Summary: A message to detail the Pauline admonitions concerning elders.
Principles for Pastoral Relations
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. 19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
I've got to be honest, I've never preached from this passage because those who have taken the time to get to know me know that the last thing in the world I want is to draw attention to myself. I am being completely honest in that respect but tonight is one of those times when God has led me to a passage that has some principles for pastoral relations. There are obviously more than these three but that is all the time that I have tonight because I know that like me you want to all those good things the Lydia WAC has cooked up for us tonight. The first thing that I want to deal with to set the stage for this message is the word "...elder..." The ordinary sense of Greek - presbuteros is for "older man." There is evidence that this is what Paul had in mind here. I am going to simply take for granted that he means older experienced pastors/ministers. In the Middle East there is certainly a tradition that affords the older men a degree of consideration and this would only be intensified in the church. Paul writes:
1 Timothy 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
This brings me to the first admonition that Paul (the elder) would share with this young minister:
I. The Elders Respect
a. His merits
1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
How many of you know how difficult it is today to find a man who is Biblically qualified to be an elder who teaches and preaches the Word? All you have to do is to look around at the churches who cannot find a pastor because of the shortage of qualified men. If you have a man of God who meets these qualifications then thank God because they do not "grow on trees," contrary to popular belief.
b. His management
To rule well is literally, "preside well," with wisdom, ability, and loving faithfulness, over the flock assigned to them.
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Do you how long it takes for a minister to learn to "do church?" It takes years before you can know how to lead a church and oversee its activities, to insure that all things are "...done decently and in order..." If you church's ministry is well run it is not an accident. It happens because of the right leadership. Be thankful for it!
c. His ministry
The word labor refers to those who faithfully discharge the duty of preaching (the word) and the doctrine (teaching).
Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
II. The Elders Remuneration
a. The authority
Notice that Paul begins this section with a reference to the Scripture. For you and I there can be no higher authority than the Bible and it says that those who are taught should be a blessing to those who teach.
Galatians 6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
b. The affirmation
Twice Jesus himself uses this same metaphor to indicate that those who rule well and labor in the word and doctrine should be compensated and yet you will find that quite often the minister compensation becomes a "bone of contention" in the local church. Some say that he is paid too much and others too little but in either case the teaching of Scripture is clear.