Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bishop’s Note: December 10, 2015 Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Prophets

Bishop Eric Menees

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)

God the Holy Spirit has gifted Christians from the first Pentecost to this present day. He gifts us to be His instruments of Grace and Love until the Lord returns. However, the Lord also sets aside particular people for specific ministries that are described from the passage above from the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians. Last week in my Bishop’s Note we spoke of the Apostles – those specific men chosen by Christ, who were witnesses to the resurrection, and were sent into the world as Christ’s emissaries. This week we look at the The Prophets.

From Moses to this present day, God has called specific people to be His spokesmen. Who do you think of when I say the word “prophet”? In this season of Advent, it’s hard not to think of John the Baptist, who fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah and calls the people of Israel to repent as we’ll hear in this week's lessons: “He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. (Luke 3:7)
But the role of Prophet did not end in the first century. God has raised up men and women today - both ordained and lay - who are called to share the word of God with individuals, small groups of people, and all people everywhere. The gospel of the Lord is not for one person or one group of people, but for all people for all time.

Let us pray that God will raise up and equip more and more people with this gift, so that more and more people will be able to hear God’s Word and thus have the opportunity to respond to God’s call on their lives. What is God’s call? Repent and believe, bearing fruits in keeping with repentance!

    I pray you all a truly blessed 3rd Sunday in Advent!

Catechism Questions 196 - 200

196.    Does God forgive your sins?
Yes. God freely forgives the sins of all who ask him in true repentance and faith, and that includes me. (Leviticus 6:6-8; Matthew 11:28-30; John 6:37, 40, 51; 7:37; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Hebrews 7:25)

197.    Do you forgive others as fully as God forgives you?
Following the example of my Lord Jesus, I seek constantly to forgive those who sin against me. (Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60; Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

198.     Why should you forgive others?
I should forgive others because while I was still a sinner God forgave me. (Matthew 18:21-35)

199.    How will you forgive others?
I will forgive others by extending to them the love of Christ, and by choosing not to hold against them the hurts they have inflicted, whether they ask forgiveness or not. (Romans 13:8)

200.    Will your forgiveness of others bring reconciliation with them?
Not always. Forgiveness is an attitude of my heart desiring the blessing of my neighbor, but my forgiveness may not result in my neighbor’s repentance and the restoration of our relationship. (Romans 12:18)

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