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Making Headway in Ministry

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Ordination for Gardner Fish

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Introduction

I am honored to stand before this congregation, this group of esteemed, and faithfully called men who sit on this ordination council (which let me just say is quite intimidating. considering there are more degrees on this council, than myself, much less any thermometer’s that I own).
Pastor Mike, and to each of you faithful men here today, who wield the sword of God’s Word, day in and day out, I am humbled by your obedience to your calling and to shepherd those to whom you’ve have been called to shepherd. It truly is an honor.
And to my good friend Gardner. I am honored to stand here among this group and to be a part of this day where: pastors, family, friends, and the very congregation who has raised you up -- also send you out. There is no doubt God has placed a mighty calling on your life with a passion for the gospel. With that said to Brother Mike and Suluria Baptist Church, I say well done, and to God be the glory.
My heart if full, my heart is grateful; and I am astounded to find myself in this position to speak this charge over you, Sarah, and this church. As astounded as I am, I am deeply honored.
But today, My brother, I want you to hear this:
Ministry is difficult but “take heart;” Jesus had got you.
Why on earth would on earth would I want you to cling to these words? Because one thing the Bible shows us consistently, from Genesis to Revelation, is that we…are a forgetful people. I say this often, the more I read the Scriptures the more I am convinced that the word “Remember” is one of the most important words in the Bible. Because we (as fallen creatures made in the image of God) bear the curse of sin and the effects of it’s short memory.
Why on earth would on earth would I want you to cling to these words? Because one thing the Bible shows us consistently, from Genesis to Revelation, is that we…are a forgetful people. I say this often, the more I read the Scriptures the more I am convinced that the word “Remember” is one of the most important words in the Bible. Because we (as fallen creatures made in the image of God) bear the curse of sin and the effects of it’s short memory.
If you would please turn with me in your Bibles to the Gospel of Mark found in the New Testament.
We will be reading from , starting in verse 45...
Mark 6:45–52 ESV
45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
Mark 6:
This is the Word of the Lord.
Let’s Pray:
Father God, be with us now as you allow us to see Your living Word, hear Your living and even experience Your breath through the presence of the Holy Spirit’s as we encounter all that You are through the finished work of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Gardener, I want to understand as we unpack this text that: Ministry is difficult but “take heart;” Jesus had got you.
Let’s walk through a few things that will show you this truth is this passage and even a few others.

REMEMBER GOD HAS CALLED YOU

In v. 45, the text tells us that, “Immediately he [Jesus] made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.
Just for context sake, what had just happened? Jesus was teaching a large group because they were following him around and, well the crowd decided to hang out. The disciples were freaking out, well because they didn’t have food and there was like 5000 plus there.
These are the same disciple mind you who saw Jesus heal...
- a man with an unclean Spirit; then they went to Peter’s house his mother-in-law is sick, he heals here and then the whole town (1:32-33); Then he cleanses a leper
- He heals a paralytic
- And man with a withered hand
They are seeing all of this healing, now we come upon
Mark 3:13–15 ESV
13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons.
Mark 3:13-15
Jesus called these guys to himself (those whom he desired and they came to him…ooooh…I don’t have time—but there is a lot there- just saying).
Miracle after miracle these guys see Jesus do incredible things...
If you look at the Bible tells us not only have they witnessed some amazing stuff and heard teaching after teaching, now it’s time for this group to get after it...
Mark 6:7–13 ESV
7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
Mark 6:7-13
Gardner, Jesus is trying to teach these brother what the Apostle Paul said to the Church at Thessalonica, “If He calls you to it…HE will do it!”
But you must remember that!
Ministry is difficult but “take heart;” Jesus is with you.
Now here we circle back around the Gospel of Mark to Chapter 6, v.36 for the feeding of the 5000. This same group of men whom “Christ desired and they came to him...” This same bunch who have witnessed miracle after miracle, and even gone out in the authority of Jesus and healed and cast out demons are looking at all these ppl and say, “ Hey Jesus, it’s getting late tell all these hangry people to go get something to eat, we are in the middle of nowhere.” Jesus said, “No you feed them.” “But Jesus we don’t have those kinds of snacks. So Jesus takes a kids 2 piece fish dinner and some hushpuppies and feeds them all. Look at v. 42...
The disciple struggled with remembering...
Now here we circle back around the Gospel of Mark to Chapter 6, v.36 for the feeding of the 5000. This same group of men whom “Christ desired and they came to him...” This same bunch who have witnessed miracle after miracle, and even gone out in the authority of Jesus and healed and cast out demons are looking at all these ppl and say, “ Hey Jesus, it’s getting late tell all these hangry people to go get something to eat, we are in the middle of nowhere.” Jesus said, “No you feed them.” “But Jesus we don’t have those kinds of snacks. So Jesus takes a kids 2 piece fish dinner and some hushpuppies and feeds them all. Look at v. 42...
Mark 6:42 ESV
42 And they all ate and were satisfied.
Mark 6:
That’s how you know they weren’t baptist, first of all it wasn’t fried chicken and all were satisfied. Come on.
So back to our text...
“Immediately [Jesus] made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side,..., while he dismissed the crowd.”
The Lexham Bible Dictionary Christological Implications

Jesus’ use of ἐγώ εἰμί (egō eimi) in the absolute sense (“I am”) draws on Exod 3:14 and other Old Testament passages where the phrase clearly refers to God. In using the expression, Jesus seems to be explicitly identifying Himself with Yahweh, asserting His eternality, self-existence, and changelessness, and claiming to bear Yahweh’s presence on Earth. Jesus employs this absolute sense of ἐγώ εἰμί (egō eimi) in the Gospels, particularly in the Gospel of John (Matt 14:27; Mark 6:50; 14:62; Luke 22:70; John 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:6). The consistent use of the present-tense “I am”—rather than the past-tense “I was”—suggests that the phrase has changelessness in view. Many translations supply the word “he” (“I am he”) to avoid an awkward ending to the phrase; however, this term is not present in the Greek text.

REMEMBER TO RECHARGE WITH PRAYER

Mark 6:47 ESV
47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.
Mark 6:46 ESV
46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
Mark
We read in the Bible where the disciples were always falling asleep when they were supposed to be praying… not Jesus. You know Jesus was tired…but he made time for His Father. In order to Shepherd the flock of God you too must spend time alone with your Heavenly Father in prayer.

REMEMBER JESUS HAS GOT YOU

Mark 6:47–50 ESV
47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
Mark 6:46–50 ESV
46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
v.48 Jesus saw that they were making headway painfully!!! Why because the wind was against them.
Gardner, my brother…that is ministry; that’s is life in this fallen world.
This broken world doesn’t care that you are degreed up,
this place doesn’t care that you are on your way to your MDiv;
that you are hitting the next season of life,
about to get married,
moving to New Orleans…
Brother hear me…this broken place doesn’t care. But Jesus…, Jesus does!
There is a wind ready to blow and fight you back and make your next step difficult, make your next paper a beast, your next church full of a bunch of sinners who don’t know how to act right.
There is a wind ready to blow you down. It’s coming at you and it’s painful.
Ministry is difficult but “take heart;” Jesus has got you.
4th watch of night is about 3am to 6am
V. 48- 4th watch of night is about 3am to 6am
These guys were fisherman…they knew there way around a boat they thought they had this.
I love at the end of v.48 it said Jesus was about to pass them by.
Mark 6:49 ESV
49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out,
Mark 6:50 ESV
50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
Mark
Now when I was a youth pastor and much younger (like 4 years ago) I remembering reading this and running to my Senior Pastor’s office like I had discovered the holy grail!
When Jesus said, “take heart; it is I...” to a bunch of terrified fisherman who had forgotten the power of the living Messiah in his healing and feeding and ministering…but to a good Jewish fisherman who had grown up memorizing the Torah, knowing the story of Moses…one of their heroes…as they sat there on that water watching Jesus watch across a lake where the wind was given them fits.
The supernatural experience isn’t that Jesus was walking on the water…It’s in the proclamation of “Take heart; IT .”
The very words that God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush. In the original language of the Greek it was like Jesus saying “I AM.”
I Am (ἐγώ εἰμί, egō eimi). Examines New Testament passages in which Jesus uses the Greek expression “I am” in relation to His divinity. This usage is especially prominent in the Gospel of John.
I Am (ἐγώ εἰμί, egō eimi). Examines New Testament passages in which Jesus uses the Greek expression “I am” in relation to His divinity. This usage is especially prominent in the Gospel of John.
The phrase ‘I am’ reflects , in which God introduces Himself to Moses with an expression usually translated “I am who I am.” The personal name of God reflected in [what we know as] YHWH [which] relates to this Hebrew construction. The phrase was meant to frame up for us “the eternality, self-existence, and changelessness that belong to God alone.”
1. in a simple predicate construction, such as “I am the good shepherd”;
The Lexham Bible Dictionary Christological Implications

Christological Implications

Jesus’ use of ἐγώ εἰμί (egō eimi) in the absolute sense (“I am”) draws on Exod 3:14 and other Old Testament passages where the phrase clearly refers to God. In using the expression, Jesus seems to be explicitly identifying Himself with Yahweh, asserting His eternality, self-existence, and changelessness, and claiming to bear Yahweh’s presence on Earth. Jesus employs this absolute sense of ἐγώ εἰμί (egō eimi) in the Gospels, particularly in the Gospel of John (Matt 14:27; Mark 6:50; 14:62; Luke 22:70; John 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:6). The consistent use of the present-tense “I am”—rather than the past-tense “I was”—suggests that the phrase has changelessness in view. Many translations supply the word “he” (“I am he”) to avoid an awkward ending to the phrase; however, this term is not present in the Greek text.

In passages where Jesus makes an “I am” statement, the negative reaction of His opponents reinforces the view that the phrase amounts to a claim to deity. For example, John 18:6 records that those who came to arrest Jesus “drew back and fell to the ground” when He identified Himself with the words “I am.” John may be presenting this event as a theophany, since the people react as though God’s presence were manifested before them. When Jesus describes Himself as “I am” in John 8:58, the Jews attempt to stone Him because they interpret His words as a blasphemous claim to deity. According to Guthrie, “there seems little doubt, therefore, that the statement of 8:58 is intended to convey in an extraordinary way such exclusively divine qualities as changelessness and pre-existence” (Guthrie, New Testament Theology).

In addition to the Gospels, Revelation records Jesus using the phrase “I am” (in the simple predicate construction, rather than the absolute sense). In Revelation 2:23 Jesus says, “I am the one who searches the minds and the hearts”; in Rev 22:16 He says, “I am the root and the descendent of David” (Guthrie, New Testament Theology).

2. in the absolute sense, without a predicative expression, so that it is rendered simply as “I am.”
The phrase ‘I am’ reflects , in which God introduces Himself to Moses with an expression usually translated “I am who I am.” The personal name of God reflected in [what we know as] YHWH [which] relates to this Hebrew construction. The phrase was meant to frame up for us “the eternality, self-existence, and changelessness that belong to God alone.”
The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, renders the opening of the phrase in as ἐγώ εἰμί (egō eimi), which amounts to a title for God elsewhere in the Old Testament.
The Lexham Bible Dictionary Christological Implications

Christological Implications

Jesus’ use of ἐγώ εἰμί (egō eimi) in the absolute sense (“I am”) draws on Exod 3:14 and other Old Testament passages where the phrase clearly refers to God. In using the expression, Jesus seems to be explicitly identifying Himself with Yahweh, asserting His eternality, self-existence, and changelessness, and claiming to bear Yahweh’s presence on Earth. Jesus employs this absolute sense of ἐγώ εἰμί (egō eimi) in the Gospels, particularly in the Gospel of John (Matt 14:27; Mark 6:50; 14:62; Luke 22:70; John 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:6). The consistent use of the present-tense “I am”—rather than the past-tense “I was”—suggests that the phrase has changelessness in view. Many translations supply the word “he” (“I am he”) to avoid an awkward ending to the phrase; however, this term is not present in the Greek text.

In passages where Jesus makes an “I am” statement, the negative reaction of His opponents reinforces the view that the phrase amounts to a claim to deity. For example, John 18:6 records that those who came to arrest Jesus “drew back and fell to the ground” when He identified Himself with the words “I am.” John may be presenting this event as a theophany, since the people react as though God’s presence were manifested before them. When Jesus describes Himself as “I am” in John 8:58, the Jews attempt to stone Him because they interpret His words as a blasphemous claim to deity. According to Guthrie, “there seems little doubt, therefore, that the statement of 8:58 is intended to convey in an extraordinary way such exclusively divine qualities as changelessness and pre-existence” (Guthrie, New Testament Theology).

In addition to the Gospels, Revelation records Jesus using the phrase “I am” (in the simple predicate construction, rather than the absolute sense). In Revelation 2:23 Jesus says, “I am the one who searches the minds and the hearts”; in Rev 22:16 He says, “I am the root and the descendent of David” (Guthrie, New Testament Theology).

In passages where Jesus makes an “I am” statement, the negative reaction of His opponents reinforces the view that the phrase amounts to a claim to deity. For example, records that those who came to arrest Jesus “drew back and fell to the ground” when He identified Himself with the words “I am.” John may be presenting this event as a theophany, since the people react as though God’s presence were manifested before them. When Jesus describes Himself as “I am” in , the Jews attempt to stone Him because they interpret His words as a blasphemous claim to deity. According to Guthrie, “there seems little doubt, therefore, that the statement of 8:58 is intended to convey in an extraordinary way such exclusively divine qualities as changelessness and pre-existence” (Guthrie, New Testament Theology).
The supernatural experience isn’t that Jesus was walking on the water…It’s in the proclamation and look at...
Mark 6:51 ESV
51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded,
Mark
Ministry is difficult but “take heart;” Jesus has got you.
The supernatural isn’t in just a man walking on water in a storm. The supernatural is in the proclamation of who this man is!
The supernatural is that you (Gardener) and each of us who KNOW JESUS isn’t just that He can walk on water…that should be underwhelming to us…especially when we know The GREAT I AM makes dead things come ALIVE!
The supernatural is found in Jesus walking on the water, the supernatural is that he loves us enough in our fearful weakness, and doubt, to get in the boat with us.
Ministry is difficult but “take heart;” Jesus has got you.
Ministry is difficult but “take heart;” Jesus has got you.
Gardner, be astonished, that the God who created ALL THINGS stepped down from heaven, took on flesh, called you to the work of his ministry. And he did it because he desired you and you answered the call. But, He hasn’t left you alone. He stepped down from heaven got in your boat, bore your sins on a cruel cross and gave you His crown. That’s a supernatural God. That’s a God I would follow anywhere. So, start today on your journey by coming to the end of yourself. Be empty of the promises of this world so that you will...

REMEMBER THE HOLY SPIRIT IS WITH YOU and YOU MUST CONTINUE...

I want to end this with a double charge from my favorite Pastoral Epistle. This is charge is both to you Gardner and this church.
2 Tim
2 Timothy 3:14 ESV
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
Gardner what God has called you to is TO BE CONTINUED…duplicate yourself, raise up leaders, who love Jesus, His people, His Word, and making Disciples.
Suluria Baptist Church, but as for you continue…do this again. Invest in another Godly leader for the hope of this gospel being forward to the next generation. To this church and to Pastor Mike, I say well done! Now do it again, we need more Gardner Fish’s in the world.
Let’s Pray.
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