Thoughts from a Young Man: “Cultivate Obedient Men not Skilled Men”


We are not to be, primarily, cultivating skilled preachers and teachers. Dear Brothers we need to be cultivating hearts of love and passion for the saviour. As we cultivate faithful obedience the gifts of the Spirit will become evident. We should seek to see disciples grow in the use of those skills but above that we should seek that they would be faithful in the wholeness of their lives. Teachers and Preachers are important. We have the command to entrust the gospel to to worthwhile men who can teach it to others but that teaching must be in accord with faithfulness. If we are fostering obedience and love the men and women in our care will use their varied gifts faithfully and in time they will use their gifts obediently. Various gifts and various individuals bring specific temptations and that is again a manner of teaching faithfulness and obedience. I am not against producing wonderful leaders, please don’t hear that. We need wonderful leaders who love the Lord deeply and will be examples of Christ. We need men and women who know the Lord with a passion that roots and goes beyond their gifts.
Leaders of the church, have placed on them, a greater expectation to meet the standards of holiness but the standard we are all called to meet is the same; Christ.
We must avoid the the fault of our fathers and grandfathers who reduced fundamentalism to agreement to several points of doctrine. We must avoid producing eloquent preachers who have right doctrine but no unction. Avoid creating men who have strong words but no lives of conviction. Moreover, not all are called to such positions and such lives are not for our leaders but for every christian in every place. Such holy lives are not for the preachers because they are held to a higher standard. Leaders of the church, have placed on them, a greater expectation to meet the standards of holiness but the standard we are all called to meet is the same; Christ.
Let us pursue obedient-faithful use of gifts. That is merely an extension of the life of love and obedience we have already cultivated. Indeed, in is such cultivation that we will see the gift we have been given manifested and we will see the higher call to use those gifts in loving pursuit of Christlikeness. They are tools for the service of the church in pursuing Christ-likeness and areas of need for greater faithful obedience. The gifts are born of of the Spirit for obedience; obedience does not beget the gifts.
Our goal is Christlikeness and that WILL require us to use the talents HE has given us in service to the kingdom.
Let us not depart from this task of sanctification in holiness. Our goal is Christlikeness and that WILL require us to use the talents HE has given us in service to the kingdom. There is a need to develop such talents but I fear in our day we miss the proverbial boat. We focus on get the the gifts and using them will missing the real call “abide in my word…abide in my commands and you will abide in my love…in my joy will be in you and your joy will be made full.” (John 15). Abide in Christ our vine. Grow in Christlikeness and the gifts will come. If we have worn the paths of obedience deep we will respond to the budding gifts with faithful development of them in the context they are provided for by God, His church.
This obedience is not a thing we have to do, pray pray pray, that God would so overwhelm you with Christ that you want him more than all else and your obedience will be born of Joy.
I thought of this as I listened to 5 leading pastors discuss preaching Christ from the OT. They were obviously teaching. WHat were they teaching? Faithful us of the gifts and of the word. It was amazing how the very interpretations offered were a product of faithfulness. I realized how blessed we are to have such men who are not teaching, THIS IS WHAT THIS MEANS, but here is how you faithfully, obediently, honor the Word of God in teaching. Let us pursue this model at the most fundamental level, our own hearts our own lives. This obedience is not a thing we have to do, pray pray pray, that God would so overwhelm you with Christ that you want him more than all else and your obedience will be born of Joy. Jesus says it best:
If anyone love me he will keep my commands…he who does not love me does not keep my commands nor my Father’s who sent me…this I tell you so that my joy would be in you, and that your joy would be made full
John 14:23b, 24, 15:11
An all encompassing, heart-rending, love breeds this passionate obedience. It is a love that abounds in good works. It is a love that pursues its singular desire, communion with the great Love, the lover of men, Christ. This love produces works that please Him for whom they are done. This is the love of Christ for the Father. This is the love that leads God to the Cross. This is the love the world must see if they are to see the Christ. Lets us pray that we would so love our savior.
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