Saturday, March 10, 2012

40 Days with James ~ Day 18 ~ Judging Teachers

Day 18 ~ Judging Teachers
James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
It is no small task to preach and teach the Word of God.  Those who have received a call to do so find themselves under a holy scrutiny.  It is the Lord who has called pastors to deliver a message for Him.  Pastors are merely ambassadors of the heavenly embassy, proclaiming the message of their Lord (2 Corinthians 5:20).  In sending His ambassadors, Jesus gave them this to declare: "The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,  and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:46-47).  Repentance and forgiveness because Jesus was the crucified and raised.  That is the message.  That is the only message that pastors are to teach and preach.

Pretty simple, right?   Not so fast.  Pastors are sinners and are given to temptations just like everyone else.  There are many things the devil sends to the preacher in order to get them to talk about anything but Christ from all of Scripture.  Their own pet agendas creep in from time to time.  Sometimes the sheep of God's flock desire to hear something beyond Christ.  They want to have their "ears itched," as Paul warns pastor Timothy (2 Timothy  4:3).  So, they seek out pastors who will suit their own desires.  In an effort to keep the flock, pastors may find themselves watering down the message.  And, frankly, our sinful hearts want to hear about something besides Jesus all the time.  Pastors find it easier to discuss our idolatrous desires than it is to preach, again, that God is for us in Jesus Christ.

What we, pastors and parishioners alike, must be reminded of is that preaching and teaching the Word of God is not meant to help us get to know our pastor better, it is not meant to make us feel good about ourselves, it is not even to make us more happy with this idolatrous world.  No, preaching is to deliver a message from God.  Pastors are called to call comfortable, obstinate sinners to repentance with God's Law and to heal, restore, and forgive the broken, repentant sinners with God's Gospel.  Paul instructs Timothy, "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-- with great patience and careful instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2).   On this basis teachers and preachers of God's Word will be strictly judged.  They will not be judged by how funny, engaging, or insightful they were.  Rather, did they preach Christ crucified for sinners?

Confession:  Gracious Father, forgive me for my itching ears.  I confess that I have not hungered to hear your Word of grace because I have not taken my sin seriously enough.  Have mercy on me, teach me to repent and believe the good news you have given to be proclaimed in your church.  Raise up faithful pastors who boldly, faithfully, and stubbornly preach your Word alone.  AMEN  

Challenge:  Commit yourself to pray for your pastor every day for one week.  Find a day every week to pray for him, that he would faithfully deliver God's Word to you and God's church.  Pray, finally, for God to continue to raise up faithful pastors.

Pastor Bob

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Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email