CP 227 What's good for the goose...
CP 227 What’s good for the goose…
Hi guys (meaning guys and girls…) My Bishop has challenged me, (and I’ve challenged the Bishop), to keep the conversation rolling about empowering for Kingdom work through the Holy Spirit. That robust dialogue was evident during the recent NSW Gathering at Warrambui. Just how and where does the Holy Spirit work for ministry in the church today? This is an uncomfortable conversation to have because it inevitably challenges our preconceived ideas… and most of us don’t like to have the cage rattled! My questions are, “Could it be possible that there is something we have missed? Or that we have perhaps misunderstood? Could it be we still have more to learn?” Let’s keep our wrestling conversation going! So…
In CP225 I showed that even Jesus needed anointing and empowering for his specific messianic work as priest, prophet and King.
In CP 226 I set out the truth that the 12 were explicitly charged to bear witness to Jesus’ messianic work but they were told, just as explicitly, that they were to wait until the power from on high was bestowed on them… and that was Pentecost!
Let me put something to you. My conviction is that the Holy Spirit has four specific tasks in regard to the mission of Jesus Christ:
- Through the Word of Christ he brings us to faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
- Through Word and sacrament he continues the process of transforming us from inside out toward the likeness of Jesus Christ himself… we will be seen to have nothing less than the character of Jesus himself… the fruit of the Spirit. (It’s sometimes called sanctification…)
- His third task is to strengthen us daily, in daily faith toward God and love toward each other. That includes endurance and standing our ground. He gives backbone to us! We develop and hold our conviction and confession about Jesus Christ.
- One particular task remains. He manifests himself in the Body of Christ, in quite specific ways in each person, with giftedness for a personal role in the overall ministry. There have been millions of words on this subject. Maybe today I can clarify things a smidgen…
In his first letter to Corinth Paul the Apostle confronts a church where people are bragging about the superiority of their Spirit-giftedness compared to others. In the process of pointing them to Christly love he lists as many gifts as he can think of. Here is a summary:
Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in different kinds of tongues, the interpretation of tongues. Also mercy, leadership, administration, hospitality, generosity.
Now tell me? Which of these Holy Spirit giftings / enablings can you identify as manifested in Jesus Christ’s own ministry? Eg, was he an apostle? A prophet? A pastor? Was he able to distinguish between spirits? Was he a healer? Did he have an hospitable heart?
So, next question? Which of these Holy Spirit ‘gifts’ can you nominate in the endeavours of the Apostles and the churches they founded? Have a look. Have a think. Great similarity? Jolly well should be! They were engaged in the continuing the work of Jesus Christ. Their ministry flowed out of His ministry.
What about today? In the church today, big picture, say LCA, and little picture, say your local church, can you see the Holy Spirit at work manifesting Christ’s gifts among you as they were in the early church? Should we expect to see that outcome.
I so hope you can say yes… and if yes, what’s your own ‘empowered role’?
Enough… I’m tired of sitting at the computer. However, for your delectation, I’ve extracted a few quotes from an official LCA book which, I reckon, prove that the LCA agrees with me!!! Even our Bishops need a special anointing from the Spirit of Jesus Christ for the fulfilment of their call.!!!
PS… I’m not suggesting Jesus Christ is/was a goose.
From Church Rites (CR) Lutheran Church of Australia… Did you know?
Baptism… The Address
…The Holy Spirit renews us and gives us eternal life. CR 2
Commentary on the rite
Laying on of hands… a special blessing is being transmitted… in the words accompanying the action… to receive the gift of eternal life. CR 317
Laying on of hands… 5 scripture blessings… Holy Spirit for living out the life of faith… CR 27
Commentary on the rite
The gifts of the Spirit supply sustenance and power for the candidate’s life beyond confirmation. CR 327
…pour out your Holy Spirit on N and N so they may live faithfully… CR 49
Eternal God, through your Son, Jesus Christ, pour out your Holy Spirit on N and fill him with the gifts of grace for his ministry to your people. Amen (CR LCA p141)
Commentary on the rite
…a prayer for the Holy Spirit to empower the ordinand for his ministry… CR 339
Installation of a Pastor
… Fill him with your Holy Spirit so that he may… CR p150
Fill our Bishop with your Holy Spirit, so that your gifts of grace may be increased in him. CR 154
Blessing (for CC members)
God the Father give you his Holy Spirit to work in you and support you, so that you may serve our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully. CR 158
Teacher (+ lector / lay-reader)
…equip N with the gifts of your Holy Spirit… CR 162 plus blessing…
Catechist / Congregational teacher
…Enlighten N by the power of your Spirit, so that…
Pour out your Holy Spirit on the elders… that they may be faithful… and fruitful…
NOTE! Every single rite concerning ‘called’ or official participation in ministry includes prayer for the Holy Spirit to equip, strengthen, empower for ministry…