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Proclaiming the Excellencies
We're going to take a break from our Life series as we prepare for the upcoming Summer Training by looking in the next couple of months leading up to Training at what God's Word has to say about witnessing and how we can respond in confidence and certainty.
Our theme this year is PROCLAIM! from 1 Peter 2:9, "... that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light." And that is the task of every single baptized Christian: to proclaim.
Though sometimes this gets confusing and confused, especially when we put this beautiful teaching of Scripture next to another blessed teaching; that of the office of holy ministry. Some would make this verse say that the office of the holy ministry has been given to every baptized Christian, and therefore every baptized Christian has the same call and sending to preach as does the pastor. However, that's not what the text says. And let's delve into why it doesn't say that.
First of all, God instituted the office of the holy ministry through his Son to his apostles to be an office of preaching, teaching, and administering the Sacraments publicly in the Church. Paul many times will say that there is a difference between pastors and laity as some are called to the office and others are not. The pastor is called to act publicly on behalf of the Church and in the stead of Christ for the people. If everyone was a pastor, where then would the congregation be? Who would be served? If there was no pastoral office, who would serve (and with what authority)? That's why Paul says in Romans 10, "How can they hear unless one preach, and how can they preach unless they are sent." And at the end of this same epistle of Peter, he addresses the pastors (shepherds) separately from the congregation - because there is a godly-instituted difference.
So the pastor is called to preach, teach, and administer the Sacraments publicly for the congregation. But then what do we do with 1 Peter 2:9 and the commission of all the Baptized to PROCLAIM!? Simple; just answer the question: is the congregation in worship and study the only place where you can hear or read or discuss or live the Word of God? No. God has called each and every person to do his will for the care and stewardship of his creation wherever you are: be that as a student, a child, a brother or sister, worker, friend, husband, wife, boss, you name it. If you're there, God has called you to work for him there. Colossians 3:23 "Work as for the Lord." And that includes working to share the Gospel of what Jesus Christ has done for you by calling you out of the darkness and into his marvelous light.
So you may not have a pulpit, font, or altar at the front of the church, but you have been called to that place where you are in order to speak, to work, to live, to suffer, and to bless as Christ living through you and in you because you have been Baptized into Christ. What an awe-inspiring calling that we all have been given by Christ. It's not a calling at odds with the Call of a pastor, nor does it nullify the Call of the pastor, but it works side by side with him to be the light of Christ to this dark world.
Let that whet your appetite for some of the deep and awesome teachings that we'll encounter as delve into this wonderful text of 1 Peter leading up to and during Summer Training. Until then, go register and get ready to join us in Proclaiming His Excellencies to a world that needs to know.
The Mission of OAFC is to equip youth and adults to witness more effectively of Jesus Christ through Singing, Bible Studies, Personal Witnesses, Dramas, Puppet Shows, and Neighborhood Canvassing.
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