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How Your Church Can Avoid Mission Drift

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
July 16, 2021 8:00 pm

How Your Church Can Avoid Mission Drift

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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July 16, 2021 8:00 pm

Guest: Matthew Fletcher, senior pastor, Webster Bible Church (NY)

Last week we discussed the very troubling situation that the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Ed Litton, plagiarized sermons for several years from the immediate past president JD Greear. What’s worse is that, as of yet, Litton hasn’t resigned nor has the SBC removed him for a transgression that would result in expulsion for any seminary student.

The only guesses as to why Litton remains as SBC president is that Christian leaders don’t consider repeated plagiarism (a type of lying and deception) to be a disqualifying sin for a pastor or that plagiarism is so widespread amongst pastors that no one wants to “cast the first stone.” Whatever the reason, the state of Evangelical leadership is in dire condition.

But lest we despair, Christ says, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matt. 16:18). In other words, no failing of pastors or leaders will hinder God building His church, the body of true believers.

In fact, as our guest Justin Peters mentioned last week, there are many faithful pastors laboring each day in little-known churches across the country. They may not have large social media followings, multi-site churches with thousands in attendance, and best-selling books, but they do understand the purpose of the church and their role as shepherd.

Matthew Fletcher is one such pastor. In pastoral ministry for 30 years (senior pastor of Webster Bible Church near Rochester, NY), Matt joins us this weekend to discuss how a church can follow Christ’s prescription for His body and avoid the kind of mission drift so prevalent today...


Search can avoid mission drift. That is a topic we discussed today, right here in the Christian roof you radio program with the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview. Christians and to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

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Thank you to our listeners for your encouragement and support, and also to our national sponsor Samaritan ministries can find out more at the Christian world.or last week we discussed the very troubling situation that the new president of the Southern Baptist convention and lit plagiarized sermons for several years. From the immediate past president JD Greer. What's worse is that, as of yet. Litton hasn't resigned nor has the SBC removed him for a transgression that will result in expulsion of any seminary student. The only guesses as to why Litton remains as SBC president is that Christian leaders don't consider repeated plagiarism, which is really a type of lying and deception to be a disqualifying sin for a pastor or that plagiarism is so widespread amongst pastors that no one wants to quote cast the first stone whatever reason, the state of evangelical leadership seems to be an questionable condition right now, but lest we despair Jesus Christ says I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overpower this from Matthew chapter 16.

In other words, no feeling of pastors or Christian leaders will hinder God building his church which is the body of true believers.

In fact, is our guest, Justin peters mentioned last week, there are many faithful pastors laboring each day in little-known churches across the country.

They may not have large social media followings or multisite church campuses with thousands in attendance or best-selling books but they do understand the purpose of the church in their role as a shepherd of the flock Matthew Fletcher is one such pastor. He's been in pastoral ministry for 30 years.

He's a senior pastor of Webster Bible church near Rochester, New York, and he joins us this weekend on the Christian real to discuss how a church can follow Christ prescription for his body in avoid the kind of mission drift so prevalent today.

Now mission drift, you could define it as the drifting away or maybe being distracted from fulfilling one's mission, and this happens to so many organizations whether churches are Christian colleges, seminaries, parachurch organizations, they start out with a a good and sound mission and then over time as people change and come and go. These organizations begin to drift away from their original mission.

Unless there's a strong commitment by leadership to stay a mission. This drift begins to take place in a really sad example of this kind of mission drift is Bethany Christian services. I think we mentioned this earlier this year in the program there a one of the largest Christian adoption agencies in this country and their mission is, according to their website. Bethany demonstrates the love and compassion of Jesus Christ by protecting children, empowering youth and strengthening families through quality social services will. It was a shock. Earlier this year when Bethany announced that they would allow homosexual parents to adopt children across the US. This from the Detroit Free Press that agency started working with LGBT Q parents in Michigan two years ago after pressure from a lawsuit, but the policy was not nationwide.

These days families will look a lot different than they did when we started 75 years ago, said Nathan Boldt, a spokesman for Bethany Christian services and Bethany is committed to welcoming and serving all of them. We will begin implementing this practice nationwide immediately. Boldt said the practice is allowing homosexual parents to adopt children, so the question is going back to their mission to protect children, empower youth and strengthen families. How exactly is Bethany doing that when they are placing children in homes that are structurally sinful environments.

That's not protecting children that's not empowering youth does not. Strengthening family is redefining the family as as God designed and defined so there's a perfect example of mission drift of the evangelical church in America is suffering from a chronic case of mission drift. Got is a good resource for getting sort of a one page description of answers to common questions. I looked up what they defined as the mission of the church and they defined it this way to make disciples that's in the great commission in Matthew to glorify Christ number three to build up the saints. Of course, many mainline denomination churches have gone very, very far away from that but the tragedy is that many evangelical churches have veered very far away from this mission to make disciples to glorify Christ to build up the saints. This is where our guest today.

Matt Fletcher comes in. He is the senior pastor is a mentioned of Webster Bible church, I met Matt many years ago at the expositors conference down in Mobile, Alabama at Steve Lawson's former church.

We struck up a friendship and we have been in touch ever since. He just came to Minnesota and visited us, and we had this conversation early one morning will start out with the, fundamental question about the purpose of the church. I think if you asked church leaders in many evangelical churches. What is the purpose of the church they might be able to say will to worship God, or to glorify him by think maybe in practice that might not be the mission that bleeds through the audit, it might be, have to do with we need to attract people to Christianity might be something they would they would project or they would say we need to help hurting people.

People are beat up six days a week.

We need to encourage them on the seventh.

There's lots of programs in different things needed to help their families or marriages and so forth. Right you may be more liberal churches might say yell that the purpose of the church is to strengthen the community to create more social justice and social bonds in a community or they might say the purpose of the church is to proclaim the gospel to nonbelievers. In other words, yet the church is for nonbelievers really not as much for believers.

People need to get saved not to say that all of those things are inherently wrong for a church to do or Roy to have part of the purpose of the church by the feeling you're going to say the purpose of the church is different than those things. What is it the purpose of the church. We need to remember is to glorify God by displaying his glory.

I mean, God himself makes that clear in Ephesians chapter 3 and if you look at in the context of Ephesians in the New Testament as a whole.

A glorify God is our chief aim and we do that through equipping his people through evangelizing the lost. But it's always through a goal to honor God in all that we do. You know, Paul wrote to the Corinthians. Whether we eat or drink whatever we do, we do all to the glory of God to errors that I think evangelical churches smitten by evangelical I mean, they proclaim the true gospel, but to a drift that can occur is one toward seeker driven model where will we need to evangelize the lost. We need to get them here to church. What do unbelievers want what will attract them about. You know that's a huge danger because unbelievers don't know what they need to know God does it and forgot to set the agenda rather than God is dangerous but I think was Charles Spurgeon, the said the church that the world likes best is the church that God abhors up because when the church becomes like the world we lose our influence on the world but the other address that can occur I think is what we could call disciple driven ministry or what do believers want believers are compared to sheep throughout Scripture as John MacArthur says because she can be dumb and dirty. You know sometimes we can be selfish we can be prone to our own selfish things and so it's not even really what God's people want go. They should want the right things is what does God want for his people right so through corporate worship, building up his people and evangelizing the lost those three things are extremely important in the means by which we attain our goal to glorify God and to display his glory. I was thinking of that the passage in acts. I think it's an ax to where the description of that the four fundamentals that should nice place in a church. I think it's that the preaching of the word of the apostles doctrine yes fellowship is another one fellowship of believers breaking of bread or communion prayer. Yes, are those that the the fundamentals of the church is it risky to get too much beyond those things. It is there is there a benefit in simplicity in the church. What are your thoughts on the methodology of the worship service at a church. God's word must govern all that we do know, beginning with corporate worship. I like the idea that when one we gather for worship.

We pray the word we sing the word we hear the word and not we see the word you know through the ordinances baptism and communion and so I think that's important what you much info asked to I think is a great framework of bicyclists began to St. who was chairman of exposition of Dallas seminary for number of years saviors really two things they gave himself to, they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, which consisted of the breaking of bread and prayer. Okay so that's an interesting thought so you have that the teaching of God's word as paramount in all that we do what it dictates our agenda as a church.

It's the means by which we live out the one another command of the New Testament and that's what really God uses to evangelize the loss corporately. Jesus said by this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you want on another until all the one another command or a corporate witness to the world regarding the power of the gospel so seems like the church shouldn't try to be like the world church should be very different than the world and unbeliever walks and says what is going on here that is so different right they should see something in the church that they never see in the world and we trust God spirit to draw them to himself through that corporate witness of the church met Fletcher with us today here on the Christian Realty radio program. The senior pastor of Webster Bible Church in Webster, New York is just outside Rochester New York. Their website can hear sermons is Webster We talked about the purpose of the church briefly here. Let's go on to the purpose of a pastor now II think today again if you asked most evangelical pastors, they would say to to lead to preach the word to disciple and so forth that the that the believers in the church but I think that the reality is that many evangelical pastors today are sort of an inspirational speaker like a motivator on the seat himself as an encourager. Once again, you people have a lot of problems I need to speak encouragement to them that occurred was a good thing. Yeah but as you look at the New Testament there is there's lots of encouragement for the results of warning and there's a balance there.

So let's talk first about the that the purpose of a pastor from Scripture when I thought about that question you just asked. I reminded when I first became a pastor back in the early 90s and itinerant Bible teacher who many of your listeners will probably recognize that Lehman Strauss, who is now with the Lord was doing a weeklong Bible conference at our church and I was walking down the hall to my office door is open and actually found him standing in my office and he said so what do you do here and you know I just have so much respect for this guy you know he was old enough to be my grandfather had walked for number years and I said Sir on the on the youth pastor.

He said I know what your title is, but what do you do and not you Has stuck with me nearly 30 years now that I've been in ministries like what does a pastor actually do and there is something in the title itself that tells us what were to do other work pastor itself is the translation of the Greek word appointment which means Shepherd and we are to shepherd the flock of God. Paul tells us that in an acts 2028 that were to pay attention to the flock. The flock of God that he purchased with his own blood on sort were to tend the flock were to shepherd them primarily through our teaching ministry by preaching the word you remember in second Timothy for the last canonical letter Paul wrote he gives a very serious charge to Timothy to preach the word in Ephesians 4 he says that God gave pastor teachers and that that that's a dual role of pastor, a shepherd in the teacher to equip God's people for the work of the ministry for the building up of the body of Christ, and so were to attend God's people primarily by teaching them and the Bible says were also to live by example in know Peter in first Peter five but as a fellow elder tells them to be an example to the flock by our humility by our God illegally living up our own evangelistic effort that if I want people sharing the gospel with others on to share the gospel with others. Paul says to Timothy in that same charge when he says preach the word he says do the work of an evangelist. I don't think Timothy was in the evangelist in terms of his primary role in giftedness, but he was to do the work of an evangelist and without affairs and you did a great job in Alaska.

We went out the opportunity to share the gospel with the gentleman that was a good example of an example, the Christian worldview. David Wheaton returns in just a moment at Samaritan ministries. Our members are passionate about being part of a Christian community that shares one another's medical means without the use of insurance for Samaritan members Tony and Ginger Malik passion to share health with others of life was my wife's dream come back to the farm wanted to be able to do is daintily raising vegetables and behold where the food comes from. We want to try to buy healthy as possible for our neighbors and friends and handing the people that we are able to catch in their lives for as a likely connection partners. Other Christians another provide for their medical Tony and Ginger Malik and we are Samaritan Ministry member for more information as it David Wheaton here to tell you about a special offer on my boy Ben Ben was a yellow lab and inseparable companion back when I was competing in the protagonist tour.

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Now back to today's program with host David Wheaton. Interestingly enough, I think seeing the larger churches in Pharaoh. I think midsize Trieste to hunt 300 people 200 members so you have a chance as a pastor to not only shepherd the flock by teaching them but also probably pretty intimately walking with them as well because you probably know most everyone in the church. Yes, a lot of churches evangelical churches today are very big and sometimes that the that the main senior pastor can be a teaching pastor. He can be a preacher come to big but there's not a lot of connection with that that shepherd over his sheep because it is a big he's may be super busy all the things going on so he's not able to truly be a shepherd is is is there a a danger or something. Not ideal about that when a church gets too big, or maybe a pastor start seeing himself purely as on the preacher here, but someone else can do sort of the groundwork and that the life of people in the church, yes, but the excellent point that you raise and I think there is a tendency all and a lot of mega churches today. The minority probably several hundred is a considered a mega church but certainly in the thousands email for the pastor to take on the role of the CEO instead of a shepherd and or as purely as a visionary for the church and I think that's so dangerous because that is a mission drift away from our calling, which is to shepherd the flock of God, and I think there are some men on some pastors that have what we might call extraordinary leadership gifts by which they are using those gifts to really make sure God's people are well cared for, but I would say they are the exceptions. I'm thankful that I belong to a church I pastor a church where I know the name of every member I can pray for every member of their household. I try to make a point to do that every day I take a portion of our church directory and I pray for them by name. A lot of times David all will actually walk around our sanctuary and just pray for our members and we have one corporate gathering the week for worship so we don't have multiple campuses. We don't have multiple services, even all of us are gathered together as as one on the Lord's day to worship him in spirit and in truth and I would say any core member of our church if they were truly plugged in. They pretty much no all the other members of the church and that's it's a real blessing. That's interesting you're talking registering one service just by definition doing two services you really is a division there between your service, one in service to the alley they may not interact with each other very much, except in coming and going, and the church met Fletcher with us today here on the Christian review senior pastor Webster Bible church just outside Rochester, New York. I'm trying to envision what someone like you, Matt does during the week who views your role correctly as a shepherd, not just purely as a preacher, so to speak, so obviously you're doing sermon preparation. Your your teaching the flock through your preaching.

So there's preparation going on that I'm I'm sure that's your mom ask you about. That's an image many hours of that I can imagine you're doing discipling in either one-on-one or small group discipling with with the elders of your church young men in your church or whoever you tell us about that. You're also doing counseling. I'm sure just the congregants of your church you I'm sure you're visiting people who are from your church.

You are sick and then there's also your other responsibilities that you have maybe in the community or elsewhere course with your own family as well so it maybe describe what a typical week is like for you. Of course we know your church on Sundays, but what's going on. The rest of the week.

Sure, I'm very thankful that we have a team of elders that work together.

So while a lot of these primary responsibilities fall to me and to the staff house of a small staff that I work with. It really helps to relieve the burden that falls to pastors but yeah typical week for me. No, all obviously Sunday is busy with ministering to people in person while were gathered together at the church and preaching the word. It's an early start for me but Mondays II: miscellaneous Monday we we meet as a staff.

On Monday I write a personal letter to any guests that come to our church if we get a connection card. I follow without any emails that have come in over the weekend you'll try to have a 24 hour turnaround so that people know when they reach out to their pastor on pretty good getting back to them. I think that it's a small thing that helps build credibility of so I tried almost. It's almost like in abroad since clearing my inbox on Monday but Tuesday I begin my sermon prep. I do some discipleship.

We have a men's group that meets on Tuesday morning called journey men on that on the part of him and we meet together in its name, that for the sake of being on this journey toward Christ likeness and so we have a plea Mary session were different teachers teach and then we break up in the small groups to pray together hold one another accountable encourage one another.

My wife and I lead a small group on Wednesday in our home. We hosted so that gives us an opportunity to be with about a dozen other people in our home where we go over sermon based application questions to talk about how God's word apply for life. There's always biblical counseling during the week that I do not many know the occasional hospital visit, but Wednesday and Thursday are very heavy sermon prep. I begin on Tuesday but Tuesdays just getting acquainted with the text of praying over it Wednesday and Thursday are come like the heavy duty sermon prep and Thursday I don't schedule any meeting appointments, counseling sessions, unless there is really an urgent matter more emergency that whole day is devoted simply to sermon prep writing up my stomach as it takes probably about probably a solid 20 hours a week for me mom to prepare my sermon and probably the other feel 20 to 30 hours consist of the rest of pastoral ministry. I try to devote time each day David, to what I call pastoral care in prayer and I spend that time praying for a portion of our members and a lot of times I'll try to write one or two handwritten notes a day of encouragement for people.

I pray for that day to let them know I pray for them and how thankful I am for them and I use Paul's letters in the New Testament as kind of a model of encouragement for the five or 10 minutes it takes to do that. It means the world to people they come on Sunday and tell me how blessed they were to get that and I don't always do that. Faithful. You know, just like any personal I can slip and maybe it will go a couple weeks.

I haven't really written that encouragement, but I always try to get back because I know it's in the little things were. We are faithful, that produce long-term fruit.

You can see a beneficial and how watered-down is our view can see how much work this is to this exact thing. This is tied to this is mentally and emotionally draining and so that actually leads one of the next question is about you. How how taxing is being a pastor and this is your 30 years in pastoral ministry. Now you're taking a sabbatical this in our church want you to take some time off the summer. Tell us about just the that the taxing element of being a pastor and then also the sabbatical this summer and what what you're trying to accomplish. Do this Paul talks about in first Timothy five about those who will labor and by the bottom and preaching and that word labored means to to oil to the point of exhaustion, and so if you're gonna preach God's word correctly. It's gonna wear you out when you week I meet every Sunday afternoon I go home and I all sleep like 90 minutes because I am worn out like the culmination of all your weeks preparations when I preach on Sunday morning thing was John MacArthur called the blessed burden.

You know it's a blessing you know God has shown us some mercy by calling us into the ministry and yet Paul talks about sex reviewed the love and about the daily pressure that is on him because of his care for the church and his concern for the church and so you bear that week to week and were thankful to have our regular vacation time which which we try to use every year but you know there's that a cumulative effect over years and years of doing this and know so our elders and congregation blessed us with the sabbatical this summer and basically it's just a prolonged hiatus for the purpose of achieving a goal and the way we set it up as it can be to refresh yourself. Maybe in your relationship with your spouse and just have that quality time together that we don't always get because of the demand of ministry not it's a time to do some research and writing that there's a certain project you're working on that.

You just won't have time to work on.

Given all the other daily and weekly responsibilities from week to week throughout the year. You can incorporate maybe a missions trip you know and maybe teach overseas and preparing course material and being a blessing to the broader church and in collaborating with missionaries in that way. A sabbatical can have multiple purposes, but I'm so glad that for hours this year because it's our first real sabbatical.

We've had our elders wanted to make it primarily for refreshment is a work were thankful for the opportunity to travel on doing a lot of reading of books that I've been wanting to read but just haven't had time to read spending precious time with my wife Ruthie visiting family and an even friend such as yourself. So this is been great were just two weeks, and so on.

Thankful we have like another eight weeks left and I'm really looking forward to what the Lord has for us. We hope your time in Minnesota as part of the refreshment that has been amazing for good that that's great. So I hope listeners just blessing today just get a better appreciation were talking about mission drift that can happen in the church, avoiding that but just give me a behind the scenes look at what a pastor who is committed to fulfilling his role as as a New Testament pastor goes through the challenges what their week is like. Let's talk about polemics that that word maybe you should just define that word has to do with warning against false teaching and as I read the New Testament. I see so much polemical warning.

Be careful false teachers.

Be careful of your doctrine. Those who come in unnoticed Christ.

Woe to the Pharisees. Watch out for the doctrine you see so much in the evangelical church will see the mainstream evangelical church that again is the we need to spend the time in the church encouraging don't bring up negative things. Don't be a downer. Keep it positive. Maybe you could define polemics better than I did there and talk about the importance of that but also the challenge of that because you know it's that it does. Some people just can't handle anymore negative news in a world that has so much of it already. Yes, polemical have like a dictionary definition in front of me, but they will understand it means to take an adversarial stance on something. It's something that you are clearly against and that your speaking out against so it we might call a contrary position on a given issue. In making that clear that where you stand on that issue when it's off.

If that yeah that contrary stance you adversarial not in the sense of deliberately trying to stir up trouble, but trouble may start and division may occur because you are taking the stance that you are and that we see that through Paul's epistles that the primary way I dress.

I think there are maybe even well-meaning evangelicals that that almost look for things and that the almost become like your ministry becomes defined by what they're against. And I don't think that's a good image to have. I don't think that's how we would describe the apostle Paul that that's unbalanced about the New Testament is either yeah but then there's the flip side, where people leave our pastors all say particularly theologians are more interested in pleasing men than pleasing God. They want to be on good terms with everybody and there always worried about what people think about them instead of what God thinks about them in this situation, but I'm by nature a people person. I like people and I like to be like.

I tend to avoid conflict I don't like that in a natural sense.

I just but that's where my life is governed by the word of God.

So in my own ministry all polemics come into play pretty much through my exposition of God's word. That's what I love about going verse by verse three books of the Bible is God's word sets the agenda in God's word is perfectly balanced. God gives us all the encouragement we need the comfort, the affirmation. But God also speaks the truth always to us at and Paul at times spoke very strongly, even sometimes call people out by name, so that people could recognize these false teachers that were in their midst and I don't take joy in that I think of a pastor or preacher takes joy in that there something wrong with your heart, it should pain us to have to do that, but out of our commitment to the Lord out of our love for Christ, our devotion to the word of God.

We must do these things because it's not only feeding the flock were also defending the flock of God and Titus 19 says that we need to refute to those who contradict the truth of God's word was thinking is your answering there is something that a favorite pastor that both you and I have Stephen Lawson use as a chemical is him who said this or he is quoting Samantha something like pastors today is that no one wants to kill the more that is the loss of so true Christian world you David Wheaton returns in just a moment.

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I struggled with my identity all the way through my life lived eight years as Laura Jensen, until I found the Lord Jesus Christ is an unavoidable legislation now in our school queen story, even reaching into our churches. Nations were talking about people the proceeding is from in his image 103 documentary film that biblically and compassionately addresses the issue of transgender is a nation of any amount to the Christian world on 888 646-2233 a right to Box 401, Excelsior, MN 55331 Christian worldview.that's one AAA eight 646-2233 the Christian world thanks for joining us on the Christian world you just a reminder that today's program and pass programs are archived at our website.

Christian things are also available and be sure to share with others. Now back to today's program with host David Wheaton Matt Fletcher with us today here on the Christian reviewed the senior pastor of Webster Bible church in Webster, New York just outside Rochester. Their website is Webster let's go from the pastor to the congregant from a pastors perspective. What do you love to see in someone who is a member of your church a model can't get to me by Congress Althea church member is someone who clearly has believed the gospel of Christ has embraced him as Lord and Savior. And that is evident in their life and relationships that they are humble servants of Christ that lived to honor the Lord in all that they do and what they say in their in their behavior, their interactions with others. Everything they do exist to honor God in the church. It's one of it. Simply showing up not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, what, when the doors of the church are open for corporate worship. They are, they are every Lord's day, unless they're providentially hindered and because every believer has received spiritual gifts for the building up of the body.

They use their gifts to bless and build up others in the church, to the glory of God. Peter talks about was at first Peter 410 and 11. Some have speaking gifts others have serving gifts and abilities are behind the scenes. It's not about them it's all about the Lord and serving his people with joy and those that just faithfully do that that respond with meekness to the implanted word that is preached to them. We can awake out are the hugest blessing to me and I think any pastor. My dad was never pastor and some of his brothers were out they were involved in mission to full-time missions work about my dad to me as even growing up I look to him as really a model church member. He was faithful he exercise his gifts for the good of others, and for the glory of God. Over the course of his entire adult life is a great model exam I set for you is the final question, so I was very interested to hear that recently you preach to the book of Hebrews and as we are talking about something to discuss today in our in our interview. I can't member how it came up but you said something to do with Hebrews 13 eight Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever, and of course that's the other verse that we commonly end this program with it as I I think we we tried and it basically to say there's a lot of things going on in the world that can be challenging the world's changing where do you have foundation work and you have an anchoring work and you hold onto something that doesn't change and there is he researching eight Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

I want to read the verse before that. That also says remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.

This is I'm I'm assuming that he is Caesar referring to pastors here at all contacts.

Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith then goes into verse eight Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever, so maybe you could just give us some context in this passage the verse we use frequently on this program and just explain what it means. We have heard people use that a lot, and rightly so, that the fact with everything the change in the world around us. Jesus is always the same yesterday today and forever, and this provide a measure of comfort, assurance, and just a real sense of security for the Christian and that is utterly true.

What was fascinating to me is looking at that verse in the context of Hebrews, which emphasizes the supremacy of Jesus Christ above all that Jesus is better than anything or anyone you can compare them to, and if he really is the son of God who saves us, who keeps us to help those who holds us, who will never leave us nor forsake us in and puts us in his kingdom, which can never be shaken and that's the message of Hebrews okay because is the last chapter of this is the last chapter, and so this is where the practical exhortations, that if Christ is truly supreme and he has saved us. Chapter 13 is all about exalting Jesus in everyday life. And if you if you begin with the start of the chapter. He starts by saying let brotherly love continue hold marriage and honor. He says, in essence, hold your money loosely because our life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions. It's all about Christ and the next commandment is essentially remember your leaders and it's in that context. He says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever. When he says consider the outcome of their way of life. The word consider their means to ponder, to contemplate to really think about and then the word outcome. Talking about the leader's way of life is, it points to a life that is already been lived a person could be dead or they might be near the end of their life. Like when Paul wrote to Timothy's final letter I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. I David you recall, in chapter 11 we read what is often been referred to as the hall of faith. These people who, though imperfect by faith.

They lived a life unto the Lord, and we are to follow their example and so I believe your program uses that verse in the right way because even though it's designed for comfort and a sense of security. You are also challenging your listeners every week to hold fast to the faith that was once for all delivered to the sink and I'll just say quickly if you follow the sequence of Hebrews 13 on the subject. I just made a bullet point here that if we are to remain remember our leaders, we will recall and live out our lives knowing that their message was centered on Christ it's grounded in Scripture, it is strengthened by grace. It is dying to self.

It is fueled by hope. It is expressed through praise. That's the pattern we see of that verse and its implications in terms of following our leaders throughout chapter 13 and that's well said and what of this is a great way to end their interview having a little pastoral outline here to take a habitus from our conversation today will thank you for giving some more context and explanation to that passage and in Hebrews and I would love that verse because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for this is our great hope minutes of our fallen world, so Matt were just so thankful again for your not only your time today in the program but so great to see you and Ruthie here in Minnesota and just the sweet fellowship of believers send around Christ and his word with this is not just enjoy the time so much and we just pray all of God's best in grace to you and your your family or your grandkids, your church and and is everything that God has before you are going for so thank you again. Thank you, David. My wish is the same for you to all of God's best in your life, marriage and ministry and thank you for being such a blessing to us. That was Matt Fletcher everyone and hope you enjoyed the interview with him. He is a faithful man with the pastor's shepherd's heart again. Their website is Webster, how about some follow-up thoughts on this idea of mission drift in the church. The term ecclesiology is one that is good to know it. It's defined as the theology as applied to the nature and structure of the Christian church is basically the doctrine of the church having a sound biblical understanding of what the church is Paul wrote in Ephesians 2 he said so then you are no longer is writing the church in Ephesus. You are no longer strangers and aliens are not nonbelievers, but you are fellow citizens are believers with the saints and members of the household of God, which is the church built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone in whom the whole structure being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Holy Spirit and there's a great description of what the church is this the body of Christ in Christ Jesus himself is the cornerstone so we can't just make church up as we go. Come up with these we think are innovative strategies to bring people on the door and so forth.

No, there is a way that God has established and written down in his word and exemplified in his word for a church to operate when here's just some points not in any order, but just some thoughts about what's important for a church taken from Scripture first pastors and elders. Those who lead the church need to be biblically qualified as to passages in Scripture that really describe what a qualified pastor or elder needs to be first Timothy chapter 3 verses one through seven and Titus one verses six through nine. Re: just the passage in first Timothy three it says there that an overseer that must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well keeping his children under control with all dignity verse five. But if a man does not know how to manage his own household. How will he take care of the church of God.

Good question and not a new convert so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil, and he must have a good reputation with those outside the church so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil that from first Timothy three and if those qualifications were just followed for pastors and elders.

The church would have the right kind of leadership to be able to operate, to the glory of God. It's so common today for elders of churches to be successful business people and that has nothing to do with the qualifications that we see in Scripture as to what a elder should be. It's all about character issues, not business success not pastor specifically must be a shepherd of the sheep, not just a person who preaches and leads who inspires and motivates he must see his role as the Bible describes it as being a shepherd of sheep who need to be led. He needs to love them as Christ loves his church. When you have qualified pastors and elders. They understand and pursue the mission of the church to worship and glorify God by gathering believers together to teach them the word to fellowship with each other to remember Christ's death and resurrection through communion and also to pray is taken directly from the example in acts two. So this sound ecclesiology.

This this doctrine of the church. Understanding what would God is prescribed for the church. This ecclesiology then can lead to a sound methodology and how the church operates in that methodology should include some of these points. Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but just some thoughts on methodology how a church should operate the priority of a church service should be the proclamation of the word of God. So everything else should be leading people to receive the faithful preaching of the word of God. Everything else should not be distracting to that or do anything to lessen that importance so the music shouldn't be overpowering overstimulating it should be some performative experience so that when you get to the sermon, it pales in comparison to what the music just was another point on methodology the word of God should be read publicly in every church service. After all, this is the only part of this of the church service that is going to be perfect pieces taken straight from God's word. It says in first Timothy chapter 4 verse 13. This is Paul writing to us under shepherd Timothy Paul says, until I come give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.

You can often go to a church service where the Bible is hardly red. That's completely getting things back where that needs to be a huge priority in the services to hear from God through reading his word, and so that means when the when the Bible is read, it should not be read perfunctory early quickly just remotely, but it should be read with gravity. After all, these are the very words of God read it, let it sink in. Nothing bothers me more than when someone read scriptures, roles right through it. Know this is the word of God. Another point for methodology the church service is give people who attend time to reflect, to consider their own lives and repent of any sin, and respond to the teaching of the word is a perfect time to do this is during the communion service don't have so many things going on during the communion service that people can't think about what they're actually doing and examine themselves to see whether there right before God when they have any unconfessed sin in their life. Another point prayer should be integral in a service not just perfunctory again.

The pastor needs to give a prayer that directs the congregation's hearts toward God, toward each other as they is a fellowship with each other and serve each other but also outside the boundaries of the church as well to that, to the world around them. Maybe it's missionaries or civil leaders were commanded to pray for civil leaders for for countries around the world for peoples who need to hear the gospel, the pastor needs a set an example for how his people should be praying another point is the preaching itself should be expository in nature, taken directly from a passage of Scripture rather than topically not about how to better marriage and raise their children or this topic or that topic. Let God speak through his word and the message should be sober with with substance.

The pastor should not try to be glib or entertaining or tell too many stories about himself and while he's at it. I think it's helpful to stand behind a pulpit of a pulpit is a symbol of authority with with the Bible on top of that pulpit in notes.

I always get a little concerned when I see a pastor upfront with no pulpit may be a Bible in his hand. In no notes and pacing back and forth. I never know whether this pastor just has a incredible gift of communication or whether this man has been locked in his study for many hours during the week being impacted by the Holy Spirit and he's going to bring us the word of God. Another point with regards to the message that every message, every sermon should in some way point to the main pointer main theme of Scripture which is that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer.

Another words, there should be an evangelistic element does need to be. Every message the whole message but for unbelievers who may come in through the door and believers who need to better understand the gospel. There needs to be some explanation of that woven into every sermon or lease.

Most every sermon. Music is another huge issue in the church, we won't get into that too deeply today but music overall should direct members attenders hearts to reverently worship God should encourage people to participate. Rather than being performed at you in there such a high performance concert like situation going on in front of the church. You often see people just kinda standing up and being performed at sung at instead there should be an encouragement for the congregation to sing aloud in and sing heartily to the Lord and that's why the music shouldn't be overpowering in this church service.

Ideally there should be just one service in a church so there is unity in the body not set a hard and fast law, but I think it's helpful that you get to see all the members come together at one time. Ideally the church shouldn't get too big and know it's a relative term, but should get too big. Were the pastors and elders don't personally know and are not involved in the lives of the members of that church. Ideally, children should be in the service with the entire family. So again, so is not divided everyone from every age or doesn't go to their own part of the church and have their own church service.

If there is a children's church for a young for younger children, which I think is totally fine. It should be to teach those children soberly, not just little fun and games with a little Bible lesson that's not going to prepare them for life in the real world. Now this mention one more point is running out time is that church discipline, restoration of ascending professing believer is a must in the church. This is a lost practice in the evangelical church today and if you don't have this kind of church discipline, with the purpose of restoring someone sin just spreads and effects the whole body. Read Matthew 18 and of course one other major aspect of the church is about missions. We will get to that in the future program. Thank you for listing today to the Christian world you you can hear past programs and order resources and Senate for a free weekly email and support the ministry or become a monthly partner by going to our website. The Christian were is calling us her office at one AAA eight 646-2233 and as always if you have healthcare needs. If you're not satisfied with your health insurance. I would really encourage you to look into Samaritan and just click on the banner Samaritan ministry banner on the homepage of our website the Christian world and by the way I or the Christian real view doesn't get paid if you become a member of Samaritan's and take advantage of their healthcare. Sharing service. They just align with our ministry. They believe that our audience would benefit from their services and we are members ourselves, who had a great experience with them.

So that's what we can highly recommend one more quick announcement is at the Christian world of you annual golf event is set for Monday, September 20 at Wood Hill country club here in the Twin Cities would love to have you participate even if you're from out of state. Find out more again. Their website the Christian world pastor Matt Fletcher explained our closing verse from Hebrews 13, a banana, repeated again Jesus Christ and his word are the same yesterday and today and forever. If you are a believer in him you can be anchored in that, until next time think biblically live accordingly and stand firm. The mission of the Christian were you is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. We hope today's broadcast encouraged for that and here replayed today's program or to sign up for free weekly email to find out what must I do to be saved to our website the Christian or call us toll-free at 1-888-646-2233 Christian worldview as a listener supported ministry and furnished by the overcoming foundation, a nonprofit organization. Find out more order resources make a donation become a monthly partner and contact us by visiting the Christian bowling toll-free 188-864-6233 writing to Box 41, Excelsior, MN 55331 Xbox 41 Excelsior, MN 55331.

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