Light Of His Word
The Sermons of Pastor Mike Walls
Freedom Baptist Church
Used By Permission
Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
PURITY OF THE SERVANT
1 Timothy 3:1-13
Introduction: I do not remember if I said this from the onset.
If I did not, I need to do so. First and Second Timothy, Titus are handbooks so to speak for a young preacher. I think young men who desire to be in the office of a pastor should have these books and their principles so ingrained into their minds that fewer mistakes and misjudgments are made. God does not necessarily call the equipped but equips the called.
Every thing rises and falls on leadership. This is true in every portion of life. It includes a family as well as the church. The Holy Spirit imparts gifts to the believers for ministry. Among these gifts, we find that "pastors and teachers" are mentioned in Ephesians 4:11-12. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” God gave these people for the church for three basic purposes as verse 12 tells us. They are:
1. "For the perfecting of saints". This is helping saved people to mature in their walk and life in Christ. I should be preaching messages that makes you desire to grow deep in your Christian life.
2. "For the work of the ministry". This is defined in Acts 6:4. This verse tells us "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." Some of the functions that people expect from a pastor rob him of that time he must use to giving the Word of God. I have found that I am spending more time in study each year. The more time I spend in this Book, the more I want to know. For years, I have studied for you. But now I find myself studying for me. If it does something to me, then it will benefit you.
3. "For the edifying of the body of Christ" - This is that building up the church. Too much going on in the name of Christ builds up self. Let give one. Speaking in tongues edifies self. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:4 “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.” What is prophesying? In the Greek, it means the parting of divine revelation. This was usually in a form of a sermon. One thing I do know for certain, that prophesying would fail according to 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
In the church of Corinth there were lots of people who were prophesying and speaking in tongues. Paul told those believers that both of these are imperfect when that which is perfect is come. Our Bible is the only perfect thing that could fit the bill. We do not need prophecies to exist today. Those folks in Corinth did not have a completed Bible such as we have today. Peter says we have a more sure word of prophecy. He is referring to the Bible. Why do we need prophecies when the last chapter is revealed? Most of the today's prophecies that people speak of are nothing less than Christian fortune telling according to Joseph Chambers. Joseph Chambers is a Pentecost preacher who blasts most of these activities.
As I have said on numerous occasions, the church is a living organism. It must be organized or it will die. Leadership is a part of spiritual organization. In this chapter we will find the office of a pastor and deacons. These are the guidelines for both of the offices of the church. You will not find a treasurer mentioned in the organization of the church. I am not trying to down play that office but it is not mentioned in Bible as a church office. So many other offices and titles in most churches today do not hold the same authority or place as a pastor and deacons. I had planned to just preach one message on this passage but due to the confusion of today's society and its importance, I will be spending several services on it.
A pastor should have one goal in his ministry and that is to be a servant of Jesus Christ as he works in the church. A servant must be pure in his heart before he can help others. This passage (verses one through seven) gives the qualities that are to be found in a pastor's life and family. This does not mean that as a pastor that I completely shine in each of these. It should be my desire and direction to be those things as outlined by Paul for the qualifications of a pastor. If you look up the words "bishop", "pastor", and "elder", you will find that there are synonymous for each other.
The Greek work for elder is presbutes, which means "an old man." It does not necessarily mean old in age as it deals with mature. One friend of mind said that he thought most men ought to wait until they are forty years old before they pastor a church. Forty is an age that we ought to be more mature and not so rash. For some men, they could eighty years old and not ever quit being rash.
You could illustrate maturity in the Bible with a man who pastored a large congregation in the Bible. In fact, he pastored the congregation for forty years. He still done rash things at times even in the latter years of his ministry. The man was Moses. For the first forty years of his life, he thought he was something. He thought he would try to deliver the people out of bondage with force and murder. It made him a criminal in the sight of the law and even his own people.
The next forty years he was in the desert tending his father- in-law's sheep. He thought he was a nobody. In the eyes of the world, he was lowest of the low. That assessment was pretty much on the money. But he learned a lot of valuable lessons doing this seemingly meaningless task. He will figure out later that this was in the plan of the Omniscient One. He learned some lessons attending sheep that would be handy when leading people.
The last forty years of his life, he learned God can and does a nobody and makes a somebody out of him for His glory. He led the children of Israel from Egypt to Canaan. Even though, it took forty years, God knew what must be done in the lives of the children of Israel. For one thing, the adults had too much Egypt in them. They kept remembering the past. The children who would grow up on the road would not remember the past. Moses was better equipped for the task of leading the children of Israel to the Promised Land in those last years of his life.
I want to give you some thoughts in regards to a pastor. I forgot to give you the meaning of the word pastor from the Greek. It means "shepherd" which is one who leads and cares for the flock of God.
any further, let me give the picture of a perfect pastor. He preaches
exactly 20 minutes and sits down. He condemns sin but never hurts anyone's
feelings. He works from 8AM to 10PM in every type of work from preaching
to taxi service. He makes $60.00 a week, wears good clothes, buys good
books regularly, has a nice family, drives a good car and gives $30.00
a week to the church. He also stands ready to contribute to every good
work that comes along. He is 26 years old and has been preaching for
30 years. He is tall, short thin and heavy set, plain looking but handsome.
He has one brown eye and one blue eye. His hair is parted in the middle,
the left side is straight and dark, and the right side is blond and
wavy. He has a desire to work with the teens but spends most of his
time with the older folks. He smiles all the time with a straight face.
He makes 15 calls a day on church members while visiting the unchurched.
While checking on the sick at their bedside, he never leaves his office.
He is truly a remarkable person and he doesn't exist.
I. THE MODEL FOR THE SERVANT OF THE CHURCH. Vs. 1-7
This office of the church is for men only. The first verse says plainly "If a man". This could not be plainer. But in case it is not, then go through these seven verses and you will find eight male pronouns. Let's look at them together so there can be a misunderstanding. Verse one you find the word "he". Very plainly this is a male pronoun. In verse four, you find the male pronoun "his" twice. In verse five you find the words "his" and "he". In verse six, you find the male pronoun "he". And in verse seven you find the pronoun "he" twice. How a woman could justify pastoring a church is beyond me! I realize that in some circles, this will not help me win friends or influence enemies but I am just reading God's Word on the subject. I am not anti woman. This is God's Word on the subject. It means what it says and says what it means. If that leaves any doubt that it is to be a man who is in this leadership position then verse two, which tells us that he is to be the husband of one wife.
Let me go forward. If a man desires the office of a pastor, he desires a good work. This word "good" means excellent.
If a man could attain to a higher position in life, I do not know what it would be. One preacher said that he would not stoop to be a king or president because he was a pastor. I wrote these words on the page beside 2 Timothy: "Thank you, Lord, for making me a pastor." That day was December 23, 1989. It was one of those consequential events in my life. As a pastor, I have not been perfect. It has been my desire that the church grow in grace and in truth. I have made my share of errors. Some of them were errors in judgment and some errors in lack of experience.
What are some of the motives for pastoring a church? Let me start with some of the wrong ones first.
Some people may laugh at such a suggestion but there are some men in the ministry for a regular paycheck. They do not have to work very hard for it either. They subscribe to a sermon company who writes their sermons for them. Or they preach the messages their denomination provides for them. They have regular hours. They are able to drive big cars, live in a nice home and so many other benefits. In themselves, these things are not wrong but when this is the end of the means of the ministry, they are wrong.
Some churches have an unwritten policy, which says “Lord, you keep our pastor humble and we’ll keep him poor.” I believe a church that is tune with the Lord will do its best for its pastor.
There is a certain prestige in pastoring. One person said that behind every successful pastor is a surprised mother-in-law. My own feels she has bragging rights now since I became a pastor. But this is a wrong motive for pastoring.
I am sure I could find others but this is the intent of the message. Let me give some of the right motives.
This should be the highest motivation of every minister of Jesus Christ. If my life pleases God, it does not matter who I don’t please.
These are a few motives for pastoring a church. This list is not exhaustive but for you to think on the subject.
Albert Barnes had this to say on verse one. “If a man desire. Implying that there would be those who would wish to be put into the ministry. The Lord, undoubtedly, by his Spirit, often excites an earnest and irrepressible desire to preach the gospel--a desire so strong, that he in whom it exists can be satisfied in no other calling. In such a case, it should be regarded as one evidence of a call to this work.”
There are sixteen qualifications mentioned in this passage. It would be virtually impossible to all these perfectly at all times but to strive for the mark is the goal for all men who want to please God in their ministries. Being a pastor is serious matter. It is an office that should not be entered into lightly. Lives are in the balance.
A. Blameless - The word literally means "nothing to take hold upon". This is that here must be nothing in his life that Satan or the unsaved can take hold of to criticize or attack the church. No man living is less but we must strive or to be blameless which can be said as a life that is above reproach.
Blameless in his dealings with the public is one area. I have seen some men who are in the ministry who treat the people outside their church with contempt. Or they look down their spiritual noses at those people. There are some people who are lost whom I have a lot of respect. They are honest men. I have had several mechanics that I respected in their dealings for they would go a long way not to even seem to cheat someone. There are some folks who say they are Christians whom I do not trust any further I could throw them. Why? They would cheat a blind man.
He should be a man against whom no charge of immorality, or of holding false doctrine, is alleged. His conduct should be irreproachable. Undoubtedly it means that if any charge could be brought against him implying moral obliquity, he is not fit for the office, he should be a man of irreproachable character for truth, honesty, chastity, and general uprightness.
B. One wife
This is rather plain. It is not the husband of one wife at a time. It means that a pastor must not be divorced and remarried. It does not refer to a pastor whose wife died and he remarried. It is dealing with the woman that he is presently married. A pastor home life is very important especially his martial status. This is also a requirement of a deacon.
A pastor who divorces and remarries opens himself and the church to criticism. This violates the spirit of the first qualification- blameless. If he cannot maintain his own marriage, then how can he advise others on how to maintain their marriages? This does not mean that pastors and their wives are not going have problems. By virtue of being a pastor opens a man up to Satan wanting to destroy the man's marriage. He knows that if the man has any character at all and will do as the Bible commands, then the man will step down as a pastor if his marriage falls apart.
It is wise to remember this. Paul is writing this in during a time when some men had many wives. Surely a church would not have a man as a pastor who has multiple wives.
This is dealing with being sober or watchful. It can mean keeping your head in all situations. It means to exercise sober, sensible judgment in all things. This includes withholding judgment until all the facts are known. Many times a pastor can make rash judgments before knowing all about a situation.
This means sober minded. It is a serious attitude and is in earnest about his work. Pastoring is a serious business. One wrong word or action can have eternal consequences in some one’s life. The idea is, that he should have his desires and passions well regulated.
This does not mean a pastor is to be somber and solemn at all times. God made man with a sense of humor. Laughter is good release from tension. Every pastor will have to learn to laugh at himself first.
This does mean that he knows the values of things and does not cheapen the ministry or Gospel message by foolish behavior and actions.
The words here refer back to a principle that has been covered previously. It is the word “modest”. It also has as it meaning as mannerly. Albert Barnes says a pastor should be a gentleman. He should dress and conduct as one. He also said that there is no excuse why he should not be. Being a gentleman has lost it meaning in today’s society. I try to be a gentleman when I stand when a lady comes on the platform to sing or give a testimony. This is not all that being a gentleman entails. I am just giving the jest of the thought.
Since this word refers back to the word “modest” which we previously learned means well arranged or “decently and in order”. I believe a pastor should be organized in his thinking and his living as well as in his teaching and preaching. There is enough chaos in the preaching and teaching world without adding to it.
This is one of the Christian virtues that Paul mentions in Romans 12:13.
“Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”
In the days when Paul wrote this epistle, traveling believers would need places to stay. There was not a Days Inn handy or even affordable. So other believers would open their homes to fellow believers.
It has been our privilege and honor to hosted many preachers throughout the years. My boys have gotten to know several of these men and respect them for the time they were in our home. One such preacher is Brother James Earls. He sat in my living room and watched cartoons with the boys so he could be with them.
Some people think that that the passage in Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave some …pastors and teachers” is one office in that they are connected together without a “some” between them.
Philip Brooks said this “Apt to teach is not something to which one comes by accident or by any sudden burst of fiery zeal.” I was thinking of what I heard a preacher said about one man’s message. He saw the man’s notes and at one place he saw this notation: “Weak point- yell.”
Teaching implies study of material. A pastor must be a careful student of the Bible. It is not something that comes easy for some. It comes from working at the subject at hand. The pastor who is lazy in his study is a disgrace to his calling.
Albert Barnes gives this comment in regards to this passage: ” As the principal business of a preacher of the gospel is to teach, or to communicate to his fellowmen the knowledge of the truth, the necessity of this qualification is obvious. No one should be allowed to enter the ministry who is not qualified to impart instruction to others on the doctrines and duties of religion; and no one should feel that he ought to continue in the ministry, who has not industry, and self-denial, and the love of study enough to lead him constantly to endeavor to increase in knowledge, that he may be qualified to teach others. A man who would teach a people, must himself keep in advance of them on the subjects on which he would instruct them.”
I was given a series of tapes to listen about preaching given at a seminary. I told my friend who loaned them to me that I almost wrecked several times with the wealth that I was listening. I believe that these will help our church as I continue in my study.
Paul encouraged Timothy to study.
2 Timothy 2:15
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
I believe that is a real need for men who are pastors to be students of the word. If they will be, then the doctrinal problems that Paul made reference in chapter one will not be a problem for the church.
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