“What a pastor is supposed to be doing can be found clearly in the Word of God.”

The Duty of A Pastor to Feed the Flock

This podcast briefly discusses that the Pastor should be involved in feeding the church through the teaching of Scriptures.

Feeding the flock.  This sounds very trivial, but the primary role of a pastor is to feed the people who God has put under his care.  This feeding is accomplished through the right teaching of the word of God. This teaching is good for the church and for their joy, edification, doctrine, exhortation, admonishment, and maturity.  Everything that the church is to do comes primarily through the teaching of the scriptures from the pastors.  A church that is not fed the truth is malnourished and finds other meals to eat. This is one of the most vital duties of a pastor and from this, all the others follow.

1 Timothy 3:2 (ESV) 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach…

2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV) 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.



Now that’s the standard. As a child I remember well all the times I heard that phrase. My mother’s family was a family of large steel contractors who built commercial brick and metal buildings. There are very few churches and schools in my hometown that don’t have the “Adams” or “Pro Builders” plaque somewhere on the grounds. The standard of workmanship, technique, work ethic and tool quality was always reinforced to me in my youth. One particular was the popular brand of plumbing fixtures that garnished the name “American Standard.” By name, that particular sink or toilet was the standard in America. It was considered the best whether it was is beside the point, they claimed they were, so the professionals that trusted in that claim made them a household name. The standard is that which everything else is to be measured and compared. It is the best experience, ideal, example or quality of something.

Obedience has always been a part of my life. As a child, I was taught that obedience was connected directly to love and fear. If one has a love for an authority they will desire obedience and ‘pleasing’ that individual. On the other hand, if one has fear of that authority they will obey out of a desire to avoid the consequences. So, my question for today is “what is the standard for obedience when it relates to obeying God?”

First, let me make clear that the STANDARD is absolute perfection without which one will never see the Lord apart from His wrath. So, we have the open statement that Jesus the Christ is the standard of obedience in His humanity because on He is perfect. To fail in following the command of God in any way, no matter how small, makes one guilty of violating the glory and holiness of God. Therefore, one must recognize that there is NO SUCH thing as obedience to God in a manner that satisfies God’s demands and therefore there is no obedience from any human (apart from Christ) that makes Him pleased with them.

Now, to the point. Apart from the perfection of Jesus Christ, who is the next best thing? That is my question to people constantly when they come for counsel from feeling the pressure of pleasing God while time and time again are unable to obey fully. For example, many come to me desiring for their internal thoughts and emotions to be more Christ-like while others are just unable to obey the simple aspects of the Christian faith like being in a local assembly of believers under the direction of the Lord’s word through elders. Others are unable to forgive and others are just so caught up in trying to please God they have created their own set of laws and live by them very well. As I ask them to show me the standard each of them are quick to answer Jesus. To which I reply, “Why do you try to be God?”

This, of course, startles them. But in reality, this is exactly what we are trying to do when in any part we think we can come close to the glory of God in perfection. Now some people have been quick to then accuse me as antinomian which in itself proves they are not in the love of God nor do they understand the gospel of grace. And in essence, they hate the rebuke that all of their “holiness” or “obedience” is worthless. It saddens me to see people stuck in this type of thinking but if they are not regenerated there is little to be done to help them see. Thankfully God teaches that He will open the eyes of His people in His timing through the hearing of His word. So, I rest the assurance that the Lord will do what He wishes with His people and I am only a voice for Him. Sola Deo Gloria!

So back to the standard. Let’s review a few of the immovable saints of old and see how they compare and see if we actually desire to be like them:

  1. Adam & Eve. Well, we know they were righteous and perfect without sin and depravity and they couldn’t last a day in the garden with Satan. So, we’ll leave them right there. They didn’t have a good standard of obedience to God.
  2. Cain. What? Why him? He didn’t have obedience to God…. yes he did. He offered the first fruits of his labors with all the trimmings. The only difference is he thought of his offering as sufficient because it obeyed the rules given by God when he actually hated God evidenced by his continued measurement of his righteousness by his own standard; the law! He obeyed better than most everyone I know in life over four decades already, so there’s that.
  3. Noah. Well, he wasn’t the patriarch of obedience as most consider him. After all, while he had faith in God, his justification was not granted him by his works as God produced the works unto His own glory in Noah. And then there’s the drunkeness…. “that’s only one thing” people argue. Well, how many of you would look down on your deacon or pastor if it were known they were getting drunk? I rest my case. Noah is not a standard of obedience to God at all.
  4. Abraham. Really? Where did he every obey God? For thirteen years after God saved him and gave him the promise, he walked in obscurity lying and making excuses for his own benefit. But all the while he never trusted in himself but always believed God would be his hope, even when he didn’t live as though he believed it. Abraham never really showed himself the standard of obedience.
  5. Moses. Nope. He started out as a murder in the plan of God and didn’t want to “go”. But God worked in him all that was necessary for God’s redemptive shadow of true salvation; the Gospel of Grace.
  6. David. Please. Obedience to God was not on his radar most of the time, yet, he was a “man after my own heart…” – God.
  7. Oh, let’s talk about Elizabeth and Zachariah. What about John the Baptist? What about the disciples?
  8. Peter. Nope. Peter’s obedience to God was wishy-washy. Hardly ever not fueled by a fleshly zeal.
  9. PAUL!  He’s the one!  No, he isn’t. Paul was a murder, a lost and hopeless cause yet he obeyed the law perfectly, even in his murderous heart he was justified by the law he understood! Paul is not the standard and never will be. Let’s not work to be like the Apostles, as a matter of fact, let us not work at all to be like anyone, even Christ!

That may rock many of you, but in reality, that is the truth of the Scripture. While we may emulate and copy from time-to-time the nature, heart, and mind of Jesus, we will never be like Him until He takes us unto Himself. Being obedient to God is not about perfection, though that is required of us, it is about faith. Our striving and living here is to be a manner worthy of the calling (effectual call of regeneration) that we have been given of course, but it is not a call that leads us to a continued slavery in sin, especially the sin of self-assurance, works-fruitfulness, and most of all, legalistic and judgmental worthlessness. When we fall prey to this way of living we no longer live by faith and then we begin to measure other people by our standards and not the standards of God and His merciful grace. Obedience to God is required of every man and obedience to God is impossible for every man.

We become jaded and find fault with others as we sit thinking we are doing better than they in their walk with Christ. We find ourselves measuring spiritual leaders with a stricter judgment than prescribed in Scripture and in practice we blindly become God in our own minds. I personally believe those that live in this manner, by the evidence that they refuse to hear of the grace of God coupled their hatred of the brethren, are most likely unregenerate. Let’s be certain that we are not counted in that number. Rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Let the word of God dwell in you richly that you may fulfill the perfect work of God by believing only in the name of Jesus Christ!

In closing, we need to realize that obedience is not fully obedience. It is never satisfactory and it is never to be measured by the standards of culture and personal righteousness. If anyone wants a measure of life without discipline let it be seen that we believe in the finished work of Christ; that is the gospel of God who saves His own people from His holy wrath. Let us remember that we are given the Spirit and the thus the mind of Christ and we will love the brethren through teaching and encouragement toward love and good deeds for the benefit of the body of Christ. So often people disfellowship over their version of the law and when doing so, we must be patient, loving, kind and gentle while holding fast to the finished work of Jesus as our assurance, hope, and life. Let the Lord’s discipline work in His people, we are not God. Those who do not see were never His and to that, we pray God will grant them repentance and life so that He would be glorified in our unity, love, worship, and hope! Amen.


John 6:11–22 (ESV)
11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 
  • V11 – Took the loads and distributed and also the fish
    • The bread that he was GIVEN gave forth more bread. It was transformed 
14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”
Deuteronomy 18:15–19 (ESV)
15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.
  • Their hope was in escape from ROME and revitalization of Judaism
  • Their focus was that Messiah’s significance was Earthly: Wealth, Food, Victory, Freedom 
    • They could not see the DIVINE revelation of Jesus Christ, nor Him being the bread of life, nor their own true need for salvation!
15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
Jesus is the LAMB – He is about to focus on FEEDING to FILLING, this miracle.
  • Lamb dies points to the death of Christ
  • Bread and fish will FILL but not satisfy
  • MANNA is a shadow of the TRUE BREAD
  • PASSOVER is removed and JESUS BECOMES THE BREAD and the WINE (His flesh is now the true lamb)
  • In John 5 the JEWS put their hope in Moses.
  • They saw Scripture but could not see Jesus
  • Passover was their PRIME festival
  • NATIONAL pride was at its highest
  • THE people were taught that EXODUS was a picture of FUTURE GLORY that Messiah would bring and give them freedom from ROME, just like Egypt.
THE WORD OF GOD NOT IN THEM (SO these people also were taught WRONGLY – generation to generation of error)
  • They came to Christ on their own terms with their own conditions
  • They saw Christ through their human interpretation and practice of Moses
  • They comprehended by the flesh, not the Spirit for they were not born of the Spirit
  • They searched the Scriptures for salvation but they spoke of JESUS and His gospel, not them
  • John 5 leaves us seeing the condition of Israel and her spiritual leaders: Dead and blind, feasting on morals not grace!
  • John 6 reveals to us the product of the sheep without a shepherd; feasting on manna not glory!
  • They wanted Jesus as King and would do anything to get Him there
    • They had the numbers, He had the power, they were all in Jerusalem and could do something!
    • Jesus would provide for their bodies and families, how much more could come from His hands if He were made their King!

RECAP: WEEK 42’s notes.
5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 
6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 
  • He sees them and is concerned with their need for food (but mostly spiritual food)
    • He feeds them to later show them their true god… their bellies.
    • Mark records the crowd running and trying to catch up on the north side of the hill and that Jesus taught them for a while, then speaks of them needing to eat.
    • JOHN focuses on the continuity of his gospel’s THEOLOGY, not CHRONOLOGY
  • He inquires, not for the sake of needing to know, but for the image of revealing that NOTHING could be done with ANYONE’S help. It was a HOPELESS cause
    • Just as it was hopeless for these people to eat food, it is hopeless for these people too be fed the true bread from heaven.
7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 
  • Mary needing wine
  • Jews thinking 48 years
  • Nicodemus thinking natural birth and wind
  • Samaritan woman considering a bucket of water
  • Disciples looking for real food
  • Philip looking at the world’s market
  • Andrew shows that this is an impossible task
    • The disciples never once considered that Jesus COULD do anything, they set out to prove that they could neither AFFORD nor PRODUCE any food that would feed the 13 of them, much less the crowd. 
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 
  • HE could have asked the crowd to bring all they had etc.
  • INSTEAD he asked them to sit down in an orderly fashion, he had a plan, he was going to feed them
  • WHAT were the disciples thinking at this moment as Jesus only had the one man’s lunch.
  • 5000 men alone were to large to handle and feed, but also women and children could make this crowd a number of 15-20K large. 
  • Imagine that 5K men could easily have overtaken Jesus at any point. 
11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 
12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 
14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”
  • Many believed he was messiah, but they did not know his intention nor their need for true salvation.

  • With Rome and the Jews
  • With Herod Antipas (Galilean King) Mark 6; though JTB had risen from the dead.
  • Ceasar – John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
  • JESUS KINGSHIP was to die by the Spear, not Fight by the Spear
  • JESUS withdrew from them, dispersed the crowd and TOLD His disciples to leave there in boats
  • Jesus went to pray, because what had just happened, and what people wanted to happen were grave and serious events, very burdensome and pushing toward the ultimate end: His crucifixion. 
16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 
  • People were looking for him
  • His disciples were looking for him
  • Authorities were looking for him
  • ALL for different reasons: crowed wanted more from him, disciples believed he was their life in the flesh, authorities were fearful of his teaching (against their own)
  • DARKNESS seemed to be the state of men without Jesus; they were scared, alone, and didn’t know where they were going. 
  • EVEN though JESUS had proven His power, when he wasn’t CLOSE, they feared. Even when He was close, they feared: (sleeping in the boat).
  • Jesus had JUST FED (like manna) the multitude and now His people faced the sea!
18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 
  • This act of creation was enough to topple the faith of the men. WE LOSE ALL SIGHT when things go ary. We lose all hope, like being in darkness. (Storm) 
  • The disciples were looking for Jesus
19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. 
  • Jesus appears in the sea. MIRACLE number 5: He walks on the water. 
  • He had power over the water, the bread, and now the sea. He defies the laws of nature
  • Peter comes out to him here, but John doesn’t record it because it is already recorded in the Synoptics.
  • THREE OR FOUR MILES is to PROVE that Jesus was not walking on the shore! They were in the middle of the sea.
  • Their fear is not the point of John’s writing… he is focusing on what takes away their fear:
20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 
  • Jesus is our refuge, hope, and life
  • Jesus brings faith for His people so they walk in confidence that he is near
  • Jesus is the only ONE who would have calmed them in this situation, they were no longer afraid.
    • ANY STORM is in the hands of Christ. He is always near… 
21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
  • Jesus also is the GOD of time and space. He moves the boat and the 12 with himself immediately to dry land. 
Psalm 107:23–32
23  Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the great waters;
24  they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
25  For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26  They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27  they reeled and staggered like drunken men
and were at their wits’ end.
28  Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
29  He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30  Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
31  Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
32  Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
22 On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone.


The social sphere is all stirred with the news of Stephen Hawking’s recent death. Those in the science, physics, and atheistic communities are showering his life as a major accomplishment of research and logic while others, some in these same communities, seem to be harping on the ‘click-bait’ worthy idea that now the grand atheist is no longer an atheist. Before you surmise that I am just gaining my own ‘hooks’ in the sea of non-thinking mobile fodder, I wrote this article the day after his death and waited a week for its publishing. Also, my point today is to point to this ridiculous assertion that Hawking is no longer an atheist. He most certainly is. I also argue that he is no different than many professing Christians, cultists, Muslim and for sure, he’s no different than most red-blooded, right-wing, so-called conservative evangelicals who have mounted this news as an attempt to be a voice when they don’t have one. If anyone is to ever read this, it’s not because of self-promotion but by the Lord’s grace that we should all hear and heed the reality of our culture.
Professing Christians who do not believe in the gospel of Grace and worse, hate it when they see it are nothing more than professing Christian Atheists because they do not believe in the God of the Bible and they will not believe in the truth of His gospel.
BEWARE.  Hear and be saved.  By the mercy of God.

This podcast gives a quick and thought-provoking suggestion that the gospel in most minds is tainted and false and that the true basis of the gospel is the work of God in redeeming His people perfectly through Jesus Christ. Gospel truth is that God has redeemed His people particularly through the cross work of Jesus Christ.   Jesus will lose nothing that is given to Him! That is the gospel truth! That is the glorious and amazing reality of salvation; that it is the mighty work of God for His people!

John 6:35–40

[35] Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. [36] But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. [37] All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. [38] For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. [39] And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. [40] For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (ESV)


This podcast is for the purpose of having short and regular thought-provoking engagement about the Christian faith, life and doctrine from a pastoral and applied theological perspective. Are You Listening is a ministry of GraceTruth Church and Pastor James Tippins and all thoughts and ideas are expressly his and do not necessarily attribute to the congregation as a whole. The full confession of the congregation can be found at GraceTruth.org

So what does it take to understand the Bible? A little knowledge of reading within the context of the grammatical construction. We won’t deal with that now, but I want you all to know it’s coming. Today we’ll just talk briefly about the mindset of hermeneutics. These shorter introductory podcasts will get the pump primed as we prep to tackle the laundry list of contextual matters before us.

The effects of constant turmoil can be burnout. I’ve experienced plenty in my life and in reality, I have “quit” the ministry many many times. The truth is though, I have never told anyone!  This podcast purposes to talk a little about the issue of ministry fatigue, its causes, its purposes and most of all, its remedy.

Scripture teaches all that we need to know about God the Holy Spirit but so many times professing believers have determined a different view of Him and also a different view of the Scriptures thereby denying the power and person of The Holy Spirit as God.

Our suffering as Christians is clearly a gift from God, a blessing and a way through which the Lord reveals His might to us. Consider this, rejoice in the pain and see the hand of the Lord.

Having five children is beyond an adventure! The moment I thought I had one figured out, I was floored by something new. When it comes to teaching a child about the faith we have to rely on the truth of Scripture which teaches us that God the Spirit teaches, draws, seals, etc. and that no amount of proving theology with children will make great differences.  Recently I’ve noticed that many children are taught generally about “God”. For this, I am very thankful but in reality, without the explicit teaching of Jesus Christ, there is no real learning of God. Scripture teaches that no one has ever seen God, but the One and only God who sits at His sides makes Him known. John’s gospel continues to illustrate that Jesus Christ the Son is the fullness of the Glory of God visible. Paul would teach the same to the Colossians when He says that in Jesus the fullness of deity dwells. It may seem like I’m splitting hairs however, Scripture’s teaching on this matter is clarifying. 

When someone learns of God and not of Jesus the Son they are learning in part about the Most High. This partial understanding is delivered through the lens of the Prophets and writers of the Old Testament to whom God spoke and gave His oracles. Learning these things are able to make one wise and to provide salvation. (2 Tim 3) The matter is particularly important because, without Jesus, there is no knowledge of God intimately. While nature can show many things and according to Scripture, it can show the handy work of God, it cannot reveal God in a revelatory manner conducive to redemption. Only Jesus, the God-man, the Son of God and God the Son can make Him known.

So, when we teach children about God, even from the pages of the Old Testament stories, we need be very certain that we talk about the God who makes God known, that is Jesus the Christ.