On the QUALIFICATIONS for the work of the ministry, all must admit that if God calls a man to the work, he will fit him for it; and if he has no such qualifications, there is no reason to believe that God has sent him. But what do we understand by qualifications for the ministry of the word? We cast them under two simple heads:
1. And first, GRACE. Nothing is more evident than that a man without the grace of God in his heart has neither part nor lot in this matter.
A man dead in sin, or dead in a profession, to stand up in the name of the living God to preach to a living people—what daring presumption, what a dreadful contradiction, And yet what troops of men there are, on every side and of every sect, party, and denomination, utterly destitute of the life of God, who call themselves ministers of Christ, and would resent, with the bitterest enmity, the slightest imputation or even suspicion that they are hypocrites or impostors.
But all these, whoever they be, Churchmen or Dissenters, or whatever they be, high or low, we must at once set aside as only awful intruders into a work to which they were never called, and for which they were never qualified.
But a man may have the grace of God in his soul—and yet have but little divine, spiritual knowledge of the truth—and little experience of its power. Now no one, who knows what the work of the ministry is, can say that such a ‘beginner’ is qualified to be a minister of the gospel, and go in and out before the exercised family of God, as a leader and a teacher.
2.We consider, then, that wherever God calls a man to the work of the ministry, he will qualify him for it by furnishing him with a suitable and sufficient GIFT. But the GIFT is subject to development because if you do not grow, you will grow to groan in ministry according to Paul in
2Peter3: 18 ” But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
How do you grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Messiah in other to prosper as a workman in work of the Gospel?
YOU HAVE TO ACQUIRE SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE.
Knowledge is what gives you an edge-
2 Tim 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Cor 8:14 But by an equality, that now at this time YOUR ABUNDANCE may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality
We do not mean mere learning, or education, or great mental ability—though when these are sanctified to the service of the sanctuary they have their place in the work, and are not to be rejected or despised. However, secular academic qualifications must and cannot take the place of spiritual Education in Christian Ministries.
The church is a spiritual organism and it requires spiritual knowledge, wisdom and understanding to manage and grow her. What we want is a door of utterance, such as Paul prayed for.
Eph 6:19 ”And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel
Col 4:3 ”Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds
By this is meant not a mere flow of words, which is often but empty chatter, or that readiness and volubility of tongue which weary alike ear and heart—but that sober, solid, grave, sound speech which cannot be condemned, and by which “he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort, and to convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:9; 2:7, 8.)
A minister should be “apt to teach,” (1 Tim. 3:2,) and, therefore, must have some teaching ability in him. But this requires at least such a clearness of thought and speech as shall preserve him and his hearers from being lost in a fog of confusion.
You need the training to have the discernment in evaluating the various fads that come your attention.