Posted by: Brad Beaman | November 3, 2008

Pastor: The Noble Task

                                

1 Timothy 3:1
If any man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.”

As pastor of First Baptist Church I found myself emotionally down one day and wondering why I was pastor of such a difficult church. Why couldn’t I pastor one of the vibrant first century churches that we read about in the New Testament? I was in my study and decided to take some time to list all the churches in the New Testament that I wished I pastored instead of First Baptist Church.

I first decided to get Corinth off the list. They were licentiousness and divisive and even an unspeakable immorality was found there in the church. This church was definitely worse than my church and the difficulties I was facing.

Next off the list of Churches in the New Testament of churches I wished I pastored was every church in the region of Galatia. No way would I want to pastor these churches. Paul calls them bewitched and they traded the gospel of grace for a works orientated salvation. Not me. I do not want to pastor any of these churches.

Also forget Laodicea, the lukewarm church found nauseating to Christ. Ephesus lost their first love. One by one I decided as bad as it was pastoring FBC that I was better off than all the churches in the New Testament except for Thessalonica, and Berea.

It hit me just how bad the New Testament churches were. In one sense we have most of the New Testament because these first century churches were so bad. The New Testament letters were often written to them correct problems in their church.

The Pastor is a noble task.

The pastor is a called out man of God.

Romans 1:1
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.

Paul describes his calling as an apostle and the pastor is also a man called of God.

The pastor is to serve willingly and joyfully.

1 Peter 5:1-2
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be

I) Moral Character

I Timothy 3:1-7

We find a whole list of characteristics:
Above reproach,
The husband of but one wife,
Temperate,
Self-controlled,
Respectable,
Hospitable,
Able to teach,
Not given to drunkenness,
Not violent but gentle,
Not quarrelsome,
Not a lover of money.
He must manage his own family well, children obey him
He must not be a recent convert,
Good reputation with outsiders

On Wednesday I was with a group of twenty Pastor/Evangelists and I asked them to go through 1 Timothy 3:1-7. We looked at these verses about the pastor and divided them into four categories; Character, Skill, Spiritual gift and formal education.

Here is how they categorized the qualifications of the Pastor in these verses:

Formal education:
Able to teach

Spiritual Gift:
Able to teach

Skill or Talent:
Experience
Manage family well

Character:
Above reproach, – blameless
The husband of but one wife,
Temperate,
Self-controlled,
Respectable,
Hospitable,
Not given to drunkenness,
Not violent but gentle,
Not quarrelsome,
Not a lover of money.
He must manage his own family well, children obey him
Good reputation with outsiders

Do you see the implications here? The primary qualifications of a pastor are having good moral character. We put a lot of emphasis on formal education but the biblical emphasis is on moral character.

In talking about moral character one of the brothers pointed out the literal meaning of the word blameless in the Greek. A pastor is to be blameless. Do you know what blameless means in the Greek he asked? I could not wait to hear. He said it’s the same. In Greek it means blameless. A pastor is to be above reproach.

I made an A+ in advanced Hebrew in seminary. Not on the list. As far as this list goes I am just as qualified if I made a C- in Hebrew. There is just one mention in this list of able to teach and the pastor must preach the word. But the emphasis is overwhelmingly on moral character.

He must not be a recent convert. This is an interesting one that a believer should not be a recent convert. Here is why I find this one so interesting. What did Paul do at the end of his first missionary journey?

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.

Their first missionary journey was less than two years. So when Paul says not a new convert you have to put that in perspective. The longest they possibly could have been a believer as an elder was two years, but they were probably believers much less than that.

II) Word centered

Paul gives Timothy a pastoral charge to “Preach the word of God.”

2 Timothy 4:2
2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

The word, what’s right, not right, how to get right, how to stay right.
The pastor is to keep the church Word centered. His charge is to preach the Word, not philosophies are fads and trends. God’s Word the Bible.

The pastor is called to study the word, to rightly divide it, to preach it and teach it and defend it.

III) Shepherd the flock

Imagery of shepherding in Psalm 23; John 10
The pastor is called to care for and feed the flock with God’s Word.

1 Peter 5:1-3.
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof,

Acts 20:28
Be Shepherds of the church of God

Be an under-shepherd.
Caring for the flock. Pastoral care.

IV) Equip the saints

Ephesians 4:11-12
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

Do the work of an evangelist –

2 Timothy 4:5
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

V) Multiply yourself

2 Timothy 2:2
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

Multiply the church
You have had that vision, in a nearby city to get a church started,

VI) Keep your head

There will be hardships, attacks on you, your wife, your home all things will come under attack. You are fighting the good fight. You are in a spiritual warfare, so you can expect challenges. Your prayer life is vital to bring you through.

2 Timothy 4:5
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship,

Conclusion:

The Pastor is a noble calling. Honor your pastor. That does not mean you agree with every little thing but any disagreement voiced with respect and in humility.

When I was called to pastor the interim pastor called everyone to come and pray for me every day. I was overwhelmed as the church members came to the front to commit to pray for their pastor every day. Some of them continued to pray for me every day even after I left that church. Just last year one of the ladies went to be with the Lord who had prayed for me every day for seventeen years.

Will you commit to pray for your new pastor who begins his ministry here today?

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