Jesus taught that at the end of this age there is going to be a separation. According to Jesus, this world is not going to continue forever. There will be a supernatural end, a cataclysmic event, a universal conclusion to this present age. Jesus called this “the Son of Man coming in his glory”. Jesus, who first came into our world as a baby born in humble circumstances, will return again as the all-powerful King, who sits in judgment over the nations of the world. Then there will be a separation between what Jesus refers to as goats and the sheep. Those that belong to Christ, the sheep, the King welcomes them into his kingdom. To the goats, those who have rejected Christ, the King says the exact opposite: to depart from him “into the eternal fire” of “eternal punishment”. (cf. Matthew 25:31-32, 41, 46)
Being a pastor can be a really tough job. We love the church and feel honoured to teach God’s word. But we go through our spiritual highs and lows. We feel discouraged at times. We often feel that our sermons are boring and having no impact. We are tempted to focus just on the wrong in the church and forget what’s right. Sometimes we just have bad days or bad weeks. Many times we are discouraged by our own sinfulness.
As an ordained minister in REACH SA (Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa) I was invited to our clergy conference from 13-16 April 2015. We had the privilege of having Phillip Jensen from Australia as our speaker. Phillip’s expositions in 2 Corinthians about the church and ministry were very helpful and encouraging. Below is a summary of some things I learnt.
On Sunday I led our church through some set prayers in our REACH SA Prayer Book. Non-conformists, more independent types might want to deride me as being too clinical and stayed, not allowing “the Spirit to move”. “We need to be led by the Spirit in our church services!”, they cry.
I understand the concern, but let me explain why we use the Prayer Book to help us with our liturgy.
Apparently the latest trend is for husbands and their wives to “co-pastor” and “co-lead” churches. On trendy churches’ websites there is most times a picture of the dynamic ministry duo introducing themselves as “pastors so-and-so”. Is this right? Should churches be lead by couples? Perhaps even more controversially, should churches be lead by women?
1 Corinthians 14:33-35 speaks to the role of women in the church. This passage has been a hugely controversial passage over the years and a massive problem for feminists.
As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. (1 Corinthians 14:33-35)