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The Net Pastor's Journal, Eng Ed, Issue 18 Winter 2016

Winter 2016 Edition

Author: Dr. Roger Pascoe, President,

The Institute for Biblical Preaching

Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

(http://tibp.ca/)

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“Strengthening the Church in Biblical Preaching and Leadership”

Part I: The Power For Preaching, Pt. 3

“The Power Of The Holy Spirit”

The great Puritan preacher, John Owen, writes: “The sin of despising (the person of the Holy Spirit) and rejecting his work now is the same nature with idolatry of old, and with the Jews’ rejection of the person of the Son.”1 Dr. Olford states: “If the sin of the Old Testament was the rejection of God the Father, and the sin of the New Testament times was the rejection of God the Son, then the sin of our time is the rejection of God the Holy Spirit.”2

There are two ways that the Holy Spirit is rejected in our times (especially given the emphasis on the Holy Spirit in some circles). At one end of the spectrum the Holy Spirit is rejected by the sin of escapism - some preachers will not even mention the Holy Spirit. At the other end of the spectrum the Holy Spirit is rejected by the sin of extremism – i.e. shallow ministry, subtle manipulations, and senseless manifestations that do not comport with the Scriptures and are not for God’s glory.

We need to ensure that we maintain biblical balance concerning the Holy Spirit. It is impossible for any preacher to be effective, fruitful, or balanced in his ministry without acknowledging, and giving place to, the lordship, leading, illumination, and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can transform all your preparation (study of the text, outline of your sermon etc.) into a message from God that is accompanied by the power of God. You may rightly divide the word of truth; you may correctly study and analyze the text (the subject, structure, and substance of a text) and you may preach what you have prepared logically and flawlessly, but only God through the Holy Spirit can give your sermon the power to effect a spiritual transformation in someone’s life.

This is sometimes called the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit, or the “unction” of the Spirit, or the “empowerment” of the Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to enable us to conduct thorough, scholarly study of the text in preparation for preaching, and we must also seek the blessing and power of the Holy Spirit to use the message to accomplish His work.

So, what is anointed preaching? What does it mean to preach with “unction”? How does a preacher obtain this empowerment of the Spirit?

First, let’s look at a definition of the term itself. “Unction” is an old fashioned word that is synonymous with “anointing.” For the purposes of this article, we will refer to “anointing” as the special empowerment of the Holy Spirit on the preacher. This is not the general empowerment of the Spirit that enables us to live the Christian life. This is the preacher’s access to special power for preaching through the Holy Spirit such that what we preach has supernatural consequences. Or, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones puts it: “It is God-given power ... that lifts it (what we preach) up beyond the efforts and endeavours of man to a position in which the preacher is being used by the Spirit and becomes the channel through whom the Spirit works.” 3 E.M. Bounds puts it this way: “(Divine unction) supports and impregnates revealed truth with all the energy of God. Unction is simply putting God in His own Word and on His own preacher.” 4

Now, let’s look at some key biblical references. Luke 4:18-19, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Here, Jesus is in the synagogue reading from Isa. 61:1-2. In what sense does Jesus mean that the Spirit of the Lord had “anointed” him?

There was no evidence of any particular bodily change in him, no change in his manner of speaking, nor any sort of spiritual experience. It appears to have been a normal reading of Scripture. The only difference from any other Scripture reading in the synagogue was his characterization of the text as prophetic of his ministry, and the claim that the prophecy was that day fulfilled.

In the way Luke has constructed his narrative, however, it becomes apparent that this event (Lk. 4:18-19) is directly connected to the infancy narrative (Lk. 1:35) and the baptism (Lk. 3:21-22), all three of which are designed to emphasize that Jesus is the anointed Son of God – the One sent by God, the One set aside by God, the One empowered by God to proclaim (and, indeed, to inaugurate) his kingdom. 5

This seems to be, then, the nature of Jesus’ anointing here – namely, the affirmation of Jesus as the one whom God has specially set apart for the task of preaching the good news and specially empowered for his ministry. What is most striking about this is that even the Lord Jesus himself received special anointing from the Holy Spirit to carry out his earthly mission.

Luke 24:49, Tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Acts 1:8, But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Here the disciples, who had followed the Lord for three years (they had heard him preach, learned his teaching, imbibed his commands, witnessed his miracles, observed his death and burial, and seen him after his resurrection) are now promised that they will be “endued” (invested) with power by the Holy Spirit, which, of course, took place at Pentecost as Acts 2:4 records: And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

You would not think that men such as this would need any special empowerment for their ministry. They didn't need any additional knowledge or conviction of the truth about Jesus. What they needed was the power and ability to carry out their ministry and mission (the extension of Jesus’ ministry) now that Jesus had gone. And this is what they were endued with in Acts 2 – a special power from the Holy Spirit specifically to enable their witness and work to have supernatural effect.

The effect of this special empowerment is astounding. Peter, who had previously denied the Lord with oaths and curses, is now able to preach with boldness and authority such that 3000 people are converted in one day.

Acts 4:7-8, And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power or by what name have you done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers of the people and elders of Israel…’”. Clearly, Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit” at Pentecost. So, why did he need to be filled again? Because the filling of the Spirit is a repeated process by which the Spirit empowers God’s servants to accomplish specific ministry. Once again he received a fresh supply of the Spirit of God that filled him for the particular task on hand here in this chapter – namely, his trial for healing the lame man in ch. 3. There are many more references to this same phenomena in Acts (e.g. Acts 4:31; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52), but these will suffice for our purposes.

1 Cor. 2:1-5, 1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

This is Paul’s self-testimony concerning the manner of his preaching and teaching which shows us that spiritually powerful preaching is not accompanied with outward evidences and inward subjective experiences of some sort of mystical power. Indeed, neither the content of Paul’s message nor the manner of his preaching were designed, at least at a human level, to be manifestations of power.

In fact, Paul’s message (namely, Christ and him crucified) was, in his own words, “foolish” and his manner was marked by weakness, fear, trembling, and the noticeable absence of persuasive words of human wisdom. Though his own resources and abilities were weak, yet his speech and preaching were accompanied by, and demonstrated, the Spirit’s power, with the result that their faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

So, what is he referring to here? Paul’s point is that neither his manner (not with excellence of speech or wisdom; not with persuasive presence or oratory) nor his message (Christ and him crucified) would persuade them as to the truth of the gospel, but that only the Holy Spirit could and did do that. If his message and manner had been designed to persuade them to have confidence in him, then he would have presumably delivered a different message (one based on human wisdom) and in a different manner (charismatic, fluent, confident, awe-inspiring; visually and orally powerful). There is no evidence in any of the biblical accounts of Paul’s preaching and demeanour that he ever experienced subjective feelings (as some preachers claim), nor that his preaching was ever accompanied by powerful experiential or mystical effects in him. The only time he refers to an “out-of-body” type of experience is in 2 Cor. 12 where he is relating his vision of the third heaven – hardly applicable to preaching or to preachers today.

On the contrary, the power of Paul’s preaching was evident not in his feelings or experience but in the power of the Holy Spirit in the recipients such that their lives were transformed - their faith was not in men’s wisdom but in God’s power and, as with Peter’s preaching, they effectively said, “What must I do to be saved?” In the case of the Thessalonians, for example, their lives were turned from following and worshipping idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven (1 Thess. 1:9-10). That was the manifestation of the anointing of the Spirit on Paul’s preaching among them, not some sort of subjective experience on his part or some sort of mystical phenomenon.

Again, in the case of the Corinthians, the evidence of the power of the apostle’s witness among them was that their lives became written epistles of Christ, ministered indeed by Paul, but written by the Spirit of the living God on their hearts (2 Cor. 3:3). In other words, it was a radical life change that testified to the transforming work of the Spirit in them through Paul’s anointed preaching. For Paul, evidently, the practical outworking of the anointing of the Spirit on his ministry was precisely that his own resources and abilities were weak but the Spirit was powerful so that “your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

This is supported further by 2 Cor. 4:7. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. And again, in 2 Cor. 12:9, And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

These texts debunk any notion that the anointing of the Holy Spirit has to do with external evidences of human power or internal experiences of emotion. Paul is making the point at length here that the power of God is manifested in preaching precisely because the vessels through whom God is pleased to proclaim his message are nothing more than cheap, cracked, clay pots, which, ironically, display the magnificent and powerful treasure within. In other words, Paul is emphatically stating that anointed preaching is not loud, verbose, arrogant, self-confident, personally authoritative, or linguistically impressive, nor is it warm, fuzzy, out-of-body experiences or any other such phenomena of the preacher. Rather it is the exact opposite.

Anointed preaching is weak human agents into whom God has poured the light of the gospel in the face of Jesus Christ and who, in their daily experiences of weakness, suffering, and sorrow, leave the hearers with no doubt as to the divine source and truth of the message. That’s anointed preaching.

Paul gives not a single hint as to any sort of feeling of “soaring” above the preaching event by the preacher or any sort of intensified speech etc. etc., but quite the opposite. “My strength,” God says to Paul the preacher, “is made perfect in weakness.” Paul took courage in his weaknesses, infirmities, reproaches, needs, persecutions, distresses, for Christ’s sake, precisely so that the power of God may rest upon him. “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:4).

We have studied Ephesians 5:18 in a previous version of this Journal. You may wish to look at that text again in the context of our study concerning the power of the Holy Spirit in us.

Let’s look briefly at two other texts that speak to this same topic. Col. 1:28-29, Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. Though Paul was “striving” as hard as he could to fulfill his ministry, what made it effective was “His working which works in me mightily.” This is the unction / anointing of the Holy Spirit.

1 Thess. 1:5, “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. The power that Paul is describing here is, again, the power of the Holy Spirit wrought in the hearers. He is not claiming some sort of inherent power in himself, whether spiritual or physical. First and foremost it was the “Word” that came to them in the Holy Spirit’s power, which transformed their thinking and behaviour. Further assurance, of course, was derived from observing “what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” Evidently the apostles’ lifestyle was of such consistency and made such an impression that, it not only affirmed the truth of what they said, but also caused the Thessalonians to become “imitators / followers of us and of the Lord” (1 Thess. 1:6).

So radical was the change in their lives that everyone in the region knew what had happened to them. They became effective witnesses to the truth of the gospel to everyone they came in contact with, the external evidence of their conversion being that they “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9). That is the evidence and result of Spirit-empowered (anointed) preaching.

In the next edition of this Pastors Journal we will draw some conclusions about what the empowerment of the Spirit is and what it is not.

Part II: Preparing For Preaching

“Identifying the Structure of the Text: Pt. 1, Subject and Complements”

Identifying the subject and its complements is a crucial step in the process of preparing for preaching. As we have seen in previous editions of this Journal, the sermon preparation process that I am outlining involves: (1) studying the text, (2) understanding the text, and now (3) identifying the structure of the text. All of this preparation will lead to eventually outlining the sermon from the text.

Every complete idea (syntactical unit) has to have both a subject and a complement. The complement expresses something about the subject – e.g. the action performed by the subject or the state attributed to the subject.

For example, you would never simply say, “The bird” – that is the subject but it is not a complete idea. You have to add something about the bird – i.e. a complement. What is it that you wish to communicate about the bird? You may say, “Look at the bird.” Or, “The bird is pretty”. Or, “The bird flies like an eagle”. Neither would you simply say: “is pretty”. Or, “flies”. Or, “like an eagle.” Those complements need a subject. What is pretty? “The bird is pretty.” What flies? “The bird flies.” How does the bird fly? “The bird flies like an eagle.”

So, a subject and complement (sometimes called a predicate) are the two main structural components of a simple sentence, which, when expressed together, form a complete idea. Without one or the other you cannot communicate ideas that others will understand properly.

Thus, every Scripture passage has a subject (also known as “the dominating theme”) and complement (also known as “the integrating thoughts”). A subject / dominating theme is what the author is talking about. After studying the text, you have to decide what is the subject / teaching of the text? What is the primary truth of the passage? This is what you are going to preach. The dominating theme / subject of the text must be the theme / subject of your sermon. We will address how you identify the theme later. Here, it is sufficient to say that our general hermeneutical approach to sermon preparation includes identifying the theme of the text because that forms the basis of what you preach. This is one of the first things you do when preparing a sermon.

Further, not only does every Scripture passage have a subject, but every subject has complements / integrating thoughts. A complement is what the author is saying about the subject.

The entirety of your sermon must be about the subject of the passage, and the complements form the points that your sermon will express about that subject. By identifying the subject and the complements you identify (1) the subject of your sermon (what you are going to speak about), and (2) what you are going to say about that subject. This is the basic structure of the text.

Step 1. Identify The Theological “Subject” Of The Text 6

Never preach a sermon unless you know what the passage is about, in particular, what it is about theologically. So, we really want to know the theological subject of the passage. The structure of the passage and its flow of thought cannot be properly developed or accurately determined until and unless you know the subject – i.e. what the author is writing about. Knowing what the passage is about is the starting point for any sermon. You cannot preach on a passage if you do not know what the author is writing about. Neither can you properly or accurately determine the structure of the passage and its flow of thought until you know the subject

To identify the subject, ask yourself: “What is the writer writing about?” - not the "event" or "story", but the theological subject that lies behind the event or story. Sometimes the theological subject is the same or close to the textual structure - especially in the epistles where the writers are writing straight theology. But in narrative passages, we have to look behind the story for the theology that we will preach from the story. In answering the question, “What’s the writer writing about?” (the dominating theme) be sure to not make the subject too broad – i.e. don’t say, “Love.” What is it about “love” that the writer is writing about? Always try to limit the subject by what the writer is saying specifically, not generally.

For example, in Psalm 1, the broad subject is the godly person and the wicked. We can limit this broad definition by saying that it is a contrast between those two types of persons. Therefore, you would define the subject as “The contrast between the godly and the wicked.”

Another example might be Phil. 2:1-11. The broad subject is “unity.” We can limit this broad definition by saying that it is dependent on a Christ-like attitude. Therefore, we would define the subject as “A Christ-like attitude that produces unity.”

How do you find this dominating theme / subject? Well, one way is to look for a single statement in the text that states the subject. For example, 1 Tim. 4:6-16 “Pay close attention to yourself…and to your teaching” (16). The 1st part is developed in 4:6-10 and the 2nd part is developed in 4:11-15. In Gal. 6:1-10, Paul states that his subject is “doing good to the saints” when he says, “Let us do good to all men and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (10).

Another way of identifying the subject is to look for an overall theme. Or, look for recurring words.

Since an idea needs both a subject and a complement, the next step is to identify the complements.

Step 2. Identify The Theological “Complements” Of The Text

A subject cannot stand alone. It needs a complement or multiple complements. As the author develops the passage, he will say different things about the subject he is writing about (the complements). The subject and its complements form a complete idea. The complements are what we would call the “points” which break the passage into sermonic divisions. Usually, the writer will make 2 or 3 points about the subject.

Each point in the passage will say something different about the same subject. By each point relating to the same subject, the passage holds together in a unit of thought – i.e. it has coherence, unity. And by each point saying something different about the same subject, the passage has movement – i.e. progression, flow of thought.

The subject, then, is what the passage is about and the complement is what the writer is saying about the subject. So, once you have discovered the subject by asking yourself, “What is the author writing about?”, then ask yourself the second question; “What is the author saying about the subject he is writing about? The answer to this question produces the complements.

One way to identify the complements is to turn the subject into a question by asking: “what? when? why? (answer: “because” or, “so that”) how? (answer: “by”) where? who?” This will help you determine the complements. So, if the subject is “the test of a person’s character”, you might ask the question, What is the test of a person’s character?” The answers to this question form the complements.

Therefore, when we preach the passage, we preach about one subject and we make several points (complements) about that subject all of which relate to the same subject. These complementing points come out of your research of the text (reading and studying) and your grammatical and structural analysis of the text.

Step 3. State The Textual Idea As A Whole

After identifying the subject and its complements, you should be able to articulate the complete textual idea in one sentence (i.e. what the passage as a whole is about).

Examples Of Subject, Complements, And Textual Idea

  • Psalm 1:1-2

Subject: The Man who is blessed by God (or, the godly man)

Question: Who / what kind of man is blessed by God?

Complements:

1. The man who does not (negatively) …

a) … walk in the counsel of the ungodly

b) … stand in the path of sinners

c) … sit in the seat of the scornful

2. The man who (positively) …

a) … delights in the law of the Lord

b) … meditates in his law day and night

Textual idea: The man who is blessed by God separates himself from the world and is devoted to God’s word

  • James 1:5-8 (from Robinson, 67-68)

Subject: Not just “wisdom” or “how to obtain wisdom,” but “How to obtain wisdom in the midst of trials.”

Question: How do we obtain wisdom in the midst of trials?

Complement: Ask God for it in faith

Textual idea: Wisdom in trials is obtained by asking God for it in faith

Part III: Leadership Devotional

1 Thessalonians 2:7-12 gives us a portrait of biblical leadership. It’s a portrait of fatherhood and biblical masculinity the way God meant it to be, specifically as it relates to church leadership.

Thessalonica was a city which Paul visited with Silas and Timothy on his second missionary journey (Acts 17:1-9). Paul preached in the synagogue there and some Jews and many Greeks were saved, and thus the church was birthed in that city.

Paul has many pleasant memories of his days there with this fledgling, vibrant church, whose faith, hope, love, and perseverance were evident despite persecution for their faith. I think we see in this letter that, as their spiritual father, Paul was proud of these young Christians and his parental relationship with them is no more evident than in these verses.

The central point of this passage is that a strong Christian leader is a tender and true spiritual father. Here Paul himself models the traits of a strong Christian father-leader in his relationship with these Christians.

Firstly, notice that A STRONG CHRISTIAN LEADER IS A LOVING CARE-GIVER (7-9). “We were children” (7). Notice this first metaphor that Paul uses to describe a Christian leader. First, it’s a metaphor that contrasts a mother’s tenderness in v. 7 with Paul’s apostolic authority in v. 6. Second, it’s a metaphor that shatters the 21st century image of a leader as the “boss,” the unemotional, hard-driving, disciplinarian. The first picture in this metaphor is that... gentle among you as a nursing mother cherishes her own

1. Strong Spiritual Leaders Nourish Their Spiritual Children Gently

They don’t just produce children, they care for them. Their care is marked by gentleness, just as “a nursing mother cherishes her own children”. A nursing mother is the epitome of gentle care and affection and protection. Literally, she “keeps her child warm” by cradling her child in her arms, by holding it against her body. A nursing mother is a source of nourishment - she imparts her own life to the child. Her body transforms the food she eats into milk for her baby, which can’t be done by anyone else. She holds the baby close to her heart, where a bonding, oneness takes place. She provides security, comfort, warmth, protection.

Strong Christian leaders nourish their spiritual children gently. They tend to them like a nursing mother, providing physical, emotional, and spiritual nourishment. Physically, they provide the staples of life – warmth, good food, security. Emotionally, they support and encourage their children, giving them confidence to face the challenges of life. Spiritually, they teach their children the Word, so that they can grow in the Lord (1 Pet. 2:1-3), remembering that children need the milk before the meat and being careful not to feed their children the wrong things.

It’s not easy to be a “nursing mother”. Listen to Moses speaking to God about the Israelites about just such a role: “Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a guardian carries a nursing child?’ … From where shall I get meat to give to all these people? For they weep all over me saying, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now … and do not let me see my wretchedness.” (Num. 11:12). This gives a sense of how burdensome and frustrating fatherly leadership responsibilities can be sometimes. But these burdens and frustrations are overcome by the second characteristic in this metaphor. Not only do strong spiritual leaders nourish their children gently, but...

2. Strong Spiritual Leaders Love Their Spiritual Children Deeply (8-9)

They love them so deeply that they yearn for them affectionately - ... affectionately longing for you” (8a). This is a unique term in the N.T. It means to “feel oneself drawn to something or someone”. It’s a term of strong intensity, a term of endearment taken from the nursery - one that is both masculine and tender. This is a picture of a father’s deep love for his children. Such is his unity with his children that he feels himself affectionately drawn to them. Because of his deep love for them he longs for them – can’t bear to be separated from them. He yearns to hear their laughter and to receive their kisses and to give them his comfort and affection.

The tenderness of a father may decline over time. As children grow they become less dependent, grow stronger, don’t need to be held like they once did. Soon they are taller than we are. But that doesn’t lessen their need for our touch, our love, our comfort, our encouragement. Similarly, spiritual leaders must continuously show tenderness and compassion to their spiritual children. The tendency sometimes is to be sharp and judgmental – the disciplinarian rather than the “nursing mother.”

It never occurred to the prodigal son that his father wouldn’t let him return home, despite all the insults and hurt that he had heaped on his father. So, he said: “I will arise and go to my father” (Lk. 15:18-19). But he was anticipating his father’s wrath and discipline. Hence his proposal, “Make me as one of your hired servants”. But no discipline came. Instead, “When he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (20). That’s deep affection – no hesitation, no inquisition, no probation, only compassion.

Don’t you think that the spiritual children whom God has given to our care need to be treated by us with compassion? How can we do this appropriately? By affirming them for who they are and appreciating what they do.

Strong spiritual fathers, then, love their spiritual children so deeply that they yearn for them affectionately. And they love them so deeply that they give of themselves sacrificially - “We were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us” (8b). Paul loved them so deeply that not only did he bring them the gospel of salvation, but he gave them himself. He was prepared to die for them if necessary. He wasn’t lukewarm in his ministry among them. He was intensely committed to serving them. He gave himself sacrificially for them because they were dear to him.

It isn't enough just to provide for their physical needs. It isn’t even enough just to teach them spiritual truths, important as that is. The truth of the gospel is necessary but we must also impart to them our own lives - share ourselves, serve them sacrificially - so that our lives become part of theirs; so that they continue on the legacy we leave them.

How do we impart our lives to our spiritual children? We impart our lives to them by influencing their thinking and values, by demonstrating how to make good decisions, by modelling how to stand for what’s right, by teaching them how to handle finances responsibly, by giving them our time, attention, and affection, by admitting when we’re wrong and apologizing, by investing ourselves in them. We impart our lives to them by living out the gospel in our day-to-day practice, by being transparent before them so they can see our weaknesses as well as our strengths, our fears as well as their courage, our hopes as well as our disappointments.

Strong spiritual leaders love their spiritual children so deeply they yearn for them affectionately; they give of themselves sacrificially, and they love them so deeply they work for them diligently - “For you remember, brethren, our labour and toil; for labouring night and day, that we might not be a burden to anyone of you, we preached to you the gospel of God” (9).

Serving his spiritual children involved “labour and toil” for Paul. The Macedonian churches were extremely poor, so Paul worked in order to be financially self-supporting. “Labour and toil” means weariness, hardship, and hard work, especially, as in Paul’s case, when it includes making tents and preaching at the same time. Spiritual leaders must be diligent in their work, especially when it’s easy to slack off when no one’s looking. Spiritual leaders are duty bound to work hard for their congregations’ spiritual needs - to show them the way of salvation, to model Christianity before them. That’s hard work!

Diligence in these things exemplifies a good work ethic, by which you teach your congregation to be hard-working, responsible, devoted, dedicated, to be proud of a job well done, to be loyal. Providing emotional, social, and spiritual support is tough work. Being a spiritual father-leader takes tremendous diligence. And those who can keep their work lives in balance with their family lives and church lives are to be honoured.

In the next edition of this Journal we will continue our study of this passage and the topic of “A Biblical Portrait of a Strong Spiritual Leader.”

Part IV: Sermon Outlines

To listen to the audio version of these sermons in English, click on these links: Link 1 - Jn. 6:22-34; Link 2 - Jn. 6:34-40

Title: Jesus, The Bread of Life (6:22-40)

Point #1: What people want is temporal (26-34)

1. People want perishable food to eat (26-27)

2. People want religious works to perform (28-34)

Point #2: What Jesus offers is eternal (34-40)

1. Jesus offers eternal life (35-36)

2. Jesus offers eternal security (37-40)

a) Eternal security is by the gift of God (37)

b) Eternal security is by the will of God (38-40)


1 Cited in Stephen Olford, Anointed Expository Preaching, 29.

2 Olford, Anointed, 29-30.

3 Martin Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers, 305.

4 E.M. Bounds, Under the Dew of Heaven, cited in Stuart Olyott, Preaching Pure and Simple, 158

5 Darrel L. Bock. Luke (Baker), 407.

6 This procedure taken from Haddon Robinson, Biblical Preaching, 39-41.

Related Topics: Pastors

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