Temple Baptist Church - 12-9-2015
3 John 4
A. I have often said that pastoring a church is a “Bitter – Sweet” experience. I love what I do! I cannot over-emphasis this enough! I always wanted to do something for a living that I enjoyed and now I have that blessed privilege. Pastoring is not always glorious, but is always worthwhile!
B. There are many things that bring sorrow to a pastor’s heart. I will name several before I get into the “good stuff.” Before I begin, I want everyone here to realize that:
1. God has never saved a perfect man! Pastors are men of fault and failure just like you are. Do not be too disappointed in your pastor when he does not live up to your expectations.
2. God has never called a perfect man! So many hold the pastor to a different standard. Did you know that you are to be as good and godly as your pastor? Did you know that you are to labor MORE in the ministry than your pastor as he is to give his time to the Word of God and prayer?
3. God uses imperfect men because He is God and both the man and the work of the ministry are His.
C. God’s men should have a threefold goal in mind. 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
1. To fight the good fight of faith. 1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
2. To finish the course set before him. Acts 20:23-24 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. (24) But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
3. To keep the faith once delivered which involves two things:
a) Remain true to the Word of God. Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
b) Remain true to the Old Paths. Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
D. When I speak of “bitter” in reference to the ministry of God’s men, I am not say that God’s men are bitter in spirit. I am saying that the ministry, just like life, is full of ups and downs, good and bad times, winter as well as summer times, times of sorrow as well as happiness.
1. The sorrow of the failures within the church. 2 Corinthians 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
2. The sorrow or the rejection of truth. 2 Timothy 1:13-15 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (14) That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. (15) This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
3. Sorrow of losing families to sin. 2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
4. Sorrow of losing families because of God’s Word. Galatians 4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
5. Sorrow of losing brethren through death. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
6. Sorrow of seeing the church become apathetic. Revelation 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
7. Sorrow of trying to help and being rejected. 1 Peter 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
8. Sorrow of preaching falling on deaf ears. James 1:21-22 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (22) But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
9. Sorrow of facing the Lord with my pastoral failures. 1 Peter 1:6-7 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
10. Sorrow of having pastored people that I could not help. 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.
E. And, yet, there are many things that bring both joy and rejoicing! The joys greatly outweigh the sorrows. I want to look to look at some things tonight that bring joy to this pastor’s heart.
1. Joy of Fellowship with God’s People - Romans 15:32 That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.
2. Joy of Encouraging God’s People - 2 Corinthians 2:1-4 But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
3. Joy of Bearing The Burdens of God’s People - 2 Corinthians 7:1-4 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
4. Joy of Hearing That God’s People Are Steadfastly Serving - 2 Corinthians 7:12-16 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you. Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him. I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.
Colossians 2:5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
1 Thessalonians 3:6-10 But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: For now we live,if ye stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
5. Joy of Sharing The Ministry With God’s People - Philippians 1:3-11 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (Workers, visitation, teachers, choir - get involved!!)
6. Joy of Seeing God’s People Unified - Philippians 2:1-4 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (Greatest heartache - bickering children!)
7. Joy of A Godly Testimony of God’s People - Philippians 2:14-18 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me. (So much said about hypocrites – it is refreshing to hear good about God’s people!)
8. Joy of An Inner Witness With God’s People - Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
9. Joy of Leading Others To Christ - 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy. (Some of you were came to Christ under my ministry. Not that I am anything, but what a joy. Just think of Tracy!)
10. Joy of Giving Account For God’s Faithful People - 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.