In His ministry for lost humanity and for His chosen apostles, Christ kept three great objectives uppermost:
1. He sought to establish reconciliation and friendship between God the Father and the sinner.
2. He aimed to exalt His message above any and all justifiable destructive criticism, and make it appeal to all classes of hearers.
3. He was extremely careful to assure success right from the first in the public ministry of His messengers, and to awaken and establish respect for apostolic authority.
The first objective brings to view the primary reason for Christ's mission to lost mankind. Not for one moment did He forget that He was revealing the Father, who had been so sadly misunderstood, to the sinner. Christ exercised the greatest care in His use of words, in the treatment of the outcast, in showing compassion on the sick and afflicted. Every word and every act was to woo the sinner back to God, and lead him to abandon his hatred of the Father, whose heart was bleeding for a restoration of true friendship between Himself and lost souls. As ministers in Christ's stead we must learn to fill our places as messengers of peace and reconciliation. The fact that the world is cultivating a stronger hatred toward God and justice, is to a degree an indictment against the professed representatives of Christ and His perfect ministry. Heaven holds us responsible for loyal service. We shall be without excuse if we give to selfish or worldly interests our first attention; for Christ has left His unmistakable example for us to follow.
Second, Christ took great care properly to safeguard His message. He tactfully and wisely warded off every attack upon eternal truth. The wisest and most reckless critics of His day had to confess, to their great chagrin, that they dare ask Him no more questions. There was no compromising of truth with error in the Lord's ministry. Sin was denounced. Error was exposed. Truth in its beauty and simplicity was exalted. So successful was Christ in His exaltation of divine truth that His message appealed with irresistible force to all classes, to learned and unlearned, to rich and poor, to Jew and Gentile.
If ever a time demanded true exaltation and fearless proclamation of straight, simple truth, it is the present. Ministers of God must not be guilty of the charge of compromise with or indifference toward truth; that is characteristic of the Laodicean church. The message of the Lord's second advent has an appeal to all nations and kindreds and tongues and peoples. It appeals to all classes of society. It is our business to find out how to bring this last warning message to a skeptical, doomed humanity. Right here the secret of that exalted ministry suggests itself from the life of Christ. He lived what He preached. His life sent the message like a dart to the hearts of His hearers. Again we must learn of Him.
The third great objective in the Lord's ministry is filled with human sympathy and infinite love for those who are commissioned to bear His name before the world. How careful Christ was to encourage His apostles, that they might not lose heart! How joyful the twelve were when they returned after their first public ministry, and reported that even the devils were subject to them in the name of Jesus! Jesus did not bruise the heart of a single honest soul. He harbored no trace of jealousy at the success of one of His disciples. Indeed, He rejoiced with them; for in their success lay the victory of the gospel proclamation. Jesus did all in His power that His representatives might be assured of success in their ministry. What He did for His disciples in the infancy of the Christian church, He has continued to do, with even greater effectiveness, for His messengers throughout the Christian era. Even now He is waiting for the opportunity to demonstrate His love and power, through His chosen servants, in a measure unheard of in the past.
As a crowning act of His ministry, Christ established apostolic authority. He offered His representatives the use of His great name. They were to pray in His name. They were to preach and baptize in His name. They were to work miracles in His name. He placed in their charge the great gifts of the church. He promised them the Holy Spirit's power in all that they did in His name That authority is not to be despised by any of Christ's children, neither is it to be used for worldly gain. There is altogether too little respect for apostolic authority in the church today. A ministry after the pattern of Christ our Lord will add strength and power to the message and the messenger of God. How much we need to copy the ministry of Christ, and to hold His great objectives ever before us in our divine mission!