The Duty of A Pastor to be FAITHFUL

This podcast briefly discusses that the Pastor should be faithful to his calling by the grace of God and not be entangled in the things of this world but trust and point to the ONE who is faithful, Jesus Christ.

Fulfilling faithfully his call to Christ. Without the grace of God, no one would be able to ever be faithful to their calling.  And without the grace of God, we would all abandon our faith. God’s grace is the power of the pastor’s success and true success is NOT measured in salvation, baptism, numbers, finances or the like.  Any professional could produce the right numbers through the easily manipulated minds of men. And it is surely God that produces the fruit of the labors of any ministry that He alone gets the glory.  God called Noah and Isaiah to a fruitless ministry of no conversion and total rejection. What makes us think we’ll see anything different?

The pastor should be faithful to these things above all other duties and if he is gifted in areas outside of these, then, by all means, he should exercise these gifts, however, any man that calls himself pastor, cannot be such without these traits given to him by the Holy Spirit of God.

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

The Duty of A Pastor to Follow before for the Flock

This podcast briefly discusses that the Pastor should be an example before for the church in his own spiritual disciplines and growth.

Following Christ before the flock.  The duties of a pastor will cause him to display his faith and carry his church where God has brought him.  He should display the fruits of the spirit of God in all that he does by God’s grace alone, knowing that he is nothing but a slave to righteousness and not a divine leader who rules but a servant who dies.  A wise friend once told me that when a man has to say he’s the leader, it is then he has lost the privilege to lead.  He continued with a man that goes forth with no one following him is just a “man taking a walk.”  Wise.  This fourth duty of a pastor is one where all of us fail in our actions, but by the Lord’s grace, we will not fail in our faith, for HE is the author and perfector of it!

1 Peter 5:1-3 (ESV) 1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

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

 

The Duty of A Pastor to Fight for the Flock

This podcast briefly discusses that the Pastor should be involved in fighting for the church through the teaching of Scriptures and in his personal disciplines.

Ephesians 6:12 (ESV) 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

The pastor fights for the flock in his STUDIES, his PRAYERS, his TEACHING and his DISCIPLESHIP.  These duties of a pastor are all necessary avenues for battle and they must be done for the sake of the church, those who are entrusted into his oversight.  Fellowship with the brethren is essential in order to know their hearts and lives.  As the flock grows, the pastor must accept the call of other men to the ranks of a shepherd to assist in this battle.  A pastor who is faithful to these things will be equipped to handle the calling for which God has called him. 

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

 

The Duty of A Pastor to Fend for the Flock

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

Titus 1:9 (ESV) 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Acts 20:28-31 (ESV) 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.

 

“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.

 

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

 

I have been asked many times over the last few weeks about what is required to “know” in order to be saved vs. what is considered “growth”.

Everywhere we look we see the idea of studying the Bible. Well maybe not everywhere, but in every Circle of Christianity it seems that there’s always someone talking about studying the Bible.  As a matter of fact, most likely every religion in the world has some writing that requires being studied. From study comes knowledge, and from knowledge comes belief. While every truth claim cannot be true. For the Christian, we believe that the Bible is truth. Jesus says in John 17 when he prays that eternal life is knowing the one true God and knowing the son whom he has sent.  So in this line of thinking, studying the Bible is actually the study of God which is actually the knowledge of God which is actually salvation.

 For many churchgoers, however, the study of God’s word has been relegated to just mere pragmatism or topical investigation. Sadly, this type of study that we find very normative in our culture, is not sufficient for salvation. Neither is it sufficient for a right understanding of the gospel of grace. And because the right study of God’s word is waning in our present economy of faith, many pastors and teachers have gone the way of teaching moralism and humanism and calling it Christianity.  All of this type of teaching results in a different type of learning. So that the believer or the professing Christian if I can, have no idea what they’re talking about because they are listening to the wrong information. Now we could go on and on and discuss types of interpretation and different ideas related to what the Scripture is actually teaching. But if we are honest, the simplest syntax of the holy writ is very easy to understand. So when I ask the question, “are you. listening?”,  I am asking if you are truly listening to the word of God.

 Let’s all be very honest, every day we hear thousands and thousands of words. We see hundreds and hundreds of images that teach us something. We are inundated in our society by information overload. Some of which we go and seek and others that are just imposed upon us without our knowledge or permission. Because this is true, many people have developed a worldview that is so foreign in comparison to Scripture, that it’s no wonder that so many congregations do not look like the people of God any longer. The remedy to this is not more teaching about how to be or how to look like God’s people from a humanistic point of view but is direct and simple teaching straight from the Bible.

If many pastors were to poll their congregations they would find very few congregants actually read their Bible every day. Now many people may do a small devotion or read a short paragraph related to some scriptural teaching. And these things are not bad in and of themselves, but they are not sufficient for the knowledge of truth. So often when I make a statement like this, people will say,  “I’m not a theologian.” To which I respond, well you should be. A Christian that is not learning is a Christian that is not growing. In the Christian that is not growing, is a Christian that is not living.

There’s much to be said about this particular dilemma and there is plenty inside the Bible that give us a clear picture that Scripture is necessary for the health and joy of every Christian and in turn every congregation.  So as we consider this idea today let us take a moment and hear the word of the Lord written by the apostle Paul to Timothy.

2 Timothy 3:14–17

[14] But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it [15] and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [16] All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (ESV)

This text shows us that the Bible is enough for a successful Christian life and it’s also sufficient for the knowledge of the truth. No one needs extra-biblical revelation or extra-biblical instruction in order to rightly live for the glory of God. And Sadly, those who look to other sources find themselves in a very precarious position. Either weak and immature in their faith or at worst, totally unregenerate. But we’ll talk about that in future discussions. From this point let me encourage you to pick up your Bible and read it.  It is through Scripture where you will find peace in the midst of frustration and it is there that you will find intimacy with Jesus Christ, the eternal God of Heaven, the creator and savior. So guard your heart and mind to the power of the Holy Bible.  And you will begin to experience what Scripture teaches as the peace that surpasses all understanding.

 If you would like more information about how to study the Bible or if you have questions related to Bible passages or theological issues, please  contact us  and we will be more than happy to help you.  We look forward to hearing from you. soon and until then rest well in the gospel and grace of Jesus Christ who lived a life of obedience and died a substitutionary death for the glory of God the father in the redemption of his people.

tears of separationIt saddens me to consider the reality of how many times I have had conversations with church members through the years who swear upon their very lives that they love the church more than anything. But yet, they seem to not love the people of the church, and even worse, they have little desire to be patient and kind and giving of their lives for the sake of another. Scripture teaches us that Jesus Christ came in the flesh in order to put sin away, and for those who trust fully in him, they become like him in his affections. This marvelous miracle of a transformed heart, is one of the grand evidences of the rebirth. John, in his first epistle, actually uses the love for the brethren as the litmus test of true saving faith. Or at least he uses it as the litmus test of the certainty of one not being in the faith-that is if they lack brotherly affection.

Ironically many people adhere to becoming part of a local fellowship without ever understanding what they should believe and what’s required of them as Christians to live in community. That being said, I cannot imagine that the first church concerned themselves with the great detail of so-called “ministry” because they were too busy learning and living together for the cause of Christ as well as loving each other with the love of Christ that they could not imagine  anything else. What caused this? Why are today’s Christians not intimate, engaged and focused on glorifying Christ accurately and in sync with the scriptures?

  1. What we do has replaced who we are. – the church are those for whom Christ died, who believe in Him, who live together for the sake of each other to His glory etc. The church has never been nor will it ever be a place or any program. A body cannot be defined by its plans but its people.
  2. Spiritual growth now means ministry involvement. Loosely, “ministry involvement” is seen through assimilation and “ownership”.  These things do not make growth.
  3. Taking care of people has been relegated to programs.  Long gone are the days (as the norm) where the whole church cared for itself, taught each other and were concerned greatly for maturity, holiness, benevolence etc. Now people with problems and needs are turned over to a system, not a sister.  They are pushed off on a benevolence council instead of a brother.
  4. Church is now a place rather than a people. We don’t go to church. WE don’t ‘have’ church… we are the church. Sad that we’ve lost that focus as a whole.
  5. Pastors feel the need to make leaders rather than disciples. Leadership development is SO FAR DOWN the list of priorities of a pastor that he should never use the term. Pastors should replicate themselves in other men who will teach the church and teach others to do the same. We don’t need professionals, we need idiots for Jesus.
  6. Business has taken over necessities. There is always some “business” when dealing with a large family, but it is the major matter in most congregations. People are just a vote or a small part of something GRAND and that grand thing is not even glorious or eternal, it’s just a worldly thing with Jesus stickers on it.  There is nothing more grand and glorious than Jesus Christ revealed in the lives of those who love Him: TOGETHER!
  7. Working in ministry has become “doing church”. Laboring in prayer, study, teaching, love, rebuke, discipline, etc. is no longer the norm. Rather, people say they work in ministry and haven’t done anything with anyone for their good. Planning and vision-casting is not ministry. Promotion is not ministry. Having 1000 people at an event is not ministry. Having more baptisms is not ministry… anyone can do these things; only God the Holy Spirit can bring real ministry into the lives of real people.
  8. Appealing to the masses and drawing to the “stuff we do” has pushed out preaching. Bring em and keep em… with what will bring em. Nuff said. Reaching people now means getting them to come rather than going out to them with the gospel. As long as people are “in the pews” they seem to be OK “in the Lord.”

How many more could we imagine? SO, how do things like these damage intimacy? Well, where does the “one” get solace in them?  Where does the hurt, depressed, injured, angry and maligned find hope in this type of work? What are so often people who need life shuffled around while those who live a false life given bread to eat? The church has lost its bearing and the only correction is to FLUSH it all and get back to the task given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ:  TO TEACH everyone to obey what He has commanded….. by His authority and power!

It’s time for a fresh look at our ecclesiology and for the people of God to either reform their families or find actual families that will live and learn and love with them. Because the ERROR has become the NORM, when a church desires to live like they should, it scares many people away. Why are you afraid of intimacy when it is the place you find peace and hope and life; first with Jesus and then with His people.

Something to consider.

Pastor James

To suppose universal agreement on anything is to rake one’s own eyes with sand and think avoidance of tears be possible. So, something dear to my soul presently is the nature of what so many so-called Christians seem to continually reflect as the Evangel, or Good News. No, I am not referring to the theology of God who saves through His Son, I am referring to the tenacity and affection held for such things engaged in the name of Christ that are so often temporal meals devoid of glory.

What props up the heart of you? What yields to your love and heart at all times? What thing, system, belief, activity, skill or service supplies your soul with joy? Is it Christ? Is it the people of God? If these two be far from the drawing of your mind and soul then it would be a good moment to arrest yourself and test your place before the Lord.

The Church, when she is known for things other than Christ, has made herself a whore, reaching out for lovers that will never quench the thirst. What is that you love about being saved? What is it that draws you to smile when you think of “church”? How is it that so often we can be engaged in so much, so often, for so long that is really a wasted life with nothing more to show as fruit except rosters?

Catch the point? Here it is: The church of Jesus Christ must not be known for substitute glory. She should be known for who she is, as the body of her savior. She should be known for affection around God’s word for the sake of His people.  She should be BUSY about the business of building lives around the power of the cross of Christ so that as the family sits at home in the evening, they are resting in the supremacy of God rather than the social joys of playing life.

When the church fails to put the Word of Christ at the center of purpose and principle, she places Christ as a secondary affection. When the church engages in the worldly pursuits of events and society she displays a false hope to the world and becomes a darkness within darkness thus blending fully with any other people. The church of Jesus Christ should be able to exist completely without real estate, without plans and staff to undergird programs. She should be able to richly exist in power without distraction. The bride of the King Jesus should never have to ask, “What shall we do?” for Jesus has answered that question with, “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him and the Son who He has sent.”

Learning Christ is not a pursuit of special called individuals but is the real proof of true salvation at the bottom of the foundation. We live to learn that which we love most. And when all the worldliness existing in the s0-called church is gone, where will the power of God be? In those who are truly born of Him. Never forget that Jesus called all the special religious work of Nicodemus darkness and never forget that Jesus said Nicodemus loved it.  When we love events, programs, get-togethers, and places to plug people in, we are unable to see the great glorious picture of light.  Come out of darkness and put these things in their right place… the bottom.

May the Lord have mercy.

[10] For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. [11] More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:10-11 ESV)

As long as humanity has been itself, the investment of togetherness has been a reality. For the first people, this unity embraced an inclusion without shame, concern, rejection or any type of insecurity. As Adam and Eve were naked, they knew not that they were thus their union in all things was purely the enjoyment, security and fellowship of each one with the other. At the fall this nakedness was revealed. Insecurity and timidity arose immediately and they were ashamed, not only before each other, but most importantly before God. They desired to hide their shame by covering themselves with their own provision to no effect bringing precarious want and emotion ringing into the garden and into the lives of all humanity after them.

Christ has taken away our shame by placing Himself at the center of guilt, though innocent, and thus endured the shame and thus the wrath of sin from the hand of God the Father. In doing this, while we still bare the marks of sin in our flesh, our fellowship with God is without shame and our nakedness before God as justified children reveals a purity that would not exist without imputation from Christ. Thus our common unity with God through Jesus Christ further protects our unity as the body of Jesus Christ and now as we are able to fellowship together in Christ, our living life together is not jarred or covered by a lack of transparency because we can be ‘naked’ and unashamed before God and before each other.

Before one takes the zip line to crazy town I want to make clear I am speaking metaphorically and most importantly, spiritually. Being naked before God and each other is expressed in the reality of our lives together in that we are not hiding behind facades of man-made philosophies or self-contracted ideals but rather we are exposed and visible with integrity as we really are. For some this exposure is seen as the work of God through solid faith and holy passions while in others, the pocks, scars and trials still abound. The sum of this is the reality that even though we are sinners who have past and present failings, we are forgiven in Christ and even “if” we sin in this present day, we are forgiven for Christ is our propitiation so that there is nothing more that is due God’s justice.

Fellowship among the saints then needs to come into the light of nakedness without shame. We need to realize that the true Church are those who live together, assemble together and worship together in an effort to grow into maturity and go into the darkness as light. We need to remember that we are all redeemed in Christ and that our tragedies belong to each other as well as our victories in Christ. The church ‘are’ the people of Christ who are called out to live and walk in light together and who are to carry the burdens of the weak, be patient with those who doubt, forgive as much as they are forgiven. Sadly though, many Christians live in fear of rejection and hide behind of charade of “idealism” that isn’t true. It is time for the people of Christ to be honest and open among their spiritual family and realize that just as God has forgiven them, just as they are facing doubt, just as they are going through trials; so the rest of the body follows.

We are indeed a people who should have no shame because Christ took it and nailed to His cross with His body!

Why do so many Christians live a lie?  Here are just a few thoughts:

  1. They feel as though they are the only ones with problems/sins/doubt/depression/issues.
  2. They feel as though others in the church would treat them differently if they were honest about their needs.
  3. They are right to feel that way because some would.
  4. They are not taught the gospel when assembled and are more pressured into fitting into a social mold than into the likeness of Christ.
  5. The culture of the church family insists on issues being a result of “faithlessness” or “apostasy”.
  6. They forget that the enemy of God is the accuser of the brethren and accusation begins within.
  7. They fail to remember the glory of God’s grace in Christ Jesus as their only hope.
  8. They don’t see that one of the purposes of Christ’s church is to grow into maturity.
  9. They fail to realize that suffering, pain, sin etc. can be and will be used by God to bring glory.
  10. The are too busy doing religious things instead of being enabled to minister to others, so they cannot perceive how anyone could minister to them.
  11. …….

When we fail to live truthfully, we fail to be God’s people in reality. Then we fail to worship, fail to learn, fail to really love and fail to really live.

Press into Christ, be in love with His people and live for His Glory!

Pastor James