Today’s selected reading is found in the first New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto his spiritual son in the faith—Timothy. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first eleven verses of the first chapter. When you begin reading this particular passage of Scripture, the first thing you notice is how Paul opens up and begins it the way he did each and every one of his previous epistles. In the first verse of this chapter we find the apostle Paul writing the following words: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1). What I so love about how the apostle Paul opens and begins this particular epistle is not only that he wrote and declared himself to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, but he would go on to write how he was an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ. As I am sitting here this afternoon considering the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto his spiritual son in the faith I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the reality that the apostle Paul wasn’t an apostle for and unto himself, but was an apostle of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the single greatest question that I am finding myself asking right now when reading these words is whose apostle are you? If you are a pastor of a particular congregation—who’s pastor are you? If you are an evangelist that travels across and throughout the country—whose evangelist are you? If you are a missionary who travels within and throughout the world, or perhaps to a specific country and people—whose missionary are you? If you are a prophet of and unto the Lord—whose prophet are you? If you are a priest of the Lord called to offer up sacrifices and offerings before and unto the Lord—whose priest are you? What I absolutely love about the words which the apostle wrote in this particular portion of Scripture is that he recognized that what he had been entrusted with, and what he had been given did not belong to him. The apostle Paul recognized, knew and understood something that each and every minister of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ should know and understand, and that is that there is absolutely no ministry that belongs to any man. Regardless and despite how many men and women may label the ministry they are engaged in using their name—the ministry which they have been entrusted with has never and will never belong to them.
If there is one thing we can be absolutely certain about when it comes to the apostle Paul and the ministry that was entrusted into his care—it’s that he never viewed the ministry as belonging unto him. You would have never found the apostle Paul writing concerning the ministry and declaring it as belonging unto him, and marking it as something which was somehow a possession of his. For the apostle Paul, the apostolic ministry that was entrusted into his care and into his hands belonged to one person and one person alone—the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, one of the realities which I so love about the words which we find in this particular verse is that when Paul opens this particular epistle he first speaks of God our Saviour, but then rather than declare “our Lord Jesus Christ,” he actually omits the word “our,” and simply declares “Lord Jesus Christ.” This is actually quite unique and powerful when you take the time to consider it, for when writing to unto the saints which were at Rome you will find the apostle Paul writing concerning how one is truly saved and transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Consider if you will the words which the apostle Paul beginning with the fourth verse of the tenth chapter within the epistle which was written unto the Romans: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describegth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (That is, to bring Christ down from above) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For showoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preaching? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things” (Romans 10:4-15).
I am utterly and completely convinced there is something which directly connects the confession of Jesus as Lord, as well as any type of ministry men and women engage in. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which our Lord Jesus Christ spoke in His famous Sermon on the Mount—words which are recorded in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew. Beginning with the thirteenth verse of the seventh chapter of Matthew’s gospel we find the following words which were spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit: but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth t hem not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:13-27). A similar message was echoed in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel according to Luke beginning with the forty-sixth verse: “And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46-49).
What is so incredibly interesting about the words which our Lord Jesus Christ spoke in His Sermon on the Mount was that He not only spoke of those who would say unto Him, “Lord, Lord,” but he spoke of those who confessed Him as “Lord,” and yet they find themselves being dismissed from the presence of Jesus. Not only do such individuals find themselves being dismissed from the presence of Jesus, but they also find Jesus declaring unto them how they are workers of iniquity. How? How is it possible that men and women could approach Jesus and say “Lord, Lord,” and yet not only does Jesus not know them, but Jesus also describes them as workers of iniquity? The answer is partially found in verses twenty-one through twenty-three of this particular passage in the gospel of Matthew, for Jesus speaks of those which do the will of His Father in heaven. Oh, please don’t miss the tremendous significance and importance of this, for while we may very well confess with our mouth Jesus as “Lord,” it is highly possible that we do not the will of His Father who is in heaven. Please note and understand that it is possible to declare Jesus as Lord, and yet within thine heart abstain and refrain from doing the will of His Father which is in heaven. What’s more, is that it is even possible to say unto Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” and even boast of tremendous exploits in ministry, and yet not only not be known by Jesus, but also hear that you were a worker of iniquity. Notice that Jesus speaks of those who will say to Him in that day, “Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works,” and then immediately reveals how He will declare and profess unto them that He never knew them, and instruct them to depart from His presence because they were workers of iniquity. What sobering and somber words these truly are when you consider them, for it is possible to declare Jesus as Lord and to profess of prophesying in His name, and in His name casting out devils, and in His name performed many wonderful works, and yet not only hear that Jesus never knew you, but also be instructed depart from Him because you worked iniquity. How is this even possible? How is it possible that one can profess Jesus Christ as Lord, and even do many wonderful things in His name, and yet not only not be known by Him, but also be instructed to depart from His presence because you worked iniquity? The answer not only lies in this passage concerning doing the will of our Father who is in heaven, but also in the preceding passage concerning bringing forth good fruit. What’s more, is that we find the answer to this question as lying within the reality of hearing the sayings of Jesus and yet choosing not to do them. There is a tremendous connection between professing Jesus as Lord, and even doing many wonderful things in His name, and actually doing the will of His Father in heaven, bringing forth fruit, and even hearing the words and sayings of Jesus and doing them.
With the words which the apostle Paul writes concerning confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as the words which Jesus Himself spoke and declared in His Sermon on the. Mount, we can clearly see a powerful reality concerning the declaration and profession of the Lord Jesus Christ within our lives. What I so love about the opening verse of the apostle Paul’s first epistle to Timothy was that he not only wrote concerning God our Saviour, but he actually professed and declared Jesus as Lord. It’s absolutely and incredibly interesting and intriguing to read the words which the apostle Paul wrote, for in the first part of the verse we find him referring to himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ, and being an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the commandment of God our Father, and Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul recognized and understood the direct connection between the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord, and actually fulfilling and carrying out that which was commanded by God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ. It’s worth noting and pointing out that not only did the apostle Paul understand himself to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, but He also recognized and understood himself as being a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. This reality is expressed and revealed—not only in the fact that the apostle Paul declared how he was an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, but also by referring to Jesus as “Lord Jesus Christ.” Perhaps one of the greatest struggles we have within our daily lives is that of recognizing and understand the lordship of Jesus Christ. Oh, we have absolutely no issue and no problem with Jesus as being “Redeemer,” and “Savior,” and perhaps even as “Messiah,” and “Christ;” however, when we come to the reality of Jesus as Lord, we seem to have an incredibly difficult time with it. What we must recognize concerning the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount is that His words reveal that it is possible to profess Jesus as Lord, and even profess that Jesus is Lord, and yet not live in the fulness of that reality within our hearts and lives. It is one thing to profess that Jesus is Lord, and it is another thing to profess Jesus as Lord and actually live that reality out within our daily lives. I am convinced the greatest manifestation of the lordship of Jesus Christ within our hearts and lives is actually submitting to His authority and dominion within our hearts and lives, and actually doing what He has instructed and commanded. The apostle Paul could write of and declare himself to be an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, for he lived to carry out the ministry which our Lord first began and carried out upon the earth. The apostle Paul could write of and declare himself to be an apostle of Jesus Christ because he not only heard the sayings of Jesus and performed them, but he also did the will of His Father which was in heaven. Oh, there is a fundamental difference between being an apostle of man, and even an apostle of oneself, and being an apostle of Jesus Christ.
While in the middle of this writing I took a step away to take care of a couple other things which needed to be done in the apartment, and while I was away I was gripped by one single thought. The thought that was impressed within and impressed upon my spirit is a simple question—WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR MINISTRY FROM? A question that continues along the same lines as this one and yet is slightly different is the question “WHO DID YOU GET YOUR MINISTRY FROM?” As I am sitting here right now I can’t help but be completely and totally gripped and captivated by each of these questions and how both questions directly correlate and correspond with each other. The more I consider the tremendous reality of these two questions I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the prophet Jeremiah proclaimed and professed during his generation—words of denunciation toward and against the false prophets of that day. In order to fully and completely grasp the reality of these two questions it is absolutely necessary and imperative to turn our attention to the words which the prophet spoke directly to the false prophets of his generation. Beginning with the ninth verse of the twenty-third chapter of this Old Testament prophetic book we find the following words written and spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
“Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the Lord, and because of the words of His holiness. For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourners; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. For both prophet and priest are profane; Thea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord. Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the Lord. And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return form his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaned gone forth into all the land. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not uno the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord> They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, NO evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard His word? Who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord shall not return, until He have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hid himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? Saith the Lord. I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart/ which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? Saith the Lord. Is not my word like as a fire? Saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:9-32).
As you read the words of the prophet Jeremiah within this particular passage of Scripture you will find two specific denunciations directed to the prophets of his generation. The first denunciation is actually found beginning with the twenty-first verse and is found in the following words: “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings” (Jeremiah 23:21-22). The second denunciation is found in the thirtieth verse of this same chapter, and is found in the following words: “Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour” (Jeremiah 23:30). It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we pay close attention to the words which are found in these three verses, for not only do we find the Lord declaring that He had not sent such prophets, but we also find the Lord through Jeremiah speaking of these prophets as not having stood in the counsel of the Lord. What’s more, is the Lord through the prophet Jeremiah denounced these prophets for stealing the words which they spoke from those around them. Oh you who would dare minister for and on behalf of the Lord, I would strongly urge and caution to you pay close attention to the words which are found and contained within this passage of Scripture, for when we read of those whom the prophet denounced, we not only find them to not having stood in the counsel of the Lord, but we also find them as stealing their words one from another. It is necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to this, for there were certain prophets in that generation who only had a “ministry” because they stole it from those who were around them. There were those during that day who had not stood in the counsel of the Lord, and were not sent by the Lord, and yet they persisted in attempting to prophesy according to the word of the Lord, and in the name of the Lord. Oh dear brother, dear sister—it is an incredibly dangerous thing to attempt to engage in ministry if you have not been sent by the true and living God. It is an incredibly dangerous thing to attempt to engage in ministry if you have not actively stood in the counsel of the Almighty and heard the words which He desires to speak—not only unto you personally as an individual, but also unto a generation. What’s more, is it is an incredibly dangerous thing to obtain a ministry that not only does not belong to you, but is the combination of the ministries of others.
I can’t help but get the strong sense in my heart that there are ministries right now in this generation which are nothing more than carbon copies of other genuine ministries, and are even composites of several ministries combined. I believe with all my heart that there are churches, there are ministries, and there are organizations which have patterned that which they engage themselves in after that which around them in order that they might experience even a margin and fraction of the same success as others. There are ministers in this generation who not only have not stood in the counsel of the Lord, but who also have stolen their “words” from those who have stood in the counsel of the Lord. PARROT MINISTERS AND COPYCAT MINISTRIES! I am sitting here right now and I am completely and utterly struck with and by the reality that there are what I would call “parrot ministers” among us in this generation—those ministers who are doing nothing more than repeating the words which others have spoken in previous generations, and which others are proclaiming in this generation. In fact, there are many who find it easier to parrot the words which others among them in this generation are preaching and declaring rather than standing in the counsel and in the presence of the Lord. Such ministers do not spend time in the secret closet of prayer seeking and entreating the face of Almighty God, and as a direct result, speak words which are the composite, or perhaps the carbon copy of that which other ministers have proclaimed and are presently proclaiming. What’s more, is there are ministries in existence today which are nothing more than a carbon copy of another ministry that either has existed in previous generations, or is presently in existence within this generation. There are ministries present in the earth today which are the composite of multiples ministries within and throughout the earth, for they have taken a little piece of each ministry and joined it together to form what might very well be perceived as a “super ministry.” Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—if you have to take pieces and portions of various other ministries and put them together in order to create a hybrid ministry which you believe to be successful in the earth, there is something dangerous wrong. HYBRID MINISTRIES AND COMPOSITE WORDS! It is absolutely imperative that we recognize and understand that if we are going to dare engage ourselves in ministry for and before the living God that we ensure that that ministry originated from the Lord and from His throne in heaven and is not a composite of that which we see all around us in this generation. The prophets which were present in Jeremiah’s generation were denounced and condemned—not only because they did not stand in the counsel of the Lord, but also because they stole their words from each other in order to create for themselves a ministry that would appear to those within that generation. Heaven help that minister who tries to combine the preaching of Billy Graham, the preaching of David Wilkerson, the preaching of Leonard Ravenhill, the preaching of Reinhard Bonke, the preaching of T.D. Jakes, and various other preaching styles in order to create a preaching ministry that appeals to the masses. Heaven help that church and that ministry which attempts to take what Hillsong is doing, what Elevation Church is doing, what Saddleback is doing, what Willow Creek is doing, what Times Square Church is doing, what Brooklyn Tabernacle is doing, and combine them all to create one hybrid ministry that will somehow be effective in this generation.
Speaking to this reality of standing in the counsel of the Lord rather than attempting to run without being sent, I can’t help but be reminded of an account which is found and recorded within the gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus. If you read the gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus you will find a specific account of Mary and Martha together in their home entertaining Jesus, and perhaps His disciples. This particular account is so incredibly connected and intrinsically linked to the reality and concept of that which the prophet Jeremiah proclaimed that it warrants presentation and consideration within this writing. Consider if you will the account of Mary and Martha as they hosted and entertained the presence of Jesus within their home: “Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cambered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, doest thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42). Within this particular passage we find the contrast between sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to and hearing His word versus attempting to serve Jesus and somehow entertain Him. I can’t help but find this particular passage to be absolutely and incredibly challenging—particularly and especially when considering that which the prophet Jeremiah prophesied, for it is possible to be cambered about with much serving, and to even do so in an attempt to serve and minister unto Jesus, and yet we have never taken the time to sit at the feet of Jesus to listen to and hear His word. I am convinced there are countless men and women among us within this generation who believe that what they are doing is necessary, and that what they are doing is somehow ministering unto Jesus the Christ and Lord, and they have never taken the time to sit at the feet of Jesus to hear and listen to His word. Can I be bold and brazen right now and declare that if you have not first sat at the feet of Jesus in order to hear and listen to His word, you dare not make any attempt to minister and serve—even if that “ministry” and “serving” is deemed to be unto Jesus and Him alone. I am convinced there are countless “ministers” and “leaders” within our churches today who like Martha are doing much serving, and like Martha are cambered about with much serving, and yet they have never stopped to take the time to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His word. It’s worth noting that when speaking unto Martha, Jesus declared unto her that she was carefully and troubled about many things, but only one thing was needful. That one thing which was needful was chosen by Mary, and Jesus declared that that good part would not be taken away from her.
When I read the words which the apostle Paul wrote concerning his being an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, I can’t help but think of how there are countless men and women in this generation who are engaging in a ministry, yet it is a ministry that did not originate from God the Father, nor from Lord Jesus Christ. There are countless men and women who are running, and yet they have not been sent by the true and living God. There are countless ministers who are prophesying and who are preaching, and yet the word(s) which they preach are stolen from those around them rather than coming directly from the mouth of the Lord. There are ministers among us in this generation who have not stood in the counsel of the Lord, nor have sat at the feet of Jesus to listen to and hear the word of the Lord, and yet attempt to preach and minister “in the name of the Lord,” and for the sake of Jesus. There are countless ministers who are cambered about with much “serving,” I believe there are men and women among us today who are moving about and are even doing so with much speed, with much haste, and with much effort and energy, and yet all their effort is absent that one thing which is most needful and most necessary—namely, sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to and hearing His word, and then allowing that time spent in His presence to guide and govern their serving. Oh Martha sought to serve Jesus, and engaged herself in many works and deeds in order to somehow please—and perhaps even impress Jesus—and even asked Jesus if He cared about all her effort, and yet Jesus seemed to be unimpressed with that which she engaged herself in. I can almost here Martha’s words in the cries of those who will come before Jesus in that day and say, “Lord, did we not prophesy in your name,” and “Lord, did we not cast out devils in your name,” and “Lord, did we not to many wonderful deeds in your name,” for it’s almost as if those who will speak to Jesus with such words will essentially ask Jesus if He first and foremost cares about what they have done, and secondly, if He was impressed by all the “wonderful” things they did “in His name.” There are those in this generation whose sole desire and sole ambition for doing what they are doing is to somehow impress Jesus who is the Christ in order that they might somehow be praised for their good deeds. No doubt Martha sought to serve Jesus, for after all, she did in fact invite Him into her home. Oh, it is possible to invite Jesus into our home, and even work to somehow serve and impress Jesus, and yet completely and utterly miss that one thing which is most needful—namely, sitting at His feet listening to and hearing His word. I am utterly and completely convinced that the greatest ministry before, the greatest ministry unto, and the greatest ministry in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is simply sitting at His feet and listening to and hearing His words.
I would bring your mind and attention back to the questions “WHO GAVE YOU THE MINISTRY YOU ARE ENGAGING IN” and “WHERE DID YOU GET THE MINISTRY YOU ARE PRESENTLY INVOLVED IN,” for these two questions must be carefully asked and answered by countless men and women among us within this generation. The apostle Paul could in fact declare that He did receive His ministry from the Lord Jesus Christ, for the words he wrote in the first chapter of his epistle to the churches in Galatia reveals this reality. Consider if you will the words which are found and recorded in the first chapter of this epistle beginning with the eleventh verse: “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I presercuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I cam into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: but they had heard only, That He which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me” (Galatians 1:11-24). Mark these words and please mark them well, for not only did ministry which the apostle Paul engage himself in originate with and from Jesus Christ, but he dared not even engage himself in any ministry without standing in the counsel of the Lord and sitting at the feet of Jesus in the desert of Arabia. The question I would ask you right now is who gave you the ministry you are presently engaging yourself in, and whose ministry is it. If the answer to this question is man or even yourself, I would strongly urge you to take a step back, take a step away, and position yourself in the counsel of the Lord and at the feet of Jesus, and do not dare attempt to serve or minister without and apart from revelation. There has been much danger that has been done by men and women whose service—both their service unto the Lord, and even their service unto men—is without, apart from and absent true revelation from Jesus the Christ. I would strongly urge and caution those who read the words of this writing to carefully evaluate any serving and any ministry you are engaged in, and to truly know whether or not you have stood in the council and have sent from the presence. STANDING IN THE COUNCIL AND SITTING IN THE PRESENCE!