There Was a Man Sent From God 11/9/03

John 1: 6, 7

Jesus Christ had an advocate, his name was John. What a man! His wardrobe and diet indicated he was a man close to nature. His attire of camel’s hair worn with a wide leather belt reveals him to be a man of the open country. He was no fashion plate.

His diet, though not unusual, was that of a naturalist. Locus is actually a bean in the carob family, high in protein. Honey is a wonderful food in itself.

I. HIS PERSON “There was a man….”
He was a human being subject to all appetites and challenges as we. Scripture teaches that every human being has an area of strength and of weakness.

Doubtless you have noticed this about your friends. One of our daughters said recently ever body has weaknesses and things we don’t like. You just have to decide whose faults you are willing to accept.

Your new pastor will have a number of strengths. He will also have weaknesses. The challenge regarding a pastor is that in preaching he advocates Biblical ideals. As a result people tend to expect him to be perfect. Often when he isn’t some person tend to disapprove of him. When he makes decision they don’t like they in turn don’t like him. Learn to love him while not liking some of the things he does.

Accept him for who he is and don’t try to make him some one he isn’t. Don’t make him have to wear the “king’s armor.”

When little David was about to go out to battle Goliath they tried to get him to wear the armor of the king. It didn’t fit. He had to be his own man. Accept your new pastor for who he is, don’t try to recreate him.

Don’t transfer to him all the negatives you might have built up regarding any previous pastor. Don’t impose your biases on him. We tend to do so. Some people dislike brunets simply because of an unpleasant experience they had with a brunet in the past. Some folks don’t like people from Texas because of an awkward experience in that happened to them in Texas.

This man, your new pastor, deserves to be accepted on the basis of who he is.

He will be accompanied by his wife. She should be accepted as a woman sent form God. Love her. Accept her for who she is. She is not the associate pastor or social chairperson responsible for attending all social events of the church. Of all things she is first of all the pastor’s wife and mother of their children. Her primary function will be to help provide a home environment into which he can go and find it a haven in which to be renewed. You older women accept her as a younger wife and mother to be encouraged and helped.

Much of the success this church enjoys will be determined by which side of a little conjunction you tend to live. That conjunction is the word “but.” Statements on the left side of the conjunction tend to be positive and those to the right negative.

For example: “He is a wonderful preacher, BUT he doesn’t play softball with the youth.”

“He has a good delivery, BUT it is hard to get an appointment with him.”

“He is an outstanding Bible expositor, a compassionate evangelist, a warm hearted pastor, an inspiring preacher, an exceptional administrator, and has unusual business acumen, BUT he wears the loudest ties.”

Become an individual and a church living on the left of the conjunction, or better still omit the conjunction and use a period.

II. HIS PLACEMENT “sent form God…”
As the Lord assigned John the Baptist to be the forerunner for Jesus so He has assigned your new pastor to this position for this time. He is being sent from God. The Lord has a mission for him which He will reveal to you through your pastor. At this time not even your new pastor knows fully what the Lord has I mind but the Lord does. As you pray for and work with your new pastor the Lord will increasingly reveal to him how He wants the church guided.

Your pastor is here by divine appointment. If you treat him only as a man you deprive yourself and church of blessings. No sensible pastor has any ego about being given divine authority. It is humbling to a spirit filled minister to realize he is responsible for exercising divine authority to the glory of the Lord and not to feed his ego. Some few pastors fail miserably and that causes people to look at the genuine with suspicion.

Let your new pastor guide you through the Constitution Revision Team to devise a constitution for the present time that will enable you to move into the future more rapidly and harmoniously.

I have spent months studying your constitution in light on my experience and study of other churches. I was graciously offered the opportunity by the CRT to work with them to make changes. I deferred in order that the pastor might lead this effort. If he desires I will be pleased to serve with him and the team as a consultant.

In general take out of the constitution the policies and procedures and put them in a “Policy and Procedure Manual” that can be interpreted an applied using a radical concept called “reason” or “logic.”

The letter of the law kills. The spirit of the law gives life. By having policies and procedures there is adjustability. In a constitution they become a straight jacket. A manual is a guideline to be followed if at all possible but allows flexibility in extenuating circumstances.

A progressive growing church must provide for flexibility and rapid decision making. I would remind you of the title of a significant book: “It is Not the Big That Eat the Small, It Is the Fast That Eat the Slow.” When he comes give him time to set his agenda. Some of you have shared with me good ministry concepts you would like to see enacted. I have deferred to the judgment of your new pastor. I urge you to hold your ideas and rather than try to get him to approve your agenda right away let him first set his own agenda for the church. The fact he does not think your idea should be implemented should not be taken personally. It may a good idea whose time has not come.

If he does not approve your idea don’t let that be cause for you to reject him personally.

If you truly believe that the pastor is under divine appointment you will respect him, avoid criticizing him, and not gossip about him.

“How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?
And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?
And how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10: 14)

III. HIS PURPOSE “…he came to bear witness…”

As the shepherd of the flock he is to feed the flock. He is to bear witness of Jesus Christ. In calling a pastor a congregation is indicating he is to be their teacher. Look to him for spiritual guidance. Don’t confuse yourself by listening to media ministers and reading authors who are not doctrinally sound. God has given you a spiritual guide. Hear him prayerfully. Learn God’s Word from him and apply it.

A witness tells what he or she knows. Your pastor has subjected himself to the best possible formal theological training. He has associated with the most competition leaders available. He has taken advanced clinical and seminar courses and attended the best conferences. You have a learner as a leader. Follow him.

Paul said to the church at Thessalonica, “You became followers of us and of the Lord” (I Thessalonians 1: 6).

Paul was following Jesus so closely that to follow Paul was to follow Jesus.

Pray for your new pastor to follow Jesus so closely that as you follow him you will be following Jesus.

Give him time to study, pray, and prepare to feed you. If he is to minister well to you he must be often and long alone with Jesus Christ.

You owe your pastor three things:
He is a man who needs prayer.
He is sent from God and deserves your respect.
He is to bear witness of Jesus Christ and needs your help.

He is a MAN under a MANDATE to deliver a MESSAGE. Pray for him, respect him, and help him.

Here is how you can get rid of your pastor: Pat him on the back and compliment him and he will work himself to death.

Rededicate your life and ask for a job to do and he will likely die of a heart attack.

Get the church to unite in prayer for him and he will become so effective a larger ministry will open for him.

To more fully comprehend his role consider these texts.

Acts 20: 28: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

I Peter 5: 2, 3: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by constraint but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; not as lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

I Thessalonians 5: 11 – 13: “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and esteem them very highly in love for the work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.”

You owe your fellow members four things. Four things are incumbent on you as a congregation according to this text:
1. Comfort and edify one another.
2. Recognize those who labor and are over you. Respect their authority and responsibility for leading.
3. Esteem them very highly in love.
4. Be at peace among yourselves.