Wrong Reasons for Pastoring a Church

A master copy of the indented outline in both MS Word and PDF formats can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. I. Considering that some of you will certainly talk about the proper motivation for pastoring churches such as the ones we pastor, I want to discuss some things that should not motivate us to do what we do, namely: 1. Pride 2. Notoriety 3. Money II. Pride 1. The first evil motivation for pastoring a church is pride. A. One of the qualifications for the ministry is that a potential pastor must be, "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil." (1Ti 3:6) B. Pride - 1. a. A high or overweening opinion of one's own qualities, attainments, or estate, which gives rise to a feeling and attitude of superiority over and contempt for others; inordinate self-esteem. 2. Here are some signs of pride that we have to watch out for as ministers: A. Comparing ourselves with other ministers (2Co 10:12). B. Glorying in our own work in our hearts (our sermons, writings, conversions, churches, etc.). i. We should only glory in the cross of Christ (Gal 6:14). ii. Let him that glorieth glory in the Lord (Jer 9:23-24; 2Co 10:17). C. Boasting of our own work to others. i. Commending ourselves is useless; we are only approved when God commends us (2Co 10:18; Mat 25:21). ii. This could include mentioning our own work in a round-about way so as to make it appear that we are not boasting. iii. Let another man praise thee (Pro 27:2; Pro 20:6; Joh 7:18). iv. "We must also put away all notion of self-importance. God will not bless the man who thinks himself great. To glory even in the work of God the Holy Spirit in yourself, is to tread dangerously near to self-adulation. "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth," and be very glad when that other has sense enough to hold his tongue." (Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 223-224) v. How we take a compliment will tell us a lot about ourselves (Pro 27:21). a. A suggestion is to respond to a compliment with two words: "Thank you." b. If we say "Thank you", and then proceed to re-preach the sermon, boasting about our favorite parts, we are not letting another praise us. c. If we try to put on a false humility and respond with a plethora of pious platitudes about how unworthy we are and how the sermon truly was a piece of trash barely worthy of the garbage can, we demonstrate our insincerity and feigned humility. vi. If our work is truly meritorious, then our hearers will be sure to tell us and others about it, and therefore we don't need to. vii. If our work is not meritorious, why would we want to promote average work to others? D. Being disappointed when we do not receive compliments, or enough compliments, on our sermons is another indication of pride. 3. Remember, we only have this office because God enabled us (1Ti 1:12; Eph 3:7). A. What hast thou that thou didst not receive? (1Co 4:7) B. We have this treasure in earthen vessels so that all the glory goes to God where it belongs (2Co 4:7). 4. Pride goeth before destruction (Pro 16:18). A. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Jam 4:6). B. God hates pride (Pro 8:13) and a proud look (Pro 6:16-17). C. The fastest way to have our understanding taken from us is to gloat in our own accomplishments (Dan 4:29-31,37). 5. We should not take the positions on issues that we do so that we can feel superior to others. A. That is Phariseeism: boasting about how we are not as other men (Luk 18:11). B. Those who think highly of themselves despise others (Luk 18:9). III. Notoriety 1. The second evil motivation for pastoring a church is notoriety or popularity. 2. We must always be on guard against the tendency to want to have the preeminence (3Jo 1:9). A. The heathen want to exercise authority upon others (Mat 20:25). B. But it should not be so with us (Mat 20:26-28). C. We should endeavor to be servants and ministers, not lords over God's heritage (1Pe 5:3). 3. Woe unto us when all men shall speak well of us! -- That's how men treat false prophets. (Luk 6:26) 4. That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination to God (Luk 16:15). 5. Beware of loving the praise of men more than the praise of God (Joh 12:42-43). 6. The Pharisees loved to be recognized in public places (Mat 23:6). 7. The Pharisees loved to be called by lofty titles (Mat 23:7). A. Does it bother us when people call us by our first name? B. It shouldn't since that's what the apostles went by. 8. We must always be careful to not let numbers of converts or church size be our motivation. A. Never measure a preacher's success by the size of his church (Zec 4:10). B. By that measure, the following godly preachers were abject failures (at least on some occasions): i. Noah was a preacher with seven converts (2Pe 2:5 c/w 1Pe 3:20). ii. Isaiah's message was rejected by 90% of his hearers (Isa 6:9-13). iii. Jeremiah preached and warned Israel repeatedly to no avail. iv. Many of Jesus' disciples quit following him when He preached hard doctrine (Joh 6:66-67). a. Jesus' flock was a little flock (Luk 12:32). b. His closest disciples forsook Him (Mar 14:50). v. Paul was forsaken by all his followers when he was brought before Caesar (2Ti 4:16). IV. Money 1. The third evil motivation for pastoring a church is money. 2. If money is your motivation for pastoring a non-501c3 church, then you are a fool, and possibly mentally retarded. 3. Money should never be a factor in our motivation for pastoring Lordship churches, or for any decision we make. 4. Pastors who preach for the money are hirelings (Tit 1:10-11). 5. Men of God must flee the lure of filthy lucre and the love of money (1Ti 6:9-11). 6. We can't serve God and money (Mat 6:24). 7. A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth (Luk 12:15). 8. If money, numbers, or notoriety are our motivations, we will compromise truth to preserve them and we will become worthless hirelings (Pro 28:20).
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