Sunday, March 10, 2013

Flee, Follow and Fight, Preacher!

Temple Baptist Church - 3-10-2013
1 Timothy 6:11-14
A. Though we can make application from these and the preceding verses, it is essential that—when studying the Bible—proper interpretation needs to be made before making a proper application. The interpretation of the Book of 1 Timothy is to God’s man concerning the operation of the local church as well as the scrutiny and control of his personal life.
B. If the pastor is to be followed as he follows Christ, then it must be of the utmost importance that he follow Christ! Paul, in another verse, admonished Timothy to be an example to the flock of God. When preaching, “Don’t do as I do, do as I say do” does not work.
C. Now, I want to look at a couple of things tonight based upon verse 6 as the Apostle Paul sums them up by saying, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things...follow…fight” Flee, follow, and fight are the intended life of a pastor.
1. Flee ungodliness (vs. 6). 1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
a. Castaway simply means to be disapproved. When I have no further use for something, I cast it away or take it to the dump. It no longer serves a useful purpose and is taking up space (just look at my workshop and you will know what I mean).
b. Too many of God’s men have destroyed their lives, families, churches, and testimony because of sinfulness. All are subject to the wickedness of flesh so the key word is “flee:” to run away with fear; to run as fast as you can.
2. Flee discontentment (vs. 6). Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
a. Possibly the greatest failing of God’s men (even above the possibility of sinfulness) is that of discontentment. I am not trying to discern God’s will for God’s men but I find no biblical precedent for pastors moving or changing churches every few years (I know of some men who have made 5-6 moves in less than the 26 years that I have been at Temple). I am not talking about bad preachers; I am not talking about men who do not care about their ministries; these are good men. Paul was a church planting missionary along with those who traveled with him but, as far as I can discern in Scripture, New Testament pastors stayed put!
b. In today’s “Christianity,” the average stay of a Baptist preacher is short and local churches are left with no shepherd. The biblical result of this is the scattering of the sheep and the unbiblical hierarchy found in the churches. Instead of churches being biblically run by the pastor, they—because of empty pulpits—have deacon and trustees running the church.
c. Churches go through seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. These pastors will stay as long as the season is right but, when winter comes, God has suddenly changed His mind and is through with them at that church. God’s people need God’s man more in the winter times than they do in the good weather. Also, some places are harder than others. It can vary from county to county or city to city. Again, I am not trying to discern God’s will for someone else but I do not find any scripture to back up what is going on. I base what I am saying on what I am seeing.
1) When they come to a new church, the pastor is excited and rightfully so. The excitement lasts until the “honeymoon” is over and then the reality sets in that this too is a church with people in it and people have problems.
2) Here are a couple of questions that need to be looked at: when the preacher leaves, is the church in a good time or a hard time? The church needs the pastor more in famine than they do in the feasting days. When the preacher leaves, does the church flourish or does it go back to its original state. If the pastor leaves in the will of God, that leaving will never cause the church to lose ground! When a pastor leaves in the will of God, as a general rule, the church will be doing well and remain strong.
d. Pastors can become discontent with their churches, circumstances, finances, and even families!
1) Some leave their churches for “greener grass.” I have seen two cows standing at a fence facing one another with each cow’s head through the fence eating at the feet of the other cow.
2) Some leave their churches because of hard circumstances. Seasons change and so do circumstances. God places pastors in churches because of problems that arise, not remove them when problems arise.
3) Some leave their churches because of finances. Changing churches simply for larger churches and better benefits is being guilty of “filthy lucre.”
4) Some leave their churches because of a sinful affair with a women other than wife. Many of God’s men have left all including their wives for something else in order to find “contentment.”
5) Some leave because they become discontent. We are to be content in whatsoever “state” we find ourselves.
While God’s man must flee certain things, his life must not be passive. There are some things named that he is to follow. Follow - means pursue; to seek after eagerly; to suffer because of
1. Righteousness – not positional righteousness because Timothy was already saved but uprightness in dealings or outward testimony: practical righteousness.
2. Godliness – Uprightness inwardly or testimony before God. Man can walk uprightly before men but God knows the real me.
3. Faith – Not only must God’s man be faithful, but also a man of Faith. No just believing that God is but that, as God, He can do anything, anywhere, anytime!
4. Love – The love of God was Paul’s constraining factor. God’s man is to be a loving man: loving his wife and family; loving the local church; loving the saints; loving God’s Word and the Old Paths of doctrine and godly tradition; and loving sinners.
5. Patience – He is to endure hardship with patience; instruct the saints with patience; and run the race that he is to run with patience.
6. Meekness – Not a false humility but a realization that he is the least of the brethren; he is nothing without Christ. A pastor is not to seek the praise of men nor be swayed by it.
1 Timothy 6:11-12 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
1. He is to fight apostasy and apostates. The good fight of faith by taking the oversight of the flock and protecting both pulpit and pew from false doctrine.
2. He is to fight carnality and worldliness in the church. Keeping the church right by maintaining a good testimony before the world is a perpetual battle. As times change, too many churches are adopting worldly entertainment to attract worldly people. We are to contrast the world, not conform to it.
3. He is to fight the lukewarmness and coldness of our times. One of the hardest things is to fight the apathy that so often permeates the church. Our worship must be in spirit and truth. Spirit without truth causes us to worship ignorantly. Many churches place experience above scripture and in doing so, allow their emotions to replace biblical truth. The rest seem to place truth above spirit. Without spirit, we worship in deadness and dry up. Keeping a proper balance is vital to biblical worship.

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