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Is Jesus Enough as our Pastor? Part 2

Psalm 23:1

According to Jesus, He knows His sheep, and His sheep know Him (John 10:14). I wonder, however, how well we actually know our Shepherd? Do we know anything of the excellence of His character? Have we glimpsed anything of His glory? May we stay close to Him, follow hard after Him and come to know Him.

He’s wonderful! He is the shepherd who has never lost a sheep. When Jesus is our Shepherd, the wolf cannot devour us nor can any robber steal us. G. Campbell Morgan tells of a story told by a friend who had been traveling in Israel and had come upon a shepherd one evening as the shepherd was putting his flock into the sheepfold for the night. The fold was an enclosing wall with a single opening for the sheep. However, one thing was missing, and that was a door.

He asked the shepherd if there were any wild beasts in the area. The shepherd told him he had always had to guard against them.

“But surely the sheep aren’t safe in there?”

“Yes they are, they are perfectly safe.”

“But there is no door to shut out the Wolves.”

The shepherd smiled at him and quietly said, “I am the door: When my sheep are in for the night, I lie down in the open space. Not one sheep goes out except over my body. And no wolf can enter without first passing over me. I am the door.”

Jesus taught us that, as our Shepherd, He is the door (John 10:7-9). That means we are safe. No wolf can get us. Before the enemy can get close, he will have to deal with our shepherd. What a pastor we have! Are we satisfied with Him? Is He enough?

Finally, if you have ever observed sheep, you will notice that, even when they are eating the grass, many of them will look up to make sure they are near the shepherd. They know they are safe when he is there. Is this true of us? Do we know what it is to look unto Jesus? Do we know what it is to, “in all your ways acknowledge Him?” (Proverbs 3:6).

Sheep are emblematic of believers. We are prone to wander: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6; Luke 15:4-7). But, isn’t Jesus wonderful? We are ‘prone to wander, ’ but He is more prone to bring us back.

With full authority, He has declared that His sheep shall never perish (John 10:28). That is why He calls His own sheep by name. It is a personal love that He has for you and for me. It is in Him, our Shepherd, that we have perfect security and sustenance (John 10:9).

Don’t worry about the future! He will provide. He is the good shepherd who has already given His life for the sheep. It is a rare thing for a shepherd to actually lay down his life so that the sheep would be safe. In normal circumstances, it would be better that the shepherd lived and didn’t die. Why? Because the death of the shepherd would usually spell disaster for the sheep. But such is the uniqueness of Jesus that He planned to die for His flock. In fact, He planned it so that His death would bring life to the sheep and would actually avert disaster for them. What a shepherd, what a pastor!

He is enough!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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Is Jesus Enough as your Pastor? (Part 1)

One of the best-loved Psalms in the Bible, Psalms 23, begins by pointing us to the sufficiency of Jesus, our Pastor. What it actually says is, “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.”(In Scripture, the Shepherds and Pastors are one and the same). Of course, when we say Jesus is our Pastor we do not preclude the ministry of earthly pastors or under-shepherds. On the contrary, God ordained pastors play a vital role in God’s purposes here on earth. We should, therefore, value them highly for their labour in the Lord. However, ultimately, we are the sheep of the Lord’s pasture and, as such, we belong exclusively to Him.

This is why we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. We are His, and ultimately He is our Pastor. If we would focus on Him, then there would be less fussing and fighting in our churches. We often have too high an expectation of the Church pastor. This can set us up for needless hurts. We easily forget that he is just another sinner saved by grace. He needs our prayers, love and support. Too many followers of Jesus, however, have ‘Roast Pastor’ for Sunday lunch and then wonder why their children grow up and separate themselves from the things of God.

Our eyes and expectancy need to be on Jesus. He is enough! Get the balance here; while we should support and care for our earthly pastors and obey them in the Lord, at the end of the day, they can never take the place of Jesus. Jesus is our Pastor, and He will never fail us. Someone in spiritual authority may fall short and hurt us, but never Jesus.

Think of it, the follower of Jesus is following a shepherd who is good. He is a pastor who knows each one of us and calls us by name. Are you satisfied with Him? Can you trust Him to lead you in life? Can you get your eyes off men and delight in Jesus, your Pastor? Listen to John MacDuff describe this excellent shepherd of ours; He says,

“Every individual believer—the weakest, the weariest, the faintest—has His attention. His loving eye follows us day by day out to the wilderness—marks out our pasture, studies our needs, and trials, and sorrows, and perplexities—every steep ascent, every brook, every winding path, every thorny thicket.”

No wonder, then, that the scriptures tell us that because Jesus is our Shepherd, we shall not want! Is He enough for us? Look at Him, there He is out in front of His flock leading us to eternal life. He knows the way for, not only has he been over every inch of its trail, He also is the Way.

What a shepherd! He knows us better than we know ourselves (Psalm 139:1-60). He knows our trials and temptations and can help us with every one of them for He has been through them. He has been reviled and rejected for no good reason. He has been slandered and falsely accused. He has been deeply hurt so He knows exactly how you feel. And here’s some good news, He became one of us so that He could faithfully shepherd us to glory (Hebrews 4:15).

Learn to trust Him even in the valley of the shadow of death. That place holds no mystery for Him. He makes the present shadows clear and the ancient darkness light. Follow the shepherd, not men. Respect men in spiritual leadership but always remember the best of men are men at best. Pray for them, hold them before the Lord. Remember, although they are spiritual shepherds, they are themselves sheep. Being that they are human, they have all the inbuilt abilities to fail and make mistakes. Why, then, get bent out of shape if they mess up? The only one who cannot fail is Jesus.

He is enough.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Churches, Get a Calvinist Pastor!

March 28, 2017 2 comments

Tom Nettles

Southern Baptists inherited the most compelling aspects of all the Baptist Calvinists that preceded them. James P. Boyce summarized this well. He encouraged every preacher to get theological education in some way, even if it could not be at the Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina. If no other means were available, he advised, “work at it yourself.” The fathers of the convention did this, Boyce claimed; “They familiarized themselves with the Bible, and Gill and Andrew Fuller, and they made good and effective preachers. God is able to raise up others like them.”1 The irony of Boyce’s appeal to the grassroots for support of theological education was this: the seminary would not interrupt, but would perpetuate, the work of pastoral ministry, preaching and theology consistent with the Gill/Fuller tradition.

But this is the very difficulty that we face at this moment in Southern Baptist history. God indeed is raising up others like them, that is,….

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

What Spirit Should Characterize Elders on a Plural Eldership?

by Phil Newton

When the New Testament writers sought to teach churches about elder plurality they did not start with an organizational manual or flow chart or rationales for effective management. They started with the sufferings of Jesus Christ. In that model demonstrated by Jesus Christ, elders work together, serve one another, and shepherd the flock of God.

Paul taught the Ephesian elders “to shepherd the church of God which He [Jesus] purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). The weight of Christ’s redemptive work at the cross fills that phrase, “purchased with His own blood.” Shepherding first takes place when the elders come to terms that the church does not belong to them. They serve the purposes of the One who laid down His life for the sheep. So any jockeying within the eldership to gain the upper hand over the fellow elders or over the congregation in order to satisfy selfish desires…

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Free Ebook- The Pastor as Theologian

March 10, 2017 2 comments

by R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

“Every pastor is called to be a theologian. This may come as a surprise to some pastors, who see theology as an academic discipline taken during seminary rather than as an ongoing and central part of the pastoral calling. Nevertheless, the health of the church depends upon its pastors functioning as faithful theologians — teaching, preaching, defending and applying the great doctrines of the faith.”

Download the book here. (Pdf)

Five Lessons Learned from Practicing Church Discipline

February 20, 2017 8 comments

Tom Hicks

I’ve been pastoring for over ten years now, and I believe in practicing church discipline with all my heart. But church discipline has been one of the greatest sorrows and griefs of my pastoral experience. I do not like practicing church discipline, but I believe in doing it because Christ commands it (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Galatians 6:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:13-14), and because it is one of the ways pastors are called to love and serve the church. The Second London Baptist Confession rightly says, “He has given [churches] all that power and authority, which is in any way needful for their carrying on that order in worship and discipline, which he has instituted for them to observe” (26.7). For several years at my church, it seemed as though we had one case of church discipline after another. Here are some of the lessons I have learned in the practice of church discipline.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

A Few Polity Questions

By Tom Chantry

One of the issues which continues to bedevil the Reformed Baptist movement as we seek to adopt and apply not only the doctrine but also the polity of our confession of faith is the relationship of the title “pastor” to that of “elder.” For any of us to pretend that this matter has been resolved is probably to deceive ourselves. A number of positions exist, and our confession is less than absolutely clear in the resolution of these differences.

Since the Particular Baptist movement grew in the soil of England’s Puritan era, and since the 1689 Confession is in part a revision of the Westminster, we would do well to frame the discussion with reference to the definitions which exist in Presbyterianism, and then to ask whether and how Baptists have viewed the matter differently.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.