The Ordination Charge
My beloved brother, since we believe that God has called you to be a minister of Jesus Christ, and since the church has recognized this call, and by prayer and laying on of hands has separated you to the gospel of God, as the representative of the church of Christ, I therefore beseech you that you give earnest heed to the word of the living God, which declares:
"Thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me.
"When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
"Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and kingdom;
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine."
"Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
"Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. . . . Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine."
"Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
"Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."
"Be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves."
"Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life."
"Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
"Giving no offense in anything, that the ministry be not blamed."
"Take heed therefore unto thyself, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you an overseer, to feed the church of God, which He bath purchased with His own blood."
"Taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
"Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
"And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
"You are to preach the Word," not the opinions and traditions of men, not pleasing fables or sensational stories, to move the fancy or excite the emotions. You are not to exalt yourself, but as in the presence of God you are to stand before a dying world and preach the Word. Let there be no levity, no trifling, no fanciful interpretation. As a minister of God you are to speak with sincerity and deep earnestness, as a voice from God expounding the Holy Scriptures. You are to bring to your hearers those things which most concern their present and eternal good.
You are to warn them of the soon coming of Christ in power and great glory. Your message must be such as to lead men to see the importance that God attaches to His law. So plainly are you to present the truth that no transgressor, hearing it, shall be excusable in failing to discern the importance of obedience to God's commands. You are ever to be conscious of the fact that you are a messenger of God, commissioned by Him to do a work the influence of which is to endure throughout eternity.
Your whole aim should be to bring sinners to repentance, pointing them, by both precept and example, to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. You should speak as one conscious of power and authority from God. Your discourses should have an earnestness, a fervor, a power of persuasion, that will lead sinners to take refuge in Christ.
Today, my beloved brother, you have been solemnly dedicated to God by prayer and the laying on of hands. You are thus authorized by the church not only to teach the truth, but to perform the rite of baptism, and to organize churches, being invested with full ecclesiastical authority.
Your ordination is a public recognition of your divine appointment to bear to the world the glad tidings of the gospel.
Hence, your office is the most important to which human beings have ever been called. As you go forth on your mission of love, preaching the glorious gospel of the blessed God, you may be assured of the fact that He who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, and who holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, will tenderly care for you; and if you are faithful to the end in the work to which you have now received divine appointment, you will hear at last from His lips the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
You have today taken upon yourself the solemn vow of consecration to the sacred service of your Master, while God and holy angels have been summoned as witnesses to the dedication of body, soul, and spirit to this holy service. I charge you therefore that you ever keep in absolute purity this consecrated vessel which God would use in His high and holy service, that when your lifework is ended you may be able to say: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day."
[Eze. 33 :7-9 ; 2 Tim. 4 :1, 2 ; 4 :5 ; 2 :15 ; 1 Tim. 4 :12, 13. 15, 16 ; 2 Tim. 2 :24, 25 ; 1 Tim. 6 :11, 12 ; 2 Tim. 2 :3, 4 ; 2 Cor. 6 :3 ; Acts 20 :28 ; 1 Peter 5 :2-4, "Gospel Workers," pp. 147, 148, 172, 173, 441, 442.]
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