Classic Christianity – Thanksgiving Part 1 (11-22-21)
The Work of The Ministry: Trusting in Jesus
So often people trust the words of their pastor or some person. He could be Calvin or MacArthur or your baptist preacher or your Presbyterian preacher, or your Catholic priest, and you would just trust what they tell you as true. After all, he went to seminary, you think. Or he got trained under 2000 years of church history just like the Jews did, for they had Moses as their teacher. But have you ever stopped to think if what they are saying is true? If you are born again, who is living in you? What did he promised you? That he would guide you into all truth. How do you suppose he is going to do that? If you are born again, did you know that you have the mind of Christ, the ability to discern the things of God and make judgments about all things?
Now, we have the example in scripture where Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Satan quoted scripture, but he did it to deceive. Jesus also responded with scripture. He would say, but scripture also says. Now, how important is the word of God, the scriptures, the 66 books of what is called the bible, to know the truth? Now consider that Jesus quoted from scripture when teaching his disciples, and after rising from the dead and walking on the earth for a short period of time, he met two men on the road to Emmaus. As he was walking with them, he told them all that had to be fulfilled through him beginning with Moses and all the prophets. Now, consider also that God appointed Paul as an apostle to the Gentiles, and he said the same thing. He commended the Bereans as being more noble than all the rest, because they diligently looked into the scriptures to see if what he had said was so.
So if preacher tells you that God wants you to be prosperous, what would respond back in scripture as the truth? Would you point to 1 Timothy and explain that godliness with contentment is great gain and the love of money is the root of all evil? What about some preacher who tells you that election is about God choosing certain individuals for hell and others for heaven? What kind of love is that? Would you read the scriptures in Romans and Ephesians for yourself, and discern that God is talking about the Jew and the Gentile, slave and free, who both have been saved the same way, and having been born again, they are destined in the plan of God to be conformed to the image of God?
So what is the role of a pastor or a teacher? Are they somehow greater than anyone else? No, they are not anything. One waters, another plants, but God causes the growth. Each person is assigned his task by God, and they are just servants whom God has chosen for His good purposes. So a pastor is not qualified because he has a degree in seminary. God qualifies him because he is willing and he is led internally by the Holy Spirit, and he makes himself available to God to use, according to God’s will, not his own, and he delights in doing so, willingly, and not for monetary gain, but to see the body of Christ equipped for works of service. He is not lording it over them. No, he shepherds them and teaches them truth in scripture, truth that God has been revealed to him, to help others trust Jesus.
John 15 is such a good illustration Jesus provided for us to understand how to trust Jesus, to live by the Spirit, to abide in Jesus. All ministry is about teaching people to trust Jesus. We have all, as born again Christians, been given the ministry of reconciliation, and are ministers of a New Covenant. Who qualifies us? God Himself. As we grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, we teach what we do know and not what we do not yet know. As a new born Christian, you may only be able to say, “I was blind but now I see.” God is able to make us all grow. Let us study his word so our minds can be renewed so as to walk in the newness of life and in the abundant life God had promised.
It is amazing to me as I continue to look into scripture, and as we have talked about so many times, how this whole doctrine of election, predestination, and all these types of things. We have confused the subject of election to mean individuals instead of Jew and Gentile. The context of Ephesians as well as in the book of Romans, wherever it dealt with predestination and election, it is always dealing with the Jew and the Gentile.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29\ For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.
Just as the Jew was predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, so also, we Gentiles, were destined to be conformed to the image of God. We have people who come out of Reformed Theology, who have taken that doctrine, and made a doctrine of election as if Lou was elected by God to be saved but old Jean over there was not. That is like saying that God does not like white T-shirts so He has had it. That is a very prevalent doctrine, also called as hyper-Calvinism. Some people call it five point Calvinism. I wonder where people get that sometimes because who in the world is Calvin? People have worshiped at the feet of men’s doctrines. People call themselves Calvinists. People call themselves Lutherans or call themselves ’People to Peopler’ or whatever they might call themselves to be. So people worship at the foot of man’s doctrine instead of getting into the word of God and letting God establish His doctrine in their own life.
Why would anyone call himself a Calvinist? If Calvin had anything to say, hopefully he got it from Paul. Why would anyone want to eat chewed up food? So do not call yourself a Calvinist if he got his doctrine from Paul. So why don’t you call yourself a Paulinist? But if you call yourself a Paulinist and went to Paul and said “I am a Paulinist”, you know what he would say to you? The answer is already recorded in the scripture.
1 Corinthians 3:5
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.
So do not ever call yourself a Paulinist or a Peter follower or whoever he might be. You are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. What happens is instead of going into the word of God, and seeing what it says, people say, “We Calvinists believe this, so if what you say is any different than what we Calvinists believe, you are out to lunch”. Others say, “We Baptists believe this. We don’t think you ought to dance. Or we don’t think you ought to do this.” But no one looks and sees if there is anything like that in the scripture. This is just what our group believes in and you do not believe it then you are wrong and we are right. Is that not true?
11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Is that not what goes on in the world today? So we become man followers instead of being taught by the Holy Spirit of God. Someone says, “I am a Catholic. If you are a Protestant, do not talk to me.” Another Jew says, “I am a Jew and you are a Gentile, then do not talk to me. We come from two different vantage points.” Another person says, “I do not know what the Calvinists or I do not know what the Baptist believes or what the Methodists particularly believe but I am one of those, and if you do not believe what we believe, you are out to lunch.”
1 Corinthians 2:9-10
9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived” –
the things God has prepared for those who love him –
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:14-16
14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.
What a silly way to go through life because, by the grace of God, he gave us information in this bible. He gave us the Spirit living in us so that every human being on the face of this earth has the ability to understand what is in this book, whether you are that age or whether you are the age of a 96 year old lady that came here last seminar. It makes no difference at all. Everyone has the ability to understand the meaning of the word of God if the spirit of God is alive living in you. Those little boys over there can understand the meaning of the word of God. And they do. Why? Because the Spirit of God is in them and they are open to allow the Spirit to teach them.
So that is a miracle, is it not? That is a miracle. It is a miracle at any age. Whether it is you guys over there or people back there, it makes no difference where you are, God can teach you the word of God. So our reliance comes not upon what the People to People group believes or what the Calvinists believe or what the Baptists believe or what the Presbyterians believe, that is totally irrelevant to me. What does the word of God have to say? If the word of God never changes and is saying this and you have the Spirit of God living in you, then you have the ability to understand what that means.
Again, when I say what I say about predestination and election, I am not saying that from a standpoint from being a Calvinist or an Armenian or any of the other things you are talking about. I am saying, to me, that as I read the scripture, that is what that is dealing with. You read the scriptures and see what it says to you. I just defy you to read the book of Ephesians and come up with any other conclusion except that predestination and election are dealing with Jew and Gentile and slave and free. In Christ there is no difference in the two.
1 Corinthians 12:13
13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
I say that because as I read, and as we have been studying 1 Peter together, it is interesting to observe how God works. We would think that God would work by taking all of our talents and then using those talents for the spread of the gospel. Well here was Paul, a Jew among Jews, a Pharisee among Pharisees, a teacher among teachers, one of the rising young stars in all of Judaism, now would you not think that once he came to Christ and was converted, what would you think the most logical thing for God to do? To whom would Paul be sent for evangelism? Where do you think the most logical place to send him? What would our minds say? “Well, you send him back to those Jews. He can argue. He knows them. He is relevant to them.”
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
And we sit today, and in this day and age where you have Christian radio stations and you have Christian television stations and you have churches and everybody is trying to get relevant. You hear people say, “We need to be relevant”. I want to say something folks. Jesus is as relevant today as he was 2000 years ago. Jesus says, “when you lift me up, I will draw men unto myself.”
32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself
I do not have to get relevant to what the world is. In the world today, you have some of the strangest philosophies you have ever seen in your life because the Christian world is buying this up and sopping up the viewpoint of the world, and trying to make the gospel relevant. I will tell you something, folks. The gospel is relevant. You are lost whether you like hippy music or concert music. You are lost. It makes no difference at all. You are lost if you wear nice clothes or grubby clothes. You are lost.
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
That is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. We have to understand that we do not have to make the gospel relevant. We present Jesus and Jesus is as relevant today as he was 2000 years ago. If the Lord tarries, he will be as relevant today as he will be 2000 years from now. So the issue we are dealing with here is the fact that Jesus is who we lift up.
If we lift him up, he said “I will draw all men unto myself”. We only have one goal in life and that is lifting Him up. Our viewpoint would say, “let us send Paul to those Jews because he is intelligent and you know the Jewish leaders are intelligent. He can really get with them.” What did they do with Paul? They sent him to the Gentiles. He did not know anything about Gentiles. He did not know anything about their lifestyle. He had never been involved in their lifestyle. He knew nothing of the way they thought. He was a Jew.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.”
15 Yet I [Paul] have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
What did they do with Peter. Who was he? Just a fisherman up in Galilee. Probably a big old rough and tumble guy. He appears not totally highly educated. None of those things. He was just a guys guy, a blue collar worker from the word go. What did he do with him? Send him to the Jew. Why? They had nothing to depend upon except Jesus. If Peter was going to go minister to those high, boastful and intellectual Jews, he was going have to do what? Depend upon his background? Depend upon his relevancy? No. Depend upon Jesus.
8 For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles.
If Paul was going to go as this intellectual Jew and talk to these Gentiles, that were called barbarians, we have got a history folks. Our root goes right back to being called barbarians. And if he was going to go there, he had nothing to rely upon except Jesus.
So God did not take any of what we would think that you would do. He took the very opposite and used them in a very unique way. What you see as an example. We are going to see that as we go through some of these passages together, how you see Peter and then you see James and how similar their teaching was. Even though James was a pastor in Jerusalem, but their mindset and the background that they came from was a little different slant than the apostle Paul. But you are going to see great similarity in their teaching and their background. We will point that out as we go along.
We will pick up in the 5th chapter of Romans. We talked about the last couple of weeks about spiritual gifts. We talked before about suffering for being a Christian. Again, when you look at the context of that and you see who that was addressed to, you see that there was a lot of suffering of Jews especially who converted to Christ. They underwent a terrific amount of suffering because they were looked as people who were deserting their own nationality. You go into Mexico today as an example, where Mexico and being a Catholic are almost synonymous aren’t they. It is almost as if they are one and the same. You go into Italy, the same type of thing. Being Catholic and being Italian are about one and the same. You go into Greece, being Greek and being Greek Orthodox, one and the same. Same thing we are talking about. That is why the deal over Russian Orthodox Church in Russia is so strong that being a Russian and Russian Orthodox are one and the same. There is a terrific identification between those two. Now the people work, as an example, in missionary work in Mexico will tell you that when you go down and you see a born again Christian who becomes born again, and is no longer a Catholic, many times he is rejected by his own people because he has considered as someone who has walked away from his our people. Is that a true thing? How many of you came from a Spanish background? Was that true in your life? You are just looked at as an outcast. You have lost your family ties. You have lost everything because being a Mexican or a Spaniard and being a Catholic are being one and the same. So to a Jew, a Jew practiced Judaism. For a Jew to say I am a Christian, the persecution was severe.
1 Peter 1:1-6
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
In the book of 1 Peter, you will see a lot of talking about persecution and when you look at it in the light of what it was given, and put yourself in that position, you are basically addressing the Jewish Christians who were undergoing terrific amount of persecution from their own people, from the Jews themselves.
1 Peter 4:16-18
16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[Proverbs 11:31]
To the Jew coming right out of the Old Testament, so he was talking about the righteous, and to them it he was talking to the Jew. If it was hard for the Jew to be saved, those who have a righteousness, a righteousness of their own, not from God, then how difficult is it going to be for the ungodly, the sinner or the Gentile?
1 Peter 4:19
19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
As we close the book of 1 Peter, he is talking to the elders among you.
1 Peter 5:1-2
1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock
People who are in that position, of being a pastor-teacher, he says you should shepherd your flock.
1 Peter 5:2
that is under your care, watching over them – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be;
So what he is saying is if you are going to function in an attitude of servitude as a pastor, as a teacher, whoever that might be, in a position that God put you in, as leadership, do so willingly, do so joyfully. Look at yourself as an overseer, not because you have to be, but because you really want to be, because God has put that on your heart.
When we were talking a couple of weeks ago about spiritual gifts, I want us to delineate just a moment, the difference in those gifts. When you have spiritual gifts that were given, gifts of giving. We talked about that last week. Gift of admonishment. Gifts of encouragement. All of those types of gifts that are listed. Also in the book of Ephesians, it talks about for additional gifts that are not spiritual gifts that you have, but that the person themselves is the gift.
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
It says he gave to the body of Christ, some to be evangelists, some to be prophets, some to be pastor, some to be teachers, for the equipping of the saints for their work of ministry. Now we have talked about before that what the work of ministry is, is to believe in Jesus. And when they came to Jesus and asked Lord, what is the work of the ministry, his answer was this is the work of the ministry, to believe in me.
28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
In other words, the work of the ministry is to trust Jesus. If you went to a branch and the branch said “Hey, what is the work of the branch, what would you say?” “To abide in the vine.” Why? Because if you do not abide in the vine, you might as well cut you off and throw in the fire for you will not be able to produce anything anybody is looking for. So the work of ministry is to abide in Jesus.
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
So what is the work of the evangelist? To teach people to trust Jesus. What is the job of the prophet? To teach people to trust Jesus. What is the job of the pastor or teacher? To teach people to trust Jesus, to walk by faith in Jesus. And so those are not spiritual gifts. The people themselves are the gift. God gives an evangelist. The evangelist does not have a gift of evangelism. Evangelism is the gift. He is the gift as an evangelist to the body of Christ. God says I am going to make you an evangelist to the body of Christ for the purpose of teaching people how to trust Jesus. That is what you do in an evangelistic campaign. To the prophet, he is the gift. To the pastor or teacher, if he is truly sent by God, then he is a gift from God to the body of Christ. It is not that you are a person who has the gift of teaching. A pastor or teacher is a literal human gift to the body of Christ. Do we understand the difference on that?
Now, again a person can, who was never sent by God, go and get a degree from a seminary, can they not, and that qualifies them to go and be a pastor, when God has never sent them to do anything? He probably has not called him unto Himself yet. The issue today is that so many people have substituted the call of God on a man’s life into getting a degree from a seminary. And so now you have got to be qualified from the seminary in order to get a degree so that that qualifies you now to go be God’s representative. Well, I got news for you. God does not give degrees. So we have to understand that truth.
That is how the world has now functioned because people could not trust God to raise up his people to feed the body of Christ. So if you have someone in your pulpit or someone who is your teacher, that God has sent, then that person is a gift from God to the body of Christ. But we have to also understand that a person could be into that position by the energy of his own flesh and for no other desire or will, than his own, to act in a certain profession. And so those gifts are people gifts in comparison to spiritual gifts that we as people have. Okay. Any questions on that?
So it says as a shepherd to shepherd the flock, serving as overseers, not because you want to, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be.
1 Peter 5:2
that is under your care, watching over them – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain,
If God does not want me to be greedy for money, then he wants me to teach you not to be greedy for money. But if I am greedy for money then what am I going to teach you? To be greedy for money. God forbid that there are people doing that. Just turn on your Christian television station and there you will see that. As a matter of fact is that not what is taught. So many false teachers preach, “God wants us all to be prosperous. So all you have to do, and especially you, send money to me, and God will make you prosperous. Well, God will make me prosperous. I do not know what he will do for you. But he will make me prosperous if you buy that lie.” What does scripture say about that?
1 Timothy 6:2-5
2 These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
If scripture teaches the pastor not to be greedy for money, how can you be talking about the fact God wants us to have all the money in the world? “He wants us prosperous and you just give and you just be obedient to God and he will bless your socks right off of you. I got news for you.” That is not what prosperity is. The only true prosperity there is in this world is the prosperity we have as being in Christ Jesus. How we live and what our financial resources are is irrelevant. God blesses people or maybe sometimes you are not blessed by getting money.
It is an amazing thing that they have taken surveys on people who have won the lottery and seen what has happened to them. Most of their lives have been destroyed. You take the rich and famous, and we all look at that with admiration, and you drive through Beverly Hills out in California, that we used to be close by, and you look at those big houses and you say “I wonder what is going on. I bet they are happy as dogs in mud in there.” I just read the divorce column. You just absolutely realize that you can have a house but a house and a home are two different things.
1 Timothy 4:6-7
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
And so we realize that money is not necessarily a blessing. It depends on whether God thinks you are ready to handle such a thing. God does give certain people the ability for financial success because they not only are going to take that money and use it but they are going to use it for the perpetuation of the gospel. So do not ever get conned into the fact that thinking godliness is a means to financial gain because it absolutely is not.
1 Tmothy 6:10
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Anything wrong with money. Nothing wrong with it. It is money. Money is not the root of all evil. It is the love of money that becomes the root of all evil. And so we have to realize that a pastor, if God does not want a pastor teacher to be greedy for money, and he wants us to teach, why then he certainly does not want you greedy for money as well. But eager to serve.
1 Peter 5:2-3
but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you,
But it also talks about pastor teacher not lording it over those entrusted to you. The pastor is not to be lording it over people. What does that mean? Trying to control you. Trying to tell you how to live your life. Trying to control your life. How do you do that if you do not understand that you are not supposed to lord it over people. By putting people on guilt trips or teaching them false doctrine that will play into your control game.
As an example, as far as God is concerned is there any difference between serving and teaching. If you have a spiritual gift of teaching and you have a spiritual gift of serving, is there any difference in those two gifts? Did God bless one over the other? No. Is there any difference? Is there any difference in the people? No. Is there a difference in the gift? Yes. But is there any difference in the quality of the gift? No, it is just it. Is there any difference between a man being a gift to the body of Christ and the body of Christ? No difference.
In other words, are we both saved by faith? Yes, both saved by grace in Christ Jesus? Yes. Well then there is no difference. It is just an assignment that God has given to you. So if you are just an assignment that you have, then why would you want to lord it over somebody as if you were greater than they were or had some kind of closer contact with God than they do. So what he is saying is that we are all where we are today by the grace of God and by the love of God. There is no heroes in the Christian faith. None. So he says do not lord it over those who are under your are.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 3:5-7
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
1 Peter 5:3-4
but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
What do you think being an example to the flock is going to be? As an example, people look do they not, to their pastors or to their teachers, to be an example, don’t they? Then we get in our mind, what a good example would be. And so we say “Well, because that is kind of a nebulous term, being a good example, let us just make up what a good example would be. Well, he would certainly want to wear a tie on Sunday. Certainly, he would not be interested in things like sports.” And guys, and you see, I am just starting. Can you see? If you do not know what that is talking about, do you just keep going on and on and on and on? “Certainly it would be a person who would never get irritated, never get angry, and probably a person never ever thinking about telling a lie.” We can go on and on couldn’t we?
Do you know that the only example, if I would be called of God to be an example to you, do you know the only example I would be interested in being to you? It is the example of trusting Jesus with my life. And that is it. The only example that I could live up to is the example of trusting Jesus with my life because if you have any other criteria for your leader besides that, he is going to disappoint you sooner or later.
When we get down to this area of being examples, you get people that say we need to be role models. Amy and I get to see role models about every Wednesday in a little deli we go to. There are accountability groups sitting there. You just see those guys, I am going to sound critical and you know why? I am. But God isn’t through with me yet. If you look to me for an example of never being critical, forget it. But you see these guys. They come in there with their little heads and their bibles and they sit. This guy the other day started praying at the table before they ate. By the time he got through praying, their eggs were freezing.