Permits Please!

This morning’s epistle reading was from Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

Galatians 1:10-17 Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.mmm

For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus.

Notice the section I made bold.  Here we have the issue of who is qualified to spread the word of the Gospel.  Do we need special training before answering questions people have about why we believe in God?  Do we need human approval and or that of specific courts of the church? 

One Sunday some years ago we had a supply in the pulpit for the service.  This individual had preached for us several times and I always enjoyed his sermons.  I knew that he was not an ordained minister and for whatever reason that got me thinking.  The next week our supply was an ordained minister whom I know well and after the service I asked him what one needed to do in order to be able to preach services.  His answer was short and simple, “Tell someone you are willing.”  I did this the next week when our minister returned from vacation and I have been doing pulpit supply ever since and have taken lay ministry courses since then.   

When Paul felt the call he did not head to the head office to get approved, he went traveling and telling people about Christ.  We won’t all be like Paul,  but we can all do our bit.  We can teach Sunday School, we can talk privately with friends and others, we can help to keep the church running so that its work can continue, we may even be able to preach the word.

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