Monday, January 31, 2005

uncompromised

The Relationship of Truth to Pastoral Ministry from the Pastors’ Epistles

Paul opens his letter to Titus and first epistle to Timothy by defining the genuine relationship they share as by implication, “a spiritual father” writing to his “spiritual son” in the faith; specifically, a reference to the relationship established by their common faith in Christ Jesus that leads to Godliness (1 Tim 1:2; Titus 1:1, 4). This is the basis for all relationships in the church, where the pastor models his unswerving faith in Christ Jesus, walking out his theology in and around those he serves. The pastor serves as lead worshipper of God in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:23), basing his life upon truth; that is, upon Jesus Himself who is truth (Jn. 14:6) who gives His Spirit of truth (Jn 14:17), whose word is truth (Jn 17:17).

Paul urges that the minister be active in prayer for all men, not only for their salvation but for peaceable living, because God approves as He is the one who, “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:4). The model minister reminds that truth, the clear reality in the context of Christ[1] and communication of Him, is the reason for ministerial appointment (1 Tim 2:7). The church, the local and universal body of Christ is to uphold the truth, living out God’s Word in the world (1 Tim 3:15).

Paul models how proclamation and personal application of God’s Word in the exaltation of Jesus and the demonstration of God’s great power exposes and brings to light those false teachers who would destroy men and keep them from the truth (Titus 1:10-15). Paul demonstrates truth in ministry as, “that which is in accord with what really happens, facts that correspond to reality, whether historical in the time/space continuum (Lk 4:25; Ac 4:27), or an eternal reality not limited to historical fact.”[2]

False teachers distort what God has declared to be good and is meant to be shared by those who believe and know the truth (1 Tim 4:3) and in so doing distort everything to do with God. They would rather turn from truth and accept myth (2 Tim 4:4, Titus 1:14). “[D]ivine truth or the faith and practice of the true gospel is called “truth” either as being true in itself and derived from the true God, or as declaring the existence and will of the one true God, in opposition to the worship of false idols. Hence divine truth, gospel truth, as opposed to heathen and Jewish fables.”[3] False teachers, false ministers are those who are depraved in mind, deprived in truth and “suppose that godliness is a means of gain.” (1 Tim 6:5; 2 Tim 3:7-8).

The pastor aligned with truth is one who is diligent to make certain he is presented approved to God as a workman who is not ashamed and handles accurately the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). Contrarily is the wicked man who has gone astray from the truth, upsetting the faith of others (2 Tim 2:18). The pastor is to be one who gently corrects those in opposition, “if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim 2:25). “Conduct conformed to the truth, integrity, probity, virtue, [is] a life conformed to the precepts of the gospel.”[4]

[1]Zodhiates, Spiros. The Complete Word Study Dictionary : New Testament. electronic ed., G225. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000, c1992, c1993.
[2]Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament). electronic ed., GGK237. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.
[3]Zodhiates, Spiros. The Complete Word Study Dictionary : New Testament. electronic ed., G225. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000, c1992, c1993.
[4]Ibid.

Monday, January 03, 2005

unshakable

wanna see something cool? If you did not read my last blog about Paul (see "unstoppable"--below), please do so before reading this:

In Psalm 15, David asks God two questions (which is really the same question asked two different ways): "who is able to live where you are?"

The answer: the one who walks/works/speaks with integrity/righteousness/truth. He is the same on the outside as he is on the inside.

In relating to others, the one who lives where God is,is the one who speaks truth and does not slander his neighbor--he walks with integrity by doing no evil to his neighbor--he works righteousness by taking care of his neighbor.

The one who lives where God is hates what God hates and loves what God loves. What he says he will do--does not vacillate.

The one who lives with God despenses resources without taking record or expecting anything in return. He gives to take care of the innocent.

He is on top--with the King of the Mountain!

Did you see Paul? Unshakable!

If you see Paul there, can you see God doing the same thing with you?

Saturday, January 01, 2005

unstoppable

Back in August,2004 I began to blog on a series called "The Spiritual Foundations of Ministry" beginning with "Effective, or just Successful?". During Christmas break I have been trying to get this study going again by looking at some biographies. One I read was that of the Apostle Paul (Acts 9-28). Once I heard a pastor ask, "Why is it when we think of "spiritual giants" or "heroes of the faith" we only think of those who are no longer living?" After getting through conviction-delux, I realized that I have spent many years looking into the apostle Paul's writing and have never really slowed down to look at the man Paul. Here is a non-exhaustive summation of the man I saw in Acts 9-28:

Paul was, from the beginning to the end, a character immersed deep with intention. This is seen in his tenacity of 9:1-3. Immediately one gathers that though he was a man of position and authority, reminiscent of that Roman centurion who met Jesus concerning his servant, Paul was one who was submissive and obedient (9:8; 16:9ff; 20:24; 21:4; 27:23-24). Though his personality was pliable (9:18-19) he was one feared, both before and after conversion (9:26; 14:19). Because of the way people were responding to him, he was both protected and defended at times (9:27; 16:25ff; 19:35ff; 25:8).

One also see Paul as bold as he talked and argued with those he met (9:28-29; 13:46; 14:3), telling the truth and showing discernment (13:10ff). As he spoke, his clear understanding of God's redemptive history is obvious (13:17ff; 14:15ff), and he kept everything in perspective (14:15; 18:21). Those he met were often strengthened or encouraged (14:22; 16:5; 20:31) and he was liked by so many (16:2).

As we see him in true history, we see him as he got frustrated and often provoked (17:16; 18:6), though we also see him holding his tongue (8:4). Paul is passionate, excited, innocent, fearless and without coveting (20:26; 20:26-27).

In Acts, Luke the physician records some interesting things we don't often get to see about many people. Paul is said to be humbled and strengthened (9:17-22) and late we find him in a catalog of dangerous situations (9:23; 14:19; 16:25ff; 19:29ff; 21:33; 23:12, Ch. 27), all of these as he travelled abroad.

The most familiar side of Paul is the spiritual man: having been confronted by Jesus Himself (9:3-6) and is declared to be the chosen instrument of God (9:15), set apart for the service of the LORD (13:2). Right away we see his walk tied into his understanding of purpose (9:15-16; 19:21; 21:24). Paul was often used by God to heal (9:17-18) and perform other miracles (13:11; 14:3; 14:8ff; 19:11; 28:8) as he preached (9:20; 13:5; 13:44; 14:3; 14:21-25; 20:7, 20) being filled with the Holy Spirit (13:9).

Paul was controversial (9:22; 14:19; 15; 16:19ff), but it was not uncommon to find him in fellowship, seeking out other believers with whom he fasted and prayed (13:3; 14:23; 20:37) or fasted and ministered (13:2). He went from place to place being sent (13:4) and appointed for the task (14:23). He was a man devoted to the Word and Christ (18:5).

No man could have pin-pointed Paul to accomplish the kinds of things he did. His entire life rests as an act of the Holy Spirit for the gospel of Jesus Christ to the glory of God. Looking at him one does not see a man who works all his life, gets old, retires and dies. One does not even get a glimpse of him catching his breath! He is the original Energized Bunny. He is called, gets to work, and that's it. Unstoppable.

Popular Posts