A New Testament Pastor (Ac 6:1-2)
The reason for these messages are to encourage you to a greater u’standing of what a NT church is to be. I want you to think Biblically regarding what it means to operate God’s way as a NT Church. Part of this is u’standing what a NT Pastor is called to do, how he is to carry it out, & how YOU are to support & encourage him. So let’s pull back the curtain on pastors.
Aside: This message is also what I’m encouraging the Search Team to look for…
Several years ago one of my sons asked me, “Dad, what do you do all day?” I had a church member once tell me I had the dream job b/c I only worked two days a week… Sunday & Wednesday. Little did they know! There is tremendous pressure on a preacher who takes seriously his call!
What SHOULD a pastor do all day? What is his workweek like? I’ll tell you this: His #1 concern should be YOU! What should dominate his mind & life is YOUR spiritual well being! When Paul talked about his suffering… being beaten, whipped, stoned, hungry, shipwrecked, etc… those things took a back seat to what he wrote in 2 Cor 11:28, “And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches…”
Some suffering ended (Beatings, being stoned, hunger, etc), but his anxiety for the spiritual health & well being of the churches was constant. It never left him. He never got away from it. Why? Because he cared for those souls as one who would give an account to God (Heb 13:17)!
I believe one of the best ways for God’s people to encourage & support their pastor is to u’stand his call. Few of those in the pew know much of what those deal with from behind the sacred desk. So this morning I want to try & help you understand him so you will better be able to support, encourage, pray, & support him. I ask YOU to enter what it means to be pastor of a New Testament Church. Consider again Heb 13:17…
They are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account…
God’s man must take this passage seriously. If he does, It will drive him in everything he says & does as your pastor. This is all encompassing, but there are gradations… priorities if you will. If he neglects this he has traded God’s call for job security! Turn to Ac 6:1…
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples & said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables…” 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer & to the ministry of the word.”
THE most important things your pastor does IF he loves you & is obedient to God’s call are to DEVOTE himself to: 1) Prayer & 2) Ministry of the Word. These are are largely unseen by you during the week. They don’t always manifest themselves quickly or visibly… but at the same time they ARE easily discernible! Let me explain…
THE most important thing about you is what YOU believe about God. For the most part, this is to be presented, encouraged, & supported by your pastor’s prayers & presentation of God’s Word.
When a pastor devotes himself to prayer & God’s Word you will discern it from the messages & studies delivered. You will discern it by the fare placed before you as spiritual food. You will know when you listen to him pray publicly. You will know it by the direction he leads the church… which WILL BE for your spiritual well being!
THE most important thing your pastor does for you, your children, and g’kids is build you up in your faith. He MUST care for your spiritual well being. It is his call from God to prepare you to stand before God in hopes of hearing HIM say, “Well done good & faithful servant!”
Your pastor isn’t called by God to be a great administrator… to have a charismatic personality… to be heavily involved in denominational issues… take you on trips… be THE consummate hospital visitor … or make you feel good about self. He is called by God to strengthen you in Christ… equip you for spiritual battle… encourage you to grow in holiness & godliness… & give you Biblical counsel during life’s hardships.
If he doesn’t, can’t, or won’t do those things… he has abandoned his call. He may be a great visitor… he may be a likable person… he may be a great planner & administrator… but if he neglects praying for you, studying God’s Word & then doesn’t present it faithfully, he is not called by God.
Listen! Those of you who are praying for the Search Team, pray they will be diligent to find a man who prays… a man who loves God & you so much he devotes himself to God’s Word. They need you to pray in this manner because the Adversary wants someone who does anything BUT those things!
So who will visit hospitals? Who will visit in homes? He will AFTER he has done due diligence to pray & minister God’s Word. Now let me preach a little bit… Look at Acts 6 again… (Vs 2):
“It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit & of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer & to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, & they chose Stephen, a man full of faith & of the Holy Spirit… (What do we call these men? DEACONS)
According to Scripture, Deacons are NOT the decision makers for a church! They are to serve… wait tables if you will. THAT is their call. If the preacher is required to pick up the deacon’s slack, they are taking him away from God’s call.
So here’s a thought: If someone needs visiting, visit them. If someone is in the hospital, go see them! If someone needs a pie, bake & take it to them! If someone needs prayer, pray w/ them! Trust me, a loving pastor WILL visit & more… but his freedom to pray & minister the Word MUST be protected by you… the church! Why? To do otherwise results in what is written in Heb 13:17, “Let them do this with joy & not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage TO YOU.”
It is for YOUR BENEFIT to protect the pastor’s ability to pray & minister the Word. And he MUST carry out that call. I cannot over emphasize this point IF NHBC is to follow God’s call. Okay?
One last thing: A faithful & loving pastor will not cheat. WHAT? Yeah… he won’t cheat by preaching someone else’s messages. He will pray to discern from God what you need to grow in Christ then write a message from God for you (A “Sermon” is preached AT you, a “Message” is delivered to you). How much time does it take to write a message? My experience is at least 15 hours of prayer, study, & writing. If Sun AM & PM… its 30 hrs. Add Wed… another 5-10 hours.
Men like this ARE out there! It is in your best interest to find them. They are few & far between, so that’s why you are spending so much time in prayer. You can easily find a man who ends up getting paid to visit… but he won’t fulfill the Biblical requirements as a pastor. I know that’s strong, but that’s what is at stake.
Now, how do you end a message like this? By praying… together… as a people. So let’s spend some time in prayer asking for God’s help. I don’t call this an altar because it isn’t… but it is a place where God’s people come to pray… so let’s do that then I’ll turn it over to your Pastor…