As I began the school year I could not help but feel the overwhelming weight of ministry–not in a burdensome way, but in the sense that the responsibility is great and the vehicle weak. With the Christian landscape the way it is–filled with half-hearted preachers, culture-driven churches, and pastors who live engulfed in sinfulness–it’s important that we, whether as ministers, church leaders, or lay people, evaluate our own hearts and understand the responsibility cast upon us as people with influence. I’ve compiled some quotes from Scripture or books that I’ve been reading lately that have encouraged me regarding the weight of preaching and leading.
Eternal life hangs in the balance…How we live and what we teach will make a difference in whether people obey the gospel or meet Jesus in the fire of judgment “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thess. 1:7-8).
– John Piper
“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
– 1 Timothy 4:16
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
– James 3:1
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”
– Hebrews 13:7
“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”
– 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
– 2 Timothy 2:15
“The risen Lord Jesus sees through all our clever turns of phrase–I am preaching to myself. He knows perfectly when we have chosen words to win, but not to clarify. He has planted a banner on the pulpit of every preacher and on the desk of every scholar: ‘No man can give the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save.’ We will give an account to the all-knowing, all-ruling Lord of the universe in a very few years–or days. And when we do, what will matter is that we have not peddled God’s word but ‘as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in he sight of God we speak in Christ’ (2 Cor. 2:17).”
– John Piper in “The Future of Justification”