TEXT: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13: "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves."
The New Testament has much to say about the responsibility of a pastor to his people. The pastor is a representation of who Jesus Christ was to His disciples. Just as Jesus Christ won men to himself, trained them, and then sent them out to do His will, it is the job of every pastor to win people to the Lord, train or disciple them, and then send them out to fulfill God's plan for their Christian lives. The pastor is sometimes referred to as an undershepherd who serves a smaller flock under the leadership of the Great Shepherd who is over the entire body of believers.
The role of undershepherd is portrayed in Pilgrim's Progress by the man named Evangelist who appears several times in the classic story. Evangelist not only preaches the Gospel in the city of Destruction, but he comes alongside those who are on the way to the Celestial City to instruct them, warn them of temptation, and tell them what lies on the road ahead.
Each of us from time to time in our Christian walk can be classified as "needy pilgrims" -- especially those of us who are young pilgrims, that is, those who are new to the Christian faith or "babes in Christ." When I was a young Christian, I wanted to learn as much as I could about God, about Jesus Christ, about the Bible, and about how all of that was brought to bear on my new life in Christ. The people who provide that knowledge and help us along in our Christian faith are those whom God has called to be pastors or undershepherds. How does Scripture tell us we ought to relate to our pastors?
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