Monday, April 27, 2015

The Christian Mandate to Speak Biblical Truth to Gays and Call Them to Embrace the Gospel!
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The gospel is God’s message of how He saves sinners that must be told to everyone! None can be saved unless they hear this gospel message and embrace it as the only truth and cling to the only One who can save their souls from eternal perdition — namely, Jesus Christ alone and His substitutionary work on the cross. Nothing could be more loving to sinners trapped in sin than to proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to them. To not preach the gospel to them and to accept their lifestyle and beliefs would be the utmost form of soul-hatred as it would permit them to swim with the current to hell. But Christians must love. And true love is supremely manifested in proclamation, verbal proclamation, of a message: the message of God’s grace in Christ whereby helpless sinners can be reconciled to God through repentance toward God and faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ. To speak this message demonstrates love, true love.

God commands all believers to love all people, including homosexuals (and those who promote homosexuality and affirm it as a permissible lifestyle), by speaking the gospel of Jesus Christ and calling them to embrace the gospel. Truly, the church must speak up and speak truth in love to all people and call them to forsake everything — including their sin — and for the surpassing joy and pleasure of serving Christ alone.

To refuse to speak about evil is to embrace it. Silence regarding an issue loudly proclaims one’s affirmation and acceptance of it. The reason for this is simple. It proves that one loves the praise of men more than the praise of God and the person does not want to be shunned by the world. Christians, however, live dramatically different. Christians live to please God and make it their ambition to be pleasing to Him in all things. If a person pleases everyone and yet displeases God, he will go to hell. If a person, to the contrary, lives to please Christ and displeases others in the world, then he has a great and unfading reward reserved for him in heaven! Thus, the church must refuse to be silent about the topic of homosexuality and speak what God speaks about it. The Word is clear. The Word is sufficient. The Bible is authoritative. The Bible is eternal. Because of this, when God’s Word clearly speaks to issues, the people of God must speak up, refuse to be silent, and stand upon God’s Word and speak the truth of God to the world.

Christians must speak up on the issue of homosexuality and same-sex attraction. The reason that Christians must verbally, clearly, and boldly speak on this issue because the Word of God is crystal clear regarding homosexuality and the various ways in which it presents itself (same-sex attraction, same-sex marriage, lust/desires, et al.). Even from the earliest of Israel’s history, God told the nation that men should not lie with a male as one lies with a female, for it is an abomination (Lev 18.22). Furthermore, if there is a man who lies with a male as one lies with a female, both of them have committed a detestable act and they must both be put to death (Lev 20.13). These verses speak in no unclear terms of the utter abhorrence of males lying with males in the same way that a man would lie with a female. It is detestable in God’s eyes and, indeed, it is an abomination. So bad was this horrid act that they both are guilty and must be put to death. The Law of God did not come to good people but to all sinners including murderers, sexually immoral men and homosexuals (1 Tim 1.9-10). Homosexuals are together linked with murderers, sexually immoral men, kidnappers, ungodly sinners, unholy, profane (1 Tim 1.9-11) to show that all are in need of the same gospel since all have sinned against God. God speaks in no unclear terms to all people when he says that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, drunkards all stand together as those in need of saving grace since those who live this way will not enter heaven (1 Cor 6.9-10; cf. Rom 1.26-27). All people fit into these verses. One may not be a homosexual or a drunkard but all are guilty of idolatry and thus stand in desperate need of the gospel. But the good news is that the gospel of grace can wash and sanctify and justify sinners! They can be changed and made new by the blood of Christ (1 Cor 6.11; cf. 2 Cor 5.17; Ezek 36.25-27). Christians stand on the authority and inerrancy of God’s Word. The unchanging, eternal, inspired, sufficient, and clear meaning of Scripture (both the Old and New Testament) testifies that homosexuality is sinful and those who live this kind of lifestyle and those who give hearty approval to it will receive divine wrath in hell (cf. Rom 1.32). So then, Christians must show from the Scriptures what God says about homosexuality. This is not hatred; it is in fact the most loving thing a person could ever do.

The Apostle Paul attempted to persuade people to believe the gospel (Acts 26.28-29). He begged people to be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5.20). Christians know the fear of the Lord and understand what it is to be saved from God’s just wrath and so they must persuade men to believe the gospel and surrender to Him (2 Cor 5.11). To persuade is to love. To persuade with vigilance, prayerfulness, and gentleness is not ‘jamming Jesus down anyone’s throat,’ it is loving sinners so much that you would do anything to prevent them from falling headlong into the eternal Lake of Fire. The wrath of God will soon come upon sinners who remain in sin, including those who practice homosexuality and those who endorse it as a valid, permissible way of life, and thus true Christians will speak up, show the truth from Scripture, and endeavor to persuade the lost to fly to Christ for the good of their own soul!

The church cannot remain silent because the church loves the lost with too much intensity to be quieted regarding sin. God-like love is a giving love. It is a warning love. It is a diligent love. It is a compassionate love. It is a love that speaks the truth rather than silently affirming a belief or a way of life that leads to hell. Christians must love sinners enough to speak up regarding sin, show sin from the Word of God, persuade them to believe in the gospel of Christ, and then warn them of the consequences of unbelief and continuing in wickedness. To warn actually is a picture of love because it verbally communicates to someone not to go here, or there, or do something. Bible-believing Christians present Christ and call all to repent and flee to Christ and Christians must also do as Christ did and warn unbelievers that if they remain in their hardness of heart and refuse to repent, they will perish in hell (Luke 13.3). To harden one’s heart and not follow Christ is to remain in unbelief and willful rebellion against God (Heb 3.8; 4.7). To continue in one’s sinful life and rebellious way of thinking is to follow the course of the world which is opposed to God (James 4.4). Indeed, true love warns. Truly, as Christ loved men by calling them to repentance and faith in Him, Christ-followers must emulate Him by calling all to turn from sin, forsake it entirely and resolutely for the eternal treasure of knowing Christ, following Him, and being welcomed into His family by faith alone. Christ warned people that if they did not decisively and diligently cut off their sin and forsake it entirely, they would be cast into hell where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9.47-48). Christians must love those who live in homosexual relationships, those who battle with same-sex attraction and desires, those given to so-called ‘same-sex marriage’, and warn those who endorse and condone same-sex marriage as a permissible way of life to flee from sin to follow Christ. Indeed, fly to Christ alone who changes, who converts, who washes, and who conforms into His image! Fly now! Fly at once! Fly immediately! Fly for the good of your soul! And find a Savior who willingly receives sinners and changes them by grace through faith. This must be the message of love, and the message that warns, that believers give to all sinners.

Download the pdf here.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Some thoughts and an exhortation to pray earnestly for revival.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The psalmist prayed: “Revive us and we will call upon Your Name” (Ps 80.18) and he begged for God to revive His people again so that they would rejoice in Him (Ps 85.6). This essay compiles a number of thoughts regarding revival with an exhortation for God’s people to pray earnestly for it.

1. The Need for Revival
Revival comes when brokenness is felt. When God’s people feel the evil of sin and the overwhelming weight of iniquity that prevails, they will sense the need for revival. Revival means that God gives life to His people — a kind of supernatural life, a life that only He can impart. Revival does not refer to a temporary occasion or an emotional meeting or a short-lived endeavor. Rather, true revival comes from God and brings lasting change to the sick and dying, to the broken and helpless, and to wicked men desperate for God. The current day demonstrates the need for revival. With the tens of millions of babies murdered, to the widespread acceptance and promoting of so-called ‘same-sex marriage’, to the plethora of false teachers who speak a false gospel and lead many astray, revival must come or judgment will quickly and severely fall. The glorification of sin, the hatred of godliness, the love of evil, the intoxication of immorality, the slavery to alcoholism and other substances, the enjoyment of violence, the hostility toward Christians, and the apathy toward God all contributes to this nation’s desperate need for a God-given, Spirit-empowered, sovereignly-bestowed revivification of spiritual life. The need could not be greater. The urgency could not be emphasized too much!

2. Our Plea for Revival
Revival comes when God’s people want it. Perhaps revival tarries long because God’s people live content without it. Many people who fill American churches today really do not want revival. They prove this to be the case because of how infrequently (if ever) they’ve beseeched the Lord for it. As long as God’s people happily live without revival, revival will tarry. But when God’s people come together and take hold of God, He acts because He hears. And He hears and is stirred up by the prayers of His people. God’s people must have a holy disgust with the evils that surround them and they must earnestly, intensely, regularly, and desperately plead with God for revival. Revival only comes when God’s people pray. No human effort can contrive revival. No meeting can accomplish divine ends. No planned event or evangelistic program can emotionally create a lasting revival. Revival comes like the sun that rises: all at the sovereign command of God. The people of God must take hold of God and beg that God would rend the heavens and come down. Like the persistent widow, they must come to God time and time again and continuously ‘bother’ him — indeed, wear Him out! — in desperate cries for revival.

3. God’s Mercy in Revival
Revival comes because of the sheer mercy of God. No one deserves revival. No people group deserves it. Revival results from the mercy of God in response to the prayers of His people who earnestly call on His Name seeking the exaltation of Jesus Christ. Any gospel effect that produces new life or the revivification of life stems from the gracious benevolence of God. For God to spark a revival, it comes in response to the people of God who pray fervently. It responds to the constant prayers of His people who seek the glory of God rather than their comforts on earth. Revival does not come because people merit it or do enough to achieve it. Ultimately, revival comes from God not because of, but in spite of, sinful people. Nothing in man in and of himself can bring the favor of God. It is only the sovereign will and the supernatural workings of the Spirit that can bring such a move of the Spirit of God. God’s mercy is when he does not give what sinners deserve. Sinners, people groups, nations, yes, the world, deserves judgment. But in revival, the mercy of God invades and does not give what sinners deserve. He does this in response to the zealous and fervent prayers of His people and by His Fatherlike disposition towards His own and His overflowing compassion and pity toward the lost.

4. The Source of Revival
Revival comes when God moves. Revival is an outflow of the Spirit of God’s working in and amongst His people. Revival always and only comes at the initiative of God and because of the power of God. The Spirit of God is the main source of revival since He is the one who quickens dead souls to new life and draws them to the Father. And He is the one who convicts the world of sin, judgment, and righteousness. He is the one who indwells believers and goes forth with the proclamation of His Word to save sinners and sanctify saints. The producer of revival is God. The one who enacts and carries the entire wave of revival is none other than the Spirit of God — and Him alone. All the revivals in church history have come because of a mighty working of God. God must blow the wind to convict, convert, and change sinners. None can come near to God but those whom the Spirit of God quickens and regenerates. A great awakening can only be attributed to a mighty working of the Spirit of God as He attends the proclamation of the preached Word and the earnest prayers of His people.

5. The Effects of Revival
Revival comes and, when it does, it always produces real, lasting, tangible, visible, supernatural change. No revival has taken place when the people of God remain the same as they did before the revival meeting occurred. No revival has taken place when the people of God experience a temporary spiritual high and then, after a season, return to their spiritual lethargy. A true revival always effects lasting change. Change in the heart, change in the church, change in believers, change in the community, and change amongst the heathens. A working of God produces new life where deadness dominated before. It produces real conversion with a full cleansing with an entirely new nature which will manifest and prove itself through the zealous pursuit of good works. A revival wrought by the Spirit of God brings change in the congregation since it shows that the people of God willingly come together to pray for God to move and diligently commit themselves to disciple new converts. The surrounding community and the heathens are affected since true conversion cannot be contained. God’s elect who have come home must tell others about their new-found salvation! They cannot contain it. The effects of true revival are marked by prayer, by preaching, by persecution, by a noticeable and supernatural outpouring of the Spirit of God and by the persistent pursuit of purity and holiness in thought, in word, and in conduct.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

From B.B. Warfield:

“The Calvinist is the man who has seen God, and who, having seen God in His glory, is filled on the one hand, with a sense of his own unworthiness to stand in God’s sight as a creature, and much more as a sinner, and on the other hand, with adoring wonder that nevertheless this God is a God who receives sinners.”

This article originally appeared at the ParkingSpace23 blog.

Homosexuality, Same Sex Attraction and the Power of the Gospel.

The greatest demonstration of the love of God is when He justly punished the wrath of all of His own upon His own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and made Him a “curse”. The best visible illustration of this gospel message is the marriage covenant. The Apostle Paul speaks of marriage   as a “mystery” which refers to Christ and the Church (Eph 5:31-32). Christians must fight for, stand on, and speak up for biblical truth and for the God-designed plan for marriage which illustrates the gospel.

Understanding God’s Design
At the beginning of human history, when only two people existed on the planet, Adam and Eve, God brought them together in marriage and instituted that a man must leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife thus making the two one flesh. From the very origination of the marriage covenant itself, one sees that the design of God for marriage involves only one man and only one woman in a relationship that lasts for life.

Affirming Sin’s Pervasiveness
God made mankind in His image and yet sin has pervaded every faculty of man. Sin has blackened every part of man so that every part of his being is infected by sin. That is to say, there is no part of man that is untouched by the monstrous and hellish nature of sin. This radical corruption does not mean that all men are as bad as they possibly could be. But it affirms that the perfect sinlessness of man, as God originally created Adam and Eve, has been darkened by the despicable nature of sin, the devilish defilement of sin. That includes man’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, and nature even when he is born into the world. This does not excuse the man; in fact, it exonerates his guiltiness before a holy God not only because of what he’s done but also because of who he is -- a naturally born human being with a fallen and cursed nature.

The Heart and Its Desires
The wisest man who has ever lived told his son to watch over his heart with all diligence (Prov 4:24). In saying this, Solomon affirmed that the springs of life flow from the heart. Everything that a person says originates in the heart. All that a person does has its source in the human heart. Jesus states that evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness all proceed from within a man -- from his heart (Mark 7:20-23). For a person, then, to affirm that he has not acted out homosexual tendencies but that he merely struggles with or desires or thinks about homosexual acts is faulty and out of accord with Scripture. Jesus shows that before adultery takes place, the root of adultery already took place in the heart. The instigation of sexual immorality is not the act itself but it came from the heart.

The Power of God to Deliver
The current day is clouded with extreme sexual confusion, gross immorality, rampant pornography, and many grappling with their self-identity. The ultimate need for all sinners, homosexual or heterosexual, is the gospel of God’s grace and the power of God to deliver sinners from the curse of sin and clothe them with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. And God has this power to save! He is able to take wicked hearts, corrupt minds, and hellish pasts and take turn the shameful ashes into a beautifully, gorgeous demonstration of God’s love, power, and saving grace! Only the power of God and the gospel of God can perform such a miracle! The ultimate need for a person battling with homosexuality or with same-sex attraction is not to become heterosexual with proper desires. Rather, the ultimate need is for his sins to be forgiven, for him to repent of his sins and turn to Christ. For a Christian who has trusted in Christ alone and who has surrendered everything to follow Christ and submit to His Lordship, he can never make the claim that he can’t fight sin or overcome a certain sin. Such statements deny the power of God by suggesting that sin is too powerful for God and that He can’t even help His own children cope through life in a Christ-exalting and God-fearing way. This means that God has all power to deliver savingly from His wrath and He has all power to deliver continuously from the ongoing battle with sin. Though Christians will never be ultimately sinless in this life, all believers walk on the path of progressive sanctification and endeavor to slay sin in his life beginning with the roots in his heart and replacing those sin patterns with holy desires and Godly habits. The power of God is so mighty that it has broken sin’s hold upon a sinner so that the believer can in fact please God!

The Grace of God to Transform
When God saves a man, the Scriptures describe him as a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17). He has an entirely new nature. The old man, the old flesh, the old passions, cravings, desires, and affections have been gone and replaced — by God’s initiative, working, and grace — with holy aspirations, Christ-exalting affections, and longings for holiness. The child of God, newly created by the working of the Spirit of God, now can live a life to the glory of God. The believer can follow Christ; indeed, he wants to. The grace of God is so powerful that it can transform a murderer with self-righteous, self-serving, damning desires into a humble, gentle, sacrificial, and loving servant of others (e.g., the Apostle Paul). The grace of God is so powerful that it can transform a political activist, a radically violent, unabashed zealot and transform him into a disciple (e.g., Simon the Zealot, Matt 10:4; Luke 6:15). The grace of God is so powerful that it can take a hard-hearted, hated, lying, cheating tax collector and turn him into a soul-winner who follows Christ and gives up his life to serve his Savior (Matt 5:27-39). So it is with every person that God saves. He provides the grace necessary to carry them triumphantly through temptations (1 Cor 10:13) and to provide the necessary strength while going through tremendous afflictions (2 Cor 12:9). God not only saves a man from hell but he changes the man’s affections so that he no longer craves evil but he hungers and thirsts after righteousness (Matt 5:6). Those who have lived lives of sexual immorality — heterosexual or homosexual — must turn from the pattern of sinful conduct and sinful thoughts and put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 13:14). Many who assert that they battle with same-sex attractions (even against their will) need to remember the power of God to save sinners from hell but also the power of God to transform sinners (heart, mind, will, and affections) into the image of Christ. He does not save a man to leave a man wallowing in that sin (outward conduct, inner desires, or ungodly longings). The words of Paul speak directly to this point:
 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How A Pastor Leads.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

A pastor leads. A shepherd guides. A leader models. People follow leaders. Instructors teach much, but they also lead by example. If a leader contradicts by his conduct what he instructs verbally then all his teaching is for naught. Be on guard lest you unteach with your life what you speak with your lips.

How must a pastor1 lead? This article describes six ways a pastor leads.

1. Loving his wife well.
Christ calls His shepherds to lead in the local church in the same way that He led His own while on earth. He served them, loved them, died for them, ministered to them, ministered to them, cared for them. The ultimate example of sacrificial love comes to light when one gazes at Calvary when Christ died for His bride. The greatest illustration to show what this love is like comes from the marriage relationship. Paul says that husbands must love their wives just as Christ loved the church. A man is qualified or disqualified based upon how well, how exemplary, how sacrificial, how shepherding, how strong his marriage relationship is like. If a man has a horrible marriage, he is a horrible shepherd. If a man has a mediocre marriage, then he has a mediocre ministry. If a man serves as a pastor and has a sour marriage at home, then he has disqualified himself for ministry. A man must shepherd his wife well, he must be a one-woman man, and he must manage his own household well. He must love her daily and deliberately. He must strive to know her and continue to explore her wishes, desires, fears, wants, and joys. He must put her before the church, before the needs of the flock, and even before the children and their needs. All must see and unquestionably know that the pastor loves his wife well. This is one of the best ways to lead as a shepherd. Let people see Christ’s love in the gospel visibly portrayed in the life and conduct of their pastor as he daily, joyfully, and delightfully serves the apple of his eye and his companion from his youth, his precious wife.

2. Studying his bible often.
Shepherds teach. They feed. They impart truth. God calls elders to be able to teach and to do so clearly, persuasively, humbly, powerfully. Just as a shepherd feeds his sheep good food so the shepherd over Christ’s flock must study to present himself approved to God, as a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed. He must accurately handle the Word of Truth. He must know one book very well: the Bible. Many men have hobbies. The man of God in ministry has one driving passion that consumes him: studying His Bible. Many fans know the roster of the sports team in the area but the man of God must be a relentless student who feeds upon and finds sustenance from the Word. Just as a bird returns again and again to a birdbath so the man of God must turn again and again to Scripture for joy, comfort, encouragement, hope, and gospel-reminders. Many people know many things but the pastor must busy himself to know the Word thoroughly. He has one relentless hunger and that is to feed on the bread of the Word constantly. He thirsts for Christ and he knows he finds Him in the Word! He thirsts for righteousness and he knows that he knows how to live by learning the precepts. He thirsts for the Spirit’s enablement and he longs to keep in step with the Spirit as he reads the Spirit-inspired Scripture. He does not have to study, he delights in laboring over the Word! The shepherd must study his Bible often to care for his own soul, to shepherd the souls of those entrusted to his flock at home, and to minister to the souls of those in the local church. O ministers of God, study hard! Labor in the text! Apply the Word to your soul before you seek to dispense it to others! Comfort your soul and enflame your heart with the truths you’ll give to others.

3. Pastoring His children diligently.
Many preachers become pastors of churches without search-committees or church leaders ever interviewing the prospective candidate’s children. God demands that a shepherd over the church at large must demonstrate himself by shepherding his flock at home diligently. If a man can not take care of his own children how can he take care of the church of God? If he has forfeited his own family whom he loves most, what makes a church think that he will love them and care for them in the Word if he has forfeited his primary love at home? Pastors must pastor their children diligently. They must evangelize them faithfully. They must instruct them incessantly. They must warn them repeatedly. They must disciple them regularly. They must pray with and for them relentlessly. They must read the Word to and with them frequently. A pastor leads well when he pastors his own family well. This sets the example for the rest of the families in the church. If they see their pastor diligently shepherding his own children, evangelizing them, calling them to believe, entreating them to repent, warning them of unbelief, and reproving their rebellion, other dads and moms will see his example and strive to emulate it in their homes. This is discipleship and pastoral ministry! Ministers of God should have a plan for discipling the children that God has entrusted to his care. Pastors should prioritize the evangelism and nurturing of his children before he disciples everyone else in the flock. He must warn his own children of superficial faith and of hypocritical, external religiosity. He must plead with them to repent, turn from sin, embrace Christ, and follow Him with all their heart and soul! The man of God must teach them theology, he must instruct them on practical living, he must model how to pray, and he must exemplify a man of repentance. He must show them the profit of knowing and singing good hymns. He must radiate the bright rays of a man who rises early like the sun to awaken the dawn with his worship as he bows before His creator! Dads must not unpreach in the home what they preach forth in the pulpit. They must live what they herald. Pastors care for souls, how much more must the man of God care for the souls of those who live with him at home.

4. Laboring in prayer worshipfully.
Much of what the pastor does happens behind closed doors. Many people do not know nor do they understand what he spends much of his time doing. He is a man who is alone because he must be alone — with his God. The pastor leads well who prioritizes prayer. Like Elijah, the pastor prays earnestly (or, prays in his praying). He, like Christ, must pray and spends much time in prayer. He prays not only through lists of items that need to be brought before God’s throne, but he worships his God. He communes with the Trinity. He begs for revival. He pleads with God and presents His case from Scripture. He prays through the gospel. He warms his soul with the grand truths that he studies and he prays them back to God. He intercedes for his wife, his children, himself, and for the flock. He prays for his fellow-shepherds. He earnestly entreats God to raise up more leaders. He specifically prays for peace, unity, and harmony in the flock. He prays against division, pride, worldliness, public sin, scandals, and gossip. He longs for and prays for the kingdom of God to spread and desirously prays that God would use his ministry to work to that end. The pastor leads by praying for the flock: individually, by name, regularly, and thankfully. Like the Apostle Paul, the pastor prays for the flock and thanks God as he remembers them. His heart goes out to his flock and he loves them passionately, he longs for their growth preeminently, and he guards them tenaciously. All the while the pastor knows he cannot do all this adequately, so he beseeches God to impart strength, grace, and help so he can accomplish the humanly-impossible task of successfully and faithfully caring for God’s people. He prays for people and they know it. The flock know that their shepherd brings them to God just as Aaron of old brought the people of Israel before God. The people know that they are on the pastor’s heart just as the priests would have the names of the tribes etched on their garments. The pastor leads by example. He leads by prayer. He leads by modeling a man who gets alone to be with his God. He prioritizes prayer. He wakes up early to pray. He does pray because he must pray.

5. Caring for souls skillfully.
Like a masterful surgeon wields his tools to cut precisely and accurately to extract the cause of the illness, so the pastor must wield the Word in such a way that he uses it precisely and accurately to reach the root cause of the wickedness and to apply the proper remedy for the ailment. Pastoring is caring. To care for souls is to nurture souls. Pastoring demands that one deal with the brokenhearted, the bruised, the beat down, the dejected and the fainthearted. The pastor must constantly be going to the Word of God as His only divinely trusted and perfectly sufficient source for soul-care. The pastor does not need worldly methods or humanistic ideologies. He must skillfully wield the only tool that can cut to the root cause of a sin and apply the healing balm of the gospel of Jesus Christ to any and all illness and hardship. The pastor must counsel. He does not take individuals and pass them off by referring them to secular, or integrated, or ‘Christian’, professionals or psychologists. Rather, the pastor is in fact the ultimate one and the only one who can deal with people’s problems adequately because he knows what the ultimate root cause is to problems, namely sin. The most professional, licensed, medically trained psychiatrist cannot adequately deal with people’s sins and distresses because they fail to understand the most important and fundamental realities in the world: the existence and glory of God, the horrors and pervasiveness of sin, the selfishness and radical corruption of all people, and the gospel of grace whereby God regenerates a person’s soul and makes them a new creature, and then the empowering grace that the Spirit of God has in empowering the believer to obey Him, submit to His Word, mortify sin, and walk in Christlikeness. Pastors must take up the sword of the Word, know it, memorize it, use it, wield it with skill, with care, with precision, with deliberateness, with compassion, and seek to walk with the hurting through the problems, pains, and paths of life so as to replace old, sinful habits with new, godly patterns. Or, the pastor must willingly walk with the struggling so that they endure a physical ailment and triumph through it with a Godly attitude, with holiness, with joy, and with a patient, yet expectant hope of heaven. All of this happens, most gloriously, by God’s blessed design within the context of the local church. As Christians bear one another’s burdens, so pastors must care for souls diligently.

6. Preaching the gospel courageously.
Confronting error is very unpopular these days. Destroying fortresses and worldly speculations, however, is the divine mandate that God gives to His people. The man of God must know the gospel, believe the gospel, live the gospel, and be willing to die for the gospel. But till he dies, he must preach the gospel courageously. He must unflinchingly give the whole counsel of God. He must unashamedly preach on all portions of Scripture. He must unhesitatingly herald the vast spectrum of doctrines. He must warn sinners of hell and he must comfort believers with the sureness of heaven. He must reprove evil and he must encourage Christlikeness. He must expose the evils of this age and he must call believers to live ‘otherworldly’ lives with hearts and minds fixed on glory. Nothing stands in the way of this pastor as he preaches the gospel to those who are before him. He fears no man because he fears his God too much. Laws could be put in place that would forbid him to speak certain truths yet he remains resolved and strong like a granite mountain in that he will not shrink from declaring God’s Word to all people.A pastor leads his flock by preaching the full gospel. He must speak of the existence and nature of God. He must show the flock the attributes of God so the people of God gaze upon God and meditate on His grandeur, glory, and Godhood. He must set before them the deplorable, horrid, offensive, hellish, monstrous and blasphemous nature of mankind. He must show the pervasive nature of sin and the devastating effects of sin. He must speak, however, of God’s action in sending His Son into the world to redeem rebels by His grace and turn wretches into sons and make them heirs of His kingdom rather by snatching them from the grasp of the devil. He must preach on the work of redemption and all its related facets — propitiation, atonement, reconciliation, adoption, justification, regeneration, effectual calling, faith alone, repentance. He must show how Christ satisfied the just demands of God because His law was transgressed and how God punished His Son at Calvary in the place of deserving sinners. The guiltless One died for the guilty ones. The perfect One died in the stead of imperfect ones. The pastor must boldly call for a response and beg sinners to be reconciled to God. He must demand, like Christ did, that sinners repent and believe in the gospel. He must call, with God, and command sinners to repent because God has fixed a day when He will judge the world in righteousness! He must tell sinners that salvation is a free gift and that one must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and he will be saved! The door of mercy still stands open and the drawbridge of divine grace has not gone up yet! “Flee to Christ now!” he heralds! All of this models for the flock the importance of the gospel and the courage needed to live and verbally proclaim the gospel to the lost. A man must model this for the flock. He must do the work of the evangelist and fulfill his ministry.
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