Home » Various Sermons » A Sermon on Pastors

A Sermon on Pastors

The following is a sermon I did two weeks ago for Pastors Appreciation Day or Month or whatever. Anyways I figured that I should really start posting my sermons back up O.o Anyhow yay Blog update ^.^

Pastoral Duty

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4.1-5

I have  in my library a variety of different books directed toward Pastors, some I have gotten because of Class, some given, and others simply gotten. Among them are The Pastor and his Work by Homer A. Kent, Shepherding the Church, Jospeh M. Stowell,  Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity, Eugene H. Peterson, Biblical Preaching, Haddon W. Robinson, the Peacemaking Pastor, Alfred Porirer.

This list, especially if one takes into account all the books ever written on how to be a good pastor could go on and on. Certainly will continue to grow as the years go on. Some are good, other all right, and some are downright dated and useless. Yet if one truly surveys all the books that have been written it shows us one good sign. There are those who take the pastorate seriously and seek to teach others so that they too take the role of the pastor seriously.

Pastors are men who have been called by God to do a specific and very important task. It is a calling that needs to be taken seriously. All should take seriously the gifts and callings, which the Holy Spirit has given us. But those who are leaders, who are supposed to be the role models for the Church should doubly take this into account. It is a very special thing that God has done for us.

But what are the duties of a pastor? As we have sat through the various congregations in our lives we have met pastors and leaders of different kinds. What is it that as we reflection upon a pastor that makes us remark, “he is a good pastor,” “or he could be a better pastor,” or even how is this man allowed to even be pastor.”

In this selection, one common thread is highlighted, the pastoral duty of preaching the Word of God. This is shown to be fulfilled in a variety of actions against a variety of different situations. But all with a common goal, to bring new believers to Christ and especially to strengthen the Church.

As we discuss this brief note on part of the pastoral duties there are several things that we need to keep in mind. To those who are pastors, who preach or teach, and especially led in very important ways, this is what God’s word has directed toward us.

To the lay person, to those who may not hold any sort of leadership role, when you sit in Church in this or another and when you see the actions of your pastor, how is he in performing these duties? Know this, the Bible is the rule by which all your leaders are to live by, Christ is to be their example. How well do they measure up? Pastors are as fallible as the next person, but they have  a greater duty.

Secondly if  indeed the pastor is striving to follow his God given duties in part shown here, do we truly appreciate that? For there is very true sense in which the Pastor has been given a duty that harder than the other members of the Church. Yet how often do we thank him for it?

There is a truth that we must note, since the beginning of the Church there has been those who are called to the office of the pastorate. The name and often the external duties have been different from age to age, but those spiritual duties, those actions we call pastoral they have always remain the same. They have always been the mark of a person who truly been called to this important role.

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word;” – 2 Timothy 4.1-2a

Paul is here giving Timothy one last final exhortation, one final charge, the whole of this first verse of chapter four is showing how serious Paul was.[1] This charge is connected to three things, that Christ is the Ultimate Judge, that he will return, and that his kingdom will come.[2] Thus in a sense the ultimate goal of ministry is always to be on the mind of the pastor. As we speak briefly of the duties of the pastor we need to note that it is role that must be taken with the upmost seriousness in mind.

“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” – 2 Timothy 4.2b

Paul highlights five duties and with each he gives them in “crisp imperatives.”[3] Paul especially highlights the preaching duties of the pastor. This preaching is to happening no matter the time, but it may and should take different forms. [4] There is a need to always be prepared since the preacher is always on duty.[5] No matter the moment, every chance we get even if it might not seem the best, we are to urgently preach the Gospel.[6]

The pastor’s primary charge is the preach the Word of God. Luther once wrote that “the preaching office is the office of the Holy Spirit. Even though men do the preaching, baptizing, [etc.], it is the Holy Spirit who preaches and teaches.”[7] In another passage he notes that to hear a sermon is “nothing else but to hear God’s word and thereby serve God.”[8]

“reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 4.2c

After noting to Timothy the need to always preach Paul looks toward these next aspects of Correction, Rebuke, and encouragement, here we see as Paul continues to tell Timothy of his duties that “severity and gentleness” are here combined, but that patience is at the center of it all.[9] There are different actions which our preaches must take. However, above all else, preaching must be in patience and should be paired always with right teaching. [10]

We are taught by Paul that part of the Pastoral duty is reproof and rebuke. Sadly, too often we seek to be men who are well liked and too often we care little for the true fact that we have a duty to show those whom we teach their sins. Yet the duty of the pastor is not only speak of good things, but at times to speak and do hard duties. Even still as we go to correct or rebuke a person how is it that we are to correct them?

An Ancient Christian document puts it this way, “admonishing all persons; reproving all who stand in need of reproof; reproving, that is, but not striking, beating them down to make them ashamed, but not overthrowing them; warning them in order to their conversion; chiding them in order to their reformation and better course of life.”[11]

A pastor needs to be willing to correct those in error, to help them live better lives, lives that are pleasing to God. This, however, is to always be done in love. A pastor is not berate his people for their continual sins, but in love to show them of God’s desire for them live righteously not sinfully. A pastor is not to shove doctrine down a person’s throat, but to in patience teach them correctly the word of God.

As there is are many who forget the need to correct, there are sadly many who forget to encourage. In preaching and in performing the various pastoral duties a pastor cannot neglect his duty of encouragement. How often we focus on the negative aspects of a person and yet when they strive to change and strive to follow God faithfully we sneer and tell them that its impossible, or ask them why they even bother. Instead of saying, “Good job, keep at it and make God proud.”

There are those who desperately need to be exhorted who need encouragement. To be told that they are truly doing a good job. That though they’ve stumbled here or there, at this point they’ve done well. That they’ve made true progress and that they can continue making progress.

This duty should be one of the pastor’s favorites. It should be a favorite actions of any Christian man or woman to look at fellow believer and say “look at what God has done in your life.” To be able to see God’s work and to comment “continue on.”

With every action, both those that are negative and those positive, Love is to the be the standing characteristic of the pastor. After all, does not Paul note the uselessness of actions without love? “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13.1-3) As it should be for all Christians, love should be the key to our actions, but most certainly it is key to the one who leads.

Different times and situations, and even different personalities call for different actions of correction and encouragement, but all call for the word of God. As Gregory of Nazianzus once correctly observed

“The Pastoral principle: Variability. All persons are not to be cured in the same way.”[12] “The principle is this: just as the same food and medicine is not appropriate to every bodily ailment, so neither is the same treatment and discipline proper for the guidance of souls. … Some persons are better motivated with words, others by example. … Praise will benefit some, while correction will benefit others.”[13]

 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” – 2 Timothy 4.3-4.

Paul already noted that Pastor needed to be ready to preach in or especially out of season. Looking toward the future Paul noted a  time would come when truth and doctrine will be second to entertainment and what the people want to hear.[14]  That although truth will be taught, it will be sadly ignored.[15] The Pastor is be ready no matter the season and that even includes when myths are preferred to the truth of God.

There will be a time that despite our message and even how good it is presented that the world will simply not care. Certainly in many ways, the word does not listen now. In many ways the world prefers to look toward foolish myths and fables instead of the Word of God. However we are still to preach the word.

Our message no matter how popular or unpopular it is, it is to be the pure Word of God that is preached. It is here that the duty of the pastor may be the hardest. For the pastor who seeks to preach truth instead of entertainment may face a shrinking congregation, rougher treatment, a harder life. But the message of the Gospel must still go out. No matter the response we get, we are to preach Christ, that salvation is available to all and the sinners very true need of its cure.

After all, it is as John Calvin once noted that “wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard and the sacraments administered according to Christ’s institution, there, it is not to be doubted, a church exists.” A pastor should desire a real church pleasing to God rather than the pleasing eye of man.

Our foundation is the truth of God’s word. The pastoral duty of preaching is to present God’s truth even in a word that does not care, for we must always remember that is God who uses us and God who ultimately saves. The ultimate reason that we preach God’s truth is that pastors do not answer to man, but to God.

Charles Spurgeon once preached, “But you are not teaching geography or astronomy, nor are you teaching for business or for the world; but you are teaching them to the best of your ability for God.”

“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4.5

Nevertheless, Paul tells Timothy to stand his ground even to the point of suffering with all of the Gospel still being preached. [16] Timothy needs to fulfill his mission no matter what opposition that it may raise.[17] Paul ends  on a note of Timothy’s duty as an evangelist as a proclaimer of the gospel, but also that he remain firm in all aspects of his ministry.[18]

We are to be sober-minded in all things. No matter what is happening around us as one commentator noted we are to “Keep your head in all situations.”[19] The duty of the pastoral ministry needs to be on the forefront even when we are facing persecution. Even when our message is not liked at all. Still, we need to preach the word. Still the pastor needs to help lead his flock. Still the God’s will must be done.  We are to always take seriously the pastorate.

John Chrysostom once wrote, “Whether you are in danger, in prison, in chains or going to your death, at that very time do not hesitate to admonish. Do not withhold your admonition. For it is then most seasonable,”[20] No matter the situation we are to preached. We’ve already commented on the need of the pastor to preach when he will be listened to or not listened to. But it also needs to be remembered that pastor needs to preach even when he does not feel like it. There are times when he might be facing the horrible results of persecution, but he is to remain steadfast for God. Did not the prophets so often speak and proclaim the word of God even when hostility led them to their doom? As Jeremiah himself noted, “In vain have I struck your children; they took no correction; your own sword devoured your prophets like a ravening lion.” (Jeremiah 2.30)

Every pastor is to proclaim the Gospel. Sure, their duty is not always to preach as an evangelist would that is to always have Salvation messages, but that the Gospel is nonetheless a key part of the pastor’s ministry. The Gospel is always a core part of ministry, not just a limited function. As the pastoral duties lay with his flock it is always concern with increasing it and with strengthening it. The duty of the pastor to his congregation is never forfeited, nor his duty to the lost. The Gospel must always be at the center of the pastor’s heart. As Richard Baxter in the Reformed Pastor wrote, “To this end, I should think it very necessary that, both before and in the work, we take special pains with our own hearts, to excite and strengthen our belief of the truth of the gospel, and of the invisible glory and misery that are to come.”[21]


[1] Nute, 1490.

[2] Gunthrie, 1310.

[3] Nute, 1490.

[4] Nute, 1490.

[5] Gunthrire, 1310.

[6] JBC NT 359.

[7] Luther’s Wordks vol. 28; 479

[8] Luther Works vol 10/1:48

[9] Gunthrie, 1310.

[10] Nute, 1490.

[11] Constitutions of the Hoyl Apsotles, booksII, Sec III, Ch XX

[12] Gregory of Naziznaus , Oration 2,m par 33

[13] Gregory, Orations 2, par 30.

[14] Nute, 1490.

[15] Nute, 1490.

[16] Nute, 1490-91.

[17] Wansbrough, 1216.

[18] Gunthrie, 1310.

[19] NAC ??

[20] Chrysostom, Homiles on 2 Timothy 9

[21] (from Works of Richard Baxter: The Reformed Pastor, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2004, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and Ages Software, Inc. All rights reserved.)


4 Comments

  1. Pastor, I see that you use the PC Bible Study. How long have you been using Biblesoft? I use PC Study Bible Guy as my blogging name. It is a great piece of software. Blessings! Frank

  2. Gimba Benjamin says:

    Thanks for this sermon. If I can have more of them, I will appreciate them. I hope to use part of the sermon

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