Summary: The Bible teaches that each member of the body of Christ has a responsibility to minister the gospel to others.
The Priesthood of All Believers
We have been studying in this series of sermons “What it means to be a Protestant”. Why important? Because realize it or not we as a nation have been experiencing a reversal of the protestant reformation. Have you heard of the ecumenical movement? That’s all the ecumenical movement is. “Let’s not worry about our theological differences, let’s just come together and please everyone and not worry about these minor differences of opinion. You believe what you want and I’ll believe what I want and we’ll just all get along. That’s just the opposite of what the reformers stood up for. They said we will stand on the Bible and the Bible only and take it as our rule of faith and practice. And they were willing to die for that belief.
Ever hear of being politically correct. Everyone wants to please everybody. Let’s not ruffle anyone’s feathers. Let’s not rock the boat. Let’s not offend anyone. Be careful what you say as to not hurt any feelings. Don’t misunderstand. We should be tactful – but not at the sake of compromising the Word of God
What I am saying is that everything that Luther, Huss, Wycliff, and the other reformers stood up for in today being disregarded.
As you go to the Book of Acts you read about a vigorous church. A church that was on fire. A church filled with the Holy Spirit. But when it speaks of the church in the Book of Acts it is not speaking of what we call a church today. When we speak of a church today we often are referring to a large building, with a steeple, which is used perhaps once or twice a week. But in the early church they did not meet in “churches” they met in homes – Priscilla, Aquilla, etc. or by a riverside – anywhere they could have a gathering. And as the Word of the Gospel spread so did the church grow. In fact it grew like wildfire.
Satan was furious. So he set about to persecute the church you’ve read about those persecuted in such books as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Men and women, families were put in coliseums where they were torn asunder by wild beasts. But for every drop of blood that was spilt in behalf of our Lord Jesus Christ two or three unbelievers became believers. The devil was furious. So he studied the situation – and he discovered the problem was that every believer thought he was a minister of the gospel. So he began to influence some changes. He discovered that some members of God’s church stood above the others as leaders. So
1. he influenced these leaders to wear different clothing than the rest of the church members to distinguish them and set them apart.
2. he put up a railing in the church to separate the leaders or clergy from the common members.
3. began teaching in a language that only the educated clergy could understand
4. While celebrating the Lord’s Supper only the priest would drink of the cup but the members could eat of the wafers.
5. Soon only the priest performed all the ministry of the church.
6. Monasteries were established to equip the priest for ministry.
But then came the reformation and men like Martin Luther
1. The just shall live by faith
2. The Word of God is sufficient for our doctrine and rule of faith – not the dogmas of church councils.
3. 1 Peter 2:9,10
You see, through the Dark Ages of the Christian Church many truths of God’s Word was abandoned or corrupted. One of those truths centered around baptism. Now you might ask “What does baptism have to do with this topic?” Let’s see.
We know that the Bible teaches several points on baptism.
1. Mode of baptism is by immersion
2. Baptism is the outward sign of the believer’s renunciation of sin and acceptance of God’s grace.
3. It must be a personal act of faith based upon the believers’ decision. In other words a person must be of sufficient age to have a clear understanding of the gospel and make that decision. – No infants baptised.
But there is one more very important aspect of baptism that must be recognized especially in the light of reformation theology.
What do we learn in these passages? Now I remind you that Jesus is to be our example in all things and His baptism is no exception.
1. What does the dove in vs. 16 represent? The reception of the Holy Spirit which enabled Jesus to perform His work of ministry. When we study Daniel 9 and the 70 wks. when did Jesus begin His public ministry? When did He become the Anointed One? At His baptism. The same is true for every believer who is baptized in the baptism of Christ. By joining to Christ in baptism, we are joined with Him in the ministry of salvation. We all become ministers of the gospel. Thus in Christian baptism every believer is anointed to the gospel ministry.