Marks of a Good Pastor – Part II

But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. John 10:2 AMP

3. A person called by God to be a pastor/minister must have pure and consecrated motives.

a. A pastor/minister must desire God’s will and glory; not their own. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He calls certain people as under-shepherds. Pastoring is a call. Pastors represent Jesus on earth and should care for the Church – the Body of Christ – as much as Jesus does. A pastor cannot have selfish motives – they cannot pastor because of a natural reward; whether money or fame or any other selfish reason. In God’s Kingdom, ministry is about serving, not being served. It’s about giving your life: caring for the sheep and protecting them from the wolves – not running away. A pastor/minister must love people like Jesus loves them.

John 10:9-13 AMP – I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture. 10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). 11 I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep. 12 But the hired servant (he who merely serves for wages) who is neither the shepherd nor the owner of the sheep, when he sees the wolf coming, deserts the flock and runs away. And the wolf chases and snatches them and scatters [the flock]. 13 Now the hireling flees because he merely serves for wages and is not himself concerned about the sheep [cares nothing for them].

b. A pastor/minister must make salvation of lost souls a priority.

Luke 19:10 AMP – For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.

Acts 10:28 AMP – And he said to them, You yourselves are aware how it is not lawful or permissible for a Jew to keep company with or to visit or [even] to come near or to speak first to anyone of another nationality, but God has shown and taught me by words that I should not call any human being common or unhallowed or [ceremonially] unclean.

c. Like Jesus, a pastor/minister must do good, heal and deliver people by the power of God.

Acts 10:38 AMP – How God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the [Holy] Spirit and with strength and ability and power; how He went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by [the power of] the devil, for God was with Him.

d. A pastor/minister must have the best interests of the church, and all men, at heart. The purpose of the ministry gifts is to equip the saints (believers) for ministry work, to spiritually build up the Body of Christ, to accurately communicate the truths of God’s word, resulting in unity among, and maturity in, God’s people.

Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV – And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

e. A pastor/minister must see people as God sees them – through eyes of love and faith – as a new creation, growing in righteousness. His/her responsibility is to teach the Body of Christ who and what they are in Christ and to encourage them in their walk with God.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21 AMP – For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One died for all, then all died; 15 And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake. 16 Consequently, from now on we estimate and regard no one from a [purely] human point of view [in terms of natural standards of value]. [No] even though we once did estimate Christ from a human viewpoint and as a man, yet now [we have such knowledge of Him that] we know Him no longer [in terms of the flesh]. 17 Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! 18 But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him]. 19 It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor). 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].

Thirty Things That Grace Cannot Do – Part I

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24 NKJV

God’s grace is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. It is activated in our lives when we submit to Him and His word, and when we believe it and act on it. As powerful as it is to change hearts and lives, it has some boundaries. This is what God’s word says about the things that grace cannot do:

1. Grace cannot set aside forever all condemnation for future sins – grace cannot and will not cover your unrepentant sin committed after you are born again.

John 5:14 AMP – Afterward, when Jesus found him in the temple, He said to him, See, you are well! Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.

John 8:34 AMP – Jesus answered them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Whoever commits and practices sin is the slave of sin.

Romans 6:1-23 ERV – So do you think we should continue sinning so that God will give us more and more grace? 2 Of course not! Our old sinful life ended. It’s dead. So how can we continue living in sin? 3 Did you forget that all of us became part of Christ Jesus when we were baptized? In our baptism we shared in his death. 4 So when we were baptized, we were buried with Christ and took part in his death. And just as Christ was raised from death by the wonderful power of the Father, so we can now live a new life. 5 Christ died, and we have been joined with him by dying too. So we will also be joined with him by rising from death as he did. 6 We know that our old life was put to death on the cross with Christ. This happened so that our sinful selves would have no power over us. Then we would not be slaves to sin. 7 Anyone who has died is made free from sin’s control. 8 If we died with Christ, we know that we will also live with him. 9 Christ was raised from death. And we know that he cannot die again. Death has no power over him now. 10 Yes, when Christ died, he died to defeat the power of sin one time—enough for all time. He now has a new life, and his new life is with God. 11 In the same way, you should see yourselves as being dead to the power of sin and alive for God through Christ Jesus. 12 But don’t let sin control your life here on earth. You must not be ruled by the things your sinful self makes you want to do. 13 Don’t offer the parts of your body to serve sin. Don’t use your bodies to do evil, but offer yourselves to God, as people who have died and now live. Offer the parts of your body to God to be used for doing good. 14 Sin will not be your master, because you are not under law. You now live under God’s grace. 15 So what should we do? Should we sin because we are under grace and not under law? Certainly not! 16 Surely you know that you become the slaves of whatever you give yourselves to. Anything or anyone you follow will be your master. You can follow sin, or you can obey God. Following sin brings spiritual death, but obeying God makes you right with him. 17 In the past you were slaves to sin—sin controlled you. But thank God, you fully obeyed what you were taught. 18 You were made free from sin, and now you are slaves to what is right. 19 I use this example from everyday life because you need help in understanding spiritual truths. In the past you offered the parts of your body to be slaves to your immoral and sinful thoughts. The result was that you lived only for sin. In the same way, you must now offer yourselves to be slaves to what is right. Then you will live only for God. 20 In the past you were slaves to sin, and you did not even think about doing right. 21 You did evil things, and now you are ashamed of what you did. Did those things help you? No, they only brought death. 22 But now you are free from sin. You have become slaves of God, and the result is that you live only for God. This will bring you eternal life. 23 When people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. But God gives his people a free gift—eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:12-13 AMP – So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh. 13 For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.

Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV – Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 5:10 AMP – For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing].