What Preachers Wish The Church Knew About Preachers (LHCOC)
What Preachers Wish The Church Knew About Preachers
1 Timothy 4:1-5
1. 10 months ago I preached a lesson entitled, “4 things I want you to know.” In this lesson we discussed the following points:
a. My job is to preach and not to offend (while some may be offended by the truth, I have an obligation to preach the truth and the admonition to do it in a loving manor).
b. I am fallible and will make mistakes (do not trust in me, trust in the Lord, do not take my word for it, but look to the Bible for truth).
c. Do not place me on a pedestal (I am no different than you are; I am just exercising my talents in different ways than you. I do not need a fancy title or a choice seat.)
d. I am here to work with you not for, behind, or against you (Working together is God’s plan for His church. “United we stand, divided we fall.”)
2. Our lesson today is entitled, “What preachers wish the church knew about preachers.”
a. Much of this lesson is adapted from a lesson preached by Steve Higginbotham.
b. There are five things that every preacher needs to understand and wishes the congregation he works with can understand too…
I. UNDERSTAND THE WORK OF A PREACHER IS PREACHING
A. Preacher: somebody whose occupation is to give sermons, preach the gospel, or conduct religious services (Encarta dictionary).
1. This point may sound rather fundamental, but it needs to be said.
2. If I were to survey the audience would you not agree that we would have many different opinions of what the work of a preacher was?
3. Think of the extra-biblical expectations put on preachers today.
a. Requirements – at least 35 years old, married, Bible degree, at least 5 yrs. experience.
b. Expectations – mow the grass, at least 2 Bible studies a week, make 1 visit a day.
Jackson Article: Sixth, a preacher can only do so much. He cannot do adequate study, try to call upon people in the hospital, take care of the bulletin, hold gospel meetings, write helpful Bible literature, do personal counseling for folks with family problems, conduct funerals, handle weddings, give his family some quality time, and, on top of that, make social calls to everyone in the congregation. Visitation is the duty of every Christian, and anyone can do it. The minister should do his share, but his “share” is no more than anyone else’s.
B. In order to accomplish this, much time is needed in study and preparation.
C. The work of a preacher can be best summed up in 2 Timothy 4:1ff.
1. Preach the Word (v. 2) [Content].
2. Be faithful in and out of season (v. 2) [Constance].
3. Reprove, rebuke, and exhort (v. 2) [Balance].
4. Don’t compromise (vs. 3-4) [Virtue].
5. Be watchful (v. 5) [Informed].
6. Endure hardship (v. 5) [Persevere].
7. Do the work of an evangelist (v. 5) [Preach].
8. Fulfill your ministry (v. 5) [Leave nothing undone].
II. UNDERSTAND THAT PREACHER’S AREN’T PERFECT
A. Preachers are not immune to sin (1 Cor.1:10-17).
1. Many have departed from the faith because of the unfaithfulness of leaders in the church.
2. Many have been divided because of putting their hope and glory in fallible man and not in Christ (cf. 1 Cor.1:10-17).
B. Preachers need patience, gentleness, and forgiveness as much as anyone else does.
C. While the apostles carried a higher office than an evangelist (cf. Eph.4:12), they still made it known that they were fallible men (Acts 10:24-26; 14:11-16).
1. When Cornelius began to worship Peter, Peter told him, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.”
2. When Barnabas and Paul began to be worshiped they said, “We are also men with the same nature as you.”
III. UNDERSTAND THAT PREACHER’S NEED DIRECTIONS
A. As we have already noted, people have different expectations when it comes to the work of a preacher. Would we not agree that expectations will be met only if the expectations are made know?
B. God does expect us to do anything more or less that what He has revealed to us (1 Cor.2:9-12).
1. This is especially true when it comes to visitation.
2. Let me know how I can help you.
C. Preachers need to know your needs in order to help you with them.
IV. UNDERSTAND THAT A PREACHER’S SALARY IS WAGES EARNED, NOT CHARITY
A. Some may feel that they are better than the preacher, because they contribute to his salary, such is not the case (1 Tim.5:17-18; Gal.6:6-10).
1. A wise member noted, “We expect our preacher to be the best dressed person in the congregation, so we pay him enough to get the best clothes from the second hand thrift store.”
2. As it relates to the preacher and his salary, the apostle Paul spoke many times about the issue (1 Tim.5:17-18; Gal.6:6-10).
B. Paul used two OT examples to show that a minister is to earn his salary (1 Cor.9:7-12, 13-14).
1. The Ox and the farmer (vv.7-12).
a. It would be cruel for the farmer to bind the mouth of the ox and prevent him from eating the available grain. After all, the ox was doing the work. Paul correctly saw a spiritual principle in this commandment: The laborer has the right to share in the bounties.
b. The point is made in verses 11 and 12, “If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more”?
2. The Levities and the temple (vv.13-14).
a. The priests and Levites lived off of the sacrifices and offerings that were brought to the temple.
b. The application is clear: If the Old Testament ministers under Law were supported by the people to whom they ministered, should not God’s servants who minister under grace also be supported?
C. Preachers seek respect for their work, not for their egos, but the good of the church.
V. UNDERSTAND THAT A PREACHER’S JOB IS PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL, NOT ENFORCING IT
A. A preacher is not a fireman. Sometimes a preacher will hear the accusation, “You need to do something about him or her” (Titus 1:5, 9-11).
1. If the preacher is to be blamed, this should be handled according to Matthew 18, i.e. let him know he has offended you and settle your differences and move on.
2. If a preacher is not to be blamed but other problems occur, then the elders of the church are to handle this matter (Titus 1:5, 9-11).
a. Titus was left in Crete set in order the things that were lacking (v.5). What was the church there lacking? Elders.
b. While a church may exist today without elders, it is not functioning to God’s full standard, i.e. it is lacking.
[As I mentioned after Lamar presented the budget on December 30 of 2007, one of the focuses of 2008 is to teach what the Bible says about the structure and government of the local church.]
B. It is not my job to “cram the gospel down people’s throats.” It is my job to preach the truth in love (Eph.4:15).
C. Steve Higginbotham said, “The measure of a good preacher is not how many people respond or how much growth takes place, but whether he has been faithful to proclaim the truth.”
1. This is so true. Many measure successes today by how many people are baptized, how many members a local church has, how much money the church has or gives away.
2. Success is not measured by these things. True success is found through the proclamation of the gospel of Christ (Rom.1:16), we must do our part, and God will do His (1 Cor.3:6).
a. This is why I am so excited about the mailing of the HTH publication. Through this effort, we may only get a few phone calls, maybe a few visitors, maybe even a few Bible studies.
b. Through this effort we may see a lot of growth, have several baptisms and restorations, only God knows.
c. But in either case we will be successful! Why is that? Because we will be faithfully proclaiming the gospel to potentially thousands of people every other month!
1. Brethren, if we will all do what we are supposed to do, respect each other’s roles, work together, who or what can stop us?
2. As I have said many times, we must realize where we can help the most in the kingdom of God, and work together to see that God’s will is being done in our lives first.