Intro text: 1 Thessalonians 5:12 “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;”
Sermon Text: Eph 4:7 “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ…. 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
“Working Together in the Work” begins within the local church. If we do not maintain a proper testimony within the church, we will have no positive spiritual influence outside of the church. One life lived well is worth a thousand sermons preached. Working together in a worthy way within the local church prepares us for a consistent life lived without the church.
We are to walk worthy in our Fellowship. Colossians 1:10 “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Unity within the local assembly is essential to a good working relationship. Satan will always try to begin conflict within the local body through personality conflicts, family squabbles and differences of opinion. Be watchful!
We are to walk worthy in our Faith. Doctrinal and Ecclesiastical purity is essential to both our protection and testimony. Satan will tempt us to compromise what we believe and he may send infiltrators with false doctrine into the local church to disturb it. Who we “run with” is who we are!
Today, I want to speak of “Working together in the Work of PRBC. Satan will try to cause the members to lose confidence in the Pastor through rumors or confusion. There are times when a church member may not agree with the pastor’s decisions by misunderstanding his purpose or motive. Never forget who it is that the Lord has placed in the church as pastor to lead it!
In these verses we read, God has given gifts to the local church. In verse 11, we find four gifts: two are passing gifts and two are permanent gifts. We no longer have “prophets” or “apostles” within the local church. We prophesy in that we “forth tell” instead of “foretell.” There were only 12 original apostles. One was a lost man and God replaced him with Matthias (Acts 1:26) and later with, “one born out of due time,” which was Paul, the Apostle to the gentiles. Today, the gifts to the church are the evangelists and pastor-teachers.
These gifts purposed fulfill a purpose. Often, for birthdays or Christmas, you will receive a gift that you either do not need or do not want. Thank the Lord for receipts!
These gifts for ministry are not returnable, exchangeable, or refundable. These gifts are necessary for the local church’s wellbeing. Therefore, members should be very careful in opposing the leadership the Lord has placed in the body. Satan knows that you cannot do without them and, therefore, tries his best to deter God’s plan for both the Pastor, and the life of the church. Having gone back to heaven, Jesus gave gifts to the churches in the form of pastors who would assume leadership roles in His absence. All such leaders are accountable to Him who is the Head of the church, His body.
Make sure that your relationship with the pastor is a good one. The church as a body and as individuals, needs to have a proper and scriptural relationship with the pastor. Heb 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls.” What part of “obey” and “submit” do some church members not understand?
A pastor is several things to a church:
I. Pastor is your Shepherd! Vs. 11 “Pastor” literally means a shepherd. He is Christ’s “under shepherd of the flock.” This is not a pride thing, it is a God thing! Paul taught the elders of the church at Ephesis, Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
Walking worthily and walking together cannot be done without a right relationship with God’s Man. He is both family and friend. As a shepherd he guides the flock; guards the flock; and gives his life to serve the flock.
Paul an example: 2 Cor 12:15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” Sad isn’t it that the love of Paul was not returned in kind to him by the people he served at Corinth. Must have been a great disappointment to have done so much for them and got no or so little appreciation in return!
a.. Follow Him Totally - Hebrews 13:7 “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”
b. Follow Him Enthusiastically - Hebrews 6:12 “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
c. Follow Him Conditionally - 1 Cor 11:1 “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 2 Thess 3:7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;” 2 Thess 3:9…., but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.”
If church people do not understand or agree with what a Pastor is doing, ask him about it! He may know something that they do not know. Members should be confident that they have a good pastor who will not knowingly compromise the Bible or do anything contrary to it. If a church doesn’t have one like that, they need to get one.
II. Pastor Is Your Watchman – If people Heed the pastors scriptural preaching/teaching:
a. It Will Save them from error - 1 Timothy 4:16 “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save (preserve from doctrinal error) thyself, and them that hear thee.”
b. It Will Keep them From Slipping - Hebrews 2:1 “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” (slip away from the things we have heard and been taught).
c. It Will Show them The Way - 2 Peter 1:19 “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place….”
III. Pastor Is Your Preacher - Obey Him
a. Obey means to Submit To Him - Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
b. Respect and Esteem Him - Philippians 2:29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:”
c. Honor Him - 1 Timothy 5:17 “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”
People have called me by different titles over the years, i.e. Rev., Father, brother, pastor, Earl; Bro Earl, Bro Thomas, but one dear sister who used to be a member here, when she wanted to speak with me would say simply, – “preacher.” I liked that! When I see her to this day that is her words. It says a lot about who I am and what I do.
IV. Pastor Is Your Teacher - Learn From Him.
Vs. 11. The pastor is not to be a novice and is to be able to teach the Word of God. He is to rightly divide the WORD of truth; he is to feed the flock of God. Learn from him! He Educates; He Edifies; He Energizes; He Equalizes; He Exhorts; He Equips.
a. Steadfastly Follow In Doctrine - Acts 2:42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
b. Obey In Doctrine- Romans 6:17 “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”
c. Separate In Doctrine - Romans 16:17 “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Failure to do this has allowed many formerly sound Baptist churches to depart from their scriptural foundations.
d. Be Anchored In Doctrine - Ephesians 4:14 “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”
e. Study In Doctrine - 1 Timothy 4:6 “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.”
f. Continue In Doctrine - 1 Timothy 4:16 “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
V. The Pastor Is Your Friend – Be a friend to Him
a. Love Him – Example of real friendship: Galatians 4:15 “Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.”
b. Help Him - 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.”
c. Get to Know Him - 1 Thessalonians 5:12 “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;”
He is one of the good guys! His life has been spent for YOU. He loves you with all his heart. He seeks to help; not to hurt. He is here to give; not get. He is here to spend of himself; not to reap rewards from you. His life has been sacrificed upon God’s altar of service. God called; he answered the call with “speak Lord, thy servant heareth.”
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Revelation 11:17 "Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned."
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