Daily Devotional – Pray for Ministers

I am working the next couple of days so y’all get the short form again. I thought I would share from my reading of Matthew Henry’s Devotional on prayer. While this devotional is directed specifically at those in the Pulpit it is applicable to all who minister the true uncompromising Holy Word of God and as such we should pray for them too. – Mike

Pray The Bible: Promoting, Encouraging, and Assisting God's People in Biblical Prayer

Pray for the Ministers of God’s Holy Word and Sacraments

Teach your ministers how they ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, 1 Timothy 3:15(ESV) that they may not preach themselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, 2 Corinthians 4:5(ESV) and may do their best to present themselves approved to God, workmen who have no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15(ESV)

Make them competent in the Scriptures, Acts 18:24(ESV) that from them they may be equipped for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:17(ESV) in teaching showing integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned. Titus 2:7-8(ESV)

Enable them to give attendance to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching; to practice these things; 1 Timothy 4:13-15(ESV) to devote themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word; Acts 6:4(ESV) to immerse themselves in them and to persist in them, that they may save both themselves and their hearers. 1 Timothy 4:15-16(ESV)

Let words be given to them in opening their mouths boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, that they may speak as they ought to speak, Ephesians 6:19-20(ESV) as competent ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; 2 Corinthians 3:6(ESV) and let them by the Lord’s mercy be trustworthy. 1 Corinthians 7:25(ESV)

Let the arms of their hands be made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob; Genesis 49:24(ESV) and let them be full of power by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts, Micah 3:8(ESV) to show your people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. Isaiah 58:1(ESV)

Make them sound in the faith, Titus 1:13(ESV) and enable them always to teach what accords with sound doctrine, Titus 2:1(ESV) correcting their opponents with gentleness; and let not the Lord’s servants be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach. 2 Timothy 2:24-25(ESV)

Make them good examples to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity; 1 Timothy 4:12(ESV) and let them purify themselves who bear the vessels of the Lord, Isaiah 52:11(ESV) and let HOLY TO THE LORD be written upon their foreheads. Exodus 28:36(ESV)

Lord, grant that they may not labor in vain or spend their strength for nothing and vanity, Isaiah 49:4(ESV) but let the hand of the Lord be with them, that many may believe and turn to the Lord. Acts 11:21(ESV)

 

Foolish Preaching

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

Porque la palabra de la cruz es locura a los que se pierden; pero a los que se salvan, esto es, a nosotros, es poder de Dios. (RVR 1960)


CONTEXT:

Again depending upon which modern translation or version of the bible you use it may have headings that separate sections with themes. The CSB and ESV for example divide Chapter 1 as follows:

v.1-3 –    Greeting

v.4-9 –    Thanksgiving

v.10-17 – Divisions at Corinth

v.18-25 – Christ the Power and Wisdom of God (ESV goes v.18-31)

v.26-31 – Boasting only in the Lord (CSB only)

In v.10-16 Paul speaks about the infighting among the immature church at Corinth. Urging them to unify in the name of Christ and not Apollos, Cephas or himself. 

The defining statement of this section (v.10-17) can be found in the last verse 17:

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

In setting up verse 18, Paul makes 4 points here in verse 17 that can not be ignored:

1. God did not send him to baptize: Some pastors/churches feel the more folks they baptize the more bodies the add to the roles the more they are doing their job. They place a priority on this over all else. But does this agree with the bible? While the Great Commission  does call for Baptism of Truly converted believers, there is a process many skip over before that.  

2. God did send him to preach: In this specific case Paul is arguing from Ephesians 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; No where does it say and some He gave baptizers :).  Paul understood his duty was to preach and teach the undefiled Gospel Message. The Holy Word of God without error or reservation.

About 2 months before COVID-19 broke, spoke with a Pastor who related how they had about a dozen folks come forward on an alter call this past Sunday and they planned on having a BIG baptismal  ceremony the following Sunday. I remember thinking, seriously what happened to the command to “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:” you are telling me they got that all figured out already? I have been a diligently studying the bible daily for well over 20 years and do not nearly have it. 

3. His preaching was not of his own wisdom: Paul was not to EVER preach in his own wisdom. I can’t recall the number of times I have heard something like ‘I do not need to study, or I do not need any training I will let the Holy Spirit guide me.’  HOGWASH, Paul who wrote most 2/3 of the New Testament, was an Old Testament scholar prior to becoming a Christian and then went and studied for three more years 34 A.D. Travels to Arabia and remains there (Gal 1:17) to 37 A.D. Returns to Damascus then exits the city for safety (Gal 1:17; Acts 9:20-25; 2 Cor 11:32-33)  Goes up to Jerusalem (Acts 9:26-29; Gal 1:18). 

4. So that the Cross of Christ would be glorified: While Paul certainly had to “take up His cross daily” Luke 9:23his preaching was NEVER about himself, it was always Christ centered and Christ glorifying. 


BREAKDOWN: 

For the preaching of the cross: Again it is Christ’s Cross that must be preach, boldly and without error. Note from v.17 above that God does not demand fancy “wisdom words” the AMP version uses “clever and eloquent speech” what is important is that a CLEAR, and FULL doctrine of Salvation The Complete Gospel Message is preached and taught

is to them that perish foolishness; it is to be taught knowing that some will reject it. In fact the Greek word here used for fool has its root where we get our English word MORON. Someone who is completely mindless and incapable of making a right decision. To them those who preach and teach the “True authentic” Gospel look like idiots.  

One of the biggest oppositions to covenant theology heard is that God has ordain who will be saved so why bother evangelizing and preach at all? Because the bible makes it clear man, apart from Christ is a fool and no man even in Christ and distinguish whom God will effectually call to His kingdom with His amazing Grace. 

but unto us which are saved it is the power of God: To those being saved the Cross is truly powerful for it changes ones life forever 2 Corinthians 5:17

To those of us who are saved, the preaching [and teaching] of the Gospel, has a similar effect. We are driven by Paul’s words in Romans 10 

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

To us the Good News of Christ’s Blood Atonement at Calvary, His life, death, resurrection is power. Again we are like Paul from Romans 1:15-16 AMP So, for my part, I am ready and eager to preach the gospel… 16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in Christ as Savior], to the Jew first and also to the Greek.


APPLICATION:

Not matter what others think of us we like Paul should never be ashamed of the Good News of Christ. We should take every opportunity to share the Gospel message, but also like Paul being able to do so not in our own wisdom but through careful and diligent study 2 Timothy 2:15 AMP  Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.

 

 

Called to Minister., Really?

So you think you have the call to the ministry. Are you sure? Have you really checked all the boxes on the checklist. God has some very strict expectations and standards for His servants in this capacity. Should it be anything less, after all is you are a Pastor/Elder He has given you charge (care) of His flock (local church).

Logos.com

We as believers know that we are not exempt from judgement (2 Corinthians 5:10) but how much more so will God judge those who teach the Holy Word of God? With all the false teachings being spewed from pulpits today many have nothing to look forward to but the wrath of God come judgement day.

Image result for James 3:1

Below is an article and audio file from John Piper on the subject

How Are Teachers Judged More Strictly?

Other Resources:

How Does a Man Know if He is Called to Pastoral Ministry?

Lessons Learned as I Wait to be Called as a Pastor

Only Men May be Pastors