Women In Ministry – Part 3

1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him.

2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:

5 A sower went out to sow his seed… Lk. 8:1-5

[We should never lose sight of our key scripture above]

The second foundational scripture I want us to consider is 1 Peter 3-6.

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your husbands… For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”

The Bible says Sarah called Abraham “lord”. Is that even possible? Yes, it is – in the Spirit. Just as it is possible for a spiritual man or woman to turn the other cheek, it is possible for a woman to call her husband “lord” in the Spirit. I never read in the Old Testament that Sarah called Abraham “lord”. But the apostles knew this fact by revelation. How so interesting scripture can become. And how so powerful our spiritual lives become when God’s order has been established!

What scripture means here is that Sarah acknowledged and honored Abraham in the Spirit, not because he was a great man of faith, but simply because he was her husband. She acknowledged and recognized the authority that he had over her in the Spirit, and she honored this authority by calling him “lord”. Sarah, being a woman of the Spirit, understood God’s order in the Spirit; and she chose to honor it.

But it was not just Sarah. The Bible declares:

“… in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands”.

It was not just Sarah. In the old time, every Godly woman honored their husbands. In this scripture, the Bible emphatically establishes the fact that spiritual women of old had no problem with authority.

Man in his raw carnal nature has a problem with authority. Unfortunately, the issue of submission is a big problem in the church also. But the Apostle Peter exhorts us,

“Likewise, ye younger submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Pet. 5:5)

Here, again, scripture establishes the fact that spiritual people, both men and women, old and young, have no problem submitting their lives.

This is an incredibly powerful spiritual understanding. If every believer could arrive here, God would not have the heartache that He has today. And the church would have so much grace and power and unity in the Spirit.

A true woman of God is not the woman ‘minister”. Rather, it is the woman who can humble herself and submit herself to her husband. That is what the Bible tells us in those words.

” For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands”.

Not by strutting across the stage. Let a woman submit herself to her husband and she becomes the most powerful woman alive.

Finally, let us consider the Apostle Peter’s words in verse 6:

“whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”

Who or what is Peter warning them to beware not to fear?

It is their own selves. Self is the greatest threat to doing the will of God. Here the Apostle Peter is telling Godly women, “If your lives are surrendered to God, you have nothing to fear.”

When our lives are nailed to the cross, we do not fear this Goliath called self. We do not fear the pride that would have us unable to humble ourselves. When our flesh is nailed to the cross we are free! We are free of any kind of fear.

That is why marriages work in the church. Both the husband and the wife having crucified their flesh can see far ahead in the Spirit into God’s grand plan (not their little self-ish whims). They discover they are mere cogs in the great wheel of God’s plan and they rejoice as they serve God in their very different (but complementary) capacities.

The 5-Fold Ministry: In Submission

27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.

28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:

30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. Acts 11:27-30

10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.

11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. Acts 21:10-11

If there is something the church should lament today, it is the lack of the five-fold ministry within the Body of Christ. It is true that there are men of God who are anointed with different ministries. But those ministries must come together and work as a team for them to be of any effect in building the Body of Christ.

When we look at the Early Church we see that the ministries worked together as a team. They worked in submission to one another. Just because someone had a calling (a ministry gift) did not mean that he could go off and open a church or a ‘ministry’ somewhere.

In the Bible we find a man of God, a prophet named Agabus. The Bible clearly says that Agabus was a prophet. It does not say that he was an apostle, an evangelist, a teacher, nor a pastor.

This Agabus worked within the church. He did not say that because now he was a prophet he could start his own ‘ministry’. He submitted himself under the church and worked with the other ministries.

What I like about Agabus is that he stuck to his ministry. Being a prophet, this man could have gone off and become a “big man of God”. That, unfortunately, is what we see happening today.

Today, let’s say someone has a ministry gift, he is a prophet for example. What happens is that this person goes off and starts a church or a ‘ministry’. Immediately he becomes “Senior Pastor”.

Now the question arises:  What is this man’s calling? Is he a prophet or a pastor?

This man is a prophet. The cold fact is that his starting a church and naming himself “senior pastor” is simply because he wants to hold onto something. He wants to protect something of his own. It is the flesh at work here. The flesh always wants to exalt itself. And it also wants to hold onto things.

But we see Agabus simply carrying out his duties of a prophet. He would set out from his church in Jerusalem in Judea and he would go and minister as the Holy Spirit led him. Then he would go back to the church he came from. He would go back, no doubt, and submit himself to his pastor. He did not lead a church because he was not a pastor. It was as simple as that.

Where, pray, is it written in the Bible that just because one has a ministry gift they must start a church??

Agabus faithfully stuck to his ministry of a prophet, quietly working with other prophets and in submission to the leadership of the apostles. The really important thing was that he was submitted.

The first attribute of a man with a calling in their lives is humility. He is a person who recognizes and is willing to submit to other bona fide spiritual ministries. He will seek out other true ministries and work with them under the Biblical model of the Early Church. He will not desire to work alone.

Then the church will be built, it will be refreshed, it will be happy.

If a person is working alone, and ‘building’ his ministry, he is headed for disaster. Soon, he will begin seeing things, visions. Many wrong teachings today are a result of a lack of submission to the five-fold ministry.

There are many unbelievably crazy and utterly wrong things going on in church just because people are not submitted to the five-fold ministry. I once saw a preacher slap a person in church. People are simply not on the right foundation! The five-fold ministry is where Christ works to build the church. The five-fold ministry puts us on the right foundation, the foundation of Christ, and Him crucified!

We need to make sure that we, as believers, are on that foundation. That foundation is Christ, and Him crucified. This is the place where Christ’s ministry gifts are found, and this is the place where our flesh is confronted daily.

[Below: Fully submitted!]