26 April 2009

What is The True Biblical Role of the Pastor?

First! In order to be a true preacher of the word, you must be ordained by God. You must be sure that your calling to the pastoral ministry is of God, because it is a ‘high calling’. In order to preach effectively, we must be faithful to the calling that God has given us. We must preach the Gospel. references for this study (1 Tim 3; Eph 4:12; James 3:1; Col 1:25; 1 Cor 12:8-10, 28-30; Gal 1;15-16; Heb 4;12; Rom 1;16; Acts 1:8; Rom 10:14-17; Acts 2; 1 Thess 1:5-8, 4:1-7; 1Cor 1;17-31; Acts 4:31, 6;3-4; Isaiah 55:11; Ps 119; Joshua 1:7; Ezra 7:11; Acts 5:17-32; Matt 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 1 Peter 1;15-16; Acts 13:1-4, 14:23;Prov 4:23; John 15:8, 17;17).

1. We are to teach the Bible expositorily. Be careful to preach Christ, and not ourselves or our own agenda. We must be committed to preaching the whole counsel of God’s revelation and not just selected ‘comfortable’ passages. We must be willing to proclaim the truth of God’s Word, even when it is not popular, or in fashion to do so. The main purpose of expository preaching is to warn and teach. The church should have a passion to reach the lost, and core members can help with ways to draw new people under the sound teaching of the gospel. The preacher must have a passion for evangelism and reaching the lost. A sound faith must be a saving faith - grounded in the death and resurrection of Christ.
2. We are to avoid preaching our own agenda or our own ideas and opinions. Our sermons are to be done through the leading of the Holy Spirit, and not just by a man’s own strength and wisdom.
- How important is the Word to my own soul?
- Is my heart right with the Lord?
- Am I proclaiming God’s wonderful truth, or am I preaching my own wisdom?
- Am I considering the importance of holy living?
- Are my actions intending to display God’s Glory?
3. We are not to compromise biblical principles for the world around us. We must not just be content to preach only to the saints, but we must also have a burden to reach the outside world that is going to hell. We must be willing to serve.
- Do I meet the requirements?
- Is my heart prepared to preach?
- Do I believe that this is my calling?
- Do I desire to preach the Gospel?
- Do I have a burden for the lost souls?
4. We must preach the whole counsel of God. We must meditate on the Scriptures daily in our own personal study. We need to continue to learn all that we can about each passage. We must pray over every area that we study. We must demonstrate complete obedience to the Word of God. Without reading our Bible, we will be vulnerable to falling. Without studying the Word, it is impossible to preach God’s holy Word. Without obedience to the Bible, we are unfit to perform our pastoral duties.
- Do I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God?
- Do I study and meditate on the Word of God? Do I pray without ceasing?
- Am I standing firm in the word of Truth?
- Am I spending time alone with God? Is the Bible my highest treasure?
5. We must ensure that we are in proper fellowship with the Lord through the leading of the Holy Spirit. We have the liberty to preach with the leading of the Holy Spirit. We must respond to, and obey the leading of the Holy Spirit. We must remember that legalism has no place in the church of Jesus Christ. We must be careful not to fall out of fellowship and succumb to the desires of the flesh. We must not manipulate our ministry or make it weak by watering down the seriousness of sin and the importance of the Gospel.
- Am I living in the Spirit?
- Do I fall to legalism?
- Do I live for the flesh or in the Spirit?
- How can I know the fruit of the Spirit in my life?
- Do I follow Biblical mandates?
- Is He Lord of my life?
6. We must live holy and acceptable lives in the eyes of the Lord. We need to ensure that we are preaching with godliness and reverence toward a Holy God. We must walk in the light. We must have a pure heart and pure motives in order to grow the flock to maturity in Christ. We must be faithful to the gospel of Christ. We must be careful not to fall to teaching false doctrines or half-truths. We cannot mislead the flock of God, and we must be diligent in our work. We must be interested in the people of God.
- Do I desire the lusts of the world?
- Do I want to fulfill self or obey God?
- Do I know what it means to ‘take up my cross’?
- What must I do to stay in the Light?
7. We must endure to the end. We must live disciplined and obedient lives. We must depend solely on the Spirit for our strength and guidance. We must be prepared to work hard because we are servants of the Lord. We must ensure we live a biblically moral life. Without prayer and study, expository preaching will become laziness. Moral breakdown will lead to pain and heartaches. We must ensure we are not wasting our time.
- Do I live an obedient life?
- Do I devote proper time for my family?
- Am I making proper use of my time?
- Do I preach with commitment to the scriptures?
8. We must make sure of the facts of the passage and the truth of God. We must always look for the main theme of the passage. Scripture is the authority over everything - we must use proper hermeneutics. We must use the scriptures to explain Jesus Christ.We must concentrate on using proper resources for research, and not waste our time on useless or inaccurate information. Without quality time, we are not guarding our sermon preparation. We must not waste our time on unfruitful pursuits.
- Am I prepared before I go to the pulpit?
- Do I bring the passage alive (historically, grammatically) to the congregation?
- Am I letting the Word of God speak through me after proper study and preparation?
9. We are to proclaim God’s wonderful truths. We must preach the dominating theme of the passage and not get ‘sidetracked’. In order to preach a message, we must rely solely on the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts in what the main theme and sub-themes are saying. We must not avoid the harder, more detailed areas of scripture, and yet we must still try not to complicate the main theme. We should limit the number of main points and sub-points in our sermon.
- Am I preaching all scripture, even the difficult areas?
- Am I being clear with my points and not getting lost in the details?
- Is my sermon focused on the main theme of the passage?
10. We should pray about our preaching and ask others to do the same for us. Prayer is vital to strengthening our preaching. The preacher should preach with a passion which comes from the conviction of the Lord. The different spiritual gifts of each preacher will have an affect on how a sermon is creatively but uncompromisingly delivered. Questions directed to the congregation can be of great help in communicating the application of Truth. We must be careful that the passion we preach with is not merely human emotion or a ‘style’ of preaching. The preacher should not allow routine and patterns of ministry to steal from the uniqueness of the message. We must be careful to speak properly and clearly even when we get passionate in our delivery. Some movements and mannerisms are distracting to the congregation and do not enhance the communication of the truth and therefore should be avoided.
- Is my own spiritual growth evident in my sermons?
- Am I communicating my points effectively?
- Is my body language and tone of voice appropriate for the subject of the sermon?
- Am I speaking loudly and clearly enough for all to hear and understand?
11. We must examine the spiritual level of our congregation and know if they have the ability to understand the message we are delivering. Spiritual understanding can only begin when there has been a spiritual birth. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to bring illumination to our congregation and reveal the truth in Christ. It is the pastor’s job to interpret the Bible for those who have been born spiritually. We must not fall to the popular trend today and concentrate our preaching on those who have not been born again. Spiritual things cannot be understood by those who have not been spiritually regenerated. We should not be just going through the routines and rituals and lacking passion in our preaching. No unregenerate person has the right to criticize or judge a believer regarding his personal faith in Christ.
- Are my messages geared to the spiritual understanding of my congregation?
- Are my messages designed to aid spiritual growth?
- Am I catering to the ‘felt needs’ of the unregenerate in my church?
12. We must be teaching doctrine in our churches to show them how to live their lives and keep the faith. We must concentrate our preaching on receiving Christ, obedience to Christ and dependence on Christ. We must ensure that people understand that Christ needs to be sovereign in their lives. We must not allow our congregation to think that they can live the Christian life in their own strength by imitating the Christ of history. The people will not be able to live the Christian life unless they understand that they must be saved from sin. We must always be aware of any who would lead astray those who are not taught the doctrines of Scripture. Some may use persuasive words, traditions of men or principles of the world to lead people away.
- Are my messages Christ centered?
- Have I communicated the importance of Christ being sovereign in life?
- Is my teaching helping the congregation to become more discerning?
- Am I protecting the flock from dangerous heresy that may be circulating?
13. We must remember to display proper motives in our ministry. We must look at the eternal implications, and not concentrate on the temporary earthly results. Any weakness we may have in ministry will be provided for through the strength of the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Holy Spirit will give us the courage to persevere even in the difficult times of ministry. It must be the love of Christ which motivates us and compels us to keep moving forward. We must avoid getting caught up in the material motivations for ministry. If we live a life in our own fleshly energy, our work will be futile and of no eternal value. If we do not depend on the Holy Spirit to lead, our motivations are fleshly and our efforts will be rejected by God.
- Is my ministry led by the Holy Spirit or through my own desires?
- Am I allowing material benefits cloud my judgement in ministry?
- Am I relying on the Holy Spirit to give me the motivation and energy for ministry?
The preaching ministry is a sacrificial service and requires an obedient life. The preacher must present divine grace to the people through proclaiming the gospel and exhorting them to obedience. The preacher’s life must be totally dedicated to God. We must continually be renewing our minds through separation from the world and Christ-likeness. We must be careful that we do not begin to be prideful in our success in ministry. We must not allow the mundane duties of ministry to take precedence over our personal study and relationship with Christ.
- Am I living a sacrificial life?
- Am I proclaiming the gospel and exhorting the people to obedience?
- Am I living a life of separation from the world and centeredness on Christ?
- Do I neglect to spend time in personal prayer, devotion and study?

Can you say Yes or No to these questions? Won’t you please pray for your pastors!

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