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Dealing With The Pastors

8/20/06 CC/AM

1 Timothy 5:17-25

Introduction: Last week we began to deal with Paul’s instructions to Timothy on how to deal with people at church.  We looked at how to treat older men, younger men, older women, younger women and widows. This morning we want to consider his instructions regarding how to deal with those in leadership in the church.

1.   Compensation

a.    Elders are not the same people referred to earlier in the chapter as older men.  These are the pastors, those that have been appointed to oversee the ministry of the church.

b.   They are to be paid. As explained last week the term “honor” is the word from which we get “honorarium” and it is talking about financial compensation for the work done in the ministry.

c.    In the Old Testament the priests were paid primarily through the offerings that the people brought to the tabernacle then the temple then the synagogues.  In the New Testament church the pastors are to be supported in a similar way. (please don’t bring sheep to put in the offering plate, they make a mess)!

d.   There are a few qualifiers that are added when it comes to establishing the pay scale for pastors.

                                                            i.      Those who rule well.

                                                         ii.      Those who work hard

                                                      iii.      Those who do the preaching and the teaching.

e.    Double honor literally means “two times more”.  The idea is to pay them well when they work hard.

f.     On a personal note, I have always been pleased by the way that this congregation takes care of us.  This is a generous congregation that shares with us beyond what comes in the paycheck. 

g.    There is always some teasing that goes along with being a pastor.  Comments like “you only work one day a week” and others like that often come with the territory.  I have sometimes told people they have messed up by not being pastors themselves since we have it so good!

h.   Truth is I recommend that every Christian should consider if the Lord is calling them to be a pastor or a missionary.  When that is what God has called you too, you will be happy doing nothing less!

2.   Accusations

a.    The pastor and his family live under constant scrutiny both from people inside and outside the church.

b.   We expect the pastor to live to a higher level of integrity than others and people can sometimes become quite critical of the pastor when he fails to perform to their expectations.

c.    Sometimes people will find fault with the pastor or just plain make things up to discredit him.  Paul gives Timothy some guidelines for dealing with accusations made against a pastor.

                                                            i.      The accusations should not be listened to unless they can be backed up by two or three credible witnesses.

                                                         ii.      Ministries can be ruined and a pastor’s life destroyed by just one false accusation.

d.   When the accusations are true and there is sin involved there are also some steps to take.

                                                            i.      As privately as possible, confront the pastor with his sin and give an opportunity for repentance.

                                                         ii.      If he chooses to continue in his sin then make it a public matter before the church.

                                                      iii.      It is unhealthy for a church to overlook sin and dealing with sin openly in the church when necessary is a deterrent to others sinning.

                                                      iv.      Do not overlook the sins of some and not the sins of others.  Do not show favoritism for any reason. Notice the emphasis that is placed by being charged in the presence of God, Jesus Christ, and the angels.  This is serious!

3.   Ordinations

a.    Be careful about ordaining someone too quickly!

b.   Remember that the pastor was not to be a novice, he was to first be tested before he was officially ordained.

c.    You may remember that we as a church ordained Pastor Mike a few years ago.  He had already served here several years before he was officially ordained to the gospel ministry.  He grew up here so it was a bit easier to inspect his life than bringing in someone from the outside.

d.   It appears that the church has a responsibility and even a liability when it comes to ordaining men.

e.    If we quickly ordain someone who is unfit for the ministry we share in the responsibility for their sinfulness.

f.     Paul is telling Timothy to be careful who he places his stamp of approval on because he will share in the liability of their sins!

g.    Some people are quite good at hiding their sins and some sins are easier to hide than others.  Paul says that good or bad evident or not all mankind will stand before God and give and answer for the things done in the body.  That goes for all of us as well.

h.   Paul tells Timothy to stop drinking just water and to use a little wine for the sake of his stomach.  This verse has been used out of context to support the use of alcohol as a beverage.  Starting next Sunday night I want to deal with the issue of what the Bible has to say about drinking in detail.  So for now let us just take this at face value.  Timothy don’t only drink water, drink a little wine because you are sick!

Conclusion: The church needs to be Biblical in the way it deals with its pastors.  In the way they are compensated in the way that accusations are made and in the way that they are ordained. I praise God for the people of the First Baptist Church.  It is with great joy that my family and I serve the Lord here.

Next week we will take a look at how those in the rest of the work force are to treat each other in the church!

1 Timothy 5:17-25 (NASB95)
17 The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.
20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.
21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.
22 Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.
23 No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.
24 The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after.
25 Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed.

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