Reverend Anthony R. Locke
June 26th, 2011 www.FirstPresTucker.org
at the First Presbyterian Church of Tucker
This Sermon was preached to celebrate and sanctify the Sunday that Adam Moore was ordained a ruling elder in the Associate Reformed Church
A LAMP ORDAINED FOR GOD’S ANOINTED was first preached by Ebenezer Erskine at the installation of his son in law, the Rev. James Fisher, in 1741.
Fisher was ministering at Kinclaven, and transferred to the dissenting Associate Congregation in Glasgow. He is the same Fisher who wrote the Children’s Catechism.
The original sermon is 40 pages long, took about 5 to 6 hours to preach, and was divided between the Sunday morning and the Sunday evening services. This re-preaching is only 4 pages long by comparison.
Psalm 132:11-18 English Standard Version
11 The Lord swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them, their sons also forever shall sit on your throne.”
13 For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling place:
14 “This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16 Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy.
17 There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
18 His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on him his crown will shine.”
This psalm was penned by King Solomon for the dedication of the temple to God. Verse 1-10 are petitions. The second part, namely verse 11 to the end, are great and precious promises relating to King David and his family. The greater meaning of this passage relates to Christ and His New Testament Church.
God makes at least five promises within verse 11–18
- Verse 13+14: God promises to reside in his church. God’s gracious presence in his church, and amongst his people, guarantees our glorification and eternal beauty.
- In verse 15 God promises to bless the provisions He has set aside for His people. He will feed us with hidden manna, satisfy our years with good things and supply all our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
- Third, in verse 16, God promises to give the Church faithful ministers, who are clothed with the power to preach the message of salvation lifting the souls of all true believers to shout aloud for joy.
- Fourth, God promises in the first part of verse 17 that
- however low the Church sinks, it may appear a root in a dry place – hacked down by evil men and the Devil, the Church will sprout again.
- Even David’s horn, meaning – the strength of the Messianic King, in the fullness of time, will bud from what appears to be a dead church.
- And the fifth promise, in the last part of verse 17, God promises that the lamp of Gospel light shall keep shining out from His true church that the glory of Christ might never stop shining in this dark and unbelieving world.
The One Living and True Sovereign God has sworn to King David a sure oath from which He will never turn back.
Though Christ be despised and rejected of men; though an unbelieving world see no beauty in our Lord, yet the Father has decreed for His Son to be glorified.
Jesus is the Anointed: Prophet, Priest, and King of the people of God.
And the Father promises to bless Jesus. Psalm 89:20-23 with my sacred oil I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him. The enemy will not get the better of him; the wicked will not oppress him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down his adversaries.
And God projects the glory of the Anointed by a brilliant and shinning lamp.
What is that Lamp?
The word of God, particularly the Gospel message broadly preached, is the Lamp that awakens the world to the majesty and glory of the Anointed.
Despite the darkness of our times, this lamp will not be snuffed out. It will continue to burn bright until the Second Coming of the Messiah, who Himself is the light of that heavenly city.
God has ordained and preserved this Lamp. By Divine authority and by Divine commandment we preach and spread the light. Jesus commanded in Mark 16:15+20 Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
Here is the theme: That the dispensation of the everlasting gospel is a lamp which God has ordained for manifesting the glory of Christ unto a lost world lying in darkness.
This doctrine is developed with five discussions:
- Christ is God’s Anointed.
- The Lamp reveals Christ.
- The Lamp itself is Ordained.
- There are good reasons for why God ordained the word of God as His Lamp.
- And then many applications are made.
(This morning we only have time to hear a few preaching items from the first three discussions)
First Discussion: Christ is God’s Anointed.
God the Father anoints God the Son with the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit more than any other human being who has ever lived.
Many verses in the Bible teach this. Psalm 45:7 God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions. (For a full discussion of this doctrine see the sermon titled “. . . by the Holy Spirit” preached June 13th of 2010 at http://FirstPresTucker.org by Rev. Locke)
While Jesus has all power according to His Divine nature, yet Jesus cloaked that in human flesh so that He might not be known as a God. In the incarnation, Jesus utilized Messianic power by the calling of God the Father and the Anointing of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.
The word Christ means Messiah, and Messiah means Anointed One. Jesus was called and sent by the Father. Jesus did not take this honor to himself, but was ‘called of God, as was Aaron.’
The Father declared a decree – Psalm 2:7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. With the solemnity of an open and audible proclamation from the excellent glory above, the heavens opened and God’s voice thundered His declaration of approval and blessing. Then the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus in the likeness of a Dove to bring to His human person the Divine power necessary to perform His earthly Messianic office.
Christ, and all believers, are anointed with the same Holy Spirit. Our anointing is but a drop in comparison to the ocean of anointing Christ received, yet it is with the self-same Spirit that we are anointed. By this anointing we are now called, like Christ, to shine the light to the world.
Second Discussion: the Lamp reveals Christ.
2 Peter 1:19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
The dark place that the apostle is speaking of, is this dark world, and the heart of man is the darkest place in the world. God who is the Father of lights, has given his Word, the Scriptures of Truth, as a lantern or lamp, to direct us how we are to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
To this light, or lamp, we do well to take heed, as David did, the man according to God’s own heart: Thy word, says he, is a light to my feet, and a lamp unto my paths.
Ministers of the gospel are, as it were, the lamp bearers. They are commissioned by Christ to preach the gospel, to teach all nations and to proclaim the word of reconciliation. Ministers herald the message of the Great King like a trumpet to the ends of the earth.
By the Gospel lamp we discover that God is Trinity, that the Son of God was incarnate as the man Jesus, that His life fulfilled all righteousness for us, that Jesus died for our sins on the cross, bruised the head of the Serpent, and gave Himself as our meat, our bread, our drink of eternal life.
Third Discussion: the Lamp itself is Ordained.
This book is the Gospel of the Blessed God. It comes down from the Father of lights. All scripture is given by inspiration of God.
The light of this lamp will transform a soul. 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
The light of this lamp will purify a soul. Jesus said in John 15:3, you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
And the Rev. Erskine goes on to show how it is a glorious lamp, and pleasant, and profitable, infallible, ancient, lasting durable, and yet common enough for all mankind.
Only the Word of God is an ordained Lamp to lead us to the Father by way of the Son.
Why do we Protestants reject the doctrines of the Roman Church: their mass, breviaries, and idolatries? Why it is because they do not bear the stamp of God’s authority.
And for the same reason we reject Episcopal, and Independent government, and the superstition and ceremonies of the English church; it is because they are only the inventions of men, and have no authority from God; and therefore we cannot expect his blessing to accompany them.
And, on the other hand, why do we sprinkle water in baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Why do we eat and drink at the table of the Lord a little simple bread and wine, which to carnal reason are inconsistent things? Why do we preach the gospel, which to the wise of this world is foolishness? Why do we pray, and praise, and go about other duties? It is because they are commanded and ordained of God.
The gospel is a lamp of God’s ordaining; and therefore it is the power of God unto salvation, mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.
The weakest and most insignificant things, when appointed of God, are the only means that will produce eternal effects.
What made the sound of rams horns to overthrow the walls of Jericho? What made the waters of Jordan more effectual for curing Naaman’s leprosy, or spittle and dust mixed together effectual for opening the eyes of the blind man? Just this. These were the means of God’s appointment; and therefore God’s own power went along with them.
So here the gospel, and a gospel ministry, however contemptible and insignificant in the eyes of the world they may appear: yet, being the ordained Lamp of God provides power for the salvation of souls.
God has ordained this lamp for his Anointed, that his name may be remembered through all nations, and to all generations.
This Lamp informs our faith that the Father has given Jesus a name that is above every name. And that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
God says that Jesus is mine Anointed; he is my servant; he is mine elect; he is my fellow, and mine equal. God speaks so affectionately of Jesus in the pages of this Lamp that a world of lost sinners might fall in love with Jesus.
God has ordained a lamp for His anointed. It must shine within our generation. Therefore, God has established that the church ordain men to rule and lead us according to this light.
Our session has met and discussed names for a new slate of rotating ruling elders.
Adam Moore was one of those names. He is willing to serve at this time.
The Apostle Paul instructed 2 Timothy 2:2 what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
This morning we will entrust to Adam Moore the sacred office of Ruling Elder that he might help lead this church to the glory of God.
Adam, please join me up front.
FORMULA FOR ORDINATION AND INSTALLATION
(1) Do you believe in one God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and do you confess anew the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, and acknowledge Him Head over all things for the Church, which is His Body?
(2) Do you reaffirm your belief in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the Word of the living God, the only perfect rule of faith and practice, to which nothing is to be added and from which nothing is to be taken at any time or upon any pretext?
(3) Do you accept the doctrines of this Church, contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, as founded on the Word of God and as the expression of your own faith and do you resolve to adhere thereto?
(4) Do you accept the government, discipline, and worship of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church?
(5) Do you accept the office of ruling elder in this congregation; and do you promise to perform faithfully all the duties of the office; and do you promise to endeavor by the grace of God to live your life in Christian witness before the church and in the world?
(6) Do you promise to submit in the spirit of love to the authority of the session and to the higher courts of the Church?
(7) Do you promise in all things to promote the unity, peace, purity, and prosperity of the church?
Do you, the members of this congregation, acknowledge and receive Adam Moore as a ruling elder, and do you promise to give him all the honor, obedience, encouragement, and assistance in the spirit of love to which his office, according to the Word of God and the Constitution of this Church, entitles him?
After the members of the congregation have signified their affirmative answer to this question, the officer-elect shall kneel and be set apart to their office with prayer and the laying on of the hands of the session.
Following the ordination prayer, the minister shall say:
“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Head of the Church, I now declare you duly ordained and installed in the sacred office of ruling elder.”
The members of the session shall take the new officer by the hand, saying:
“We give you the right hand of fellowship to take part in this ministry with us.”
 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.