Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog
The Local Preacher (Part 3)
Acts 20:19 says, “serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews.” Paul “served with humility.” As great a man as Paul was, he served (douleuo – ministered to others as if he were their slave). His service is described with three genitives: With all humility (Philippians 2:3), with tears, and with trials. So all of this could be summed up as Paul served with humility, and stayed faithful through trials. Once again we can tie this back to the local preacher, as preachers are put in a position to serve the congregation and to stay faithful to them. Many preachers can become very haughty because every single Sunday they have people telling them how incredible their sermons are. Preachers must constantly keep in mind the humility that they should be practicing (John 13).
The local preacher should not shy away from teaching that which will help the church. Acts 20:20 says, “how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house.” Herbert Agar once said, “The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.”
People will not always be open to the message that preachers proclaim. But the job is to proclaim all truth to the congregation. We also learn that preachers should be vocal about the Gospel. Notice that Paul said “…in public and from house to house.” The word used for “shrink” in this verse is upostello and means to “shrink from and avoid, implying fear.”
The local preacher is to make no exclusions as seen in Acts 8:21 which reads, “Testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul preached the Gospel to everyone! He knew what they needed and gave it to them. One way we can put this into perspective is to make a parallel between how we treat others, and how God treats us. As humans, we can sometimes show partiality. Whether it is because of someone’s personality or how they treat us, we tend to avoid those types of people.
What if God treated us this way? We know from Romans 5:8 that God sent His son to die for us “while we were yet sinners…” God did not, does not, and never will show partiality to anyone. Paul proclaimed to both Jews and Gentiles. The Jews at this time did not get along well with the Gentiles at all. Paul puts that aside and shares the Gospel with them. Romans 10:12 says, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him.”
This all applies to the local preacher today. There should never be partiality shown to different members by the preacher. Even more than that, there should be no partiality shown to those outside of the Church! Yet we see that so much in today’s culture. The Gospel is what people need, so he must never let partiality stand between a soul and eternal life.