Thes #2 Joys of the Pastor
#2 Thessalonians 2
The Joy of the Pastor
What drives the Pastor?
Why do I do what I do?
I know you probably think it's just the easiest thing in the world to be a minister of the Gospel.
Hey we only work one day a week right?
Notice how often in this letter Paul mentions the difficulty of his call.
He says "we had suffered and been insulted in Philippi, yet we dared to tell you in spite of strong opposition"
He speaks of "toil and hardship", working "night and day"
You can't read Paul's story, the letters he wrote, and know of the life he lived without recognizing that life was not easy for him.
If you read the accounts of Pastors, Evangelists, Missionaries through history and even today, it's not what you see on TV. It's not glitz and spotlight, health, wealth, and prosperity.
For the average preacher and even for many who seem to have so much, it is NOT an easy job, it is difficult.
Your message is often rejected, treated with indifference, left unappreciated, or downright ignored.
NOW, I'm NOT complaining, and I'm NOT giving you some hidden message.
But I want to answer the question.
What is the JOY of being a Pastor, a Minister of the Gospel for that matter being anyone who is willing to get involved in the Ministry whether layperson or Pastor,
volunteer or vocational
what is the Joy?
Well the joys are many no doubt, or we wouldn't withstand the struggles.
Hebrews said that Christ endured the cross because of the "joy set before him." Because he knew that there was a reason and an end, he could withstand even the cross.
Let's look at four things that the Pastor Joyfully Does
Four HATS, if you will, that the pastor wears
READ chapter 2
The Joy of the Pastor
The First is He is Joyfully …
1. A Steward - (1-6)
DEF a steward is "one employed to manage domestic concerns … one who cares for the possessions of others …"
The joy of being a Pastor is in knowing that this message we deliver this call we have is NOT our own.
Paul says we do NOT come to you with because we made a mistake / error (v3) nor because we've got some ulterior motive, or to try and "trick" you but "on the contrary" in other words the opposite is true, we have been
APPROVED BY GOD
Entrusted with the Gospel
"entrusted" means to commit to another with confidence
It is a joy to know that God has given me a task, a message, a purpose and he has confidence in me, because Christ in ME is the hope of glory I am a steward of that TRUST
The word Approved means "to scrutinize to see whether a thing is genuine or not"
The word entrusted is also used elsewhere to carry the meaning of believing in or trusting in.
It's is the SAME Greek WORD as in John 1:12 - to all who BELIEVED … gave the right to become children of God
It's the same WORD as in John 3:16 - that says if we BELIEVE in him we have eternal life
John 14:1 - says don't be troubled, BELIEVE in God believe also in me
It is to PLACE what you have in God's hands so to receive ETERNAL LIFE
Yet here GOD is placing that TRUST back in the Hands of his SERVANT
WOW what an image, as I have placed my FAITH in Christ and entrusted him with my life
So he has in a sense placed his FAITH in ME and entrusted me with his most precious possession, that is, the GOSPEL and those who need to hear it.
IT is the Joy of the Pastor to
carry the gospel - anywhere, everywhere, under any circumstance because the receiver needs to get this life-giving message
It is the JOY of the Pastor to be a sower of the seed of the gospel
The object of my call, entrusted from God, is the RECEIVER of the Gospel, the field in which we sow, the sheep of his pasture as well as those who will one day be in his pasture
I must GUARD my trust
1 Timothy 6:20 "Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter, and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge"
God had given it to Timothy and Timothy was to commit it to others in 2 Tim. 2:2
But there is a responsibility.
I am NOT just a hired hands that is kinda looking out for God's stuff.
I know that I love God and since he has placed his trust in me I must be faithful to guard
The distribution of the Gospel
The discipleship of the Believer
The doctrine of the Church.
I can give you freedom in Christ to choose to believe as you would …
I can give you freedom to worship as you are lead …
But, I am accountable to God to keep what has been entrusted to me in accordance with what God has taught in the Word to the very best of my understanding and when I can't understand, then according to his direction
I can't just let ANYTHING come from this pulpit, because I have a TRUST
I can't just let ANYTHING be taught in our Bible Classes because I have a TRUST
I can't just let ANYTHING be done from one body member to another, because I have a TRUST
I can't just let any expression of worship go unaccountable, because I have a TRUST.
But a Joy of being a Pastor is to be a a Steward entrusted with the Gospel not by the approval of man but by the approval of God
Paul said in 1 Cor 4:2 "it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful."
I MUST be faithful and I must be proven so because of the faith, the trust that God has placed in me requires it.
Another JOY of being a Pastor sounds strange coming from a man but Paul says that "we were gentle among you like a MOTHER caring for her little children"
2. A Mother (7-8)
The word literally is a "nursing mother"
One of the Joys of Being a Pastor is seeing people receive the Gospel with which we have been entrusted and in turn place their TRUST in Jesus and as Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, they are BORN AGAIN
And as 2 Co 5:17 says they are NEW CREATURES
Then it is the joy of the Pastor to
A. NURTURE YOUNG CHILDREN - spiritually
1 Peter 2:2 - "like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation."
1. it is the primary role of the Mother to provide the first nutrients to the young
2. Mother's not only have that task but in general are JEALOUS for that task. i.e. they WANT to feed their child. They want to be sure that their child has what it needs.
3. As a Pastor, I want to be certain that new believers whom God has placed in this body are fed well the milk of the word.
4. Let me encourage you as a new believer to be fed by your Pastor. God has placed me here for that purpose. It is NOT to say that others can't feed you and can't do a good job, but there is a needed connection that comes as the PARENT feeds the child. If someone encourages you to stay away from the feeding of the one God has placed over you, I believe you should be cautious, no you should step away.
B. A Mother's Protection
1. you might think that I sound overprotective - that's because I AM! What good parent does NOT want the best for their child. I know you are GOD's children, but God has allowed me to be an undershepherd and my JOY is to nurture you.
2. I will also make sure that those who feed/teach you within this body will be faithful alongside me to give you the nutrients that you need and that you can receive
1 Corinthians 3:1-4 - "I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it."
3. The mother not only makes sure that the infant, the child is fed, but gets appropriate food.
C. nurture the new believer
1. the mother carries the role of nurturer for the young child,
2. a shoulder to cry on, a hug when needed
3. The primary care giver
4. Obviously the Pastor can't always do everything in this regard, but it is his joy to bear the responsibility and see that it is taken care of
5. A mother is gentle, caring, soft, loving, patient
As the Pastor here is Like a Mother so the
New Believer is - a baby - young child spiritually
But just like a child cannot "hide behind the "apron strings of the mother" forever
Another Joy of the Pastor is like that of a FATHER
3. A Father (9-16)
v 11 - as a Father deals with children - encouraging, comforting, urging to live worthy of God -
It is often the Father that sneaks the child it's FIRST PIECE OF STEAK!
It is the Father who is ready to take off the Training Wheels - even if it means some scraped knees
It is the Father who says things like "let them try it, they'll be alright"
I know I'm generalizing here but you understand there must be a transition in the life of a child growing up.
There is a tough transition for us as Parents in those pre-adolescent years.
In the early years, often times the mother would correct and discipline because perhaps she was softer and the child would receive it better, but there comes a point where often the mother must continue in her role as nurturer, but allow the Father to take the stronger role of SHAPER, in discipline but also in direction.
1. it is a joy of the Pastor to say to a growing believer - "go ahead give it a try"
2. "get back up and try again"
3. "keep your eye on the ball, you can do it"
1. sometimes a bigger shoulder is needed to lean on
2. sometimes the comfort of a Father is not as soft as the comfort of a mother but it is no less needed
3. sometimes the comfort of a Father is "It doesn't hurt as much as you think it does"
4. "welcome to football son" "welcome to the world"
C. Urging to Live Lives Worthy of God
1. when the pre-adolescent or adolescent draws a picture with "stick figures", the Mother may look at it and say "oh that's beautiful, that's a wonderful thank you so much for making this for me" -
2. the FATHER may say "what is this? Is this the best you can do?" -
3. Is the Father uncaring or unloving, NO, he just recognizes that they are CAPABLE of MORE and would rather see them step up
4. The Father wants to see them graduate to the STEAK - He said often to those he wrote "I would LIKE to feed you meat, but I couldn't" what he was saying was GROW UP
5. It is Paul, the spiritual Father, that is speaking in Ephesians 5 when he says …
"be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved you … 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things, God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them… Live as children of the light. … find out what pleases the Lord … Be very careful then, how you live - not as unwise, but as wise"
6. It is the Father that calls the growing child to grow up into who they are in Christ, to begin to allow the outside to catch up with the inside.
It is a JOY of the Pastor to be a Father to protect, and defend those in his Family, to see them grow into meat, to call them to faithfully live as those who are growing up.
V13 - "you received the word of God, which you heard from us, accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe."
Paul wanted to make sure that they understood that he was NOT speaking his own words, but the teaching that he gives, that we have recorded here IS The WORD of God
And it was his JOY to be a Father to them
Finally though it is the Joy of the Pastor to be a …
4. A Brother (17-20)
Paul refers to them again as "brothers" - that's both MEN and WOMEN, it's like "siblings" or "kinsmen"
A Joy of the Pastor was to see those they have been entrusted with GROW up into the Fullness of what God intended.
1. I loved my boys when they were infants who just "cooed" but I wanted them to learn to say "daddy"
2. I loved them when they were crawling babies, but I wanted them to learn to walk
3. I loved them when they were children learning to spell, but I wanted them to read
4. I loved when AJ and Bryan would go play golf with me and they would run up on the green with their little putter and place the ball three inches from the hole and knock it in and say "I got a Hole - in - one" But I wanted to them to learn the joy of hitting a good shot, seeing it soar farther than ever and land softly on the green.
5. I love the stages they are both in now and the young men that they are growing into, I love the fact that they both Love God, and follow God and know how to lead someone to simple faith in Christ
6. BUT I'm longing for another day. I'm longing for the day when we labor TOGETHER. I'm longing for they day when they can be fully ENTRUSTED with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and will SOW the SEED, will be a "mother" spiritually to Spiritual Babies that they can nurture into growing into more mature believers. I'm longing for them to be a Father to disciples that are GROWING up in the Faith and that they might see THOSE same believers grow into BROTHERS and SISTERS, fully grown, co-laborers.
7. I long for that for EACH one of you. NO matter what stage you are in, as you walk with God, I want you to grow up and come alongside me.
serve alongside as disciples grown up into a co-laborer to serve alongside
B. There is a Purpose behind each of the Joys we listed
1. It is that you might grow into a co-laborer, reproducing co-laborers
2. That is the JOY of being a Steward, a Mother, a Father, is to see them become a Brother or Sister, to grow up into what God intended to not only feed themselves, care for themselves, but to do the same thing for others.
To pick up and carry the gospel even through suffering and persecution
To Give birth through the Power of the Holy Spirit to New Believers and Nurture them to growth
To Father/Shepherd them and tell them to get up from the baby's table and start eating meat
To Protect and shape them into who God intends them
to become a Brother/Sister to them as we see them pick up the task and come alongside you
So what is the Joy of THIS Pastor
presented before God, challenged, stretched, grown up, serving alongside of me as a steward, a mother, a father, a brother
You - walking in his likeness, striving, growing, transforming,
V19 - What is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you"
V 20 Indeed YOU - (you) are my glory and joy
You are the Joy in my Service
You are the Treasure I seek
Not that the world may ever know my name
But that they may see Christ in Thee
When someone at work says to you, "you know you've really changed, what is different about you?" Then my joy is full
When someone says, "can you tell me how to have the peace in trials that you have?" Then my joy is full.
When someone comes to faith in Christ because you have shared and they walk this aisle with you confessing Christ. Then my joy is full
When they grow up into one who faithfully follows Christ because you have discipled them, Then my joy is full
When you watch them turn around and make the same changes and the cycle starts over and it happens to the 3rd and 4th generation until, the name of this simple preacher isn't even remembered but Heaven is filled,
Then My JOY is COMPLETE