Pastors, prepare your people to enjoy Christ!
A pastor-friend of mine approached me at my desk this morning with a concern. His small congregation lacks desire to worship, serve, or grow in Christ with any amount of eagerness. They are simply unconcerned about it. His fear is that he is preaching to a congregation of lost individuals, deaf to any words he says. At that moment I had no words for him, other than I would keep him in my thoughts and prayers. But a quote by John Owen came to mind later that I thought might be helpful to him and other pastors who are clueless on what to preach to such a congregation:
By beholding the glory of Christ we shall be made fit and ready for heaven. Not all who desire to go to heaven are fit and ready for it. Some are not only unworthy of it and excluded from it because of unforgiven sin; they are not prepared for it. Should they be admitted, they would never enjoy it. All of us naturally regard ourselves fit for glory. But few of us have any idea how unfit we truly are, because we have no experience of the glory of Christ which is in heaven (The Glory of Christ).
Pastors must be faithful in showing their congregations Jesus. We must be faithful in creating categories in people’s mind of the goodness of Jesus, so that when the Spirit comes he has categories to fill and causes the believer to ache for Jesus. We must prepare them to enjoy him, stirring unnatural affections for the Father, so that they cry to God “Abba Father!”
Pray that God keeps you and empowers you to be faithful and that he might bless your faithfulness with the fruit of saved souls.