“Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God…”
Paul’s servanthood and apostleship were not for himself.
Your pastorate is not for yourself.
Paul was a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ “for the faith of those chosen of God.” His relationship to God (slave) and his relationship to the believers (apostle—one sent by Christ with authority) were not for the sake of his reputation or his comfort. They were for God’s people.
The same is true of your status in the church: slave of God and leader of men. God gave you these to use—not for your sake, but for the faith of God’s elect.
Brothers, use your servanthood and your leadership to build up the people under your care. You are a slave of God. You are under His command. Everything you do as a pastor or elder must be according to His will. And the will of your Master is that you strengthen the faith of His people. But how can you strengthen the faith of God’s people if you flatter them? If you make them think twice about the truth and justice of God’s commands? If instead of showing them what it means to be a man under authority, you yourself are a rebel?
And that’s exactly what we are when we trim God’s Word for the sake of our own comfort. I am no servant of God when I twist His Word to serve myself.
As a slave of God, you must do exactly what God commands. And God has commanded you to exercise authority in the church:
1 Peter 5:1-3
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
1 Timothy 1: 3
As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine.
These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Exercise oversight. Charge. Speak and reprove and exhort with all authority. This is not optional: to lay down your authority is to rebel against your Master in heaven.
And to lay down your authority is to destroy the faith of God’s elect.
Does it take faith to obey God’s commands to you as a shepherd? You bet it does. But think of the strength God’s sheep receive when they see God’s shepherds walking in the obedience of faith!