BIBLE STUDY AT THE BISHOPS’ RETREAT FROM 5TH – 10TH JANUARY, 2015 AT IBRU CHRISTIAN CENTRE, AGBARHA-OTOR
THEME: THE BISHOP AS AN AMBASSADOR OF GOD
BIBLE STUDY 2:
Ambassador plays the essential role of representing his nation’s interest. He is His President’s voice to people in foreign land. He is authorized to act on the president’s behalf. He has the power to negotiate treaties, solicit favours, extend sympathies, offer congratulations, give thanks and right wrongs.
Being an ambassador of the greatest country in the world is a terrific honour but as bishops we have greatest honour. We are ambassador of God representing the greatest of King and Kingdom. No wonder Paul requested a special prayer in Eph.6:19-20 “and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
AMBASSADORIAL FUNCTION OF THE BISHOP
During prayer at our consecration, the primate prays in such a way that spelt out some of our functions. “…Through him (New bishop)increase your Church, renew its ministry, and unite its members in a holy fellowship of truth and love, and enable him as true shepherd to feed and govern your flock, make him wise teacher, and steadfast as guardian of its faith and sacrament. Guide and direct him in presiding at the worship of your people. Give him humility that he may use his authorities to heal and not to hurt, to build up and not to destroy. Defend him from all evil that as ruler over your household and ambassador for Christ he may stand before you blameless and finally, with all your servants, enter your eternal joy.
At the presentation of pastoral staff, The Primate will say:
Take this staff. Be a shepherd and not a wolf to the flock of Christ; feed them and do not devour them. Seek the lost, uphold the weak, restore health to the sick, lift the down trodden. Ensure discipline but forget not mercy. Be so merciful and be not too remiss. May the Spirit of the Chief Shepherd guide you. Amen.
THE BISHOP AS AN AMBASSADOR OF GOD
He is appointed or called by God, though through the instrument of men. He is the Chief under-shepherd with enormous power and authority, the highest in the hierarchy of the leadership of the Church accredited by His consecration and enthronement. He does not appoint himself. He who called him, promised to give him all the support. Phil. 4:11. He does not have his personal agenda but keep to the agenda of “the master”.
He is not a citizen of this world as declared by Jesus John 15:19
His qualifications and duties clearly listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Teaching, preaching, praying, doing administrative work, caring, counseling, guiding, feeding, protecting, visiting, leading worship, over sighting, resolving doctrinal issues, maintaining Church discipline and living Godly examples. He is accountable to God and the Church.
MARKS OF AN AMBASSADOR/BISHOP OF GOD
- He must be a citizen of heaven by being born again/a new creature. 2 Cor.5:17, Gal.6:15, Eph. 4:24. Redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:18-19
- He must be above reproach – Not a man of doubtful character, Phil. 2:15. In every relationship, he must be blameless.
- He must be selfless: i.e. be willing to put aside completely his own interest so that he might do the will of his king 1 Cor.15:31, John 12:24, Gal.2:20
- Must be in constant contact with the Throne. Making use of the word of God – the Bible to know the mind of God and in prayer to communicate with God. I Chron 16:11, Matt.26:41, Eph.6:18, Jam.5:13, Rev.1:3
- He must be steadfast, loyal, bold and fearless. Eph. 6:20, Psalm 118:6, isa. 26:3
- He must trust and have confidence in God. Psalm 37:3, Prov.3:5, Isa. 12:2, Habak. 3:18
- He must be diplomatic-know how to negotiate. We have no wisdom of our own to win souls and to represent the Lord before men; but we have a great promise that God will fulfill in us if we ask Him. James 1:5
- He must know the language of the people among whom he lives to be able to communicate effectively, this is the language of LOVE. Luke 10:33-35 (story of the good Samaritan).
- He must always present himself before God for fresh anointing and re-equipment .2 Tim.2:15
- Be ready at all times to represent the one who sends him. Acts 11:26
- Declare His message that (a) The Messiah was born (Luke 2:6-11).(b) He died for us (1 Cor.15:3) (c) And he rose from death (1 Cor.15:4)
- Speak with authority of the one who send you. Matt.28:18-20, John 1:12
QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION:
- Identify some of the bishop’s roles as an ambassador of God in the consecration document reproduced above.
- What does it mean to be above reproach? Acts 25:7-8, 1 Timothy 3:2-4, Titus 1:6-9; Heb.13:7,
- What roles are bishops expected to play in the politics of this country according to the following passages. 1 Kings 21:17-22, 2 Kings 17:13; Ezekiel 3:17-19.
- As a bishop in your diocese, how faithful and obedient are you to the divine mandate in 1 Pet.3:16-17, 1 Pet.5:3, Acts 20:28 (Share a testimony).
Our duties as Ambassadors of God requires that we are Born Again and become a new creature who will be above reproach. We must be ready to defend the course of the Gospel with our life. Our agenda must be that of the kings whom we represent and we must constantly and consistently be in touch with Him in prayers and in His word. Loyalty, steadfastness and hard-work are required.