God's Plan For The Preacher

Bible Book: 2 Timothy  4 : 1-5
Subject: Ordination; Preacher; Judgment
[Editor's Note: I surrendered to preach fifty years ago - in May of 1968 - and God has been faithful to me through these years. The following is a sermon I preached for the ordination of a young man who surrendered to the ministry back in the 1980s. Also, this can be delivered to the church so they understand the preacher's heart in preaching God's Word. The message involves persistent service to the end. I trust it will bless you and perhaps help you as you have the opportunity to ordain a preacher in the future. Dr. J. Mike Minnix]
Introduction

Paul's words to young Timothy fit very well with a special word to another young Timothy tonight. As you are ordained, my brother, it is important for you to know God's plan for you ministry. We are called by the Lord and we are to follow according to His plans.

Preachers are consummate planners. They are constantly planning something for the church, especially the sermons and Bible studies that must be taught each week. They plan for revivals, holiday services, committee meetings, and on the list could go on and on. Certainly there is nothing wrong with planning, for if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. Even God planned to send His Son in the fullness of time, and he planned that gift of His Son, we are told in the Bible, before the foundation of the earth. To be sure, the preacher will fail unless he realizes that the most important plan is God's plan for his ministry.

Note with me some things which Paul shared with young Timothy regarding his work for Christ.

I. Note Whom the Preacher Must Please

There is a great temptation in the preacher’s life to please people. All of us desire to be loved, liked and appreciated. Only foolish people act in ways to purposely irritate others. But, the preached must be careful when it comes to those he seeks to please.

A. Not your Co‑workers

It is not the job of the preacher to make all those around him in the work of God to be pleased with Him. One of Paul’s co-workers was Timothy, but it was necessary at times for Paul to correct Timothy and to be straightforward with him. We must never be proud, or have a desire to push people around, but the preacher must not seek favor with everyone at the expense of the truth or at the expense of hindering the on-going work of the Lord.

B. Not your Congregation

Certainly no pastor can please everyone in his congregation. Most Baptist have different opinions about things and some have more than one opinion in their own mind. No pastor is going to do things to purposely upset his church members, unless he has a mental or emotional problem, but he must never shirk the responsibility to be frank and strong in his leadership.

A preacher who loves his congregation will find that he can lead without causing great problems. Of course, some people can be impossible to please, so don’t try to do that to start with – you will fail every time.

C. Only Christ!

You will give an account one day to Jesus Christ for the ministry you have performed. He alone will judge your works and you must work daily to walk with Him, present Him, honor Him and please Him. Jesus knows all that you are going through and He can give you the strength to do the work He has called you to do. However, He does not promise to give you the strength to do a work He has not called you to do. So, remain close to Him and seek to please Him in all you do and say.

Now, let’s see something else in the minister’s work….

II. Note What the Preacher Must Preach

One of the most difficult tasks a preacher must face is that of having a word from God week after week. It looks easy to the church member when the preacher stands up to speak, but only the preacher knows the spiritual war faced in preparing and delivering God’s Word. The following truths will help you.

A. The Scriptures

Preach the Word! There are more sermons in the Bible than any man can preach in three lifetimes. Study the Word of God and allow God to speak to you through it. Make it a part of your life day unto day. Don’t study just to preach, but study to get close to God. He will reveal things to you that you do not know.

B. The Seasons

Be careful to know the seasons for sermons to be delivered. Sometimes people need uplifting and at other times they need to have a 'come to Jesus' moment. Think of the following…

1. Doctrine

When we preach doctrine, we are merely telling people the truth about what God says regarding spiritual truth. The late Billy Graham, for example, was gifting at preaching the doctrine of salvation. It didn’t sound like that was what he was doing, but it was the kind of peaching he was called to deliver. People came to Christ in great numbers because he obeyed his calling. A pastor is called to cover the doctrines of scripture in his preaching. He can’t be like an evangelist and preach only salvation sermons every week – though any sermon can lead a person to Christ. I've seen people come to Christ when I preached on tithing! You must consider the doctrines that need to be shared with the people God has placed in your church and under your care as an undershepherd.

2. Reproof

At times the preacher must call sin by its name and rebuke Satan’s work in the lives of the members. This is not a preaching style that calls for hateful language or flaring nostrils, but rather needs to come from the heart of God to the heart of the preacher and to the heart of the hearer. Pointing out the will and way of God for His people is the preacher's task. He cannot shirk his responsibility in this matter. Be sure of this, no pastor will be successful if he sees his task as one of 'beating up' God's people all the time.

3. Correction

It is not enough to tell people what is right (doctrine) and what they are doing that is wrong (reproof for sin), for the path to correction needs to be stated. The preacher must share the correct path and not only to tell people the wrong path. This is such an important part of the preaching of God's Word to a congregation. Many pastors have been greatly used because they knew how to help people learn the proper way to love, serve and live for Christ.

Think of an example of the issue of correction. It is not enough to tell people that they ought to pray. Many Christians have a difficult time with prayer. Just think of how helpful it can be for the pastor to preach a sermon or a series of sermons on how to pray - what prayer does - how God's answers prayer - how to pray in different circumstances - the prayerlife of great believers in the Bible - etc. Correction involves showing the correct path to God's people.

4. Encouragement (in righteousness)

If we preach the truth of the Word (doctrine), the reproof of failure, the path to correction, then we must teach our people how to avoid committing the same sins again and again. We must encourage them in righteousness. God’s people need to be encouraged with truths that reveal how victory comes from obedient, faithful and loving service to Christ.

In essence, the Word of God …

i. Tells us what is right (doctrine),
ii. Tells us when we are wrong (reproof),
iii. Tells us how to get it right again (correction), and
iv. Tells us how to keep it right (encourgement in righteousness).

Preach in this manner and God will greatly use you in His service.

Let me hasten, to the third and last thing I believe the Lord wants you to hear on this night of your ordination to the ministry…

III. Note Why the Preacher Must Persist

You must know that a calling of God is a lifelong calling. It is not for a day, or a month, but for a lifetime. It requires that you not give up when the way becomes difficult – for I can tell you that it will become an uphill climb at times.

A. Audience

Paul tells us that the people will not always put up with sound doctrine. You cannot give up just because someone does not believe the Word of God. Persistence in preaching truth is a requirement of the minister of God. You must live out God's Word and preach God's Word even if others are not doing it and don't even believe it.

Sadly, people tend to 'drift' when it comes to knowing, believing and doing what is right. We can see this in Christian denominations all over the world. The Bible becomes just another book, rather than being the divinely inspired Word of God. Behavior that is abhorred by God are slowly but surely accepted in the church. The preacher is to be the one who stands to preach the truth of God's Word, regardless of how it might rub some people the wrong way. An evangelist of some fame years ago was told by a person that his preaching was not accepted well. The individual said that he was rubbing the cat the wrong way. The evangelist said, "I'm not the one who is wrong. Lady, you just need to turn the cat around!"

B. Attitude

Be assured that you must watch your attitude, for a wrong attitude will hinder your effectiveness. Some preachers begin to act like the people who treat them badly. You are to be God’s servant and your attitude must be forceful but loving, strong but kind, and tough but tender. Persist in building your life from the character of Christ.

C. Adversity

No preacher ever served God without facing adversity. Problems are the schoolroom of faithfulness in the ministry. Many preachers look at the great preachers who are well known and think how easy they have it. If you only knew the trials and temptations they face, it would change your mind. No, you must realize that adversity is used by God to teach you and grow you in His image and His work. Since our Lord faced adversity, do you think that you are better than your Lord? You must persevere through heartaches and hardships to serve God.

Sometimes you can cause your own problems. God knows you are not perfect and you can be sure that the people you serve know that as well. One night in a revival a leader in the church came under conviction, and he jumped up and said out loud, "I am a rotten sinner and I never knew it till right now!" A voice came from someone in the church saying, "Sit down brother, we knew it all the time."

If you fail or falter, don't give up. Get right with God and God's people, and then go on with the work God has given you to do.

D. Awful Condition of Lost People

Think of the lost and their plight. Remember that you are an ambassador for Christ. Read 2 Corinthians 5:10 through the remainder of the chapter once every month to remind yourself of the coming judgment and the great role God has given you in His work. This will help you keep your eyes on Jesus, your heart open to a lost world and your mind fixed on God's Word.

Conclusion

I read somewhere of a missionary was coming home from a hard tour of duty in a dangerous part of the world. His hours had been unbearably long and his work without a lot of fruit. The ship he was on was carry a US president who had been on a safari to hunt wild animals. When they reached the shore of America, the president was greeted by roaring, applauding supporters. A band played as he left the ship and he was carried away in a limousine to the White House.

The missionary walked down the gangplank and no one was there to greet him. He walked with his bag to a cheap hotel and checked in. He went to his room and in tears and prayed, “O God, the president goes off hunting and gets such a great, public welcome when he arrives home. I have been off serving you for years and no one is here to meet me. I don’t understand this world.”

Just them, it is as if the Lord speaks to missionary and says, “My child, you don’t understand, the president is at home but you are not home yet. I will greet you when you finish your work for me!”

The Lord will greet you one day, my brother, so be true to Him. Don’t look for the applause of the world. Be faithful and loyal, and you can sure of a grand homecoming one day in the not too distant future.

The songwriter penned,

“What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
When I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace.
When he takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, Wonderful day that will be!”

Keep on being faithful to you get home. Preach the Word in season, out of season. God will never forsake you, so be sure that you do not forsake Him!