The Work of the Ministry – Part 1

1 Timothy 4:11-13

Back in Chapter 3, given qualifications for those who have desire to serve in office – elder, deacon. But what about primary work they are to do, the work of ministry, the work of service? What does that look like? Experience of early church related in Acts 6 teaches much about role of deacons, their service to the church. But everyone who is part of local church is to be in service to one another. To do that God’s way requires equipping, that’s why Christ gave pastor-teachers to the church:

Eph. 4:11-12 “he himself gave …some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”

Healthy functioning of local church, body of Christ, depends on those who do the work of ministry and those who shepherd and teach others. Informal service to one another in course of every-day life and activities, formal service to others that includes responsibility for their spiritual well-being. Some aspects of the informal service and one-anothering covered in 1 Timothy 5 and Titus 2. In our text this week and next, given principles governing day-by-day work of an elder.

Had opportunity few weeks back to be part of ordination council for young fellow at church up the road a ways. Gave his personal testimony (statement of conversion), call to ministry, then extended time responding to questions about doctrine. Had my own opportunity to ask him question, make him squirm a little! Asked: what do you expect your weekly schedule to look like? Response: heavily weighted toward preparing for pulpit ministry, little bit of time for counseling if needed. Almost exclusively focused on doing two things – preaching and getting ready to preach.

No question, pulpit ministry an essential and important part of elder’s week. Deserves thorough preparation, too. No way is it the only part of ministry life – abundantly clear from Paul’s instructions to Timothy. Must go hand-in-hand with exemplary life; exemplary: worthy of imitation, serving as a pattern. That life includes duties directed toward others, tasks designed to improve ministry skills. Important to recognize: both public and private aspects to work of minstry. Some of what pastor does is very obvious, public; much of his labors far less visible but no less important. Same is true of all believers following model set forth in our text.

A. Spell it out v.11

command and teach

declare authoritatively and persuasively – not sharing, not suggesting, not discussing – declaring

what you must believe, how you must behave in order to live pleasing to God, have hope of eternal life

world seeks to collaborate, find consensus, do everything in committees; God through his word commands

imagine reaction at end of wedding if: “ok guys, go have fun, I think you might possibly be married”

no, it’s: “by the authority invested in me as a minister of the gospel and according to the laws of the State of Maine, I pronounce you husband and wife”

duty of shepherd to warn and guide the sheep

declare what is harmful, warn to stay away; Shai Linne, Fal$e Teacher$, “prosperity gospel”, called by name

Biblical precedent: 2 Tim. 2:17-18their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth”

if you saw child or pet put poison into mouth, would you suggest or command? what about something that impacts well-being of eternal soul?

even more important to declare what is good, proclaiming truth as truth – here is the way, walk in it

Ex. 18:20 “And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do.”

does not mean beat people up with the Bible

listen to some guys on radio, almost sounds like bullying – way they shout and harangue listeners

don’t need to use crude or common language for relevancy or shock value

do need to declare truth understandably, convincingly, persuasively – goal is that listeners will be changed

preaching a means of grace – activity by which God through accompanying ministry of Holy Spirit changes person, making more like Christ

not what people want, even Christians; but,… what God’s Word says we all need

teach, spell it out, give example and application

goes beyond do this, think that

this is the truth, the principle; here’s what it means, how it’s connected to these other principles

here’s why it’s important, when to apply it, what it looks like when you do

these things

you might think: boy, sounds like license for local pastor to become “little Hitler”, “little pope”; happens far too often, but can’t use v.11 to justify it

instruction is “command these things” – elder-pastor can only rightly declare God’s Word with authority

his opinions, those of others may be very good, helpful but only God’s word can bind the conscience

B. Live it out v.12

“do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t cut it at home; “do as God says, not as I live” makes for anemic ministry to body of Christ

quick aside: youth in a minister not automatic disqualification; neither is it cause for automatic endorsement – remember breadth of qualifications in Chapter 3

to be effective in work of ministry, in teaching saints how to live pleasing to God – requires both instruction and example

if God appointed Timothy to be example to Ephesus church family, meant God expected them to follow the model

true for any pastor / flock – should be able to look at pastor’s life, see faithful example of his preaching

same is true for church family – to extent pastor is setting godly example, God expects to be reflected in family

expectation is that Monday thru Saturday builds up, not tears down, what is proclaimed on Sunday

demonstrating godliness and spiritual maturity in particular (but not exclusive) ways

word – nature of his conversation with others during the week

conduct – lifestyle choices, way of living, setting priorities, activities

love – 1 Cor. 13:4-7 with skin on, serving others, putting their needs first

faith – what he believes (promises of God), consistency in declaring and putting it into practice

purity – unassailable moral character in all of life; FBC-Hammond, wreckage one end of church to other plus public black eye on cause of Christ

shepherd of flock must live so as to demonstrate godliness in these areas, flock should follow example that is set

C. Read it out v.13

God’s Word must be central in pulpit ministry, in all of life of the church, in all of life

reading of the Word an essential element of public worship

it’s source of life, of instruction, of authority – worship is nothing without the Word of God

pulpit ministry must be biblical – reading

not just bare reading, even reading with interspersed commentary – see Neh. 8:8

So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.”

here’s what it says, here’s what it means, here’s how it fits and applies

if you’re paying attention each week, should begin to see patterns, methods of biblical interpretation – basics of how to read and understand and apply Scripture yourself

comes under following the example / model being set for you

pulpit ministry must be persuasive – exhortation

should be instructed in what to think / believe and, on basis of that, persuaded what to do

remember James 1:22-25 “be doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”

too many people attend church week after week after week….. never change – if they come to the table, find same flavor / helping size of baby food each time, shame on the pastor; if there’s good well-balanced nutritious spiritual meal spread, they spit it out ’cause they don’t like the taste, shame on them

goal is for Christians to grow up – just like Jacob, Abigail, Vincent, Isaac, etc. No growth, take ’em to the doctor

goal of Christ giving pastor-teachers to the church that “we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.” Eph 4:13

finish board in the barn, doorway, measurements – how does our stature measure up to Christ, are we growing

pulpit ministry must be systematic – doctrine

just like any topic in life – effective teaching begins at foundation, builds course upon course – Al’s house

Isa. 28:10precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line”

beginning with milk, the basics, but not staying there; moving on to solid food, strong meat (Heb. 5:13-14)

Every believer is part of body, depend on body for what it provides, are depended on by body for what they supply. (1 Cor. 12) God’s Word is plain:

Col. 3:16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom”

Do you want God’s blessing on your life? on your church? on your ministry? then be like

the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works — this person will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:25)

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