Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Installation and Commissioning Service for Rev. E. Everts

Written by Garry Postma
With thanksgiving to God, on November 9, 2001, Rev. Evert Everts was installed and commissioned to replace Rev. Ken Herfst as missionary pastor to the Achi in Guatemala. This service was called by the Vineland consistory and held in the Vineland FRC since it remains the sending church for the missionary minister on the Cubulco, Guatemala mission field. Our pastor, Rev. VanderMeyden, conducted the service.

The Scripture reading was taken from Ephesians 3:1-13. Verse 7 was the text: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power.

What follows is a short summary of his sermon. The theme of the sermon was: Made a Gospel Minister by the Grace of God. His points were: 1. called by His forgiving grace; 2. enabled by His powerful grace; 3. sent with His message of grace.

1. The gospel of grace is emphasized throughout the letter to the Ephesians. In our text passage Paul tells us that he was made a minister to preach this gospel of grace to the gentiles. Paul is amazed that he should be sent--vs. 8: Unto me, who am less then the least of all saintsÉ Elsewhere he describes himself as the chief of sinners. That he of all people should be called to this great task is a matter of great astonishment and humility for Paul. How different this Paul is compared to the self-righteous Saul, the pharisee he once was. Now he is humble and recognizes that it is only by GodÕs forgiving grace that he was called to to preach among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ (vs.8). As ministers of the gospel we are first of all to remember that we are sinners in continual need of forgiving grace. It is only in the way of humility--being made humble by the forgiving grace of God--that we can be called and effectually used by the Lord in bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ. As congregation we must remember that our missionary is no different than we are. He too is a sinner and he too, needs forgiving grace. It is only because of GodÕs forgiving grace that he is called to be a gospel minister to the Achi.

2. Paul was not only called but also made a minister (v.7). He was enabled by GodÕs powerful grace, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power (v.7). He was not simply selected and sent and then left on his own. He was divinely appointed, sent by divine authority as ambassadors of God and enabled by divine power. It is a power that works effectually, bringing proud sinners to their knees in humility. This not something man can do. What an encouragement this is for all those who are called to bring the gospel. The Lord enables and uses us regardless of our weaknesses. His grace is sufficient to carry on day after day and year after year. And there will be fruit because of the effectual and powerful working of His grace. Our impossibilities are GodÕs opportunities.

3. Paul was not only called and made a minister but was also sent with the message of His grace. The whereof of verse 7 refers to the gospel of Christ in verse 6 and the unsearchable riches of Christ in verse 8. The glory of the person of Christ, the perfection and completeness of His work and its meaning may be preached among the gentiles freely and indiscriminately. The message of grace is Jesus Christ.

This message of the unsearchable riches of Christ is also for the Achi people of Cubulco. Rev. Evert, you are being called by His forgiving grace, enabled by His powerful grace and sent with His message of grace. May His grace be your theme, your joy and your strength.

Following the sermon, the Form for the Installation of Missionaries was read and Rev. Everts responded with ÒYes, truly, with all my heartÓ to the three questions that were asked of him. Rev. VanderMeyden then read the final paragraph of the form which lays upon our brother the solemn charge, ÒGo thenÉ,Ó along with the prayer that our heavenly Father enlighten, strengthen and govern him in his ministry.

After the Prayer of Thanksgiving, occasion was given for various addresses. Elder George Bok, speaking on behalf of the Vineland congregation, welcomed our new missionary pastor and family into the congregation. He concluded by reading a Dutch song/poem entitled ÒWat de toekomst brenge moge.Ó Rev. C. Pronk, on behalf of the Free Reformed denomination, welcomed Rev. Everts into our denomination as a missionary for the Free Reformed Churches and as a colleague. Whether we preach on the pulpits here in North America or to the Achi, it is not a different message. It is always the message of repentance and remission of sins to all, whether covenant children or heathen. Speaking on behalf of the Mission Board, Rev. C. Schouls saw this installation as yet another evidence of GodÕs care for His church. He sends His servants where He needs them, equipping and enabling them. A start has been made in Cubulco and now Rev. Everts has been called by grace to make all men seeÉ (Eph.3:9), also among the Achi people.

Rev. Everts responded by expressing his gratitude to be at this service. He sees it as a privilege to be involved in this mission work to which the Lord has so clearly called him. This calling, however, is not simply the call to one man, but the call goes out to us all. In a certain sense we all have the call to this mission work from the Lord and as missionary he is fulfilling part of our united calling. We are connected to each other in the work and in our prayers for the work and for each other. It is his prayer that the Lord will bless the work and that we be shinning lights in this dark world.

Following the benediction we all sang to the praise of the grace and loving kindness of our God with the words of Doxology Number 315.

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