Brother, it has been almost three years since your arrival at the church you pastor. Your congregation has decreased in size by over fifty percent. There is now talk of how the remaining rebels might run you out of town.
First, let me thank you for being faithful to exposit God’s Word of truth each Sunday and Wednesday. Wielding the sword of the Spirit is no easy task. Men often dilute doctrines to appease the goats in the congregations, but you have been found faithful and true. Do not bow to the pressures of sinful men. Remember John the Baptist, who must of felt very alone in calling men, women, and children to repentance.
Second, the worldly ones in town will speak ill of you, for being a troubler of Israel and an agent of division in your congregation. Ignore them and their scoffing at you. Remember Jesus, when He preached the hard doctrines? Most left His ministry (Jn 6), yet, the faithful remnant remained. The reason for their staying with our Lord is that He had given them the Words of eternal life. This is your task, too.
Third, pastor, you have proven to be courageous, like the men and women of faith in Hebrews 11. They were recipients of God’s grace in times of trouble. They shined like a city set on a hill, in the midst of a dark storm. Remember the prophets of old. Which one was not killed for speaking the Word God gave to him? Remember the apostles. Which one was not run out of town for preaching Christ and Him crucified? You are in good company, sir.
Fourth, you have been appointed by the Holy Spirit to be an elder in Christ’s church. Nothing can change your calling to steward the mysteries of the Gospel. You are Christ’s slave, alone. You work for Him in the midst of a rebellious people. Fight the good fight of faith and be relentless in speaking the truth in love. Do not be discouraged, nor grow weary in doing good.
Fifth, the Word of God has not failed to accomplish its purposes in those who have ears to hear. They hear the voice of their Good Shepherd when you preach the whole counsel of God, the doctrines of grace. They are receiving the nourishment, and they will be better for listening to you. As you very well know, the Word of God does not return void. It will have its right and good effect. It is the rod of division, separating the goats from Christ’s flock, and it is the staff that safely delivers God’s elect sheep.
Sixth, the Spirit and the Word are crafting you into the man of God, aligned with God’s design. Remember you were appointed to receive faith, granted by God’s grace, alone, but you were also appointed to suffer for His name’s sake (Phil 1:29). God will sanctify you through your trials and troubles in the ministry. He has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. Remember His presence for Daniel and the three boys in Babylon. God was there for Moses in his difficult leadership assignment. He was there for Paul when the great apostle was about to give up on the city of Corinth (Acts 18). Do not give up. Do not resign yourself to move on. There are more of God’s chosen people in your small town. You are there for this reason: to suffer for the sake of the elect (2 Tim 2:10).
Finally, pastor, brother, know that you are loved and appreciated by those who can identify with your current trials in the ministry. Just as the Lord is with you and for you, the great cloud of witnesses is cheering you on in the race. Each day, awake, rise, shine, and run the race on the course set before you. God has ordained it specifically for you. At the end of his ministry, while yet in prison, Paul was laboring alone, for all had left him, save for the faithful who loved him. Paul had exhausted his life, so that others may live. He had redeemed the time, run the race, fought the fight, sown the seed, and his course was finished. Pastor, follow him as he followed Christ, for you, too, will soon hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful slave, enter the joy of the Lord!”
Spokane Valley, Washington
October 14, 2021