“BUILDING, BATTLING AND BALANCING”
This preacher was recently thinking about three possible words that he could use that accurately describes a Biblicist Fundamentalist preacher’s responsibilities with regards to his God given ministry and the order in which they should occur in a preacher’s ministry. The above three words just kept ringing in his ear. Therefore, he is basing this editorial upon those three succinct terms.
In Matt. 16:18, Christ stated He would build his church and that the gates of hell would not be able to prevail against that building process. In thinking about church building, it is important to remember that Christ is the master builder. Christ is the master builder, since He has been in the building business now for more than 2,000 years. For more than 2,000 years our Saviour has been in the spiritual construction business, the ministry of building His spiritual body as idealized via the salvation of souls and the establishment of local N. T. churches that epitomize His church building endeavors.
While Christ is the sole foundation of building and structural process, he has granted believers a major part in this building activity. In fact, in I Cor. 3:9, the Apostle Paul specifically states that believers “are God’s building,” as well as localized co-laborers in establishing and strengthening specific spiritual buildings that we identify as local N.T. churches.
While Paul clearly states in I Cor 3:7-9 that all believers have a distinctive part in these spiritual building processes, God-called preachers and evangelists [as the modern missionaries were called in N.T. times] have a special responsibility in the localized building of Christ’s church via the establishment and edification of visible N.T. assemblies of believers.
Now when Christ departed from this earth and returned home to glory, he left behind several important legacies. Christ left behind (a) the legacy of His testimony, the great conscience—Heb. 4:16, (b) the legacy of His Triumph—the great conquest-Matt. 28:6, (c) the legacy of His Truth—the great clarity—John 16:13-14, (d) the legacy of His tranquility—the great contentment—John 14:27 and (e) the legacy of His testament—the great commission building mandate—Matt. 28:18-20, the greatest of all His legacies!
(A) THE IMPORTANCE OF THE GREAT COMMISSION BUILDING MANDATE [GCBM]
To use a military term, this Great Commission Building Mandate has been called “the marching orders of the church.” Now the command to establish and build local N.T. assemblies was given by Christ in the Great Commission Mandate five times in the first five books of the N. T.: Matt. 28:18-20, the most lengthy format, and reiterated in other more limited terms in Mark 16:15-18, Luke 24:47. John 20:21 and Acts 1:8.
The Great Commission Building Mandate was one of the last set of words Christ spoke to his disciples before He returned back to His Heavenly Father in the Celestial heavens. Now there are certain sets of words that anyone should never forget and rarely does forget: the first words a person speaks when he/she begins their earthly life and the last words a person speaks before their earthly departure.
While all the words that Christ spoke are significant and need to be seriously considered in the Gospels, The Great Commission Building Mandate involves Christ last words, words that must ever be uppermost in a preacher’s mind and heart. In reality, no preacher can never get beyond this building mandate. It must be uppermost in his mind when a preacher commences his ministry, uppermost in his heart when he continues his ministry, and uppermost in his mind when he consummates his ministry.
That which was uppermost in Christ’s mind when he departed for glory should be uppermost in the preacher’s mind today! What a blessing to know that each time Christ reiterated this Great Commission Building Mandate, He also cited a Scriptural PROMISE that preachers and believers can claim as they labor in their spiritual building projects that center in and around the establishing, edifying and strengthening of local N. T. testimonies.
In Matt. 28:20, Christ (a) Christ gave the promise of His person—“Lo, I am with you always…” In Mark 16:15-18, (b) Christ gave the promise of His protection, that of safety in service. In Luke 24:47, (c) Christ gave the promise of His program, involving both repentance and remission of sins. In John 20:21, (d) Christ gave the promise of His peace as he sent his disciples forth into the world: “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you,” and in Acts 1:8, (e) He gave the promise of His power: “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you…”
(B) THE IDENTIFY OF THE GREAT COMMISSION BUILDING MANDATE [GCBM]
To discover that identity, all you need to do is go back to that very first instance of Christ’s declaration in Matt. 28:18-20, where you can quickly identify three essential elements in that Building directive: They are, in consecutive sequential order: (l) evangelism, (2) baptism and (3) catechism.
(1)EVANGELISM: This building mandate begins with evangelism: “Go ye therefore and teach all nations.” If this first imperative is ignored or neglected, the rest of the Great Commission has little meaning. Evangelism is the heartbeat and heartthrob of God. The Greek word for evangelism comes from the word “euangelion” which means “the good news,” while the term “evangelism” comes from the word “euangelizo” which means the spreading of bearing of the good news.
God’s heartbeat is disclosed in II Peter 3:9, where the Scripture states that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The well known Gospel song “Hold the Fort” is not the song believers should be singing when they are pondering the GCBM! Christ’s words in Matt. 9:37-38 are applicable to every generation: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.”
There is no acceptable substitute for evangelistic soul-winning endeavors either at home or abroad, when it comes to the GCBM. As Paul stated in II Cor. 5:14, the “love of Christ” must ever constrain believers. The goal of every faithful N. T. shepherd should be to train a band of earnest soul-seekers on fire with the constraining love of Christ as their motivating source. Every member involvement in the GCBM should be the goal of every godly N. T. pastor.
(2) BAPTISM: “…baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost—Matt. 28:19b” must be the first immediate step that new converts take once they have received Christ and are partakers of the new heavenly life. One of the simplest outlines for baptism is as follows: (a) the mandate for baptism—Matt. 28:18-20, (b) the method of baptism—Acts 8:35-38, and (c) the message of baptism—Rom. 6:1-5.
Some critics object to the KJV rendering of “baptism” as only a transliteration and not a translation, but it should never be forgotten that immersion is only half the picture of baptism. We not only “immerse” them into the water, a picture of Christ’s death, but we bring them up out of the water, a picture of Christ’s resurrection, a transaction that immersion does not portray. Baptism which certainly includes immersion, also is a depiction of the new believer’s death to sin and resurrection unto a new life in Christ.
Immersion was the (a) practice established by John the Baptist in Matt. 3:5-6, the (b) pattern exemplified by Christ in Matt. 3:13-17, and it was also the (c) procedure employed in the early church—Acts 8:36-38.
(3) CATECHISM: The third element in the GCBM is catechism. No, this is not a Lutheran term. We strongly believe in Baptist catechism! You see, the word catechism simply means to instruct or teach and that is exactly what Christ instructed as the third element of the Great Commission Building Mandate in Matt. 28:18-20, “…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”
Biblical instruction is a must for all new believers. New born-babes in Christ should not be left to fend for themselves. They desperately need Biblical instruction. As part of the GCBM, this instruction must include (a) instruction concerning the faith—Phil. 1:27, (b) instruction concerning the family—Eph. 5:17-6:4, and (c)) instruction concerning the fellowship—Acts 2:42, which involves emphasizing the centrality of the local church in God’s program for this age—I Tim. 3:15.
(C) THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE GREAT COMMISISON BUIILDING MANDATE [GCBM]
The carrying-out—the implementation of the GCBM involves three indispensable characteristics. Apart from these essential features, it is totally impossible to fulfill that GCBM that Christ gave us.
1. AN INFILLING POWER is an indispensable element in the carrying of the GCBM. The divine injunctive of Eph. 5:18 is a divine necessity: “…be filled with the Spirit.” Apart from this infilling power, the GCBM can never become a practical reality in a preacher’s life or a local N.T. church’s ministry. What a blessing to know, however, that God’s commands always come with God’s enablements.
2, AN INFLAMING PASSION: The love of Christ must always be the central factor when seeking to fulfill the GCBM. While Lev. 6:13 is an O.T. verse, it certainly has valid application for believers in the fulfillment of this building command: “The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar: it shall never go out.” The Church of Ephesus had lost that first love for Christ, and thus had to be reprimanded for their failure in that regard—Rev. 2:4.
3. AN INTENSIVE PERSISTENCE: One of the biggest problems concerning the GCBC in local churches today is simply that preachers and believers alike sometimes simply downplay, downgrade or just quit with their GCBM endeavors. Gal. 6:9 is a great verse to recall when we tend to become weary in GCBC endeavors and sometime let up or even quit is this truth: “And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season, we shall reap if we faint not.” While physical building programs may cease, spiritual BUILDING is a continuous activity!
Genuine Biblicist Fundamentalists are also militant battlers for the Faith and thus also for the Truth. Successful battling for the faith involves militancy, a trait without which no soldier of the cross can be successful if he ignores this important trait. Militancy, a term that was once the hallmark of the Biblicist Fundamentalist movement has fallen into disuse and disrepute in recent years within the professing Fundamentalist camp.
Militant Fundamentalists who have stood unwaveringly for the faith for many decades are now being tagged by weaker brethren with the same fallacious labels as the New-Evangelicals previously applied to ardent defenders of the faith. However, this writer firmly believes that “historic Fundamentalism is militant Fundamentalism.” Militancy is not a term to be abhorred, it is a term to be admired! It is impossible to engage in necessary Scriptural battles apart from militancy.
Unfortunately, many formerly “fighting” Fundamentalists have become “fearful” and “frightened” Fundamentalists who shun any and all forms of controversy due to fear of man. This writer strongly believes that “If you’re not contending, you’re compromising.” Now this militant contention must never be over a brother-in-Christ’s personality, but always his position. Militant Fundamentalists must never use their spiritual gunpowder needlessly on other Fundamentalists simply because they don’t personally like a brother-in-Christ or because they failed to gain a position that was given to another brother rather than themselves or because they didn’t receive the recognition they felt they deserved.
Undoubtedly the biggest problem within professing Fundamentalism today is not the open compromise, but the silence of many brethren who should be speaking out about vital issues, but instead keep their mouths closed and shut. Such silence is the first step towards New-Evangelicalism. Dr. Bob Jones Sr. was essentially right when he stated that “If you’re not a fighter, you’re not a Fundamentalist.” Dr. Richard Clearwaters, [the founder of a Fundamental Baptist Seminary that has now since gone the route of sympathy and compromise with New-Evangelicalism] hit the target squarely when he declared: “The non-militant attitude of the rank and file of Christian leaders is surrendering the next generation to Satan.”
In the Apostle Paul’s treatises in I-II Timothy penned to his younger pastor friend and co-laborer in Christ, the veteran contender for the faith uses a great deal of military language where he exhorts Timothy to wage a militant warfare against the world, the flesh and the devil.
In I Tim. 1:18, Paul exhorts Timothy with a staunch charge to wage a strong warfare against the enemies of the faith: “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightiest war a good warfare," while in I Tim. 4:12, he entreats Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith.”
In II Tim. 2:3, Paul reiterates this military oriented command when he admonishes Timothy to “endure hardness as a good solder of Jesus Christ” and goes on to note that “no man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” Then, just before his final “sign-off” prior to his martyrdom, Paul sums up his battles for the faith, when he states in II Tim. 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
From Paul’s biographical sketches in his 13-14 epistles, it can be easily seen that he was a militant battler for the Lord and the Lord’s causes all his life! During this lengthy ministry and his three missionary journeys, Paul never backed down from a necessary battle. While he desperately sought to promote genuine peace between younger and older brethren in the faith as Romans chapter fourteen plainly delineates, Paul never backed off from necessary spiritual battles.
In all his endeavors, the Apostle Paul manifested a battling militancy as he vigilantly fought against the evil forces of sin, Satan and apostasy.
(A) PAUL: BATTLING MILITANTLY IN HIS LABORS
Paul militantly battled against every heresy and false teaching that he ever met. He valiantly contested against the Charismatic heretics at Corinth. He vigorously fought the Gnostics at Philippi, he battled with the Judaizers at Galatia, and he combatted the false teachers in Rome.
In II Tim. 2:18, Paul delineated the nature of the apostates as being “profane and vain babbling,” but then he also disclosed the names of the apostates in that same passage as being Hymenaeus and Philetus. In II Tim. 4:10, Paul exposed the nature of the compromiser as one who “loved this present world,” but he also exposed the name of the compromiser—Demas—in that same verse.
The deceased editor of the now defunct Calvary Contender, Jerry Huffman, was right when he said, “The most loving thing we can do for compromising brethren is to warn them and tell them the truth, even if they hate us for it.”
(B) PAUL: BATTLING MILITANTLY IN HIS LANGUAGE
In Eph. 6:11-18, Paul entreated believers to “put on the whole armour of God” for the spiritual battle they faced against Satan and In II Cor. 10:4, he referred to the spiritual “weapons of warfare,” which are “mighty through God to the pulling down of [Satan’s] strong holds. In Phil 2:25 and Philemon, he spoke about his “fellow soldiers of the cross, while in Rom. 8:37, he declared that we are “more than conquerors” in the battle through “him [Christ] that loved us.
In II Tim. 1:18, he charged Timothy to “wage a good warfare". Without question, the writings of the Apostle Paul are laced with terminology that speak about his militant battling for the faith.
(C) PAUL: BATTLING MILITANTLY IN HIS LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
One might have thought that in his concluding written remarks on this earth just before his cruel martyrdom, Paul would have written a treatise extolling the outstanding saints he had met on those three lengthy missionary journeys. In other epistles such as Romans chapter 16 and Colossians chapter four he makes numerous mention of those faithful saints.
But no, here in his last written treatise in II Timothy, he delivers an earnest exhortation charge to Timothy to be vigilantly militant in battling the apostasy, combating the numerous heresies and exposing the worldly compromise.
Paul’s militant battling continued right up to his death. As he prepared to lay aside his earthly uniform and leave his bodily tabernacle in which he had vigorously battled the world, the flesh and the devil all his life, he stated in II Tim. 4:7: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
(D) BATTLES WE MUST CONFRONT AND FACE TODAY
Battling for the faith is a spiritual war that never ceases. In every generation, faithful contenders for the faith must face new forms of satanic attack against the inerrant Word of God.
First, Biblical Fundamentalists today face (a) THE MANUSCRIPTS BATTLE. Throughout Christian history, there have been two contrasting streams of Greek Bible manuscripts and Bible texts: (a) The Received Text, commonly known today as the TR and the apostate Critical Text, identified simply as the CT. The Received Text is the text received by Bible-believing Christians down through the centuries that follows the Biblical Antiochean strain of manuscripts, while the Critical Text follows the Gnostic heretical Alexandrian strain.
The Received Text is based on the 98.6% strain of the approximately 5288 available manuscripts, while the Critical Text is based on the thin 1.4% of texts flowing from the flawed Sinaticus and Vaticanus manuscripts, defective manuscripts upon which Westcott and Hort based their new 1881 Greek text. Unfortunately, all the modern untrustworthy versions are basically rooted in the unreliable Westcott & Hort Greek text that flows from the small and vastly deficient Alexandrian manuscripts strain. This includes the latest Nestle-Aland texts, as well as the United Bible Societies [UBS] text.
While Biblical Fundamentalists must be spiritually gracious in their spirit toward those with whom they contend on this issue, they must also possess strong grits in their stand with those with whom they disagree. The Bible text issue is not a minor issue today, it is a major battleground where obedient believers must take an unwavering stand. The ecumenical based defective Scriptures are going to wind up supporting an ecumenical structure that will eventually result in a false ecumenical savior—the Anti-Christ. Thus the importance of vigilantly contending for the faith as Jude exhorted in his Epistle—1:3.
(b) THE MUSIC BATTLE is a second vital battleground where discerning Fundamentalists must valiantly contest for the truth. Perhaps even more than the manuscripts battle, this issue is literally tearing apart sound churches today. Formerly sound N.T. churches are gradually weakening their resistance to the religious rock sounds called Contemporary Christian Music-CCM. With new subtle CCM sounds coming down the religious pike literally every week, perceptive Fundamentalists must raise the battle cry loud and clear in this war that is a conflict against sensual sounds.
The current CCM strategy is taking sound Biblical words and putting them into a subtle but also sensual strain of music. On this front, Fundamentalist churches must wage vigilant battle! And the PASTOR is the key person here. He must never turn over to a music director that spiritual responsibility which belongs to him. The pastor is the pastor of the music, as well as the message. In fact, the message is in the music—the message is the music!
You cannot take Scriptural truth, sensualize it with unwholesome sounds and then pawn it off as genuine spiritual music! Ecc. 7:4 states that it is better for a man “to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.” Ps. 40:3 clearly states that “he [God] hath put a new song in my mouth.” This new song should not be based on the old sensually based rhythms of the ungodly world! The “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” of Col. 3:16 do not include any worldly beat and sounds. Pastors need to honestly confront this battleground on a weekly basis and earnestly contend against any-all CCM sounds and lyrics.
(c) THE MORALS BATTLE is a third important battleground where pastors and churches must constantly wage war. This battle is first and foremost a standards battle. While evangelistic oriented N.T. churches should warmly welcome visitors even if their clothing styles represent the shoddy, sloppy, sensual molds of the ungodly world, Fundamental churches must maintain platform standards that manifest the difference in lifestyles by modest clothing that is distinctively male and female!
Christian husbands and Christian wives should wear modest clothing that distinctively agrees with their God-given gender, where both the dress and the decorum agree, I Peter 3. Church leaders should come to church dressed for church, not like they were attending an athletic contest! God deserves our best, not our worst! The wives and children of pastors, deacons and male church leaders must be modest, and while the clothing can be stylish, it must never be worldly or immodest. This is a battle where pastors, in particular, must regularly take a stand
PS: The F.D. editor is not a pastor; therefore he does not set the standards in churches where he fellowships or labors. Therefore, he does not seek to impose his standards on others. He fellowships freely with believers whose standards may not meet his personal convictions, letting his lifestyle and clothing speak for itself. As he wraps up this section, the following heading and statements that follow are as important as all he has written above!
SPIRITUAL BALANCE TO MAINTAIN AS WE BATTLE VALIANTLY FOR THE FAITH
In battling for the faith, we must diligently guard against three unbiblical actions in the conflict.
(1) We must guard against meanness in the conflict. Uncompromising Fundamentalists can be militant without being mean! Battling Fundamentalists can be strong and still be sweet, we can be militant and still be majestic. If we have to part ways with fellow brethren along the way, because they will not travel the uncompromising pathway anymore, our parting should be because of our position, never because of our disposition!
(2) We must guard against mishandling the conflict. We should never “shoot aimlessly from the hip,” and shoot every believer within our sights. We must guard against an unbiblical dogmatism in matters that are truly personal preferences and not eternal principles.
(3) We must guard against mellowing in the conflict. As Fundamentalist preachers grow older, there is a natural tendency either to grow bitter or grow cold. We must also arduously resist the pressures to grow weary in battle or become soft in conflict. One last thought here: someone once said that “Fundamentalists are God’s marines” on His battleground.
Spiritual balancing is not an easy task. In spiritual balancing, the labors of the important task of battling equal the labors of building. Equalizing the Biblically mandated endeavors of building and battling requires great diligence. Scriptural balance involves a synchronized harmonization of these two great endeavors where there is an equanimity of labors so that there is always the right proportion of emphasis in spiritual effort.
The Apostle Paul’s ministry involved a spiritual balance which serves as an example for pastors and churches today. Nine of Paul’s inspired books were written to churches. In those nine books, Paul projects perfect spiritual balance. Now, Paul was really a musical evangelist! He wrote a quartet of books, a trio of letters to churches and a duet to another congregation.
(A) A BALANCED ENSEMBLE OF NINE CHURCH EPISTLES
The quartet is Romans, I-II Corinthians and Galatians. The trio is Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, and the duet is I-II Thessalonians. In those nine local church epistles, the Apostle Paul perfectly balanced the instruction of Christian doctrine and teaching. While Christ is the central focus in all nine epistles, in Romans, I-II Corinthians, and Galatians, the emphasis is on Christ and the Cross. In Ephesians, Philippians, the major focus centers around Christ and the Church, while in I-II Thessalonians, the primary spotlight is on Christ and His Coming.
And that divinely balanced emphasis is still God’s perfect plan today. (1) The central message in the evangelism of sinners centers around Christ and the Cross! Unconverted sinners don’t need to know whether angels can stand on the head of a pin, they desperately need to know that truth about Christ and what He accomplished for them on the Cross! That is why Paul in I Cor. 2:2, stated: “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified,” and why he would state so emphatically in Gal. 6:14: “but God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
Our first mission is to get sinners to Christ and that Cross! But when that task is accomplished and sinners become saints, (2) the second major task to point them to the importance of Christ and the Church. That is why in Eph. 1:22-23 Paul states “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that fillet all in all.” This also why in Phil. 1:5, Paul emphasizes the importance of the saints “fellowship in the gospel from the first day unto now.” In Col. 1:18, He declares that Christ “is the head of the body, the church.” Biblical baptism, membership and activity in a local N. T. church is the second emphasis we must project to new believers—Acts 2:41-42.
After hearing the truth about Christ and the Cross, and experiencing the joys and privileges of Christ and His church as manifested in local N.T. churches, (3) saints need to hear thirdly about Christ and His [Second] Coming, which is the theme of I-II Thessalonians. No doctrine can stimulate and stir a saint more to Christian service than the doctrine of the immanent—any moment—pre-tribulation, pre-millennial return of Christ in the skies when the saints are raptured home to glory. In a day when there are prophetic shadows nearly everywhere in our world, this doctrine as especially delineated in I Thess. 4:13-18 needs to be reiterated again and again. Now the above cited church epistles penned by Paul are the perfect example of BALANCING, an example that all N.T. churches need to emulate today.
(B) A BALANCED EPISTLE TO LOCAL CHURCHES
In Paul’s six chapter treatise to the Ephesian church, we have another example of the perfect balancing of spiritual truth. One Bible teacher excellently outlined the book of Ephesians into three simple divisions: (1) The Believers WEALTH, chapters one-three; (2)The Believer’s WALK, chapters 4:1-6:9, and (3) The Believer’s WARFARE, chapter 6:10-24. Dr. Chas Ryrie in his KJV Ryrie Study Bible, outlines the book as follows: (1) The POSITION of Believers, chapters 1-3; (2)The PRACTICE of Believers, chapters 4:1-6:9; (2) The PROTECTION of Believers, chapter 6:10-24.
Once again, we discover a perfect balance by the Apostle Paul between these three essentials in a Christian’s life. The book of Ephesians is a prime example of spiritual equilibrium, an exemplary emphasis for pastors to preach and for believers to follow in their daily lives.
(C) AN EXAMPLE OF BALANCE IN PAUL’S LAST WRITTEN CHAPTER BEFORE HIS MARTYRDOM
II Timothy is the Apostle Paul’s “last will and testament,” his last written treatise before his impending martyrdom. II Timothy constitutes Paul’s “swan” song, his final “sign off” before his beheading at the hands of the Roman government. In chapter four, his last written chapter, Paul delineates his final advice and counsel to his co-laborer and close pastor friend Timothy who was serving as the shepherd of the spiritual flock in Ephesus.
Paul declares three Biblical responsibilities that every N.T. local church pastor is required to obey and fulfill, no exceptions or exemptions granted! Once again, these three divine assignments illustrate the principle and practice of BALANCE required in a pastor’s ministry and they follow in sequential order!
(1) Biblical Exposition
“Preach the Word”—II Tim. 4:2
While the man of God wears many spiritual hats in his multiple ministry as a (a) spiritual commander—I Pet. 5:2, (b) spiritual counselor—Acts 20:20, and (c) soul-consoler—II Cor. 1:5-6, there is none more important in his ministry that the faithful exposition of the Word of God as II Tim. 4:2 mandates: “Preach the Word.”
The God called preacher must follow the example of Christ, whose prime labor, according to Scripture was Preaching the Word. In Mark 1:38-39, Christ “said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, for therefore came I forth.” In Mark 2:2, just a few verses after that statement, the Scripture notes that when Christ entered into a house in Capernaum, “He preached the word unto them.”
Now, some preachers believe that this dictate solely involves strict expositional teaching by which they mean verse by verse exposition, which surely is a legitimate form of Preaching and which mainly constitutes Biblical teaching, but not always constitutes preaching. However, there are many types of preaching which also constitute genuine Biblical proclamation, such as textual preaching and topical preaching. Chas. Haddon Spurgeon was called the “Prince of Preachers” in the 19th century, but he rarely preached strict expositional themes, using mainly selected Biblical texts for his Sunday sermons.
The style or type of Biblical exposition may vary according to the preacher’s gifts, and his exegetical abilities, but the one necessary ingredient is that the substance must always be the Word of God! The (a) pure—Prov. 30:5, (b) perfect—Ps. 19:7, (c) powerful—Heb. 4:12 Word of God must always constitute the content of the preacher’s sermons. In retrospect, this writer will state that most of his sermons have come not from formal Bible study, but were born in his personal private devotional reading and meditation of God’s Word.
(2) Biblical Evangelism
“do the work of an evangelist”—II Tim. 4:5b
The second labor that is required of pastors is that of Biblical evangelism, it is also the second step in BALANCING. When Paul exhorted Timothy to do the work of an evangelist, he did not state that Timothy should take the place of the evangelist! According to the N.T., evangelists are one of God’s special gifts to local churches—Eph. 4:11-12.
Unfortunately, this Biblical gift has been curtailed and even deleted from many local churches spiritual agenda. Many churches no longer hold evangelistic meetings or revival crusades—the sad results are apparent in the diminished numbers and decreased spiritual life of members in those churches. For N.T. churches evangelists and evangelistic meetings should not be a sideline, they should be a mainline! The F.D. editor grew up in a church where his home church conducted two full two week long evangelistic meetings a year in the spring and fall. That full-month of evangelistic services did not eliminate evangelistic endeavors in that church, it stimulated them for the other 11 months!
However, evangelistic meetings, do not replace the need for the pastor to regularly “do the work of an evangelist" as the Scripture states. For the pastor, evangelism is not a secondary task. The pastor must first and foremost be a seeker of lost souls. Soul-winning must always be a major thrust in his ministry. The Scripture correctly states in Prov. 11:30 that “the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” Dr. Bob Jones Sr. was surely right when he declared that “It takes evangelistic unction to make orthodoxy function.” When soul-winning dies in the pastor’s heart, it dies in the people’s hearts. For N. T. churches it is either “evangelize or fossilize!”
“Demas hath forsake me, having loved this present world”
II Tim. 4:10
This third pastoral responsibility to achieve BALANCE is probably the task where more preachers fail than any other, and thus do not achieve Scriptural balance in their ministries. Biblical expose of apostasy and compromise is a thorny labor that most pastors do not like to confront or face.
This writer has already referred to this task which he called “BATTLING” under the second major point of this article. Now, one of the major reasons why formerly sound Fundamental churches gradually drift into New-Evangelicalism is due to the pastor’s failure and neglect in this vital area. It is much easier to ignore compromise than to expose it.
Though he may have personally preferred to discuss the successes of his 35+ years of labor in the establishment of numerous N. T. churches across the Roman Empire in that time, Paul faithfully warned believers to beware of Demas and not to follow his compromising path of alliance with the ungodly world of his day. This faithful expose was the third and final element that gave Paul the Scriptural BALANCE for a ministry that he noted was pleasing to God—II Tim. 4:6-8.
Building, Battling and Balancing are three desired and necessary components for every N. T. local church pastor and every congregation that follows their shepherd’s ministry. Wise indeed is the pastor who keeps back nothing that will be spiritually profitable unto a local church—Acts 20:20. Building, Battling and Balancing may not be easy tasks, but they produce lasting spiritual fruit. John 15:16: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, that ye should bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” DJ