June 15, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
We will try to finish up the last two of seventeen qualifications for a bishop (elder, pastor) from Titus 1:6 through 9:
…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.
16. Titus 1:7, 9 – “…a bishop must be…holding fast the faithful word….” Strong says holding fast means “…to hold oneself opposite to, that is (by implication) adhere to; by extension to care for….” And the faithful word is, of course, the Bible. It is faithful because it is “…objectively trustworthy; subjectively trustful….” All Christians should heed Colossians 3:16: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…”; and Psalm 119:11: “Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.” But pastors especially should adhere to God’s Word! It is the very nourishment to grow the nature of the new man into maturity (see Colossians 3:10). And pastors are to set the example of growing “…up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ…” (Ephesians 4:15). This leads to the last (and very important) qualification…
17. Titus 1:7, 9 – “…a bishop must be…able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict….” In other words, a pastor must be able to teach the Word of God! In Ephesians 4:11, Paul lists four offices which Jesus has bestowed upon His Church: “…for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…” (Ephesians 4:12). Some scholars count five, but I believe the last one listed in verse 11 combines two into one: “…He Himself gave some to be…pastors and teachers.” Pastors have to also be teachers! And if a pastor properly presents sound doctrine to those whom he is teaching, then God by His Holy Spirit will do the exhorting and convicting (see Isaiah 55:10, 11).
Concerning pastors being teachers – here is what Paul has written to his spiritual ‘son’ Timothy in II Timothy 2:1 and 2:
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And
the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit
these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
There are four generations of Christians implicated in this business of teaching:
1. Paul – “…the things that you have heard from me….”
2. Timothy – Paul is writing to “…my son…” Timothy, and telling him to “…commit these…” things to others that he has taught him.
3. “…to faithful men…” is the third generation to be entrusted with these scripture truths.
4. These “…faithful men…” are in turn to “…teach others also.”
Pastors are to teach, teach, teach – and teach others to teach! I find it interesting that no where in the New Testament is it said of a pastor that he must be a good pulpiteer, that is, a good preacher! But he must be a good teacher! Yet what do most western churches look for in choosing a pastor? “He’s got to be a good preacher! ”
Teaching is a gift from God. It is not only mentioned as an office given to the Church in Ephesians 4:11, but it is one of the seven Motivational Gifts listed in Romans 12:6 through 8:
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us
use them; if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry,
let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts,
in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence;
he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Since teaching is God’s gift, it cannot be drummed up by us if we are not so gifted! A warning from James 3:1 goes with this gift: “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” Teachers are held to a higher standard because what they teach affects the lives of those whom they teach! So pastors/teachers better be sure they are called to the position, then that they are trained by study (both formal and personal).
Concerning God’s gifts to His Church, there is a lot of misunderstanding about them. I heartily recommend Don and Katie Fortune’s book, Discover Your God-Given Gifts. This work will not only help you understand the three categories of gifts – Miraculous, Ministry, and Motivational; but it is a great tool for evaluating which gifts God has given you. The book is published by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Book House.
I hope this study of Who Am I? – I am a pastor helps those who might be called into the pastorate, as well as those who are under the care of their pastor. Being a pastor is a great and high calling with lots of joys and frustrations, and many rewards!