A translation of the monthly "Fred"s Epistle to the Ukrainians"
Have you ever wondered, why so many young believers get discouraged, falter, and fail, even though they had a wonderful, joyful conversion? And why do older Christians get bored, discouraged, and allow themselves to become unfaithful to the Church?
Unfortunately, many are not aware that a disappointed devil, angry over the loss of his slaves, still lurks around, cleverly planning the fall of God's children. Jesus warned His disciples, "Satan desires to have you...to sift you like wheat" (Lk. 22:31). Believers (both young and old) need to become familiar with the divine principles in God's Word. These are beacon lights along life's way; to advise, enlighten, encourage and assure victory. That's why God gifted the Church with pastors, teachers, etc., "so the body of Christ may be built up" (Eph.4:11-13).
I. Paul's advice to leaders (pastors, etc.)
"See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord" (Col. 4:17).
1. There is important work for the pastor, after a sinner is saved. Don't neglect young Christians, or take older ones for granted. Both need to be taught, encouraged and challenged. The job of spiritual leadership is to edify (to strengthen) believers.
2. Leaders must have a constant compassion and concern for the sheep. God wants His children to be fed with nourishing spiritual food -- (His anointed Word). Therefore, pastors must be earnest about our "Father's business." Paul said: "Woe is me if I preach not the gospel" (1 Cor. 9:16). "If our gospel be hid, it is hid from those that are lost" (2 Cor. 4:3). Jesus reminded His disciples: "We must do the work of Him who sent Me" (Jn.9:4)
. II. Paul desired to do a good job - in proclaiming.
"Pray that I may proclaim it clearly as I should" ( Col. 4:4)
1. To "Proclaim" is to declare, to herald, to make known so people may be aware, may understand, and benefit.
2. Examples of Proclaimers: the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus, the disciples, the Church (past and present). Among these there was no hesitation; no compromise, there was only instant obedience and complete dedication.
III. Paul's expresses his desire: to "proclaim IT clearly"
1. To proclaim -- what? He made it clear that: -- "We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord" (2 Co.4:5). The "IT" Paul proclaimed -- was the gospel, the good news, God's Word with its instructions, warnings, hope, faith, encouragement -- to both saved and unsaved. People's future depends on their getting the correct information -- clearly.
2. The "IT" is also the "Mystery of Christ" -- that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is everything anyone needs. To the world this is a "mystery" because many do not understand how Christ can fill the needs of body, soul and spirit. But the man of God, (pastor, teacher, etc.), must make it clear, so it no longer remains a mystery to the hearers.
3. The "IT" is the Word that strengthen believers, "So that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:17). The clear teaching of the principles of God will give believers a firm foundation for faith, and provide them with the proper basis for knowing what is right and what is wrong. That's why it is important for new Christians be clearly taught these divine principles. Understanding the nature, the character and the will of God shall keep them from weakness, discouragement, and backsliding. A clear understanding of God's ways will firmly establish faith, courage, and perpetual victory in the life of the believer.
IV. Unprepared workers are a hazard to the work of God.
1. Unprepared preachers, hardly know what to really say when behind the pulpit. Consequently, the hearers are confused when they are not clearly instructed; they become spiritually weak, and unequipped to face the world or the devil.
2. Listening to an unprepared preacher, produces a loss of interest in the message; a loss of confidence in the pastor, and a loss of desire to attend the church. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hos. 4:6)
3. A preacher should not just tell stories, or seek for materials to kill time or merely entertain. He must not make it a habit to depend on last minute inspiration (his excuse: "no time to study"). Inexperienced, unprepared harvesters, without proper equipment, can ruin the crops. No crops -- no wheat; no wheat -- no bread; no bread leads to weakness, sickness and death.
V. Be a prepared minister
"That I may proclaim it [God's Word] clearly as I should" (Col. 4:4)
1. "Do your best [study] to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15 NIV).
2. Proclaim it -- Paul encourages us to be "Wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt" and "know how to answer everyone." (Col. 4:5,6).
3. To be prepared takes time, requires work, sacrifice, patience and prayer. It's not easy, but it pays. A minister MUST MAKE IT CLEAR or he's not ministering.
VI. "Complete the work you have received"
1. It is proper to rejoice over the conversion of sinners. But your work has only started. New believers as well as the older ones look to you for instruction, for encouragement, and assistance. Don't fail them.
2. This was so important, that Apostle Paul begged the Church at Colosse to "Pray that I may proclaim it clearly as I should."
3. There is a host of people waiting for a clear explanation of the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Don't treat this lightly. If you are a minister called of God, you have a grave responsibility to make His Truth clear, or else believers may become weakened, discouraged, and souls may be lost. Don't stop with the conversion of souls; but diligently and painstakingly continue with the work of their edification. This is the desire of your Heavenly Father.