Whether you are new to the area, just passing through or in need of a new church home... we welcome you to join us each Sunday at 9:00 am or
Monday night at 7:00 pm.
We are located in Fruitport Township, just minutes from the Lakes Mall area. Click here to contact us.
Demand has the idea of “asking authoritatively.” The shading of that word would rule out our demanding that God answer our prayers the way we want. We are not in a position to tell God what to do. God is the Creator. We are his creation (Psalm 100:3). Still, God invites us to pray to him boldly and persistently (Luke 18:1-8). But we balance that invitation with the recognition that God knows what is best for us (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). The account of Jacob wrestling with the Lord is certainly a fascinating one. It shows us how the Lord condescended and entered the life of Jacob physically for his good. The account shows us how the all-powerful Lord made himself “weak” so that one of his children could prevail. A takeaway from that account, again, is an encouragement for you and me to come to God boldly and persistently in prayer—laying before him our “petitions, prayers and intercession” (1 Timothy 2:1), knowing and believing that he will answer them according to his wisdom and love. Martin Luther’s memorable explanation of the address of the Lord’s Prayer summarizes well these thoughts: “With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that he is our true Father and that we are his true children, so that we may pray to him as boldly and confidently as dear children ask their dear father.”
The Shepherd Under Christ, a textbook for practical theology, addresses your questions well. It explains, from Scripture, to our seminary students how the public ministry relates to the universal priesthood of believers. “God has given the gospel to all Christians, individually and collectively. Jesus entrusted to each Christian and to groups of Christians gathered about the gospel the right to bind or loose, to forgive or retain sins, by declaring or withholding His gospel (Mt 18:18; Jn 20:21-23). Every Christian as a member of the royal priesthood has been called to proclaim the Lord’s praises (1 Pe 2:9). He is called to function as a witness and servant of His Lord, as a light to the world (Mt 5:16). He has this call as a member of the universal priesthood of all believers. This is the ministry that Christ has enjoined on His New Testament church and that has been committed to every Christian (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15). “The Lord has also established the public ministry in His church. This ministry does not set up a priestly caste apart from the laity, for, as noted above, all Christians are priests of God. The difference lies in the word public. The public ministry is a service performed in the church, in behalf of fellow Christians, in their name. Like the public official in a state who functions in the name of his fellow citizens that have elected him, so the minister has an office in which he carries out responsibilities that have been entrusted to him by fellow Christians. These responsibilities are not essentially different from those Christ committed to every Christian. The minister too is to serve in the gospel as did Paul and Timothy (Ph 2:19-23); to labor in the Word and doctrine (1 Tm 5:17); to speak the Word of God (He 11:17). But the minister does this in the church, in behalf of the church, and as a representative of the church. “While every Christian has the call to proclaim Christ to the world, for the public ministry, and this includes the pastoral office, a specific call is necessary. Within the church every Christian, being a priest of God, possesses the ministry in equal measure. Good order, therefore, requires that no one function publicly, that is, in behalf of the assembly of Christians, unless these Christians themselves by means of a call have commissioned him to do so (1 Cor 14:40; Ro 10:15; 1 Pe 4:15). [pages 21-22] You might be interested in reading our synod’s doctrinal statement on “Church and Ministry.” This link will take you to that document. This second link will take you to the “Church and Ministry” chapter of “This We Believe,” a statement of belief of our synod. Should you desire more in depth studies of the topic, this link will take you to our Seminary’s essay file where there are almost 200 papers on the public ministry. Praise God for the gospel ministry he has entrusted to all Christians. Praise God for those who are called to labor in their behalf.
Pastor Timothy J. Winkel
2651 Shettler Road
Muskegon, MI 49444
Telephone: 231 777 3011