by Wayne C. Anderson (message by John G. Lake)
I often receive questions about how and why we orchestrate our ordinations in the manner in which we do them. It seems we are unique in our ordination ceremonies in comparison to other groups. I always tell the story of how Dr. John Graham Lake ordained folks into the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ,
so I thought it would be good to place the original writing of Lake here so that you might read the story for yourself. This is a sever message that we preach in some variation, each time that we ordain folks. It is worth knowing – worth reading – worth digesting. Herein is the message by Dr. John Lake which is an ordination service that he was performing called, “A Trumpet Call”
A TRUMPET CALL
By: Dr. John G. Lake
The thirteenth chapter of Acts tells us the story of the ordination and sending forth of the apostle Paul, his ordination to the apostleship. Paul never writes of himself until after the thirteenth chapter of Acts. He had been an evangelist and teacher for thirteen years when the thirteenth of Acts was written, and the ordination took place that is recorded there.
Men who have a real call are not afraid of apprenticeships.There is a growing up in experience in the ministry.
When Paul started out in the ministry he was definitely called of God and was assured of God through Ananias that it would not be an easy service but a terrific one, for God said to Ananias: “Arise and go into the street which is called Straight and inquire, in the house of Judas, for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.
He is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My Name before the gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for My Name’s sake.”That is what Jesus Christ, the crucified and the glorified Son of God told Ananias to say to the Apostle Paul. He was not going to live in a holy ecstasy and wear a beautiful halo, and have a heavenly time, and ride in a limousine. He was going to have a drastic time, a desperate struggle, and a terrific experience. And no man in biblical history ever had more dreadful things to endure than the Apostle Paul.
He gives a list, in his second letter to the Corinthians, of the things he had endured. “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep; in journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren. In weariness and painfulness, in watching often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness.”They stripped him of his clothing, and the executioner lashed him with an awful scourge, until bleeding and lacerated and broken, he fell helpless, and unconscious and insensible, then they doused him with a bucket of salt water to keep the maggots off, and threw him into a cell to recover. That was the price of apostleship! That was the price of the call of God and His service.
But God said, “He shall bear My Name before the gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel.” He qualified as God’s messenger.Beloved, we have lost the character of consecration here manifested.
God is trying to restore it in our day. He has not been able to make such progress with the average preacher on that line.
All too often, it is, “Mrs. so and so said so and so, and I am just not going to take it!” That is the kind of preacher, with another kind of call; not the heavenly call; not the God call; not the death call if necessary. That is not the kind the Apostle Paul was, or was called to be.
Do you know why God poured out His Spirit in South Africa like He did no where else in the world? There was a reason. This example will illustrate. We had one hundred and twenty-five men out on the field at one time. We were a very young institution and were not known in the world. South Africa is seven thousand miles from any European country. It is ten thousand miles by way of England to the United States. Our finances got so low, under the awful assault we were compelled to endure, that there came a time I could not even mail to these workers, at the end of the month, a $10 bill. It got so I could not send them $2. The situation was desperate. What was I to do? Under these circumstances I did not want to take the responsibility of leaving men and their families on the frontier without real knowledge of what the conditions were.
Some of us at headquarters sold our clothes in some cases, sold certain pieces of furniture out of the house, sold anything we could sell, to bring those hundred and twenty-five workers off the field for a conference.
One night in the progress of the conference I was invited by a committee to leave the room for a minute or two. The conference wanted to have a word by themselves. So I stepped out to a restaurant for a cup of coffee, and came back. When I came back in, I found they had rearranged the chairs in an oval, with a little table at one end, and on the table was the bread and wine. Old father Vanderwall, speaking for the company said, “Brother John, during your absence we have come to a conclusion. We have made our decision. We want you to serve the LORD’s Supper. We are going back to our fields. We are going back if our wives die. We are going back if we have to starve. We are going back if we have to walk back. We are going back if our children die. We are going back if we die ourselves. We have but one request. If we die, we want you to come and bury us.”
The next year I buried twelve of those men, along with sixteen of their wives and children.
In my judgment, not one of them, if they had a few things a white man needs to eat, could but what might have lived. Friends, when you want to find out why the power of God came down from heaven in South Africa like it never came down before, since the time of the apostles, there is your answer.
Jesus Christ put the spirit of martyrdom in the ministry. Jesus instituted His ministry with a pledge unto death. When He was with the disciples on the last night, He took the cup, “when He drank, saying.” Beloved, the “saying” was the significant thing. It was Jesus Christ’s pledge to the twelve who stood with Him, “This cup is the New Testament in my blood.” Then He said, “Drink ye all of it!”
Friends, those who were there and drank to that pledge, of Jesus Christ, entered into the same covenant and purpose that he did. That is what all the pledges mean. Men have pledged themselves in the same cup from time immemorial. Generals have pledged their armies unto death. It has been a custom in the human race. Jesus Christ sanctified it to the church forever, bless God!
“My blood in the New Testament… Drink all of it!” Let us become one. Let us become one in our purpose to die for the world. Your blood and mine together. “My blood is the New Testament.” That is my demand from you. It is your high privilege!Dear friends, there is not an authentic history that can tell us whether any one of them died a natural death. We know that at least nine of them were martyrs, possibly all. Peter died on a cross, James was beheaded. For Thomas they did not even wait to make across they nailed him to an olive tree. John was sentenced to be executed at Ephesus by putting him in a cauldron of boiling oil, God delivered him, and his executioners refused to repeat the operation, and he was banished to the Isle of Patmos. John thought so little about it that he never even tells of the incident. He says, “I was in the Isle called Patmos, for the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” That was explanation enough. He had committed himself to Jesus Christ for life or death.Friends, the group of missionaries that followed me went without food, and went without clothes, and once when one of my preachers was sun-struck, and had wandered away, I tracked him by the blood marks of his feet. Another time I was hunting for one of my missionaries, a young Englishman, twenty-two years of age. He had come from a line of Church of England preachers for five hundred years. When I arrived at the native village the old native chief said, “He is not here. He went over the mountains, and you know him, he is a white man and he has not learned to walk barefooted.” That is the kind of consecration that established Pentecost in South Africa. That is the reason we have a hundred thousand native Christians in South Africa. That is the reason we have 1250 native preachers. That is the reason we have 350 white churches in South Africa. That is the reason that, today, we are the most rapid growing church in South Africa!I am not persuading you, dear friends, by holding out a hope that the way is going to be easy. I am calling you, in the Name of Jesus Christ, you dear ones who expect to be ordained to the gospel of Jesus Christ, tonight, take the route that Jesus took. The route the early church took. The victory route, whether by life or death. Historians declare, “The blood of the martyrs was the seed of her church.” Beloved, that is what the difficulty is in our day, we have so little seed. The church needs more martyr blood.
If I were pledging men and women to the gospel of the Son of God, as I am endeavoring to do tonight, it would not be to have a nice church and harmonious surroundings and a sweet do-nothing time. I would invite them to be ready to die. That was the spirit of early Methodism. John Wesley established a heroic call. He demanded every preacher to be “ready to pray, ready to preach, ready to die.” That is always the spirit of Christianity. There is another spirit that has come into the church, it is not the spirit of Christianity. It is a foreign spirit. It is a sissified substitute.I lived on corn meal mush many a period with my family, and we did not growl, and I preached to thousands of people, not colored people but white people. When my missionaries were on the field existing on corn meal mush, I could not eat pie. My heart was joined with them. That is the reason we never had splits in our work in South Africa. It is one country where Pentecost never split. This split business began to develop years afterward, when pumpkin pie eating Pentecostal missionaries began infesting the country. Men who are ready to die for the Son of Man do not split! They do not holler the first time they get a stomach ache. Bud Robinson tells a story of himself. He went to preach in the southern mountains. It was the first time in his life that no one invited him to go home with them and eat. So he slept on the floor, and the next night, and the next night. After five days and five nights had passed, and his stomach began to growl for food terribly, every once in a while he would stop and say, “Lay down, you brute!” and he went on with his sermon. That is what won. That is what will win every time. That is what we need today.
We need men who are willing to get off the highway. When I started to preach the gospel I walked twenty miles on Sunday morning to my service and walked home twenty miles in the night when I got through. I did it for years for Jesus and souls.In early Methodism an old local preacher would start Saturday and walk all night, and then walk all night Sunday night to get back to his work. It was the common custom.
Peter Cartwright preached for sixty dollars per year, and baptized ten thousand converts.
Friends, we talk about consecration, and we preach about consecration but that is the kind of consecration that my heart is asking for tonight. That is the kind of consecration that will get answers from heaven. That is the kind of pledge God will honor. That is the kind of consecration to which I would pledge Pentecost. I would strip Pentecost of its frills and follies.Jesus Christ, through the Holy Ghost, calls us tonight, not to an earthly mansion and a ten thousand dollar motor car, but to put our lives, body and soul and spirit, on the altar of service. All hail! Ye who are ready to die for Christ and the glorious Pentecostal Gospel. We salute you! You are brothers with us and with your Lord.
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