Lino calls pastors to humility
November 14th, 2017 / By: Bonnie Pritchett | TEXAN Correspondent / comments
If God can speak through a donkey he can speak through the men he has called to pastor churches and lead their congregations to maturity in Christ. The comparison made by SBTC President Nathan Lino in his message at the annual convention was not intended to insult but the bring into stark relief the humility required for effective preaching.
With the devastation leading up to the Nov. 13-14 annual convention – a hurricane that destroyed communities and a murderer who destroyed a congregation -- Lino called pastors to remember the purpose of preaching. Drawing from Ephesians 4:7-16, he said God’s gifts to believers, when used in concert, are designed to build up the body and mature a congregation into the fullness of Christ. And a pastor’s preaching is among those gifts.
“The greatest gift is to become more and more like Jesus Christ – not one day when we die and go to heaven, but here and now in this world that is under the curse of sin,” Lino said.
It should amaze no one that the God who chose to speak through Balaam’s donkey also chose to speak through weak and sinful humans.
“God wants to display his glory in this world. He wants to maximize his glory in this world and he says in his word his glory is most maximized when he displays it through the weakest creatures. And he chose us to preach,” Lino said. “Just think about that.”
God graciously “divvied up” all the spiritual gifts and has given one to every Christian – even the newest church member. The most awkward or least intelligent person is endowed with an “essential piece to your congregation’s growth in godliness.”
Pastor should recognize that every believer, equipped with a spiritual gift, is to have a role in the congregation’s spiritual growth. And although only some are given the gift of teaching, as pastors that gift benefits the entire congregation when used effectively.
Pastors should guard themselves from taking pride in their role but should humbly and purposefully prepare every sermon for the edification of their congregations. Pride will lead a pastor to preach to impress, Lino said. The temptation is to preach to people who are not in the room – a former seminary professor, a preaching hero, the congregation they wish they had or the people in the community the pastor wishes would attend.
Pastors who preach out of a sense of pride will ultimately find preaching a chore and a burden, and their congregations will become the collateral damage of such misguided thinking Lino said.
Failure to spiritually mature is to remain spiritually childish. And believers who do not mature in their understanding of Scripture and of Christ are susceptible to the lies of Satan and are tossed about like an unmoored boat on a raging sea.
Drawing an analogy from current headlines, Lino said, “A child is gullible, impressionable, naïve. A child is vulnerable to predators grooming them.”
The “predator of predators” is Satan and his attacks are relentless and unceasing.
But effective preaching, when approached in humility, will encourage church members to know Christ better through their understanding of God’s Word Lino said. And the natural progression of knowing Christ better is to love him better and to become like him. God designed us to become like whatever we love and worship.
Lino, pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church, admitted the task of sermon preparation is difficult and time consuming. And while other pastoral obligations demand attention, nothing is more important than proper preparation for the teaching of God’s word.
“The temptation is there to forget God’s glory is brilliantly radiating through a church when the chief of sinners, who is you, stands up there and God can speak to people through you,” Lino said. “God is displaying his glory through your teaching ministry right now if you are preaching faithfully.”