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Ten commandments for church members

November 2016 | by Joel Beeke

1. Don’t idolise your pastor. Don’t expect him to be able to do what only God can do. Don’t make a saviour of him.

2. Don’t criticise your pastor, unless he departs from the truth, and then do it with tears. And please don’t expect perfection. He is a mere man — a weak, sinful man at that, just like you. His office is divine, but his person is human. He sets before you treasure in an earthen vessel. If you don’t remember that, you will cry hosanna today, but crucify him tomorrow.

3. Don’t avoid your pastor. Go to him, tell him your needs, open your soul, but don’t waste his precious time. It is your duty and privilege to go to him with your questions and spiritual troubles — and that will be to his encouragement and joy.

4. Do pray for your pastor. Pray for his soul, that he may be kept humble and holy. Pray for his body, that he may be kept strong and spared for many years. Pray that he may be a burning and shining light. Pray for his ministry, that it may be abundantly blessed. Pray for his wife, his family, his sermon preparation, his delivery, his counselling. Pray your minister full and he will preach you full.

5. Do be a good listener to, and doer of, the sermons your pastor preaches. Listen to and obey your pastor. As long as he preaches the Scriptures, receive it as the very Word of God. Remember, he is Christ’s gift to you.

6. Do be interested in your pastor. Don’t let all your conversation with him be focused only on you. Be kind to him. Show interest in him, his life and the life of his family; he is human too!

7. Remember to appreciate your pastor’s strengths and minimise his weaknesses, always reminding yourself that your next pastor may not have your present pastor’s strengths.

8. Don’t compare pastors to each other, but learn to appreciate each pastor whom God sends you for the peculiar gifts that God has given to that pastor.

9. Look above and beyond your pastor. Look to Him whom your pastor sets before you. Covet humility, wisdom, peace, unity — and put on charity.

10. Keep an eternal perspective under your pastor’s ministry. Ask God that your pastor may give a good account of your soul on Judgment Day. Remember you don’t have to give an account of your pastor’s blemishes and strengths on that day of days, but you do have to give an account of what you have done with the Word that he will bring you.

If you are as yet unsaved, look on his ministry as one more major opportunity God is giving you to receive with meekness God’s engrafted Word. Oh, that you would know the day of your visitation under your pastor’s ministry!

Joel Beeke

Dr Beeke is Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, and editor of the Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth.

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