Friday, February 27, 2009

Stewardship to Make the Word of God Fully Known

Col. 1:24-29 (ESV)
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, [25] of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, [26] the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. [27] To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. [28] Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. [29] For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

The church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you to make the word of God fully known. Paul often talks of the ministry as a stewardship. There is a responsibility there. Paul mentions a few of them here and there but in general they all come down to this Ministers have a duty to make the word of God fully known. We have to preach the whole counsel of God’s word, His Law and His Gospel.
This is a huge responsibility and should not be taken lightly. In this day and age Seminary Education is becoming more and more marginalized. I think that is a great shame. Paul went and studied the word intensively for three years in Arabia before he began his ministry. It is hinted that he even received instruction from the risen Christ during that time. Christ trained the other 12 disciples for a minimum of 3 years, some scholarly debate posits that he might have trained them for 10 or more years. Paul spent time selecting and training men for the ministry. He instructed Timothy and Titus to do the same.
Training is needed. It is expected in the NT. The ministry is not for anyone. Not the public ministry of the word. That isn’t to say that Christian’s shouldn’t share the faith, evangelize and all that. But I have some serious qualms when I see a man, who read half the Bible, open a store front church and starts having people call him pastor. I have an equally hard time when I hear people disparage seminary training as an obstacle to ministry. Perhaps that person should have chosen a seminary a bit more carefully.
I also have a hard time when I hear of pastors who have stopped devoting themselves to the word and prayer and think seminary was enough or more than enough. The word of God is inexhaustible. There is always more to learn from it. That should not be an excuse to ignore what it says either. Bush should not better than to skirt the word of God with such a shrug of the shoulders. Reminds me of Pilate asking Christ; “What is truth?” That being said I still have a lot of respect for Bush, but on that he was wrong. I digress. Nor should it be an excuse to perpetually put off the ministry with the earning of degrees. Go to seminary if you want to be a pastor. It should be enough preparation to get started. But once you are started there is a lot more to learn. And never forget when it is all said and done it is the energy of Christ powerfully working within you. You can revisit scenarios, but get your sleep. You live by the same forgiveness you proclaim.


Wayne Dawg said...

Great words pastor.

Just for my curiosity in the manner.....

How much time studying, would you suggest, should be required of a person when teaching Sunday school.....or heck, for that matter, preaching a sermon too?

Bror Erickson said...

sorry to take so long getting back to you. I leave work Thursday afternoon, and barring emergencies, often don't return until Sunday Morning. I don't have a computer at home.
I suppose much of that depends on the person. I study a lot, but in actual sermon prep I am probably so scandalously low in time put in that no prof. of Homiletics would want me speaking to their class. I look at the text and sit down and write always thinking Law and Gospel. As for Sunday School teachers, if they know the subject matter that would be a good thing. I don't think it should become a chore.

Wayne Dawg said...

Thank you sir.....

I was asking because I have heard several people say that for every hour you spend teaching/preaching, you should spend about 8 hours in study.

I don’t necessarily disagree with that but at the same time I don’t necessarily agree with it either.

I look at it like filling up a cup of water……you just know when your full.