Sermons

Summary: Pastor's are responsible to prepare themselves to present theology, making it a joy to the flock.

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” [1]

For the average Christian, the study of theology appears to be about exciting as watching grass grow. That is a shame; knowledge of the Holy One and the study of His work in the world that He created should be more exciting than anything we could ever imagine. Annie Dillard has written, “On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of the conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies' straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake some day and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.” [2] When we worship, we are coming into the presence of the Living God! He is wild, unpredictable, exciting enough to make the head spin while taking away our breath!

That we are not awed by knowledge of the Holy One testifies to the intensity of our focus on the things that must pass away with this dying world. We live for just one more day so that we can perform some duty or continue the routine we have carefully crafted for ourselves, unconscious of the fact that as those who are born from above we are standing in the presence of the Living God. We Christians have living within our bodies the One who declared Jesus to be the Son of God by raising Him from the dead [see ROMANS 1:4].

We who believe in the Risen Christ of Glory are now living in the presence of Him who conquered death and who has brought us life and given us immortality [see 2 TIMOTHY 1:10]. We followers of the Christ have immediate access to the throne of Him “who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” [see ROMANS 4:7]. Coming before His holy presence we should be prepared to be transformed. That we are not so prepared testifies to our preoccupation with the death we call “life.”

If members of the flock are not prepared to be transformed, it may well be the fault of the Pastor. Of all people, pastors are responsible to be theologically perceptive; they are constantly to strive to inform themselves of the nature of God and to exalt the work of Christ the Son of God in securing salvation. Pastors are to labour in the Word, accurately dividing the Word, so that the people will be awed by the majesty, the grandeur, the glory of the True and Living God.

Never has it been more critical that the Pastor function as the church’s theologian than in these days near the end of the Age of Grace. As ominous clouds forebodingly presage the Laodicean Era, the need for the Pastor to speak boldly and clearly grows more urgent all the while. It seems as if many are drawing back, succumbing to the siren call to be those pitiful creatures that Paul describes in the text—teachers to suit the passions of those to whom they speak. Pastor and parishioner have complementary roles to play to ensure that the truth is declared. First in importance is the need for the Pastor to be the church’s theologian.

THE MESSENGER AND THE MESSAGE — “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word.” The pastor must not have a private agenda. He is appointed by God as a herald. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul speaks of himself as a preacher. In his first missive to Timothy, Paul wrote “There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth” [1 TIMOTHY 2:5-7].

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