Ministry Of The Laity: Priesthood Of All Believers

MINISTRY OF THE LAITY: PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS

 – Dr. Vivek A. Gundimi

 Introduction:

Priest: a special agent between God and man

Priesthood: is the dignity and character of a priest. What is this character we as lay people need to imbibe?

The world we live today is a chaotic institution. Modernization has come at the outset of the world to tell us that there is no such thing as absolute truth, no such thing as a point of reference for meaning and no such thing as certainty. You can understand the huge chasm the Gospel has to cross because the gospel affirms the truth, offers the only meaning that is worthy to be retained and gives the certainty of the future hope in Jesus Christ.

This new world we live in offers both challenges and opportunities for the gospel. Today Nations are running out of options, Science has become the holy temple of truth and scientists are its priests. Image and feeling are more important than truth. ‘Zero content’ is the pursuit of Modernism, and New Age culture has replaced objective truth. It’s a generation that listens with its eyes and thins with its feelings.

Where does all this place the ministry of the laity? How do we place ourselves as priests in this mysterious world? How do we reach a generation that has got it self muddled up? How do we tell them about the sanctity and certainty of God’s word? The challenge comes time and again through the heartbeat of Paul who asks a pulsating question in Romans 10:14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

The society has not believed, because they have not heard; they have not heard because they have not yet been preached!

It’s a generation that rejects objective truth but at the same time clutches its fist in demand for truth. They construct theoretical superstructure of Relativism but they themselves run to the verdict of truth when truth most matters to them.

And therefore the great French Mathematician, Philosopher and Physicist of the 16th Century by the name of Blaise Pascal gives a beautiful description of the anatomy of ‘Man’; he says, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus”.

And since man is not out rightly deaf to the truth, God is need of you and me to catch the attention of this generation. But how are we going to do this? In the light of the readings just read to us, the answers remain…

  1. Be Convicted of the Depravity of Man (2Kings 7:9)

2 Kings 7:9 is a response of the 4 lepers who saw a miracle that could transform a nation. The city of Samaria was sieged and was going through famine; the depravity was so severs that ‘mothers had begun eating their own sons’ (2Kings 6:28). The nation had become morally bankrupt and socially dehumanized. But God had reversed the situation and a miracle had taken place. It was this news that the lepers wanted to convey. These lepers were not ordained priests and theologians, but were men who saw the depravity of a nation and hence were convicted to share the good news that ‘God had done a miracle in their land’.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke10), it is interesting to note that the Bible mentions the significant character of the Samaritan even before it mentions of his good news. Luke 10:33 = “But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.”  He was first convicted of the depravity of the wounded man even before he bandaged his wounds.

Look at people around you in society: Young men working the corporate ladder, Nubile women in a lounge bar, call center employees and students in a high pressure professional courses are all part of the 21st Century drug and sex madness. The society is wounded. This is the depravity of man. He has rejected objective truth but has embraced subjective madness. We have lost our generation in dancing to tunes of Bollywood and to the slangs of Hollywood. Our hearts should go out to them in concern. “When we open our heart to the Lord, he opens our eyes to the lost”.

That’s the first function in ministry. Be convicted of the depravity of man!

  1. Be Motivated to bring people to God (Matthew 4:24)

News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. – Matt 4:24-25

Various diseases = physical illness

Demon possessed = spiritual illness

‘People brought to him’ = the Greek word for ‘brought’ used here by Matthew is ‘prosphero’ prosfero which means ‘lead affectionately and lovingly to God’. Lay people lovingly led others with sickness to Jesus.

A new voice is imperative. You are that new voice. You can win those who are with you in the marketplace that the pastor can never hope to meet. ‘We must evangelize or fossilize’- Oswald Smith.

We must learn to stir the imagination and demand their attention in evangelism by learning the discipline of passionate speaking. The God who created language can create a passionate message in your heart. He who loosened a stammerer’s tongue to outclass Pharaoh can surely loosen your mouth to reach the lost.

The second function in ministry is: Be motivated to bring people to God lovingly for he heals their physical and spiritual illness.

  1. Be Partners in God’s Mission (Luke 10:33- 35)

We all have our differences but there is one thing upon which we can unite and that is evangelism. We can definitely work together in the winning lost men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ.

That’s why 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

You are partners in God’s mission. A beautiful description of partnership in Mission is given in the ‘Parable of the Good Samaritan’. The job that the Priest and the Levite forsake, a layman (Samaritan) takes into stride.

  1. a) Luke 10:34 = He went and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine. Share your sources with the needy.

The Samaritan shared his: Finance, Time, Possessions: Wine, Oil, Donkey

       b) Exodus 18:18 = Jethro the father-in-law of Moses shared his advise (wisdom) to help him in his leadership.

c) Exodus 35:30 = Bazalel and Oholiab who were gifted craftsmen and designers shared their skills/talents in                    building the sanctuary for God.

William Wilberforce the 18th Century Parliamentarian soon after his conversion had two great objects: the suppression of the slave trade and the ‘Reformation of manners’. The changes for which Wilberforce pleaded really started to happen.

Partner in God’s Mission by sharing your time, skills, wisdom, finance and possessions.

The greatest privilege that you can ever have is when God reaches out to you to partner with him. Ministry is a gift of God to man not a burden.

Conclusion:

The reason that the ministry is a high profile assignment is because it’s the only mission in the world that can put a man, a woman and a child in a serious dispositional hell if he/she is not challenged with the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel is not an option in the Marketplace, but it is the only surviving compulsion! The word of God is not only a Philosophical Cornerstone but a dominant practical demonstration.

Remember in Ministry:

  1. Be Convicted of the Depravity of Man (2Kings 7:9)
  2. Be Motivated to bring people to God (Matthew 4:24)
  3. Be Partners in God’s Mission (Luke 10:33- 35)

The Christian message is unique and invincible because in Christianity God comes in search of the lost men, but in other religions men go in search of the lost gods. And it is this message that will become your ministry.

When we embrace this in our hearts then will the world say: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news,…” – Isa. 52:7

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