Friday, May 4, 2007

It is here that Paul speaks to the church to declare to them that the teaching and preaching elder is worthy of double honor. It is clear from the context that this is speaking in terms of money, and not simply just "respect."

1 Timothy 5:17-20 18 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages."

It is amazing that some churches pay their preachers so little because they think that "it is just supposed to be that way for a pastor/teacher.

Here are a few helpful guidelines in determining a pastor's salary (I derived these three principles from Dr. Bob Somerville at TMC):

1) Each congregation must arrive at a way that is just and fair of determining how they can arrive at a salary scale that will allow their pastor to share in all the good things in which they participate.

2) If the pastor is clearly laboring hard in preaching and teaching his remuneration should be one that exhibits double honor.

3) The pastor must also clearly demonstrate that he is not serving for financial gain but is serving the Lord and living a godly example before his flock.

1 Timothy 5:19-20 19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful of sinning.

Finally, these remarks at the close of the chapter are good for every church member to heed - especially pastors. There will always be those within the flock who rise up and raise false accusations against the hard-laboring Shepherd. It is absolutely imperative - No, it is necessary for the life and growth of the church - that one not receive this accusation from just one person and assume the validity of it.

Furthermore, if there is one who is continuing in sin (tous hamartanontas, present tense - ongoing action), he must be rebuked in the presence of all. I take this to be referring to the elder who is continually in sin. He must be rebuked before the whole congregation to instill fear in the body so they see the seriousness of sin.

Have we lost the biblical value of church discipline in today's evangelical church? It seems to me that - for the most part - we have. We must get back to the Scriptures. The reason is simple - we must present to our True Shepherd a clean, spotless, unblemished bride. Not one with stains, wrinkles and adulteries written on the dress.

1 Timothy 5:24-25 24 The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. 25 Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed.

These last verses serve to assure Pastor Timothy that there are many who are falling into sin in this earthly life. He is to convict them, to reprove them, to exercise church discipline (in a loving way) when and where needed. Furthermore, Timothy is also playing a part in the eschatological judgment of God that he will finally dispense upon those who refuse to repent and live Godly lives in this present age.

May we be those today that live holy lives. May we be different. May we be ready to give a reason for the hope that we have - but let's not simply "just" be ready. Rather, let us live so radically that people ask us why we are different.

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