Summary: If a pastor’s heart is true, what will the hearts of true believers do in responding to God through the ministry of a pastor?


sermon ministry of


Thomasville, NC


October 19, 2003


6Now Timothy has just returned, bringing the good news that your faith and love are as strong as ever. He reports that you remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us just as much as we want to see you. 7So we have been greatly comforted, dear brothers and sisters, in all of our own crushing troubles and suffering, because you have remained strong in your faith. 8It gives us new life, knowing you remain strong in the Lord.

9How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy in the presence of God. 10Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill up anything that may still be missing in your faith.

11May God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus make it possible for us to come to you very soon. 12And may the Lord make your love grow and overflow to each other and to everyone else, just as our love overflows toward you. 1 Thessalonians 3:6-12 (NLT)

Last week¡¦s message focused on the heart of a pastor, and we did that which we all did to the frog in high school biology ¡V we opened up the pastor and looked inside his heart. We saw four items beating there in the heart of a good friend of mine, the evangelist/pastor/apostle named Paul. We saw:

„Ã need for co-workers to share a burden for reaching others

„Ã worry or concern for the spiritual health of the flock

„Ã prayer of gratitude and joy, hoping to bring them along in Christ

„à and benediction, that their love might grow and purify them into God¡¦s choice flock.

One thing I did not say last week is how that stuff got inside the Pastor¡¦s heart. That is because I wanted to say it this week in connection with revisiting the same passage. The need, worry, prayer and benediction in a true Pastor¡¦s heart were put there by God for the flock. They were put there so the Pastor can lead the congregation of God¡¦s people to respond appropriately to God (not the pastor) in a way that allows the church to function as the body of Christ.

Today we want to re-visit parts of that same passage; we will have another re-visit next week. We do this because there are other needful parts for us to see in this important text. We are going to look inside the heart of believers who are responding well to God on those four issues.

Here is the main point today:

Just like plants need a rich soil to grow and produce well, the church needs the right atmosphere or spirit in order to function as God¡¦s people ¡V that condition is unity in the Spirit.

Now, it is important to understand two important facts about the condition of unity in the Spirit.

„Ã Fact Number One ¡V Unity in the Spirit does not mean conformity. Conformity is where we all do exactly the same, like parts stamped by a machine, rolling off an assembly line. We are individuals, and, as such we have different personalities, likes and dislikes. Unity is when we take note of our differences and make certain we act in a way to blend together for the good of the Kingdom. It takes kindness, graciousness and humility to act like that.

„Ã Fact Number Two ¡V Unity in the Spirit is not the center of the target; it is a condition we have to work at preserving in order to get to the target. It is hard work.

3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3

¡§Endeavouring¡¨ is a word which indicates hard labor. It is not easy to blend people together. More and more we are a ¡§melting pot¡¨ of different cultures in this world, brought together (sometimes thrown together) by a shrinking globe. People move from North to South, East to West. Families are more mobile than ever. The culture clash is more than just religions; it is generation gaps, styles, worldview, language and much more. These things can very easily divide us if we let them.

Young people, for instance, need to understand that older folks are a wealth of wisdom ¡V you can¡¦t get that wisdom by shutting-down the conversation. In the same way older people need to make room for those who are coming along. Northern-born and bred folks need to remember that Southern customs and ways are different, and not everything lives and dies on the way things are done ¡§up-there¡¨. And our Southern-born and bred need to accept the fact that God actually does love some Northerners. We all have our contribution to the Kingdom. Condescending is not humble, no matter what you hide it behind!

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