Summary: Two instructions given to the church regarding the elders that Timothy would appoint
Text: 1 Tim 5:17-20, Title: Shhh, Here Comes The Preacher, Date/Place: WHBC, 9/2/18, AM
A. Opening illustration:
B. Background to passage: Explain the structure of leadership in the church regarding a plurality of elders and deacons. Timothy, being an apostolic delegate, would appoint and help the church affirm its elders. Paul wanted Timothy and the church to know how to interact/treat them once Timothy was gone.
C. Main thought: Two instructions given to the church regarding the elders that Timothy would appoint.
1) Pay Them Well (v. 17-18)
a. Paul speaks about elders who rule well. To rule has two connotations that keep it from coming across as heavy-handed, or dictatorial rulership. It meant to direct, lead, be the head of, have authority over, manage, and it also mean to care for and watch over. The word for honor meant price that was paid for something or for service rendered. It was used other places in Greek society to speak of payment for a doctor. The point was that church elders who worked at teaching and preaching were to be paid and taken care of. All elders were permitted to be paid if needed, but the ones who regularly taught they word of God were supposed to have their needs met.
b. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. 7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house,” -Luke 10:2-7
c. Illustration: Unfortunately, some people treat missionaries like they shouldn’t have any comforts at all. In fact, one missionary friend of mine received a Facebook message that scolded her for posting pictures of her family enjoying time together. What?! Missionaries should have fun too. God doesn’t call us to things in order make our lives terrible. Instead, he wants to do something only he can do by way of our obedience. He’s a kind and loving Father. He wants to use us for his glory, not punish us for our obedience. -IMB missionary Samantha Conners, David and Cameron’s pics, or his truck.
d. Use caution, it’s easy to import a business model into the church, into the family. The church of Jesus Christ is not a business. At the same time, we have to be good stewards of the resources given to our church. This also assumes that you are giving. Remember the importance and calling of what they do. There have been/are extremes that swing both ways, we must avoid them. Some megachurch pastors or ministries have fleeced the flock to live lavish lifestyles. Some have just been overpaid. On the other hand, there are those who look at any possession a pastor may have and decide that the preacher is making too much. Sometimes, we feel like we live in glass houses because of many decisions we make. I am going to miss a Sunday in the next couple months, haven’t missed one since I’ve been here, but it has entered my mind, what are people going to think. A happy medium need to be reached, not simply based on current trends, but on a particular elder and his needs. The desire of a congregation should be to love their elders, especially the ones who regularly preach, and ensure that they are taken care of. The expression of this love should be done within the confines of the resources needed by the pastor and provided by God. The example we have is Christ himself; we give because he gave; we love because he loved; we look upon the needs of others, even those that serve us, because he did; the gospel compels. However, Christ didn’t just die to provide us an example, but he died that we might have life. We are to proclaim that gospel, and we take of those who proclaim it among us, because it saves, and gives power to those who believe.
2) Charge Them Carefully (v. 19-20)
a. Paul also assumes that elders are like all other people. He teaches indirectly that pastors/elders are going to sin! They are regular people. Yes, they are leaders, examples, people you can imitate, hopefully mature in their faith, but they are real people, with real struggles. They are however, people whose livelihood and confidence from others is founded upon their personal integrity and reputation in dealing with sin. Even an accusation of impropriety can be destructive, maybe destroying to a pastor’s ministry. So, even though Facebook wasn’t invented yet, Paul knew that accusations can fly very easily, and would. He urged caution in dealing any charge against an elder. With that in mind, he says not even to hear a charge against an elder unless there is evidence presented by two or three witnesses. He does acknowledge that some will be guilty of the sin brought to their attention, some will repent, others will not. For those that don’t, they were to be rebuked (warned sternly) in the congregation so that others would realize the seriousness of the ministry of an elder.