Today’s AMI QT Devotional is a reprint of Kate Moon’s blog originally posted on May 5, 2014. Kate continues to serve the Lord in E. Asia.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“What Do Pastors Do?”
“He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”
What is it that pastors do? For many, it is kind of a mystery. All most of us see is a person speaking to us from the pulpit once a week on Sundays, and we wonder, “What does this person do the rest of the week?”
Pastors indeed do many other things, but in our verse for today, what we see is that preaching is actually one of their main responsibilities. Overseers of churches (=today’s pastors) were to use the proper teaching of God’s word to encourage people and refute opposing ways of thought.
It is interesting to think that sound doctrine is something that can be used to encourage people. It sounds so dry and academic, or like it’s somehow about someone trying to get us to do something disagreeable but good for us. But when sound doctrine is preached, the truth of God’s word actually has the effect of encouraging, strengthening and motivating us to live the right way. Therefore, it is something we can look forward to receiving each week on the Lord’s Day.
As for the aspect of refuting those who oppose the message of God, at first it may be hard to imagine that preaching needs to do this as well, because we assume that those who oppose would most likely not be in church on a Sunday to listen. But as believers, we need to hear our pastors refuting the opposition because though we may not be aware of it, this opposition is all around us, influencing us all the time. It comes through advertising, the T.V. and movies we watch, the voices of friends and family members who may mean well but don’t have God’s word as their standard for living. And when we are truly honest with ourselves, we sometimes find there is opposition that comes from even within our own hearts.
What sound doctrine did we hear preached to us even just yesterday at Sunday service? Is there an encouragement we need to hold on to or act upon? A correction to our way of thinking that we need to receive?
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the ministry of the ones You have placed as overseers of our church. Help me to receive their encouragement and correction as a blessing and gift from You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 11
Lunch Break Study
Read Titus 1:6-9: “An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”
Questions to Consider
- As you look at all the traits of a good elder, do you notice a running theme? What do many have in common?
- How did these characteristics make someone fit for the job (v. 9b) of being an elder?
- How is being hospitable related to the other characteristics? What balance can we also pursue?
- A respect for and ability to maintain boundaries, whether for self (staying within the boundaries of marriage, keeping one’s temper, not over-drinking or seeking gain outside the limits of the law), or for others (i.e., setting boundaries for children).
- Being able to maintain boundaries is what makes an elder such a great protector of the faith. This person is able to hold on to the true message of the gospel, keeping the church in line with it and not letting people be led astray by false teachings.
- All this uprightness, discipline and self-control must be balanced by a genuine love and soft heart for people. The virtue of hospitality is where we can see this quality shine. It is the balance between not compromising on important principles and yet being gracious and flexible towards people.
Did I make an effort today to try to apply what I received from the preaching of sound doctrine?