A Pastor’s Heart

A Pastor’s Heart

    Have you ever considered your pastor’s heart? What makes him tick? Why does he do the things he does? Why is he in the pulpit, the hospital room, the funeral home, and the hospice? Who are his friends? Who is his confidante? Is he happy, sad, burdened, or discouraged? Does he have someone walking with him along the way, or is he lonely?

    Paul spoke of the daily care he had for the churches (2 Corinthians 11:28). Care here speaks of great concern, even an anxious concern. Often your pastor feels pain for you and with you, though you may not even be aware. Often he prays for you as he goes about his daily tasks, or he even is up late into the night pleading with God for you.

    Your pastor may be younger than you are, yet he is still your elder in position, and should be your elder in the respect you show him. He certainly feels that way toward you. He considers you as precious children, entrusted to him by God; and he determines to be gentle and to cherish you (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8), and greatly longs to be able to help you. Even when he must speak to you firmly and sternly about your sin, he seeks to be meek and gentle like Christ (2 Corinthians 10:1-6). He desires only to help you and build you up.

    Your pastor longs to lead you and feed you, because you are Christ’s sheep, and Jesus has called him to the difficult task of providing you with the nourishment, guidance, and discipline necessary for your spiritual well being (1 Peter 5:1-4). Studying God’s Word in order to preach and teach multiple sermons each week is a daunting task, yet your pastor takes pleasure in doing so that he might help you follow Jesus.

    Sometimes, no matter how hard he tries, there are those who refuse to yield to his guidance; yet his love and pity for the erring sheep only increases as he spends himself seeking to be a blessing (2 Corinthians 12:15). Often this shepherd’s love for the sheep is not given to him in return. At times your pastor’s heart yearns for you, because he is fearful regarding your precarious spiritual position (Galatians 4:19), and his heart is in great distress for your sake. Sadly, in the midst of this, some view him as their enemy and treat him as such (Galatians 4:16). This causes your pastor pain today, and may cause him to weep over the wayward even at the judgment (Hebrews 13:17).

    Your pastor often leads quite the lonely life behind the scenes, as he bears the burden of teaching and guiding some who have little to no desire to truly learn and grow. How can you help him? Become like those whom Paul described as being addicted to serving Christ and others (1 Corinthians 16:15). Become a true yoke fellow who labors alongside your pastor (Philippians 4:3). Be as Philemon, whose life and labors were refreshing to others (Philemon 1:7). Follow your pastor, submit to his leadership, obey his Biblical teaching and guidance, so that he can rejoice over you at the judgment (Hebrews 13:7,8,17).

    What is a pastor’s heart? A pastor’s heart is one that is full of the love Jesus, spilling over to Christ’s sheep in teaching leading, correcting, weeping, rejoicing, and seeking to be a blessing. In short, your pastor’s heart is a heart for Jesus that moves him to have a heart for you. “For the love of Christ constraineth us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14)

God Our Enabler

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;” 1 Timothy 1:12

Brothers, our abilities are of God, who put us into the ministry. We have neither power nor talent apart from Him.

We dare not puff ourselves up with the thought that we are doing a good job, and thus rely upon ourselves.

We must not think that we win people by our personalities/

We should never think that our logical thoughts and rhetorical skills are sufficient for the souls of men.

It is God who enables us, and without Him we can do nothing.

Brothers, let us always recognize our need for God and trust Him who will enable us.

The Discipline of Verbal Correction

The Discipline Of Verbal Correction

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” (Titus 2:11–15)  See also 1 Corinthians 4:1-21.

             Our text teaches us that there are things that are to be taught (As we have seen, this is formative or instructive discipline.), and to be rebuked. To rebuke is to show one his fault, or to condemn one for a fault. Paul told Titus that there are things that are, after having been taught, to be rebuked with authority.

            What does the Scripture tell us about rebuke? “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.” (Leviticus 19:17) In this passage we find that rebuke is a demonstration of love in which the one rebuked is shown his error, convicted of it by the truth, and called to correct the error. If we love our neighbor, we are to rebuke him so that he will repent of his sins. Jesus spoke of this saying, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:3–5) Rebuke is to occur when someone sins against us as individuals. We also know that we are to speak to our erring brothers when we see them walking away from the truth. “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19–20) We are to seek to reclaim him from the grips of sin. This would most certainly involve loving reproof and rebuke.  (Cf Nehemiah 5:1-13 and Psalm 6:1;38:1;39:11   Proverbs 27:5;Luke 17:1-5;Ephesians 5:11-17)

            Rebuke is not always to be a matter of scathing, harsh words. In fact, while sin is to be rebuked, even publicly (1 Timothy 5:20), Timothy is given instructions regarding how rebuke is to be administered. “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.” (1 Timothy 5:1–2) In 1 Timothy 5:20, rebuke is about convicting a person of sin, or exposing sin. In 1 Timothy 5:1, rebuke is something quite different; it is striking one with words. We are not to speak scathing, harsh, and wrath filled words when we rebuke. Rebuke is to be based upon the Word of God so that we can show sin as what it is, and demonstrate its presence with the truth. Harsh words need not be spoken, because the Word of God itself pierces deep within a man (Hebrews 4:12-13). (cf Proverbs 6:23 instruction 2 Timothy3:16-17, 4:1-4)

            Reproof and rebuke are things that we need to value. Reproof and rebuke are not simply someone telling us that we are wrong, but they are designed for the purpose of setting us aright. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17) God’s Word is given to instruct us, reprove us, correct us, and perfect us. Reproof is part of the instructing and perfecting process. Reproof and rebukes are gifts from God to either keep us from falling into grievous sin, or to help us overcome grievous sins that we have committed. Solomon told his son, “reproofs of instruction are the way of life:” (Proverbs 6:23) Reproof ministers life to us. It directs us in the way of life. It instructs us how to live to the glory of God. We also find that godly reproof is better than the pleasure of listening to an enjoyable secular song (Ecclesiastes 7:5). In our day we value our entertainment, but we are far better off when we listen to the words of reproof and rebuke that often hurt us than if we simply tune out the Word of God and tune in the amusement of the world.

            The Bible even speaks to us about how we should respond to reproof and rebuke. David sets a godly example saying, “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: And let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, Which shall not break my head: For yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.” (Psalm 141:5) Solomon wisely said, “He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: But he that refuseth reproof erreth.” (Proverbs 10:17) The godly response to verbal correction is to keep it, or hold on to it. This simply means that we are to accept godly correction and act on it. There is honor to the one who pays attention to godly reproof (Proverbs 13:18), and we are instructed by God to repent when we are rebuked (Revelation 3:19). (See also Hebrews 12:4-11;13:7-8,17,22.)

            We also need to see that there is a response to reproof that is ungodly, and shows our hearts and characters to be ungodly. “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: Rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” (Proverbs 9:8) There are those who reject rebuke and hate those who minister reproof and rebuke. The Scripture calls that person a scorner and contrasts him with the wise person, obviously declaring him to be foolish. Reading Proverbs 15:10 shows us that the rejection of correction indicates one who is forsaking the truth and embraces death. In fact, we find that, “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, Shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” (Proverbs 29:1) Finally, Jesus’ words in John 3:19-21 demonstrate that those who hate reproof are sinners who love darkness. It is quite obvious that one cannot consistently resist and reject verbal correction if he is the child of God. It is the wicked person who rejects correction.

            These things being so, we can understand that verbal correction is an essential part of the disciplinary process. It is a part of godly discipleship. It is the duty of pastors to exercise this (2 Timothy 4:1-5), and it is the duty of churches to do so also (Titus 3:10).

Sound Doctrine And Sound Behavior

knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” (1 Timothy 1:9–11) 

                  Notice that the apostle tells the young preacher that sound (hygienic) doctrine has behavior that corresponds to it. Doctrine is essential in the church. We are to give heed to it in our preaching (1 Timothy 4:16), and our preaching should be full of it (2 Timothy 4:1-3). 

Doctrine alone is not what we need, however. Doctrine should lead to practice. This is why we read that the Scriptures are profitable for doctrine, for the purpose of changing our hearts, minds, and behavior and making us the people God wants us to be.

Paul told Titus that the doctrine of God has a lifestyle that goes along with it, and that sound doctrine should be like clothing for us (Titus 2:1-15). 

Brothers, we cannot neglect doctrine because we think it is impractical. All sound doctrine is ordained by God to lead to sound minds and sound behavior, and we neglect it to our own peril.

The Gospel Of The Glory…

… the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” (1 Timothy 1:9–11) 

                  When we look at the content of the message which we preach, we must realize that God is the gospel. Paul states that the gospel is of His glory and blessedness. Apart from God there is no gospel. Apart from the eternal Son incarnate we would have no good news to believe. God is the gospel.

                  If God is not glorious there is no gospel. The gospel testifies of the beauty, honor, and majesty of God. It declares that sin is horrible and ugly because it takes our eyes and hearts away from Him who is truly beautiful, desirable, and all together lovely. It declares that sin is idolatry because it puts the lesser ahead of Him who is forever worthy of our love, adoration, and obedience. The gospel of the glory of God then declares that God’s beauty, majesty, and honor are such that He intends to display it in such a way as to bring us to the point to give glory to Him forever. Thus He makes a way through the sacrifice of His Son that we might be forgiven according to His abounding grace, which abounds to His glory. God’s glory makes the gospel attractive: it would not be good news otherwise.

                  The gospel is also about the joy of God. It is the good news of the glory of the happy God. If God were grouchy, irritable, and only a judge, there would be no attractiveness to the gospel, because there would be no good news to make it truly gospel. God, however, is eternally happy. His joy never ceases. In His presence is full joy and eternal pleasures. God enjoys Himself so much that His joy overflows in goodness and grace that we might find joy in Him through the forgiveness of our sins, which reconciles us to Him. God calls us to proclaim this joy in the gospel.

                  The implications of this for our ministry are great. We should be a joyful people. Preaching should be a joyous task. Our proclamation should be centered upon the joy of the Lord and His pursuit of His glory through our rejoicing in Him. Should we ever begin to grasp this but a little, it would begin to eliminate legalism, judgmental attitudes, hatefulness, worldliness and most other ills that plague professing Christians today. If this truth captivates the souls of the preachers, perhaps it will capture the hearts of the hearers, and then perhaps we will grow to be more successful in our labors.

                  Brothers, let us proclaim the joyous beauty of the Savior!

A Simple Guide For Church Business Meetings

Guide For Business Meetings

  1. Motion to enter into business meeting
  2. Reading of the previous minutes
  3. Reading of treasurer’s report 
  4. Call for unfinished business
  5. Call for new business
  6. Call for any matter touching the peace and harmony of the church
  7. Motion to close business meeting

Note: It is well that the pastor, as moderator, be provided with an agenda for the business meeting so that he can be aware of any potentially problematic issues and be prepared to guide the church appropriately.