Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Pastor - Your Gift

Temple Baptist Church - 8-26-2018
Ephesians 4:18-16


A.  When the Lord ascended from Abraham’s Bosom, He gave gifts to the church to be used in carrying on the work in His absence.  Verse 11.

1.  These gifts were both passing and permanent as the Old Testament and New Testament met in the days of Christ. 

2.  In the transitional period of the early church, before the completion of inspired scripture (1 Corinthians 13:9-12), certain passing or partial gifts were necessary.  When the canon of scripture was complete, the passing or partial gifts were no longer necessary.

3.  The apostles and prophets (to foretell, not to forth tell) were passing gifts while the evangelist and pastor-teacher were permanent gifts.

B.  Apostles and prophets were gifts to the early church but ceased to exist in the First Century.  Two permanent gifts remain to this day:  the evangelist (missionary) and the pastor-teacher.

1.  These gifts were different in nature and yet merging in their work. 

2.  The evangelist, or missionary – evangelist means to bear good news.  It also comes from a root word that means to pastor.  The evangelist carries the gospel to places where it has never been heard and then does “the work of the pastor” as he becomes the pastor of the church that he starts.

3.  The pastor-teacher – pastor means shepherd.  To oversee both the people and the affairs of the local church.  He is to be an example to the flock, feed the flock, protect the flock, rule over the flock, and guide the flock.  He is also to evangelize or do “the work of an evangelist”.

C.  Many churches no longer desire pastors. 

1.  They want preachers, hirelings, who will “cherry pick” the Bible.  Men who are heavy upon exhortation and light on sanctification.  Men who neither oversee or rule as Deacon Boards and Trustees now have dominion.  Notice that I am saying men, not women as many now have women for pastors and deacons.

2.  Reproving and rebuking are just as much a part of preaching as exhorting but must be done with longsuffering and doctrine.  Because of the sinfulness of our nature and the perfectness of the Word of God, this sharp—two-edged sword must be allowed to do its work in our lives.

D.  I want to look at what Paul said about the pastor-teacher’s ministry.  Vs. 12.  The Work of the Pastor-Teacher.

1.  For the Perfecting of the Saints.  Helping God’s people to grow in the Lord.  “Be no more children.”

2.  For the Work of the Ministry.  To oversee the local church by guiding and protecting, not to become a dictator.

3.  For the Edifying of the Body of Christ.  Educate, enlighten, exhort, and enrich.  To build up, not tear down.

E.  God set forth in our text how all of this is to be done.  Verses 13-16.

1.  It is a continuing work!  “Till” A space of time or to a certain point.  My work will never be done because of the word “all.” 

a.  Because people get saved and need to be taught; because new families come in who have never been taught!  Because our small children grow up and need to be taught!  Repeatedly, we cover the same material.  To refresh and re-enforce the teaching of God’s Word to us older folks lest we forget; to ground the incoming and upcoming in the Word of Truth. 

b.  Too many good pastors step down while they are still in good health and mind.  When they learn how to pastor a church, they turn it over to someone who is still learning.

2.  It is an inclusive work!  “We” As you grow, I grow. 

a.  I do not know it all and continue to make mistakes.  I continue to be enlightened as I study to enlighten you.  You do not know it all and continue to make mistakes.  The Bible corrects us.

b.  God gave me a church with 8 people because I was not an experienced pastor.  As the church grew, I grew.  We all made our mistakes, but we have survived.  The Bible “thoroughly furnishes” us.

3.  It is an equal work!  “All” From the back pew to the front pew, everyone is equally important. 

a.  I understand that not all will grow because not all want to grow.  Some are just slower to grow than others.  When raising our children, we speak of “growing pains.”  People have “growing pains” spiritually.

b.  Spiritual growth requires effort and obedience.  That is why the work of the pastor-teacher is a continuing work.

4.  It is a unifying work!  “Unity” The greatest enemy of the church sits upon its pews. 

a. Division, becoming offended or hurt, are normally caused by small petty things of no eternal value.  Petty things become the things that destroy the unity of the local church. 

b.  “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them should be our motto, our battle cry.  As we grow, we must remain unified.  Let nothing cause you to leave this church except apostasy and unrebuked sin.

5.  It is a faith work!  “Of faith” Churches must learn to be faith based. 

a.  I know that this church should be operated with fiscal responsibility, but it must also operate by faith.  We expect our people to live by faith, but the churches often walk by sight.  “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” applies to the local church also. 

b.  Learning to trust the Lord with all our heart is an ever learning work.

6.  It is relationship-based work!  “Knowledge of the Son of God Paul said, “That I may know Him.” 

a.  The most important part of the work of the church takes place when its members grow closer to Christ Jesus.  Getting to know the One who died for us.

b.  I have often said that if we get closer to Christ, the questionable things of life are answered from within.  My work is not to separate God’s people from the world.  That is God’s work.  My work is to exhort you to grow closer to God.

7.  It is maturing work!  “Unto a perfect man” We, as older Christians, should carry with our hoary heads an infinite wisdom. 

a.  We white-haired Christians have been at this for many years and should be sterling examples to the younger ones.  They should be able to follow us as we follow Christ.

b.  Soon, they will be the white-haired Christians because we will be gone and our heritage must become their heritage for it to remain.

8.  It is a conforming work!  “The measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ  Not conforming to a set of rules or even to a set of values. 

a.  Conforming to the image of the One who loved us, saved us, and owns us.  Not to my measure, not to your measure, but to His measure!

b.  Then and only then, the word Christian becomes one of reality instead of just a title to be worn.

9.  It is a doctrinal work!  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” 

a.  Doctrine has become a dirty word to most religionists as they say that “doctrine divides, love unifies.”  God said that we are to study, now, and remain doctrinally pure.

b.  There can be no true brotherly love without true Bible doctrine.  As we are to worship in “spirit and truth,” we are to love in “spirit and truth.”

10.  It is a sharing work!  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”  As we mature, we share our faith to a lost world that lies outside of the local church.

11.  It is a selfless work!  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. When we become the perfect man or woman, we realize that it is not all about us.  The acrostic of the word JOY says it all.

J – Jesus first.

O – Others second.

Y – You last.

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