Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pray for the Sexual Purity of Your Elders
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

God requires that all those who serve in the ministry of preaching and shepherding must be blameless. The men who serve God in the church must have no hidden life of sexual sin. Men of God speaking for God must strive to live above-reproach lives and turn from and flee any and all sexual temptations. Many in the pew may not be aware of the many ways they can pray for the elders — by name — to be sexually pure for the glory of God, for the joy of their souls, and for the purity of the flock. [*Note: in this essay, I assume that pastors/elders are interchangeable and though a church may have one primary teaching pastor, there are others who serve as shepherds with him.]

Below, I will provide 7 ways that you can pray for the sexual purity of your elders.

1. Pray for their Sexual Purity IN THE HOME
Your pastors need your prayer because they live in a home where the culture endeavors to infiltrate in countless ways. Pray for the home to be a dwelling of the righteous where God’s blessing would fall lavishly. Pray for every member of the family to be sexually pure and for the pastor himself to be sexually pure with every member of the home, with every person who enters the home, and with all forms of media which enters through the doors. Pray for the home to be a safe haven, a glorious refuge, a pure protection, and a dwelling of God. Pray that Joshua’s resolve would be your pastor’s resolve: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

2. Pray for their Sexual Purity IN THE MIND
Every pastor knows what life is like to work in isolation. In fact, the man of God must be alone — with God. He must quiet his heart, his mind, his life, and isolate himself from other people so he can be alone with the Lord, in the careful study of God’s Word, and in the careful scripting of his sermon manuscript. Yet isolation can also come with a tempest of temptation. Pray for your elders to be pure in their minds. Pray that they would never have wandering minds while looking out the windows in the office and seeing a cause for temptation. Pray that your elders would never live for, look for, and long for a certain woman in the church (or outside the church!) that would take over his heart and mind. Pray that the minds of your elders would so love Scripture that the endless delights of Christ and His gospel would ravish your leaders so thoroughly that they really would be blameless.

3. Pray for their Sexual Purity ON THE COMPUTER
Your pastors probably spend much time on their computers. To be sure, your teaching pastor does. He types out his sermons, he does word-searches on his computer programs, and may in fact use the internet and various news sources for illustrations. None of these are bad. But temptations can flood a man while he is alone, on his computer, in his office, while no one is there. Pray for your pastors (all of them) to be utterly and completely pure on their computers. Pray that they would never look at pornography. Pray that they would never be tempted to click on any icon that could lead to immorality. Pray and beg for God to protect your shepherds while they do the necessary work of sermon preparation on their computers. Pray that all email correspondence, all Facebook interactions and direct messages, Twitter feeds, and every look at a picture on any social media site would be entirely God honoring as if Christ was sitting in the chair right next to your shepherd — because Christ is in fact there and sees it all.

4. Pray for their Sexual Purity IN THE COUNSELING SESSION
Every pastor must conscientiously guard from counseling alone with a woman. He must make certain that his wife or secretary understands that a lady is present and he should hand off a female counselee to another gifted woman who can carry on the counseling as quickly as possible. Nevertheless, even in initial counseling sessions (or even in counseling sessions with a few women or even with a married couple), the man must remain sexually pure. His thoughts, his demeanor, and his actions must always remain above reproach in every way. In times of pain and in broken marriages, it may be that some ladies may long for a man who will listen to them, give them biblical counsel, and pray with them. Pray that your elders would never fall prey to this sort of emotional affair but would remain utterly blameless in every respect.

5. Pray for their Sexual Purity IN THE OFFICE
Some pastors have their office in the church building along with secretaries, administrators and other staff. Being in the office nearly every day and interacting with someone of the opposite sex can lead to sinful emotional longings, unholy desires, and fanciful thoughts. If your pastor has an office in the building with a secretary, pray that he would be pure, above reproach and always respectful yet never flirtatious in the office. Pray that everything that occurs in the church offices would serve to heighten the glory of God, the gospel of Christ, and the Spirit of grace. Pray that every action performed, every word spoken, and every thought pondered would promote the magnificence of Christ and never one’s selfish and lustful cravings.

6. Pray for their Sexual Purity AT PASTORS’ CONFERENCES
Your pastor and elders probably attend a conference (or more) throughout the year. These can greatly benefit your leaders and encourage them in their faith and rejuvenate them in the ministry. Yet being away from family, alone in a hotel room, with the TV, Cable, and internet can serve as a very strong temptation. Even being in a foreign city, going out to eat, observing the surrounding venues near the hotel can bring temptations that he might have never dreamed of. Believe it or not, pastors are not immune to temptations. Elders are not immune when it comes to sexual desires. Pray that even while being away from his home, his wife and children, that he would remain pure, fleeing any and all temptations, having no interaction with anyone of any sorts of the opposite sex, and that he would remain pure for the glory of Christ and for the purity of the gospel.

7. Pray for their Sexual Purity IN BEING FAITHFUL TO THEIR WIVES
God commands husbands and wives to frequently engage in sexual intimacy. The only exception that the Word of God gives for a husband and a wife to abstain from sexual relations is for a brief season of prayer. But then they must come together again for enjoyment so that neither of them fall into sin by their temptations. Pray that your leaders would be faithful to their wives. Pray that they would love each other, delight in each other, and glorify Christ in their marriage in every respect. Pray that his wife would be his greatest delight and his greatest passion. Pray that your leaders would have eyes, hands, hearts, and minds only for their wives. Pray that Christ’s faithfulness to His bride, the Church, would gloriously manifest itself in your elders’ marriages.

Concluding Exhortation
The essay above provided some helpful principles as to how Christians can pray for their pastors and elders. Below, is a brief exhortation to pastors/elders to passionately pursue sexual purity for the glory of God. In other words, elders how can you replace sinful temptations by putting on the Lord Jesus Christ? Here are 6 practical thoughts.

1. READ the word.
Every pastor must read the Bible for his own soul before he reads the Bible to construct a sermon. Satisfying his own soul comes first before satisfying the souls of the entire flock. A man must guard himself and his doctrine. A man must watch out for himself and for all the flock. Reading the Bible frequently for soul-food keeps a man sensitive to God, sensitive to sin, and seeking more of Christ.

2. REPENT of sin.
A pastor should lead his flock and model for them in mortifying sin. He must root out all sin in his life. He must never allow any sin to take root and begin to dominate his life. He cannot walk (continue) in any known pattern of sin. The mark of a godly man is not sinlessness but the degree to which he hates his sin and the way in which he confesses and forsakes it. The man of God grows in his walk with Christ over time and yet sees more of his sin and utterly despises it.

3. REQUEST God’s help.
Just as a small child would request help of his father to accomplish a task far too great for him to handle on his own, so the child of God must request God’s help to flee immorality and all impurities. The man of God must flee sexual immorality and pursue godliness and purity. God always provides a way of escape in every temptation. So elders must pray and earnestly request the powerful help of God and the sufficient and powerful grace of Christ to resist temptations.

4. RELISH your wife.
One of the weapons that God gives to married men is to fight sin by enjoying his wife. Godly men must enjoy their wives. They must delight in their wives. Elders must cherish their wives more than the church. They must serve their wives more than they serve the church. If not, he has disqualified himself. So then, pastors should relish their wives as a way of fighting impurities.

5. REACH for accountability.
To isolate oneself is to have lost the battle. An isolated Christian is a defeated Christian. No one fights sin on his own. Just as a soldier who attempts to enter into the enemy’s territory on his own would most surely and swiftly die, so a professing Christian cannot attempt to live the Christian life alone. Elders must seek accountability. Pastors must have other men speaking in to their lives. Godly men must ask their pastors about their sexual purity — specifically and lovingly. All pastors should welcome these specific questions so as to aid in holiness.

6. REMEMBER your soul.
Remember, those who live in sexual immorality will not inherit the kingdom of God. Those who engage in ongoing sexual sin and who refuse to repent of it will not inherit heaven. The pastor’s soul is at stake. He must be pure for the sake of his own soul before he can ever endeavor to teach and preach from the pulpit. Pastor, guard your sexual purity as if your soul depended on it.

Download the pdf here.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

At Christ Fellowship Bible Church, we will be teaching on Family Worship during the Family Bible Hour during our series on the "Distinctives."

Here are some helpful resources for Family Worship:

1. The Directory for Family Worship (1647)

2. The Duties of Parents to Their Children (Cotton Mather)

3. The Great Duty of Family Religion (George Whitefield)

4. The Duties of Parents (JC Ryle)

5. Family Worship and Its Benefits (Jason Helopoulos)

6. Simplify Family Worship (Don Whitney)

More articles can be found HERE.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church
“Come from your knees to the sermon, and come from the sermon to your knees”
                                                                                                         — Joseph Alleine

Children of God worship God corporately. They love to worship God with other believers. And since believers gather together to exalt the Lord and hear from Him through the preached Word, how does one rightly prepare for corporate worship? After all, one will only get as much out of corporate worship to the degree that he prepared himself for it. To neglect preparation is to cripple oneself. So how does the Christian prepare?

One of the best ways to prepare for corporate worship is for the child of God to pray. He must pray for God’s glory to be put on display. He should pray for the preacher to herald God’s Word with God’s power. He should pray for other believers to come hungry and grow in all knowledge and discernment. He should pray for nonbelievers that will be present to hear the Word and that God would penetrate their hearts with the gospel and bring them to repentance. And the Christian must pray for himself, that he would focus on Christ, put off all distractions, shun a wandering mind, be pierced to the heart, be comforted, convicted, conformed, and captivated by Christ and by His Word. Believer, in your preparation, you must pray!

A believer can ready himself for corporate worship by reading the text of Scripture from which the man of God will preach. This is especially easy if the preacher consistently teaches through books of the Bible, so where he left off last week is where he’ll begin this week. Read it ahead of time. Meditate on it. Do a little study of the text. Seek to apply it and understand it and know it. Then you will get more out of it when God speaks through the man as he opens the Word and feeds your soul. Read the Word and prepare!

Every Christian makes it a habit to repent. Since every believer still battles with ongoing sin, he must confess his sins and repent of them constantly. To prepare, a child of God should examine his heart and repent of all known sin. He should kneel and beg God to expose the sins of his heart and life so that he can grow in his Christlikeness. Repenting of all known sin before the sermon can allow the child of God to hear the Word of God with fullness of joy and with eagerness knowing that God is glorified with purity.

Too many Christians attend church and anticipate nothing to come from it. A child of God should remember that the glory of corporate worship consists in the fact that the people of God will together meet with and hear from the Living God of the universe. O that believers would anticipate this! Long to meet with God! Expect to hear from God! Hunger for more of Him! Come with the oven warmed so that when the Bread is put into it, it is ready to cook. Anticipate and expect great things in corporate worship.

Even before the service and prior to the sermon, the believer can ready himself by praying and planning on implementing the sermon specifically. For those who take notes, perhaps a believer can write down (even during the sermon) one or two things that he must apply and implement in his life that very day/week. A sermon that is not implemented is a sermon that has fallen on rocky soil. True believers hear the Word of God and do it. Deceived people are those who sit in churches, hear the preached Word, are momentarily excited by the preached Word, and yet they refuse to apply it to their lives with conscious, deliberate efforts. O believer, apply and implement God’s Word that is preached! Pray ahead of time to be alert to how you need to change. Then, rise from your knees to go to the sermon. Then, when the sermon is over, return to your knees in prayer and asking for God’s help and depending on God’s Spirit to graciously enable you to submit to God’s Word so that you would glorify Him in the doing of His Word.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Awefulness & Awesomeness of Ascending to the Pulpit
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Nothing has as much power as when the voice of God speaks.  When God utters a word, His plan most certainly comes to pass and everything obeys His sovereign decree. So then, it only follows that as a man of God ascends the stairs to preach in the pulpit and speak as the mouthpiece of God, he does well to have some truths plastered on his heart and mind.

Paul wrote that he knew the terror of the Lord. It is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom. Knowing God and His person and work must produce a deep-rooted and an awe-struck amazement at the majesty of God. God speaks through instruments. God spoke through prophets of old. God has revealed Himself generally through creation. God has provided His sufficient Word in the pages of written Scripture. And in so far as the man of God takes the Word of God to declare God’s truth to the people of God, he speaks for God. The preacher must remember the fear of the Lord.

The Word of the Lord is tested, true, and refined. God cannot lie nor does His Word ever fail. God’s Word has stood the test of time as the only reliable, verifiable, infallible, and supernatural Word. A false teacher was exposed because of his false prophecies. A true man of God was known to be true because the word which he spoke came true. A man who preaches the Bible must humbly bow before the holiness of God and beg God to cleanse his lips before he would endeavor to herald for God.

God sent a lion to kill a prophet who disobeyed the clear Word of God. God struck down two priests for conducting their priestly duties in a way that God had not ordained. God’s power is unrivaled, supreme and fearful. The man of God with the Word of God in hand must realize that he unquestionably wields the most powerful weapon in existence—the powerful Word of God. The man must humbly bow before God’s power because God promises that all false teachers will necessarily meet their end. May God’s power infuse God’s man with humility.

To ascend to a pulpit, open the Bible, and say ‘Thus says the LORD’ should be the most sober, serious, and solemn moments of the week. The preacher speaking for God is speaking to God’s people. How remarkable is the thought that God entrusts His blood-bought prized possessions to his undershepherds. God’s man who teaches the Word must feed God’s sheep with good, healthy, solid, mature food. God’s man must care for God’s sheep that are wounded, hurting, dying, and straying. What an honor and privilege to tend to and love the people Christ purchased.

The preacher must preeminently be a holy man. God chooses to not use impure vessels for His glory and for the advancement of His gospel. All Christians must be holy since God is holy. How much more the man who speaks for God, with God’s Word, to God’s people, with God’s gospel! He must turn from sin and passionately hate it. He must mortify sin and carefully extract it and slay it from its inception. He must serve Christ, love Christ, worship Christ, and commune with Christ. The man who ascends to the pulpit to preach must have no ongoing sin in his life. He must not live in or remain in any known sin. He must murder sin because He treasures Christ so much more! He must meet with the living God, speak with the living God, hear from the living God, and speak for the living God. Preeminently, he must be holy in his heart, in his mind, with his life and only then may he speak for the Lord.

Download the pdf article here.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!