June 5, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Let’s continue exploring my current answer to Who Am I? – I am a pastor. We will start this blog with the fifth qualification the Apostle Paul listed for a bishop (elder, pastor) in Titus 1:6 through 9. But before we begin, here is the whole featured scripture:
…if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children
not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blame-
less, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to
wine, not violent, not given to money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good,
sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he
has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and
convict those who contradict.
5. Titus 1:7 – “…a bishop must be…not self-willed….” According to Strong’s A Concise Dictionary of the words in The Greek New Testament, self-willed means “…self-pleasing, i.e. arrogant….” The opposite of being arrogant is to be humble. It says in Hebrews 13:20, “…our Lord Jesus…[is] that great shepherd of the sheep….” Christians are His sheep, and pastors are to be His under-shepherds. While that word is not found in the Bible, it is explained this way by Cooper Abrams at bible-truth.org: “True pastors refer to themselves as ‘under shepherds’ because they recognize that Jesus is the True Shepherd and the flock, the local assembly of believers, a church belongs to him.” Under-shepherds are to reflect the qualities of the great shepherd. And what is one of the chief qualities of our Lord Jesus Christ? In Matthew 11:29 (New English Bible) He Himself tells us, “…I am gentle and humble-hearted….” Hence pastors are to be humble-hearted also.
As far as being self-pleasing (the first part of the definition above), Paul tells us in Romans 15:1, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” And pastors need to set the example!
6. Titus 1:7 – “…a bishop must be…not quick-tempered…” The KJV translates “not quick-tempered ” as “not soon angry.” Strong defines it as being “…irascible…,” which Webster says is being “…easily angered; quick-tempered; irritable.” Again, this is just the opposite of what Jesus was as described in Matthew 12:19 and 20 (fulfilling Isaiah 42:2 through 4):
He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the
streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not
quench, till He sends forth justice to victory.
No, Jesus was not quick-tempered or soon angry. But when He became angry, it was righteous anger, and it was powerful as when He cleansed the temple courtyard of the unscrupulous merchants and money changers (see Matthew 21:13; John 2:14-16). As is written in Psalm 2:12: “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” What makes God angry? Psalm 7:11 tells us, “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” One picture of what He does with those with whom He is angry because they have rejected His salvation is from Isaiah 63:3 and 6:
…I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their
blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and have stained all My robes….I
have trodden down the peoples in My anger, made them drunk in My fury,
and brought down their strength to the earth.
As Paul wrote in II Corinthians 6:2, “…now it the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Now is the day of God’s mercy and grace! Now is the day when He offers salvation to all who comes to Him through Jesus Christ (see Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8) – in faith believing that the Lord died for us, paying for our sins (I Peter 3:18; I John 2:2), and that He lives forever to apply salvation to everyone who approaches Him with an open heart! (See Hebrews 7:25). But the day is coming when God’s mercy and grace will be cut off from sinners – and Jesus Christ will appear, not as Savior, but as the righteous Judge! It is then that those who have rejected Him will hear Him say, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels…” (Matthew 25:41).
Do not face Jesus Christ when He is angry! “…now it the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
By the way, the last part of this blog is another aspect of my answer to Who Am I? I am a pastor, and as Paul told the young pastor Timothy, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (II Timothy 4:2). “For…God our Savior…desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:3, 4).