Phil Colgan from St George North Anglican Church reminds us of the noble call of the pastor from Acts 20:17-38. Especially the importance of “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
Pastors need to keep in mind ministry is done:
1. In humility
2. With tears
3. Through trials
4. With the priority of the word
5. Guarding yourself
6. Guarding the Flock
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And you have clicked on the Reach Australia podcast, reach Australia. We want to see thousands of healthy, evangelistic and multiplying churches. Today we’ve got another talk from our national conference. Phil Colgan is going to take us through Chapter 20 as Paul commissions the efficient elders and he reminds us of the noble calling of being an elder and being a pastor.
If you’re a pastor, I hope this encourages you. If you’re not a pastor, I hope that this will help you to encourage your pastor. Enjoy.
Tonight, we’re going to be reading from Acts chapter , verse now from my ladies. He sent to emphasis and summoned the elders of the church when they came to him, he said to them, You know, from the first day I set foot in Asia how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility, with tears during trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews, you know that I did not avoid proclaiming to you anything that was profitable or from teaching you publicly and from the house to house.
I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus. And now I’m on my way to Jerusalem, compelled by the Spirit not knowing what I will encounter there. Except that in every tad, the Holy Spirit wants me that chains and afflictions are waiting for me. But I can sit in my life of no value to myself.
My purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I receive from the Lord Jesus to testify to the Gospel of God’s grace. And now I know that none of you, among whom I went about preaching the Kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, because I did not avoid declaring to you the whole plan of God be on your God for yourselves and shepherd the Church of God, which He purchased with his own blood.
I know that after my departure, Savage wolves will come in among you. Not sparing the flock. Man will rise up even from your own number and distort the truth to lure the disciples into following them. Therefore, be on alert. Remembering that night and day for three years, I never stopped wanting each one of you with tears. And now I commit to you, commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance.
All who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that I’ve worked with my own hands to support myself and those who are with me in every way. I’ve shown you that is necessary to help the weak by laboring like this and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus. Because he said it is more blessed to give than to receive.
After he said this, he knelt down and pray with all of them. There were many tears shed by everyone. They embraced Pole and kissed him, grieving most of all over his statement that they would never see his face again. And they compared him to the ship clerk.
And everyone say it’s very nice to be up here alone tonight and like this afternoon. But it’s been a very full week. It’s been lots of input. So I’m going to pray for us in our tiredness that God might help us be encouraged tonight. So let’s pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you for this week. We thank you for all the input we’ve received, but we pray tonight that you will help us to be reminded of what a noble task it is to be a shepherd of your people.
When we practice in Jesus name, Amen on it. Do you remember when you first decided you wanted to become a pastor? No, I’m conscious. Not everyone here is a pastor or an overseer, but I hope you’ll be able to translate that into your situation and your circumstances. I first decided to become a pastor when I was years old, and I became a Christian when I was years old, and basically they happened on the same day.
I’m a very strange human being, but for me there was just this inexorable logic. I was studying law at university when I was seven. I went to my father and he said, What are you gonna do when you grow up? And I said, I think I want to be a schoolteacher. And he said, Schoolteachers don’t make any money.
Lawyers make money. And from that time I wanted to be a lawyer. So and so I was studying law for the to noble reasons of I got a good enough mark to get in and to make lots of money. I had no desires to, you know, free the slaves or, you know, it was it was just driven by the world.
That’s why I was studying law. And then I became a Christian. And it changed everything for me. Having put my trust in Jesus, I thought, well, of course I should be a pastor then, because everyone needs to know the good news of the gospel. Everyone needs to know that Jesus is our Lord, that He died our sins, that He rose again.
And, you know, here I’m studying law. I’m supposedly reasonably intelligent. I know I’m good at arguing. So surely this is what I’m meant to do with my life. It wasn’t that other people affirmed me in this conviction. It was just my own logic. Now, praise God that in his voice, other Christians encouraged me to realize I had a lot of growing up to do before it was appropriate for me to be set aside As a pastor and overseer of God’s people.
I dread to think the damage the year old me could have done. There were very many prevailing sins in my life. Not least I needed to learn some humility, which I still do. But I am very thankful for that longer path I then took. But at the same time I look back and there was something true and there was something noble about that cold, hard logic of my year old self, Paul tells us in one Timothy three, verse one If you aspire to be an overseer, you desire a noble work It is a noble desire to be a pastor and an overseer of God’s people, even if mine needed to be tempered somewhat
at that age. I want to say to you tonight, don’t ever lose sight of that fact. Ours is a noble task. But now I have been a pastor for years by God’s blessing in one church, and I am still convicted that to be a pastor is the greatest privilege of my life. And we hear a lot about the costs.
But I just think there are incredible joys of being a pastor. Now I know my job before I went to ministry was working in corporate taxation, so I don’t have lot to compare it to. But but it’s even so, I am convicted. I would not swap what I do for anything. There are so many privileges, so many joys.
But even so, I have come to see that this is at the same time the hardest task in the world. Enough people this week have listed out the struggles. I don’t need to add my list to the other lists we’ve heard in other talks, but for me more than anything, the real burden of the work is its eternal importance.
We are dealing in matters of heaven and hell for real people. And I’ve got to say, sometimes when those discouragement happen, I doubt what I’m doing. And they are The days I go home to Victoria and I say, I want to become a bus driver. I don’t know why I think a bus driver is the job for me, because when I think about the bus driver, it’s actually probably pretty stressful.
You have hundreds of people’s lives in your hands, but much My point is I just want a job. I just want a job. I want one where I go and do it. I get paid and then I go and play golf. And even the Apostle Paul, I think, felt the eternal burden. In two Corinthians two, he’s been talking about how his ministry, he says, When we preach the gospel, we are the aroma of life to some, but we are the stench of death to others.
And then he says two Corinthians , he says, And who is equal to such a task? Who is who is competent to do this? Who seriously is equal to a ministry that saves some and condemns others to hell? I am not. And I want to say to you, if you don’t ask yourself that question sometimes, then get out Now.
If you don’t feel inadequate for the task, we have been set aside to do, you don’t understand what you are doing. But that’s what we need to remind ourselves of why this task is so noble, why this task is such a wonderful privilege. So my job tonight is to reflect on the noble task of being a pastor. That’s what it is.
And the noble task of being an overseer of the Church of God knows it. Done. I just want to clarify the language I’m using because whatever your system of church order and I’m not going to descend to that level of others and tell jokes about your structure and all that sort of thing, I think it’s pretty clear in the New Testament that the words elder and overseer and pastor they are referring to the same person when when they’re used in the New Testament, in our different systems, we come up with different positions and that’s fine.
We separate Elder out from overseer or bishop in my structure, but the Bible seems to use them more interchangeably than that. But I think those three words, those titles we’re given actually all point us to the nobility of our task. They capture something of the title elder. It’s probably the least helpful in terms of defining our role, but it does capture that sense of nobility.
It comes from family life, it comes from from village life where age and maturity meant you were given responsibility. To be an elder is to be held in high regard. It goes with what it is. The the word pastor, of course, means it means shepherd. And a shepherd’s job was to lead the flock to pastures. It was to feed them.
It was to heal them. It was to protect them. Sometimes discipline, but ultimately keep them alive and lead them to where they needed to go. That’s why I think it is such a rich, such a poignant image at the end of John’s gospel when when Jesus restores Peter and he says to him, Feed my shepherd, my sheep, you seal the poignancy of it.
You feel the nobility of it. The word overseer means what it says. It’s a position of responsibility, responsibility for the oversight of God’s people. But my point is the words God gives our office are actually important. They show us something of the task, but also its nobility. But in the end, the words only give you so much to grasp the content of what we are to be.
We need to see how the New Testament uses those words. And that’s why I want us to spend some time next tonight. There’s so much content in this week. I sort of wanted to go to a meat and potatoes passage tonight. So that’s what we’re doing. Come with me to x . I know it should be familiar to an old soul, but turn it up.
You know the passage. You know the context here is Paul heading on his way to Jerusalem. He thinks he will never see them again. He is on his way to his death. So he calls in the elders from this church that he has invested so much of himself into, and he calls them to come and meet in my letter so he can give them one last reminder of their role, one last explanation of their noble task.
Now, in a few minutes, I’m going to go through and pick out some of the specific here. But I really want to draw out one major point from what I think is the key verse, verse . And so this is the point. It’s up on screen, I think. And if you take nothing else from tonight, take this. The nobility of our task flows from the preciousness of God’s people, the nobility of our task flows from the preciousness of God’s people.
And because of that, the nature of our role must be defined by. God’s plan for his flock. So don’t understand why our task is so important. You need to understand. You need to remember how God views his church, and then you need to understand God’s end goal for His church. You need to understand how precious this thing the church is to our Lord.
Then you need to understand how God works to bring about the goal for His church. And I think that’s the principle in verse . So come with me. The first take the key verse, think in x , and it says Beyond God for yourselves and for all the flock that the Holy Spirit is appointed, you too is overseas too.
Shepherd Some translations have care for them, which is unhelpful. The word is shepherd. It’s pastor and elder together to shepherd the Church of God, which he purchased with his own blood. When you are appointed as an overseer or a shepherd, you are appointed to ship in a very, very specific flock. It is the Church of God. It is the gathered people of God, and it is so precious to him.
He purchased it with his own blood. That is what makes this such a noble task because there is nothing so precious to God as the people he redeemed by the blood of his son. So I want to say to you, if you are ever tempted to doubt if it is all worth it, if you are feeling disillusioned with the sheep that God has appointed you to oversee, I mean, running a church to be so much easier without the people.
But if you are doubting the value of what you do, remind yourself this congregation here, the God has appointed me to oversee this is the Church of God, which he purchased with his own blood. Richard Baxter in the Reform Pastor. Baxter really based everything on . Listen to what he said. I think it’s on the screen for when he when you are doubting the nobility of your task.
He said, Oh, then let us hear these arguments of Christ whenever we feel ourselves grow dull and careless. Did I die for them and will not now look after them? Were they worth my blood? And are they not worth thy labor? I debased myself to this, but is thy honor to be so employed? It is our honor to be so employed.
When you doubt the nobility of your task, remind yourself of the preciousness of God’s people, but also the fact the church we pastors, God’s church also defines what we are to do and who we are to be as pastors and overseas. So so as overseers of God’s flock, we don’t get to see the fundamental direction of our church.
Our job is to shepherd his flock. Our job to feed them with the food that he wants them to eat, to lead them to the pastures he wants them to reach to, to protect them from the enemies that he defines for us. So whenever the Scriptures talk about God’s plans for his people, whenever the Scriptures talk about God’s plans for his church, they telling you your job as a pastor, as an overseer are they are defining our task.
God’s desire is that every one of these sheep would be presented perfect and mature in Christ. Well, there is your job to do whatever you can to see every one of these sheep presented perfect or mature in Christ. God’s desires to see his bride presented perfect on that last day. Well, there is your job. That is what we work towards our task flows from the nature and the purpose and the end goal that God has for His church.
Our task flows from the fact that we are shepherding the Church of God which he purchased with his blood. And that is what makes our task so noble, really. That is the big encouragement I want you to take from tonight. But with that big picture in mind, I want to just now just sort of go through x and draw out a few of the insights we’re given into our task as pastors and how they all flow from the preciousness of God’s people.
So false starts come with the first . He starts with his example of his ministry. Among them, and from verse says, When they came to him, he said to them, You know, from the first day I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility, with tears and with the trials that come to me, came to me through the plots of the Jews.
Three things I’ll direct their first note the priority of humility. It was a really wonderful moment when when in those interviews before when Richard said that it’s God’s work, we must never forget that He’s very, very easy to grow pride in an overseer. Pride is my sin. Pride is the scene, I confess daily. Sometimes. This is why Jesus is so adamant.
We do not lead like the world leads lording it over others, leading for our own benefit. See? Because by definition we are over others. You are an overseer. So it’s very very easy to to think it is about your esteem and your pride. We are to serve rather than be serve. But it’s so easy to forget. That is amazing how in our scene we can take this noble task and turn it into a source of pride.
For me, the signs of pride are subtle for me it’s when I start comparing and it’s when I am not joyful. When I see other ministries succeeding. That tells me hang on. This pride going on here, this pride in my own church. It shows when my first reaction, when when something goes wrong is annoyance that people seem to be getting the way of my plans because they’re stopping my church growing.
And in fact, I have to catch my eye, catch myself. It’s not my church, it’s not my church. You see, my first reaction must be concern for the individual. But pride makes me think you’re getting in the way of of our plans. That’s the sign of pride in me. You might have other warning signs. Service with humility. Paul is the mark of the elder.
The overseer. Give me a humble, less gifted over a proud man any day. Second thing to know there see, there is with tears, Paul Pride over these people and he holds it out, I think is an example to us. It’s repeated then verse God in their sins, therefore be on the alert remembering that night and day for three years.
I not stop warning each one of you with tears. I am not a natural crier. I have a very flat emotional range. Ask people who know me well in my strong thinking this week. Other than ministry and family in my life, I have cried three times for those you want to work it out. It was late September, early October, in , and .
They are the three years the camera writers lost. The grandfather. This will only make sense to rugby league fans. If you want to upset me, just do this and say six again. The rugby league fans understand what I’m talking. I will cheer up.
I don’t know what the AFL equivalent is, but yeah. Anyway, now I am joking. I didn’t actually cry than , but I’ve actually become more of a crier in the last years and I don’t think it’s just aging. I don’t I don’t think it’s just hormones or something other. And, and one of these is because I am now a husband, a father and a pastor and love my wife and my children and my flock in a way that drives me to tears.
See, when someone walks away from the face, it cuts my soul. They’re not just leaving my fellowship. That is their eternity. And having been in one church for years, can I say when you see a child grow up and then you sit with their parents as their child rejects Jesus, it drives you to tears. That’s after the fact that as we teach, as we warn, as we exhort, need to communicate to people the serious reality of things.
And job humor is wonderful. But but if you are known as a stand up comic, a preacher, that there’s something wrong there. When we talk, we are talking about heaven and hell. We are. We are communicating. Eternity When we when we challenge a person not to walk into scene, they need to know how much we care about their eternity.
Broughton Knox. In his great book, The Everlasting God, he critiques the evangelical preaching of his day. And he was from the seventies and eighties. And one of his critiques was There is not enough tears in modern preaching. And his critique was because evangelicals had dropped the coming judgment from the gospel at that time. He says, You do not cry over your people if job is to help them live a better life.
But you cry when you understand you are dealing with people’s eternal destiny. One of the things people often draw out of is that pastoral ministry is intensely personal, and from that they jump to a conclusion that to be a pastor or oversee and you need to know everyone in your church intimately. Andrew Hood and Tony Payne’s Reach Australia paper from a couple of years ago on pastoring, I think deals with that question very, very well.
It points out it’s not actually what Scripture demands. It’s not possible as a church grows. So as pastors, we must delegate pastoral responsibility to others. We must oversee systems and structures to ensure that the whole fork is shepherded. And that is good and right. And I’ve had plenary sessions on it this week that have been wonderful. And you’ve gone to that have been amazing.
But we must not then become CEOs or managers or executives. We are responsible for these individual people who Jesus died for. Our job is to care for them through tears. So even if I don’t personally deal with every person at St George North, that’s not possible. It is my duty. I’ve promised to do it to ensure they are shepherded.
Well, my confession Time for me. As our church has grown, I think I have probably inhibited our growth. I’ve often been the blockage, too. Sometimes I’ve been too slow to see that I can’t be everyone’s personal pastor. I think sometimes that’s been tried, as I said before, too slow to see we need better systems, need better structures to help us.
That’s one of the reasons being involved in REACH has been a help and a joy has been so helpful. But at the same time, I feel there is something right about my slowness. It’s right to grieve those necessary changes a little, even as we make them, because in the end we are pastoring people and the systems and the structures are servants of that, not the other way round thing.
Just from those opening verses, we’re not getting far in the passage. Ali says he talks about through trials. I might and he talks about the reality of trials. I’m going to leave that be because Andrew, I think, dealt with that so well last night. But we need to be prepared for the trials and then remind ourselves every day why it is still worth it.
As Andrew said last night, if what we are doing matters for eternity, it’s worth a few temporary trials. But let’s move on. Next thing you cannot escape as you read this chapter is the centrality of preaching and teaching to our role. And that is because, again, it is God’s church. And so it is his word that his sheep need.
And so while that means that our task is more than preaching and teaching the word of God, it is never less than preaching and teaching the Word of God, preaching and teaching the word must be the very center of our task because it is by his word that God shapes and keeps and God’s and leads. His flock doesn’t just ooze out of Paul’s exhortations in chapter , look at verse .
So I did not shrink back from proclaiming to you anything that was profitable. Verse , he says, I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God. We pastor the flock fundamentally by teaching the word whatever you do, never assume that, never take that for granted. And that drives to that key verse of the passage verse , and the two key exhortations Paul makes on us as elders, pastors and overseas leaders.
Again, he says, be on guard be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock that the Holy Spirit has appointed you to as overseas. The key imperative that Paul gives these elders, as he calls them for his final address is guard the flock, be on guard. We live in a world that is antagonistic to the people of God.
We live in a world that does not want to help people persevere to the end. We live in a world of false hopes and false gospel, so our task is to be on guard. It’s funny, though. The sheep will often resist this picture of the shepherds role people have come to separate pastoring for from the Word of God there is teaching and then there is pastoral care.
You get that silly line. People say he’s a great teacher, but not much of a pastor or he’s he’s not much of a teacher, but he’s a great pastor. And then that that’s actually not possible. That’s why was so wonderful in the the session this afternoon here in the auditorium how how pastoral care was not separate from bringing the word of God to bear on people’s lives.
I recently read a book called The Shepherd’s Life by James Re Banks, and it’s not a Christian book, technically, the story of a modern shepherd in the north of England in the Lake District. It’s an incredible book on proselytizing for it to people, even though it’s not a Christian book. It’s just this wonderful thing where he is this guy who’s who has sort of stayed true to being a shepherd and having his little farm the north of England, even though they’re all industrial farms now.
But the thing the book talks about is his job as a shepherd, his job more anything else is helping the sheep survive the winter. That’s his job, helping the sheep survive the winter and he goes, It’s just this wonderful story of of how the whole summer is spent growing hay so that the sheep will survive the winter and as the weather changes, he talks about how he wakes up in the middle of the night when a when he feels the storm coming because he knows his sheep are up there on the high country in the snow is coming.
And he talks about his fear when when a dog gets into the paddocks and city people don’t understand how he just takes out a gun and shoots it. But he says, I’ve seen what a dog does to my sheep. It’s this amazing story about something way. At least I’m a city boy. I know nothing about it but about a world that’s nearly gone now.
It’s like he’s the last of his kind. A true modern shepherd. I’ve read it three times and I give it to him. But after I read it, though, I see I want to give this to people at church. I saw I couldn’t because he swears like a trooper, but it would help people see what we are meant to be as shepherds.
See, people often associate pasturing with general and affirming counseling. God associates it with guarding his sheep. It’s interesting that Paul is clear that before we dig out the sheep, we must guard ourselves. What hope are we of guarding the flock if we ourselves are lost? So I want to talk about guarding ourselves in one Timothy four. Paul says, Watch your life and doctrine closely.
Watch your doctrine. The pastor must never be smitten. I never stop being a student. We mustn’t begrudge time in the Scriptures just for the sake of spending time in the Scriptures You are paid to do your quiet times. It’s part of your job. Sometimes I get embarrassed when when people say, you know, someone rings me at one in the afternoon and they say, What have you been doing that I feel, What have you done this morning?
That’s I think back. I’ve read my Bible of Pride and I read a theological book and I’m embarrassed to share that. I, I say, oh, but I did make someone for you know, and I try and justify it. We shouldn’t justify is the most wonderful thing you can do. You are paid to spend time reading theology. I was so much better at that in the early years of ministry, but now the business of ministry too often crowds it out.
I need to make sure I’m not living off the fat of of of years gone by. That’s one of the reasons you’re here. I hope so. The readings you come on a conference like this, we need to be constantly growing in our knowledge of God. That’s why our hope for this Reach conferences is that it won’t just be about, you know, how to do this or how to do that at your church.
But it will push each of us into the scriptures that will push us in growing in our doctrine, in the knowledge of God, but not just your doctrine, God, your life says, What do we mean when we talk about guarding our life? Just a little thought bubble here. Some of those, I think when I talk about watching our life, I, I think I’ve become a bit like a Pharisee at points because we talk about, you know, putting covenant eyes on your computer and making sure avoid adultery and and so forth, avoid obvious sins that will bring down your ministry pornography scenes that when exposed, bring ministries crashing down.
And of course, we must do that. But if that is watching our life, that is very, very sad. I remember I was talking to a guy years ago who was having troubles in his marriage and he said to me, I’ve I know I’ve got to sort it out or it will undercut my ministry. And I wanted to grab him.
I wanted to shake him and say, now you got to sort it out because you promise to love your wife like Christ, love the church she got as a higher goal for you than just that. Your life won’t undercut your ministry. A pastor needs to be an example to the flock of someone constantly growing in godliness, constantly growing to be more like Christ, living out a godly life.
I recently reread SPURGEON Lectures to my students and the opening essay in that is the Minister’s Self Watch, and he focuses on what he calls the minutiae of our character. And this is what he says. He says, When we say to you, my dear brethren, take care of your life, we mean be careful of even the minutia of your character.
Avoid little deaths and punctuality, gossiping, nicknaming, petty quarrels, and all other of those little vices which fill the ointment with flies. I love that expression that fill the ointment before. I don’t even know what he means, but I get the point. He he goes on to say, though even in your recreations, remember that you are ministers to God, My life means to me a person whose life is genuinely consistent with the gospel I preach.
It means to be someone who is growing, to be more and more like Jesus. That is why we must not forget and neglect the basics of the Christian life. Read your Bible every day just for the sake of spending time with your Heavenly Father. Confess your sin every day. Seek encouragement and accountability from others. Do not forget the basics of the Christian life.
And of course, my final point for tonight, of course, guarding ourself is so that we might be fitting and able to guard the flock just for the way that I think this thing that often gets rushed over the next . Look at text again, second verse that oversees all pastors are appointed by the Holy Spirit. So it struck me as fresh or fresh for the first time.
I think as I prepared this, you might you might think you are in your role because of a vote at a member’s meeting or the whim of a bishop or or a prayerful decision you made. And any or all of those things might be true. But behind it all, the Holy Spirit is work in the appointment of oversees for his church.
I find that a great comfort. I find that a great comfort. It might be that there is a time to move on. It might be that there is a time where my life means I need to step aside. It might be there is a time to take a different role, but while you are there, you are appointed by God.
I put that out because I think it’s so encouraging. But back to his last point. How do we guard the flock? We’ve seen the two aspects. You see the two aspects of Paul’s example, these verses. Firstly, we feed the sheep by systematically teaching them the truth. We do it publicly, we do it privately. We are constantly pushing people towards repentance and faith.
That is the point Paul makes. We make sure that the people under our care hear the whole plan of God. A faithful pastor ensures that his people are systematically taught the full counsel of God. But then there’s the second prong, what Paul calls verse , warning through tears and the faithful pastor must do both. That is how you got the flock.
You grow hay in the summertime and you look out for the wolves, the faithful pastor must positively teach the truth, but also negatively refute the error. And now, of course, doing that second part has never been popular. People would like to think, Oh, it’s unpopular today. It was popular, it’s never been popular. But most people do not like conflict and most people do not like negativity.
And the people that do are very unhelpful. So, hey, godly Christians don’t like it when we’re negative, but teaching the positive is not enough. We are the ones tasked with looking out for error, with looking out for threats and then warning against it. Most of our flock haven’t had three or four years of a theological education. Like many of us, most of our flock are not set aside to to read the Scriptures and read theology for our job.
Our training was to equip us for this task. And I think this is actually never been harder, though, than now. You see, these are seasonal. This had a captive audience. There was no printing press, there was certainly no Internet back then. They could basically know everything their people were hearing in church when a new guy came to town.
They could work out what he was talking about. They could test his doctor. And this is so much harder today. We have no way of knowing all the rubbish that people are reading or listening to or watching, all of which claims to be biblical. Once in a while I have a scary conversation with. Different members of my church who I thought were mature Christians and then they tell me I should listen to this online and I think, Oh, go and listen.
Oh my, it it’s terrible. And the reality is you just can’t preemptively call out every wrong idea, every false teacher from your pulpit. You can’t run a course to to prepare people for every wrong idea. And it’s not just false teaching, Of course. It is the general shape of our people’s worldview by the world around them, through the unceasing input of TV and social media and all the other inputs that that people are giving hours a day, seven days a week.
I’m not saying the efficient elders had it easy, but but there has never been a harder time, I think, to guard the minds of, God’s flock from the time we are pastoring it. So yes, you have to call out falsehood, but more than anything, we need to teach people in such a way that prepares them to be able to discern the truth.
Another thought bubble. I think this means that more than ever, our preaching and our teaching has to focus on reshaping our people’s doctrine at all times and reshaping our people’s worldviews. We need to at establishing and dismantling and reestablishing the scaffolding of people’s minds. We need a return to catechism. I think we need to categorize people in a way that works in our modern culture.
Our preaching has to not just explain the Bible passage. So that must be fundamental. We have to then help people dismantle the false worldviews, the false ideas, wrong doctrines they’ve been imbibing or or creating themselves, and then rebuild it in line with God’s Word. In the light of the Scriptures on the screen. We’ll come up to Corinthians chapter ten, verses to .
In verse four, Paul says about his ministry. He says, We demolish arguments and every high minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ. That is how Paul understood what he was doing. When we preach the Word of God, we are wielding God’s powerful weapon, the Sword of the Spirit.
Our job is to use it to destroy the strongholds in people’s minds. Our task is to use God’s Word to demolish the arguments of both the world and the wolves of whatever our people are flirting with. It’s our job to then use it to help our people build such a strong scaffolding of truth that they can see the lies when they come.
Now, some are more gifted at that than others. There are people on this platform also sees Rory. This Morning. You know who amazed me in the way they do this? But don’t leave it up to them. This is the task for every pastor and overseer to do in the flock, which the Holy Spirit has appointed you to oversee is so much more concerning.
I’m conscious of time, but understand what it is to be a shepherd. God, your flock. Back to where I started and what I want you to walk away from tonight. I want. I want you to walk away encouraged and reminded. There is no more noble task than to be a shepherd of God’s flock. There is nothing harder, but there is nothing more noble.
Do not ever forget it. And so who is up for such a noble task? No one in their own strength. Which is why we trust in God to work through our humble efforts. Which is why Paul finishes his address by praying for these efficient elders. And that’s what I’m going to do first. Now let’s pray a Heavenly Father.
We pray that we would never forget the preciousness of your people. We pray that we would never forget that you bought them by your. We pray that that would drive us always to remember. Ours is a noble task. And so, Father, now we commit ourselves to you and to the message of your grace, just able to build us up and our people up, and to give them and us an inheritance among all who are sanctified in Jesus name, Amen.
Well, that was Phil Colgan. And we have more and more resources always available. Make sure you jump on to our website, reach Australia dot com w forward slash resources and you can find thousands of resources like this.
Also want to do a quick thank you to all of those people who have supported the online resource library. Over the last little while we’ve been able to raise some more money. We’ll be doing some more great stuff. So thank you for your partnership in the gospel there. I’m Pete Hughes chat soon.