A Manual for PASTORS
Who Will Minister the Gospel In Difficult Times
FOR YEARS I've seen in I and II Thessalonians this outline of instruction for the practical ministry of a Pastor. The conviction only increases that it holds value for the furious days now upon us. I wish I had seen it earlier and that someone in my beginnings had walked with me through the application of its principles.
In the pages that follow we will elaborate on the principles, some more than others. While I have others with me in this, it is mainly a work of my own hands and heart. I am grateful to Glenda, my wife, who has faithfully gone over the material with me and contributed some of her own heart. I am indebted also to several others who have taken the text and given valuable suggestion and made valuable contribution. I am especially grateful for those who pray with me and offer more encouragement than they could ever imagine they are doing.
I suppose I could belabor the fact that I should say "we" more often through the pages, but I will not do that. Just know that I have not, and could not have, done this work alone.
It is our purpose now to take the points of the outline as we have discovered them and elaborate upon them. This work may never be finished, for the revelation of truth and the understanding that unfolds--I have a feeling--can go on till the age comes to its end.
I also am convicted of this that Paul said in I Cor 8:2. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But we also have this wonderful word from Hos 6:3. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD...
After all, our whole point is not to know a better way of doing something, it is that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true (I Jn 5:20).
When the Apostle Paul wrote I and II Thessalonians, he did it with the heart of a "shepherd." His words were tender and revealing, laying out his concern for a people who were enduring hardships. The people needed care and guidance. Throughout the two Epistles, he set forth principles of conduct and practice that would guide anyone leading any congregation anywhere--especially a congregation under pressure.
The principles Paul set forth work for Pastors, but they are also effective and useful for any who have others under their care and guidance. They are especially useful for Parents who want their children prepared for the days of stress coming upon all the world.
Many of the principles laid out are useful also for individuals who want their lives in line with what the Lord is doing today and who want to be pre pared to stand in the furious days of the end.
Paul, along with Silas and Timothy, had preached in Thessalonica on his second missionary journey. Many people turned to the Lord, but the general reaction to the Gospel in this city was--to put it mildly--violent. Those men and their ministry set all the City on an uproar-- Acts 17:5. The rage came about because they preached that Jesus was both Christ and King. The Jews of the city withstood Him as Christ; the Greeks opposed Him as King. Those who were converted came under the fire of persecution from both the religious leaders and the political leaders. This is probably a shadow of what will take place in the last days everywhere. But those fires of persecution warmed the Thessalonian Church, even as they will all true believers in the last days. Tribulation and persecution become good things for those who allow trouble to push them into deeper relationship with the Lord.
That early persecution provided the background for both Thessalonian Epistles. As The Great Point of Encouragement in both, Paul kept mentioning the return of the Lord Jesus. Six times he used the powerful Greek word parousía, often translated coming. Specifically, its reference is to the arrival of a ruler whose presence calls all other activity to a halt as it claims the attention of everyone. The theme surrounding this word in these Epistles is so strong we conclude both of them were written especially for the last-days Church as it will function in the earth shortly before the Parousía of the Lord Jesus Christ.
WITH EACH USE OF THE WORD PAROUSíA THERE IS AN UNUSUAL POINT OF UNDERSTANDING WITH REGARD TO THE END-TIME MINISTRY OF A PASTOR.
• The MERIT AWARD of Pastors will be revealed at the Parousía of Christ. It will be found in the people to whom they have ministered. I Thes 2:19–For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His COMING (His Parousía)?
• The AIM of Pastors is to present a people acceptable to God at the Parousía of Christ. I Thes 3:13–To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the COMING (the Parousía) of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.
• The DUTY of Pastors is to prepare a people to survive the furious times preceding Christ's Parousía and to instruct them regarding those who die before the end. I Thes 4:15–For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the COMING (the Parousía) of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep.
• The MINISTRY of Pastors is to have effect on the spirit, mind, emotions, intellect, conscience and physical frame of every believer in preparation for Christ's Parousía. I Thes 5:23–And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming (the Parousía) of our Lord Jesus Christ.
• The TEACHING AND EXHORTATION of Pastors is to make their people stable through the unsettling days before Christ's Parousía, and to help them withstand the deception that will come from every source imaginable. II Thes 2:1,2–Now we beseech you, brethren, by (concerning) the COMING (the Parousía) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the Day of Christ is at hand.
• The RESPONSIBILITY of Pastors is to train their people so they can recognize and withstand the wicked one, that is, the anti-Christ, in his attempt to take the dominion rightly belonging to Christ. It is apparent his endeavors will increase as his time shortens before the Parousía of Christ. II Thes 2:8–And then shall that Wicked (One) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy (render powerless) with the brightness of His COMING (His Parousía).
• The one passage using the word parousía to speak of the coming of the wicked one follows close upon the above statement regarding the Parousía of Christ which will render him powerless. II Thes 2:8,9–And then shall that Wicked (that wicked one) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His COMING (His Parousía): even him, whose coming (parousía) is after (according to) the working (the energetic power) of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. Pastors must train their people to discern the source of the anti-Christ's blatant demonstrations of power lest they fall under his deception and take up his lie in the final days.
At the end of the age, anti-Christ will try to pull off the greatest coup d'état ever as he attempts to make his own parousía and set up his government worldwide. He wants the authority belonging to the Lord Jesus. It is for this time that we who minister the Gospel are called to see the Church of Jesus Christ prepared. Because Christians pose the greatest threat to the anti-Christ, he will focus his attention on them. He will seek either to wipe them out or to allure them into his fold. The Thessalonian Epistles offer help to the Pastors who will guide their flocks through these furious days
TO GAIN AN OVERVIEW, we will take the entire first Epistle and observe the Outline of Instruction that becomes evident in it. We take the Scripture from the King James Version since it seems to impose less of its own interpretation upon the words, though admittedly some of it needs interpretation. For this, we seek the help of the Holy Spirit and look, to the best of our ability, into the Original text.
The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle
to the Thessalonians
FIVE FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES FOR THE MINISTRY OF A PASTOR–1:1-4
1 (1) Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace ,from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 (2) We give thanks to God always for you all, (3) making mention of you in our prayers;
3 (4) Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
4 (5) Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
The Five Principles:
(1) There is the Principle of being joined with others in ministry. Although this Epistle was specifically from Paul, the greeting was from Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus. This begins to show us how a joined ministry is effective for the Kingdom of Christ.
(2) There is the Principle of being thankful for those to whom one ministers. We give thanks to God always for you all. Remaining thankful for those under one's care releases a stream of Kingdom life toward these very ones.
(3) There is the Principle of praying for those under one's care. We make mention of you in our prayers. Principles of Kingdom living that cannot be brought about by other kinds of ministry can be released into believers by praying for them.
(4) There is the Principle of being aware of the good done by those under one's care. We remember without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope. Remaining aware of the good others do encourages them toward more good work.
(5) There is the Principle of knowing God's purpose for those to whom one ministers. Paul made it clear he knew their election of God. Knowing the calling and election of those under one's care gives a leader direction in leadership.
FOUR WAYS PAUL AND THE MEN WHO WERE WITH HIM MINISTERED THE GOSPEL–1:5
5 For our gospel came not unto you (1) in word only, but also (2) in power, and (3) in the Holy Ghost, and (4) in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
The Four Ways They Ministered:
(1) They ministered in word. Significantly, this is from the Greek logos and not rhéma to which so many make popular reference.
(2) They ministered with a demonstration of power. This is from the Greek dúnamis, the power of divine enabling. The word is often translated miracle.
(3) They ministered in the Holy Ghost. This means the operation and ministry of God's Spirit could find expression through those men.
(4) They ministered in much assurance. This means they had full confidence in what they were speaking about the Lord and in what He was doing in them and through them,
FIVE RESULTS THAT CAME FROM THEIR MINISTRY–1:6-10
6 And (1) you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost;
7 So that (2) you were examples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
8 For (3) from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not speak any thing.
9 For they themselves show us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how (4) you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And (5) to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
The Five Results
(1) Even in much affliction (thlípsis, tribulation), their disciples became followers of the Lord and experienced the joy of the Holy Ghost.
(2) The people to whom they ministered became examples for believers in other locations. (3) They raised up believers who spread abroad the validity of the Word of the Lord in which they had trusted.
(4) The people to whom they ministered left their idolatry to serve the living and one true God.
(5) They trained the people to expect God's Son from heaven Who will deliver us from (apo, away from) the wrath to come.
EIGHT THINGS MISSING FROM THE MINISTRY OF PAUL AND THE MEN WITH HIM–2:1-6
1 For yourselves, brethren, know OUR ENTRANCE IN UNTO YOU, that it was not in vain:
2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as you know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto the gospel of God with much contention. 3 For our exhortation was (1) not of deceit, (2) not of uncleanness, (3) nor in guile,
4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; (4) not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
5 For (5) neither at any time used we flattering words as ye know, (6) nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness;
6 (7) Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when (8) we might have been burdensome, as the Apostles of Christ.
The Eight Things Missing:
(1) They were free of deceit.
(2) They were free of uncleanness.
(3) They were free from guile.
(4) They did not minister as pleasing men.
(5) They did not use flattering words.
(6) They did not minister under a cloak of covetousness.
(7) They did not seek glory from men.
(8) They sought not to be burdensome to those to whom they ministered.
EIGHT QUALITIES PRESENT IN THE MINISTRY OF THOSE EARLY PEACHERS–2:7-18
7 But we were (1) gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
8 So being affectionately desirous of you, (2) we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the Gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for (3) labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the Gospel of God.
10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how (4) holily and (5) justly and (6) unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, (7) as a father doth his children,
12 That ye would walk worthy of God, Who hath called you unto His Kingdom and glory.
13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, (8) when ye received the Word (the Logos) of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word (the Logos) of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
17 But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
The Eight Qualities Present:
(1) They ministered with the gentleness of a nurse, that is, as a nursing mother caring for her children.
(2) Because they held a longing for the people and loved them dearly, they were willing to impart unto them, not the gospel of God only, but their own souls. They laid down their lives for the people.
(3) They gave themselves to labouring night and day, apparently so they could support themselves while preaching the Gospel. Although this is not a principle always to be followed, it is to be noted that these men were willing to minister in this manner.
(4) They lived holily. They maintained a personal holiness, that is devotion, before God and before the people.
(5) They behaved themselves justly, that is righteously, in all their dealings.
(6) They lived unblameably before the people.
(7) They exhorted, comforted and implored the people as a father doth his children.
(8) They ministered a Word, the Logos of God, that carried with it the germ of its own life, which when planted could germinate and grow in the lives of those who received it.
THE FIRST STATEMENT TO THE THESSALONIANS ABOUT THE PAROUSíA OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST–2:19,20
19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ as His COMING (His Parousía)?
20 For you are our glory and joy. (Instead of commenting on any of these Parousía statements when we find them in the text, we will wait and take them all together in one lesson.)
TWO WORKING PRINCIPLES THAT MAKE A FLOCK STRONG ENOUGH TO OVERCOME TRIBULATION: FAITH AND LOVE–3:1-12
1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;
2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your FAITH:
3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.
4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your FAITH, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.
6 But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your FAITH and CHARITY (agape, selfless love) and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:
7 Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your FAITH:
8 For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.
9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;
10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your FAITH?
11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.
12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in LOVE one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
The Two Working Principles:
(1) Their desire was that the people be established and comforted concerning their FAITH. Paul had already made it clear before that we should suffer tribulation. The main concern of the men became that the tempter not subject those believers to so much affliction they would fall away from believing.
(2) Their ministerial joy was settled when they found that the two working principles of FAITH and AGAPE LOVE were strong in their midst. This made those believers secure.
THE SECOND STATEMENT ABOUT THE PAROUSíA OF THE LORD JESUS–3: 13
13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the COMING (the Parousía) of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.
(There are seventeen references throughout the New Testament to the Parousía of the Lord Jesus. Each one has a Definite Article with it. This leads us to conclude there will be exactly one Parousía at the end of the age, not several as some have taught. It will be THE Parousía of Christ. All the ages past and all the Covenants between God and His people will converge on this one Event.)
SIX POINTS TOWARD LEADING A CONGREGATION INTO A RIGHT WALK IN ANTICIPATION OF THE PAROUSíA OF THE LORD JESUS–4:1-12
1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us HOW YE OUGHT TO WALK and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, (1) that ye should abstain from fornication:
4 (2)That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
6 (3)That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, Who hath also given unto us the Holy Spirit.
9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for (4) ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, than ye increase more and more;
11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to (5) do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
12 That ye may (6) walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
The Six First Points:
(1) They taught the people to abstain from fornication and maintain sexual purity.
(2) They taught each one to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour. This means they taught self control in all areas of living.
(3) They taught them how to maintain right relationship among other believers that no man go beyond and defraud his brother
(4) They reminded them that they were taught of God to love one another.
(5) They taught each one to do their own business and work with their hands.
(6) They taught the believers to walk honestly toward them that are without.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CHURCH ABOUT THE PAROUSíA OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST–4:13-18
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.
15 For this we say unto you by the Word (the Logos) of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the COMING (the Parousía) of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(Matthew, John, Peter, James and Paul all told of the Parousía of Christ.)
FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING HIS PAROUSíA, WHICH PAUL ALSO CALLED THE DAY OF THE LORD–5:1-11
1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the DAY OF THE LORD so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that Day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the Day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of FAITH and LOVE; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
A CONTINUING EXHORTATION UNTO A RIGHT WALK IN ANTICIPATION OF THE PAROUSíA OF THE LORD (taking up from 4:12–5:12-22)
12 And we beseech you, brethren, to (7) know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And (8) be at peace among yourselves.
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, (9) warn them that are unruly, (10) comfort the feebleminded, (11) support the weak, (12) be patient toward all men.
15 (13) See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves and to all men.
16 (14) Rejoice evermore.
17 (15) Pray without ceasing.
18 (16) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 (17) Quench not the Spirit.
20 (18) Despise not prophesyings.
21 (19) Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 (20) Abstain from all appearance of evil.
The Continuing Exhortation:
(7) They taught believers to maintain a right relationship with them which labored among them and were over them in the Lord.
(8) They taught them to be at peace among themselves.
(9) They gave admonition to them that were unruly.
(10) They extended help to the feebleminded, that is, those who were weak in their souls and easily gave in to discouragement.
(11) They gave support to the weak.
(12) They exhorted each one to be patient toward the other.
(13) They taught them to never render evil for evil.
(14) They taught the people to rejoice in every situation.
(15) They taught the people to pray without ceasing.
(16) They taught the people to give thanks in everything.
(17) They taught the people to quench not the Spirit, that is, that they allow the Holy Spirit to move freely as He would.
(18) They taught the people to despise not prophesyings. This meant to give attention to
words that might come prophetically.
(19) They taught the people to prove all things, that is, to put everything to the test as to whether it was born of God's Spirit or not.
(20) They taught the people to abstain from all appearance of evil.
A FINAL STATEMENT IN THIS EPISTLE REGARDING THE PAROUSíA OF THE LORD JESUS–5:23-28
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the COMING (the Parousía) of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
25 Brethren, pray for us.
26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
27 1 charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
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