Pastor Like Paul, part 4


“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness,”–2 Timothy‬ ‭3:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The Christian faith depends upon not only faithful discipleship, but on faithful disciples who continue in the pattern they have received. In their last three posts in this series we looked at 4 ways we need to follow ( or strive to be) a godly Christian leader:

  1. Follow the Same Doctrine
  2. Follow the Same Conduct
  3. Follow the Same Purpose
  4. Follow the Same Faithfulness

You can read part 1 here,  part 2 here and part 3 here.

5. Follow with the Same Patience

The KJV uses the word “longsuffering” here, which I always like. Makrothumiarefers to the patient enduring of pain or unhappiness. Literally, this is longsuffering!If we are an impatient society, which we are, then we don’t really practice longsuffering very well most of the time.

Why was Paul patient?

Because the Lord had always been patient with him! “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15–16, ESV)

To whom should we be patient?

Not the false teachers of vv. 1-9! Look at v. 5. It says, “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:5, ESV, emphasis mine).

Also look at what Paul wrote in Titus 3:10-11, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10–11, ESV)

We are to be patient with one another, and most notably with immature Christians. “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2, ESV)

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14, ESV)

There is a repeated refrain you hear throughout the Old Testament—Israel is a “stiff-necked” people (Ex 32:9; 33:3, 5, 9). The people are “stubborn” (Deut 9:6, 13). They are “rebellious” (Deut 31:27). The best example this is in Isaiah 48:4, where the Lord said, “Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass,” (Isaiah 48:4, ESV)! Wow!

The Lord is longsuffering with his people! We are all too often guilty of being stiff-necked, stubborn and rebellious. But I want you to think about this. The steadfast love of the Lord is never ceasing! That phrase “steadfast love” occurs 393 times in the ESV translation, with the majority in the book of Psalms. The steadfast love of the Lord is made most evident in his longsuffering with us. That is why it was sung by Israel, because God’s people know how much we deserve wrath, and yet we receive his patience and love instead!

Paul had learned this about the Lord, and so should we. How would Paul address that troubled church that was so mired in its sin and broken in disunity? How would he speak to them and about them? In 1Corinthians 1:10, Paul begins, “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10, ESV). He appeals to them! He calls them “brothers!”

And when Paul wrote to his friend about a runaway slave, we find a similar patience in his words. In Philemon 8-9, Paul wrote, “Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus—” (Philemon 8–9, ESV)

O how we need to learn longsuffering with God’s people! What faith we will need! If you need to grow in you patience with people, then you will need this last characteristic of a godly leader—love. We will look at this in the next post.

Taking a break…be back soon!

For the next few weeks I’ll be out of town and on a pretty tight schedule so I won’t be posting anything until I get back. Thanks for reading! I will be tweeting if you want to follow me-@rbargas on Twitter.

Pastor Like Paul, part 3

“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness,”–2 Timothy‬ ‭3:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We have been learning what it means to follow a good leader, and how to be a good leader ourselves. We are doing this by reading Paul’s last letter to his spiritual child, Timothy, who was a pastor in Ephesus.

The Christian faith depends upon not only faithful discipleship, but on faithful disciples who continue in the pattern they have received. In their last two posts in this series we looked at 3 ways we need to follow the good Christian leader:

  1. Follow the Same Doctrine

  2. Follow the Same Conduct

  3. Follow the Same Purpose

You can read part 1 here, and part 2 here.

4. Follow with the Same Faithfulness

Faith Defined

The Greek word pistos refers not just to the content of our faith, but it also can be rendered “faithfulness.”

Faith, in general, means to believe in something, to have confidence and trust in something or someone, but Hebrews 11:1 defines it more accurately. It says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, ESV)

Faith Lived Out

It is important to note that this definition of faith comes at the head of a whole chapter of earthly struggles that God’s people overcame in the strength of the Lord. Hebrews 11 shows us that biblical faith is not a painless faith, it is not an easy faith. To believe is only part of it. But faith runs deep and it trust God even in the hardest and darkest times.

Think about what Paul is going through at the time he penned these words to Timothy. He is facing certain death and his life up to this point has been hard. Read with me 2 Cor 6:4-10 to remember what Paul suffered for Christ: “but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” (2 Corinthians 6:4–10, ESV)

Do you see how faith looks when it is lived out? Paul wants Timothy to have this sort of faith. Surely he had seen the suffering and hatred he faced. Paul’s teaching, conduct and aim in life had led to this sort of treatment for him, and it would surely lead to this in Timothy’s life as well. And will have this response if we follow the model Christ laid out for us as well.

Timothy seemed to have struggled with wavering faith that resulted in fear and shame at times.

  • “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,” (2 Timothy 1:7–8, ESV)
  • which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Timothy 1:12, ESV)
  • “May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains,” (2 Timothy 1:16, ESV)
  • “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, ESV)

Timothy needed to learn that “the promises of God are true and reliable.” We need that lesson too.

Preaching Christ from All of Scripture? TMS Lecture Series #1- Richard Mayhue


One of the more difficult issues that often comes up in preaching is how to properly preach the gospel in any given sermon. Obviously, there are texts which easily lend themselves to preaching the gospel, but how can we be faithful to stress the authorial intent of the Bible and still be faithful to preach Christ?

Thankfully, back in 2016 The Master’s Seminary held its annual Faculty Lecture Series on Christ-Centered Preaching. I would commend the whole series to you if you struggle with this issue, which many men do, but I want to take some time here to highlight each message and then when I have finished the sermon series I’d like to make some practical applicational comments for how we can preach Christ in our sermons in a way that is biblically faithful to the text.

The first message is from Dr. Richard L. Mayhue, the former dean of The Master’s Seminary from 1990 to 2014.

His message can be be heard here as audio or video.

In this message, Dr. Mayhue covers:

  • An Overview of the Christ-Centered Preaching Movement
  • An Overview of the Improper Practices of the Movement
  • And Overview of Legitimate Christ-Centered Preaching

“It is exegetically fraudulent to try to extract from every biblical text some truth about Christ.”–Daniel Block

Dr. Mayhue briefly addresses the argument used to defend this preaching from texts such which seem at first glance to say that Christ can be found in the totality of the Old Testament, such as Luke 24:44; John 5:39; 1Cor 1:22-23; 1Cor 2:2; 2Cor 4:5. He also deals with the issue of hermeneutics and how coming to the text with a theological bias may allow for preaching Christ in every text, but it also abuses the authorial intent of the text. Likewise, Mayhue argues that a Christo-centric hermeneutic falls short of a full theocentric emphasis in Scripture and points to John Calvin himself as a good model of faithful, biblical exposition which does not fall into the same pitfalls as modern Christo-centric preachers.

Although this message clocks in at 52:31, it only begins to scratch the surface of the issues at hand and does not deal with a lot of the issues, nor does it help much in showing a young expositor how Christ can be preached in many texts other than those which are explicitly Messianic. That task is left for those that will follow.


Appeal to the Heart in Your Preaching

“It is my firm conviction that those sermons are most likely to convert men that really appeal to their hearts, not those that are fired over their heads, or that are aimed only at their intellects. I am sorry to say that I know some preachers who will never do much good in the world; they are good men, they have plenty of ability, they can speak well, and they have a good deal of shrewdness; but, somehow or other, there is a very sad omission in their nature, for to anyone who knows them, it is quite evident that they have not any heart. I know one or two men who are as dry as leather.”-Spurgeon, The Soul Winner, 100–101.