A Heart Fit for Ministry

Gospel of John #12. An exposition of John 4:31-38. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, January 30, 2011.

One of the cardinal doctrines of the Baptist faith is the “priesthood of the believer.”  It has long been cherished by our Baptist ancestors.  It is a blessed and wonderful truth and a truth that has been greatly abused.  Most folks speak of it solely in terms of the right to read the Bible for themselves.  “You can’t tell me what to believe I can interpret it myself!”  This has led to an unhealthy attitude of “private interpretation” and “me and my Bible.”  Properly understood, the priesthood of the believer means that I am accountable to God for my life, my understanding and what I’ve done with what God has given me.  It is about accountability not freedom.  I’m not free to believe whatever I want to believe and do whatever I want to do.  I’m going to stand before God and given an account for what I believe and what I do.  I’m going to be judged on the basis of His truth and His will not mine.  Another aspect of the priesthood of the believer is that there is not a distinction between the “clergy” and the “laity.”  These are not separate classes within the Kingdom of God but rather a matter of roles.  If I were to ask, “How many ministers are in the congregation today?”  Every Christian should raise their hand.  Each of us who name the name of Jesus has been called to service in God’s Kingdom.  We are all ministers.  We are all called.  For some of us this is our vocation, our job, others make their living by other means but we are all called to ministry.  We are all expected to serve.  We are to share the good news of the Gospel with others.  We are called to provide for the poor and to care for the needs of others.  We are expected to visit and care for the sick, to bear one another’s burdens, to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep.  Such a calling is both a great privilege and an awesome responsibility.  It is also increasingly difficult especially in our cultural context.

Now when I say it is difficult in our cultural context I’m not referring to the fact that there are so  many that are opposed to us.  Granted we are in a post-Christian culture.  Our worldview no longer dominates, and our faith is routinely attacked.  But that is not what I mean.  I mean that we have been raised to believe that we are supremely important.  We mistakenly believe it is all about us.  When the truth is it is not about us it is about God and His Kingdom.  The truth is, as we grow in our faith, it should be less and less about us and more and more about others.  As always our great example is that of the Lord Jesus who did not count equality with God something to be tenaciously held onto but rather made himself nothing and became a servant.  A servant obedient even unto death (Philippians 2:5-8).  One of the shining examples of His selflessness is His encounter with the woman at the well.  We find the story in John’s Gospel the fourth chapter.

He is gaining in popularity.  Great crowds are following Him and demanding His attention.  Wherever He goes the crowd goes.  They hang on His every word.  They bring the sick and the demon possessed.  He has to “steal away” to even pray.  Wearied by the crowds He and His disciples leave Judea and are heading for Galilee.  They pass through Samaria and come to the Jacob’s well just outside of Sychar.  Our Lord remains at the well while the 12 go into town to buy food.  At noon a woman comes to draw water.  Though weary, though joyful for a moment’s peace with no one to “minister” to – He strikes up a conversation with the woman and ministers to her soul.  In short order this poor woman moves from a despised moral leper to an impassioned evangelist as she leaves her water pot and runs into town declaring Messiah has come.  Our text picks up at that point.

Text: John 4:31-38

Thesis: Our Lord’s words in John 4 paint for us a picture of the heart fit for ministry.

By “fit” I mean possessed of the necessary qualities.
A heart that is suited for ministry.
A heart is oriented toward ministry.
Remember we are all called to ministry – this is to be your heart and mine.

There are three qualities reflected in our text.

  1. The heart fit for ministry is captivated by a greater glory.  (4:31-34)
  2. A heart fit for ministry is driven by a sense of urgency.  (4:35-36)
  3. The heart fit for ministry is sustained by the certainty of the harvest.  (35-38)


  • Are you engaged in the work?
  • Is your heart fit for ministry?
  • Are you captivated by a greater glory?
  • Driven by sense of urgency?
  • Sustained by the certainty of the harvest?

Pray that the Lord of the harvest would so burden your heart.

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