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October 16, 2020 4:00 am
For pastors who serve the local church.
What is the primary goal of leadership is to teach the Bible lead worship today on Truth for Life. Alastair begged finds the answer in the apostle Paul's letter to the Colossians using a phrase from Paul's instruction.
Alister is titled this message presenting everyone mature in Christ. He begins in Colossians chapter 1 while our text is simply versus 28 and 29 him we proclaim the warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
I wonder have you been part of a conference related to pastoral ministry which you attended with great anticipation. But when you left you left feeling despondent. I hope your answer to that is no and certainly not one of the basics conferences to which have already come, but it happened to me it doesn't happen to me a lot but it did happen to me about 14 or 15 months ago so you know that it wasn't basics last year, which was 12 months ago. The context was straightforward and I was part of a panel of ministers and in the Q&A session of that particular evening. The questions turn very specifically to the issue of discipleship. What is a disciple. What is it mean to make a disciple and so on. And the way in which the question was addressed, or rather the way in which it was responded to by my colleagues left me with a really empty feeling left me with the feeling that if I were to go by the definitions that were given in the context of these answers. If I were to accept that then I would have to conclude sadly but realistically, humbly, that I had been missing the point. For the last 36 years, so I left despondent.
I left thinking to myself I have to think this issue on if what was being said there was accurate in knowing that there was anything bad but I'm suggesting wrong at all and just saying that it didn't intersect with my own heart and mind and think the difficulty as I reflected on it afterwards. Lay in and influence which ran through the discussion and the inference I would suggest was this, there was the idea that it was one thing to be a Christian and it was another thing to be a disciple. In other words, the inference was that discipleship was a kind of upper tier a kind of stage II die mention of Christian pilgrimage as I thought about it the Ananias, I've thought about it now. In preparation for this conference to which we've given loosely. This notion of the pastor is a disciple made a number of things occurred to me at first of all, that in the acts of the apostles. We discover that the disciples became known as Christians and not the other way around. It was the disciples that became known as Christians and other Christians that began to be called disciples the disciple band began as disciples.
They were the disciples of Jesus. They were the followers of Jesus. The other thing that struck me was that the known discipleship never actually occurs in the Bible at all, and that the vera matter to to make a disciple occurs in the framework essentially of a process, a process that involves conversion baptism teaching and development along the line of sanctification.
So as I thought about it. I came to the conclusion that in the New Testament. Everyone converted to Jesus was a disciple so I decided that it can be an upper tier.
It isn't a second stage and the danger is that when that becomes a prevalent kind of teaching. As with other kinds of second stage upper tier teaching on the Christian life.
It almost inevitably divines people from one another in the New Testament. Everyone converted to Jesus was a disciple setting out on the long obedience in the same direction and that long obedience in following Jesus is not 100 m dash, but it is actually as we discover in our lives and in reading the Bible across country run that lasts for a lifetime. And so it is within that framework that I want to set the scene is where I hope in a way that will not be countermanded by my colleagues afterwards. Otherwise, I shall leave despondent all over again and it will be from this conference. I recognize in light of what I'm about to say that the New Testament describes a number of ways in which this process takes place between fathers and their children between older women and younger women between the one.
Another die mentions of the Christian life example even here in Colossians 3. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you admonish and as you teach one another so we recognize that the congregation is involved where all involved. If you like. In this process, but our focus is not there are focuses on the role of the pastor and so is for that reason that I chose rather than wandering around to try and anchor our thinking here in these well-known versus but I suggest to you important verses in trying to understand this years ago we took is also the theme for our congregation, rightly or wrongly, that our purpose is as a church would be to see unbelieving people becoming the committed followers of Jesus.
In other words, to see people converted becoming disciples of Jesus and in setting that out. We concluded that we dare not miss the place of the pool. In achieving that goal and essentially what I want to say to us today.
I want to encourage you today immediately to realize that in Christ under Christ in pastoral ministry.
We have been given the strategic place in seeing men and women under the ministry of the word of God growing to maturity in Murray when he writes concerning Lloyd Jones and concerning some of the fundamental convictions of Lloyd Jones. He reminds us all of how Lloyd Jones used to say with great forcefulness. The health of the church depends on the health of the pulpit. Now if you believe that then it will channel your thinking in this way now were not apostles.
We both know we all know that were not apostles.
Like Paul, we have not been set apart in the way that he was set apart to apostleship.
But we do exercise and apostolic ministry in the sense that we obey apostolic precepts and we follow apostolic patterns and so the deep-seated conviction whereby Paul is able to say I was made a minister of this I was entrusted with this responsibility while not to be entrusted with apostleship. Nevertheless, where entrusted with pastoral responsibilities. In light of all of that. I want to address three straightforward questions asking then first of all, what do we do what we do and the answer is right in front of us in the opening part of the verse him. We proclaim him we proclaim we proclaim Jesus know clearly what Paul is doing here is distinguishing between what he and apart for us and Timothy were doing in in comparison to some of these pseudo-teachers who were mulling around in this Colossian context. They had all kinds of ideas they were purveyors of hollow and deceptive philosophy. They were full of concepts and that various constructs that they offered to the people suggesting to them the way of fullness and so on. And of course Paul is very carefully explained that in Jesus all the fullness of God is dwell in bodily form and you are then complete in him, and your identity in Christ is secure and so unlike these characters he and his colleagues are proclaiming Jesus for if your Bible is open a new look on verse three it is in Jesus that there is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge. So what we do we proclaim Christ say what we came all this way here just to be reminded of that. Yes, there's a reason why it's called basics is sound so commonplace doesn't is just so straightforward. In fight it is so straightforward that we may feel to take proper notice of we proclaim Christ. Let's move on, no, hold on a minute. Check with your wife if you been proclaiming Christ. Check with your notes. If you have been proclaiming Christ as playing golf the other day trying to I should say are playing at golf and as we got ready to to tee off.
I heard a fellow say to the starter are there for TDs or five TDs on each whole two is the starter replied whale. Let me put it like this. As soon as he said that I said I don't want to hear from this character. What you mean. Let me put it like this.
It was a straightforward question, are there for TDs, or their five teeth, how else are you planning on putting it better be careful of the person is says we proclaim Christ. Well let me put it like this. This is how we put it plainly now. In seeking to do this, we have to ensure that all of our teaching of the Bible presents the person of Christ presents the person of Christ not unimagined Christ but the Christ of Scripture, the Christ here of versus 15 to 20, the preeminent Christ the Lord of glory, the Christ of first Corinthians 15, the Christ, who has been crucified and buried. And who is risen, who is the ascended Lord of glory, the Christ, that Peter preaches in acts chapter 4 the one in whom is salvation and as a result, there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name. There is only one qualified to save, namely Jesus. We proclaim this Jesus is not always easy as it turned out I is another story about golf and just as he I'm still in my mind, but I paired up with another couple of fellows so they were both called Chris which was good because I'd have different difficultly was named so I had both of their names immediately was terrific and that was big Chris and little Chris.
That's how I remember them one point big Chris said to me, and also what it what would you do, I said, well, I'm a minister.
He said what kind of a minister. I said not a very good one. He said I said my wife told me that, but I said that we set our your Protestant. I said yes on the progress.
The Salina Catholic.
I said okay that's fine. He said you know I was a good Catholic for a while and then I went off to university and I decided that I was troubled by things I was troubled by the thought that that we might be right in other people might be wrong and he said, but I went to a Dominican priest in the Dominican priest told me he said no you're not right and everybody's wrong, everybody's right and and Chris number one said to me, and he said I and I felt so much better about that yesterday. It just felt so good and is not pregnant pause and I have to decide my going in now or not and I going to proclaim him or my going to say let's keep going. The people behind us or catching us so I went in and I suggested to him that we do not have that option open to us and sore and our conversation, tailed off pretty quickly if I had simply said yes is another wonderful thing and we can all identify with those aspirations, and sore but no weekend know because you see, to proclaim him to proclaim Jesus to back up into verse 25 is to make the word of God fully known, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you to do what to make the word of God fully known, it is impossible for us to see the people of God becoming fully mature without eyes making the word of God fully known. And it's important for us to reinforce these things, especially in an opening session like this that right teaching the Bible always leads us to Jesus a correct teaching of the Bible will cause us always to show the other truths of the Bible in relationship to the saving truth in Jesus and part of our skill in counseling.
What are our friends and our loved ones is to be able to take them from where they are and show them through the Scriptures what it means to be in Christ united to him and how all the dimensions of their Christian pilgrimage are ultimately tied to his saving were our people will not know Christ better without knowing the Scriptures better and it is for that reason that many of us have committed for a long time to make expository preaching of the Bible, the staple diet of our congregation to say that we will try by the enabling the spirit of God to allow the word of God to be set for that. We will try and do it systematically within limits. We will do it consecutively were trying allow the text to order our sermons and guide our application and we will do it. Hopefully with a humble heart. Note just to stick with this phrase for a moment him we proclaim him we proclaim when that is actually our focus.
It will serve as a safeguard against at least a couple of things. One will serve as a safeguard against preaching ourselves, preaching ourselves for many of us is far too much of the first person in our talks. I wanted you. Others will come in threes by Albert Barnes where he has a purple passage. I will read it all is too long, but he he waxes eloquent on the whole idea of preaching ourselves. Ministers may be said to preach themselves in the following ways when their preaching as a primary reference to the advancement of their own reputation.
So when we preach and the thought in our mind is do they like or do the realize how erudite I am, or whatever might be when we aiming at exalting any notion of our own authority are of our own influence, or when we proclaim our own opinions rather than Christ or when we put ourselves forward and speak too much of ourselves in. In one word really. We preach ourselves when self is primary and the gospel is secondary to keep in mind that notion. I am here to proclaim the Lord Jesus is a safeguard against ourselves. It's also a safeguard against is getting involved in emphases that may cause unhelpfully distinctive because it appears we have particular axes to grind. Ian Ian Murray wonderfully helpful when he writes the preaching of Christ crucified to the unconverted requires the presentation of his person.
The cost of his substitution for sinners and the immensity of the divine love for sinners. It does not require explanations on the extent of the atonement.
On a lighter level and I saw a large man here with Friendship Baptist Church I thought what a nice name for a Baptist Church. Then I thought that's almost an oxymoron. In some places and then I can fight confess that as within the next 10 yards. I did is I mean, I jokingly say here that you know we've we've long given up that song. I'm so glad you're part of the family of God. I will read as saying now.
I'm surprised that you're part of the fun I was about to mention a Baptist things so that's what came to mind.
So I don't lighter level. You remember the story of G.
Campbell Morgan from Westminster Chapel.
He he he used to tell the story of a Baptist preacher who had a fixation with baptism and he referred to it constantly and so one morning he announced his text Genesis 39 Adam where are you. Then he said we shall follow three lines number one where Adam was number two how he was to be saved from where he was and thirdly and finally, a few words about baptism.
There is so commonplace is so straightforward we might miss him. We proclaim may suggest to us that the best reputation we can have is a faithfulness to Scripture rather than even to a doctrinal position. The best reputation we can have his faithfulness to Scripture rather than even to a doctrinal position. Remember Spurgeon's opening sermon. The Metropolitan Tabernacle when he had followed the immense ministry of Gil who was known for his theological erudition and, as Spurgeon stood to address his congregation for the first time. Remember, the essence of his quote was this if I am asked what is my creed. I reply it is Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Christ your listing to Truth for Life. Today's message from Alistair Begg is found in Colossians chapter 1 verses 28 and 29. Alastair has titled the message presenting everyone mature in Christ.
You heard Alastair mentioned some of the great pioneers of our faith. People like Martin Lloyd Jones G.
Campbell Morgan, Charles Spurgeon, these pastors insisted on keeping Christ at the center of their preaching. They avoided the temptation to let their personalities get in the way. In a similar manner.
The Puritans paved the way for pastors and church leaders in our generation to do the same thing.
It's the reason Alastair often quotes from their writings and talks about their insistence on giving God glory.
The story of the Puritans is told in a magnificent new documentary that we would love to send you it's called Puritan all life to the glory of God is actually on two DVDs.
One contains the main documentary and then there is a special features disc. There is even a link provided within the DVD packaging.
In the event you prefer to stream the documentary online. The apostle Paul tells us that we should do everything to the glory of God, and you could argue that no group of Christians took that command more seriously than the Puritans.
This documentary includes stunning cinematography, captivating conversations with pastors and scholars. It will help you understand the Puritans who they were, what they believed and how their legacy continues to this day ask for your copy of the DVD set called Puritan when you give a donation today to support the ministry of Truth for Life. Call 888-588-7884 or visit us online at Truth for Life.work if you'd like to write to us to request your copy of the DVD and to send your donation right to Truth for Life at PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139.
Over the weekend.
Keep in mind you're invited to complement the teaching you receive at your local church by watching Alastair teach the Bible from the pulpit at Parkside church whenever the services streamed live to check Alistair's teaching schedule for this Sunday go to Truth for Life.org/live on Bob Lapine for Alistair Begg and all of us a Truth for Life.
Hope you have a refreshing and relaxing weekend and hope you can join us again Monday as we continue the pastors study experience. Today's program was furnished by Truth for Life.
Learning is for Living