I. The great blessing of the Christian ministry.
1. Ministers are received for and are given to you by Christ.—As men, and as sinful men, ministers are as nothing, and wish not to make any thing of themselves; but as the gifts of Christ it becomes you to make much of them. (1.) If you love Christ, you will make much of your minister, on account of his being his gift. A gift designed to supply Christ’s absence in a sort. He is gone, (“ascended,”) but he gives you his servants. By and by you hope to be with him, but as yet you are as sheep in the wilderness. He gives you a shepherd. (2.) If you fear God, you will be afraid of treating your pastor amiss, seeing he is the gift of Christ. God took it ill of Israel for despising Moses. Numb. 12:8. He is my servant.
2. Ministers are not only given to but received for you of God the Father, as a covenant blessing, among the spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. In this view consider that Christ received nothing at his Father’s hand but what cost him dear—cost him his life. Or if the allusion be to the dividing of the spoils, suppose we say, He received them as a conqueror receives the spoils at the hand of the foe. Your minister was one of those who, like yourselves, were brands consuming in the fire. Christ took him from your enemies, and gives him to you. Make much of the gift on this account. “This I received of the Amorite.”
3. Consider your unworthiness of such a blessing. You are men, mere men, and, what is more, rebellious men, who had joined with Satan. And must you share the spoils? It is not usual to divide the spoils amongst rebels.… Men that put him to death had these gifts given to them. And we should all have done the same. Some of you, it is likely, have been vile and abandoned characters, and yet, &c.…
4. The end of it:—“That the Lord God might dwell among them.” “But will God indeed dwell with men?” God had not dwelt with the world, nor in it, while sin bore the rule; but Christ’s mediation was for the bringing it about. “Will God indeed dwell with men?” He will; and how? It is by the means of ordinances and ministers. A church of Christ is God’s house, and where any one builds a house it is a token that he means to dwell there. What a blessing to a village, a country, for God to build a house in it. It is by this that we may hope for a blessing upon the means to the conversion of our children and friends, and for the edification of believers.
Excerpt from: “Importance of Christian Ministers Considered as a Gift of Christ,” from a sermon delivered August 1, 1787, to the Church at Moulton.
Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 1, pp. 521–522). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.