Summary: Paul was both a shepherd and a scholar. Loving care mixed with solid deep teaching is still God’s ideal environment for Christian maturity.
The Shepherd Scholar
1. A pastor, known for his lengthy sermons, noticed a man get up and leave during the middle of his message. The man returned just before the conclusion of the service. Afterwards the pastor asked the man where he had gone.
"I went to get a haircut," was the reply.
"But," said the pastor, "why didn't you do that before the service?"
"Because," the gentleman said, "I didn't need one then."
2. If you have ever been to different churches, you notice that some sermons at some churches can be very short. Different pastors have different approaches to their role.
3. Different models of the pastoral role. Most pastors are some of all the models, but more so one than the other: CEO, Professional, Preacher, Shepherd or Shepherd Scholar (ongoing student of Scripture and theology).
4. Mega-church pastors are CEOs with large staffs and the church follows the corporate model; preachers are amazing speakers in high demand and build the church around their oratory ability; professionals are about professional development, professional conduct, and professional distance from those whom they lead; shepherds are with the people and watch over the people, while shepherd-scholars are involved with the people but put at least an equal emphasis on being continuous students of the Scriptures and theology.
5. Although every pastor should be professional at times, an executive at other times, the best preacher he can be, and a shepherd, my conviction is that the Shepherd Scholar model is the one most reflected in Scripture.
Main Idea: Paul was both a shepherd and a scholar. Loving care mixed with solid deep teaching is still God’s ideal environment for Christian maturity.
I. Paul As Shepherd: A Heart to Heart EXPLANATION: If You Care about Us, Why Haven’t You Visited Us? (8-15)
A Paul was ecstatic about their good REPUTATION (8).
1. The church at Rome was strategically located church; lived up to their calling
2. We should rejoice when we hear of Christians serving the Lord…competitive/status
B. The problem was not Paul’s WILLINGNESS to visit them (9-12).
1. Have you ever had to cancel or miss something, and offended others?
2. Love demonstrated by intense prayer trying to succeed
3. Wanting to bless and teach them and wanted to be blessed by them.
C. Paul had REASONS why he had not yet visited them (13-15).
1. Prevented; Sea travel ended in winter; churches had turmoil; it took money; health.
2. Eager to impact the city, the capital and epicenter, for Christ; that was his calling.
3. He would make it to Rome one day, but in bonds (Acts 28:16)
4. Obligated, Isaac Watts, ““But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe. Here, Lord, I give myself away, ’tis all that I can do.”
II. Paul As Scholar: Teach Us About the GOSPEL Like You Teach Others (16-17)
A. The Gospel is nothing to be ASHAMED about (16a).
The Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ with an emphasis on the idea that God the Son became a man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to atone for our sins and rose again.
Tony Evans describes some of us as “Sunday submarines.”
“Steven Kryger writes about his experience visiting Christians in Iraq. He writes, “In the heartland of violent anti-Christian extremism, I was confronted with how openly and unashamedly Christians are displaying their allegiance to Jesus. Crosses are everywhere. They dangle from rearview mirrors. They hang on bracelets around wrists. They stand tall, fixed to the top of houses…. Less than 14km from the merciless armies of ISIS .. just minutes from people who wouldn’t think twice about burning them alive, Christians were proudly choosing to communicate “I am with Him.” (John Dobbs, Sermoncentral)
Midrash? Isaiah 29:22,24, Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob shall no more be ashamed… And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmur will accept instruction.”
B. It is the power of God for SALVATION (16b).
1) Powerful (dunamis); God’s dynamite. When you share the gospel, you are holding a stick of dynamite.
• Talmud taught about power for all people in the Ten Commandments: R. Johanan said: What is meant by the verse, The Lord giveth the word: They that publish the tidings are a great host? — Every single word that went forth from the Omnipotent was split up into seventy languages. The School of R. Ishmael taught: And like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces., just as a hammer is divided into many sparks, so every single word that went forth from the Holy One, blessed be He, split up into seventy languages. [Shabbat 88b]
2) The message of the Gospel is described here as powerful & bringing salvation.