Summary: A message for the church that relates to ministering to those who teach us God’s Word every week.
“How to Minister to the Minister”
Well, this morning we are continuing in our series from the Pastoral Epistles we are calling “Footsteps of the Faithful.” Now let me recap some of what’s been covered in this series of messages. In chapter one we talked about the church and its message. In chapter two we talked about the church and its members. In chapter three we talked about the church and the minister and last Sunday night Bro. Lew covered the first part of the church and its ministry. And this morning I want to continue there. The first part of chapter 5 deals with the church’s ministry to our senior citizens and the older and younger widows. This morning I want to bring a message entitled, “How to Minister to the Minister.” Turn with me to I Timothy chapter 5. We’re going to be looking at verses 17-25 (Read).
A few weeks ago we were talking about authority and praying for those in leadership positions. And that’s something we should certainly do! One of the reasons we need to do that is this, there is a genuine lack of leadership in our society today. And not only that, there is also a lack of people who want to be led. There was a song from years ago that went something like this, “Nobody wants to play rhythm guitar behind Jesus. Everybody wants to be the lead singer in the band.” Folks, as funny as that sounds, it’s true! How many of you have seen the TV show the Apprentice? If you’ve ever seen that show, you that once those people get in that boardroom with Donald Trump, one of the top things he and his associates look at is how these were at leading the people they were in charge of. Now, first of all, why anyone would want to work for Donald Trump is beyond me. I mean, isn’t there enough pressure with the jobs we have? Leadership is high on the list for those in positions of authority.
In many ways there is a genuine lack of leadership today. And there are certainly areas where leadership is needed. We need leadership in the government. We need leadership in our military. We need leadership in our school system, and we certainly need leadership in the church today. It’s important for this generation to have strong church leadership. Churches need a take charge kind of guy because if they don’t, churches stay the same year after year without any change and that’s not healthy for any church because nothing much happens in a stagnant church. Now, in these verses of scripture you see the word “elder.” There is the word episkopoi which means “to oversee.” Then there’s the word presbuteroi which means “to be advanced in life or a senior.” Episkopoi refers to the nature of their work (pastor) and presbuteroi refers to their maturity of Christian experience. In the context of this passage of scripture, this is referring to the pastor or pastors. It refers to all of the leaders of the church in a sense, but mainly here it’s directed at the pastor as the overseer of the church. In the early church it was not uncommon for them to have several pastors or at least more than one. The pastor is the spiritual leader of the church. He is the under shepherd of the flock. His responsibility is to teach God’s Word, direct the church as God leads, keep the congregation focused on God’s plan, and to protect the flock from false doctrine. Plus be available when needed. But let me say this, the pastor may be the spiritual leader but that doesn’t make him a spiritual dictator. I Peter 5:2-3 says, “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly. Nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” That’s why there are qualifications listed in chapter 3. A pastor is to lead by example. Let me also say that this message wasn’t very easy to prepare for. As your Associate Pastor, I am one of the elders of this church and this message is aimed at honoring your spiritual leaders. I am always humbled when I get the opportunity to preach a message from God’s Word and a lot of times we don’t get to choose what we want to speak about. It just so happens that this is something this series from I Timothy deals with, so I’m going to deal with it too!
Now, I said a minute ago that there was a possibility that there were several elders in the early church. It’s evident that Timothy is the senior elder because Paul is directing this at him. But there’s a good possibility that Timothy was having problems with some of the other elders. You see, Timothy is a young man and he still has a lot to learn. And Ephesus is not is easiest place in the world to minister. It was full of sorcerers and astrologers and worship to the goddess Diana. To make things even harder, Timothy is following Paul as the pastor of this church. He has big shoes to fill. There was a lot expected out of him, just like it will be hard for whoever follows Adrian Rogers as the next pastor of Bellevue Baptist in Memphis. Paul had personally chosen Timothy to take his place. But in spite of that this young pastor was having a hard time. You know this could account for why Paul mentions in verse 23 about Timothy using a little wine for his stomach’s sake. Wine was used then and still is today for medicinal purposes. They didn’t have a drug store to run to 24 hours a day like we do. They had to use what was available at the time. And this is not an endorsement for the alcohol industry because in the context of this scripture it was used for a stomach ailment.