Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church in Edmonton, AB, gave a special video message to The Master’s Seminary (TMS) class of 2021, where Pastor John MacArthur is the Chancellor. Explaining that Coates’ “faithfulness during a time of government overreach and his willingness to obey God rather than man is a model for all Master’s Men,” the famed alum gave them a word of encouragement and urged them to resolve in their hearts where they stand in Christ, so that when the hard times come and persecution arises, their course of action will already be settled.
After a brief greeting, Coates tells the grads that he was “was able to strengthen my preaching and strengthen my ministry in my effectiveness in my ministry” on account of his time at TMS, describing it as one of his “greatest earthly blessings.”
Many would look at what we’ve gone through and what I’ve gone through personally over the last six months or so, and would wonder how I did that. And the reality is that, that there were many moments in preparation for that time when I would have to choose imprisonment, to obey Jesus Christ.
And those moments along the way required conviction, and resolve, and a steadfast desire and commitment to do what the Lord would require of me. And every moment counts. Every moment along the way was a moment of preparation, so that by the time that I got to the point of having to decide whether I was going to choose my comforts, or obedience to Christ, it was already settled.
It wasn’t easy. It was difficult, it came in the face of fear, and trembling. But the Lord at each point assisted me with a conviction to know what it was he was calling me to do, as well as the grace to carry it out.
Telling them what they “need to do is resolve in your heart to obey Christ, whatever the cost,” Pastor Coates warns them that it’s critical that they resolve in their hearts “that you are going to be faithful all the way to the end, and that you take up those moments that come to you as a fork in the road, and that you resolve now and prepare to obey Christ in those moments.”
Reflecting that the world is a more hostile place than it was a decade ago when he graduated, he concludes by encouraging them to be men of courage and conviction who will be nourished by the word and in turn herald Christ’s headship, for the edification of their souls and the sake of their churches.
I can’t think of a better time to be stepping out of seminary into ministry. I can’t think of a better time to be stepping into pulpits all over the US and this world, and a better time for you to exposit the scriptures with clarity, with accuracy, precision, passion, bringing exhortation to bear upon the people to whom you minister, laboring to build up the body of Christ, to even prepare them to suffer according to the will of God.
…Christ is the head of the church. And your responsibility is to uphold his headship. And you do that by ensuring that his word governs the life of the church.
And so uphold his headship, delight in his headship. Herald his headship, and be faithful in upholding it as a steward of the mysteries of God.”
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