The Gift of the Pastor - Part 3
THE PASTOR'S WORD
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Every son of God has a witness of the truth (the voice of the Chief Shepherd) on the inside. Thus, the pastor's voice must be the Lord's. It is God that must speak to His people through the pastor (Is 54:13). It is a holy life and the comprehension, belief, embracing, and regurgitation of the mystery of Christ that ensures that God speaks through the Pastor.
And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
It is the pastor's knowledge of the mystery of Christ that the sheep feed on.
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
This is such a splendid analogy and description of the pastor's ministry. After someone receives the Holy Ghost the responsibility of the shepherd is to find pasture for the sheep and to lead them there so they can feed. I mentioned earlier that the pasture that the sheep feed on is the pastor's knowledge of the mystery of Christ, which has been passed on to them by their apostle. Inside the mystery of Christ are certain doctrines that serve as boundaries for the sheep's grazing. They are listed below.
1. The Doctrine of Oneness with God - The reality that salvation has joined us to the Lord, thus making us one with Him. This gives us the power and nature of righteousness.
2. The Doctrine of Faith - The teaching that there is a faith that is beyond belief, but it is the operation of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer, causing them to walk daily by His leading and know that if they do they will have hold of eternal life and a new body (things unseen).
3. The Doctrine of Suffering - The revelation that it is appointed to every son of God to suffer, and that by the same they may be counted worthy of the kingdom and anointing of Christ.
4. The Doctrine of Purpose - The reality that both men, angels and devils learn the wisdom of God by witnessing the church and their obedience to God. Thus if the church submits to purpose they will obey God without murmuring, they will show forth the handiwork of God in them and their end will be to receive the exceedingly precious rewards of the Kingdom.
These 4 doctrines encompass all other doctrines. These doctrines are pastures from which the sheep feed. It is the pastor's responsibility to lead the sheep "in and out" meaning from doctrine to doctrine, thus, ensuring a nutritional spiritual diet for the people. It is this grazing that will give the sheep stability and will cause them to be raised in both holiness and in their own ministry.
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
A pastor cares for the sheep till they see the perfect manifestation of Christ before their eyes Once, this is accomplished those that are perfected will begin to work ministry according to their calling thus giving their supply to the Body of Christ. It should be the mission of the pastor to cultivate the people to such a place of holiness that they can be dispersed to the rest of the Body according to their measure to edify it.
Responsibilities of a Shepherd
And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
Below are some responsibilities of a Shepherd of sheep, used as an analogy to explain the responsibilities of a Pastor.
Feed - As mentioned above the pastor is the one responsible for the spiritual diet of the people.
Keep Warm/Cool - This gives the sheep comfort. In the Spirit, this comfort is equated to a son of God walking in their nature of righteousness. It is the Pastor's responsibility to bring the people to a place where there is no strain on their walk of righteousness. They must be brought to and kept at the place where they walk righteously without thinking about it. Righteousness must feel comfortable for them.
Thus, even as a shepherd moves the sheep (in and out) to places of comfort, so must the pastor ensure that the people are moved to a place of comfort and relaxation in the Spirit. They do so by moving the people from revelation to revelation, from boundary to boundary (of the faith), and allowing them to feed.
Inoculate - This means to vaccinate an animal (or person) from a disease. Thus, it is through the spiritual diet, confrontation (rebuke), edification, and encouragement that the Pastor ensures that the people are immune to sin.
Tend to - The pastor is to also oversee the wellbeing of individuals both spiritually and naturally. Even as a shepherd cares for the sheep, so must the Pastor. God gives the pastor wisdom to help the sheep navigate through their situations of life. Sometimes a sheep finds himself stuck in a precarious position, thus God gives wisdom to the pastor on how to bring them to stability.
Pastors are to bring ease to the spiritual walk of the people. They should never have to look for any spiritual substance, instead, it should be brought to them. Thankfully in these days technology has allowed spiritual meat to be easily accessible. So, a pastor can easily point it's sheep to apostolic manna with the click of a link.
Heal - This falls under tending to the sheep, however, there are times when the sheep enter the fold with previous hurt or mindsets. It is the responsibility of the Pastor through the teaching of the mystery of Christ, and godly confrontation (Gal 6:1), to break those mindsets out of the people. Thus, healing them from unforgiveness or any mindset that will hinder them spiritually. Sometimes, it may take a while for someone to break free of a disposition, but it is the pastor who must continue to minister until they do.
Keep - The pastor must keep the sheep within the boundaries of the faith i.e. inside of the will of God. Thus, they must ensure that the people do not hear mixed messages of false doctrines, but to keep them only in the pastures that God has ordained. Also, when one goes astray it is the pastor's responsibility to restore them. No matter the disposition of an individual the pastor is expected to love and bear that person all the way till Christ is formed in them; even if their negative disposition is towards the pastor.
Protect - Often dangers come in the lives of the sheep. It is the shepherd's responsibility to protect the sheep from these dangers. Sometimes the dangers are a decision being made, or a path an individual is heading on. It is the pastor's job then to minister the wisdom and counsel of the Spirit. It is important to note that the pastor should not control the sheep but constantly and consistently speak the truth to them in love. It is then up to the people to choose to obey God.
Yes, dangers can be situations or circumstances, but sometimes danger can be a wolf. The pastor must protect the people from individuals whose intention is to destroy the spirituality of the fold. Yes the gospel is for all, and the gospel must be ministered to the wolf as well, but satan also uses his ministers to turn the people from righteousness.
The pastor at the church in Thyatira (Rev 2), allowed the spirit of Jezebel to run rampant in the church. God said He had an issue with the fact that the pastor allowed this to happen. He also said that He gave her a space to repent, but seeing that she would not, he has appointed her to judgment. Thus, it would have been to the pastor's praise if he forbad that spirit of Jezebel from having her way.
8 The Lord God, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.
9 All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest.
10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.
12 Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.
This is a sad reality but one that has to be mentioned. So many who have called themselves pastors are not. They do not have a heart for the spiritual safety of the people, but instead, they are injurious and greedy. Their focus is on maintaining an offering that will fatten their pockets.
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
The focus of ministers should never be money, but to present God with a holy habitation, by the giving of their supply of the Spirit. However, it is common knowledge that money is needed to finance ministry, moreover, the ministers themselves need to be financed. Here is how Jesus and Paul dealt with these matters.
And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
In the case that a minister has left their profession to serve the church, it is only conscionable that the church helps that minister survive. However, the minister should never walk in a spirit of entitlement. The heart should be here, "If the people give they give, if they don't they don't, because I did not come to be served but to serve." Always remember it is the Lord that takes care of you, and He already promised you food and raiment if you obey Him. So take no thought on these things.
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.
15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
There was a point that the Philippian church lost concern for Paul's wellbeing. They eventually regained it but just didn't get the chance to show it. However, note that Paul's response was that He was not addressing the matter out of a lustful heart or a spirit of entitlement (want) because he had learned to be content in whatever state He finds himself in. This is where many fail to go. They fear contentment. However, a minister must learn to be abased, in order to be proven of God.
Nevertheless, the church's lack of care for Paul was a revelation of their spiritual disposition, hence it was a good thing that they cared once more. Hence, his statement in verse 18, saying that because they gave the gift, they have offered to God a sweet-smelling sacrifice of spirituality. Nevertheless, whether they did or not Paul was more concerned about their heavenly bank account (verse 17).
Moreover, it should never be in the heart of a pastor to rob a church. Do not take more than you need, but put the people before you. Evil "pastors" have absolutely no care for the people, they seek only their profit and their preeminence. From such pastors flee.
PASTORS VS BISHOPS VS DEACONS
Bishop - episkopos epi - above, skopos - looking. episkopos - overseer
Deacon - diakonos - diacon - servant.
Both the Bishop and the Deacon are offices as opposed to gifts. By this, I mean that one can simply desire this post and be ordained to it, as opposed to it being a spiritual gift. The posts require certain qualifications however that are listed in 1 Timothy 3.
A Bishop's responsibility is to oversee multiple churches and by doing so ensure that the order of God according to apostolic doctrine and commandment is flourishing in the churches they oversee. Thus, the bishopric, interacts directly with the pastorate, ensuring that the pastors have all they need for their church to flourish. The bishop must be apt to teach, therefore must have a healthy understanding of the mystery of Christ and its boundaries. He must also be of impeccable character.
A deacon, on the other hand, is someone ordained to serve in such a manner that ensures that the natural needs of the people are taken care of. An example of this is in Acts 6:1-6, where the widows were not receiving the daily serving of food. Therefore 7 deacons were ordained to handle this matter so that the apostles could focus on the word and prayer.
A deacon must know and be able to teach the mystery of Christ and is called as a right-hand help to the pastor. They must be sinless, blameless, and of impeccable character. They must be bold in the faith that whatever is needed (even if it needs to come by way of a miracle) the deacon can perform it.
Apostle Kareem Flowers
Sunrise with Jesus