Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Duties of Pastors

As I prepare to preach this Sunday from Hebrews 6:9-12, I have been reading from John Owen's seven volume work, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews. In so doing, I came across two observations that he makes that were convicting to me, as they should be to every pastor. He states,

"Obs. I. It is the duty of the dispensers of the gospel to satisfy their hearers in and of their love in Jesus Christ to their souls and person."

Said another way, we could ask, do the members of your congregation have sufficient reason to be convinced that you love them on account of what Christ Jesus has done for you? There of course are two parts of this: They must know that you love them, and they must know that it is the love of Christ which engenders this love.

Owen's second observation is this:  

"Obs. II. It is our duty to come unto the best satisfaction we may in the spiritual condition of them with whom we are to have spiritual communion."

Do you know the members of your congregation well enough that you can confidently give an accurate appraisal of their spiritual condition? The key to accomplishing this goal is of course the same as in the first: The shepherd must spend time with the sheep of his flock! Now this is not just the job of just one man; biblically, the elders of a church are all called to shepherd the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3). But just as the elders are to set an example for the church, so too a pastor needs to be modeling this to the other elders.

Let me be quick to admit that I have not done as good a job at this as I would like. But it is my goal and my desire that in 2012 I would spend more time with the people whom God has entrusted to my care. I pray that I would know them better and that they would better know my love for them in Christ Jesus. May all who are called to be shepherds have a similar commitment.

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