To serve as a pastor or teacher is an honorable and lofty calling. According to Scripture, pastors receive a special call from God and anointing from the Spirit to preach God’s word, teach God’s people, and lead in mobilizing believers to effectively carry-out the Great Commission. It is a holy calling, and surely unimaginable reward awaits faithful servants. However, though the reward for God’s shepherds can be great, so are the expectations. The Apostle James cautioned individuals not to desire to teach, for the Lord’s expectations for those with that calling are high (James 3:1).
Consider this: What if you were blessed with the ability to speak German and Polish, and were somehow transported to the German/Poland border in the summer of 1940. You are aware (from your study of WWII) that in just a few months the German army will overrun the region and make the city of Warsaw into a huge, horrible prison and ghetto—a place where about 400,000 will die over the next few years. What would you do? Would you say something? Wouldn’t you feel compelled to warn those who were in harm’s way? Yes, I believe you would.
The danger facing this generation is just as real and insidious. Pastors and teachers must present the entire counsel of God, including passages which speak of judgment, sacrifice and of impending dangers. Note the following directives:
- Pastors must preach all the Word (Matt. 24:25).
- Pastors must teach God’s truth (Jer. 4:22).
- Pastors must inform (Hosea 6:12).
- Pastors are to impart knowledge and understanding (Jer. 3:15).
The directives are clear and the expectations are high. Revelation chapters 2-3 records the Lord’s message to the seven churches. The message is strong and sobering. Seven times the Lord says, “He knows.” He knows what is happening, and what is being taught in each church. In the English text, the message to each church is directed to the angel of each church. In the original Greek text, the word for angel is angelos, which literally means, messenger (or the one who delivers God’s message). The context of chapters 2-3 indicates that the message has particular meaning for the pastor of each church. I share this to note how God holds pastors accountable to properly guard, prepare, teach, exhort, and equip His people. The pastor is responsible for sharing the warnings and truth of God to the Church—the Bride of Christ. The great preacher, scholar and writer AW Tozier wrote: “It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table” (The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine).
Pastors are God’s chosen servants—and have the privilege and burden to share God’s wisdom and warnings. Ephesians 6:10 encourages believers to be “strong in His might.” I urge those who teach and preach to follow Jesus’ example, and echo Paul’s request for intercessory prayer: “Pray that I may boldly make known the mysteries of the Gospel” (Ephesians 6:19).
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