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Ordination of Bob Hellam

Jeremiah 1:4-10

 Today we ordain Bob Hellam to the gospel ministry.  This isn’t the first time He’s been ordained.  Previously, a church from another denomination ordained him, but since he is a member of our church, he’d like his ordination to be from a Southern Baptist Church.  After examining his faith, doctrine and intentions, our deacon body recommended to the church that we ordain him and at our last business meeting you voted unanimously to do so and to call him to be our Minister of Education.

 For our text today, I’ve selected a passage of scripture that has been a source of strength to me in my ministry, Jeremiah 1:4-10.  Bob, I pray that it will strengthen your calling as it has mine.  Let’s read it:

 “Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, [5] ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.’  [6] Then I said, ‘Alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, Because I am a youth.’   [7] But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, 'I am a youth,'  Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak. [8] ‘Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you,’ declares the Lord. [9] Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. [10] See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, To pluck up and to break down, To destroy and to overthrow, To build and to plant."(NASB) 

 Bob, let me charge you with three things based upon this passage of scripture.

 First, throughout your ministry, carry the conviction that God is the one who APPOINTED you to serve.  The church may ordain you but our action is subsequent to God's--He appointed you.  In parliamentary procedure, there is a distinction between an appointment and an election.  An election is subject to the vote of the convening body, an appointment is not.  An appointment is made solely upon the choice of the presiding officer.  Our vote to ordain you, and this ordination itself is subsequent to the call God has placed upon your life.  There will be times when Southern Baptists are unhappy with you, but God is pleased with you.  Or the converse could be true.  Southern Baptists could be happy with your actions but God could be displeased.  Remember where your appointment comes from.  It is far more important than where your ordination originates.

 God knew Jeremiah and chose him before he was born.  Look at verses 4-5 “Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.’"

 Jeremiah wasn’t the only one with this experience. God knew Paul and chose him before he was born Acts 9:15 says, “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;’” 

 God knew you and chose you before you were born.  He chose you for salvation and He chose you for service.  Ephes. 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; [9] not as a result of works, that no one should boast. [10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (NASB)

 Remember, not only does your appointment come from God, but also it is God who ENABLES you to serve.  I know that you’ve already completed your Seminary work and are currently continuing your studies.  Those things are important.  A call to ministry is a call to prepare for ministry.  Your professors may teach you, other pastors may mentor you, but only God can enable you to serve.

 God enabled Jeremiah to serve.  Look at verses 6-7 “Then I said, ‘Alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, Because I am a youth.’  7 But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, 'I am a youth,' Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak.’”

 God will enable you to serve 1 John 4:4 says, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

 Your appointment comes from God, not a denomination, God enables you to serve, not your training, and the third thing you need to know is that God REQUIRES you to serve.  You will answer to your supervisor and the local church for the quality of your ministry, but our requirements are ancillary, it is God that requires you to serve, ultimately, you will answer to Him.

 He required Jeremiah to serve the people verses 8-10 say "’Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you,’ declares the Lord.  9 Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, To pluck up and to break down, To destroy and to overthrow, To build and to plant.’"

 He requires you to serve the people too. The best example of unselfish service is Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd. In John 10:12-14, He says, “But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. [13] The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. [14] I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” (NKJV) 

 Money is a terrible motivator.  In this example, the hireling—or the shepherd who is only doing the work for the money—leaves when the job gets dangerous, but the Good Shepherd doesn’t.  The Good Shepherd stays and protects the sheep because He loves them.

 Bob, I encourage you to minister out of that love.  Love these people, even when they act unbecomingly.  I’ve come to believe that love the most powerful thing a minister can do. Minister out of love for the people; but also minister out of love for God. 

 Later in the gospel of John, Jesus introduces love of God as the primary motivation for our service.  John 21:15-17 says, “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’ [16] He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ [17] He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’” (NKJV)

 Three times Jesus asked Peter the same question, “Do you love me?”  Now I know that different Greek words are used for love here, so there are subtle changes to the question, but three times He asked basically the same question, “Do you love me?”   Each time Peter answered in the affirmative, the final time, he was quite emphatic with his response and each time Jesus responded “Feed my sheep,” or some variation thereof.  Notice the connection that He draws between loving Jesus and doing His work.

 Bottom line, we do what we do because we love Jesus. 

 Bob, God appoints you, empowers you and holds you accountable for this service.  And it is our great honor to ordain you to what He’s called you to do. 

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