To echo the need for pastors to say the most important truths over and over:
Today, I spent the morning hours in a school in North Carolina giving my little presentation we call “Lessons in Self-Esteem From Drawing 100,000 People.” I sketch a lot of students, then segue into the talk which, among other things, urges the kids to stop comparing themselves with others, accept themselves as the persons God made them to be, and to smile. Then it happened again.
Only five minutes after the talk, we invited the students to crowd around and I would sketch as many as possible in the remaining time. “Look at me and smile,” I said to the first teenager. “I don’t smile,” he said. I stopped, looked at him sternly and said, “You didn’t hear a thing I said, did you?”
In truth, he had heard, but the lesson had not penetrated.
I said to the young teacher, “My telling the students these things once is not enough for them to get through. The only way to change their behavior is for you to say it over and over again. Eventually the lesson will ‘take’ with some of them.”
Some lessons have to be repeated ad infinitum.
“Let me remind you…” is a phrase that shows up a lot in the epistles of the Apostle Paul.
The most important spiritual truths need to be emphasized again and again if the hearers are to truly learn them and benefit from them.
Here are seven biblical truths we pastors need to keep telling our people in the hope that eventually most will “get it.” (The list is not meant to be exhaustive. You’ll think of other essential truths that need hammering home again and again.)
1. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the only Savior.
That is the theme of so much Scripture anyway, isn’t it? How could we not keep the focus on the Lord Jesus—His identity, His life and ministry, His teachings, His headship over the church and His place in our lives—if we are being true to the Word?
Pastor, keep telling them—over and over again; the theme never wears out—”Why we make so much of Jesus.” Just last evening, a man here in North Carolina (where I’m in revival) told of the state legislature voting to make a certain Baptist preacher their chaplain, then firing him when he refused to take “in Jesus’ name” out of his prayers. And they call this perversion “inclusiveness.” Go figure. (Note: Many a New Testament prayer did not use the actual words “in Jesus’ name” and we should not feel ours must always either. However, tell me that I must leave Jesus out of the prayer and I’m gone.)
Jesus Christ is Lord, for now and for eternity, and no one else is.
Always stay focused on the Lord Jesus with your people.
2. The church is an essential part of the Lord’s plan, for now and forever.
And we are most definitely not referring just to your local congregation. As important as that is—this will come as a surprise to a lot of lonely, myopic pastors—the Kingdom of God is more than your church.
When Jesus saved you, He knew something you were about to find out: “You cannot live this new life in isolation. You need the family of God.” They hold onto you, you hold onto them. They instruct and nurture you; you turn around and do the same. This symbiosis has been God’s plan from early on.
“I will build my church,” the Lord said in Matthew 16:18. It’s His and He builds it. The Christ-follower who claims to be able to live for Christ better without the church is insulting His Lord. The church leader who would run the Lord’s church “for Him” is asking for big trouble fast.