Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. -- 1Timothy 4: 16 (NIV)
These are instruction from the Apostle Paul to his pastoral protege, Timothy and wiser words were never spoken on this subject. Forget all of the bells and whistles Timothy. Forget all the carnal schemes and human metrics. You only need to watch two things closely. How you live your own life and that the doctrine you preach is consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You do not need smoke machines and club lighting. You do not need skinny jeans and hip, relevant messages. You do not need to figure out how your Easter visitors will return. You just need correct doctrine and let God do the work. As a final reminder, let us turn to the key verses once again:
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. -- Acts 20: 26-31 (ESV)
This is the Apostle Paul saying goodbye to the elders of the Ephesian Church. He declares that he is innocent of their blood! He will not be held accountable for whether they are saved or not! Why? Because his doctrine stayed true to the Gospel! He did not shrink in declaring the entire counsel of God. The truths contained in the rest of these verses are of equal importance here. As elders, as well as pastors, we are responsible for oversight of His church. We must never forget that He obtained His church with His own blood.
Paul goes on to warn the elder at Ephesus that fierce wolves would come into the flock. Wolves such as Rick Warren. They will speak twisted things like the Gospel not being enough to make people want to come back to church. Like salvation can be dumbed down to nine words. They are seeking to draw disciples after them and to that end; Rick Warren has succeeded beyond his wildest, purpose filled dreams. There are not many pastors today who have not been brought up on the Purpose Driven Church or some variation. Taught that the unsaved are really just unchurched. Shifting the focus from what they need the most to what has literally no eternal consequences. The lost are called that because they cannot find their own way. They need to be saved just as we once did. They need a Savior. Even if the Purpose Driven model thinks they just need a church.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- June 13, 2016