"And He Gave Some … Pastors…"
In our continuing study of the New Testament Church, we come to a passage found in Ephesians 4:11, "and He gave some…Pastors…" When Christ brought the church into existence, He ordained two positions of leadership, a Pastor and a Deacon.
Out of my 43 years in the Lord’s work, for 40 years I have filled the office of Pastor. Thirty-five of those years I have been a Senior Pastor. In my opinion, a pastor has the most fulfilling position in the world. Yet on the other hand, it is the most humbling position to be an under-shepherd of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The other office ordained by Jesus Christ is that of a DEACON. It is a tremendous HONOR to fulfill the office of a deacon. It's a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. It is a position that only godly men should fill. Deacons are APPOINTED to help pastors and aid the church in accomplishing the KING'S business. That's why it is such a serious ministry.
This message will address the position of a Pastor. The next message will address the office of Deacon.
Maybe you do not realize it, but we are living in an age of PASTORAL BURNOUT.
Out of every 50 men who declare their calling to the ministry, only ONE remains to finish their schooling. Out of that number, 60% at some time leave the ministry.
Today some of the finest Bible preachers have "thrown in the towel" and left the ministry for secular work. Apparently, they could not take the stress of congregational squabbles, petty criticism, the gossip’s telephone network, or offended members leaving the church.
Sad to say, in many churches, the pastor just cannot do anything right. Someone has described the situation in this way:
If the pastor is young, they say he lacks experience.
If his hair is gray, he's too old for the young people.
If he has five children, he has too many.
If he has none, he's setting a bad example.
If he preaches from notes, he has canned sermons and is dry.
If his messages are extemporaneous, he isn't deep enough.
If he caters to the poor, he's playing to the grandstand.
If he pays attention to the wealthy, he's trying to be an aristocrat.
If he uses too many illustrations, he's neglecting the Bible.
If he doesn't include stories, he isn't clear.
If he condemns wrong, he's cranky.
If he doesn't preach against sin, they claim he compromises his values.
If he preaches the truth, he's offensive.
If he doesn't present the "whole council of God," he's a hypocrite.
If he fails to please everybody, he's hurting the church.
If he makes everybody happy, he has no convictions.
If he receives a large salary, he's mercenary.
If he gets a small salary, then it proves he isn't worth much anyway.
Even though he is doing his BEST to shepherd the flock faithfully, longing for the rich blessing of the Lord upon his ministry, and making an earnest effort to earn the APPROVAL of the congregation, there is always some group or individual who is doing some fault-finding, to pick him apart or oppose his efforts.
It is not the work of preaching, visiting, and the administrative duties that TAX the energies and endurance of a pastor. Rather it is the strained relationship that he has to deal with in the church. I do not mind working 12-14 hours a day, 6 days a week. That does not tire me out. Rather, what exhaust me are the interpersonal relationships that become strained.
The misunderstandings and differences of opinion that cause conflicts are the pressures the pastor feels the most. Someone said:
"The INABILITY TO PLEASE THE VERY ONES he LOVES the MOST, and the DISAPPOINTMENT of being OPPOSED by those he was depending upon for MORAL and PRAYER support, these are the ones that prompt him to throw up his hands in despair."
For just a moment, please allow me to talk about your PASTOR.
Now I am not asking for your sympathy, or criticism. Nor am I asking for a pat on the back. Rather, I am asking for you to understand what the Bible says about being a pastor-teacher.
With that topic in mind, please turn with me to the Gospel of John 1:6-8. In this passage, we find a 3-fold description of John the Baptist, which is true of every man who is a genuine SERVANT of God. Here we read:
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (7) The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. (8) He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.”
First in verse 6, we are told that "There was a man…" John the Baptist was a man subject to the same weaknesses and limitations as other men.
He was not a SUPERNATURAL, angelic CREATION.
He was not a hyperphysical emissary from the throne of God.
The Bible states, "He was a man."
Second in verse 6 we are told that "There was a man sent from God." Although he was a man with human limitations, John the Baptist was distinguished and set apart from others in that he was a specially chosen one. He was " …sent from God."
Third in verse 7 we are told that"There was a man sent from God to bear witness of the Light." John the Baptist came to preach Christ, the light of the world. That was John's mission.So in these three verses, we learn something about John the Baptist:
He was a man
He was a man sent from God
He was a man sent from God to bear witness of the Light.
Your pastor is only a man. He is a man with human limitations. This is the first pre-requisite that declares his CALLING. Please turn to Titus 1:5-9 and notice the list of qualifications given for a pastor:
“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: (6) If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. (7) For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; (8) But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; (9) Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”
Please notice in Titus 1:5 he is called an ELDER and in Titus 1:7 he is called a BISHOP. I will be defining these words later in this message.
Now turn with me to I Timothy 3:1-7. Here we find 14 qualifications that describe a pastor. Notice as I read them for you that once again in verses 1-2 he is called a BISHOP.
“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. (2) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; (3) Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; (4) One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (5) (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (6) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. (7) Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”
Especially notice the phrase in Titus 1:1, "… if a MAN desire the office of a bishop …" Please hear me out. I honestly do not believe God calls women to be a pastor. It says here, "If a man desire the office of a bishop …" In Titus 1:2 this belief is further verified as it says, "A bishop then must be blameless, the HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE …" The text does not say the bishop is to be a woman, the wife of one husband. It very clearly says the bishop is to be a man with one wife. So we are talking about the pastor being a MAN.
God has ordained that a MAN, in spite of all his FAULTS and in spite of all his SHORT COMINGS should be the one who LEADS the church. Some years ago I came across an article entitled, "Qualifications of a Good Pastor." Unfortunately, it further underscores the unreasonable demands often placed upon the pastor.
A GOOD PASTOR MUST HAVE:
The strength of an ox,
The tenacity of a bulldog,
The daring of a lion,
The wisdom of an owl,
The harmlessness of a dove,
The industry of a beaver,
The gentleness of a sheep,
The versatility of a chameleon,
The vision of an eagle,
The hide of a rhinoceros,
The perspective of a giraffe,
The endurance of a camel,
The bounce of a kangaroo,
The disposition of an angel,
The loyalty of an apostle,
The faithfulness of a prophet,
The tenderness of a shepherd,
The fervency of an evangelist,
The devotion of a mother,
YET HE STILL WOULD NOT PLEASE EVERYBODY!
There would still be those who would insist on saying, "Oh, he's all right, but …" Remember the Bible says, "There was a man." As a man, your pastor CANNOT BE perfect nor DO everything to perfection. He's going to have his FAILINGS and SHORT-COMINGS simply because God sees fit to use an ordinary MAN. Having said that, I am reminded of I Corinthians 1:26-29 where Paul says:
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (29) That no flesh should glory in his presence.”
Try not to act shocked when you discover that your pastor is not a combination of outstanding Bible teacher, spirited evangelist, compassionate pastor, inspiring preacher, able administrator and shrewd businessman all wrapped into one person. EVEN THE LORD HIMSELF DOESN’T DEMAND THAT MUCH!
The Apostle Paul wrote this for us in Ephesians 4:1, 7, 11-12.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, (7) But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”
As I read that, I marvel at how God could use me. I pray every day for compassion, strength, wisdom, power, and the Lord's blessing upon my feeble efforts in this work that He has given me to do. With all these things in mind, I would humbly ask that you PRAY for ME. If you have criticism, then please talk to God about me and ask that He show me a better way.
As your pastor, I truly need your encouragement. If you are led to encourage me, here are two simple things you can do:
1. Let me know you are praying for me.
2. Be faithful to this body of believers:
Keep doing what you are doing for the cause of Christ.
Keep coming so you won’t miss God’s blessing from each service.
Keep giving God’s tithe to His ministry.
Keep showing those around you that you are living for the Lord.
Remember these words describing John the Baptist, “There was a man.” Your pastor is a man sent from God. This is the second pre-requisite that declares his CALLING. In the last point we saw the human aspect of a pastor’s calling. Here we see the divine commission of his calling, “…a man sent from God.” That is a very humble statement to me, "…a man sent from God." I thank my God, as Paul did in I Timothy 1:12, "who enabled me, putting me into the ministry."
In the divine calling of the pastor, there are three titles in the Word of God that describe your pastor. These three titles – ELDER, BISHOP, and PASTOR all refer to one man, the pastor-teacher.
First: The first Greek word for the Pastor is PREBUTEROS, You could translate this word with our English word Presbyterian. However in our English Bible it is translated by the word Elder. Notice with me:
I Timothy 5:17-20, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. (18) For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. (19) Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. (20) Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”
Titus 1:5, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city…”
I Peter 5:1-3, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: (2) Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; (3) Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.”
Now the word ELDER implies and refers to one with SPIRITUAL MATURITY. This word further describes the dignity of the pastor-teacher, an elder.
Second: The second Greek word for the Pastor is EPISCOPOS. Some could translate this using the word Episcopal. However, in our Bible it is translated by the word Bishop. The word BISHOP in the Greek means an OVERSEER. The pastor is the one who oversees the entire work of the ministry. Another way of saying this might be that the pastor is the superintendent of the Church.
In every area of church ministry your pastor has been given the responsibility for oversight. That means nothing goes on without his knowledge or approval. God has given him that awesome task, and thankfully in order to accomplish it, God has ordained helpers called Deacons.
Third: The third Greek word for the PASTOR is POIMAN.
In Acts 20:28 we read, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” The word “feed” is the Greek word POIMAN.
In Ephesians 4:11 we read, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” The word for pastor is the Greek word POIMAN.
In I Peter 5:2 we read, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;” Again the word feed is this Greek word POIMAN.
The word describes a Shepherd. Your pastor is the shepherd of the church. He is the one who tends to the sheep, protecting them and feeding them.
In spite of his weaknesses, if you realize that your pastor is a man sent from God, petty criticism and gossip about him would surely be eliminated. However, someone may still be tempted to think: "If my pastor is just like I am, prone to the same weakness and pitfalls, why should I listen to him? He is no better than I am." I would agree except for one point, "He is God's chosen man." He is “a man sent from God.”
Do you wonder why children sometimes lose their respect for the pastor and the church? Perhaps, IT IS THE CRITICISM THEY CONSTANTLY HEAR ABOUT THE PASTOR FROM MOM AND DAD SUNDAY AFTER SUNDAY. You know, “roast the preacher” syndrome. I believe as a parent, it is your duty to cultivate a respect for “a man sent from God.” As a child, I never heard one word of criticism about my pastor, and to this day 50 years later, I still respect him as a man of God, a respected pastor. If he has any faults, I was never told of them.
Honestly, as long as we are interacting with mere men, we will be disappointed. Even the best preacher in the world, although sent from God, is subject to human failures. However, there is one in whom there is no disappointment. He is the Lord Jesus Christ, with whom we interact as our CHIEF SHEPHERD.
Your pastor is a man sent from God to bear witness of the Light. This is the third pre-requisite that declares his CALLING. This is the pastor’s divine commission to preach Christ. My calling is to "preach the whole council of God's Word." Expounding the Word of God must take priority over everything else in the pastor’s life.
In the book of Acts 6:1-7, we have the foundation text for the calling of DEACONS. Notice in verses 2-4 the importance the disciples put upon the Word of God. “Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. (3) Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. (4) But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” As a result of those chosen to serve as deacons, and the responsibility they took upon themselves to carry on the physical work of the church, notice verse 7: “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Just as it was with the early disciples, it is still my “RESPONSIBILITY TO GIVE MYSELF CONTINUALLY TO PRAYER AND THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD OF GOD.”
So when you are asked to do something for which you are qualified, and time and circumstances allow, please don't think, "Let the pastor do it; that's what he's getting paid for." Rather, please consider doing what you can to share the work, to help me, so that I can more effectively "bear witness of the Light." Honestly, your pastor can't do all the work, but together, we can do great things for God.
At this point, please allow me to interject a concern I have for the provision of activities for every age group. Many of you have expressed a desire to meet the needs of a variety of ages with separate and different activities. Not a bad idea, but they will surely put a strain on already overtaxed church resources, both human and financial. And the Bible does not actually mandate such activities within the church.
The Bible does say we are to care for the needs of the poor and widows among us.
The Bible does say we are to send and support missionaries in the field.
The Bible does say we are to spread the Gospel message.
Going back to my childhood in the church, to be sure there was Sunday school for all ages, organizations for boys and girls, and a Sunday evening program for older youth. To me, that seems like enough.
But what I remember most about my church attendance was the FAITHFUL PREACHING OF THE WORD OF GOD and the OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE THE LORD. The idea that all my needs had to be met did not occur to me. But I was impressed by the thought that I WAS TO SERVE FOR THE BENEFIT OF OTHERS!
It may sound like I am being defensive, and I guess I am to some degree. I am concerned that the children of our church will lose out as a result of parents becoming disillusioned. Some are neglecting their chosen responsibilities by complaining, quitting, or moving around. Please, for the sake of our children and the cause of Christ, pray for your church and remain faithful in your service to the Lord. If you do that, we will surely see God’s blessings heaped upon our children!
On the other hand, your pastor, “a man sent from God to bear witness of the Light,” must assume a number of responsibilities, not delegated to others. According to the Bible, these responsibilities are seven-fold:
Number 1: He is to preach the Word, II Timothy 4:1-5, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (2) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (5) But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” Woe is me if I do not preach the Word of God. A preacher must live with the Bible in his hands and preach the Bible.
Teaching the Word, is telling what God has said.
Preaching the Word is saying, let's get busy doing what God has said to do.
Number 2: He is to be a man of prayer as we saw in Acts 6.
Number 3: He must exhort and rebuke as found in I Thessalonians 5:12, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;…”
Number 4: He is to be a good example, I Timothy 4:12, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” That includes being a goodexample as a husband and father, in His church attendance, in his tithing, and in all areas of the Christian life.
Number 5: He is to shepherd the Church and feed the flock the Word of God as we read in Acts 20:26-28, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. (27) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (28) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
My preaching is a result of prayer, study, and conviction. God said TEACH it! God said PREACH it! By the grace of God, I have sought to do just that.
Number 6: He is to protect the flock as we read in Acts 20:29-30. It is the pastor's responsibility to WARN YOU of DANGERS.
Verse 29 we are to warn of the dangers from without, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” In Matthew 7:15 we are told, "Beware of false prophets which come in sheep clothing, but inwardly they are raving wolves." Satan is attempting to use much outside these walls to destroy the work of God.
Verse 30 shows us there are also dangers from within, “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Peter has warned us, John has warned us, Paul has warned us of those inside the church who will lead us astray.
Number 7: He is to watch over your souls as we read in Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
In conclusion, please returnto the text found in John 1:6-8. Here we discovered that John the Baptist, the preacher:
Was a man with human limitations.
Was a man sent from God with divine authorization.
Was a man sent with a divine message, to bear witness of the Light.
As your pastor-preacher, I am similar to John the Baptist:
As a man I need your prayers.
As a man sent from God I deserve your respect.
As a man sent from God to bear witness of the Light, I need your help.
I thank my God for His calling in my life to the office of BISHOP and for giving me the divine gift of preaching. You are God’s chosen people, I am your pastor. What a privilege that is. To me, you are like sheep to a shepherd; children to a father. I have passion for my profession that I can't explain. God has placed me among you as a shepherd, and as long as God keeps me in this corner of His vast vineyard, I want to be the best I can be as your PASTOR–PREACHER.
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon "And He Gave Some … Pastors …" then right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “… Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior let me know? Please send an e-mail to, pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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In His Amazing Grace,
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