‘He called unto him his twelve disciples…the first, Simon, who is called Peter.’ Matthew 10:1–2
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Timothy 3:1–13
I will venture here to trace an analogy between this and the calling of the Christian minister. You will observe that this call comes last. The call to the apostleship does not come first. Peter is first the disciple, secondly the evangelist, and thirdly the apostle. So, no man is called to be specially set apart to the ministry of Christ, or to have a share in the apostleship until he has first of all himself known Christ, and until, secondly, as an ordinary Christian he has fully exercised himself in all the duties which are proper to Christian service. Now, some people turn this topsy-turvy. Young men who have never preached, who have never visited the sick, never instructed the ignorant, and are totally devoid of any knowledge of gospel experience except the little of their own, are dedicated to the Christian ministry. I believe this to be a radical and a fatal error. Brethren, we have no right to thrust a brother into the ministry until he has first given evidence of his own conversion, and has also given proof not only of being a good average worker but something more. If he cannot labour in the church before he pretends to be a minister, he is good for nothing. If he cannot perform all the duties of membership with zeal and energy, and if he is not evidently a consecrated man whilst he is a private Christian, certainly you do not feel the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit to bid him enter the ministry. No man has a right to aspire to come into that office until he has shown that he is really devoted to Christ by having served him as others have done.
Sermon no. 702
22 August (Undated Sermon)