1 Tim. 4:14-16 (ESV)
Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.  Practice these things, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress.  Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
“Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. “ It doesn’t say what gift this is here. However, I think one could guess that it is the pastoral office. This is a gift. It is a wonderful gift that should not be despised, nor neglected, but practiced.
“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” I have made this somewhat of a prayer that I pray every morning I come into the office. That God would help me to do this. It is immensely important for a pastor to keep a close watch on himself, and on the teaching. That we do not lead people astray and pave the road to hell with our very own skull serving as a cobble stone. I believe it was Chrysostom who said the road to hell is paved with the skulls of priests. What a visual! Yet how true it is. There are many out there who do not watch themselves, and scandalize the church. There are many who do not care at all for the teaching, and lead others astray from the cross of Christ.
I find it curious “the teaching.” There is only one, and that according to Paul is Christ, and him Crucified, there is room in the church for no other doctrine, no other teaching. There is only room in the church for the teaching of Christ, and him Crucified. Paul finds the crucifixion to be quite important. Don’t let others denigrate the wonderful work of Christ on the cross. If people are afraid to put a cross in their church, or replace it with a lightning rod, know this, they are not Christian. Christians glory in the cross of Christ. We do not find it “morbid” or depressing; the death of Christ is the life of the Christian. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper Sunday in and Sunday out, not to proclaim his resurrection, but to proclaim his death until He comes! Amen.
If you haven’t figured it out, I am lampooning Mormons here more than anyone. I live in Utah after all. Yet Mormon’s are not the only ones guilty of this. It is becoming more and more popular in evangelical circles to denigrate the cross, to down play it. So-called sanctuaries everywhere are pulling crosses down. They cease to be Christian. I see Baptists and evangelicals with their evangelism efforts towards Mormons as being little more than a sibling squabble they have lost their doctrinal bearings so badly. (And Larry I do expect you to comment on that with a three pager!) There is one teaching, Christ and him crucified. Pay attention to it.
It is to the shame of the church that people can go to church their whole lives and never hear the gospel, never hear Christ and him crucified, never hear that their sins are forgiven. It is the center of the Bible! Really the Bible just isn’t about how to fix your marriage, it has something to say about that, but that isn’t what it is about. It is about Christ and him crucified.