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A Man Sent From God

John 1:6-8: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light
."

The question that church members should ask themselves from time to time
would they have have treated their pastor any differently if someone had reminded them
that he was a specially sent "messenger" from the very throne of God.
Would they have criticized him so severely if they had known that he was specially chosen
and called by the Lord for the work that he is doing?

I believe that many would have to admit that their attitude, actions, and words would have been
much different for their pastors if they remembered that God Himself had placed them
in their churches for a definite purpose.
Many pastors are treated shamefully, simply because that that truth is forgotten.

Although pastors are men, and are mere humans with weaknesses and limitations;
nevertheless those who are true ministers of the gospel are men sent from God.
And if they are faithful to the office that has been entrusted to them,
they deserve our respect and esteem.

Look at three characteristics of John the Baptist as mentioned in the Gospel of John.
These three same traits apply to every genuine minister of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John."
2. "The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe."
3." He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light." (John 1:6-8)

Notice those three things that are mentioned about John the Baptist.
First, "There was a man…"
John was a human being with human shortcomings.

Second, he was different from others in that he was "sent from God."
He was a man, but he was a man who was specifically chosen by the Lord Himself.

Third, His purpose in life was to preach the Lord Jesus Christ.
He "came… to bear witness of the Light."

These three truths are true of every preacher of the Gospel.
They also are men who are just as human as anyone else.
They are set apart from others, however, in that they are sent from God with a divine appointment.
Their mission is to preach Christ.

We should remember the human aspects of those in the ministry.
We should remember that the pastor has a need for sympathy, understanding, consideration,
and prayerful support -- not our criticism.

The apostle Paul was one of the greatest preachers the world has ever known,
and he recognized his own shortcomings.
In 1 Corinthians 9:27 he said, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection,
lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway
."

He also said in Romans 7:18, 24: "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing…
Oh, wretched man that I am!
Who shall deliver me from the body of this death
?"

Remember the words, "there was a man…"
Being just a man your pastor needs your prayers and encouragement.

Not only do we read in John 1:6 that "There was a man," but the verse goes on to say
that "There was a man sent from God."
This truth counterbalances that of the preacher's humanity.

It is only because of this that I would discuss the "humanness" of those in the ministry.
Otherwise some would surely reason, "If my pastor is like me, prone to the same weaknesses
and pitfalls, why should I listen to him?
He is no better than I am
."

But while it is true that he is only a man, it is also true that those who have a genuine calling
are men "sent from God."
They deserve honor and respect from their members, not because they are better,
but in consideration of their heavenly calling.

This brings us right back to our opening question.
How would you have treated your pastor this week if you were told that he was
a specially sent "messenger" from the very throne of God?

Would you have gossiped about him as you did?
Would you have criticized his pulpit manners?
Would you have pointed out his poor delivery and grammatical mistakes,
and even do that in front of your children?
Would you have blamed him just because he forgot to visit your aunt's cousin
in a neighboring city who is at home with a slight head cold?

If every church member once realized that the pastor, in spite of his weakness, is a man
"sent from God," I'm sure that much of the petty criticism in our churches would be eliminated.

Some may reply by saying, "You don't know our preacher; he murders the King's English.
His sermons are not homileticly correct, and he is not a good Bible teacher.
You don't know our pastor
."

Yes, I do,
I know him well.
You see, I know myself, and he's like I am -- a man -- with human weaknesses, and failures.
But, if he is a genuine servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, and even as it was said of John the Baptist,
he is a man "sent from God," then his special "office" calls for your respect.
I didn't say that you should worship him or place him on a "pedestal."
However he should be esteemed and respected because of his calling.

In Romans 10:14-15. the apostle Paul comments on those who preach the gospel:
"How, then, shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how shall they hear without a preacher?
AND HOW SHALL THEY PREACH, EXCEPT THEY BE SENT?
As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace,
and bring good tidings of good things
!"

I have heard people say, "I don't think my pastor was really 'sent.'
I think he's a hypocrite.
He doesn't really mean what he says.
I think that he is just in the ministry for its prestige
."

And you may be right.
There are some "wolves in sheep's clothing."
But, would you be the judge of this?
Do you want that responsibility?
You could be wrong, and I would warn you to be slow in judging him.
The result can be tragic when someone who should know better takes things into his own hand
and initiates action against one of God's chosen servants.

In Samuel 26, we read about the time when David spared the life of Saul,
and it shows us how careful we should be when dealing with someone appointed by God
to a position of trust and responsibility.
Remember that David had been appointed to be Israel's next king, and that Saul was still on the throne.
King Saul was motivated by an insane jealousy of David, and did his best to kill David.
He hounded David almost night and day.

But during the darkness one night, David and his companions came upon Saul
while he was sound asleep.
It was a perfect setup to put his archenemy out of the way, but David, the anointed successor
to Israel's throne refused to do so.
Notice, how he responded to the situation.

We see this in 1 Samuel 26:7-11: "So David and Abishai came to the people by night;
and behold Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his head,
but Abner and the people lay round about him.
Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day;
now, therefore, let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once,
and I will not smite him the second time.

And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not; for who can stretch forth his hand
against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless?
David said furthermore, as the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his days shall come to die;
or he shall descend into battle and perish.
The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord's anointed
…"

If what you think about your pastor is really true, the thing for you to do this to believe as David did.
-- that God will "take care of him."
Beware lest He will "take care of you" if you bring harm to God's servant.
Perhaps, you just can't stand to take this approach that David took.

Maybe this little article found in the church bulletin might be of some help to you.
It is entitled, "How to Get Rid of a Pastor."

Here is the article:
"Not long ago a well-meaning group of laymen came from a neighboring church to see me.
They wanted me to advise them on some convenient and painless method of getting rid of their pastor.
I'm afraid I was not much help to them, for at that time I had not the occasion
to give the matter serious thought.
But since then I have pondered the matter a great deal, and the next time anyone comes to me
to get advice on how to get rid of a pastor, here is what I will tell them:

1. Look him straight in the eye while he is preaching, and say, "Amen," once in a while,
and he'll preach himself to death in a few weeks.
2. Pat him on the back and brag on his good points, and he'll probably work himself to death.
3. Rededicate your life to Christ, and ask the preacher to give you a job to do,
preferably to witness to some lost person you could win to Christ, and he'll die of heart failure.
4. Get the church to unite in prayer for the preacher and he'll soon become so effective
that some larger church will take him off your hands."

If only we could learn to pray for our pastors as men, and shall respect for them as men sent from God,
many of our church problems would be avoided.
Our churches would have a much better image in the community, and our children would take
a more favorable attitude toward the work of the Gospel.
And many times have we heard people say, "I just don't understand why my children
-- John and Mary have so little interest in the church since they have grown up.
They just don't seem to care about hearing the Word of God anymore
."
Well, is it any wonder?

How can you expect them to have any concern for the church after all the criticism they have heard.
Sunday after Sunday they have had "roast preacher" for dinner.
His sermons have been pulled apart, his pulpit manner censured and his appearance
and dress ridiculed by the parents themselves.
Then they wonder why Johnny and Mary doesn't have any regard for the church or the preacher!

If you have children in the home, never, never criticize the pastor in their presence.
It is your duty as faithful parents to cultivate respect in the minds of your little ones
for the office of those men who are "sent from God" to serve as under shepherds of the flock.

If you are unsaved, this final word to you is very important.
As long as you look at men, you are going to be disappointed.
Even the best preacher in the world is subject to human failures.

There is One, however, in whom there is no disappointment.
He is the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is God-incarnate.
He alone of all men lived a perfect life.
He was the only One who ever fulfilled God's righteous demands without sin.

His every word and action exemplified such perfection that Judas exclaimed,
"… I have betrayed innocent blood…" (Matthew 27:4).
And Pilate declared, "… I find no fault in him." (John 19:4)
And Peter wrote: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things,
like silver and gold… but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb
without blemish and without spot
." (1 Peter 1:18, 19)

Although sinless and not needing to die as other men do, Christ took your guilt
and your sins upon Himself.
He went to the cross, and endured the most excruciating death in all history.
He shed His blood for your sins, and He was raised again from the dead for your justification.
Now forgiveness of sin and life everlasting can be yours if you will acknowledge
your transgressions and sins, and by a personal act of faith receive Jesus as your Savior.

The Bible says,
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…" (Acts 16:31).
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart
that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth
confession is made unto salvation
."
(Romans 10:9, 10)

This message was adapted by Dr. Harold L. White