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Scripture Memory: Courage for Living.

VERSE : 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”* * *

O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

22 March 2015

8 am & 11am Worship Service
Eld Lim Teck Chye (Intimacy in Marriage, 1 Cor 7:1-7)
6:00 pm Evening Service
Rev Eric Kwan (He Who Finds Me Finds Life, Pro 8:22-36) 

29 March 2015

11am Combined Ordination Service
Rev Jack Sin (Biblical Elements for the Shepherding Ministry, Ps 78:70-72)
6:00 pm Evening Service
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Great Expectations, Mt 21:1-11)

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THE ORDINATION OF A MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL

Since biblical times God has been providing gifted men to serve His flock, as Ephesians 4:11 says, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

While these men need to discern God’s personal call to serve Him, the church also needs to discern God’s direction to set them apart for His service. The setting apart – or ordination, as it is commonly known today – is carried out by laying hands on them to signify the bestowal of honour and responsibility for spiritual work.

This was practised when the Levites were offered for the Lord’s service at the Tabernacle: “And thou shalt bring the Levites before the LORD: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites: And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the LORD.” (Numbers 8:10-11)

This was also practised when Joshua was appointed to take over the responsibilities of Moses: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.” (Numbers 27:18-20)

In the New Testament, it was practised when Timothy was charged with the pastoral ministry of the church at Ephesus: “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” (1 Timothy 4:14)

Its Significance

According to the Protestant reformer, John Calvin (1509-1564), “It is certain, that when the apostles appointed anyone to the ministry, they used no other ceremony than the laying on of hands…With the same intent (as I imagine), the Jews, according to the injunction of the law, laid hands upon their sacrifices. Wherefore, the apostles, by the laying on of hands, intimated that they made an offering to God of him whom they admitted to the ministry.” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book IV, 3:16)

Charles Hodge (1797-1878), a well-known advocate of conservative Presbyterian doctrine who was the principal of Princeton Seminary, said that ordination “is the solemn expression of the judgment of the Church by those appointed to deliver such judgment, that the candidate is truly called of God to take part in this ministry, thereby authenticating to the people the divine call.”

George Gillespie (1613-1648), a Scottish theologian who was part of the Westminster Assembly responsible for drafting our Confession of Faith, said that ordination is necessary to the right calling of a minister. From Romans 10:15(“And how shall they preach, except they be sent?”) he reasoned that those who are well-gifted may not preach except they be sent and appointed thereunto. He used the analogy of an ambassador: “The ambassador, nominated and elected by the King, may not go to his work and act as an ambassador, till he be sent forth with his commission and power delivered to him.”

The Westminster Confession advocates that only ordained ministers should conduct baptism and the Lord’s Supper: “There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord: neither of which may be dispensed by any, but by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained.” (WCF 27:4) This is necessary to ensure that all things are done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40).

However, ordination does not make anyone holier than, or superior to, other Christians. The clergy-laity dichotomy that exists in some churches and enhanced by the wearing of clerical collars or robes, is unbiblical. All Christians are God’s servants (Romans 6:22) and are to minister to the body of Christ with their spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). The distinction that ordination creates is therefore purely functional and not hierarchical. Together with the ordained elders of the church, ordained ministers of the gospel are accountable to God for the spiritual welfare of the flock (Hebrews 13:17).

Ordained ministers are not a class of spiritual elite Christians. They are only sinners saved by grace whose words carry weight insofar as they agree with God’s written Word. While those who labour well in the Word and doctrine are to be counted worthy of double honour (1 Timothy 5:17), and no accusation can be received against them without two or three witnesses, those who are found guilty of public sins are to be rebuked before all (1 Timothy 5:19,20). No minister can claim to be above all criticism by saying, “Touch not the Lord’s anointed.”

Great dishonour and shame is brought on the name of Christ by ordained ministers who abuse their authority over God’s heritage and take advantage of the flock for their own selfish ends instead of serving and feeding the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3; Jeremiah 23:1,2).

Its Requirements

Because of the great potential for abuse and the fact that it is a life-long calling, strict requirements must be applied for anyone to be ordained.

Firstly, no man can ordain himself or decide to get himself ordained (cf. Hebrews 5:4). The initiative for ordination has to come from God Himself. As God speaks to the hearts of His people, they must prayerfully discern those whom He wants to set apart for His service. The criteria they use to do this must not be worldly, e.g. strong charisma, impressive paper qualifications, social status, wealth, eloquence or secular achievements (cf. 1 Samuel 16:7).

Anyone who is to be considered for ordination must be genuinely saved, spiritually mature, and meets the requirements listed in Timothy 3:2-7 – “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

Great care must be exercised in determining a candidate’s suitability before he is ordained for service (cf. “Lay hands suddenly on no man…” – 1 Timothy 5:22). Therefore when the Church Session or Board of Elders is convinced that someone is worthy to be ordained, they would seek the help of ordained ministers from other churches. These ministers together with those from the candidate’s church would form an ordaining council whose mandate is to thoroughly examine him.

The ordaining council then decides on the specific requirements which the candidate must fulfil, e.g. he must submit a written testimony of his salvation and call to the ministry, written essays on assigned theological topics, and summaries of books he is assigned to read. When these are completed, the council will meet the candidate personally for an oral examination where he is required to answer questions on all that he has submitted, as well as his doctrinal views and convictions, and how he would handle various situations in the ministry.

The candidate’s character, maturity, integrity, gifts, testimony and family life must be carefully scrutinised to ensure that he is suitable and ready for the ministry. If any weaknesses are identified, he will be advised on the steps he needs to take to deal with them. The proceedings are carefully noted down and kept in order to preserve a record that may be used in future, if the candidate ever needs to be disciplined.

At the end of the examination the council will make an objective evaluation of the candidate. If his responses are deemed to be unsatisfactory, he may be required to undergo another examination after further preparation. But if all members of the ordaining council are satisfied, they will recommend him to the church for ordination.

However no one can be ordained if any church member can show just cause of exception against him. Hence, sufficient time must be given for members to submit their objections. When this requirement is fulfilled, the candidate’s ordination can be carried out before the congregation.

Its Demands

Even though the greatest of care may be taken to discern God’s direction to set apart someone as a minister of the gospel and to prepare him for service, this is still no firm guarantee that he will be faithful. He is as vulnerable as any Christian to fall when tempted. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)

We can expect Satan to do his best to make him fall morally or doctrinally as this would be most advantageous to his purpose of destroying churches. Therefore, much prayer must be made for the candidate during and after his ordination, “…lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Corinthians 2:11).

In the times of the Protestant Reformation the candidate to be ordained as well as those who ordained him were required to take this matter so seriously as to be “struck with an awe and dread that they ought to be under so holy and so important a performance.” (John McClintock) May the Lord help us to give all due diligence to ensure that the ordination of ministers of the gospel is carried out according to His will and direction. – Pastor

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Good Friday & Easter Services

Good Friday (Bilingual Service), 3  Apr, 8 pm “The Son Given For You” (Luke 22:19-20) by Rev Isaac Ong. (The Lord’s Supper will be served.)

Easter Sunday (Baptismal Service), 5 Apr, 7 am (followed by Breakfast Fellowship).   “Christ is Risen in Glory and Power”   (1 Corinthians 15)  by Rev Charles Seet.

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EDD is organizing a Street Evangelism at Orchard Road. Please come and join us.

Date:                           28th March 2015 (Saturday)

Prayer Time :             6.00pm in Beulah House 

Departing Time:        6.30 pm (leave church to outside CK Tang Entrance)

Evangelism Time:    7.00 to 8.30 pm (Evangelism time at Orchard Road walkway )

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1)   Combined Ordination Service, next Lord’s Day, 11 am: Mr Lee Hock Chin will be presented for ordination as a Minister of the Gospel by the ordaining council. Please uphold him in prayer. (There will be no 8:00 am service, Children’s Ministry, YLW and Filipina service, but Sunday School and Catechism Class will proceed as usual.)

2) Parenting Seminars organised by FEK

Dates  : 18 April, 11 July & 12 Sep 2015

Time : 9.00am – 12.00pm.      Venue : Life BP Church 

Speaker : Pastor Tan Soon Yong

Topic : Like Arrows in the Hand of a Warrior, so are the Children of One’s Youth

Registration is open for 18 April 2015 talk at www.lifebpc.com/fekedu/fekseminar.htm
Closing date for registration: 13 April 2015

3) Personal Witnessing Survey 2015. Hard copies of the form are available at the front counter for those who need it.

4) Hermeneutics Seminar by Dr Carl Martin. Saturday, 13 Jun 152.00 to 5.30 pm. Beulah Multi-Purpose Hall.

5) The Coffee Corner. Volunteers and contributions of food are welcome. Contact Bro. Daniel (hp: 96919853) or Sis. Amy (hp: 97962880).

6) Traffic Wardens are needed during the following time frames - before & after 8am worship; before & after Sunday school and before & after 11am service. Please contact Dn David Tan, 9667 9733.

Preaching appointment:  Rev Wong at Herald BPC, 9.30am and will be overseas from 27 Mar to 10 Apr.

Rev Quek at Sembawang BPC, 9.30 am.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25