Here note, 1. The nature of the ministerial function: The ministry is a work, an arduous and laborious work; neither angels nor men are of themselves sufficient for it, without proportionable assistance from God. Ministers are workers.
Note, 2. They are workers together; they join together with one voice, with one cry, beseeching sinners to be reconciled unto God. All the ministers of Christ are fellow-labourers, workers together in God's harvest-field; that which is the work of one, is the work of all; they should all join in it, and rejoice together in the success of it; not only labour with, but bless God for the services and success of, each other.
Lord! how sad it is to see the ministers of God divided in their work and way, when one rejoiceth in that which to another is cause of mourning!
Note, 3. Ministers are workers together with God, as well as with one another; they are subordinate instruments working by him, but not co-ordinate causes producing with him the work of conversion in the souls of men; not as if they could communicate any power of strength to the working of grace by the preaching of the word, 1Co_3:5 Who is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed?
Observe, 4. The exhortation, or cautionary direction, given; We beseech you, receive not the grace of God in vain; where by the grace of God, is meant the grace of the gopsel; because it is graciously and freely bestowed upon a people, and because the matter and message which it brings is grace.
The law discovers God's will, the gospel discovers his good will: and by receiving this grace in vain, is meant the receiving the gospel unfruitfully, unprofitably, and ineffectually; when we do not receive it with a due estimation, with fervency of affection, with a fiducial application; when it doth not purify the heart, reform the life, and save the soul. It is not the receiving of the gospel into our houses, into our heads, into our mouths, but into our hearts, that will bring us to heaven.