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The Rev. Dr. Robert Bowman: “Commissioning and Sending the Church” (John 20:20-23)

April 29, 2009

From the Rev. Dr. Robert Bowman of St. Luke’s REC in California, here is an audio sermon titled Commissioning and Sending the Church, the second in a new series on the post-Resurrection words of our Lord.  This sermon is based on John 20:20-23, and Dr. Bowman has some challenging insights on the authority we are given by Jesus as His Church:

“Whosoever sins you retain…” It sounds as though He is giving them a great deal of authority to forgive and retain sin. But we have to remember that He is speaking to His entire gathered church. And He sends them to proclaim the good news of salvation AND the forgiveness of sins through the death and resurrection. It is the church which, through the proclamation of the Gospel, declares which sins are forgiven and which are retained. The authority is declarative. The church is to declare (to define) what sin is and the terms on which forgiveness is found. Love motivates us to warn lost rebels of the judgment to come and to plead with them that they should repent. As the Lord Jesus sends us, we function as prophets, priests and kings:

  • Prophets by proclaiming the Truth of Scripture.
  • Priests by offering up ourselves for Kingdom service and praying for and with others.
  • Kings as we rule ourselves and those for whom we are responsible by the Word of God.

With this authority comes great responsibility to Jesus and to each other: are we each ready to bear such responsibility?

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