Mature Class Study, teacher Alyce Crain.
Why am I doing what I do? If someone is running uncertainly, they don’t know why. They don’t know their capabilities, where to start, where the finish line is, or what their strategy against the enemy is. Spiritually God has a specific start, finish, preparation, strategy, and rules for this race. God wants us to be focused on the goal. God doesn’t wants us to come to church just because we’re supposed to. It is part of our service to God.
I Corinthians 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
To be reprobate is being void of understanding or without good judgment. God wants us to examine ourselves and why we’re doing what we do, not just putting on a Christian costume that is fake and not really in our hearts. God wants us to take a deep, honest look at ourselves to see why we’re doing what we do. Sometimes that involves asking ourselves hard questions about things in our past that we haven’t faced before, like hurts and distrust of people. He wants us to go to those places with him and look at them. God is drawing people and puts them in contact with us. We need to be ready to give them an answer and translate what God gives us in our mind for our world today.
II Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
How does what we do apply to our pastor? The word “pastor” comes from the French word pastur. It is pasture in English. The pastor is whoever God gives to lead the flock in the pastures he wants us to be led in. He isn’t just someone who went to Bible college and then checked want ads to find places that needed a pastor. In the Church of God, the pastor is set in place by God and is divinely appointed. As sheep of the pasture, we need to recognize our pastor as divinely appointed by God to lead us. God is directing our pastor to provide for our spiritual needs with all our spiritual food.
I Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
God leads our pastor to give the spiritual water we drink so our spiritual needs are satisfied and leading us in paths of righteousness. We don’t have to fear our pastor because he’s God-given so we can trust him. Our pastor uses the rod and the staff of God’s word to guide and protect us, not to beat us into submission or put fear in us. God prepares a table before our enemies by our pastor laying out all the spiritual provisions to feed on. The shepherd put oil on the sheep to kill bugs and parasites in their wool. The anointed word from our pastor will kill things that are spiritually disturbing to us. Are we good sheep and following where God is leading our pastor? Or are we making trouble – being a difficult sheep, causing trouble to the other sheep, making it hard for the pastor to shepherd us? If you’re close to God but have doubts or questions, God will show you what you need to know, how to be a good sheep, and how to support our pastor to lead us in good paths. We aren’t to be nipping at other sheep or troubling sheep of other flocks in our connected world.
Psalm 23:1-6 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Our pastor is not just someone random but is sent from God’s own heart to understand knowledge in God’s word. God longed for us to have a close relationship with him and his children, even when we were unsaved. God’s heart is full of mercy and he wants to safely guide us in every situation every day. God lays things on our pastor’s heart for our spiritual perfecting – to be free from sin every day. God wants us working to save souls, encouraging others, and helping the saints.
Jeremiah 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
God assigns our pastor to edify us so we can encourage and help others. If we’re having an adverse affect on the flock or other congregations, we need to take a hard look at what we’re doing. God wants us to come to the unity of the faith. Growing up includes hard discipline for the hard-headed. He isn’t going to beat us but uses our pastor to bring us correction.
Ephesians 4:11-15 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and…knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children…carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they…deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things…even Christ:
We can trust our pastor for counsel when we face hard situations. He will give the judgment and wisdom you need from God. God blesses when you obey counsel given by our pastor in the place God has chosen us to be in. Submission to the counsel may be hard on our flesh but it is good and right for us.
Deuteronomy 17:8-12 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood…being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the Lord thy God shall choose; And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment: And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the Lord shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe…according to all that they inform thee: According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew…And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that…minister there before the Lord…or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and…put away the evil…
What happens when there are problems? Uzza was a Levite of the family of Kohathites. God gave specific instructions for how to transport the ark. It was supposed to be covered and carried on wood staves that went through the ark. They were not supposed to touch the ark. Uzza and his brother Ahio were not following the directions! The devil will tempt us at times to touch something we shouldn’t. Uzza touched the ark and immediately died. Someone might say, Why would God do that? No matter if Uzza did it with good intentions, was being careless, or knowingly took the matter into his own hands, Uzza knew better. When we know to do good but don’t do it, it is sin.
I Chronicles 13:9-10 And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.
If we see a situation or problem in the congregation, it is the pastor who was put in charge to handle it. We need to pray and maybe go to the pastor. It’s not our responsibility to go around the congregation to fix the problem. God has a certain order and he wants us to recognize and respect that order. God will correct situations and take care of the flock. God loves his people and will take care of all his flocks around the world.
Jeremiah 23:2-4 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.
Jude was talking about a situation in a congregation where people came in and made trouble. The Jews had a custom that the archangel Michael and the devil disputed about Moses’ body. Jude said Michael told the devil that the Lord would rebuke him. Michael knew his place, even with all the power assigned to him, that he should not be arguing with the devil. He knew God would rebuke devil and arguing with the devil isn’t up to us either. We need to let God handle situations. God has been revealing how to reach souls. This is partly based on our past experiences and in adapting them to the present so we can be a mighty and victorious army for God.
Jude:8-10 Likewise also these [filthy] dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.