"The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching" (1 Timothy 5:17).
Twenty-eight: I am thankful for my pastor. Come January, my husband and I will have been attending the church we are in for four years. In that time we have seen immense growth in Pastor Bear's preaching skills. He is currently working on his doctorate and every week we can see the fruits that are already being produced because of his labors. His teaching is excellent. His passion for the Lord and His truth is contagious, and he diligently strives to convey a proper understanding of His character. He has a shepherd's heart and is always looking out for those that the Lord has put in his care. He is concerned for our physical well being of course, but he is even more concerned for our spiritual well being. He knows that if we understand the truth, we will be able to cope with whatever comes along in life. He often says, right doctrine leads to right living.
His passion for spreading the truth is also contagious. If you ever meet him on the street, his thoughts will be directed toward where you will spend eternity. He wants you (read: everyone) to be in heaven and he wants you to know exactly what the alternative is. To that end, he works way too hard, for way too many hours. Many times I have heard him say something to the effect of, I can sleep when I die.
He is a dear brother and friend, who is quick to encourage right thinking, and wrong thinking, without apology. He is a good husband and father and I delight in his family as well. I thank the Lord for bringing us to this place, to learn from this man.
If you are a believer reading this, I would ask that you pray for Bear, his family and in particular, his sister Debbie. Debbie is a young believer and this weekend the doctors diagnosed her with leukemia. They got her into the hospital immediately and she is already undergoing chemotherapy. She has a tough road ahead of her, but she is resting in the Lord, trusting Him. Bear is not a crying man, but this week he has cried.
Concerning Bear's sermon today, I would like to share some thoughts that were stirred in me. He has been teaching from the book of John of late and this study has been such a blessing. This morning he finished up the section from 5:17-24. Those are rich verses that speak to Jesus' equality with God the Father. One of the things he pointed out today is that in beginning of verse 20, "For the Father loves the Son...," the word "love" is phileō in the original Greek. This word conveys brotherly love and tender affection.
This caught my attention. There is a sense of companionship in the statement that brings great comfort. This lovely image, portraying the relationship between the Father and the Son, is a reasonable one; if we who are wretched sinners crave companionship and the love of others, how much more would God—Who is able to love perfectly—love? And Who better to be the recipient of that perfect love than those Who can love perfectly in return? Namely, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-equal, complete and perfectly content with one another. There is never dissension among their lofty ranks. They never have to have time away from one another because they need a break. The only break that was ever taken was when the Son took our punishment on the cross and was separated for the first time in all eternity from the Father and the Spirit. The first and last time - but it was more painful than we can even begin to fathom. And as painful as it was, this too was done for love.
God manifests love perfectly and He has blessed us with the ability to love as well. Not perfectly as He can, but it is sweet, even so.