11 Quotes From “The Duty Of Pastors”

The Duty Of PastorsJohn Owen has some fascinating insights on pastors and ministers (hint: they’re not the same thing) in his book The Duty Of Pastors. Here are some of the quotes I liked from this book. Remember this book was written in the 17th-century, so don’t let the Old English keep you from discovering the rich truths in these passages.

“Why should any speak where the Holy Ghost is silent? … Where things are obscured, it is a safer way to prove the practice of men by God’s precept, charitably supposing them to have been obedient, than to wrest the divine rule to their observation, knowing how prone men are to deify themselves by mixing their inventions with the worship of God.”

“The lights which God maketh are sufficient to rule the seasons for which they are ordained. As, in creating of the world, God ‘made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night;’ so, in the erection of the new world of His church, He set up two great lights, the lesser light of the Old Testament to guide the night, the dark space of time under the law, and the greater light of the New Testament to rule the glorious day of the gospel. And these two lights do sufficiently enlighten every man that cometh into this new world. There is no need of the false fire of tradition where God sets up such glorious lights.”

“All faithful ministers of the gospel, inasmuch as they are ingrafted into Christ and are true believers, may, as all other true Christians, be called priests; but this inasmuch as they are members of Christ, not ministers of the gospel. It respecteth their persons, not their function, or not them as such.”

“Thus, this metaphorical appellation of priests is, in the first place an intimation of that transcendent privilege of grace and favour which Jesus Christ hath purchased for everyone that is sanctified with the blood of the covenant.”

“Not to lose myself and reader in this digression, the sum is, the unspeakable blessings which the priesthood of Christ hath obtained for us are a strong obligation for the duty of praise and thanksgiving; of which that in some measure we may discharge ourselves, He hath furnished us with sacrifices of that kind to be offered unto God.” 

“That the name of priests is nowhere in the Scripture attributed peculiarly and distinctively to the ministers of the gospel as such. … And yet, when Christ ascended on high, He gave some to be prophets, for the edification of His body, Eph. iv. 11; none, as we find, to be priests. Priests, then (like prelates), are a sort of church-officers whom Christ never appointed.”

“Never fear the equity of what God sets thee upon. No excuses of disability or any other impediment ought to take place; the Lord can and will supply all such defects.”

“God never sendeth any but whom He doth so extraordinarily and immediately call and ordain for that purpose; and that this may be manifested unto others, He always accompanieth them with His own almighty power, in the working of such miracles as may make them be believed, for the very works’ sake which God by them doth effect.”

“We do not read of any such miracles wrought by the prophet Amos, and yet he stands upon his extraordinary immediate vocation, ‘I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son, but the Lord took me,’ etc. It sufficeth, then, that they be furnished with a supernatural power, either in, 1. Discerning; 2. Speaking; or 3. Working. … The sum is, that seeing such men pretend that their revelations and miracles are from heaven, let us search whether the doctrine they seek to confirm by them be from heaven or no.”

“There is a general obligation on all Christians to promote the conversion and instruction of sinners, and men erring from the right way.”

“For a public, formal, ministerial teaching, two things are required in the teacher: first, Gifts from God; secondly, Authority from the church (I speak now of ordinary cases). He that wants either is no true pastor.”

Be sure to check out my review of The Duty Of Pastors by clicking here.

9 More Quotes From “Keep Your Love On!”

Keep Your Love OnKeep Your Love On! is an outstanding resource for anyone who wants to repair or strengthen a relationship. As I said in my book review, I think pastors and marriage counselors should definitely get a copy of this book. Here are a few more quotes.

“If you want to preserve relationships, then you must learn to respond instead of react to fear and pain. Responding does not come naturally. You can react without thinking, but you cannot respond without training your mind to think, your will to choose, and your body to obey. … Powerful people are not slaves to their instincts. Powerful people can respond with love in the face of pain and fear. This ‘response-ability’ is essential to building healthy relationships.”

“If you were raised with a powerless, fear-driven mindset based on the belief that you can control people and they can control you, then you will naturally perceive God as a controlling Punisher. You will take the laws of the Old Testament—all the verses and stories about wrath, judgment, and the fear of the Lord—and conclude, ‘See, God wants to control us, and we need to be controlled.’ … The problem is that the Bible doesn’t show us a God Who is pursuing the goal of distance between Himself and a bunch of scary sinners. Instead, the Bible reveals a God Who is relentlessly closing that distance and paying the ultimate price to repair the disconnection we created in our relationship.”

“Fear and love are enemies. They come from two opposing kingdoms. Fear comes from the devil, who would like nothing more than to keep you permanently disconnected and isolated. Love comes from God, Who is always working to heal and restore your connection with Him and other people and bring you into healthy, life-giving relationships. … When Paul told Timothy that the spirit of love is also the spirit of power and a sound mind, he implied that its opposite, the spirit of fear, is the spirit of powerlessness and a weak, divided mind. When you grow up partnering with the spirit of fear, as most of us do, you learn to simply hand over your brain and your power, letting fear take control. But as soon as you decide to partner with the spirit of love, you have to think and make powerful choices.”

“Do you want to win the battle between fear and love in your relationships? You can start by making these two fundamental commitments: (1) It’s my job to control myself. I do not get to control other people. (2) My number-one goal and priority in relationships is building and protecting connection.”

“Each display of love, no matter how seemingly small, is a powerful act of spiritual warfare that removes anxiety from the environment, replaces it with freedom and safety, and invites each person to bring his or her best self forward in the relationship.”

“True honor is the practice of two powerful people putting one another before themselves, empowering one another, working together to meet one another’s needs, and adjusting as necessary in order to move together toward the shared goal of the relationship.”

“In order for us to practice self-control, we must have a goal. We must have something we are saying ‘Yes’ to, which necessarily comes with things that we must say ‘No’ to. … When we find ourselves with more freedom than self-control, then that freedom erodes the quality of our life and friendships. Self-control is what allows us to manage increasing levels of freedom in our life and relationships.”

“When you put a person in the position of God, you set him or her up for failure. … Mysterious as it is, making ourselves accountable to God and putting ourselves under His authority is the only way we can become powerful and learn to govern ourselves. … When two people are consistently pursuing a connection with the Perfect One, that connection will set the pace for their connection with each other. They will be learning to love from Love Himself, which can only bring the best into their relationship.”

“The faster you can get to the question, ‘What do you need?’ the faster you can start doing something about it. Unfortunately, because many people are not used to being listened to, they don’t know what they need, or how to communicate it. They think they have to present a solid case for someone to help them, agree with them, or change for them.”

You can read the the first batch of quotes I shared here.

My book review is posted here.

7 Quotes For Preachers

PreachingI love getting counsel from been-there-done-that people, because I’m always looking for ways to grow and improve. I was reading these quotes for myself, but I thought my fellow pastors might enjoy them as well.

“A sermon is not like a Chinese firecracker to be fired off for the noise which it makes. It is the hunter’s gun, and at every discharge he should look to see his game fall.” ―Henry Ward Beecher

“That is not the best sermon which makes the hearers go away talking to one another, and praising the speaker, but which makes them go away thoughtful and serious, and hastening to be alone.” ―Gilbert Burnet

“Great sermons lead the people to praise the preacher. Good preaching leads to people to praise the Savior.” ―Charles G. Finney

“The priests have so disfigured the simple religion of Jesus that no one who reads the sophistications they have engrafted on it, with the jargon of Plato, or Aristotle, and other mystics, would conceive these could have been fathered on the sublime Preacher of the Sermon on the Mount.” ―Thomas Jefferson

“The sermon edifies, the example destroys. Practice what you preach.” ―Abbé de Villiers

“Once in seven years I burn all my sermons; for it is a shame if I cannot write better sermons now than I did seven years ago.” ―John Wesley, in his journal

“It is a poor sermon that gives no offense; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher.” ―George Whitefield

More Ministers Needed In The Church

The church goesI always get a bit nervous when someone calls me “the minister of Calvary Assembly of God.” I am not the minister; I’m the pastor and a minister.

There’s a big difference! 

A pastor is one of the gifts Jesus gives the church to equip lots of ministers (see Ephesians 4:7-13). A pastor is not the minister, but a minister-equipper.

Check out this quote from Oswald Chambers—

“Notice the gifts that the Apostle Paul says Jesus sent after He ascended—viz. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers—‘for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.’  The test of a preacher or teacher is that as we listen to him we are built up in our faith in Jesus Christ and in our intimacy with Him; otherwise he is not a gift from God. Today we are apt to test the preacher on the ground of his personality and not by his building up of the saints.” (emphasis added)

I don’t want to be put on a pedestal as the minister. I want Jesus to be exalted. This will only happen when all the gifts to the church—apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers—are equipping the entire church to minister.

What do you think?

D.L. Moody’s Word To Pastors About The Word

Pleasure & ProfitAs I read D.L. Moody’s book Pleasure & Profit In Bible Study, I noticed several of his comments were directed to pastors.

In my humble opinion, the pastor needs to be the “Bible Student In Chief” of his or her congregation. The pastor’s love for God’s Word will create a hunger in the congregation to study this amazing Book!

You can read my full book review of Pleasure & Profit by clicking here. Below are some of the words to us pastors from this book.

“Oh! let every minister tell the truth, though he preach himself out of his pulpit. … If the Bible only has a chance to speak for itself, it will interest the people.” 

“Give the people the Word of God. Some men only use the Bible as a text book. They get a text and away they go. They go up in a balloon and talk about astronomy, and then go down and give you a little geology, and next Sunday they go on in the same way, and then they wonder why it is people do not read their Bibles.”

“It a good thing for a minister to have the reputation of feeding his people. … People can get along without your theories and opinions, ‘Thus saith the Lord’—that is what we want.”

“Christ did not have a short-hand reporter to go around with Him to write out and print His sermons, and yet the people remembered them. Never mind about finished sentences and rounded periods, but give your attention to making your sermons clear so that they stick. Use bait that your hearers will like.”

“It is a thing to weep over that we have got thousands and thousands of church members who are good for nothing towards extending the Kingdom of God. They understand bazaars, and fairs, and sewing-circles; but when you ask them to sit down and show a man or woman the way into God’s kingdom, they say: ‘Oh, I am not able to do that. Let the deacons do it, or some one else.’ It is all wrong.” 

Pastor, how is your personal Bible study time? Is it invigorating, or humdrum? We’ve got to get immersed in the Word so that we can encourage our congregations to do likewise.

Bold Pastors

A.W. TozerI want to be this kind of pastor that A.W. Tozer describes! What about you, my dear pastor?

“The Church at this moment needs men, the right kind of men, bold men…. We languish for men who feel themselves expendable in the warfare of the soul, who cannot be frightened by threats of death because they have already died to the allurements of this world. Such men will be free from the compulsions that control weaker men. They will not be forced to do things by the squeeze of circumstances; their only compulsion will come from within—or from above. This kind of freedom is necessary if we are to have prophets in our pulpits again instead of mascots. These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary. They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation.” —A.W. Tozer

What stood out to you in this quote?

Pulling Up To The Table

Jim Cymbala“To every preacher and every singer, God will someday ask, ‘Did you bring people to where the action could be found… at the throne of grace? If you just entertained them, if you just tickled their ears and gave them a warm, fuzzy moment, woe to you. At the throne of grace, I could have changed their lives.’ God has chosen prayer as His channel of blessing. He has spread a table for us with every kind of wisdom, grace and strength because He knows exactly what we need. But the only way we can get it is to pull up to the table and taste and see that the Lord is good. Pulling up to that table is called the prayer of faith.” —Jim Cymbala

Pastor, are you pulling up to the table enough? Is prayer a priority in your personal life? Is it a priority in your church?

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