The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 9 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #233)
A series of homilies on Ephesians.
A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”
I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.
TEXT: Ephesians 4:11-12:
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Samuel Logan Brengle said, “All great soul-winners have been men of much and mighty prayer, and all great revivals have been preceded and carried out by persevering, prevailing knee-work in the closet.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “If we had a super revival of a billion people being saved, it would still be too late. Could you imagine a billion people being saved — in governments, in hospitals, in universities, in schools, business people? Yet there would be four billion people in the world still unsaved.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Despite the attractive interracial idealism of the Evening Light Saints, William J. Seymour soon found himself back in the South, in Houston, in a black church. He had little choice: In Houston at the turn of the century, if you were black and attended church, you attended a black church. It was while in this church that Seymour witnessed something he’d never before seen: He heard a woman praying in what seemed like another language. It was widely held by Holiness groups of that day that “speaking in tongues” was a sign that would accompany the arrival of the last days. Seymour sensed this woman had something he longed for but hadn’t yet found. He knew he had to talk with her.”
Today, we are looking at the spiritual gift of the pastor and teacher to the church. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers…” The word translated “pastor” means: “A shepherd; one that has the care of flocks and herds, or a minister of the gospel who has the charge of a church and congregation, whose duty is to watch over the people of his charge, and instruct them in the sacred doctrines of the Christian religion.” The word translated “teacher” means: “One who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of man; those who in the religious assemblies of the Christians, undertook the work of teaching, with the special assistance of the Holy Spirit.”
Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “The fact that the word ‘some’ is not repeated indicates that we have here one office with two ministries. Pastor means ‘shepherd,’ indicating that the local church is a flock of sheep, and it is his responsibility to feed and lead the flock. He does this by means of the Word of God, the food that nourishes the sheep. The Word is the staff that guides and disciplines the sheep. The Word of God is the local church’s protection and provision, and no amount of entertainment, good fellowship, or other religious substitutes can take its place.”
The pastor-teacher has a great and serious responsibility as he ministers to the flock of God. But, he must realize that his authority comes, not just from his ability to teach, but from his own righteous lifestyle before God and before the people. A pastor must practice what he preaches. No one was ever able to accuse Jesus of preaching one thing and doing another.
A pastor-teacher must also truly care for the people of God. He cannot be in his office for fame or money. The Gospel of Mark tells us that when Jesus saw “a great multitude, He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.” The word used for “shepherd” in this verse is the same word translated as “pastor” in Ephesians. In another Gospel, Jesus said that He longed to gather the lost sheep of Israel like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings.
The pastor-teacher of the local church, as an under-shepherd, should strive to emulate the Great Shepherd.
Someone once wrote:
My Savior the good Shepherd is,
He’ll never leave the flock.
The One Who truly loves the sheep,
Became the Lamb of God.
Despised, afflicted in my stead,
He spent His soul for me.
And to the slaughter He was led,
That perishing I won’t be.
My Shepherd is the Lamb of God,
He calls to me each day,
To drink the waters flowing free,
From His pierced side of grace.
Yet when I stray or choose my way,
He still would search for me,
And bring me home on shoulders strong.
Do I not His love see?