What Pastors Should Agonize Over

Preaching Christ and Him Crucified

When you look at the apostle Paul, you hardly see a pragmatist. He says to the Corinthians, I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Cor. 2) Wow, that's a pretty narrow message. So whenever he showed up in a situation, it was about Christ, about Christ crucified, and consequently, Christ raised from the dead.


John MacArthur

Veteran pastor John MacArthur makes the case that Jesus’s passion for his people is sanctification and encourages pastors to revolve their ministry around the increasing sanctification of their members through preaching and discipleship.

Paul says, I didn't come to you in the wisdom of a man, I didn't come to you with any human cleverness or ingenuity. I came and I preached Christ crucified and Christ risen so the focus is on Christ. (1 Cor. 2)

Until Christ Is Fully Formed in You

He also says in the book of Galatians, I am in birth pains until Christ is fully formed in you. Why does he talk about birth pains? Because that's the most agonizing sort of human experience. We all understand that the birth pains in which a woman brings forth a child are agonizing birth pains.

The passion of his ministry was the sanctification of his people.

Paul is saying, I literally agonize in a kind of birth pain to bring forth a sanctified believer who's like Christ. Therefore, you could say the passion of his ministry was the sanctification of his people. He was never content that someone believed. That was not enough. He was never content that someone just gathered with the saints. He was never content until Christ was fully formed in that believer. That was always the objective: to see that believer conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. That's the pastor's primary calling: the sanctification of his people.

John MacArthur is the author of Sanctificaiton: God’s Passion for His People.

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