Faculty Lecture Series—Biblical Sanctification, Day 5

The Pastor’s Role in Sanctification
Rick Holland

The word “pastor” is typically associated with the head of the church. Remember, though, that the word refers to one who cares for sheep. The biblical imperative for pastors is to shepherd the flock—1 Pet 5:2.

A shepherd moves sheep, essential so that the sheep don’t run out of food (compare to Psalm 23). A shepherd is to be a resource and guide in sanctification, so the sheep might see the Lord (Heb 12:14).

Very few Gospel presentations, unfortunately, deal with sanctification, which is inseparable from the message.

Since sanctification has a past, present, and future implications, then the pastor has responsibilities in guiding people through each of these stages. However, this is not to be confused with being responsible for sanctification, for that is God’s job.

Lev 19:2—all believers should be holy, and our sanctification flows from God’s holiness. Holiness and sanctification are synonymous, in fact, so Holland uses these terms interchangeably.

The question is what implications of the text of Scripture for pastors?

(NOTE: He spoke too fast for me to catch all of his references! Of course, I was also caught in thought contemplating some of his points, so I'm a poor reporter. :( Listen to the MP3 to get more scriptures on each principle.)

Six dimensions of the pastor’s role in sanctification:
1. Desire
  • In Gal 4:19, Paul has godly anguish and travail for Christlikeness in the church.
  • There are 2 problems—overrealized eschatology (those bringing heaven to bear on earth, wielding a legalistic club pounding the sheep into sanctified states) and underrealized eschatology (antinomian [non]efforts toward sanctification).
  • Eph 4:11–13: Christlikeness is the result (among other things) of pastors’ role.
2. Example —
  • Personal holiness, not just preaching!
  • 1 Tim 4:15—Our example is paralleled with our teaching.
  • 1 Cor 11:15—Paul could call people to imitate him because he imitated Christ.
  • Consider 1 Thess 1:6; Heb 13:17; Phil 3:12; 1 Tim 3:6; 1 Cor 9:27:
“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
  • We should impress people with our own desire for holiness.
3. Preaching —
  • If we really believe God’s Word is truth, then we should use it for training in sanctification, for every expression of holiness. Preaching God’s holiness changes lives. Find a church not practicing holiness, and you find a church where God’s holiness is not proclaimed.
4. Discipleship —
  • We must long to move believers to greater maturity. Of course, we have to do this with kindness—you cannot “bad attitude” someone into a “good attitude.” Angry preaching is not what motivates people to stop sinning.
  • Heb 13:17—pastors keep watch and must give an account for all of the souls. (We need grace!)
  • Equip and disciple people for newer levels of holiness.
  • 1 The 4:7—called to holiness.
5. Praying —
  • Col 1:9–14: Paul prayer is wide, not limited to physical infirmities. If should pray like this.
  • Eph 3 is one of the best prayers on sanctification.
6. Leadership of public worship —
  • The way we do church reflects God’s holiness. That is, how much effort we put into it, giving the order of the service our best, demonstrates the kind of God we serve.
  • A spiritual leader who sees God as holy is a leader who sees God honored in his people.

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