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 3:
The bishop is the chief shepherded of the flock of Christ. He has been chosen by God as His ambassador among God’s people. He possesses the prerogatives of liturgical, doctrinal, administrative and faith powers. He watches over the faith and order of his diocese. Hence, he is called the “ordinary” signifying that he is the superior one who solely ordains ministers, orders and guards ordinances of the Church. He is therefore expected to be a person of integrity and honour, who carries out his duties with distinction.
The position of a bishop gives him the right to see highly placed people Gal.4:1-7. This right is not only to solicit for help of any kind but first to reach people in authority with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Presidents, Governors, Senators, Political leaders, Military leaders, Traditional leaders, the Legal luminaries. Matt.27:57-61.
Paul did not praise these people rather he wanted them to accept the gospel. Acts 26:27-28.
Bishop’s ministry is not limited to a particular denomination, it is both to the Jews and the gentiles – The Muslims, Idol worshippers, Free thinkers, the Christian bye-ways (Jehovah witness, Christian science, Latter Day Saints etc.) Atheists, etc. It will be unpatriotic to heaven (our home) to condole any of these in the name of bring liberal.
We must be ready to fulfill the injunction given to Jeremiah 1:10 “see today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.
Bishops should continue the ministry God committed to Apostle Peter in John 21:15-17 “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”
Apostle Peter rounded up his epistle by addressing Church leaders to lead well according to the whole paradigm of leadership (1 Peter 5:1-4) we are therefore called to minister to the people, a mentor, a manager and a model.
THE MOTIVE OF BISHOP AS AN AMBASSADOR OF GOD
- The Love of Christ: 1 Cor 5:14. His great love for us and in us (Rom.5:8) compels us to go out with His message of reconciliation.
- The Judgment seat of Christ: 1 Cor. 5:9-10. One day our King will recall us to render account of our stewardship
- The dire need of the lost: The fact that men are lost and bound for a christless eternity should stir us to proclaim with passion the message he has committed to us. This was in the heart of prophet Isaiah when he wrote in Chapter 62:1 “For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, And her salvation as a lamp that burns”
- Our attention should be focused on the kingdom message in Matt.10:5-7 “These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand”
- We must follow the way of Jesus and the example of Apostle Paul. John 14:1-4, 12-14.
- We must be ready to tend God’s sheep as Peter was commanded in John 21:15-17
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
- What are the pragmatic ways a bishop as an Ambassador adopts to feed Christ’s sheep?
2 Timothy 2:15-16, Matt.25:35-36, Acts 20:35, 1 Cor. 9:22
- What are God’s plan for His sheep? Jer.23:2,4; 3:15, Isaiah 56:10-12
- How can we know unfaithful ambassador among bishops? 50:6, Ezek.34:2-6; John 10:12
- What are the dangers for obsessive accumulation of wealth and power by the bishop to the detriment of his kingdom assignment? Psalm 49:10-12, John 16:26.
- An Ambassador enjoys immunity in his host country, so a bishop enjoys enormous prerogatives. According to the following passages are these priviledges absolute? Luke 19:13-15, 1 Cor.4:2, Matt.12:36-37; Luke 12:47-48
Bishopric should be seen as God’s ambassadorial appointment that is crucial and urgent, the major assignment is that of reconciling the world to Himself. The rights and priviledges given to him should not be abused or be arrogates to himself but to be used to win souls at the high places. He should showcase the love of God to everyone and always be conscious that there will be a day of reckoning.