Posted on 15th September 2014 at 09:40 by Mark Herbert in Pastors’ Blog
On 23rd September 1982, Charles Simeon (who was a faithful Anglican pastor and teacher) wrote a letter to a young man who was being ordained for ministry. The letter read as follows: 'My dearest friend, I most sincerely congratulate you, not on permission to receive £40 or £50 a year (a reference to his salary), nor on the title of Reverend (a reference to his ordination), but on your ascension to the most valuable, most honourable, most important, and most glorious office in the world - to that of an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ.'
These are the words I quoted during my recent ordination and induction at LCBC. It was an emotional day as I reflected on the strong burden God has placed on my heart to teach his word, pastor his people and help those who do not yet know Jesus Christ as Lord to come to a saving faith in him. It is a privilege to be a pastor, a privilege to have been called to serve at LCBC but most importantly of all, a privilege to be a Christian.
As followers of Christ, we are called to be ambassadors for him. It is an urgent task which carries great responsibility. Preaching the following Sunday morning, I wanted to take the opportunity to encourage the church with these truths. We looked together at Philippians 3:1-11 where Paul makes it clear that his number one goal is to KNOW Christ. So often as churches, we get swept up in the busyness and excitement of running various ministries and programmes, all of which may well be doing great work. And yet often our abilities, our busyness and our desire to serve Christ, subtly but dangerously begins to replace our relationship with him.
The passage taught us two things about what knowing Christ MEANS:
1. Personal relationship - not just knowing about Christ but experiencing his love, keeping in step with his Spirit and growing in relationship with him each day. Can you call Jesus Christ YOUR Lord?
2. Total surrender - if Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:11), he must also be OUR Lord. There is always a danger of wanting Jesus as our Saviour but not as our Lord. Giving over all of our life to him helps us to truly know him. Is Jesus Christ your LORD?
The passage also taught us what knowing Christ would LOOK LIKE:
1. Total dependence - it is easy to trust Christ for our forgiveness but then live our lives trusting in our own strength. Paul reminds us that although he had many good reasons to place his confidence in himself, he laid these aside in total dependence on Christ.
2. Total commitment - the more deeply we know Christ, the more prepared we will be to give our all for him. I pray for our church and anyone else who reads this, that our goal will be to encourage one another to know Christ more deeply and that this will always be the foundation from which we seek to serve him. May we join with Paul and pray: "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."