Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pastor's -- this is for you!

And saying, the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the Gospel.
Mark 1:15

Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Colossians 1:28

This chapter starts out with the Ten Commandments. Would you believe that there are actually pastors out there (maybe even you), who do not know the Ten Commandments? It is great to be able to recite Scripture verses from memory, but if you do not know the Commandments then shame on you. You are to be the teacher of the people. You will be held accountable for what you teach. We are told to go and make disciples for Christ. Are you doing it? Not the people who come to church each week, but the people who have no intention of coming to church. Jesus did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. So maybe you do know the Ten Commandments, are you sharing it with people? Do all of the people in your congregation know the Commandments? Without the Law, how are they going to know what sin is? If they do not know what sin is, then how can they truly repent of their sins? If all you are doing is trying to get someone to make a decision for Christ, you are doing them a disservice. They need to see their sinfulness. It needs to be brought out through Scripture.
The most effective pastor is not necessarily the one who has several degrees after his name. It is not the one who has been in ministry for over 20 years. While it is possible that it does include both of those pastors, the most effective pastors are the ones who know the health of his church and preach to it and faithfully listen to God’s leading. The Bible is full of references to “preach” the Gospel: To “go” and make disciples for Christ. After some long readings, I have yet to see where a whole sermon of jokes is acceptable. I have heard too many sermons that are filled with a joke every 3 minutes. And when a joke is not being told, a story is told. After 20 minutes of “preaching” there was not one mention of the Ten Commandments or any mention of the need to repent of our sins. These kinds of “feel good” messages are not what God wants from us as pastors. I was listening to a sermon on the Internet. The pastor started off by apologizing to the congregation for a couple of jokes he had told the previous sermon. He then went on to give an explanation of why” he tells jokes in his sermon. He said, “Sometimes God’s Word can get kind of heavy and convicting and I don’t want anyone to leave here with a downcast look on their face.” I always thought it was a good thing for God’s Word to convict us of our sins. What a tragedy to lesson the effect God’s Holy Word can have on a person. Hey, I have been guilty of doing this too in the past. No more! From now on, it will be God’s Law to humble the proud and God’s grace to lift him up. Do you think that this is too much of hell-fire preaching? I would rather preach about Hell now while I am alive than wish I had when I got to Heaven. I would rather preach about Hell now than be sorry I didn’t help the homosexual to see the sinfulness of his lifestyle (God’s holiness needs to be preached!) If you are worried about hurting peoples feelings, then the ministry is no place for you.
We are to do all of our talking in love of God. We are to share His love with all people. But we are not to turn a blind eye to sinful living. The pulpit needs to come alive again with the Word of God preaching against sin and proclaiming the judgment of God against the sinner. Just don’t forget to follow it up with how much God loves us that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Don’t let your congregation feel that believing is all they need to do. Even the devil believes and trembles. They must put on Jesus Christ. Their life should be a reflection of Christ: Without sin (repentant). We are all sinners and always will be until we are made perfect in Heaven. But unless we make that decision to give up our old way of living, we will not be pleasing to God. What messages are you preaching to your congregation?
What were the first words of Jesus’ ministry? Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
Okay, without looking back a couple of pages. Can you name all of the Ten Commandments? Write it down on paper and keep it as a reminder to preach on them each and every week. Instead of preaching a “series” of sermons that last up to eight weeks, why not devote your preaching time to something that has everlasting value? You can incorporate the Ten Commandments in all of your sermons. Rather than spending several weeks telling your congregation that your church believes in service to others, why not spend your time showing them that sinners will go to Hell unless they repent? As pastors, many of us are giving our people a sugarcoated Kool-Aid diet instead of good milk.

What about those pastors out there that are only preaching one half of the gospel message? Can you say -- "seeker" sensitive?? The Bible says that no one seeks after God.

The above is taken out of my book, Locked Doors of the American Church. I pray that you have a great day! Tomorrow I will talk to the Elders and Board Members of churches!

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