscilla did for Apollos (Acts 18:26). And immediately, I renounced and repented because I heard, received, and believed the truth. God had mercy and saved me from eternal judgment.
After a time with a new and enlarged heart AND a renewed spirit and mind, the Lord officially called me to pulpit ministry. Now, I can minister and receive credits for good works …and… continue to strive to receive a full reward after I finish my course. I labor in discipleship, in the ministry I received of the Lord Jesus, and in the word and doctrine daily to receive credits for good works AND to obtain both a crown of life, and a crown of righteousness.
We thank God for His mercy on Paul so he could comfort us with the same comfort wherewith he was comforted by God.
Church leaders and pulpit ministers currently students of (have attended, or have completed courses at) a seminary or theologian school(s), God may have mercy if they receive the truth and renounce what they have learned; die to what they have learned; and unlearn what they have learned of the church doctrines and traditions, the commandments and philosophies of the church and of men, which are preferred over and above the prescribed word of God. As He did for Paul, others, and me — so can the Lord Jesus Christ save today’s unauthorized minister(s) from the doomed state of unauthorized pulpit ministry works … if they did it ignorantly in unbelief …and… if they repent(-ed).
God said, “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” — Hebrews 5:4
Jesus Never Attended Seminary—
“And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” — John 7:15-16
The Jews were taught in schools of the law of Moses, and the prophets, along with THEIR doctrines, traditions, and philosophies of men, but Jesus never attended THEIR school systems. He stood against THEIR doctrines the entire time while on earth manifest in the flesh.
Again, God does not send His pulpit leaders or pulpit ministers to any seminary or theologian school(s) … but an hireling will send a zealot minister in a hot minute. We know this to be the truth because the pastor God gave us never attended seminary nor theologian school(s), but was (and is) trained by the Lord Jesus Christ, EXCLUSIVELY, (as He trained Moses, the prophets, and His disciples), and was (and is) legally ordained and appointed a pastor, and a bishop!
The wisdom, knowledge, and understanding God gave (and is giving) him of the scriptures (and across the board from — just life moments, to social media, to corporate structures, and to what God said….) surpasses all other pastors, bishops, pulpit leaders, and pulpit ministers we have ever been exposed to prior to his pastoral care of our congregation …and… he comforts us (time after time) with the same comfort wherewith he was/is comforted by God. He is truly the pastor who feeds us with knowledge and understanding according to God’s own heart!
We are NOT saying our pastor is the only one given by God, but he is one of a few pastors/bishops given according to God’s own heart…. It is nothing to brag about, but, it is a humble acknowledgement of honor given to whom it is due. AMEN!!!
All pulpit leaders and ministers really need to know the pastor or bishop God gave to have the rule over them (it’s for their life) — Hebrews 13:17
The Disciples Never Attended Seminary—
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.” — Acts 4:13-14
The counsel said, Peter and John were “unlearned” meaning, they were “unlettered and illiterate” because they did not have the counsel’s type of education, yet the two were in authorized ministry leadership positions … appointed by God, Himself. The counsel also called them “ignorant men” (by implication) ignoramus, i.e., “idiots” … In the NT, the Greek word is “idiōtēs” from which the word “idiot” is derived; it refers to an unlearned, illiterate private man, as opposed to a learned and educated magistrate, ruler, or king (Strong’s) … such was the common notion of honor among men of high positions in the community, but they did not seek the honor that cometh from God only (John 5:44). The counsel actually marveled at the boldness of Peter and John.
Consider who and what God has chosen:
- (1 Corinthians 1:27-29) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
- (Isaiah 29:13-14) Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.
- (2 Corinthians 4:1-5) Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
The Concept of “Follow Me”—
We have learned, God’s method to call His leaders into His pulpit begins with the concept and call to “follow Me” (that is, follow Jesus Christ) through discipleship under the pastor and/or bishop He gave as He called His disciples.
Here are a few of the “follow Me” calls made by the Lord our Savior:
- Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, “follow Me” — Mark 4:18;
- Jesus said to Matthew, “follow Me” — Matthew 9:9;
- Jesus said to Levi son of Alphaeus, “follow Me” — Mark 2:14;
- Jesus said to Philip, “follow Me” — John 1:43….
- He called all His disciples the same way … “follow Me”;
- Jesus said to all who believeth on Him to take up their/our cross … “follow Me” (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; John 10:27; 12:26).
Remember, Jesus also said, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” — John 17:12 (See: Psalm 109:6-8)
Eleven of Jesus’ twelve disciples were saved and appointed to some form of pulpit ministry except Judas who was the “son of perdition” … he was the only one of the twelve whom Jesus never knew, and by his “transgression fell, that he might go to his own place” (Matthew 7:23; Acts 1:25) — of eternal misery in hell.
The Dangers of Unauthorized Works—
Before we dig into this area of unauthorized ministry works, we will do a brief recap of good ministry works from earlier, which are all according to God’s will and mandates assigned to His pulpit leaders and ministers in whatever aspect or capacity of ministry call appointed to them; they are expected to strive to perfect their discipleship; make full proof of their ministry (2 Timothy 4:5); be temperate in all things (1 Corinthians 9:25); be equipped and ready to preach the gospel when necessity is laid upon them, from the Lord (1 Corinthians 9:16); minister according to the ability God giveth, and of their proportion of faith (1 Peter 4:11; Romans 12:6) … and so on, and so forth….
With these things being said, let us shift our discussion to look into one of the dangerously and deadly unauthorized pulpit ministry works in the Church world called, prison ministry. We have learned the hard way over many years, it is actually a Pharisaic work. For obvious reasons, it is unauthorized labor with no good credits from God; the good works of the prison ministry groups are truthfully speaking, dead works, and strange fire.
Hear what Jesus said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” — Matthew 23:15
Prison ministry is a work for the modern day zealots which resembles the works of the Pharisees of the first century Church world! Why? Glad you asked … God’s word has NO free course to be glorified among zealots and in the prison system AND because most zealots do not know the word of God. So, it is easy for them to blend in with the prison system and cause irruptive damages by their profane and vain babblings. We also realize (for some of the more innocently ignorant zealots) the mood of their group — full of excitement and fervor to go out and minister to the inmates, but the ministry group functions without full discernment “…they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” — Romans 10:2
In the Spirit, prison ministry is both dangerous and deadly because some chaplains strongly urge the inmates to attend services rendered by ministry groups, or suffer the loss of certain privileges. Ouch! We know that, God NEVER forces ministry on any person, ever! See, a red flag!
The dangerous part is the compromise of the word of God; the deadly part is how false words such as profane and vain babblings causes death, because false words eat to devour the truth in the heart much like gangrene mercilessly and rapidly destroys an entire infected area of the human body.
I know, some (if not many) of you may think I am crazy and don’t know what I am talking about, but I too was a partaker of prison ministry while under an hireling. The Lord allowed me to go through the process; to be permitted and authorized by the state I lived in to minister to inmates in the prison system; to know first hand from God (years later after leaving the hireling, and submitting to the pastor He gave me) prison ministry was not added to His requirements of a good minister of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I was shocked at first for a very few seconds, but received His word and repented, immediately! I felt like an absolute fool and idiot for every unauthorized ministry service for the inmates I called myself caring for …and… I received no credit for my alleged good works, which were by the way, actually dead works from God’s perspective. DEAD WORKS??? Yep! Because faith without works is dead (James 2:20), just as works without faith is dead; and faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). GOD NEVER SAID DO PRISON MINISTRY, and I was convicted after THAT truth was spoken, heard, believed, and received from the pastor God gave me.
Here’s something else we learned after the fact, it was one of the false leaders of the dead church we attended—the pastor of prison ministry—he spearheaded the program; he was zealous and excited to minister to the inmates, and the hireling approved and supported the work.
Jesus did not send His disciples to force the word of God down the throat of any person, but said to them as it pertained to ministry work, “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” — Matthew 10:14
The places Jesus sent the disciples to minister had to be proven worthy to receive His word, first. If they were not worthy, the disciples were commanded to shake off the dust of their feet as a testimony against the house or city they entered. In the same light (and in knowing Jesus Christ is the same both yesterday, today, and forever) we have learned that the word of God was NOT permitted (by most chaplains we know of) to be read from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible; they preferred other translations … the dust should have been shaken off our feet. But we entreated the chaplains and they allowed us to read the Authorized King James Version, but we could not pass out any Bibles of that version to any of the inmates. Another red flag!
In our group, the passage of “shake off the dust of your feet” never came up in view of the prison system’s guidelines for visiting ministry groups.
See, God’s pastor or bishop would have shut it down already, at the first sign of interest, before it could ever start.
I was still at the dead church when the Lord revealed to me why prison ministry was not called nor sanctioned by Him — first and foremost, He never said (nor had it written) to do prison ministry …and… He received NO GLORY! I had no further aspirations or desires to continue in the prison system. Shortly afterward, God said it was time for me to leave to save myself from the unauthorized pulpit ministry at the prisons, and, from the hireling. God said, enough!
God had mercy on me since it was done ignorantly in unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13), and brought it back to my remembrance. Nevertheless, it was still an act of zeal without knowledge of the criticality of unauthorized ministry work … not sanctioned nor approved by Him. I learned to deal with the hardness of God’s word through strong rebukes and scourging to keep my life from eternal judgment. Thank God for the pastor/bishop He gave our congregation!!!
Consider what Jesus said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” — Acts 1:8
The disciples were instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ to make other disciples (that is, enroll scholars), which required constant care and development.
Constant care and development are not permitted in the prison system from any outside sources, i.e., prison ministry work.
Zeal … Not of Necessity and Not of Urgency—
Even though many who work(-ed) the prison system in a ministry group as we did for many years with much vigor and a zeal of God but not according to knowledge, we didn’t pay attention to the fact that His word did NOT have free course to be glorified. We were full of zeal, blind faith and excitement with false hope to change the prison system so we might lead some of the inmates to salvation. A HUGE red flag!
Let us reiterate that, we were NOT under God’s called and appointed pastor or bishop at that time … if we had been, there would be no prison ministry, nor any permission to start one. As we know with all certainty, the flesh, the high thing, and the wicked one loves to do any so-called ministry, offer all forms of strange fire, and do every other thing God hates (with no hesitation) to glorify self AND to receive the honor and praises of men.
Do you want to fight the good fight of faith? Well, get rid of the prison ministry mindset, stop shadow boxing, and deny your flesh and bring it into subjection. Otherwise, that prison ministry work you endeavor (in the name of the Lord) will be at best “strange fire” (Leviticus 10:1-2).
Let’s pause to define the word “strange” in Leviticus 10:1—
According to Strong’s, the word “strange” specifically means, to commit adultery, i.e., Nadab and Abihu committed spiritual adultery which is an act of idolatry. In the Ancient Hebrew, “strange” refers to “one who is scattered abroad.” It is a conceptual precept of a minister unlearned and unstable in the word and doctrine much like a “scatterbrain” is forgetful, disorganized, or unable to concentrate or think, clearly (Merriam-Webster). They cannot be trusted to minister to any person; they are unstable in all their ways (James 1:8). God never called a scatterbrain to do any level of pulpit ministry … they are worse than a donkey (Numbers 22:32-33).
So, because Nadab and Abihu “offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not … there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” The penalty for offering strange fire is DEATH, either immediate or eventual. False prophets CANNOT repent; those who fall away CANNOT be renewed unto repentance; others may have mercy due to their ignorance for a time, but, they will NOT receive mercy if they fail (or failed) to repent.
Remember, God sends His pulpit leaders to where He has chosen them to labor and finish their course of ministry. If you are excited to do ministry, know up front that God IS NOT behind you … it’s the angel of light in the background to deceive you to become a false prophet.
Many churches, community religious groups, and suchlike conduct prison ministry out of zeal … but there is no necessity nor urgency to do so from God, nor from His perspective!
As a result of their own zeal, some (if not many) of the inmates will be contaminated and not healed (nor restored) from the poisons of their profane and vain babblings; or the inmates will be deceived to follow the pernicious ways of the zealous minister(s); or the inmates will be deceived to imbibe words from the visiting ministry’s table which is full of vomit and filthiness servings (2 Timothy 2:16-17; 2 Peter 2:2; Isaiah 28:8). An EXTREMELY large red flag!
Prison Ministry Compromise—
Here’s another point of reference to touch on … many chaplains in the prison system are staunchly religious — it is like pulling teeth with a pair of pliers to do real pulpit ministry in their facility. Why? The trinitarian mindset, which conflicts with the truth of Jesus’ identity. Yet, another red flag!
It challenges the ministry group to choose whether or not to:
- agree with the chaplain about the trinity;
- keep silence about Jesus’ true eternal nature;
- keep silence about perfection in discipleship;
- forbid water baptism in Jesus’ name for the remission of sins;
- forbid the baptism of the Spirit to receive the Holy Ghost;
- sing churchy and worldly songs to cover visitations;
- read multiple translations of scriptures or read from inspirational writers;
- limit types of short exhortations to provide the inmates some comfort;
- encourage the inmates to hold on until their change comes….
…not worthy … shake off the dust….
The Hireling & Pharisee—
These things I know particularly, having been in an unauthorized prison ministry group—from God’s perspective! And, we were allowed to do prison ministry since the pastor was an hireling (i.e., an imposter) not given to us by God …and… the Lord allowed it so we might observe and perceive the truth of what are (and are not) permitted in prison systems according to the standards required of religious groups.
Please by all means, shun the Pharisaic hype to do any unauthorized ministry — it will prevent the likelihood to convert the person you ministered to from becoming twofold more the child of hell than the Pharisaic work of unauthorized ministry presented to them with false words of hope.
—Please, be seriously advised!
Credits for Good Works—
- (2 Timothy 3:16-17) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
- (Titus 2:7-8) In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
- (Titus 3:8) This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
- (1 Peter 2:11-12) Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
- (2 Timothy 4:7-8) I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
- (1 Corinthians 9:25-27) And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
- (Acts 20:22-24) And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
…good works by God’s perfect workers….
If you are a minister in ministry, develop your discipleship, first and foremost. Remember, Jesus’ disciples were still His disciples even after their apostleships — they were witnesses (martyrs) unto Himself; they preached the gospel to those who believed on Him by their words, and the believers were (and are) enrolled as His scholars, that is, taught to be made “…wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” — 2 Timothy 3:15
Finally, credits for good works goes out to authorized and appointed pulpit leaders and pulpit ministers who put the brethren in remembrance of what God said; they are the good ministers of Jesus Christ—educated in, skilled in, and imbued with, the words of faith and of good doctrine, which they have been conformed to, and followed closely, in order to know (fully) their course of instructions unto the work of the ministry they received of the Lord Jesus (1 Timothy 4:6; Acts 20:24).
In Christ We Do Remain
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