A Word About Pastors
Well Happy New Year! As we start this new year, we are starting a new book. If the Lord wills, we will be looking at 7 small books of the Bible this year. we begin with the letter to Titus.
It was written by Paul to this partner in ministry, Titus. Titus was a Greek Gentile convert. He had been with Paul and Barnabas when they went to Jerusalem for the council meeting regarding Gentile conversions and the expectations for them. Titus was obviously evidence of what God was doing among the Gentiles around the world.
Paul had first come to Crete on his way to Rome before his 1st imprisonment. Later after his release he took Titus with him and left him there to help put the church in proper order and appoint elders / pastors in each city.
Paul wrote to encourage Titus in this tough assignment. This letter is thought to have been written in the summer of A.D. 66. This letter is for the edification of the church by encouraging good leadership and solid doctrine.
So, as we start today, I have then, A Word about Pastors
There are all kinds of preachers today. There are preachers who travel as Evangelists like I did in my early years of ministry. There are Media preachers who you may read, listen to or watch, but you will never meet and they will never have any accountability for you or to you.
Then there are preachers like me, who serve a local church week in and out. They study, pray, care, share lives, and give of themselves to a local body of believers. This instruction is for them … So, let’s see what Paul says about the Pastor read with me
READ Titus 1:1-3
Notice an important phrase in verse 3 tell us that God “brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted”
1 Cor. 1:21 says “… God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.”
Folks there is a lot of stuff we could classify as foolishness and most of it has foolish or meaningless results.
But the most profound and meaningful “foolishness” that is done week in and week out is when faithful godly men stand in the pulpit and bring to light the wonders of God through preaching.
Believer, we CAN read the Bible for ourselves and we SHOULD read it daily and meditate on. And we CAN pray to God and communicate with him by the Spirit within us. And we DO have the Holy Spirit within us to lead us into all truth.
But God has chosen, in his wisdom and plan, to reveal himself to us through his servants, pastors and teachers that he has given to the church to equip the body until we all achieve unity in Christ Jesus. There are things that God entrusts to the Pastor that you won’t get any other way or from anyone else
So, what does Paul teach us about Pastors?
So, let’s go back through these and see what Paul teaches us about Pastors
Leading people to Christ is not the END of the job of a church, if so we would only need evangelists and people with evangelistic hearts.
And just opening the doors of a church is not the end of the story.
Paul said, we need to straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders.
Elders = presbyteros – older, or ruler, mature,
And in verse 7 Paul describes the same people as those who
Overseer or episkopos = guardian; overseer
And he is a Steward with a TRUST from God, also in verse 7.
This is the call of the local church pastor to lead, and to guard, those entrusted to him by God
Not just ANY elders though, but ones with certain qualifications.
Let’s go down through the list given … Notice that these are not requirements of perfection but it is about the base character of the man.
Anenkletos (an-eng-klay-tos) = that cannot be called into account, unreproveable, unaccused, blameless
I think of the Father of John the Baptist, Zechariah, he was seen as a man who was Blameless, though not perfect. Noah was Blameless, not sinless.
That doesn’t mean perfect but it means that the account has been cleared. In regards to God, we are right with him, and in regard to people we are right with them. If there is an issue it is dealt with and the slate cleared.
In order to be blameless with God I first must be born again and second have to be in a state of having confessed known sin. And the same would be true in person to person relationships and so he has a good reputation.
He is blameless first in heart or home. He is a
I don’t have a lot of time to spend on each of these character traits. But it says that he is the “husband of but one wife” which really obscures for us the understood meaning from those who would hear it. It means that his commitment is toward ONE WOMAN. Does that mean he can only have been married to one woman ever in life? If that is true it disqualifies both divorced men AND men who have been widowed or abandoned.
Does it mean only one woman at a time with the numbers being whatever he wants? If so that it wouldn’t show much commitment or character. So let’s leave it at a man who is as we would say it a “one woman man” by character and look at the rest of the traits and come back to this in just a minute
He is blameless in his marriage relationship and he
“who’s children believe and are NOT open to the charge of being wild and disobedient”
That’s a tough one. The Pastor must be a faithful husband but also a successful father – i.e. he has won his own children, and trained them in such a way that the follow God. Does it mean they are perfect? No, but they are followers with a good reputation. Does that mean if a Pastor’s children have poor reputation that the pastor may be disqualified? Possibly. How? Well I think the question is has he been faithful to teach and to train or has he neglected them for the work of the church? If so he has forgotten his first jobs to be husband and father. If he is guilty of that then he perhaps is not ready and should step down and focus on his family for a time.
So, he is blameless at home … And then outside the home…
See the Elder doesn’t have his own reputation alone but the reputation of God and his work so he must be …
It doesn’t mean he’s wishy washy or directionless or even passionately pursuing a vision. But he must not be
Authades (ow-thad-ace) self-pleasing, self-willed, arrogant or stubborn
He may passionately purposes of God but without arrogance or stubbornness.
Again it doesn’t mean he never gets angry. Jesus got angry but without sin. And perhaps a pastor may sometimes get angry even in a wrong way … but the qualified pastor has a reputation that he is NOT
Orgilos = inclined to anger
If he has a reputation for always getting angry, having a quick temper then he is not qualified
He is blameless in his temper and
Now again, notice this is a character trait
Paroinos (par-oy-nos) addicted to wine, drunkard
This man should not be addicted to wine. Has he ever had a drink, that is not the question in THIS text
Let me just tell you for free in case you don’t know how I feel.
You may want to tell me that Scripture doesn’t say a Christian can’t drink and I would have to agree. But I believe that scripture is clear that it is a character break down if it controls you in ANY way.
I would also tell you that in modern day society and nutritional needs, I have NO use for alcohol.
I believe it is perhaps the most destructive force in America today
- It is the #1 drug problem
- There are more than 12 million alcoholics in the U.S.
- 75% of Americans drink in some form and 6% of those are alcoholics
- $197 million dollars is spent EVERY DAY on alcohol! We could wipe out poverty and world hunger with that money!!!!
- A person is killed in an alcohol related car accident every 30 minutes in America
- In 2000 nearly 7 million 12-20 year olds were binge drinkers
- 75% of High School seniors have been drunk at least once
- Those who drink before 15 are 4x more likely to become alcoholics than those who wait until 21.
- People with the highest education are MORE likely to drink – how about that
- As are people with a higher income. Hmmm
If you have a problem with alcohol or would like help keeping it from becoming a problem, do not be ashamed, do not hide it, do not be afraid, call me, come to me, and we will help you and support you.
Blameless in this area and
/Plektes (plake-tace) = bruiser, ready for a blow; pugnacious (eager to argue quarrel or fight)
The pastor must not be the kind that is looking for a fight. He does not RUN for a confrontation that is righteous, but he isn’t looking for a fight
And blameless in that he is
Aischrokerdes (ahee-skhrok-er-dace) = eager base gain or greedy for money
There were false teachers in Crete and verse 11 says they had an ulterior motive in their preaching it was just to line their pockets with money
It is Biblical to pay the pastor. Matter of fact Paul taught Timothy that pastors, especially those whose job is preaching and teaching are worthy of a DOUBLE HONOR … But that is not the REASON we preach and teach. It is something the church does so we can take our mind OFF the cares of the world and not be tempted toward a divided heart and mind.
So he is Blameless in his house
He is blameless in negative actions OUTSIDE of his house
But also he does the right POSITIVE things as well he is
What does he DO positively that give him a good reputation? … he is
Philoxenos (fil-ox-en-os) = generous to guests, hospitable
Is he welcoming? Does he LOVE strangers?
Second … he
Philagathos -(fil-ag-ath-os) = loving goodness
Does he rejoice in what is good, is his focus on what is good or does he take delight in the negative?
And then he is
Sophron - (so-frone) = of a sound mind, SANE, in one’s senses
“sober-minded” is another way. He isn’t out of his mind, or of on a crazy tangent, he gives sane advice or direction. He can be full of innovation without being foolish, wild, or reckless.
And he is
Dikaios (dik-ah-yos) = righteous, observing divine laws, virtuous
He knows he is FREE in Christ and YET still lives by the God’s ways and laws as an example and for a good reputation
/Hosios (hos-ee-os) = undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, dedicated, devoted to God
And his reputation is one who is
Enkrates (eng-krat-ace) = strong, having power over one’s self
Is he disciplined? Is he able to control himself … and that would be true of so many areas of his life. Thinking, doing, being …
One Woman Man
With all of that said, let me come back and address the instruction regarding the pastor being the “Husband of one woman” or literally being a “man of one woman”
One thing I want to say here and I want you to listen and open your thoughts and heart and please hear what I say and what I do NOT say. As we read through this list EVERY one is a Character trait. That is there is no understanding that the elder has never ever erred in these categories. But the thought is that in their current actions they are proving themselves to have these character traits in order. That is true in every aspect. In our development of this in the modern church we immediately and often permanently disqualify a pastor and in Timothy’s instruction a Deacon if they have ever been divorced because have broken that vow and been married twice. But this is NOT saying that. This instruction like all the others is instructing us to check their character. See if this man is a FAITHFUL man to his wife even if NEVER divorced. Do I think that an unfaithful pastor who then divorces his wife should just stay at his church office? NO. Because he has proven himself as unfaithful. But do I believe that a formerly divorced man, who has gone through a process of restoration, and over a period of time has again proven himself to be faithful in his Character can be considered as a Pastor and for that matter a deacon? YES I believe that restoration is possible.
Because, can a man who has at one point had a problem with drinking but been restored and proven have a chance? YES
What about one who has made mistakes in parenting, but has again proven themselves? YES
These are character traits.
Is Marriage VERY VERY important?
Is a broken marriage vow very serious? YES
Should a pastor, or deacon for that matter, be held to a high standard? YES.
But we must let the passage speak exactly as intended not just say what we have thought or want it to say.
So the entire point of these qualifications is to show the Character of the pastor that is without blame in all of these areas of his life because his character, though not perfect, is sound. He has a good reputation.
Now that is my longest exposition of what we have today but let me draw attention to some other things about our Pastoral Candidate now that he is qualified we see his …
Paul told Timothy to FIND the men who were qualified and then APPOINT them or Ordain them … they must be recognized and
Kathistemi (kath-is-tay-mee) = set, place, appoint to an office
What did Paul mean by this? Well it was his common practice
Acts 14:23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust
When a Pastor is recognized as qualified, then he is prayed and fasted over and then ordained or set apart.
We are all equal in God’s sight but not all equal in calling and office. The Pastor is set apart to the great responsibility that he has been given to Lead God’s local body and you don’t appoint yourself
I get frustrated with these preachers who you see one day and they are just a member of someone’s church and then you see them and they are calling themselves by some title, Pastor, Prophet, Evangelist, or whatever. He must be called out by the Body at God’s leading.
The Pastor is qualified, recognized and then solidified by the prayer, fasting and laying on of hands of the church.
I didn’t show up here and say “I’m going to be your pastor.”
I didn’t ask the Woodforest Baptist Church to Ordain me in 1991. They saw in me the call of God and they set me apart for this ministry.
Here, You sought God’s will, talked with me prayed over me, then consulted each other and the Lord and declared by vote that your desire was for me to accept the call as your Pastor and then you Installed me as your Pastor saying “we recognize your qualifications, and God’s will and we commit to follow your leadership”
Why is this important? Do we really need these kind of Pastors?
Oh yes, there IS An
This list of strict qualifications is because there was a Great Need for These Kinds of Pastors and the Need will be great as long as we are on this side of Eternity
V10 - FOR … You see in the towns in Crete as well as in many churches today there was/is an Absence of Substance in both pulpit and pew …
Anypotakto (an-oo-pot-ak-tos) not made subject, cannot be subjected to control, disobedient, INDEPENDENT
Paul said we need good pastors because there are people who just want to be “independent Christian contractors” – folks don’t believe that you or someone else doesn’t need a Pastor. I am concerned when I meet a person and they talk about their faith and commitment and I ask “where’s your church” or “who’s your Pastor” and they say “Oh I just float around”
I guarantee you that person is not in the will of God for their life and they most likely have a problem with authority.
Why is that important? Because you can’t respond to godly, loving leadership from a faithful pastorshepherd who you can see and touch you probably won’t respond to a Lordshepherd you can’t see.
Obedience starts in the home and works out from there and so it is with walking with Christ, we are taught that in the body and it works UPWARD from there …
There is an urgency because of “independent mindedness” and church folks who are
Mataiologos (mat-ah-yol-og-os) an idle talker, one who utters empty senseless things
Now folks he is building a case here for false teachers but it is true of those who have been misled by them
And there are
Phrenapates (fren-ap-at-ace) a mind deceiver, a seducer
There are those who no how to say the things that as he told timothy “tingle their ears”
Tell you what you want to hear … for their OWN benefit for dishonest gain …
And then did you see the biggest urgency … These are not outsiders, radicals, crackpots, but he says
He says this is especially true among the circumcision group or those who not ONLY follow Christianity but Follow the Law to the Letter as well thinking it makes them more religious
In a world that is saying “give me something, someone to believe in”
We need faithful Pastors who are recognized as qualified, and solidified as they are set apart in these urgent times;
and people ready to join them in the work of the Kingdom, as much as ever before.
So, what is the expectation of then of these Qualified and Ordained Pastors?
There is a need and work to be done
Epistomizo = put to silence
Why, because what they teach is false and the reason they teach it is selfish (dishonest gain)
Notice the concern is for the WHOLE HOUSEHOLD
The household is the foundation of society and thus for the church
A Pastor has a great task to protect the home by guarding against false teaching
As the home goes so goes our churches, communities, and countries.
Then Paul quotes a Creten prophet who centuries before had been quoted as saying that Cretens were “liars, evil brutes, and lazy gluttons” … His point was that in the natural state, you couldn’t believe them, they were looking to bully, and just gorged themselves on things they didn’t work for.
So HOW do you SILENCE these who are operating in the natural not the spiritual
You SPEAK THE TRUTH …
You know it might sound like from some of the qualifications that the Pastor should be a milk-toast push-over … no … he just needs to know when and where to use his strength …
Elegcho (el-eng-kho) - to convict, refute – generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted
The Pastor is not afraid when necessary to protect his people by standing up and pointing out error that is intended to hurt his people
This is not about being in charge, or being first, or anything else
This is for the PURPOSE of truth and developing God’s people for God’s work
/Hygiaino (hoog-ee-ah-ee-no) = sound, well, in good health, correct, well grounded
We are not talking about style, or worship preference, or minor differences we are talking about the nature of the Gospel, Christ, and his purpose in Salvation … People need to KNOW and LIVE in the Truth
And So, God has seen to it that you recognize, qualify, and solidify your Pastor …
Now, Paul had left Titus in this strategic place for a reason. He had charged him with a mission. He had a purpose and it was NOT just finding Pastors and making sure those few men did things right.
The purpose was developing churches full of fully devoted followers of Christ, equipped for every good work, active in their communities, enlarging the Kingdom of God through the presentation of the Gospel which still is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
So, New Life, I know I’m not perfect and that was never the expectation. But if I am equal to the call and the task;
If I have been set apart;
if I am living toward the expectations;
How should you respond to the leadership of this Pastor or any pastor?
The members of the local body of Christ have a responsibility to
- Listen to Truth
- Seek his counsel in the midst of the onslaught on our homes … don’t go through the challenges alone …
- Respond to his faithful though “foolish” in the world’s eyes scriptural admonition and rebuke
- Adjust to the Truth Presented
As we begin a new year, will New Life Bapitst Church be a social club or a life change center?
Will this be a concert hall and lecture center or an equipping facility for Kingdom work?
Will I be a nice guy who makes some suggestions and visits you in the hospital and says some words at weddings and funerals or a God appointed vehicle to bring light into your life through the God ordained preaching of the Word?
You know what light is for don’t you; it is to illuminate the right path and to illuminate your path to protect against unseen dangers.