Listen. The gospel matters. Getting the gospel right matters. If you get the gospel wrong and you don’t distinguish between what the gospel is and what smorality is, then what you’ve done at best is restrain the hearts of people, but you won’t see their hearts transformed. If you don’t get the gospel right, you will inoculate your people to Jesus.
I preach through books of the Bible. The thing about doing that is that the Scriptures will gently and consistently, lovingly pressure your people’s assurance. It’ll press on it. I don’t think that by default most of us say, “I need to make everyone question whether or not they know this weekend.” But if you are faithful to the Scriptures, it will press on their souls.
You’d better decide very, very early what you believe about the Scriptures, or you will sell out to the idea that numerical success equals godliness. It’s subtle. Like those who are opponents of our faith. They are not going to come out and attack the faith. You just have to ask questions and never answer them. You’ll start to say, “You don’t have to go there.” You’d better decide early where your devotion lies.
No one unpacked for me that being a pastor was going to be a part of my own sanctification. It’s going to be the process of God disciplining me for the rest of my life. In this culture, it’s imperative to know that your calling is God’s calling to him on you for the body. If you don’t get this, then I don’t understand how you’re making it. God is the end. He is who we’re after. We get more of him by being obedient to his call to be pastors.
He’s the goal. Not more people. Not more baptisms. I am at The Village Church as an act of obedience. If anything else is your pursuit I don’t know how you will persevere. Sometimes it’s a long time that the baptismal waters stay still. I don’t know how you’re sustained in those hours if he’s not enough for you.
I also find that one of the things we don’t preach well is that ministry that looks fruitless is constantly happening in the Scriptures. We don’t do conferences on that. There aren’t too many books written about how you can toil away all your life and be unbelievably faithful to God and see little fruit this side of heaven.
Shepherds & Unregenerate Sheep
Here are a few challenging and convicting excerpts from Matt Chandlers recent message at the Desiring God National Pastors Conference. Matt is preaching on pastors preaching to unregenerate sheep from 1 Timothy 4. It was needed encouragement to my soul.