Text: 1st Timothy 5:17-20 5/4/08 a.m.
Thesis: Good pastors should be cared for and sinful pastors should be corrected.
Intro: The reason I have been preaching through 1st Timothy is because I believe God has called me to lead this church to be used powerfully for the cause of Christ.
This morning I hope to show you from Scripture that the two most beneficial things you can do for the pastors of this church is understand what God has called them to do and help them do it.
Read 1st Timothy 5:17-20
I) First, we need to understand what God has called the pastors of a local church to do.
In our text this morning there are three things that elders should be doing. They should be ruling the church, preaching, and teaching.
a) God has called the elders or pastors of a local church to rule that church well.
i) We don’t like the word ‘rule’ because we like to rule ourselves and find it very offensive when someone tries to rule over us.
ii) So don’t let your distaste for a word make you miss the blessing of God’s intention for the church.
iii) Clearly I am not called by God to be a dictator. Jesus said in Mark 10:42&43
“You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant”
iv) Godly leaders rule over the church with the firm hand of a hard working servant.
v) In fact, the word in 1st Timothy 5:17 translated as ‘rule’ or ‘direct the affairs of the church’ means to lead the church with the humility of a servant.
vi) It’s God’s church and the pastors have been given to the church to lead the church the way Joseph ruled Egypt.
vii) Joseph didn’t own Egypt, Egypt owned Joseph. Through humility and faithfulness Joseph was given the authority to lead and direct the affairs of the nation.
viii) God’s intention for a pastor in a church is the same.
ix) Where God’s grace is needed is in the realization that the church is not a nation. Pastors don’t manage grain and cattle. Pastors lead people.
x) That’s why humbly leading and humbly following are necessary This is precisely why Hebrews 13:17 says:
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
xi) One day I will stand before God and give an account for how I led you, the souls of this church.
xii) I ask you to submit to God’s word and live your life so that my leadership of you is a joyful thing instead of a burdensome thing.
xiii) You must ask of me that I submit to God’s word and live my life so that following me is a joyful thing instead of a burdensome thing.
xiv) Where we need grace is in the area of submitting our wants to God’s word.
xv) When I fulfill God’s will of leading this church and you fulfill God’s will of serving in this church it is of great advantage to you.
xvi) But when I buck God by not humbly leading and when you buck God by not humbly following it is only to our disadvantage.
xvii) I honestly want to lead this church well. I want Christ to be pleased with my actions and attitudes.
xviii) I want to give my life so that every one of us experiences joy in our personal relationship with Christ.
xix) I want to give attention to every member growing this church by loving and serving other people who are not like them.
xx) I want us to change so that every member is involved in a bold and sacrificial ministry that is impacting our community with the gospel.
xxi) When I lead you to grow personally, grow this church, and impact our community I believe I will be ruling well.
xxii) Now within this group of elders who rule well are particular elders who labor in preaching and teaching
b) God has called some of the elders or pastors of a local church to labor in the area of preaching and teaching
i) Read verse 17
ii) From the testimony of the New Testament it is clear that the early churches had what is called a plurality of elders. Each church had more than one elder, overseer, or pastor.
iii) Since it is required of every overseer that he be able to teach (1st Timothy 3:2) does it then follow that every overseer teach and preach every Sunday?
iv) If you have 4 or 5 elders does that mean you should have 4 or 5 sermons? I don’t think so.
v) Among this group of ordained men would be some who regularly do the strenuous work of preparing to preach and teach and do the strenuous work of preaching and teaching.
vi) I think the categories of ruling elders and teaching elders are foreign to the text and go too far in their distinction.
vii) 1st Timothy 5:17 gives us the understanding that every elder in the church should be able to teach the truths of Christ and his gospel.
viii) Every pastor should be ready to exhort the church to follow God according to Scripture.
ix) But they don’t have to do it every week. There will be some in this group of elders who are given the freedom of financial support to dedicate themselves to prayer and the study of the word.
x) This group of men must labor in preaching and teaching according to verse 17.
xi) A pastor’s calling is to pray hard and study hard so he can stand up and preach hard leading the people to follow hard after Christ.
xii) We have two different areas of responsibility here in verse 17. Preaching is what I’m doing now. I stand up, read God’s word, explain God’s word, and encourage you to follow God’s word.
xiii) When I get preaching right, when I labor correctly, the finished product is a greater appreciation for God and a desire to live life according to His plan.
xiv) Teaching is generally less formal and has more interaction. Questions are asked by both teacher and student alike. Learning to appreciate God and follow God are still the goals teaching.
xv) Both preaching and teaching if done correctly are work. I work to mine the gold then I labor to show you the splendor of the gold so you will do all you can to have the gold.
xvi) I labor throughout the week so you will personally be satisfied with all that Jesus Christ is for you.
xvii) Now that we have the benefit of understanding what God has called the pastors of a local church to do we need to look at the other beneficial thing you can do for your pastors.
II) Second, we need to understand how to help our pastors do what God has called them to do.
a) When a pastor rules well the church needs to consider him worthy of double honor.
i) It is unfortunate that a number of people see pastors as objects of mistrust and disrespect.
ii) So I do not pretend to deserve honor because of some title I possess. I understand that by serving you and leading you I will become a man you want to honor.
iii) Please pray I would lead this church in such a manner that I would be a pastor worthy of double honor.
iv) I believe whole heartedly if we can grow in our knowledge and service of Christ there will be no shortage of joy or honor.
v) I do not want you to intentionally give me honor. I want you to intentionally follow me as I follow Christ.
vi) If that happens your joy will increase and I will be an elder worthy of honor.
vii) So, what I am asking for is the grace to make mistakes and the opportunity to lead you.
viii) Because I love Jesus and want what’s best for this church I pray you will give me the opportunity to lead you to grow in new and vibrant ways.
ix) The best way to help me as pastor is to let me lead. Give me the double honor of being allowed to lead you.
x) I need you to give me the ability to lead this church and lead it will.
b) Second, every worker needs adequate supply and adequate wages to fulfill his calling. (Read verse 18)
i) The Apostle Paul is here quoting the Old Testament like it’s authoritative for today; that’s a crazy concept.
ii) What God said in the Old Testament was true then and it’s true today.
iii) Don’t muzzle and ox while it treads the grain. That ox needs sustenance to continue working. You can’t expect something for nothing.
iv) The worker deserves his pay. If you give a person a job to do and they do it then pay them for it.
v) My family is well taken care of and I appreciate that. But many pastors lay in bed at night wondering how they are going to pay the bills, fix the car, and get the kids through college.
vi) Some of that is because they made foolish financial decisions and some of that is because the church expects something for nothing.
vii) They want powerful sermons, they want to be strong disciples, they want to be shown the glory of Christ but they don’t want to do what it takes so that the pastor can give his mind and life to prayer, study, and preaching.
viii) I’m not saying that you should give your social security check to the church so that I can buy my wife her own leer jet. That’s despicable, sinful, and that type of preacher is a hireling worthy of correction.
ix) When a pastor fulfills his calling well you should give him honor and you should pay him. But what about when you don’t think he’s doing well?
c) Here’s our 3rd help. It helps a pastor when you give him grace and always assume the best (Read verse 19)
i) Here’s a little more of that Old Testament authority.
ii) Let’s read Deuteronomy 19:15-21
iii) Now, why do you think God is applying this Old Testament principle specifically to pastors?
iv) Isn’t it enough for one person to raise an accusation? Besides the rumor mill will establish judge, jury, and conviction before there’s even a charge presented.
v) The reason we need this principle is because the leader is the easiest one to hit.
vi) In medieval and even in colonial battle the commanders dressed differently and there was a code of honor which kept the leaders from being targeted.
vii) Well that code of honor no longer exists. That’s why the only difference on the field of battle between a 5 star general and a 1 star general is the number of stars on his uniform.
viii) They don’t want a sniper to have an easy shot at the leader.
ix) Well there is no hiding the pastor so the snipers will always take their shots.
x) Here’s a perfect application of the golden rule. We all hate it when people think the worst of us or jump to wrong conclusions.
xi) No one likes to be immediately black balled or have what they said taken out of context.
xii) One of the best ways you can help your pastor is by being gracious to him, give him the chance to explain, don’t form rash decisions or knee jerk reactions.
xiii) Trust Christ to build His church and to do it through pastors who make mistakes.
xiv) Be as gracious to your pastor as you want him to be with you. And if you are not going to be gracious do me a favor and just tell me so I at least have an idea where the snipers are going to hide.
xv) Trust that the redemption that is ours in Christ will cover that misunderstanding. Then trust Christ’s all encompassing redemption and assume the best. That would be great.
xvi) But when something is wrong it must be fixed.
xvii) Read verse 20
d) Every one benefits from correction
i) This is Matthew 18 church discipline applied to elders.
ii) If there is something wrong you go to the brother and work for restoration through faith in Christ and according to Scripture.
iii) Matthew 18:16 says, “But if he doesn’t listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”
iv) There’s that Old Testament principle again.
v) If he refuses to listen tell it to the church. If he refuses to listen to the church then remove him from church membership.
vi) If he repents then you have won a brother back. If he does not repent then you continue seeking restoration until it becomes obvious this guy doesn’t want restoration.
vii) In relation to a pastor you give him grace if it’s just a rumor. When the news gains witnesses the situation needs to be addressed.
viii) You go to him and seek restoration through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. That means you trust Jesus to make it right whether he repents or not.
ix) 1st Timothy 5:20 points out what to do if he persists in his sin and does not repent.
x) If he refuses restoration then rebuke him in the presence of the entire church. Humbly state the offense, describe your agony in prayer and attempted restoration, then call for his removal from the office of pastor.
xi) Rebuke him, correct him, point out his sin, it’s all the same thing. When it comes to the end don’t do it behind closed doors do it out in the open.
xii) So that the rest may stand in fear. We all need a healthy dose of the fear of the Lord and this is especially true for the elders of the church.
xiii) Every church serious about living for Christ and following after the truth will seek what is best for their pastors by understanding what God has called them to do, giving them what they need to do what God has called them to do, and seeking restoration when a wrong is committed.
xiv) I believe Mambrino Baptist Church is serious about living for Christ and following after the truth.
xv) Let’s stand together and work together for Christ. We love each other and we love Christ.
xvi) That’s the message we send when we deal with the sin that is in our lives from the oldest to the youngest.
xvii) I pray it is now clear to you what God has called me to do and how you can help to do it.
xviii) I will pray, lead, preach, and teach for your personal growth in Christ, our church growth, and our community impact.