Paul and Pastoral Love

Yesterday Lee Tankersley preached a great message on Galatians 4:12-20 and how the gospel develops a deep love between members of the church. Before the sermon ever began, I was gripped simply by the reading of this text, and the heart for the Galatians which Paul exhibits. It is so important in this, perhaps the harshest of Paul’s letters, to see this pastoral love expressed.

There is a place for speaking the hard word. Rebuke is necessary and a true example of love. However, if you think rebuke and “calling out” are cool, you are missing the heart of God- and are currently in danger of harming the church. In fact this is a sign of immaturity. Mature leadership speaks the hard word, when necessary, from a heart broken for the people and yearning for their growth and obedience.

This text is worth meditating on often:

12 Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. 13 You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15 What then has become of the blessing you felt? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18 It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, 19 my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! 20 I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

Let us go and do likewise.

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