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Devotional - week of August 28, 2005


SHEPHERD-TEACHERS

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry … Ephesians 4:11-12

God gave to the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints to live out their responsibilities in the Kingdom.

Bible scholars say there have been no God-called apostles or prophets since the first century. Today the work of equipping the saints is done by evangelists and pastors and teachers. The work of the evangelist is primarily to bring the unsaved to Christ. Pastors and teachers have the primary responsibility of equipping saints for ministry.

Pastors and teachers are the same person, according to the wording in the Greek text. The responsibility of equipping the saints belongs to pastors who are teachers. The word translated “pastors” also has in it the idea of “shepherds.”

Psalm 23 shows that a shepherd guides, feeds, protects, examines, and comforts the sheep. Ephesians 4:11 says the shepherd also teaches the sheep.

As shepherd-teacher, the pastor’s objective and responsibility is that of “equipping the saints” to work in the Kingdom of God. The word translated “equipping’ is used to describe the setting of a broken bone or the mending of a fishing net. The shepherd-teacher mends the saints so that they may be workers in the Kingdom of God.

If an athlete has a broken bone, the doctors mend that broken bone. Then the athlete may be able to function as he should. Shepherd-teachers have the responsibility of mending saints so that they might live out what they are—persons totally available to God.

The pastor must understand that as a shepherd, he is to guide, feed, protect, examine, and comfort his flock. But what does he teach his members in order to prepare them to be totally available to God?

He must teach them about their union with Christ in the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Commitment and dedication do not result in one’s being totally available to God. Living out one’s union with Christ does make one totally available to God.