By: Larry Payne
“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)
“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow
that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. (I Thessalonians 5:12-15)
Today’s lesson emphasizes the biblical perspective in which the saints should view ministers and the biblical response of saints to their ministry. Today’s lesson includes all areas of the ministry that God
has given to the church.
The greatest institution on earth is God’s church, which was purchased with His own blood. Its glory, might, and majesty are far above any man-made, worldly organizations or endeavors. In fact, no earthly organization or movement can be favorably compared with God’s ecclesia or “called out ones.” His church is superior, not because of its own merits, but because it was been blood-bought and endued with the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.
Throughout the Word of the Lord, we can readily see the great importance that God has always placed on human instrumentality. He made a nation out of Abraham. Moses was chosen of the Lord to be the deliverer of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. God used men, who became prophets of old, to declare His will and message to His people, sometimes because of their backslidden condition and at other times in order to foretell of a greater day. The purpose for the calling of the disciples in the New Testament was to establish the kingdom of God. The Early Church became a spiritual giant not only because of Pentecost but also because of its God-given leaders after Pentecost who were divinely chosen to establish the church and to lead it from victory to victory and glory to glory.
God’s plan has not changed in these last days. He is still counting on men to do His bidding in today’s world. In our midst are great ministers of the Lord who have been divinely ordained by the Spirit to provide the spiritual impetus and leadership for the final relay of God’s church. These men are first of all Christians in every sense of the word. Their lives are in accordance with the requirements in becoming a minister as laid down in the Bible. They have been set aside as special vessels of the Lord. The minister’s powerful anointing comes from God. Apostolic power and authority reside in that holy unction from above. God will always stand by His man. For those under the leadership of a God-called minister, a clear understanding of God’s investment in that man will help them to regulate their lives according to the plan of God.
If any of us are saved, it will be because somebody preached the Word of the Lord to us. How thankful we should be for conscientious men of God who will boldly proclaim the “good news”with a heart full of love.
I. Know Them – The Minister’s Service
A. The Deception of Ungodly Leaders
None of us like to be deceived. We go to great lengths to avoid someone who may take advantage of us or something that would eventually cause us much hurt. Most people are very concerned when it comes to making major purchases that they get the best deal that they possible can without sacrificing necessary quality.
It is sad that there are so many in today’s world who are being deceived in regard to spiritual matters. One of the signs that Jesus gave to His disciples pertaining to the endtime was the prevalent deception in
religion. Even the elect, the church, stands in danger of being deceived.
The sad thing about being deceived is that people do not realize that they are deceived; they actually believe that they are correct in their theology and actions. Many, especially in our day, are absolutely closed-
minded when it comes to examining the Scriptures. However, there are many hungry hearts still in this world that are open-minded and will respond in the affirmative when they are presented with truth. Thus it becomes our responsibility to try to reach every honest heart with the soul-saving gospel of Jesus Christ.
Every year countless people are led to final spiritual destruction simply because they followed someone who will not declare the fulness of the truth. No one “forces” these people to follow ungodly leaders; they follow willingly. They will not stop to search out the truth for themselves; they are content to continue to follow a strong leader, regardless of his claims.
People are often caught up in the nostalgic craze of old-time things. Antiques are “in.” One thing, however, must never be secondhanded and that is our spiritual experience. Each one of us must search out and experience for himself what truth really is. All too often people belong to particular denominations for no other reason that the fact that their parents or grandparents belonged to that denomination. We must never be satisfied with “hand-me-down religion.” It is to our eternal advantage to search out the Scriptures and then submit ourselves to a God-called pastor who will watch out for our souls in preaching to us all of the Word of God. Even our own Pentecostal youth must never rest upon the laurels of their parents or grandparents when it comes to knowing God. Somewhere along the line, in order to stand in the day of testing, each of us must have his own personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
We are told clearly in God’s Word to know them which labor among us. A good, solid organization helps us to carry out this Scriptural admonition. No minister is an entity in himself. Certain rules and regulations must be followed if he is to continue to be a part of the great fellowship and work of the church. Should a minster ever fail to live up to his great responsibilities, safeguards and procedures must be set up to eliminate the malady. We must make sure that those who labor among us are worthy to do so. While there is no higher call than the call of God into the ministry, a man who is called of God should not balk at submitting himself to a set of principles that insure a clean and righteous ministry. Those who are under the leadership of a pastor who himself is subject to others can rest assured that his life is worthy of his calling.
A shepherd-sheep relationship develops between a pastor and his congregation. This does not always come quickly, but rather over a matter of years as the pastor proves himself to the sheep. They know him. They
come to love him. They know his voice and will not follow another. It is a most beautiful relationship. Strong churches are built by strong men who put many years into the task. When the pastor and congregation really “know” and understand one another, an almost unbreakable bond of love will result.
B. The Minister’s Burden, Love, Service
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in mv heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ
for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:1-3)
The tremendous burden of the ministry poured from the heart of the Apostle Paul. He set the pattern for apostolic ministers to follow, and that pattern springs from a heart of selfless love.
It would be nearly impossible for a church to really know the burden that a pastor carries. He is not in the ministry for what he can get out of it, but rather for what he can give. In fact, most ministers pour out their
lives for others because of the call of God and the burden that accompanies it.
All too often the laity gets a distorted view of the ministry. They see some glamour and feel the honor given to the man of God. However, glamour and honor in no way compare with the burden of a true man of God. There are sleepless nights spent in prayer, sudden crises that change scheduled plans, and caring about people who seemingly do not care about themselves. All of these are incorporated into the burden of the ministry.
God’s work cannot be done in an eight-hour day and then be left behind. The ministerial burden is always there. He is the servant of all – the shepherd of the sheep. Their needs come first and decide his activities
and schedule. God put the burden in his heart and he must fulfill the demands of that burden.
A person’s pastor is his best friend, for he has his welfare at heart. The pastor’s advice comes from love and concern for the spiritual, social, economical, and physical welfare of his congregation. He is not perfect in
his knowledge and he may make mistakes, but his advice is never to be taken lightly.
It is the burden and love for God and His people that propel a minister into service. While the time spent preaching or teaching the Word of God from behind the sacred desk is very important, it is only a part of the ministry. The minister’s work is not confined to the pulpit. In order to have a successful, thriving, dynamic church, he will put in hours of prayer, studying planning. He must have his heart in harmony with God’s will and then he can see clearly how to feed his flock and evangelize his community.
The duties of the ministry are wide and varied. Lack of personnel often forces a minister to perform some tasks which could be performed by others in the church. For example, if the church is a small congregation, a pastor may have to care for the maintenance of the building and grounds. While the pastor is to be the overseer of all aspects of the church, he needs those faithful ones to whom he can delegate certain tasks with the full assurance that they will be properly handled. This was practiced in the Early Church. (See Acts 6:1-7)
“Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (I Corinthians 9:14)
The Bible plainly teaches us that the laborer is worthy of his hire. There is the belief that a minister should work at a secular job for his livelihood. Although secular employment is not sinful and may be proper
for a particular situation, it is God’s plan for a minister to derive his living through the tithing of God’s people. No true saint would ever want his pastor not to prosper. It speaks well of a church if they take good
care of their pastor. With the spiritual burdens that are a part of the ministry, the minister and church will benefit when he does not have a financial burden to carry.
II. Obey Them
One of the primary ingredients in being a child of God is obedience. We cannot be spiritual if we are not obedient to those who have the rule over us. Obedience is very hard for some people, for they have failed to
conquer the carnality of pride. Therefore, they may go from church to church never submitting themselves to a pastor. They claim to be “free.” However, they are in direct opposition to the Scripture, which declare
that we are not our own, but we are bought with a price (I Corinthians 6:20) Liberty in God does not give anyone the license to do as he pleases.
On the other hand, God’s ministers are warned not to be lords over God’s heritage. When a minister exchanges his role of servitude for robes of rulership, he brings havoc to the cause of God. God will not tolerate the destructive attitude of a minister any more than He will condone the rebellion of a saint in the church. It is a dangerous thing to mistreat one of God’s little ones regardless who we might be. Our Lord will judge everyone in the day of judgment according to his faithfulness to His calling and work on earth.
The call of God into the ministry automatically brings with it a true apostolic power and authority. Called of God and equipped by God for the work of the ministry, ministers must preach the Word of God without fear or favor. The ministry must sound out a clear certain sound in these last days if the people are to prepare themselves for battle.
The pastor must be a strong, spiritual leader. Refusing to be manipulated by the special interests of cunning men, he exercises his talents and God-given power and authority to bring truth and faith to others. He is charged to declare boldly the whole counsel of God in order to keep wolves from devouring the sheep.
Obedience and submission is vitally necessary to the saint of God who wants to be found acceptable in God’s sight. This is one of the basic, fundamental principles of God’s Word. Stubbornness and rebellion will lead to damnation. The work of God is too great for some petty feelings to spoil or hinder it. Participation in worship services is necessary regardless of personal problems or differences. Obedience for the sake of the gospel is not an unnatural requirement, for Jesus became obedient to the awesome agony of Calvary’s cross so that we might have life and not death.
The pastor should not be opposed because he preaches the gospel. He is the messenger, not the Creator of the message. He brings tidings from God, and he must take care to deliver the tidings exactly as they are given him from God. The standards of godly living are not his own they are the principles of godliness in action. He must faithfully apply these principles in the cultural context of his congregation.
God has placed each of us in His kingdom. We are responsible to the Lord and the ministers whom He has placed over us. We must abide by the teachings of the ministry concerning such things as standards for holy living or church discipline. Saints should never try to live in opposition to the standards of conduct set in his local church regardless of the teaching of another church. We must be obedient to those who have the rule over us.
III. Esteem Them
Much honor and respect should be given to God’s true ministers. We should realize the years of preparation that have gone into the making of a man of God. The times of sacrifice are many. The hours of labor are abundant. However, God will award such sacrificial activity, for it does not go unnoticed by Him. We are also to honor and esteem the man of God whose life is fully devoted to the Lord and His work.
Our children should be taught to honor and esteem God’s ministers. This can best be accomplished by parents who always speak highly of the pastor, whether they are in the presence of their children or not. Respect is contagious. What the parents do, the children will do. Godly parents will live in such a way that their children will grow up with a high and proper estimation of the ministry. It is beautiful and gratifying to see a child who has been taught proper respect for the ministry.
We should never forget that ministers and their families are human. While they very seldom or never show it, there are times when they need to be encouraged. A kind word from a precious saint of God can do more for a pastor than a three-day vacation. He will feel that his work is appreciated and that he is doing his task well. A simple compliment on the preached Word or a small kindness will uplift his spirit and inspire
a minister in his work.
“If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?” (I Corinthians 9:11)
Giving to those we love and appreciate does a great deal in strengthening our relationships.
“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine” (I Timothy 5:17)
The Bible is very explicit when it comes to the treatment that should be given to ministers. The call of God into the ministry is by far the greatest call that could ever come to a human being. The office of the
ministry must be held in the highest esteem. As long as the man who occupies the lofty position of a minister conducts his life in a manner worthy unto the Lord and those whom he serves, he is most deserving of receiving honor from those who are under his watchful care. To fail to give honor to whom honor is due would be to disobey the Word of God.
Let us always remember that God uses men. Ministers have not elevated themselves into the position of the ministry, but have been placed there by God Himself. They are the voice of God to the Church and also the
world. May we never be guilty of relegating the voice of the ministry to just another voice in a world of chaos and confusion. It it the voice of God through men.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”(Romans 10:14)
As the ministers of God follow Christ, so are we to follow them. In this day of unscrupulous men in high places, how very thankful we should be for our godly leaders who do their part to make sure that the gospel is preached in love and righteousness. Such men should be revered very highly for their work’s sake.
The service that a minister renders is great. He is enormously concerned about those under his care. Therefore, he is to be obeyed, as he must give an account unto God for those to whom he ministers.
God’s ministers are to be held in high esteem by the saints of God. The laity should do all it can to hold up the hands of the ministry. They are worthy of our honor.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. What is the greatest institution on earth, which Jesus purchased with his own blood? ___________________________________________________________
2. What or whom did God chose to declare his will and message to his people? __________________________________________________________________
Please explain ___________________________________________________________
3. The sad thing about being deceived is that ____________________________
4. Strong churches are built by __________________________________________
5. Please explain I Corinthians 9:14 _____________________________________
6. Write out I Corinthians 6:20 __________________________________________
7. The call of God into the ministry automatically brings with it a true
8. The pastor is the messenger, not the __________________ of the message.
9. Please write out Hebrews 13:17 ________________________________________
10. Much ___________________ and ____________________ should be given to God’s true ministers.
11. How important is the ministry in relation to other professions? ______
12. Why should we be careful to know they which labor among us? __________
13. How important is it whether or not we obey those whom God has placed over us? _________________________________________________________________
14. What are some ways in which we can show our high esteem for the ministry? ________________________________________________________________
(The above material was published by Word of Faith Ministries, Azusa, CA.)
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