"A Real Minister"

These challenging words are from Mark Dever's essay in Preaching the Cross.

God has always created his people by his Word. It's never been the other way around...

Consider the promotional mail pastors receive. The advertisements assure us success in ministry if we buy a particular product...Many people have an economic interest in making us feel guilty, inadequate, and unequipped. The way to avoid such a snare is by convincing ourselves of the priority and the sufficiency of the ministry of the Word adn to stake our whole service on that.

Do you see how important this is for the glory of God and the good of his people? Why, in so many of our churches, is it unusual to see someone giving their all to follow Christ, and growing in him? Is it because we allowed people who are in open unrepentant sin to continue on in our congregation, and so have diluted the witness, the fellowship? Why have we so neglected church discipline? Is it because we've not followed biblical instructions on leadership in the congregation, and we've also neglected the Bible's clear teaching on church discipline itself? Why have we neglected discipline? Is it because we don't teach about what church membership entails?

And why would that be? Because we haven't made it clear what it really means to be a Christian in the first place? And why would that be? Because we've misunderstood the gospel? How could that be? Because we've misunderstood the Bible? And why would that be the case? Because we've had pastors who - with the best of motives - have given themselves to everything in the world before giving themselves to the study and preaching of the Word! We've spent more time reading our email than our Bible.

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