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Ordained by God & Men

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Jesus chose 12 men to follow Him and to speak for Him; to preach.


You may know of them as the 12 disciples who became the 12 apostles.


Read it for yourself from Mark 3:13-19. Jesus went up into a mountain, and called to Him whom He would: and they came to Him. And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: and Simon He surnamed Peter; and James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and He surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed Him: and they went into an house.


Jesus Himself ordained the first New Testament preachers!


He ordained them. He appointed them. He pronounced them to be what they became. He made them who we know them to be. He designated them as His spokesmen. He gave them the tasks, the power, the authority, the title, the office, the position, the responsibility.


Jesus did it. Jesus took the men that the Father gave to Him and put them to work as His own servants. They became His friends. They became the team He used to change the world. They became part of the foundation of the the spiritual house Jesus had come to construct (see Ephesians 2:19-20).


Jesus was (of course) both divine and human. His decisions and decrees were in a way both eternal and immediate. But Jesus has returned to the Father in heaven. Although we know Him and love Him, we can't see Him. Still, we are called by Him, chosen by Him, commanded by Him, and commissioned by Him. As a minister of the gospel, I say with confidence that I have been ordained by Jesus Christ. First, I was ordained to eternal life (Acts 13:48). And, connected to that reality, I have been ordained to preach the gospel; ordained (may I add) by both God and by men.


In Acts 13 we find what I believe to be the pattern of the ordination of the New Testament minister. Act 13:2-3 reads as follows, "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, 'Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away."


The church acted outwardly and practically in agreement with the inward and mystical leading of the Spirit. They laid their ordaining hands on the men God had ordained.


In 2nd Timothy 1:6 we find a similar circumstance referenced when Paul wrote to Timothy, "I remind you to stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands." (see also 1st Timothy 4:14). He also wrote to another apprentice of his (Titus) saying that he should "...ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed you..."


Remember how Samuel anointed David (king)? Remember how Aaron was anointed (priest)? Remember how Elijah anointed Elisha (prophet)? In those times the anointing was literal. Oil was poured onto the head of the anointed one.


Jesus has many glorious titles. Among those titles is this distinguished moniker: Anointed. As in, The Anointed One. God's Anointed One. The Chosen One of God. And of course, He was chosen and sent to preach the gospel. He was anointed (appointed and ordained) to among other things preach the gospel to the poor.


We who are called and sent as pastors, missionaries, evangelists, revivalists; preachers of the gospel we do not call ourselves. Like the priests of Hebrews 5, we have no right to call ourselves. We can desire the office of the bishop, which is a good work, but God must lead us by His Spirit into what is properly called "vocational gospel ministry." And God's leading in the heart of the messenger should be confirmed by the testimony of the church. As such, the spiritual and mystical ordination that is done by God Himself is evidenced and vouched for by the practical blessing and endorsement of the body of Christ in the world; the local church.


I've survived examination by an ordination council. I enjoyed the process of preparation. I was both intimidated by and also appreciated the men who examined my doctrinal positions and calling.


I've also had the honor of helping a few men prepare for ordination. I've had the privilege of sitting on several ordination councils. It's an enormous blessing to witness the intimate evidences of God's calling on a man's life.


And without a doubt, God is certainly still ordaining new messengers today.


We are supposed to be praying that the Lord of the harvest would send forth more laborers into the harvest. One of the ways He does this is through calling men into the gospel ministry. As He calls them they have to recognize this calling upon their own lives. They have to surrender too. They have to be mentored and trained. They have to be given opportunities to gain experience. They have to be supported and encouraged. They have to be instructed and corrected. They have to be examined and recommended. They have to be approved and endorsed. They have to be sent and received. Then, they have to do the work and remain faithful.


This is God's plan. He has chosen through the "foolishness" of preaching to save those who believe. He has ordained this method specifically. And, He has ordained men to fill these shoes and to function in this way. But He has also empowered and authorized His church to do the business of outwardly ordaining these men to fulfill this purpose.


God's will is perfect. God's way is perfect. There is no better way. So, in this matter of ordaining ministers of the gospel, may our hands and feet move always and only at His behest.




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