Share This Episode
The Truth Pulpit Don Green Logo

The Pastor, His Pulpit, and His People #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
January 6, 2023 7:00 am

The Pastor, His Pulpit, and His People #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 469 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.


The so-called visionary pastor who forces out long-standing church members who simply don't want to go along with the brilliant change that he's trying to bring to their church. The gracious pastor wants everyone to be under the sound of faithful ministry.

He's not standing at the door with a foot in their back trying to push him out. Hello and welcome to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm Bill Wright, and today we conclude an important series called To Follow or To Flee to help you distinguish genuine teachers of God's Word from false ones.

Don is actually finishing this series by concluding a message he began last time titled The Pastor, His Pulpit, and His People. Don, what's the most important thing in your view for a pastor to remember at all times? Well, my Christian friend, in this day and age, a pastor must be someone who remembers the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians chapter 4. We do not preach ourselves, but we preach Christ Jesus as Lord and ourselves as your bondservants for Jesus' sake. You know, I don't have a pastorate so that people will love and follow and serve me. I'm only an instrument to point them to God's Word, whether that's the written Word of God in Scripture or the incarnate Word of God in Jesus Christ.

What happens to me is inconsequential so long as Christ is glorified and His people are edified. Let's join Don right now as he continues teaching God's people God's Word in The Truth Pulpit. 1 John chapter 2 verse 1, My little children, I'm writing these things to you so that you may not sin. My little children, writing as an apostle probably around the age of 90 at this point. John's entitled to call everybody children at that point.

But addressing them with a term of endearment, a term of affection, he uses it. Chapter 2 verse 12, He says, I'm writing to you little children because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake. Chapter 4 verse 4, You are from God, little children, and have overcome them. Chapter 5 verse 21, he ends on that note of affection.

Little children, guard yourselves from idols. It's not just that he calls them little children. He uses this term beloved as well. Chapter 2 verse 7, Beloved, I'm not writing a new commandment to you.

This is how he speaks to his people. Beloved, little children. Chapter 3 verse 2, Beloved, now we are children of God. Chapter 4 verse 1, Beloved, do not believe every spirit.

Beloved, beloved. Chapter 4 verse 7, Beloved. Chapter 4 verse 11, Beloved. All in the context as he's writing about the love that Christians should have for one another that flows from the love that Christ has bestowed upon us. He's not writing to them as theological students. He's writing to them as a man who loves them.

And that's why he addresses them like that. Little children, beloved, elsewhere he calls them brethren, showing that the energy of his heart goes toward them in love, in affection, in a fatherly concern for their well-being. John didn't see his audience as students in the pursuit of theology. Although theology was driving everything that he was saying, he didn't treat his audience as disinterested students and him as a disinterested teacher. He was practically married to them in the affections of his heart.

He loved them. He protected them as a shepherd protects sheep. He was concerned for their individual spiritual lives. That's what a godly pastor does. The idea that a man could be a pastor and be harsh and bitter and demanding and an overlord to his congregation is totally foreign to what the Bible presents about what a pastor should look like. And if you are under the domination of a man like that, feel free to leave and to get out from under that kind of abusive leadership because it is not the pattern that the Bible sets forth. Listen to how the Apostle Paul addressed the readers in Thessalonica, 1 Thessalonians 2, verse 7. He said, But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.

It doesn't get much more tender and affectionate than that, does it? Verse 8, Having so fond an affection for you, we were well pleased to impart to you only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. That is what a godly pastor is like. He loves his flock.

That is the biblical model. By contrast, Peter wrote and warned against the contrary in 1 Peter, chapter 5, when he said, Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but voluntarily. He goes on and says, Nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

Don't lord it over them. God didn't give you spiritual authority so that you could be the lord over the people that are in front of you. God gives pastors spiritual authority so that they could use that to be a blessing and a benediction to the people that are in front of them, and that's what the godly pastor wants to do. It's not about accruing accolades to himself.

It's not about him. The godly pastor is motivated by the desire to see God bless the people that are in front of him. Young pastors especially need to heed this. Your people are not inconvenient interruptions to your sermon preparation. They are the reason for your ministry. And a pastor who, as an ongoing matter, resents his people, is in constant conflict with them, is a pastor who needs to get out of that ministry, that particular ministry, if not get out of the ministry altogether. If you can't love your flock, you should not be in ministry.

You should leave, pronto. Because as Peter shows us, as Paul shows us, and as the Apostle John illustrates for us throughout this entire wonderful letter of 1 John, the heart of the spiritual leader toward his people is one of undiluted affection. And he realizes he's happy to embrace the difficulties, the conflicts that being with people brings to him. He overlooks that. He's happy to look beyond that. He's happy to look beyond the flaws and the sins of his people because there is an overarching, encompassing affection that he has for them that they would share in the spiritual life that God first gave to him. He wants that for the people in front of him. That's what a godly pastor does.

That's what motivates him. Now, many of you will know that there is a trend in the so-called evangelical church today for prominent pastors to multiply their presence with satellite campuses so that they're speaking in one place but broadcasting on a video screen in multiple other locations. I'm still calling it church. I don't know, some of them still calling themselves pastor. Listen, that's not good.

That's not good. An image on a screen is no substitute for a pastor with his flock. You're meant to embody the things that you teach and you embody them for people in the context of personal relationships. Ought to be no question in the mind of someone who's been in your church for any length of time. My pastor loves me.

My pastor cares about me. I know he fails in a lot of ways. He's not a very good speaker. He's not this or that.

But you know what? I know he loves me. And some of you men here that are pastors, you manifest that. I see that in my brief relationships with you that are only once or twice a year.

They're flowing out of you and it's wonderful to know that you're like that. A man of God who can look into his heart and say, you know I love my people. He's a man who's where he needs to be. Now this same principle of affection condemns out of hand the so-called visionary pastor who forces out, and I've heard too many of these stories to stay silent on the issue, who forces out long-standing church members who simply don't want to go along with the brilliant change that he's trying to bring to their church. And so he forces them out so that they're out of the way. You just kind of do it's pastor by road grader. Anything that's in the way, you just plow them out of the way. You let them know they're not welcome, that you don't care what their music preferences are or anything like that.

Get with the program or get out is the idea. It's a way it fleshes out. Of course, they would never state it that way in public. They would just carry it out that way in private where men can't see it for the evil that it is. The Word of God absolutely condemns that. Absolutely condemns that. If that is your approach to pastoral ministry, that it's got to be the implementation of my vision and whoever's in front of me that's in the way needs to get out, you're the one who should get out.

That's abominable. We're not called to ministry for that purpose. The gracious pastor, the loving pastor, finds a way to stretch his arms around everyone that's in front of him. He doesn't want anyone to leave. He wants everyone to be under the sound of the Word of God. He wants everyone to be under the sound of faithful ministry. And if they must leave, then it breaks his heart. He's not standing at the door with a foot in their back trying to push him out. Jesus himself said, blessed are the peacemakers.

Proverbs speaks about the man whose ways are pleasing to God makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Well, how much more a pastor with his flock in front of him should be able to find some way to make peace with the people that are in front of him? I mean, come on. Let's just call this for the corporate advance that it is and stop abusing the word church and ministry for something like that. Shameful.

It's absolutely shameful. But, having said that, let's come back to what John is doing. John exposes the wickedness of those kinds of things, not by declaring it so much, but by his own personal example.

Beloved, little children, I'm writing these things to you so that you'd know joy and holiness and assurance of salvation. You can see by the themes that he emphasizes, he just wants the spiritual well-being of the flock that's in front of him. That's what a godly pastor does. The bitterness and conflict is something that doesn't find a safe harbor in his heart.

He loves his people too much to stay in conflict with them. So the pastor with his people is one who expresses affection to them. Secondly, he also expresses affirmation to them.

He expresses affirmation to them. A good pastor affirms his people, especially in their struggles and conflicts. The good pastor, when he sees his people in front of him going through a hard time, going through trials, going through temptations, having fallen into sin, being persecuted for their faith, a good pastor understands that when that is happening to people in his flock, that that is his opportunity to step up and affirm them and give strength to them and to strengthen their hand. John wrote to believers who were discouraged, believers who were trying to walk with Christ in the midst of a hostile world, believers who had teachers telling them that they weren't in the secret in-crowd. Maybe they weren't true believers after all. And John takes his apostolic pen, he takes his position of spiritual authority and writes to encourage them and strengthen them, lest they would be overwhelmed with sorrow.

I love this about this letter. Look at 1 John 2, verse 12, and put yourself in the shoes of a reader here who's been told that maybe he's not a Christian, who is struggling with doubt, who is lacking assurance of his salvation, who is downcast, and the Apostle John, whose head rested on the chest of Jesus himself. The Apostle John writes and says this to you. He says, I'm writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for his name's sake.

Wow. The Apostle John just affirmed my salvation in categorical terms. Without qualification, he said, categorically, I believe in your salvation. Your sins have been forgiven, little children. He not only affirms me, he loves me.

I think I can take another day with that wind in my sails. John does this all the time in this letter. Chapter 2, verse 21, verse 20, actually, he says, you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.

He's contrasting his readers with those who went out and showed that they weren't truly of the faith. He says, but you, you, have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. And he says, I haven't written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. The whole reason I've written to you, my little children, is because you're in the truth. I know that to be true about you, and I'm happy to state it to you.

I'm happy to affirm you in that. Look at chapter 4, verse 4, where he says, you are from God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world. In chapter 5, verse 4, whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith.

Affirmation, after affirmation, after affirmation, in the context of overflowing affection. And these readers get this word from the one that they esteem. This one who has carries apostolic authority. This one who loves them, and he says, your sins are forgiven.

I know that you are in Christ. Blessed are the people who have a pastor like that. You see, a good pastor, a godly pastor, a biblical pastor, understands that he has a unique position to strengthen his flock. Not anything priestly, not anything sacerdotal, but the good pastor affirms his flock publicly in his preaching on anything and everything that he can, and he affirms them privately in his conversations. He thanks them.

He loves them. He affirms them. The Apostle Paul could say to Timothy, when Timothy was starting to shrink away from his calling, in 2 Timothy chapter 1, even as he was correcting Timothy, he said, I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. The congregation feeds off that affirmation, and is better able to stand firm for Christ in trials, temptations, and persecution. Oh, pastors. Oh, pastors. If you see your people walking with Christ, but yet they're stumbling or they're struggling, you know that they're in Christ, but they're having a hard time. Step into the gap and affirm them and love them and encourage them.

Be the vessel of God's mercy to them, and know that as you're doing so, you're just walking in a pattern that the Apostle John set for you 2,000 years ago. Finally, the pastor and his people, he expresses affection, he expresses affirmation. Finally, he expresses what I'll call aspiration. The Apostle John teaches us that spiritual leaders set forth spiritual goals before their people. They seek the spiritual good of their people.

The good pastor points out to them spiritual qualities to aspire after, which they might otherwise miss in the distractions of this hostile world. John does this as he sets forth the very purposes for which he wrote. Chapter 1 verse 4, he says, These things we write so that our joy may be made complete, our joy, yours and mine.

Joy. Chapter 2 verse 1, My little children, I'm writing these things to you so that you may not sin. Calls them to aspire after holiness.

Chapter 5 verse 13, These things I've written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, joy and holiness and assurance. Setting forth for them the aspirations of a godly heart, setting forth for them goals for them to strive after, spiritual gifts for them to enjoy. The good pastor, the godly pastor, is not at all satisfied to stand up and deliver what he thinks is a good message and be indifferent to how it is received by his audience. The good pastor preaches so that there would be a spiritual impact on his flock, that they would grow in joy, that they would grow in their sanctification, that they would grow into a more settled assurance of their own salvation. The good pastor is mindful that this moment in the pulpit is one that is passing and that times in life are going to come where spiritual metal is tested. He's going to be mindful that one day he's going to stand beside the deathbed of his flock, and he's going to want them to be manifesting confidence in Christ at that moment, a sense of joy and confidence that the next step is going to be crossing over into heaven.

And for them to enjoy that confidence even in the greatest moment of earthly distress. That's what he cares about. That's what he wants for his flock. He had an email from someone. He had to fly home.

His father was dying unexpectedly, and so he had to leave on Saturday before the conference even started. And he wrote, and his dad was a man who had been faithful in ministry and all of this, and he got home in time and he said, Don, his last words to us were, it is well with my soul. That's what a godly pastor wants. He's mindful of the big picture, and he wants his flock to walk in that kind of assurance and glorify Christ and know the benefits of walking with Christ in this. And he sets forth those goals, and he knows that to hold up a standard, knowing that the Holy Spirit will work in the hearts of his people and say, Yeah, that's what I want too.

I want to pursue that. And so he sets forth the aspiration of a godly life to his people. That's the pastor in the pulpit, pastor with his people. If you're a pastor, John really gives you a wonderful blueprint for biblical ministry, one that I come back to again and again and again. What about the rest of you, those of you that aren't per se in spiritual leadership? What does this mean for you, the pastor in the pulpit, the pastor with his people? Well, Paul's words in 1 Thessalonians seem to be a fitting conclusion for the rest of us, where he said, he said, We request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work.

Live in peace with one another. This is what ministry is supposed to look like. This is what the pastor does when he is in the pulpit and with his people.

As the pastor lives that way, you are seeing for yourself the things that God would have you incorporate in your own life as well. All of this simply a pale reflection of what the Lord Jesus Christ has already done for us on our behalf. So it's with gratitude to the Lord that we embrace this high calling.

Let's pray together. Father, thank you for the wonderful gift that you have given us in Christ, and thank you for your wisdom in establishing spiritual leadership in the church to model what this is supposed to look like for the rest of us. Thank you, Father, for those godly pastors in years gone by that have affected us, that have influenced us for Christ with their teaching and with their love, thinking even of the first pastor I knew as a new believer, Father, who loved me and embraced me as an outsider coming into his church. Thank you for that, Father, and thank you for these men that are here who embody this. Father, strengthen their hand in ministry.

Give them the grace and encouragement they need to live out these things. Thank you, Father, for the wonderful people of Grace Life who show such love and encouragement to their Bible study leaders and their pastors as well. Lord, we are a people richly blessed, and we realize that all of that is a blessing from your hand, and we thank you for it.

And now we ask you to give us grace that we might excel still more. And Father, if there would be one or two in this room who do not yet know Christ, Father, I pray that your Spirit would draw them to Christ to convict them of sin and lead them to faith in Christ that they, too, would join in this fellowship that we enjoy one with another. We love you, Lord, so very, very much, and it will be the culmination of all of our aspirations when we are with you in heaven around the throne, seeing you face to face. Oh, Father, the joys of this fellowship are simply the narthex to the greater blessings that still await us. We thank you for that and look forward with anticipation for the culmination of our salvation when we enter into that inheritance that you have reserved for us in heaven. How great a salvation you have given us. How great is your grace to each one of us. We humbly bow and thank you. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.

And with that, we come to the end of the series To Follow or To Flee. And we hope you've gained the insight you need to exercise discernment when you hear teaching and that you'll always test every such teaching against Scripture. Well, Don, this being the start of a new year, I guess I should ask you the obligatory New Year's resolution question.

Do you have one? I guess I really don't think in quite those terms, Bill. Friend, the turning of the calendar makes me think more in terms of the brevity of life rather than how I can make this next year somehow a little bit better. This life is passing away, and one day soon, I'll be with my Savior face to face.

He'll make me perfect at that time in a way that my weak resolutions at New Year's could never do. I encourage you to fix your eyes on Christ, for Christ alone is the author and the perfecter of your faith. God bless you. Well, friend, please visit any time of year. There you can find free downloads of the messages you hear on these broadcasts. That's And now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright. See you again next time when Don teaches God's people God's Word from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-06 08:01:50 / 2023-01-06 08:11:25 / 10

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime