Pastors and Teachers
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Pastors and Teachers

Ephesians 4:12–13  (ID: 3233)

If the Bible is the rudder that guides us through the sea of life, whose hand helps to steer it, especially with regard to the local church? Ephesians 4:12–13 addresses the role of the pastor-teacher as given by Christ for the equipping of the saints. Alistair Begg discusses the ministry and the works of service that flow from it, as well as the unity maintained and attained among believers. When our lives are brought under the teaching of the Word, we can effectively do the work God has set before us, individually and as a church.

Series Containing This Sermon

A Study in Ephesians, Volume 6

Gifts from Above Ephesians 4:7–16 Series ID: 14906

The Basics of Pastoral Ministry, Volume 1

On Being a Pastor Selected Scriptures Series ID: 28401

The Pastor’s Study, Volume 8

Selected Scriptures Series ID: 23013

Sermon Transcript: Print

I invite you to turn with me to Ephesians and chapter 4. We are studying the book of Ephesians, if you’re visiting today, and we have essentially reached the end of verse 11, and so we’ll read from verse 11 through to the end of the chapter—no, to the end of verse 16. Ephesians 4:11–16:

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

Thanks be to God for his Word.

And as we turn to the Bible, we turn to God and pray:

Heavenly Father, we bow in your presence. May your Word be our rule, may your Spirit be our teacher, and may your greater glory be our supreme concern. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Well, when we left off, we had looked just at the foundational elements that Paul gives to us there, describing gifts of the ascended Christ: “He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists,” and “the shepherds and teachers,” or as it is most commonly translated, the pastors and teachers, and as it is most commonly understood, a dual office—both shepherding and teaching. At least I understand it in that way. What are we to do, though, with this role of the pastor-teacher? It’s vitally important that both those who seek to fulfill the role and those who are on the receiving end of the exercise of that gift in a congregation understand it too.

Let me give you a quote which, I think, in the opening sentence may catch us all a little off guard: The pastor-teacher “holds the greatest office of human responsibility in all creation.” Now, you imagine we just went out into the street this morning, and we said, “Now, I want to give you a list of possible places that you can fulfill in society. We have, you know, the prime minister, the member of Congress, we have a golf professional, we have a cardiothoracic surgeon, we have a number of things, we have a pastor-teacher. We’d just like you to put them in one to six, or whatever it is. Where do you think they all lie?” I don’t think it would be possible; I don’t think pastor-teacher would even get in the six. I think the average person would say, “What is that about? Why would that be included?” The person who said that went on to say, “He is called to preach the Word, to teach the truth to God’s people, to lead God’s people in worship, to tend the flock as a caring shepherd, and to mobilize the church for Christian witness and service.”[1]

The ministry of the Word of God is a gift that the people of God neglect to their peril.

Quite a high calling, isn’t it? One immediately, in reading that, says, “No one is sufficient in himself for such a responsibility,” thus making both the person called to it and all who seek to support the person called to it aware of the absolute dependence on the grace of God for the fulfilling of the assigned task. And our recent conference for pastors, which I think was the eighteenth in a row, is built on the fundamental notion that we believe in pastoral ministry—that we believe that in actual fact, the role of the pastor-teacher is the most crucial role.

Now, Lloyd-Jones used to say, “I would not descend from being a king to assume the role of the pulpit. I would be ascending to the role of the pulpit.” And you remember, of course, that Lloyd-Jones himself was a physician; he was the assistant to Lord Horder, who was the physician to the royal family of Great Britain. And he left that in order to begin teaching the Bible in obscurity in Wales in a small Calvinistic Methodist chapel. And everybody said, “The fella has got to be crazy. Who would leave such a significant position—not just a physician, but a physician of such prominence and significance—to teach the Bible? What in the world are they thinking about?” Well, you see, we need to think it out, don’t we?

Where does this pastor-teacher role come from? Who came up with it? The answer is, God did. Jesus did. He is put in place as a gift to the church, as a gift of the ascended Christ. He is supposed to equip the church by spiritual feeding. The ministry of the Word of God is, then, a gift that the people of God neglect to their peril.

Fundamentals of the Pastor-Teacher Role

Now, there are certain fundamentals that undergird all that we have done here over the years at Parkside, and since we state them seldomly, I thought I might just remind us of not every core conviction in relationship to this but perhaps just to three.

First of all, to notice that the pastor-teacher is an elder among the other elders in the church—that we understand New Testament pattern of leadership to be one both of parity and of plurality. That’s why when Paul writes to Timothy in 1 Timothy, he says, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.”[2] So in other words, there’s a distinction between some who are giving their leadership to the church, and in doing so, not all are involved in the public pulpit ministry that falls to those in this capacity.

Secondly, within that shared leadership, as within all leadership, there has to be a leader among the leaders. And it is most appropriate that the one who has the primary teaching role should be that leader, so that the rudder that moves the congregation at Parkside through the water is the rudder, essentially, of the Scriptures, and therefore, the one who has the preponderance of the teaching of the Scriptures, inevitably it falls to him to exercise that leadership role.

With that said, our focus this morning, and then in the evening hour, is on the purpose for which the gift of pastor-teacher has been given to the church. Let’s be clear: Who gave it, what is its source? The ascended Christ. What are these gifts that he mentions? They’re all gifts of the Word. They are all Word gifts. The apostles proclaiming the Word, they said, “These are the things that we have seen, that we have heard, that we have handled, that we have touched.”[3] “We did not come to you,” they said, “with notions of,” you know, “fairy stories.”[4] In fact, as we’ve said often, we wouldn’t have a New Testament apart from the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, there is no way that we would ever have had any of this stuff written down. No, so the apostles were in the Word, the prophets were in the Word, the evangelists were sending out that Word as widely as possible, and as churches begin to be established, God says, “Now, I want you to make sure that the role of pastor and teacher is safely in place.” And the reason for this is stated there in the balance of verse 12: “to equip the saints for the work of ministry,” so that the body of Christ may be built up.

Now, this is a slight diversion, but I think it makes a point that is important. In the Authorized Version—the King James Version, with which I was brought up—there is in that version another comma. You say, “Really? Like, you want to talk about that?” Yes, I do, just for a moment. And I want to tell you where the comma comes. Verse 12 in the AV reads, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of … ministry, for the [building up] of the body of Christ.” Now, there is no linguistic authority for commas—any commas, anywhere. We don’t have them in the original texts, okay? So it is an endeavor on the part of the translators to make sense of the text. And in their wisdom, they put a comma there.

But when you read it with a comma there, it changes the thing entirely. Because what does it do? It places all of this squarely in the hands, responsibility, of the pastor-teacher, because look at how it then reads: they were given pastors and teachers to equip the saints, “for the perfecting of the saints, … the work of … ministry, … the [building up] of the body of Christ.” In other words, all of this, then, becomes the sole prerogative of the poor soul who’s entrusted with the job of pastor and teacher. And that’s the way many congregations continue to operate: “Hey, we hired him, and this is what he’s gonna do: he’s gonna perfect, equip, the saints. He’s going to do the works of ministry. Gonna take out the garbage. He’s gonna do what we want him to do! And if he doesn’t do it, then we’ll get somebody who will do it.” Well, that comma needs to go, for the well-being not only of the pastor-teacher but for the well-being of the congregation, because the entire effective development of a built-up congregation demands that that comma is not there. And then that it reads as it reads: “to equip the saints for the work[s] of ministry…” NIV: “so that the body of Christ may be built up.”

The ascended Christ gives a gift to the church: the role of the pastor and teacher. Those pastors and teachers, then, are to equip the people of God for the works of ministry, which they do, so that the body itself may then actually come to maturity. So, you see, when you circumvent that, then you end up with congregations that are just marred by what is essentially a bottleneck kind of operation.

Now, there are three words that I’d like us to grasp this morning. They’re straightforward; they emerge from the text. In fact, I wrote down in my notes, “MUM’s the word”—MUM. Not spelled American but spelled English: m-u-m. MUM: Ministry, unity, and maturity. Ministry, unity, and maturity. All right?


“To equip the saints for the work[s] of ministry.” The word there is diakonia. It’s the same word that you have as a root for the word deacon or deaconess. People say to us at Parkside, “You don’t have any deacons.” Well, that’s actually inaccurate. We have hundreds of deacons. We have hundreds of people who are serving diaconal responsibilities. This church would actually collapse were it not for that fact. What people usually think, though, is that there is a little room that says “The Deacons’ Room,” and all these deacons go in there and do what deacons do in the room. But in actual fact, it is possible to have the diaconal function without the room and without a little sign. It simply means doing the works of service. It’s the same word that you find in the record of Martha and Mary. Remember, “Martha was distracted with much serving.”[5] “Much serving.” So, the responsibility of the pastor-teacher is to equip the saints by teaching the Bible in such a way that the mechanisms and tools for ministry are placed in their hands, so that they can effectively work in that way.

In February of 1941, Winston Churchill made one of his memorable speeches in London. He knew that it would be heard in the United States, and he knew exactly what he was doing. And rhetorically, he says in the midst of the speech, “And if you were to ask me what I would say to Mr. Roosevelt, I would say this: give us the tools, and we will finish the job.”[6] “Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.” And of course, Roosevelt and the United States did exactly that and equipped the Allied forces for the effective vanquishing of the Hitler regime. The tools were absolutely necessary. And they’re absolutely necessary if the people of God are going to do this kind of ministry.

The word for “equip” is actually a medical word. It’s a kind of orthopedic word; it would be used for the resetting of a limb. It’s also a word that is found in the Gospels, where the disciples are mending their nets, and the word that is used there is this same word; they’re equipping themselves for their next voyage. So, what happens is simply this: that the ministry of God’s Word is brought home to the lives of God’s people by the power of God’s Spirit, so that—if you like, to stick with the picture of the fishing nets—so that the tangled, knotted, disjointed features of our lives are then brought into line with God’s plans and purposes, so that when we set back out on the voyage of life we have been equipped to do that which we have been enabled to do.

So it radically changes the idea of hearing the Word of God being taught. It moves it immediately from the idea of “Was it good? Was it long? Was it short? Did I like it? Did it move me? Did it stir me? Was I happy? Did I feel good?” Suddenly all of that is not irrelevant, but it is subservient to the question “Was I fed, was I equipped? When I go to this place, do I feel that I am being prepared for the voyage of life? Is it helping with me in my marriage, in my home, in my business? Do the practicalities of Christian living begin to work their way out as the Word of God is proclaimed?” That’s what’s being described here. And that is why it is so vitally important the way in which we listen to the Bible.

You don’t abandon the love of God because there are problems; you investigate the problems in light of the love of God. You don’t abandon the Bible because of the problems; you believe the Bible, and you wrestle with the problems.

I’ve told you before, there was a man who used to preach at Keswick in the Lake District in England, and his name was S. D. Gordon. And apparently, he used to say—and he had a very quiet voice, and he made it even quieter—and he used to say, “Are you listening? Are you listening with all the ears of your heart?” It’s a good question! Because, remember, James says, “If you got a filthy mind, if you have an angry heart, you might as well not even listen to the Bible. You need to make sure that when you receive the Word,” he says, “you receive it with meekness as the implanted word which is able to save your souls.”[7] So that the place of the Word of God in bringing someone to faith in God is absolutely crucial.

Now, I know that there are people who have questions all the time about these things, and justifiably so, and understandably so. Paul, when he writes to the Thessalonians, he says to them, commending them, in 1 Thessalonians 2, he says, “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”[8] People always ask all the time, “What was the big deal about the Word of God? Why do you have to have the Word of God? I mean, why can’t you just get out and do something useful in the community? Why this emphasis?” Well, you see, accepting the authority of God’s Word is Christian. It is part of being a Christian.

“Well, but,” says somebody, “what about the problems that come along with it?” Well, there’s problems that come along with everything. You accept as a Christian that God is love, don’t you? That immediately raises problems. It raises the problem, “What happened to my young child when he died in infancy?” That raises the question of the problems of suffering throughout the world. What do you do? Well, you do what you do. You don’t abandon the love of God because there are problems; you investigate the problems in light of the love of God. What do you do about the Bible when there are problems? You don’t abandon the Bible because of the problems; you believe the Bible, and you wrestle with the problems.

Jesus said to his disciples, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.”[9] “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.” Since he is who he is, we have no freedom to disagree with what he says, nor do we have any freedom to disobey what he says. You see, it ultimately comes down to this fundamental matter: Is Jesus Christ the person he claimed to be? And then, if he in his ascended glory has given this gift to the church, we ought to make sure that we’re paying attention to it.

Now, what I want us to understand as well is this—and we alluded to this, I think, three weeks ago. You will notice that the direct link is not there between “we teach the Bible” and “the church matures.” No. The Bible is taught, the saints are equipped, they do the works of ministry, and the church is built up. So in other words, there’s a missing link, isn’t there? If we fail to understand that the way in which we not only receive the Bible when it is taught to us but the way in which we take it away with us and say, “Now, there are implications for this, so that, if you like, the spiritual and the numerical growth of the church under God is directly related to all who are members of the church doing what they’re supposed to do—like turning off their cell phones. We’ll come to this later on, some of us. You’ll notice the phrase at the end of verse 16: “when each part is working properly.” “When each part is working properly.” You know, you got that jolly CAT scan thing, makes that horrible noise, that whirrrrr—yeah, that better be working properly. (Actually, it’s not the CAT scan. It’s the MRI makes that noise.)

This changes everything, you see. At school in Scotland, we used to sing,

There’s a work for Jesus, ready at your hand,
[It’s] a task the Master just for you has planned.
Haste to do his bidding, yield him service true;
There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.[10]

Now, you see, do you actually believe that? That God has given to you a place and a purpose and a function? Don’t look around and say, “But I’m not that, and I’m not him, and I’m not her.” Forget that. Learn to say with the old Anglican bishop, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do. And what I ought to do, with God’s help, I will do.”[11] That, loved ones, is ministry. Ministry. And as a result of that, the church is built up.

In other words, this is a bodybuilding mechanism. Now, I shouldn’t really talk about bodybuilding—to which there should be another hearty amen coming from somewhere. No, I get that! But I’ve seen bodybuilders! Some of you are. Every so often, I bump up against you and I say, “Oh, so that’s what it’s supposed to be like!” But the average bodybuilder guy, at least, is not the most agile that I’ve ever seen. I mean, they make that grunting noise and impress everybody. But I’ll tell you what, I’ll take them on a hundred yards any time they want—most of them. Not some of the professional athletes, because I don’t want to get in trouble here. But the fact is, when we think about this in biblical terms, we’re not talking simply about bulk. We’re talking about flexibility. We’re talking about agility. We’re talking about the ability to lay things down and pick it up.

We gotta make sure that the metaphor that we have in mind of the body functioning this way is not of a bus, where everybody just sits and criticizes the driver, where all we are, are a group of consumers but we’re not contributors. Or the metaphor of a bottleneck, which is routinely the case, where you have a pastor-teacher who will not delegate anything to anybody, and everything must pass through him. And there’s many a small church that the problem actually is in the pastor-teacher; he won’t face up to it. It’s because he feels he has to do everything, as if somehow or another his credibility is at stake, and so he never draws around him people who are better than himself. He’s probably vulnerable to that; he doesn’t want anybody to know that he’s not good at everything. But over a period of time, everybody knows you’re not good at everything. Over a period of time they’re wondering if you’re good at anything.

Bus. Bottleneck. Orchestra. Play your part. You wanted to be a tuba player, tough. You’re a piccolo player. Play your piccolo to the glory of God. “But I’d like a big double bass.” Oh, really? Like when the orchestra is leaving through Hopkins, you’d like a big double bass? Are you telling me you’re not happy to have that little piccolo right here in your inside pocket? God knows what he’s doing!

Well, we better move on.


Ministry and unity. Unity. Paul has started the chapter by urging them not to create unity; it’s already theirs in and through Christ. In their union with Christ, they’re united with one another, so it is a unity that is to be maintained—verse 3—and then down here in verse 13, it is that to which we attain. So it is maintained, and it is attained. He’s already told them that “you are the dwelling place for God by the Holy Spirit.”[12] The uniqueness of the church is fundamental to the impact of the church.

If you read church history, you will know that the church is always at its most effective when it is most countercultural. Every time the church is absorbed by the culture or identified politically or socially with a certain framework, it is diminished in its usefulness. So, for example, for the first 250, 300 years of the church, the developing church is persecuted. They’re chased from pillar to post. And then Constantine becomes a Christian. And suddenly, the church has gone establishment. Now the Roman emperor is part of the game. And one of the great questions that has confronted church historians in that context and then beyond is, Did that make the church more effective or less effective? And history would argue that it made it less effective. Because there was confusion as to whether this was a political issue or whether this was a spiritual reality.

Loved ones, you got the exact same confusion today. The church is at its best when people are going, “This isn’t what I expected.” I may say more about this tonight, I may not—but the progressive movement within evangelicalism in the last twenty-five, forty years has been to try and make everybody know that we’re not weird. “We’re just like you! We dress like you, we walk like you, we talk… whatever it is, you know, we’re the same as you.” And people’re going, “Well, if you’re the same as us, what do we want you for?” “Yeah, no, we have the same music. Yeah, we have the same lifestyle. Yeah, we have everything the same. That’s why we did it this way: so you would like us.”

Forty years on, what has happened? The millennial generation says, “We don’t like you. We don’t even want to have anything to do with you. Do you really think that we think that because you think you’re cool, that that’s going to make us want to come and listen? That the fact that you in your sixties can wear jeans? That we’ll be going, ‘Oh, he wears jeans, we gotta get there!’” No, they’re too smart for that. Let me tell you what they’re looking for: they’re looking for something that is radically different. That’s why so many of them are intrigued by Eastern Orthodoxy. That’s why so many of them have gone in search of the numinous, in search of an existential dimension that is not met by the trivialities that is represented in so many churches’ attempts to try and prove that we can absorb you by being just like you. No! It’s supposed to be very, very different. Because the unity that exists is the unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It’s not like in any other organization. All kinds of clubs, you get in on the basis of your achievement or your social status. But the church is not that. Entryway to the church is by the grace of God. So that the readers in the Ephesian churches realized, “This is only God could put these Jews and these gentiles together. They hate each other’s guts! And I was at one of their fellowships the other day, and they are sitting side by side. Something has happened there. It’s not like anything else we have ever seen.” And the members of the Ephesian congregations realized that the only person that would ever be excluded from the church would be the person who thinks he or she has no need of grace.

It’s through the Word of God by the enabling of the Spirit of God that we come to an awareness of the Son of God.

No. You see, the entryway to the church—as Rutherford, the old Scottish divine, put it—the entryway into a knowledge of Jesus is low, low. In fact, [Rutherford], what did he say? “Down … with your top sail.” “Down … with your top sail: stoop, stoop; it is a low entry to go in at” the way of Christ.[13] “I don’t want to go down like that. I want to walk in like this.” No. You can’t. Not when the grace of God shows you who you are and what you are, and shows you the wonder of who Jesus is and what Jesus is. Then all of the things that mark us out as having significance are not irrelevant; they are simply subservient to the unity that is brought about in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ? You say, “Well, no, maybe I do, maybe I don’t. No, I don’t think so. I’ve never met him.” Well, you’re not going to meet him. I mean, he’s not walking around Cleveland Heights, I know. You say, “Well, if I lived at another era, I would perhaps believe, but not now. Where do I come to a knowledge of Jesus?” Well, we’re back in the exact same position. It’s through the Word of God by the enabling of the Spirit of God that we come to an awareness of the Son of God. People say, “Well, this is a conundrum. How can I do this?”

Do you remember the disciples on the Emmaus road, Luke chapter 24? And they’re walking along, and Jesus draws near to them—the risen Jesus. They don’t recognize him. They’re “kept from recognizing him.”[14] It’s interesting: “kept from recognizing him,” until it’s time to recognize him. And when did they recognize him? It says, when he opened the Scriptures to them. That’s quite remarkable, isn’t it? So he’s physically beside them and they don’t see him, and he gives them a Bible study and they see him!

John Stott says, the Bible “will give Christ to you … in an intimacy so close that he would be less visible to you if he stood before your eyes.”[15] The Bible “will give Christ to you … in an intimacy so close that he would be less visible to you if he stood before your eyes.”


The final word—and I only have time to introduce it, and we’ll come back to it—is the word maturity. You see the development. The pastor and the teacher equips the saints, they engage in ministry, the body is built up. This is an ongoing, progressive reality “until we … attain to the unity of the faith … of the knowledge of … Son of God,” who, ultimately, now we see through a glass darkly; then we will see face to face.[16] There are degrees, if you like, of sanctity; and therefore, there are degrees, if you like, of unity; and clearly, there are degrees of maturity. The purpose in this is that we might come “to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

You remember earlier in the letter he’s prayed that they might be “filled with all the fullness of God.”[17] What an amazing prayer, that God might be all in all to you. We’ve sung about that this morning: “You are my all in all.”[18] Did we mean it? What does it mean? What does it mean? It might mean one thing right now, at this time in the morning on a Sunday with a group like this, but what does it mean when you’re on your own, when you’re in the car, when you’re confronted by temptation, when you want to just go your own road? “No, you’re my all in all. I want to become mature. I don’t want to be wandering around like a Christian baby.”

I was telling somebody yesterday, in another context, that all week I’ve been thinking about an Indian doctor whose name I do not know, whom I met when I was sixteen years of age when he did an operation on my big toe. This is more information that you deserve. The only reason I’m telling you is because after—postoperatively—somebody hit my foot in a cage with a trolley, burst the stitches, which demanded that I go back in the OR with the aforementioned doctor who’d done the evil deed previously. And as he set about putting that needle and the stuff through my toe, apparently, I did not respond in a particularly submissive way. And I’ll never forget, he came up beside me and he said, “You are a big baby!” I said, “Man, I can’t…” And then I think I said something like, “I’ll show you who’s a baby,” you know. “Give me that needle. I’ll show you what this is like.” But anyway, I’ve been thinking about it all week. I don’t want the Lord to come up to me and go, “Begg, you are a big baby! You’re a child, when you should be mature.” How do I become mature? The Word of God, through the servants of God, to the people of God, involved in the ministry of God.

Now, think about it not just in individual terms—we’ll finish in this way—let’s think about it in corporate terms. Let’s not think individual; let’s think about it as a church. How about the maturity of Parkside Church?

Question one: Is the Word of God the driving force that shapes our church’s life? Rhetorical. Is the Word of God the driving force that shapes our church’s life? Because to the degree that it is, we have the opportunity for maturity; to the degree that it isn’t, then we diminish that possibility.

Secondly, is that same Word of God dwelling in us richly, and are we, as a result, teaching and encouraging one another with all wisdom?[19] That’s Colossians 3.

Thirdly, are we living, then, in the unity that is supernaturally created by putting us together as a group in the recognition of the fact that we are surrounded by people that sort of… we just really wouldn’t necessarily want to go on vacation together. We don’t have to feel bad about that. But yet we love one another. Really?

And are we growing up in every way into him, into Christ, into the full measure of the stature of Christ?

Important questions.

You know, the writer to the Hebrews spoke very straightforwardly, didn’t he, in his letter? And he said to the folks, he says, “You know, my concern for you is that you’ve become dull of hearing.” “Dull of hearing.” So, still there, still kind of listening, but it’s not actually going there. And then he says to them, “By this time you ought to be teachers, but you need somebody to teach you all over again, to teach you the basic principles of the Word of God?”[20] What an indictment on a church! And then, later on, he says, “But I am actually confident of better things concerning you as you pay attention to the provision that God has made.”[21]

Well, we’ll come back to this. Let us pray:

Father, thank you that your Word is a lamp that shines out on our pathway,[22] both individually and as a congregation. And we pray that we might be like those described by James, receiving the Word of God with meekness in the awareness that it is able to save our souls. For Christ’s sake. Amen.

[1] R. Albert Mohler Jr., foreword to On Being a Pastor, by Derek J. Prime and Alistair Begg, rev. ed. (Chicago: Moody, 2004), 9.

[2] 1 Timothy 5:17 (ESV).

[3] 1 John 1:1–3 (paraphrased).

[4] 2 Peter 1:16 (paraphrased).

[5] Luke 10:40 (ESV).

[6] Winston Churchill, “Give Us the Tools” (broadcast speech, London, February 9, 1941). Paraphrased.

[7] James 1:19–21 (paraphrased).

[8] 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (ESV).

[9] John 13:13 (ESV).

[10] Elsie D. Yale, “There’s a Work for Jesus” (1912).

[11] Commonly attributed to Edward Everett Hale. Paraphrased.

[12] Ephesians 2:22 (paraphrased).

[13] Rutherford to Cardoness, Elder, Aberdeen, 1637, in Joshua Redivivus; or Three Hundred and Fifty-Two Religions Letters, by the Late Eminently Pious Mr. Samuel Rutherfoord, 11th ed. (Glasgow: William Bell, 1796), 214.

[14] Luke 24:16 (ESV). Emphasis added.

[15] Introduction to Desiderius Erasmus’s Greek New Testament (1516), quoted in John Stott, The Incomparable Christ (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2001), 15.

[16] See 1 Corinthians 13:12.

[17] Ephesians 3:19 (ESV).

[18] Dennis L. Jernigan, “You Are My All in All” (1990).

[19] See Colossians 3:16.

[20] Hebrews 5:11–12 (paraphrased).

[21] Hebrews 6:9 (paraphrased).

[22] See Psalm 119:105.

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.