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Consider The Worth Of An Ox

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Call To Worship Scripture

1 Timothy 3:1–7 ESV
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
1 Timothy 1:12–17 ESV
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Sermon Scripture

1 Timothy 5:
1 Timothy 5:17–18 ESV
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”
ELDERS - Spoken of here (the who) are those in the Christian church who being raised up and qualified by the evidenced work of the Holy Spirit (through the qualifications laid out in Scripture) are appointed to have the spiritual care of, and to exercise oversight over the churches.
The arrangment for and “elder” is as the verse indicates, as a plurality of them and they were to be appointed in each church. Paul sent Timothy with instruction to appoint such men and gave him the qualifications (, , )
1 Timothy 3:1–7 ESV
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
RULE (well) - Speaking of the before mentioned elders, Paul is addressing those who do well in rule. But let me explain this rule.
This rule is describing one who resides in a position, but is also translated as “to maintain”. The picture is not of one who rules over but rather one who stands before another maintaining a right example.
It is the mature in the faith who are consistent in their example of godliness as outline in the pastoral epistles. These stand before the church and they do so for the good of the church, to encourage the church onward in the path of righteousness.
The elder(s) is not a king to rule over, not a ceo to determine, not a committee to represent. Elders are mature believes held to greater account for their example and yet pictured as an ox plowing a field. That is the picture of ‘ruling well elders’.
CONSIDER - To consider is to deem worthy. It is describing the act of taking the time to think about what has been put in place for the church. To consider the extra weight and the benefit (eternal) that it brings to the church. If the eldership is not ruling well then it could lead the church in circles in the wilderness or back into the slavery of carnal living. When a church has an elder or elders ruling well then they ought to recognize the blessing for to do such is not only to honor the elder but to give proper position to the need for godliness in ones life.
If you are to deem worthy (v)…it is the act of doing something, then how?
HONOR (double) - Lets begin with the word honor. Many hear due to context believe that this could refer to honorarium or payment. I don’t disagree, but I also don’t see it limited to that. The simplest understanding is a valuing as in a price paid or recieved.
The verse following is a quotation from about muzzling an ox. This definitely helps to confirm the understanding. The picture is of an ox working in a field and the concept is if you muzzle him or don’t allow him to eat or be provided for from the field that he is working in then you will weaken the ox - not improve production. Thus it’s not good and it’s not proper or moral thinking. You are getting benefit from the ox…feed the ox. The last portion of verse eighteen makes it abundantly clear that Paul is speaking of wages when he says: “the worker is worthy of his wages”.
You see the beginning is where we need to focus. Where this gets off base is people attempt have seen elder/pastors as a paid position without being obedient to the first part. When Paul says to consider. That first action has to do with your mind and thus your heart. It has to do with recognition and reverence for the order that Christ has set up within His church. It has to do with a desire in your own life to above all else value the leading in righteousness above other things. When this is done then you are able to deem a faithful elder as worth honor…but not just honor, but double honor.
Double means twofold. Whatever you think it is worth, do it times two. Listen church, the emphasis is not on what the elders are going to get, it is on the value of the church being faithful.
Too often the salary of a elder is based upon the size of the church and not the faithfulness of a life. God is giving us the chance to think as He does. God does not reward light shows, creative names and community organization. God doesn’t reward appearance or entertainment quality. God doesn’t even reward the bringing in of big crowds. God rewards the man of God who walks according to His ways in humility and righteousness.
Thus, when you see such a man church who is also willing to do so for your sake, to say follow me as I follow Christ, then see that as God does and not as a door mat or a cop-out job.
On the other hand there are those who don’t serve well and to that I would say be a wise steward.
But let me give a note. I am not preaching performance based payment for pastors. Paul nowhere references material payment as a reward but rather as freeing to continue in labor for the benefit of those whom he is laboring for... “don’t muzzle the ox”.
The idea isn’t that you are rewarding the ox as though he has accomplished something, but that you are doing what is necessary that the ox may continue to labor on your behalf until the work is done. The reward that Paul often speaks of is found in the same light. It is found in the faithful life of those whom he is serving (faithfully) and that is to be fully realized in eternity.
I also believe the honor spoken of expands out a little further. Within that honor is protection against false accusation as spoken of in verse 19. But if you go to you see Paul addressing this again, where Paul states the worker of God who is worthy of honor as also having the right to take along a believing wife, and get paid for their labor in Christian service without compromising their example. Meaning that a elder can sow spiritual and reap material without compromising. I highlight this because these are two areas that have been attacked throughout the ages.
I also highlight that Paul is not speaking specifically of your tithe here. He is speaking of the church’s responsibility to be mindful of the physical needs of the ones whom God has put in position to be mindful of their spiritual needs.
God has ordained elders in the church for your benefit.
1 Corinthians 9:8–14 ESV
Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
1 Corinthians 9:8-
The position then of Paul of counting it worthy of double honor those who lead well is to recognize the value and command of what God has ordained as beneficial for His people.
The position then of Paul of counting it worthy of double honor those who lead well is to recognize the value of what God has ordained as beneficial for His people.
This is why early on at Revolution 12 Church the elders and other men of the church made certain decisions of how this church would operate so that it would be able to care for my physical needs and I would be able to focus on the spiritual discipleship of this church. It is for your good and to your benefit that each day I wake up mindful of you, praying for you, seeking the Word of God for what to proclaim to you, encouraging you to go before God, warning you against the snares of the devil and reminding you of the blessings of godliness. And of what value that is to you, Paul has laid it at your feet to see if you line up with his exhortation as you consider those elders amongst you.
And he says consider them worthy of double honor who lead well and especially those who labour by preaching/speaking and teaching.
THE RELATIONSHIP OF PREACHING AND TEACHING:
PREACHING - In the NT, preaching would be more closely linked to what we refer to as “evangelism” in the sense that it was, ‘the public proclamation of Christianity to the non-Christian world’. (however our current understanding of evangelism is very confused, twisted, different and watered down).
Preaching was not so much a closed door group of Christians but an open public proclamation of God’s redemptive activity in and through Jesus Christ. (Think of current “open air preaching”)
‘the public proclamation of Christianity to the non-Christian world’
The greatest characteristic of the word preaching, (gk. kēryssō)points us to the understanding to ‘proclaim as a herald’. This root understanding of preaching can only be grasped through an understanding of the ancient world.
kēryssō)points us to the understanding to ‘proclaim as a herald’. This root understanding of preaching can only be grasped through an understanding of the ancient world.
A herald in the ancient world was a figure of considerable importance. A herald had to be a man of integrity and character and as such he was employed by the king or State to make all public proclamations.
A herald in the ancient world was a figure of considerable importance. A herald had to be a man of integrity and character and as such he was employed by the king or State to make all public proclamations.
Preaching is heralding and the message to be heralded is of the glad tidings of salvation.
Preaching is heralding and the meassage to be heralded is of the glad tidings of salvation.
Secondly, while kēryssō tells us something about the activity of preaching, euangelizomai, ‘to bring good news’ (from the primitive eus, ‘good’, and the verb angellō, ‘to announce’), a common verb, used over 50 times in the NT, emphasizes the quality of the message itself.
kēryssō tells us something about the activity of preaching, euangelizomai, ‘to bring good news’ (from the primitive eus, ‘good’, and the verb angellō, ‘to announce’), a common verb, used over 50 times in the NT, emphasizes the quality of the message itself.
In short, when you think of preaching, it is the proclamation (heralding) of the message of salvation in Christ Jesus as the good news from the one true King.
We also have Old Testament examples of preaching, that help give precedent in preaching and broaden our understanding. With the prophets as divine forerunners in preaching we also observe Jonah being told to preach or ‘to call out’ and designates Noah as a preacher of righteousness. Studying the OT helps us to note that the proclamation of good news is not always a proclamation well recieved. The good news proclamation is not absent from the Word/Sword that pierces and the call to repentance.
Jesus himself is portayed as One who came to herald the kingdom of God. Jesus preaches/proclaims Himself the fufillment of Isaiah’s preaching/prophecy in .
Though Christ indeed preached the Kingdom of God, we see a shift in the content of preaching upon the arrival of the church. We see the content shift from ‘Kingdom of God’ to that of ‘Christ’. As Paul said, “I preach Christ and Him crucified”. This content shift is done in obedience to Christ command and with understanding that to preach Christ is to preach the Kingdom.
TEACHING

While the two activities ideally conceived are distinct,

Teaching is the act of instructing, specifically in doctrine. Teaching has to do with instruction and doctrine with a standard of orthodoxy or living. Think of teaching as instruction in how to live.
While preaching and teaching are distinct, they are both based upon the same foundation and can happen harmoniously together.
Preaching is the proclamation of what God has done and teaching is the implications of God’s work in/for Christian conduct.
On Sunday morning both of these take place.

kēryssō tells us something about the activity of preaching, euangelizomai, ‘to bring good news’ (from the primitive eus, ‘good’, and the verb angellō, ‘to announce’), a common verb, used over 50 times in the NT, emphasizes the quality of the message itself.

While the two activities ideally conceived are distinct, both are based upon the same foundation. The kērygma proclaims what God has done: the didachē teaches the implications of this for Christian conduct.

I am to proclaim Gods Word as, “Thus says the Lord”. But then we also go into the implications. The church gathering is a place where not only is the good news of Christ proclaimed but also taught are the implications of what that means for the one who has recieved the good news.

While the two activities ideally conceived are distinct, both are based upon the same foundation. The kērygma proclaims what God has done: the didachē teaches the implications of this for Christian conduct.

This means at least two things for you each Sunday morning.
Jesus is the good news. You cannot come to receive divine instruction but by the wonderful proclamation of God calling you unto Himself.
What you hear has life implications. An identifying mark of one who has heard (as in recieved) the good news is that they come ready to hear and receive instruction from God.
These two things are not only true for when you come to hear the preaching and teaching of the Word, but are also true when you yourself go before the Word of God.
CAN PREACHING AND TEACHING HAPPEN INDAPENDENT OF ONE ANOTHER?
I suppose an argument can be made for yes and no. However, if I am pressed against a wall, in the context of preaching the Word of God and Teaching the doctrines of God, then I would say only through rejection…and that is good news.
They appear to me to be distinct and yet wed together so much that the only way that one doesn’t lead to the other is when upon hearing the first the person rejects the second and thus rejects both.
The proclamation of God always has some implication for the hearer.
When I am invited to speak at a public secular event, as representative of Christianity, then what I will be doing is preaching and not teaching. However even then I will preach repentance and repentance is the first step in orthodoxy. So in that sense what I preach will have implication for the hearers and will serve as a bridge unto teaching and I would say in the closest of relations teaching takes the baton of preaching as two teamates in a relay race.
Now here is the difference, teaching is given to those with ears, while proclamation or preaching is a invitation to hear.
Now what does that mean for our text, because evidently it is even if rarely the case possible for one to preach and not teach or teach and not preach. This must be the case because the one who does both is worthy of double honor.
I believe it means that there are those who will both proclaim the message of Christ and teach the doctrines of Christ. There are those who will labour in the proclamation of Salvation to their generation and those who will labour in the passing of the disciplines of the Christian life to the next generation, and there are those who will do both.
For example there are many times I will preach at a public event and I will proclaim the hope of Christ as an invitation to all, lets say on a Monday, then I will have a Bible study where we will go into the implications of living for Christ on a Tuesday, then I will do both preach the hope and teach the implications on a Sunday.
Think of this…when Paul first came to a place he sought to proclaim nothing but Jesus and Him crucified. Then as a church was formed he longed that they move from the milk of the word onto the deeper meet and life implications, meaning that they no longer live as they were before Christ, but learn a new way of living in Christ. There is a growing, a passing of the baton, a goal of transformation in all preaching and progression in all teaching.
YOU SAID SUNDAY IS PREACHING AND TEACHING: WHICH IS PRIMARY?
Sunday is the gathering of the church. In that statement my friends we have the answer. Teaching is for the church. Teaching is what the message of Christ means in my life. Teaching is asking the, “what are the implications of my being a faithful disciple of Jesus.” Though each gathering we remember the message proclaimed, that message which was preached and recieved by each of us, we remember that as the lauching point, basis, supreme cause for our learning in greatfulness and hope.
Sunday however is also a public gathering. It is not a closed door event. Though the message primary is an address to the church the door remains open believing that even in the implicative teaching of the Word, the proclamation of Christ must be present and therefore can be heard.
The understanding however that you need to hear church is that the purpose primary of the gathering of the Church is the encouraging of the church in righteousness through the knowing of God by the hearing the Word of God rightly divided and proclaimed…that is teaching. We come Sunday not just to hear but to learn and do. This is different than how many modern churches have approached the Sunday gathering of the church, but the truth is that the gathering of the church in the proclamative realm has always been for the purpose of instruction. To replace instruction with calling does not make sense and is crippling to the church.
WHY AM I COMFORTABLE PREACHING THIS MESSAGE TO YOU:
Well number one because it is in scripture.
However for a paid elder to preach on paid elders can to some seem a conflict of interest.
However, I don’t believe the teaching here is “pay me”. I believe the teaching is “consider”.
Consider is the action to be done. From what or how you consider will come the action that will display if you are in line with what God considers what is of value.
Therefore, I want you to consider what you count of value in your life and then let your decisions be evidence of that.
I suppose the most simple way to put this is to say this:
Coffee is valued at $3 and gas at $2-$3 dollars a gallon.
A semester of college is around $12,000
Average house is between $30,000 - $40,000
You can get the idea…car, boat, doctor, we all place value upon these things.
What about your job? What is the perceived value of the service that you offer at your job?
These things are all material things with material value,
Now Paul says to the church…consider the spiritual, what material value do you place on the labor of the spiritual.
Thus he says to the church... double that.
This is one of the areas that teaches us how to live differently than the world. It has to do with what or how we value things.
THE QUESTIONS AND EXHORTATION:
The Spirit of God through Paul has told us what it considers to be of double value to you - do you agree?
What do you value in life? Is it your spiritual well being?
Do you know what the duties of eldership are?
Have you even placed enough value upon the church of Christ in your life to know how the Word of God has spoken of how it is to be ordered and how it is to operate for your good and God’s glory?
Church just as last week I encouraged us to think how to think, this week by the grace of God and according to the Word of God, I call us in remembrance of Christ Jesus our Lord, to consider what is of true value, how to value things and let us therefore as we consider, move to get things in proper order and let that be the order of Christ our Lord, to value what He values.
Let us in our consideration be moved to give hilariously, let our lives become rearranged for the glory of God by us taking the time to consider what we value and what we deem as of value and live obediently to Christ.
I suppose the most simple way to put this is to say this:
Coffee is valued at $3 and gas at $2-$3 dollars a gallon.
A semester of college is around $12,000
Average house is between $30,000 - $40,000
You can get the idea…car, boat, doctor, we all place value upon these things.
What about your job? What is the perceived value of the service that you offer at your job?
These things are all material things with material value,
Now Paul says to the church…consider the spiritual, what material value do you place on the labor of the spiritual.
Thus he says double.
- Amen.
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