Through discouraging attacks by the "accuser of the brethren" times like tonight makes it all worth enduring. Tonight After our mid-week service I met with a gentleman who has been coming to PHBC for 3 and a half years share with me the Lord has brought him from being an atheist to graciously granting him repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When I first met him I (3 and a half years ago) I thought I would argue or persuade him into the kingdom, but I was reminded tonight "salvation belongs to the Lord" and only He can save. I can not persuade or debate someone to be saved, rather salvation is a sovereign work of Almighty God.
Tonight in my time with him I rejoiced with him, as I shared how I have prayed for him over these last years. He knew as well that many in our congregation has called his name specifically to the Lord in prayer for his salvation. Listening to him speak of how God has changed his heart, given him a heart which convicts him of his sin, but also he has a desire to seek God for repentance and forgiveness of that sin. To see the joy in this man's heart and testimony for the desire to live for Christ the rest of his days was so overwhelming.
As I sat there I could not help to contemplate, how could this really happen? So, I asked him, "what was it that help you see your need for Christ?" He said, "it was simply, through the preaching of the Word, week in and week out." Hearing statements like that brings reassurance to a young pastor who believes in the sufficiency of Scripture, that God's Word is enough!
So, I close with some observations and encouragements to pastors:
1. Preach the Word. There will be times when people will not like you, your message, your delivery, your leadership style, what you wear, or what you do, but as long as we stick to His Word we have nothing to be ashamed of.
2. Care for the Flock. At times this is easier said than done. Sometimes the flock can be abrupt or at times rebellious. God has called us as pastors to "oversee" them and to "shepherd" them. Do this knowing one day you and I will give an account of their souls (Heb.13:17). No one else in the church will give an account for souls, only the pastor. So, take time to know them and care for them, individually.
3. Encourage those who are not yet believers. Do not give up on those who you think are "hopeless." Is there really any who are "hopless?" The answer is, "no!" Nothing is impossible with God. Take time to get to know those without Christ. Take time to find out who they are, where they come from, and where they are going? How will you know how to minister to or to encourage those without Christ if you do not stop and take time to help them. As believers we should be seeking someone out who we could invest into their lives for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
4. Rejoice in the Lord when a sinner experiences God's grace of repentance and faith. I rejoice in the face that God is working bringing sinners to Himself and for His glory through the simplicity of the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, through all the trials and sufferings as a pastor (although my suffering is nothing), I rejoice in God's goodness in gracing His people with salvation, which brings me to a place of worship of who He is! Sola Deo Gloria!
Thank you Father for your faithfulness to your people, even when we are faithless.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.