Summary: We've covered prophecy, serving, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy, the messages of wisdom and knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, discernment, tongues, apostle and evangelism. We finish the serieswith pastor and administration.
GIFTED (part eleven)
We've come to the end of our spiritual gifts series. We've covered many gifts on our journey: prophecy, serving, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy, the message of wisdom and the message of knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, discerning between the spirits, speaking in and interpreting tongues, apostleship and evangelism. Today we look at our final two gifts-pastor and administration.
Eph. 4:11, "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists and some to be pastors and teachers."
This is the only place where the word pastor occurs. Pastor means shepherd. A shepherd takes care of his flock. He nourishes it, watches over it and protects it from harm. And if one strays away he goes and looks for it. And if it falls and lands on its back and can't right itself the shepherd will turn it over and get it on its feet again. If the sheep gets injured he tends to its wounds.
As a shepherd does these things for his herd of sheep, a pastor does the same for the sheep of the church. The pastor is to lead, nourish, oversee, protect and care for the flock. A pastor has the ability to promote spiritual growth. Typically a pastor also has the ability to teach and preach. But a teacher (and sometimes a preacher too, don't necessarily possess the pastoral gift).
And when we go on in Eph. 4 we see the purpose for these gifts. 12-16, "to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
In these verses we see some things that a pastor does for his flock. He prepares God's people for works of service. That's probably the main reason I've done this series. Knowing your spiritual gift helps to prepare you for works of service. You don't have to be gifted to serve but knowing how you're gifted will aide and equip you to be able to move in a specific direction.
That's what I want everyone to consider. There are plenty of people who are using their gifts and serving where needed. But there are others who could be doing better at that. And I'm sure there are some of you that haven't really thought much about it or have dismissed the topic for various reasons. Hopefully this series has helped you to be more proactive in either finding out what your gift is or using the gift you have.
Another function of a pastor is to promote unity. Paul highlights how important the body is and how we all need to work together and build each other up and hold each other up. We need to strengthen one another and support one another. A pastor will be clear that we were not meant to fly solo. We are all individuals but we survive as a group.
Just like the analogy of taking one ember out of the fire causes it to grow cold so the same will happen if I decide to separate myself from the flock. If I pull away from God's people I will spiral downward (or continue to since if I'm pulling away I've already started my downward spiral). In order for the church to function as a body it needs to be a collective effort-all hands on deck.
A pastor also inspires the flock to gain knowledge and to grow and mature so they would be full in Christ. A growing Christian is one who is reaching their potential. Two weeks ago I shared 2nd Pet. 1:3 that said God's divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. And the purpose of this power is to use it to grow and be full in the things of Christ.
2nd Pet. 1:5-8, "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."