Should be pretty simple right? Just remember this little formula and we got it. There is a problem though called the old human nature and that natures fall back position is something that we do to get righteous. As Michael Horton says in Christless Christianity – ““Even lifelong Christians gravitate toward doing something to save ourselves rather than receive a salvation that has been accomplished for us by someone else. Our default setting is law rather than gospel, imperatives (things to do or feel) rather than indicatives (things to believe). It is the law, not the gospel, that is a ‘Well, of course, but…’ Everyone assumes the law. It is the gospel that is a surprising announcement that none of us had a right to expect.” page 131 When the Holy Spirit works faith in our hearts then we are convinced of this message confident that Christ will bring us to life and competent to share that message with others.
People were amazed at Jesus preaching because the Bible says he talked to them as one who had authority and not like their teachers of the law Mark 1:22. I found some of my notes from a seminary class and there I had taken note of a statement that Christ's teaching was a display of conviction, confidence, and competence. Those are the things we want of our pastors who should be under shepherds to the great Shepherd Jesus.
Paul the Apostle showed his conviction, confidence and competence in his preaching and teaching. He talks about himself as being able to commend himself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God (Cor 2:4). He was dedicated to being a servant and also he was eager to preach the gospel because he felt that he was an ambassador for Jesus Christ. He also alludes to the fact that he was eloquent in his preaching. Peter says about Paul, that some of his saying were hard to understand (2 Peter 3) and yet we consider him competent, confident, and full of conviction, because he was determined to know nothing except Christ and Him crucified.
Carry this idea of competence, conviction and confidence all the way to teachers, lay leaders, officers and leaders of auxiliary organizations, recognized service organizations, and partners of the church and we get an interesting mix especially if we throw in the old human nature.
Who decides if a Pastor is competent or confident?
Who decides if a missionary is competent? What if a missionary is only interested in preaching and I think they should be doing mercy work? What if a missionary is not interested in planting a church? What if a missionary refuses to cooperate with a partner church body?
What about partners and auxiliaries and others? Who decides if they are competent to handle gifts and offerings and grants. These are important issues especially when overseas partners have problems and difficulties managing projects that we have embarked upon together.
2 Corinthians 3:5-6 –5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
We are going to be thinking about these three little words and their implications for “Witness, mercy and life together”.