Why I Minister As I Do Part 2

V. Here is a random list of other motivations and explanations for my manner of ministry.

A. A Pauline minister should be a studier. 2TI 2:15. 1. More than any other writing, I study Scripture for perfection (2TI 3:15-16): if I had no other study book but the Bible, I would have enough and plenty for the work. 2. There are plenty of books to weary my flesh (ECC 12:12), and not all of them are profitable for me or for you. 3. I may flavor my teaching with extra-scriptural knowledge as Paul did (ACT 17:28) but it is doctrine that saves us both. 1TI 4:13-16; 2TI 4:2-3. 4. I am persuaded that God is more concerned about my knowledge and presentation of His words than the words of men.

B. A Pauline minister should be a man of prayer, praying for your spiritual well-being above other concerns. 2CO 13:7; COL 1:9; 2TH 1:11. 1. I am not indifferent to other concerns like health, family, jobs, etc., but Scripture and experience have taught me that the prime directive must be what is best for your souls. MAR 8:36 c/w PSA 119:67, 71-72. 2. I truly desire your success in every other good thing God provides the sons of men but not if such enables your folly. PRO 1:32; DEU 32:15.

C. I encourage wisdom, prudence, diligence that you may take advantage of available resources for the supply of your needs, duties and even your enjoyment. ROM 12:11; EPH 4:28; 1TI 6:17. 1. I reject the notion that Christians should be slackers or only eke out a minimalist existence as if relief of the genuinely needy should be somebody else’s job. 2. I do not want to lay a guilt trip on anyone who is striving to advance in the stuff of this life unless their doing so is confounding their spiritual well-being. LUK 12:16-21. 3. I do not want to lay a guilt trip on anyone who isn’t well up the ladder in earthly success. Not everyone has been given the same natural abilities or opportunities but all are expected to use what they have been given. MAT 25:15; LUK 16:10-11. 4. We should pursue diligence but flee covetousness. 1TI 6:9-11. 5. I do not want to be greedy of filthy lucre (1TI 3:3) but neither do I discourage your financial support of my ministry. a. A personal note here: I have seen both the error of “prosperity ministry” and the error of churches which seem to think it best that their minister be poorly compensated. The labourer is worthy of his reward. 1TI 5:18. b. As I have done throughout the years, I take to heart my Lord’s command to be a friend of the mammon of unrighteousness (LUK 16:9) and work side jobs as needed. ACT 20:34. c. This job is weird, hour-wise. Sleep can be elusive and there is a lot more to ministry than putting a sermon together and preaching it on Sunday. 6. A word of encouragement to all: Be faithful and upright in heart and God will bless you in due season (and the season may be late in life). Avoid the Victim card or the Giants and Grasshoppers card. NUM 13:33; PRO 22:13.

D. I am persuaded that my authority over you is to be just and in the fear of God. 2SAM 23:3. 1. You are God’s flock, not mine. I am only an under-shepherd. 1PE 5:3-4. 2. My power is to be for your edification, not your destruction. 2CO 13:10. 3. As such, I have made it a point to limit our worship services to once per week and consider attendance to Bible studies as optional for your benefit. I do not desire our religion to become toxic to your reasonable family and individual needs and goals. 4. I strive to balance my rebukes and reproofs with the oil of gladness of grace, mercy and longsuffering. I, like you, need both corrections and comforts. 5. I do not expect your flawlessness and I very much take into consideration the weaknesses, burdens and fears that you have. 6. I deem it more important to build you up in faith, hope and charity to inspire your desire to serve God than to impress upon you only a master-slave obedience to God. Duty without will, desire or cheerfulness does not impress God. 2CO 8:12; 9:7; ROM 12:8; PSA 100:2 ct/w DEU 28:47. 7. I count it an honor and great blessing to minister to the likes of you who want to serve God from the heart (ROM 6:17). Why, therefore, would I want to hurt you by uncaring, self-centered stupidity?

E. I strive to be harmless, as my Lord. HEB 7:26. 1. I hate myself (and have begged mercy of God and you) for the times when my “me-ness” overruled good judgment and I said or did something that hurt one of you without cause. 2. I want to be able to stand with Samuel at the end of my ministry. 1SAM 12:3-4. 3. I am repulsed at the idea of violating the trust you place in me to be the minister of Christ to you and your children.

F. I know that I am blunt, unsophisticated, vulgar, “unprofessional,” etc. 1. vulgar: The common or usual language of a country; the vernacular. 2. Paul was base (low in the social scale, plebeian) and rude (lacking in elegance or polish). 2CO 10:1; 11:6. 3. I must preach the whole counsel of God (ACT 20:27) which of necessity includes timely addressing of “delicate” issues like sex, anatomy, bastardy, eunuchs, eliminatory functions, circumcision, etc. I do, though, promise that if I should teach the entire Song of Solomon, that I will not use visual aids. 4. I reject pasty-white Pharisaism which is holier than God or His word (which is entirely and VERY pure, PSA 119:140). 5. Have you ever earnestly read the gospels and paid attention to WHAT and HOW our Lord spoke? 6. I desire to impress God’s people of the difference between sin (with its inroads) and the foibles and realities of the human condition.

G. I come across sometimes as flippant, lacking soberness or gravity (per 1TI 3:2; TIT 2:7). 1. Full disclosure: I admit I am a bit of a ham. 2. I may sprinkle some levity in a sermon to help make a point or give you a little mental break. 3. But I will not treat sin with lightness as if it were a thing to be mocked at. PRO 14:9. 4. I will not treat our duty in service to God with lightness as did the Corinthians who turned the solemn memorial of Christ’s sufferings into a party. 1CO 11:20-22. 5. I will reverence God’s sanctuary (LEV 19:30) by not corrupting its God-given order for pure worship as did Aaron’s sons (LEV 10:1-3), nor turning it into a den of commercial thieves (MAT 21:13), and by entering His courts with gladness. PSA 100; ACT 2:46-47. 6. I do not intend to go through life under a pall of joylessness, afraid to laugh or enjoy what God has provided (ECC 3:11-13) and pretend to bind myself or you with a faulty burden of guilt for living godly, freely, happily as we plow through this veil of tears waiting for the redemption of our bodies. ROM 8:23.

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