Jesus’ first-century followers?….

We have this sort of confidence toward God through the Christ.  Not that we of ourselves are adequately qualified to consider that anything comes from us, but our being adequately qualified comes from God, who has indeed adequately qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant  not of a written code, but of spirit; for the written code condemns to death, but the spirit makes alive.
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What of Jesus’ first-century followers? Their status as ministers also came from Jehovah. Paul said: “Our being adequately qualified issues from God, who has indeed adequately qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant.” (2 Corinthians 3:5, 6) How does Jehovah qualify his worshipers to be ministers? Consider the example of Timothy, whom Paul called “God’s minister in the good news about the Christ.”—1 Thessalonians 3:2.

The following words addressed to Timothy help us to understand how he became a minister: “You, however, continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from what persons you learned them and that from infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14, 15) The foundation of Timothy’s faith, which would move him to make a public declaration, was knowledge of the Scriptures. Was personal reading all that was needed for this? No. Timothy needed help to gain accurate knowledge and spiritual understanding of what he read. (Colossians 1:9) Thus Timothy was “persuaded to believe.” Since he had known the Scriptures “from infancy,” his first instructors must have been his mother and grandmother, his father evidently not being a believer.—2 Timothy 1:5.

However, more was involved in Timothy’s becoming a minister. For one thing, his faith was strengthened by association with Christians in nearby congregations. How do we know? Because when Paul first met Timothy, the young man was “well reported on by the brothers in Lystra and Iconium.” (Acts 16:2) Additionally, in those days certain brothers wrote letters to the congregations in order to strengthen them. And overseers visited them in order to build them up. Such provisions helped Christians like Timothy to progress spiritually.—Acts 15:22-32; 1 Peter 1:1.

In view of Jesus’ command recorded at Matthew 28:19, 20, we can be sure that at some point Timothy’s faith moved him to imitate Jesus and be baptized. (Matthew 3:15-17; Hebrews 10:5-9) This was a symbol of Timothy’s whole-souled dedication to God. At his baptism Timothy became a minister. From then on, his life, his strength, and everything he had belonged to God. This was an integral part of his worship, “a sacred service.” However, Timothy did not then rest on his laurels. He continued to grow spiritually, becoming a mature Christian minister. This occurred because of Timothy’s close association with such mature Christians as Paul, his own personal study, and his zealous preaching activity.—1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 2:2; Hebrews 6:1.

Today, ordination for the Christian ministry is similar. One who is “rightly disposed for everlasting life” is helped to learn about God and his purposes by means of a Bible study. (Acts 13:48) The individual learns to apply Bible principles in his life and to pray meaningfully to God. (Psalm 1:1-3; Proverbs 2:1-9; 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18) He associates with other believers and takes advantage of provisions and arrangements made by “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matthew 24:45-47; Proverbs 13:20; Hebrews 10:23-25) Thus he makes progress in a structured process of education.

Eventually, the Bible student, having          developed a love of Jehovah God and a strong faith in the ransom sacrifice, wishes to dedicate himself completely to his heavenly Father. (John 14:1) He makes that dedication in personal prayer and then gets baptized as a public symbol of that private act. His baptism is his ordination ceremony because that is when he is recognized as a fully dedicated servant, a di·a′ko·nos, of God. He must remain separate from the world. (John 17:16; James 4:4) He has presented his whole self “a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God” without reserve or condition. (Romans 12:1)* He is God’s minister, imitating Christ.

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~ by DJ Camstar on 05/01/2015.

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