Steven Lawson's second session was on 2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as a workman ....
Early on he quoted John Piper
"at the heart of every pastor’s work is book-work. Call it reading, meditation, reflection, cogitation, study, exegesis, or whatever you will — a large and central part of our work is to wrestle God’s meaning from a Book, and proclaim it in the power of the Holy Spirit."
He went on to note five distinguishing marks of the biblical pastor
1. An eager or zealous spirit to dig into God's Word
The word used (Do your best or be diligent) means to use speed. We need to use speed, to be prompt, to hasten to the Word of God. He used a personal illustration revealing his non-academic stature until his conversion. We may not need more men in the ministry, he suggested, but fewer who are more eager.
2. A presented life
He took the example of Whitefield adn quoted Dallimore
There he is at five in the morning ... on his knees with his English Bible, his Greek New Testament and Henry’s Commentary spread out before him. He reads a portion in the English, gains a fuller insight into it as he studies words and tenses in the Greek and then considers Matthew Henry’s explanation of it all. Finally, there comes the unique practice that he has developed: that of ‘praying over every line and word’ of both the English and the Greek till the passage, in its essential message, has veritably become part of his own soul. See Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield, 1:82, 83
3. Hard work
Self-denial is required. Luther said
Sure, it would be hard for me to sit “in the saddle.” But then again I would like to see the horseman who could sit still for a whole day and gaze at a book without worrying or dreaming or think about anything else. Ask ... a preacher ... how much work it is to speak and preach. ... The pen is very light, that is true . . . but in this work the best part of the human body (the head), the noblest member (the tongue), and the highest work (speech) bear the brunt of the load and work the hardest, while in other kinds of work either the hand, the foot, the back or other members do the work alone so such a person can sing happily or make jokes freely which a sermon writer cannot do. Three fingers do it all . . . but the whole body and soul have to work at it
For the pastor every week if final exam week. We don't retire, he suggested, we refire.
4. A godly fear
Painful emotion, a consciousness of failure is always there. All we do will be tested by fire. He described how as an American footballer he would be sat down as the coach went through his moves and graded him. So it will be for the preacher. We must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ.
5. Precise exegesis
The idea is of cutting it straight - handling the Word of God in the right way. No sloppy work. The word used was used for a workman making a straight line, a farmer ploughing a straight furrow, a builder getting the bricks straight, a roadmaker making a road straight and flat road, a tent maker laying the tanned hide down and using a pattern to cut around so that the hide perfectly fits the profile, later to be sewn together.
OT NT, all the component parts must be grasped so that the Bible speaks with one voice. All wired together like a perfect tapestry.
He closed with this quotation
Fling him into his office. Tear the "Office" sign from the door and nail on the sign, "Study." Take him off the mailing list. Lock him up with his books and his typewriter and his Bible. Slam him down on his knees before texts and broken hearts and the flock of lives of a superficial flock and a holy God.
Force him to be the one man in our surfeited communities who knows about God. Throw him into the ring to box with God until he learns how short his arms are. Engage him to wrestle with God all the night through. And let him come out only when he's bruised and beaten into being a blessing.
Shut his mouth forever spouting remarks, and stop his tongue forever tripping lightly over every nonessential. Require him to have something to say before he dares break the silence. Bend his knees in the lonesome valley.
Burn his eyes with weary study. Wreck his emotional poise with worry for God. And make him exchange his pious stance for a humble walk with God and man. Make him spend and be spent for the glory of God. Rip out his telephone. Burn up his ecclesiastical success sheets.
Put water in his gas tank. Give him a Bible and tie him to the pulpit. And make him preach the Word of the living God!
Test him. Quiz him. Examine him. Humiliate him for his ignorance of things divine. Shame him for his good comprehension of finances, batting averages, and political in-fighting. Laugh at his frustrated effort to play psychiatrist. Form a choir and raise a chant and haunt him with it night and day-"Sir, we would see Jesus."
When at long last he dares assay the pulpit, ask him if he has a word from God. If he does not, then dismiss him. Tell him you can read the morning paper and digest the television commentaries, and think through the day's superficial problems, and manage the community's weary drives, and bless the sordid baked potatoes and green beans, ad infinitum, better than he can.
Command him not to come back until he's read and reread, written and rewritten, until he can stand up, worn and forlorn, and say, "Thus saith the Lord."
Break him across the board of his ill-gotten popularity. Smack him hard with his own prestige. Corner him with questions about God. Cover him with demands for celestial wisdom. And give him no escape until he's back against the wall of the Word.
And sit down before him and listen to the only word he has left-God's Word. Let him be totally ignorant of the down-street gossip, but give him a chapter and order him to walk around it, camp on it, sup with it, and come at last to speak it backward and forward, until all he says about it rings with the truth of eternity.
And when he's burned out by the flaming Word, when he's consumed at last by the fiery grace blazing through him, and when he's privileged to translate the truth of God to man, finally transferred from earth to heaven, then bear him away gently and blow a muted trumpet and lay him down softly. Place a two-edged sword in his coffin, and raise the tomb triumphant. For he was a brave soldier of the Word. And ere he died, he had become a man of God.