Summary: A charge to the candidate based on Acts 13:1-4 outlining the following requirements for ordination: COMMUNION, CONSECRATION, & COMMISSION; and a charge to the congregation based on 1 Timothy 5:17-19 outlining their threefold ministry to their pastor, name
Acts 13:1-4 & 1 Timothy 5:17-19
A WORD FOR THE PASTOR
This morning, I want to share some thoughts from the Word of God. I have chosen two passages for our meditation. The first is Acts 13:1-4.
· “1Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 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. 3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid [their] hands on them, they sent [them] away. 4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.”
Let me first put our text in proper perspective. I want you to observe three sets of statements in our text. The first set of statements is found in V.2 that says, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted...” and in V.3 that says, “And when they had fasted and prayed....” These two statements describe the first requirement for ordination that we shall call COMMUNION. The second set of statements is found in V.2 that says, “The Holy Ghost said, ‘Separate me Barnabas and Saul...and in” V.3 that says, ”And laid their hands on them....” These two statements describe the second requirement for ordination that we shall call CONSECRATION. The third set of statements is found in V.2 that says, “For the work whereunto I have called them.” and in V.3 that says, “They sent them away” as well as in V.4 that says, “Being sent forth by the Holy Ghost....” These statements describe a third requirement for ordination that we shall call COMMISSION. Communion, Consécration, Commission.
Let us look at the first requirement for ordination that we call—
V.2 = “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted...”
V.3 = “And when they had fasted and prayed...”
Who are “they?” According to verse 1 they are the “prophets” and “teachers” in the church of Antioch. These people are the leaders of the church. Paul and Barnabas belong to this group.
The point I am making is that Paul and Barnabas are men of prayer. Pastors must likewise be men of prayer. Paul and Barnabas were fasting and praying, along with the other leaders of the church. Praying is talking to God. Another term for the act of praying is communion. Fasting is praying in a higher dimension.
The apostles declared, “We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Prayer is the first ministry of the early Christian leaders. E.M. Bounds says, “What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use--men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.” Alfred Lord Tennyson observed, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”
Edward Payson said, “Prayer is the first thing, the second thing, the third thing necessary to a minister. Pray, then, my dear brother; pray, pray, pray” (Preacher and Prayer, E.M. Bounds, 1907, p. 32). E. Stanley Jones explained what prayer does to a pastor: “Prayer is surrender--surrender to the will of God and cooperation with that will. If I throw out a boathook from the boat and catch hold of the shore and pull, do I pull the shore to me, or do I pull myself to the shore? Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but the aligning of my will to the will of God” (Liberating Ministry From The Success Syndrome, K Hughes, Tyndale, 1988, p. 73).
The first requirement is Communion, the second is—
V.2 = “The Holy Ghost said, ‘Separate me Barnabas and Saul...”
V.3 =”And laid their hands on them...”
The Greek word translated “separate” is aphorizo and it means to distinguish from the others, to single out, and to set aside for a special service.
The Holy Spirit wants Paul and Barnabas to be different, to be special, to be dedicated to God. Laying of hands is an act of consecration.
Laying of hands is also an act of sanctification or setting aside for a holy purpose. Robert Murray McCheyne wrote to Dan Edwards after the latter’s ordination as a missionary, "In great measure, according to the purity and perfections of the instrument, will be the success. It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God" (Paul Borthwick, Leading the Way, Navpress, 1989, p. 65).
The first requirement is Communion, the second requirement is Consecration, the third is—