On Sunday, November 14th, I will be participating in an installation service for a Presbyterian minister at a local congregation. I have been asked to give the charge to the pastor – to basically give the pastor a challenge to serve Christ and the body of Christ. While writing this charge, I found the following quote:
“I have but one single charge to give you. One only, because it is first of all, and comprehends all. My brother, I charge you to be filled with Christ. Among this dear people, with the sentiments of the grandest Apostle, determine to know nothing but Jesus Christ. As you walk these streets, truly say, “I live, nevertheless Christ liveth in me.” As you stand in this sacred place with all boldness say to the people, “In the cross of Christ I glory.” Christ! My brother. Daily, hourly mediate upon Him. Begin every
morning with Him, and let the evening dew find you where the morning glories left you. Study to know Christ- feed upon Him, breathe His spirit, digest His words, and be completely absorbed in Him. Be sure before you undertake anything that you are in Christ. Never open a book, nor speak a word, nor perform a duty, until you are sure that you are in Christ. Abide in Christ, and
make His spirit and example your whole armor of life. I charge you to be completely filled with Christ, because then you will be perfectly equipped for your work.”
This charge was given by the Rev. E.E. Lamb to the Rev Joel M. Seymour at his installation over the Congregational Church in Brookfield, MA on October 7, 1873. Rev. Lamb was so convinced that this charge to the pastor was true that he recycled the text and gave the same exact charge to a different pastor again the next year to a Rev. Charles R. Seymour, at his installation over the
North Church in Newburyport MA, on October 8, 1874.
After reading this charge to a pastor, I believe that it applies not just to clergy but to all followers of Jesus Christ. “I charge you to be filled with Christ.” We should do no work, no study and no service without being “in Christ.” The call is to be fully connected to our Savior. So, friends, I too want to call you to “be filled with Christ.” We are filled with Christ when we study Scripture with the church family, when we worship together as the body of Christ and when we open our hearts to God’s will. I want to invite you to join your church family for study, prayer and worship so that we might be completely filled with Christ, and perfectly equipped for building the Kingdom of God.
Rev. Dr. Philip W. Oehler, Sr