Aug 20, 2012

Power to Minister

Acts 1:8

"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

For the past few weeks, our look at the biblical doctrines summarized in the Heidelberg Catechism has focused on the process and reason for church discipline. Under certain circumstances, we have seen, church leaders are to confront church members in sin and even excommunicate them if they remain impenitent. This raises questions about the leaders authorized to carry out such discipline. We will now spend a week examining what Scripture says about church leaders with the help of Church Leadership, a teaching series by Dr. R.C. Sproul.

Any study of church leadership will concentrate on the offices God has given to His church. Yet we must never forget that although some men are ordained and set apart for special service in His church, Christ has called all believers to be servants of the church. All of us are called to serve one another no matter our age, race, gender, or socio-economic status. As the Apostle Paul writes, we are all to submit "to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Eph. 5:15–20).

Indeed, this is a hard calling due to our weaknesses, insecurities and inadequacies. Thanks be to God, He has not left us without the help we need to serve His people. All of us have been equipped for ministry by His Holy Spirit. This is a clear implication of today's passage, which records the final words Jesus spoke to His disciples before He ascended to heaven. Our Savior promised to send His Holy Spirit to be with us and empower us to be His witnesses, and we have this Spirit dwelling within us already if we are resting in Christ alone (1 Cor. 12:13).

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is not the only assistance we have from God for ministry. God's people have also been given the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). That is, Christians now have the ability to think the Lord's thoughts after Him. Unlike the unregenerate, whose minds are set on the flesh and cannot submit to God's law, we can set our minds on the Spirit and His ways (Rom. 8:1–11). Although our sin rises up to cloud our thinking and tempts us to think according to the flesh, our minds can be renewed through the study of God's Word and prayer (12:1–2). Practically speaking, this means that no Christian is useless for ministry. God has called all of us to serve, and He has equipped all of us for service.

Coram Deo

If you are a Christian, you have already received the Holy Spirit, and you have the mind and ability to serve God and His church. We all may not be ordained to specific church offices, but all of us who are in Christ are able to obey Him and discern good from evil as we walk in the Spirit and seek His face. Do not let your shortcomings, whether they are perceived or real, prevent you from serving in your local church.

For Further Study