Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Preach the Word: Because It Makes the Ministry Dependent on God


by John MacArthur
You wouldn’t expect to hear a pastor tell his church, “I know better than God.” And yet that’s what
many preachers and leaders today communicate when they focus their ministry strategies on market research and consumer response. Chasing popular trends and whims is a sure recipe for tickled ears, stunted spiritual growth, and congregations full of false converts.
By contrast, a ministry that centers on the preaching of God’s Word is a ministry that is, by definition, wholly dependent on God. Rather than relying on gimmicks or ploys, it relies on God Himself for both its content and direction.
Early in my ministry I committed, before the Lord, that I would simply worry about the depth of my ministry, and I would let Him take care of the breadth of it. Needless to say, He has extended it far beyond what I could have ever even thought possible. But the market appeal of this ministry was not something I ever strategized about, trying to think of schemes for how to be popular or how to energize church growth. Instead, the focus was on teaching the Bible—deeply, consistently, and accurately. Beyond that, I simply decided to depend on the Lord.
When pastors preach God’s message rather than one of their own invention, they demonstrate that they are fully depending on God for results. It is His Word that is taught; it is His Spirit who works; it is His power that convicts and transforms. We simply convey the message faithfully, and when people respond, God receives all of the glory.
And that, ultimately, is why I continue to preach the Word after more than four decades of ministry. The goal of my life, from the outset, has been ministry faithfulness for the glory of Christ. That should be the aim of every pastor. And what could be more glorifying to Him than to exalt His message, bringing it to bear on the lives of His people, and depending fully on Him for the results. As Timothy was charged by Paul, so every pastor—if he is to be found faithful—must embrace his sacred calling:
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. . . . I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. . . . The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:1–5, 7–8, 18)
Paul’s exhortation is directed at preachers, but its application isn’t limited to them. The men and women in the pews must place an equally high priority on submitting themselves to the preaching of the Word, and faithfully testing the teaching they receive against Scripture. Like we saw last time, all believers need to be Bereans. It’s vital that the pastor teaches Scripture with clarity and accuracy, and it’s vital that his congregation stay hungry for that kind of Bible teaching and the spiritual fruit it produces.
It’s been a privilege to serve the Lord at Grace Community Church for nearly forty-five years. Throughout that time, my prayer has always been to be subject to God’s biblical agenda, rather than subjecting God’s Word to my personal agenda. It is the difference between biblical preaching and motivational speaking, between shepherding and manipulating, and between understanding what God has already said in Scripture and putting new words in His mouth.
It’s no coincidence that we kicked off the new year with a series on the importance of biblical preaching. Preach the Word sets the tone for everything else you’ll read on the GTY blog in 2014 and beyond. The subject matter may vary, but the underlying theme will always be the same: Scripture rightly handled, faithfully taught, and properly applied.

(Adapted from The Master’s Plan for the Church.)

2 comments:

  1. THE PASTOR BY STEVE FINNELL
    Was there ever and office of, The Pastor, approved of or mentioned in New Testament Scripture? No, there was not. There was no single pastor appointed as the authority over any local church congregation.

    The word pastor is mention one time. (Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, (NKJV)
    Ephesians 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (ESV)

    Pastors were shepherds. Bishops, elders, and overseers are one and the same; and they were the pastors or shepherds.

    1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; (NKJV)
    1 Timothy 3:2 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. (New Living Bible)
    1 Timothy 3:2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, (New International Version)

    Titus 1:5-7....appoint elders in every city....7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, (NKJV)
    Titus 1:7 Since an overseer manages God's households, he must be blameless--not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.(NIV)
    Titus 1:7 An elder is a manager of God's household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money. (NLT)

    Acts 20:17,28 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. 28 "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (NKJV)
    Acts 20:28 Pay attention to yourselves and to the entire flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as bishops to be shepherdsfor God's church which he acquired with his own blood. (God's Word-Translation)

    Notice that the apostle Paul called for the elders (plural), he did call for The Pastor (singular).


    Acts 14:23 So when they had appointed elders in every church,and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

    The apostle Paul and Barnabas appointed elders (plural) in every church congregation. They did not appoint a pastor (singular) in every church congregation.

    Elders, bishops, and overseers are the same office and their responsibilities were to pastor or shepherd the individual church congregations.

    THERE WAS NO SINGLE PASTOR WHO HAD AUTHORITY OVER A INDIVIDUAL CHURCH CONGREGATION.

    Men today like to called Reverend Pastor.
    Reverend means awesome. So they want you to refer to them as Awesome Pastor.

    Psalms 111:9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. (KJV)

    The Lord has earned the right to be called reverend (awesome).
    Is there any man that has earned the right to be called Reverend (awesome) Pastor?

    THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES ONLY MENTION A PLURALITY OF ELDERS IN CHURCH CONGREGATIONS.

    MEN HAVE INVENTED THE REVEREND PASTOR (SINGULAR) AND HAVE PLACE HIM IN AUTHORITY IN LOCAL CHURCH CONGREGATIONS.



    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http//:steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Steve,
    Thank you for your comment. I do agree with you that the position of pastor has been exalted way beyond the perimeters of Scripture. Things such as "pastor-run" churches and pastors looked to as the hero of the church are unbiblical. Every believer is equipped with a gift and able to minister. However, I do see in the Word where the position of Pastor is used for equipping the saints with preaching/teaching God's Word. Every other duty as pastor may have needs to be examined in light of scripture.

    ReplyDelete