The Vanishing Office (PT 2)
(Continuance of Pt. 1)
The shepherd leads the sheep to the green pastures where they feed. I have seen goats and wolves trying to run the show but never real bible "sheep". To make it simple, they are to graze and produce wool. And sheep always begat sheep! Never a goat and never a wolf. Can't happen to mama sheep. Impossible!
But, in the church, I have seen sheep become goats or even wolves. We call this today, "Trangenesis." That is not a good word. I know you have heard the word Transgender. That means to change sex. Here we have a new species. How can you become another animal? I don't think people realize what they are doing. No - I know they don't.
I am told that the fastest growing churches today are the seeker friendly churches. We could describe it as no Word (or little), for sure no meat, no power, no Holy Spirit, no commitment, no confrontation, no correction, no rebuke, or to put it plainly, "a feel good" church. If you speak the truth (I don't mean some of the time) it makes it uncomfortable for Christians, today. "Well Pastor, you are always on our case"! Yes, and there is a purpose. One individual said, "You always have an agenda". Yes, you're right again, and there is a method to what you think is my madness.
Today, most people want fellowship and friendship. That's nice, so do I. But, that is not my criteria or my job description. The name of the game is "Iron sharpens Iron'. And there is a "Method to my Madness". Please let me explain "Method" is a careful, systematic way that something intelligent is done. "Madness" is the strange and meaningless action of a crazy person, but there is a "method to one's madness" when what looks like strange and meaningless actions (madness) is actually the result of a carefully reasoned plan (method). Example: "Give me a moment to explain; there is a method to my madness." (This idiom comes from Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Polonius speaking: "though this be madness, yet there is method in it.") Example: "We thought he was crazy to do it that way, but it turned out that there was method to his madness."
Today, people want a soft gospel. They want a kinder, gentler gospel. They want appeasement. They don't want meat. They don't want confrontation. They don't want any thing that offends or challenges. Well, Jesus offended all the time. He constantly corrected, reproved, and rebuked Pharisees, Sadducees, the Priesthood, and religious folk. They didn't crucify Jesus for what he did but for what he said. He called them liars, hypocrites, blind guides, and offspring of vipers. You don't like to hear that do you? Paul called people whited sepulchers full of dead men's bones. James was a Pastor who had to address his flock and correct their faults. Was there a method to his madness? Yes-Yes-Yes!
Paul tells the ministry (That includes Pastors) in 2 Timothy 3:16, "all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". Is this method or madness? Both, and it was that the man of God may be perfect and mature. He wants you to quit whining and grow up. Then he gave a charge to Timothy (The ministry - which includes pastors) in 2 Timothy 4:1-4, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." Sometimes we even have to raise our voices to get some peoples attention. Some may call that madness but it is one method to get their attention. When raising my children I had to do this to get them to listen to me.
In these scriptures you have the method and the madness - (Please remember, this is just an idiom). The Lord, the chief shepherd, told us to mature the saints. Sometimes, I have thought this was just madness. It is almost like beating against the wind. I repent for thinking such things.
For this reason, people seek out their own pastor and divorce the one God assigns them, then they leave them, turn traitor on them, and sometimes frankly speaking, just break our hearts. Many (Most) pastors bow to the pressure and back off. They turn their churches over to seeker friendly and glorified social clubs. They know they must satisfy the whims of the people in order to build a big church. I guess there really is a "method to their madness". It is either please the people and not Jesus, or else lose them. The office of the true Pastor is quickly vanishing and I wonder if there will be many of us left when Jesus comes. Believe me, we pastors are not here to win friends and influence people. Rather, just the latter part. Winning friends has nothing to do with our calling. Believe me, I want friends also but not at the expense of my office. That would be just madness. I know the word teaches us fellowship but it also teaches us a lot more. Acts 2:42 states, "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Jesus told Peter to feed the sheep. I work to do that but I have found it difficult when you only have them part time. Please tell me how to do that one hour a week for most and many don't even show up for that. Then they get bored because not enough fun and games and fellowship and leave. I call thIs madness. I want to say to some of the people, "Gee - Jesus at least got a kiss from Judas before he was betrayed".