To acknowledge God’s servants
1 Thessalonians 5:12-15; 10/03/2021; BCBC/IOUC; Rev. Paul Wang
Usually, pastors don’t often preach about this kind of sermon, why? Because it seems to be complimenting oneself, even asking people to respect, will it? However, when the Lord’s word comes, the first mission of the servant of God is to handle the word of truth correctly. Pray for mercy and help from God, let us think about how to respect God’s servants together. We look at the first point:
Because of the work they do
If you look far away, the ministers are more perfect; if you look up close, it’s no different from ordinary people, will it? First of all, get to know God’s servant correctly. The minister is also a human, do you agree? Realizing this is actually not easy, and it is usually easier to polarize. One is to equate the minister with God. Even if they are not, they are similar to God’s perfection, strength, no dead ends, and no weakness. So, of course 7 x 24 is the pastor’s timetable, right? Call the pastor in the middle of the night, it is “standard”. If the pastor says he is tired, it means that he is not a true pastor, at least he is not suitable to be a pastor! Second, after gradually getting acquainted with the pastor, the relationship has become closer, and the respect has disappeared, the politeness has disappeared, and the judgment and criticism have increased.
Second, focus on his work. In fact, what we need to focus on is the work done by the preacher. Why? Because this is God’s entrustment to him, and it is also the connection point between brothers and sisters and the pastor: in fact, we are all God’s work! The most important task of a preacher is the word of God, which usually focuses on Sunday preaching, Sunday school, and discipleship, right? The point is not how he speaks, but the wonder of God, that He can use such an unworthy servant to speak the word of God! The question is what God said to you through the pastor? Any advice? Any insights? Where to repent? Where to renew? Therefore, focusing on his work is essentially seeing God’s work on you! Seeing that the Lord behind the pastor’s life is the core of our relationship with the pastor, have you caught it?
Finally, love, respect and harmony. It’s not easy to do the first two points, right? If you are still willing to go one step further and love your pastor, pastor’s wife, and minister, then you really have the heart of Jesus Christ! Paul’s exhortation is to respect them with love, which is somewhat unusual. The usual principle of interpersonal relationships is respect first and love second. Because without respect, how can there be love? This is how Paul uses the word “extraordinarily” to express this double respect. When Paul exhorted Timothy, he said: The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17) Or, without doubling, just love your pastor and minister, are you willing? Or, if love is difficult, at least it can start with a harmonious relationship, can it? Let’s look at the second point:
Because they warned you
Sometimes the last thing pastors and ministers are willing to do is to supervise and warn others. First, we are all graced sinners. Yes, because we believe in Jesus Christ, we are free from the bondage of sin and enter the salvation of God’s grace. However, before the Lord’s return, we are saved, but we are not in perfect condition. In other words, we will still be overcome by sin, stumbled, and weak, right? Paul also said: Who can save us from this dead body! We really have nothing to brag about! Since this is the case, why do you say that you will not fall? What biblical basis do you have that you do not need to be supervised? If no one needs to be supervised, then why does God have a supervisory role in the church? Could it be that God is superfluous? Or is God not as wise as you? Would it be better to be humble, so as not to provoke God’s wrath, okay?
Secondly, vigilance is a signal of God’s mercy. Most people don’t like to be warned, do they? The best thing is that I don’t follow the rules. nobody noticed, or people didn’t say a word. God walked in the Garden of Eden and asked: “Where are you?” ， Then he left, because he couldn’t see Adam and Eve hiding under the fig tree. Will we all have this mentality? In fact, the person being warned is God’s mercy to him, do you know? A church I used to pastor sent a warning to a brother. Although the result is not as expected, at least he has not committed the same sin for so many years. It is also God’s mercy to him! Dear brothers and sisters, when you are scolded by the pastor and warned by the church, you should think it is the mercy of God! The most pitiful thing is God’s resignation, that is, no one will point out your faults in the future!
Finally, patience is a portrayal of the relationship between God and man. It is often a painful experience when the church enforces discipline and issues vigilance. To go through the process of confession, repentance, and restoration of relationships, it requires patience among individuals, the church, and God. God has patience with us, which is familiar to all of us. In fact, we are a three-dimensional relationship of mutual tolerance, you know? We are also patient with God! Why haven’t you come back for so long? I waited for you for more than two thousand years! right? We are all being patient with God’s return! We are also patient with each other, right? So many ministries need to be perfected, so many shortcomings need to be made up! The pastor and his wife are also suffering from the same problem. When will it be corrected? However, the church, pastor, minister and co-workers are also patient with you! Don’t you know? Let’s look at the third point:
Because they treat you kindly
There is no perfect church in the world, there is no perfect pastor, Of course, you are not perfect either, do you agree? The church also seems to be a hospital. The Lord Jesus is the great doctor, and we are all patients. He came to the church to receive His treatment. First, the pastor encourages the discouraged. The main symptom of a patient is weakness and frustration, right? If Jesus is a doctor, then the role of the pastor is probably a medical assistant, or a nurse, bringing people to the Lord. A good counselor usually initiates the patient’s initiative to face the disease, rather than replacing the patient’s willingness. The pastor’s encouragement, exhortation, and intercession are also for the purpose of bringing brothers and sisters to the Lord and gaining strength directly from the Lord. You come to see the pastor before and after, the pastor’s intercession and prayer is an indispensable mission.
Secondly, the pastor will be patient with you. Most sheep like to jump, and their inner impulse is to go their own way. So the Bible says that we are lost like sheep, and God will awaken us from being lost. Whether lying down or resting, which sheep will behave? Just worship punctuality and show your face in Sunday school, isn’t it also necessary to persevere and be patient in every possible way? Advise you to write a spiritual journal, if you don’t write, how can the pastor be resistant to you? If you don’t keep tithing, don’t the church and pastors also endure you forever? Didn’t you come to God to pray for you, to intercede for you, and to endure forever? Moses’ patience and prayer for the Israelites was an example for the pastor to follow.
Lastly, treating you kindly is a mission. Except for the Lord Jesus, no one in the world can be called good. However, treating God’s people with grace and kindness is God’s entrustment to pastors and ministers. Are there any pastors who have not fulfilled their mission? The answer is yes. However, a servant who is truly called by the Lord to serve God all the time, the whole value of his life is to satisfy the Lord’s will，God will also gradually change the vision and values of pastors, and take the gospel as the mind in everything and the mission of caring for God’s people. Of course, the life of a minister is also growing with his serving. Like the days, so will the strength and grace!
Well, dear brothers and sisters, we will stop here for today’s “To acknowledge God’s servants”. Because the work done by God’s servants is the presence of God Immanuel, we should respect God’s servants. God uses his servants to warn us. It is his rod, and his rod comforts and has mercy on us. The goodness that God shows to us through His servants is the presence of God. May I ask, are you willing to respect God’s servants because Christ gave his life for us?
Let us pray……