The Principle of:

Knowing God's Purpose for Those to Whom We Minister

Knowing the calling and election of
Those under our care gives direction to our leadership.

I Thessalonians 1:4
Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

This verse, simple and short as it is, demands attention. We take particular note of the words knowing, beloved and election. What we see will help keep us who minister on course with the people to whom we minister. Even when they come up short and do not respond to all we present to them, what is in this verse will strengthen us as we give ourselves to leading them.

Knowing is from one of my favorite Greek words: oída. It is one of the two main words for "to know" in the Greek New Testament. The other one is ginósko. Oída means to know in an instinctive way, a kind of absolute knowing that has not been taught or brought on by learning, observation or experience. It is simply a pure knowing, an absolute knowing that stays constant even when other things speak to the contrary. Ginósko is the kind of knowing that comes on by learning, by observation or by experience. Paul used oída because he could say, "I instinctively know--not by what I observe in you or have experienced with you, but because I know you in Christ--there is a purpose and calling upon your life." This is an important kind of knowing. It survives the disappointment and negativity that sometimes arises in the people to whom we minister. It is a knowing that keeps us on track with them when some of the things we observe in them might try to discourage us with regard to them.

Beloved is from that precious and powerful word agápe with which many are already acquainted. Beloved means "loved" with the kind of love that knows no bounds. It is the love that, like an eternal flame, will not go out when the one loved does not measure up to expectations. It is, really, an unconditional love. Being constantly aware that the people to whom we minister are loved in this way by God will cause us to treat them with the utmost care and respect. Whether we can love them emotionally, appreciate them, or respect them always must not rule our responses to them. We must always remember that the people to whom we minister are so loved by God that He gave His only begotten Son for them. He has entrusted them to our care.

Election is from eklogé. It means chosen out by the grace of God unto privilege and position in His Kingdom. It must have been a special word to Paul. God used it when He spoke of him to Ananias in Acts 9:15. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto Me... This means "He is a vessel of election to me. I have a distinct and peculiar purpose for him. I am laying hold on him for my Kingdom." Now, Paul saw this election upon the people to whom he was ministering. When we who minister the Gospel see the calling and election of God upon the people under our care, it makes a distinct difference in the way we associate with them, in what we teach them, and in how we impart to them our own souls also.

With the help of the Lord, we expect to continue this manual through all the points we have seen in I and I Thessalonians.


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Berean Ministries
PO Box 38
Elk Park, NC 28622-0038

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