A Voice in the
July 1, 1997
Re: Note to Pastors
Greetings, Pastors, in the name of Christ...
We would be remiss if we didn't consider briefly 2Tim chapter 4. While this note is to "pastors" (and Bible college professors and Christian workers, whoever you may be) ...the rest of you can read along, too. Maybe share what you read with your pastor to encourage him. Paul wrote this letter to Timothy to "stir him up"(1:6) to get back on the ball in the ministry God had given him to do.
1) PREACH THE WORD!
Sir: if you forget everything else about this note, remember this one thing. This is your primary mission! God does not call you to entertain your "flock." You are not there to help them raise money and "build a church." You are to say to them, "Thus says the Lord." (Ez2:4,3:11,27)
If you are struggling with "what to say" to them, and your sermons come "hard" ...then it's time for you to resign your position. If you don't have a "Word from the Lord" for them, and are manufacturing your sermons to conform to some proper "something-or-other" you learned in seminary, seek carefully whether God really called you to your post. When God's hand is upon you, you will not be able to contain yourself, because of His "burden" upon you.(Isa14:28,15:1,17:1) His Word will be a fire within you..."But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not. (Jer20:9) Look to see, also, if you find yourself in Jeremiah 23.
2) Be ready in season and out of season.
Of what does your life consist? Are you all dressed up on the platform, but if a neighbor should warn you of a flat tire on your vehicle, do you growl at them? Do you have your secretary screen your calls so that only the "important people" can have access to you? Are you "at work" only during posted "office hours."
...or, have you given your life as a "drink offering" being poured out as you fight the "good fight?"(vs6)
3) Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching:
Do you give your congregation that which you know is "safe?" That which they will readily agree with. That which will not affect the promised salary raise next annual business meeting. That which keeps the "crowds" coming in to overflowing...thus, insuring that "raise."
Or, do you give God's Word? Do you rebuke that lascivious sensuous special music? When that couple is living in sin, do you call sin "sin?" Do you refuse to allow the sodomite to be in the choir or teach that Sunday school class? When gossip is going on, do you stop it?
Do you teach the Scriptures? Do you patiently repeat over and over those simple concepts,(Is28:10,13) as being "part of" your congregation...not as the "superior educated" minister ...bringing the teaching "down to their level."
Yes...I know I'm being a bit "harsh/strong" here. But, if you are called of God to the position...GREAT is your responsibility!! You have a "stewardship." And your responsibililty is to be "faithful." (1Cor4:1-2) Your "job" as a steward is to FEED your flock, giving them their "food" in due season.(Mt24:45) "Blessed is that servant whom his Master, when he comes, will find so doing."(vs46) If you are called BY GOD, you are answerable TO GOD. ...Not your congregation who "hired" you. Before your MASTER you either stand or fall.(Rom14:4)
Why is all this so important?
4) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers..they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.(vs3-4)
This is what we see today. There are many unregenerate in the churches as church "members." And they don't want God's Truth..."Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. (Ez33:32)
As a result Paul writes...
5) But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.(vs5)
Where will these "afflictions" come from? From your own congregation. (Acts20:30) But Paul does not say, "flinch and pacify them." No, he says "Preach the Word..rebuke, exhort..endure! Be watchful. Take heed."(vs2)(Acts20:28)
By his own example he was showing how to endure. He had been to trial once, and everybody had forsaken him. Nobody would stand up and testify on his behalf.(vs16) He was being "poured out" before the Lord. But he did not flinch. He did not "shun to declare the whole counsel of God" and "did not cease to warn" them.(Acts20:27,31)
At the end of his ministry Paul could affirm:
6) "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day...
...and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." (vs7-8)
He would then hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant..."(Mt25:21)