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The Local Church and The Pastoral Call

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Proverbs 18:1; 11:14; 15:22; 24:6


This conference is named Answer the Call.
The call to what?
Well there is the general call given to all to believe on the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life and in gratitude follow Him.
There are other general callings placed upon each believer that flow from this first call like the call to join a local church, the call for older women to mentor younger women, or the call to be salt and light in the world.
There is also the call to one of the two offices Christ through the apostles has given as gifts to the local church. Those two offices are the office of pastor, elder, overseer and the office deacon.
In our time, I’d like to discuss this last type of calling, the call to one of the two offices Christ has given to bless His people. Specifically, I’d like to ask and help you answer the following question:
Have you been called to the pastoral office?
It is my conviction that God in His Word has provided us with sufficient and clear instruction by which we might evaluate a person’s call to the pastoral office. To answer yes to the above question, you must answer yes to four other questions. So, lets consider first one now.


1. Do you crave the office?

1 Timothy 3:1
The desire to be a pastor is a legitimate desire.
The desire to be a pastor is a noble desire.
1 Peter 5:2:
The desire to be a pastor must not come from force but willingly.
The desire to be a pastor must not be for shameful gain but eagerness to serve Christ and His people.
James 3:1:
Though the desire to be pastor is legitimate and noble, it should not be pursued or fulfilled by all.
Do you crave the office? If no then, you are not yet called. If so, listen because it takes more than a craving.

2. Are you competent for the office?

We are told the competencies, responsibilities, and qualifications for this office in 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-16; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:17-38.
Lets briefly consider Titus 1:5-9. Listen. From this text we learn that:
Pastors must have stable homes: 6
Pastors must be genuine believers, devoted husbands, and disciple making fathers.
Pastors must have solid character: 7-8
When the gospel takes root it destroys:
Arrogance: The thoughts of self-importance, superiority, and entitlement are disintegrated in the light of the gospel of God’s grace.
Quick-tempers: Experience of God’s patience and forgiveness in the gospel cools the hotheaded. An under-shepherd of God’s sheep must be patient, as the great shepherded is with them.
Drunkenness: Those who have experienced the gospel of grace desire to be filled with the Spirit of God, not intoxicating drink or inebriating substances. Overconsumption of such things is a character flaw disqualifying a man from ministry.
Violence: The gospel divides believers from the unbelieving world, but not each other. It breaks down walls of division. Thus, the pastor, as a mature believer, mustn’t lead like a bully with fists or words. The abusive pastor is an imposter.
Greed: A good pastors are worthy of compensation, but one mustn’t enter the ministry for riches or his own advancement. The love of money is contrary to the love of God and His ChurchesPastors must have sound doctrine
When the gospel take root it develops:
Hospitality: Pastors must be ready to welcome brothers and sisters in the faith.
Love of Good: Pastors must love good not in theory, but desire and facilitate the flourishing of good in the congregation and the outside world.
Self-control: Pastors are to be steady in all situations.
Holiness: Pastors are to be moral in accord with God’s Law and devout to God’s calling.
Discipline: A pastor is to have control over himself in all things and over the long-haul.
Pastors must have sound doctrine: 9
Pastors must hold firmly to the trustworthy word as taught by the apostles. Pastors are to be committed to the truths communicated in the Scriptures. Christ, His person and work is the scope and central theme of Scripture.
So, they can encourage others with sound doctrine. The exact tone of such encouragement depends on the audience and situation. It can sometimes be stern encouragement or tender encouragement. Pastors are to guide those under their care with true doctrine that informs their minds, hearts, and actions.
So, they can rebuke contradictors of sound doctrine. Pastors must know the truth with such clarity and precision that they are able to spot and refute those who contradict it.
Do you crave and are you competent for the office? If not, then you are not yet called. If so, then listen because takes more than a craving and competence.

3. Has your calling been confirmed by your local church and godly counselors?

Consider the wisdom of Proverbs again: Proverbs 18:1; 11:14; 15:22; 24:6
Consider the command of Paul: Romans 12:3
Consider the requirement of and reasons for joining a local church:
From where do we get the requirement of Church membership?
We see it implied in the teachings on Church discipline: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Matthew 18:15-20
We see it implied in the teachings on Church lists: 1 Timothy 5:9
We see this implied in the teachings on the responsibilities of elders: Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-2
We see it in the teachings Christian duties: Hebrews 13:7; 17; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; Galatians 6:6
We see it in the practice of the early church: Acts 2:41-42; 5:13-14; 9:26
We see it in the mention of outsiders as it relates to the Corinthian church: 1 Corinthians 5:12-13; 14:22-23
Why join a local church?
Join a local church to protect yourself: Jn. 14:21; 15:10, 14; 13:17; Matt. 7:21-23; 1 John 4:20
Join a local church to encourage others: Hebrews 10:24-25; Galatians 6:2
Join a local church to make disciples of the nations: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2; Matthew 28:18-20; Philippians 4:10-20; Ephesians 4:1-16
Join a local church to defend the gospel: Acts 2:42-47; 1 Cor. 12:12-31; Eph. 4:1-16
Join a local church to glorify God: 1 Peter 2:12; John 13:34-35
Consider Paul’s example: Acts 9:26-31
Join a biblical local church
Gather with that church
Submit to that church
Pursue confirmation from that church
Do you crave and are you competent for the office? Has your calling been confirmed by your local church and other godly counselors. If not, then you are not yet called. If so, then listen because takes more than a craving, competence, and confirmation.

4. Has a local church consecrated you to the office?

Consider consecration of Matthias: Acts 1:12-26
Consider the consecration of the Seven: Acts 6:1-6
Consider the consecration of Paul and Barnabas: Acts 13:1-3
Consider the consecration of Elders: Acts 14:19-23
Gain the moral and mental competencies required for the office.
Surround yourself with godly examples and mentors to speak the truth to you and help you pursue the ministry.
Wait patiently for the Lord to providentially open the door for you to serve in this most noble office as a gift to a local church and the churches of which it is associated.


Have you been called to the pastoral office?
To answer this in the affirmative 4 things must be true of you:
You crave the office.
You are competent for the office.
Your calling to the office is confirmed by your local church and godly counselors.
You are consecrated to the office by a local church.
If all four of these statements do not portray you, then you are not yet called to the pastoral office. This does not mean that you are a second class Christian. It means that at this time for some and permanently for others that your service to the Lord is not the pastorate.
If you crave the office, but are not competent, then seek to embody the qualifications, study the word, seek a godly mentor, wait patiently, and listen humbly.
If you crave the office and believe yourself competent, then go to your church leadership and ask them to evaluate you by the standards found in 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, and 1 Peter 5. If they don’t think you yet meet the competence required, then humbly submit to their wisdom.
If you crave the office, believe yourself confident, and have been confirmed by your own local church and other godly counselors, yet no church has consecrated you for the office. Serve your current church humbly, pray for God’s direction, continue to seek growth in holiness and knowledge of God, and wait.
If you never crave the office, are never competent for the office, are never confirmed by your local church, or are never consecrated by a local church, then serve God and His people in the local church to which you are joined in covenant membership. Gather with the saints as often as you can, but especially on the Lord’s Day. Pray with and for the saints. Sit under the ministry of the Word. Observe Baptism. Partake of the Lord’s Supper. Seek, obey, and preach Christ.
Whether you are called the pastorate or not, you have a Great and Good Shepherd who knows you, feeds you, leads you, and protects you. His name is Jesus. He is God the Son who became man through the virgin birth. He lived in perfect righteousness. He died in the place of all who come to Him in faith. He rose triumphantly showing that God’s justice was satisfied. He ascended to God’s right hand where He intercedes for His people, sends His Spirit, and grows His Church. He will one day return, destroy His enemies, raise and rescue His people from final judgment, and place them on the New Earth where they shall live in communion with Him forever without sin or death. He will lead you to that glorious day. He will never let you go. Look to Him and wait on Him.
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