Jesus not only taught the importance of baptism, or in other words being born again, but also the importance of authority. For we know that He and His Father set the priesthood in the Church [Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:27-28] "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till [or until] we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." [Ephesians 4:12-13]. And since we have not yet come unto that perfect man, we know that priesthood authority is still essential. For if the Church of God is going to succeed in its commission, it must have authority from God. Otherwise, it is a church of man.
This authority however does not come by works or simply by a good desire, but it is a gift from God [1 Corinthians 12:27-29], as Jesus told the disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you." [John 15:16] The following list highlight examples where men were set aside for specific responsibility:
Jesus said to the twelve…“I have chosen you, and ordained you…” [John 15:16; also Luke 6:12-13]
Jesus gave the twelve "keys of the kingdom of heaven..." [Matthew 16:19]
Seven men were set aside for daily ministration and sacrament [Acts 6:1-6]
Paul and Barnabas were set aside for the work by the laying of hands [Acts 13:1-3; 14:14]
To baptize and confirm souls and watch over the church [Acts 8:12-17; Acts 14:21-23, Acts 20:28]
Paul set aside to minister of Jesus Christ and the Gospel [Romans 15:15-16]
A number of men set aside for apostleship [Acts 1:25-26; 2:42-43; Rom 16:7; 1 Cor 4:6, 9; Gal 1:19, 1 Ths 1:1, 2:6]
This authority does not come from man, but from God. “And no man taketh this honor [meaning priesthood] unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. [Exodus 4:14-16, 27-30 and Exodus 40:13]. So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made a high priest.” [Hebrews 5:4-5]. Although Jesus “thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” [Philippians 2:6] He too had to follow the example of priesthood that was established by His Heavenly Father. In other words, individuals are not to call themselves to this responsibility, but rather they are to wait until they have received a testimony from God. For only God possesses the authority to choose who will represent Him.
The following priesthood characteristics can be found in Matthew 10:9-10, 1 Corinthians 9:18, 2 Thessalonians 3:10, 1 Timothy 3:1-10, and Titus 1:5-9, while the graph below highlights the various priesthood offices mentioned in the New Testament.
Scriptures to Consider
John 15:16 (KJV)
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you
Ephesians 4:11-15 (KJV)
4:11 And he [Jesus Christ] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
1 Corinthians 12:27-29 (KJV)
12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
Matthew 16:19 (KJV)
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Hebrews 5:4-5 (KJV)
5:4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5:5 So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest; but He that said unto Him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.