Friday, December 4, 2015

Bishop’s Note: December 03, 2015 Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Apostles

Bishop Eric Menees

As we approach the end of the year we also approach the end of this series of Bishop’s Notes on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. In the early church God the Holy Spirit equipped individuals for ministry in building up the Body of Christ – The Church –  through the advancement of the Good News of Jesus Christ. He is still doing so today!

St. Paul in his letter to the Church in Ephesus speaks of certain groups of people whom God has gifted through the Holy Spirit: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV)

The first on this list were the Apostles. The Apostles were those men specifically called by Jesus who lived, worked, prayed, and suffered with our Lord. Most importantly, these are the men to whom Jesus chose to reveal himself, and who he chose to empower through the Holy Spirit in order to establish and govern the whole church. These men had the authority to speak the words of the Son of God, which were and are - in every way - equal to the power and authority of the Old Testament Scriptures.

“The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.” (Matthew 10:2-4 ESV) Judas, the betrayer, was replaced by Matthias in Acts 1:26. Soon afterwards, Saul met the risen Lord on the road to Damascus and became the 13th and last Apostle.

Thank God for the Apostles, whom He used to govern the church in her infancy. They were the ones who were entrusted with the Gospel, and who were given the right and charged with the responsibility to share, protect, and defend the faith. This meant that the Apostles were required to raise up, train, and ordain new ministers, and to exercise discipline in the church.  

As a bishop, I am humbled, honored, and blessed to have been raised up and equipped by God to be a successor to the Apostles in the Diocese of San Joaquin.     

I pray you a blessed Second Sunday of Advent!

Catechism Questions 191 - 195

191.    What is the Fifth Petition?
The Fifth Petition is: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

192.    What are trespasses?
A trespass is a thought, word, or deed contrary to God’s holy character and Law, missing the mark of his will and expectations. (Romans 3:23)

193.    Have you trespassed against God’s Law?
Yes. Together with all mankind, I sin daily against God’s Law in thought, word, and deed, and love neither him nor my neighbor, as I should. (Jeremiah 2:12-14; Romans 1:18-24; 3:23)

194.    What is God’s forgiveness?
God’s forgiveness is his merciful removal of the guilt of sin that results from our disobedience. (Isaiah 1:18; 52:13-53:12; Ephesians 1:3-14; Colossians 2:13-14)

195.    On what basis do you ask forgiveness?

I ask God to forgive all my sins through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, which was completed for me on the cross and is given to me through faith and Baptism. (Acts 2:38; Romans 5:17; Colossians 2:9-12; 1 John 1:9-10)

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