Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Installation Service Rev. Vandermeyden in Vineland

Written by Elder John Vangameren
With praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, the Free Reformed Church of Vineland was able to celebrate the installation of Rev. Pieter VanderMeyden as our fifth pastor on June 19th, 2001. The service of installation was conducted by our former pastor, Rev. Carl A. Schouls.

The worship service started with the singing of Psalter 349. Pastor Schouls read from the apostle PaulÕs letter to the Corinthians, II Corinthians, chapter 4 and his text for the sermon was from verse 7, ÒBut we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.Ó The theme of the sermon was The Treasure in Earthen Vessels, to the Glory of God. The points were:

1. The Nature of the Treasure

2. The Place of its Keeping

3. The Reason for Keeping it There

1. The Nature of the Treasure:
This treasure that Paul refers to in verse 7 is not the ÒministryÓ of the Word as such, but the riches that are expressed in verse 6, namely the light of the gospel and the glory and the knowledge of God. All believers share in this treasure; however, ministers of the gospel have a special interest in it. It is the ministerÕs task to be an instrument in the hands of the Holy Spirit to lead other people into the possession of this treasure. We are to preach Christ and not some self-devised system of philosophy, as was done by the Gnostics of the day. Does the light of the gospel shine in our hearts? How will I know this? When we realize, by GodÕs grace, that the wisdom of this world has blinded us and that it is nothing but a crushing load of ignorance. When we are relieved of the burden of our self-righteousness and stripped of our load of complacent ignorance. When we can gaze upon the face of Jesus Christ and see the sparkling knowledge of the glory of God; then we will know that we have this treasure.

2. The Place of its Keeping
This treasure is kept in earthen vessels. The divine glory of God is kept in frail containers. It was the custom in Roman times to hide treasures in vessels of little value--basic cheap containers. Here we see a picture of our victorious Lord Jesus Christ entrusting His riches to poor earthen vessels namely, His followers. Man, made from the dust of the earth, is the receptacle for this incredible treasure. All GodÕs people are weak vessels and easily broken. We are to treat each other with love to avoid breaking the vessels. Ministers and congregations must not to make demands of each other that will cause cracks to appear in the vessels. We are to treat each other with the love of Christ.

3. The Reason for Keeping it There
Paul admits that he is weak. All believers are weak. But human weakness is no barrier to GodÕs strength. It is made perfect in manÕs weakness so that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of man. Nothing of us and all of Him. This requires a daily dying of self to allow the Treasure inside of man to be seen.

In summary, God challenges us to ÒministerÓ this truth of His treasure and to receive this ministry. In Vineland the minister has changed, but not the ministry. To Him be all the glory!

The form for installation was read and Pastor VanderMeyden was able to say, ÒYes, truly, with all my heart,Ó to the three questions asked of him in the form. By GodÕs grace, being able to say yes to these questions, Pastor VanderMeyden stated that he was inclined to accept of the office as described in the form. May the Lord richly bless you and your family as you minister in Vineland and may you continue to be a blessing to our whole denomination.

Pastor VanderMeyden read his text for the sermon from the 5th verse of II Corinthians chapter 4, ÒFor we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for JesusÕ sake.Ó Pastor VanderMeyden remarked in his introduction that he was thankful to the Lord to be installed in Vineland again, 23 years after his ordination. He felt this to be a humbling confirmation of his call to the ministry. In the face of the worldÕs opposition, preachers need fresh confirmation to continue preaching Christ. Paul says in II Corinthians 4:1 Òwe faint not.Ó He continues without shame, for, as he says in verse, Òwe preach not ourselves, but Christ.Ó The Theme of the installation sermon on this text was The Gospel Ministry. The points were:

1. Proclaiming Christ Jesus
2. Serving the Church
3. Accountable to the Lord

1. Proclaiming Christ Jesus
Paul is not centering his ministry on preaching himself, but Christ Jesus the Lord. He says this because his ministry is being opposed. We live in a post-Christian age where the spirit of the antichrist is active amongst us. We need to understand more what the Christian ministry is all about. There is a lot of confusion with respect to the Christian ministry, as many churches minister about ÒmanÓ rather than God.

To preach means Òto herald.Ó It is like the task of the kingÕs messenger on earth. He is to announce the presence of the king and proclaim the words of the king to all who would hear. This is not done in secret, but to exalt the glory of the king and done without shame, but being faithful to the kingÕs word. So the preacher is to herald the King of kings, Christ Jesus our Lord. Woe to any man who is the herald of the King of kings and does not bring the Word of the King.

Faithful ministry must be Christ-centered in its message, its method and its motive. We are to proclaim the Word of Christ focusing on the person and work of Christ. We are to proclaim the glory and grace of God in Christ Jesus. This is the message all gospel ministers are to preach. We are to worship God and not the messenger. We need to be cautious not to preach personal experiences or other human doctrines, opinions, convictions or moral persuasions, but rather Jesus Christ and Him alone. ÒFor we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.Ó (II Cor.4: 5a). Preachers are not to preach themselves, as if the church needs them. If we have seen the glory of God, than we will not stand forward but hide in the background and say, Òdo not look at me, but to Christ Jesus the Lord.Ó The question we must ask is Òhas Christ Jesus become glorious to us?Ó

2. Serving the Church
Preachers are called to serve for the benefit of the church. The office of ministry, elder or deacon exists for the church and not vice versa. We are servants, Ò... and ourselves your servants for JesusÕ sakeÓ (II Cor.4: 5b). PaulÕs methods focus on what benefits the church. The Word of God is for the benefit of the church. We are to focus on and aim at the glory of God. In many church circles, human enjoyment has become more important than divine glory. We are not to serve people and give them what they want to hear, but we are to serve God and bring forth His Word. We are to be sensitive to the churchÕs needs, struggles and the individual trials and difficulties of the membership, but must do so in the light of GodÕs Word, serving Him.

3. Accountable to the Lord
We are accountable to Christ Jesus. We preach Òfor JesusÕ sake.Ó Christ is Òthe Lord.Ó It is ChristÕs power that stands behind the ministry of the Gospel. If there is fruit as a result of the ministry, to Him alone must be all the praise and the glory.

After the sermon, addresses from various church delegates were heard including an address from our consistoryÕs chairman, Mr. Garry Postma. The evening closed with a doxology from Psalter 374.

We thank the Lord for His faithfulness. Over the past two years, the Lord has provided us with many guest ministers. As a consistory and congregation, we have realized more and more that Christ is King of His church. Servants may come and go, but the Treasure spoken of in II Corinthians 4:7, namely, the light of the Gospel and the glory and the knowledge of God, stands forever sure. We are to worship God and not the messenger. We thank all the churches for allowing their pastors to preach for us during our vacancy. We especially thank our counsellor, Rev. Pronk of the Brantford FRC, for providing us with much pulpit supply and the teaching of various Catechism classes. We also thank the Brantford consistory for allowing their pastor this freedom. May the Lord also continue to bless the Grand-Rapids congregation and consistory during the time of vacancy. The Lord will provide according to His plan and in His time. May Jesus Christ receive all the glory forever and ever, Amen.

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