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January 5, 2021 3:00 am
Faithful pastors are not undisciplined people who show up on Sunday. Faithful pastors are highly disciplined people whose lives are brought into line so they can pour their whole life in the end of the flock that is given. The only way you can work hard and be productive is to be discipline, discipline is called disciplined life strictly ordered under control. Track today's churchgoer and the changes seem to work people are attending those churches. But when you're talking about drawing people to church before you strategize how to get them through that door. You need to ask this question, what does Scripture say about the purpose of the local church.
What are the biblical essentials churches must practice no matter the demands of the culture John's way to help answer those questions today in his study called the Bible driven church now before we begin the lesson today John.
I want to pause and recognize the people who support this ministry. Many of them listening right now and I want to say personally to them. Thank you and I know you do too. It's pretty hard to overstate how grateful we are for these people and their contributions even just over the past few weeks, Jan, it's always dramatic because were gone. The last part of the year from the office and then we come back as we have just recently and there is this mass of mail of flood of mail that has stacked up and we start plowing through this and I think it's the highlight time of the year for our staff and all of us that generosity has been frankly staggering and amazing outpouring of love and trust from you and others of God's people around the country and around the world, and in light of today's difficulties in the economy is not very secure and you know when you make sacrificial gifts to this ministry. It says an awful lot about your priorities and about your love for the Lord. So I trust that it also says something about what we're doing something about the fact that we are providing what your heart craves and desires. And that's why you're supporting us so your support is both an answer to prayer and the mandate really for us to keep doing what we've been doing that has caused you to want to support us and we we certainly commit to doing that. I'm very excited about the year 2021 win at reaching the new areas were going to continue the work of translation, particularly into Russian and FRC and some other languages were ordered to be reaching places we never reach before great things are ahead of the word of God is unchanging in our commitment to teach. It is unchanging as well. So thank you for standing with us and providing resources by which we can do what we do, to the glory of our Lord. Thank you for your partnership.
What a great year lies ahead of us.
Yes, friend. Thank you again. Your generosity, your partnership is going to help us take biblical truth to unbelievers, encourage pastors and layman and strengthen churches throughout 20, 21, and we are grateful for all that you do for us. So again, thank you very much and now to today's lesson here is John continuing his series called the Bible driven church. So join now to study together the word of God. Open your Bible with you will to first Thessalonians chapter 5 we're looking at a section that begins in verse 12, and runs all the way down to verse 22 is really a long series of exhortations, commands, what is the shepherd's responsibility to the sheep or what are the shepherd's responsibilities to the sheep plural number one we have the responsibility to labor among the sheep you look down in verse 12 and you notice this phrase. Those who labor among you, there is the first identifying mark of their pastors, their elders, their leaders, their would be in process. Overseers they diligently labor among you, the phrase is self-evident.
You don't need much of an explanation. Just a few technical details.
There's that word copy I'll again the Paul loves to use the means to work to the point of sweat and exhaustion to exhibit great exertion and great effort to work until your weary and he characterizes the pastor is one who works diligently with labors to the point of sweat and exhaustion among his people. That is the sphere of his ministry's responsibility is not outside the church. It's not long-distance it's intimately involved with the church like a shepherd would be intimately involved with the sheep like a father would be intimately involved with the family.
He is to be in involved with his people among the people in the midst of the people alongside of them in spiritual labor. What's he doing explaining the gospel explaining the truth applying the truth, warning them, admonishing them counseling them, helping them Paul you remember next 20 went house to house house to house teaching the things of God. With great dedication and great efforts touching the personal lives of people pouring his life into the flock that God had given them even as any faithful shepherd would do. Go back to chapter 2 for a moment. Verse nine and see a little more deeply into the pattern of Paul, for he did not say what he would not do for you. Recall brethren are labor and hardship, working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you. We proclaim to you the gospel of God leaking there. There was no church to support and there was no place to take an offering to sustain them. He had to work with his own hands earn his own living, working night and day on unjust taking care of himself and everybody traveling with him and then had to pull himself totally into the founding of the church. You knew it was to work hard. He knew it was to work sacrificially. He knew what it was to give himself literally to spend himself in reaching those people and then in verse seven of first Thessalonians 2. He likens himself to a nursing mother who tenderly cares for her own children, and that, dear friends, as you well know, is a nonstop 24-hour a day job.
Nursing a baby. Paul treated his congregation with the intimacy of a nursing mother later on he talks about the particular relationship of the father that he had to them where he took the word of God, right down to their living level and applied it in their individual lives. In that same second chapter over in second Thessalonians chapter 3 he says that he commands them in his second letter to them to stay a little from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us, for you yourselves know how you are to follow our example because we didn't act in an undisciplined manner among you, we didn't need anybody's bread without paying for it, but would labor and hardship. We kept working night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we don't have the right to be supported but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you that you might follow her example pastors to work diligently see what a pastor is doing is basically asking people who are earning a living, to also give their lives to the ministry of the church they have to do both positive. I was in a teach you how to do both. I needed to do both. Also, God is not all asked all of us to do that and if we are not called to do it the way Paul did it. We are certainly called to be so diligent that we spend our lives in giving ourselves to ministry. That's what Paul was doing.
He he knew that if he was going to be a faithful leader.
He would have to demonstrate the level of of effort and exertion and work and labor that was necessary and so he says you will note there again that marvelous statement in verse seven we didn't act in an undisciplined manner.
The only way you can work hard and be productive is to be disciplined to be disciplined. This calls for a disciplined life strictly ordered under control and out in verse 13 of second Thessalonians 3. He gives a good hint says don't get weary and doing well. Keep your energy work hard to the point of sweat and exhaustion in order to do that and do it right you have to be very, very disciplined, faithful pastors are not undisciplined people who show up on Sunday. Faithful pastors are highly disciplined people whose lives are brought into line so they can pour their whole life into the into the flock that is given this kind of principle is repeated many many places, but no better is it stated that in Colossians 128 where Paul says we proclaim Christ, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ.
It's an absolutely astounding goal. Paul spotted Sam's try to get people saved by the chin of their of the skin of their chinny chin chin and was trying to get them in the door. I am going to admonish every man and teach every man with all wisdom to present every man complete in Christ. I am not content with their salvation. I'm not content with marginal spirituality. I want complete in Christ and for this purpose I copy I'll I labor to the point of sweat and exhaustion.
Agonizing agonizing. It's a consuming thing faithful Shepherd knows his sheep and touches their lives and pours his whole life into them. That's his calling. That's his duty.
That's his responsibility and yet there are so many in the ministry who give so little to the church therein. They take a lot spend their time in other places and other enterprises. First Timothy 410. He says it is this for which we labor and strive because we have fixed our hope on the living God is the Savior of all men and again he uses that were copy when I can. It's in my we were to the point of sweat and exhaustion. We agonize because we are dealing with eternal matters. This is a major effort. Paul chronicles the pain of his own effort over and over again. He talks about all of the difficulty that he had. He doesn't decry their responsibilities just honest about the difficulty but in one very interesting Texan first 2015 10 looking at all the others who have preached in all the others who have worked pieces I labored even more than all of them. Night gives all the credit to the grace of God working in them. It's a sometimes hard to get across the young men were going to be shepherds that the difference between great effectiveness in the ministry and mediocrity is effort is effort. There are no secrets is no magic's work effort. I'm reminded of the words of Amy Carmichael. She wrote God, pardon me against myself. The coward with pathetic voice who craves for ease and rest enjoy myself arch traitor to myself. My Holocaust friend my deadliest follow my clog whatever road I go." Unless you can overcome yourself competing against your own tendency to be lazy and different to be at ease. You cannot have the discipline life that results in the exertion of the effort that leads to the effectiveness of this sets the example as well as being the pattern for the servant duty is characteristic of every Shepherd leadership success comes to those who are willing to work to exhaustion. Listen to this for the sake of objectives great enough to demand total sacrifice. If the objectives are great enough. How can you give less and someone sit across yes across stands in the way of spiritual leadership across on which the leader must consent to be impaled set of 1 L. He belong to that class of early martyrs whose passionate soulmate in early Holocaust of the physical man Richard Baxter was right when he said this is not a burden for the shoulders of a child takes a man every bit a man to shoulder the responsibility of the labor that is required among the sheep and I guess it would be true to say the world is run by tired men and so is the church. Now there's a balance there.
I remember when Robert Murray McShane, the Scottish minister died lay dying at the age of 29 he turned to a friend was sitting with him by his bed and he said I have killed the horse, and now I can't deliver the message as a point at which you maybe go a little too far, but the shepherds tour of duty in the church calls for exhausting labor among the sheep's responsibility to give himself as a servant to the sheep to meet their needs in every area that he can and some of that involves delegating and sharing the load, but it's the work that has to be done. Secondly, you not only has responsibility the labor among the sheep. But secondly authority over the sheep and that is very clearly indicated look at that verse 12 again and have charge over you in the Lord and have charge over you in the Lord charge over you progress to me means to stand before someone or to preside or to lead or to direct use in first Timothy chapter 3, three times verse four, five and 12 in first Timothy 517 in reference to elders and pastors and leaders in the church and it means to be in charge to have authority.
It is a delegated authority admittedly delegated by Christ we stand in the place of Christ, we are under shepherds under the great Shepherd as Peter calls. Notice it says we have charge over you.
We preside over you will lead you, we direct you. We have the responsibility to give you spiritual wisdom, spiritual protection, spiritual direction, spiritual guidance is our responsibility to cover all of those kinds of things to take care of the general health of the church to set the group spirit. The group morale. The spiritual tone to bring about a functioning unity to handle people in personal relationships in all their difficulties in life to solve problems by discovering problems, evaluating options, finding solutions working for change is our responsibility to do creative planning, strategy assessment analysis criticism find methods to reach spiritual objectives is our responsibility to provide that leadership for you. We have charge of. Please notice the little phrase in the Lord were not self-appointed it's not man-made. You didn't give us that authority. We didn't take it on our own. It's not from men. We are called equipped appointed by God is our duty to rule for his sake. The Lord's sake, not for personal power personal prestige personal gain personal career advancement, but for the Lord.
That little phrase in the Lord is the sphere in which our authority rests our authority is in him. He delegated to us. We only have it is were obedient to his word and his will. We have a delegated authority.
It is not our own, and it does not go beyond the expression of his will in his word and through his Spirit. So we are given authority but only in the Lord not beyond that I sent you a number of times when you get me outside the word of God and its application to the life of the church.
I have no authority my authority only is only in the Lord delegated to me to operate through the word, and by the direction of the spirit of God through the application of that word, and so we have an oversight of great responsibilities. Peter says in first Peter Fox were not to lord it over the flock were not to dominate you like it says back in Luke's gospel the Gentiles do they dominate not that kind it is a loving, gentle, delegated authority does not serve us what serves you. Does not exalt us would lift you up. So the responsibility on the side of the shepherds, then, is to work hard among the sheep serving all of their needs and then to exercise authority over them. That is to lead them in the right direction to correct them to solve their problems to bring unity and harmony to make one people who are disunited to build that relationship. Give direction to set the spiritual tone. All of the and then thirdly and finally, these are very simple and direct the end of verse 12 says and give you instruction. The third responsibility of shepherds to the sheep's instruction for the sheep. Labor among the sheep authority over the sheep instruction for the sheep and give you instruction, that's from the verb Knuth a technical which is often translated in the New Testament admonish. You've seen it many times. The word admonish in your Bible and basically it is instruction but instruction with a view toward correction. It carries the idea of if you keep going this way you have problems you got to turn and go this way. It is not pedantic is not academic is not just data is not just information is instruction with a view toward changing people toward correcting them and I tell young men in teaching them to preach. You always preach for change. You always preach for verdict for someone to say I am here, I ought to be there.
This is what I need to do always, every sermon in principle is to take people to to the point where they see what they ought to be where they see what they are not, and move them toward what they ought to be. So it's teaching with an element of warning an element of correction, an element of channeling them toward holy living. We could say it's tender instruction for holy living Jews in first Corinthians 414 of how a father instructs his beloved children, Paul telling the Corinthians that I I taught you like a father teaching beloved children. I admonished you you gently, tenderly instruct them away from those things that hurt them toward those things that bless them and of course the source of that is the word of God is shepherds that are to be skilled instructors, skilled instructors and by the way, that's the only specific skill that they are said to have to to have in first Timothy three Titus one. The only skill. Out of all the character qualities. The only skill is there to be apt to teach. First Timothy 32 skilled teachers. First Timothy 46 in first Timothy 416 reiterate the importance of their teaching responsibility. These leaders of the church.
The shepherds are to be skilled teachers.
Why will you look at Titus one for moment verse nine so they can hold fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the doctrine. In other words, for the positive effort of holding fast the faithful word. According to sound doctrine. In other words, so they can teach the truth. Then, in order that they may be able to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict positive and negative you want to exhort those who believe the truth to do the truth you want to exhort those who deny the truth to give up their air and accept the truth so it's a positive and negative. You have to build your your your instruction.
Then around the knowledge of the truth and skill in applying. He says there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers. They have to be silenced. Who's gonna silencer you are by the strength and power of your ability to refute their error with the word, and you're going to build the church by the strength and power of your ability to articulate the truths we are given, says Ephesians 4 to the church for the edification of the saints.
How do you get edified through the word of God, which is able to build you up or edify you acts 2032's.
So if the word of God build you up and my job is to build you up, then I gotta give you the word of God which build you up.
I have to be skilled at that and I might do it in such a way that it impacts powerfully your life in such a way that it impacts those who deny the truth by giving them irrefutable arguments and if there is anything in this is a personal word if there's anything in my life that drives me.
That really compels me in the ministry above all other things is my view of Scripture because I believe the Scripture is the holy inherent inspired word of God is so sacred to me that I have hanging over my head. This tremendous fear of ever misrepresenting or of ever ignoring any of its fruits realizing every word is pure and every word out of the mind of God given to us on these pages was for our edification in one way or another. I must be committed to teaching all people say why do you go over every verse, every phrase, every word because everyone came from God who might edit God I'm not God's editor and I'm not even God's interpreter. I have to allow the Scripture by God to interpret the Scripture. But God interpret his own word, and so the thing that drives me and compels me is the view of Scripture that I have.
And, of course, behind the view of God is a holy God who spoke his word that it might be spoken to men so not only are we to labor among you, and take authority over you, but we are to instruct you and that with great skill. Listen to what Richard Baxter said several centuries ago to preach a sermon what's skill is necessary to make the truth plaintiff to convince the hearers to let irresistible light into their consciences and keep it there and drive all home to screw the truth into their minds and work Christ into their affections to meet every objection and clearly to resolve it to drive sinners to a stand and make them see that there is no hope, but that they must unavoidably either be converted or condemned and to do all this as regards language and style as befits our work and yet, as is most suitable to the capacities of the hearers.
This, in a great deal more that should be done in every sermon must surely require a great deal of holy skill so great a God whose message we deliver should be honored by our delivery of it is a lamentable case, then the message from the God of heaven of everlasting moment, to the souls of men. We should behave ourselves so weekly so on handsomely so imprudently or so slightly that the whole business should miscarry in our hands and God should be dishonored, and his work disgraced and sinners rather hardened than converted, and all this through our weakness or neglect. How often have carnal hearers gone home jeering at the palpable and dishonorable failings of the preacher.
How many sleep under us because our hearts and tongues are sleepy and we bring not without so much skill and zeal as to awake."
No kidding, no president, no politician, no Dr. no lawyer, no judge, no military commander on earth has such an awesome responsibility as the one who shepherds the sheep by giving instruction out of the word of God to prostitute that is a frightening, frightening error. What then is the shepherds responsibility to the sheet. Very simple work among you to have authority over you to lead you in the past that God is designed to feed you consistently.
The truth that will instruct you away from the path of sin into holy living. Faithful shepherds are the discharge that responsibility. Let's pray thank you father for the impact of your truths. Thank you for making us part of your church. May we love it because you love it in your life for we love it to the degree that we are faithful shepherds and faithful sheep until Jesus comes in whose name we pray.
That's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary showing you the characteristics you should look for in the men who lead your local church. The Bible driven church.
That's the title of John's current study here on grace to you and now as a complement to this study, let me recommend John's book titled Christ's call to reform the church. It examines the Lord's memorable and hard-hitting words to seven churches which you read about in the book of Revelation from Jesus encouragement and his warnings to those churches you will find practical strategies for putting off worldliness for keeping your love for Christ from growing cold order. Christ's call to reform the church. Contact us today.
Call 855 grace for go to our website Jide TY.org.
The title again of this book. Christ's call to reform the church. You might want to pick up a few copies to go through with your Bible study and remember, shipping is free to order Christ's call to reform the church. Call 855 grace or go to our website Jide TY.org and when you get in touch. Let us know how John's teaching is strengthening you spiritually. Perhaps your family is been encouraged by the daily devotionals on Jide TY.org or someone you know has come to faith in Christ. After hearing one of these broadcast. We love to hear those stories email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, that's letters@TTY.you can drop a note in the mail addressed to Grace to you. Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 now on behalf of John MacArthur and the grace to you staff on Phil Johnson.
Thanks for tuning in today and make sure you're here tomorrow when John continues his study called the Bible driven church.
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