The Life of the Church Preserved
Through the Spiritual Life and Purpose of the Pastor
June 16, 2002 Topical – Pastoral Epistles
ILLUS.: Jesus Freaks, p. 130-132
ILLUS.: God, Give Us Men!, Josial Gilbert Holland in The Best Loved Poems of the American People.
Central to this topic is a word search on eusebeia meaning godliness, religion or piety.
It appears 10 times in 10 verses in the Pastoral Epistles, and it is found only there in the writings of Paul.
The spiritual life or godliness or true religion of the pastor sets the tone of spiritual life in the church.
The pastor can take no one further than what he has already come, or is willing to go, in the spiritual life.
He must be in process ahead of the flock. He cannot lead unless he is in front.
Driving from the rear scatters the flock.
But the result, and the desire of the pastor, is that everyone in the church should be godly.
Since this is Father's Day, let's take this to the next level of application.
Just as the spiritual life of the pastor is vital to the church, the spiritual life of the father in a family is vital to that family.
Just as the church flock will in large part take its cues by purpose and by default from the pastor, so too the wife and children in a family will become whatever they will be as affected by the father in one degree or another.
In general he can take them no further than he is willing to go – they generally can go no further than he is willing to go.
His leadership is much more effective in front leading than from behind driving.
His desire should be for a godly family.
And we know that it is a scriptural principle that the husband is the head of the home and the priest of his own family like the pastor of a church.
Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
(1 Corinthians 11:3 NIVUS)
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
(Ephesians 5:23 NIVUS)
1. The Effective Pastor (Father) Must Desire Godliness
– 1Tim. 2:2
Timothy is given direction regarding prayer for himself as well as for the church in order that the quest for godliness may proceed unhindered from trouble as much as possible.
It is further explained that this is God's desire so it therefore must be ours.
In short, the pastor must pray (and teach prayer) with an end toward godliness.
2. The Effective Pastor (Father) Must Define Godliness – 1Tim. 3:16
After writing about conduct in worship and qualities of leadership, Paul describes the church as the household of the living God and the pillar and foundation of the truth.
He does this, no doubt, as part of the reason for its righteous requirements. But then he proceeds to further elaborate on what he means by "living God" in his rationale for those requirements, now renamed godliness.
The mystery of the living God is seen in the living Christ, resurrected and glorified.
So the definition of godliness can be seen in the life of Christ as the example for all people in the church, beginning with church leadership of whom the pastor is head under Christ.
3. The Effective Pastor (Father) Must Prioritize Godliness – 1Tim. 4:7-8
Timothy is charged to put a proper perspective on the body and not to fall into the false asceticism of the false teachers.
Certainly the body is to be under control, but that control is spiritual, not physical, even though the physical can not be entirely discounted.
Priority in training must be in godliness which has value beyond this life. This should be the pastor's focus.
4. The Effective Pastor (Father) Must Expand Godliness – 1Tim. 6:6, 11
In case godliness becomes a burden in conflict with other desires, Paul exhorts Timothy to add contentment to it as the greatest means of (spiritual) gain.
If the truth would be known, a forced godliness is not true godliness.
We must not begrudge God our purity of heart so vital to the life of the pastor and the church he leads.
Paul specifically addresses this all to Timothy in 1Tim. 6:11 where he expands godliness with other spiritual qualities that surround and inhabit it.
5. The Effective Pastor (Father) Must Uphold
Godliness – Titus 1.1
Paul writes as an apostle to Titus in order to encourage the elect in faith according to the truth that leads to godliness.
So his bottom line purpose of writing is to promote godliness among those who are the elect of God.
He goes on further to say that it all rests on the hope of eternal life through Christ as established from before the beginning of time.
The entire letter then rests on the assumption of promoting godliness to secure the life of the church for which he is contending through his pastor-servant, Titus.
Titus is to teach and uphold godliness.
6. The Effective Pastor (Father) Must Expose Ungodliness – 1Tim. 6:3, 5
Godliness is upheld at the conclusion of a discussion about choosing church leadership carefully.
Those who do not agree with godly teaching (found in the teachings of Jesus) are exposed as troublemakers.
Furthermore, they might be suspected of ulterior motives in using their false godliness as a means of financial gain.
The pastor is charged (by implication as church leadership – 1Tim. 6:11) not to be one of these.
7. The Effective Pastor (Father) Must Reject Ungodliness – 2Tim. 3:5
In the context of the unholy attitudes and actions that will increase in the last days, it will evidently be possible to appear godly without the reality of it.
The telling factor regarding this will be that these people will indeed have only the appearance with nothing to back it up.
They will have no power which means they have no consistent enduring spirituality.
To the man of God this should be evident, and Timothy is charged to have nothing to do with such people who falsify godliness.
The pastor must remain spiritually separate from ungodliness no matter how it appears.
So here we see a progressive explanation of the importance of godliness for a church through the life of its pastor, and by extension, for a family through the life of its husband and father.
For those men in God-ordained positions, leadership happens whether we want it to or not, for good or ill, depending on the leader we ourselves are willing to follow.
If our desire is for God, then a desire for godliness is what we will model and teach.
The greatest gift you can give to your church or your family, or your nation for that matter, is godliness.
This is what God in human form came to portray to us all in Christ. So men, are we willing to give ourselves as he gave, to bring life to those he loved?
Everything you do will either add or subtract to his effectiveness.
But praise God that in the end it is he who is sovereign.
And if you have failed, you can always begin again in him.
ILLUS.: Godly Men, song by Promise Keepers