INDUCTION OF PENDETA GUNUNG MASTON HUTAURUK into the pastoral charge of HURSTVILLE INDONESIAN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (29th October 2022) – Sermon on Acts 10:24-48 by Robert Benn Let us pray: May […]
INDUCTION OF PENDETA GUNUNG MASTON HUTAURUK into the pastoral charge of HURSTVILLE INDONESIAN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (29th October 2022) – Sermon on Acts 10:24-48 by Robert Benn
Let us pray:
May the words of my mouth and this meditation of our hearts be pleasing in your sight, Oh LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
A long time ago, before our grandfathers were born, a long way away, in Sumatra Indonesia, a king was born: King Naipospos. He married a lovely wife who bore him two sons. The second son was named Hutauruk.
Hutauruk .. son of a king. Indeed a clan was named after him, just as McDonald and Campbell became clan names in Scotland. Time moved on. Generations moved on. Families moved on. Indonesian came to Australia. And this afternoon, we have the privilege of using that name: Hutauruk.
And if we use our imaginations just a little, Hutauruk, son of a king. And if we think spiritually for a moment, Hurauruk .. son of the King of kings by eternal election. We have recently heard words of royalty:
“I declare before you all, that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.”
This afternoon, we will hear different words of promise or covenant. But we want to hear the echo of those words we have just heard.
“ … my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.”
Let me focus on 3 important words that we will use this after
First, Induction or Peneguhan. A formal installation of Pendeta Gunung Maston Hutauruk, son of the King of kings into this ministry at HIPC. Secondly, Pendeta – from the Hindi word PANDITA – one who has accumulated knowledge to pass on. Thirdly, Gembala, which means ‘Shepherd’. Your Shepherd is called to bring glory to his heavenly Father, the King.
Now, I want to invite you to another induction – the induction of the apostle Peter. This special induction would change the world. In this induction we see many characteristics that help us to understand a Shepherd/Teacher. These characteristics help to answer the question: “What is the Bible’s picture of a good Shepherd/Teacher?”
1. Personal humility: ‘I am only a man myself’ (v.26)
The angel came to the Roman Cornelius. Peter the Jew had a vision. They meet at the Roman’s house. This is a very special moment. God is in it. “Cornelius falls at Peter’s feet in reverence” (v 25).
What a temptation for Peter! How his heart could have swelled with pride. “Oh yes, Rabbi Jesus was my personal rabbi. And God gave me a special vision. What a privilege for me to be here. Thank you for honouring me! Me. Me.
But NO! Peter has been touched by the Servant of all, that is Jesus Himself. “I have come to serve and to give my life.” “I will not crave position”. “I will wash your feet”.
Personal pride, position, ‘best seats’ and power, has no place in His Kingdom. So, for Peter, it is no longer “Me, me!” But “Him, Him! Peter says, “Please stand up, Cornelius, I am only a man myself” (26). He could have added, “I too am a sinner saved by grace!” “I am here to teach as a dying man to dying men!” (Richard Baxter) “I’m just one beggar showing other beggars where to find bread.” (D. T. Niles)
Pdt Gunung … we hear ministers preaching against many evils. Covetness. Anger. Hypocrisy. Lust. And this is necessary because Jesus himself did! But only occasionally will a minister preach against ‘hypocrisy’. Perhaps he says, “Even I have difficulty in this area!” As if he stands above all others .. because he is ordained minister!
Friends, That’s just pride. Where’s the humility? When I hear statements like that, I want to shout, “Of course you have difficulties in that area. We all do!” Now, listen to Peter. “I am only a man myself.” “Aku hanya manusia saja!” (v.26)
2. Pastoral sensitivity: ‘Why did you send for me?’ (v.29)
“Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people” (v.27). None of them looked like him. None of them knew his mother-tongue. Maybe they even liked eating pork! (Kemungkinan besar mereka suka makan daging babi!)
They were the Gentiles. They were considered to be the lesser people. Peter says, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile” (v.28). Maybe he thinks, “Actually, I’ve never met a Italian centurion who I didn’t hate!”
“But God has shown me, that I should not call any man impure or unclean!” (v.28) What a change of heart for Peter! Remember the old boastful Peter: “All those other disciples might leave you but NOT ME!” “But God has shown me” (v.28) That old superiority has faded; it’s gone.
Nevertheless, he asks, “Why did you send for me?” “Apa sebabnya kamu memanggil aku?” (v.29) Peter actually knew much of the answer. But it was best to hear it directly from them. Then he would better understand the situation.
Now we see Peter’s pastoral sensitivity developing. He is learning greater sensitively before he talks too much. Our temptation to immediately give the answers to questions .. “I am the pendeta. A learned one. I have accumulated knowledge to pass on.” But no, Peter is attempting to understand more of the context. Then he can better tell them why he is there.
The vision had been understood. And there is deep conviction that the Lord God is present through His Spirit. In that context, “Peter began to speak” (v.34).
Pdt Gunung, we have already learned much from pastoral visits. We arrive at the home of a church member. We talk about church last week. About family. About the gospel. Then we think it is time to read the Scriptures and pray for them. We even say, “Let us pray.”
And then suddenly comes the question. The real question that they really want to talk about. “Bapak, I’m really struggling to know what to do about my elderly parents.” And so we think again. Maybe we have talked too much. Maybe we should have asked more questions!
3. Teaching ability: ‘Peter began to speak’ (v.34)
Friends, when we speak for the first time to a people who do not have the same mother tongue as us, we have to exercise special wisdom. Why? Because we are interacting with people of a different culture. And this is the situation for Peter.
The accent is different. Their dress is different. Some are family. Others are friends. Probably some are from high society. Others of lower classes. But Peter has had the perfect example of His Rabbi Jesus. Class was of no importance. The principle was “grace upon grace” to all.
In that context now “Peter began to speak”. Dear friends, from time to time I hear the words: “The Lord prompted me to pray for you!” And I think .. does the Lord trust me to pray like that? Or someone else tells me, “I sat one day in the park, reading. A gentleman sat beside me and asked, ‘What are you reading?’” The Lord opened the door to lead him to the Saviour!” And I think, would the Lord have trusted me to turn the conversation to Jesus?
It is clear that the Lord had chosen and inducted Peter to this ministry. “You are the man. I will use to draw all people to Jesus.” People of other types, cultures, classes, ethnicities. Now, dear people, if we go back 80 years, Indonesia was divided into more than 100 ethnic groups. President Sukarno unified the country by the introduction of a national language.
That began to unify the nation. Pancasila was introduced as part of the constitution: Unity in Diversity. Now if we go back only 40 years … this congregation was made up effectively of one ethnic group … that is those of Chinese descent. Now I can think of at least 6 ethnic groups, “all one in Christ Jesus”. We are seeing the fulfilment of the great covenant made with Abraham concerning the graces of the gospel to all peoples. We are following in the footsteps of Peter.
And here, Bapak Pendeta Gunung .. “Bapak akan berbicara.” (“There you will speak”). From this pulpit, in homes, in conversations. And the voice will be: “Good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all” (v.36).
4. Content clarity: ‘Jesus Christ, Lord of all’ (v.36).
Bapak Gunung, your speaking will not centre on moral issues. Or looking after widows. Or troubles in Jerusalem. Or politics of Rome or Canberra. Or church government … important as these things are.
So, what now will be your primary focus? It’s all there in verses 34-43 – Jesus of Nazareth. Chosen of God. His perfect life. His death and resurrection. Peace. Lord of all. “Whoever believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (43). As the apostle Paul encourages Timothy: “Labour in that!”
5. Passionate delivery: ‘We are witnesses of everything he did’ (v.39)
Many people believed. And were forgiven. And baptised. And
Pentecost was repeated. They called to Peter: “Please stay longer” (48) Enthusiasm and joy overwhelmed them.
Dear people .. this afternoon we induct Pdt Gunung as your new shepherd/teacher, a son of the King of kings. This afternoon I commission you: Band together. Internalise all the characteristics that we have considered. In Humility, Sensitivity, Understanding the teaching and its contents. And Passion.
O gracious God. Forgive us for worldliness, slovenliness and laziness. Descend upon us with your Spirit of holiness. Re-capture us with your love. Stir the passions of Jesus in us. Make us channels of your peace. Bring others into the fold of the Good Shepherd. Oh precious Saviour, be merciful to us. Honour your name in us. Through Jesus we pray. Amen.
– Robert Benn was for many years a missionary in Indonesia