Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                           July 17, 2011                           NO. 28

 The Preacher And His Work
     What is a "preacher"? What are the duties of a preacher? What exactly is a preacher supposed to do? Most everyone has a notion or opinion and will readily give it, but what does God say?
The Lord's Herald

     There are three terms in the New Testament that describe God's worker known as a preacher. These words are not only descriptive of the worker, but the work God expects of him. These terms are: minister, preacher and evangelist.
     "Minister" (Gr. diakonos), means one who serves, a servant. A preacher is a minister or servant of Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 4:6). His work is to serve the Lord's Word, the Gospel to all men (Acts 6:4; Rom. 15:16). A "good minister of Jesus Christ" must also "put the brethren in remembrance of these things..." (1 Tim. 4:6). A preacher is to "take heed to the ministry which (he) hast received in the Lord, that (he) fulfill(s) it" (Col. 4:17).
     The word "preacher" (Gr. kerux) which means a herald, a public proclaimer from the king who authoritatively declares the king's law to the people which must be obeyed. The Lord authorized (1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11) and sent out His preachers or "heralds" into all the world (Rom. 10:14-18). Their sole work is to proclaim His message, the gospel (2 Tim. 2:1-7; 4:1-5) and only His message (Rom. 10:15; 15:19; Gal. 1:6-10; 1 Thess. 2:9).
     An "evangelist" (Gr. euangelistes) is a messenger of good. Christ gave evangelists (Eph. 4:11-12) to bear His good message, the "gospel" which means "good news." Paul warned preachers to "do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry" (1 Tim. 4:5). A preacher is to "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:2).
Diverting the Lord's Heralds

     The work of a preacher is short and simple in its description, but large and vital in its scope. Men dissatisfied with God's simple work, have devised many other roles and work for their "preachers." By this device, Satan delays, distracts and diverts the important work of the King's royal heralds into a thousand channels. Simply preaching the Word is not sufficient work for preachers, according to some men. As churches have expanded their work and mission beyond what the Lord gave, they have expanded the "job description" a preacher. Preachers are to be pastors or "shepherds" and counselors busy visiting, overseeing and guiding "the flock."
     Some want preachers to be caretakers and superintendents, managing and supervising the church building and facilities. This man-made work has become so bloated that in recent years it has been divided up among several specialties: the "Youth Minister," the "Singles Minister," the "Outreach Minister," the "Pulpit Minister" and more.
     A gospel preacher is not a "pastor," shepherd, elder or counselor. A pastor is a shepherd, the office of an elder, bishop or overseer. This is a different worker for the Lord with a different work. A pastor's work is to shepherd and oversee the flock, watching for their souls (Acts 20: 17, 28; Heb. 13:17). A preacher appoints men qualified to do the work of a shepherd, he does not do their work, as he has sufficient of his own (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Tim. 3:1-7).
     A gospel preacher is not a caretaker of the church property or work. A preacher is not to leave the Word to serve tables, but give himself continually to prayer and serving the Word (Acts 6:1-4).
The Preacher And The Church

     Much of the error concerning preachers and their work comes from a wrong view of the relationship of the preacher and the local church. Many consider the preacher as an employee of the church. As such the church is an employer that determines the scope and duties of his work. This view is expressed in the statement: "We pay the preacher and we tell him what to do."
     The Lord's command to pay preachers for preaching (1 Cor. 9:14) does not make them church employees. Such support is compared to that of God's priests (1 Cor. 9:13-14). The priests were supported by the people's offerings to the Lord as the Lord's servants, not the peoples' hirelings (Num. 18:1-20).
     A preacher is not an employee of any church, but a servant of the Lord (1 Tim. 4:6). He is accountable to the Lord, entrusted to do the Lord's work and not "entangle himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (2 Tim. 2:3-4).
     The Scriptural relationship between a preacher and the Christians that support him is that of fellow-workers in the Lord. The Lord commands the preacher to preach the gospel and those who hear him to support him in his work. Together they have "fellowship in the gospel" (1 Cor. 9:6-14; Phil. 1:5-7).
---Wayne Greeson
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"The First One To Plead His Cause Seems Right..."
 “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17)
     Wise Solomon observed the reflexive tendency on the part of man to accept as truth the first version of events presented in a potential controversy.
 When gossip circulates through the workplace, the neighborhood, or even the church, the first version of events is usually presumed to be true. This is so because “The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body” (Proverbs 18:8). Just as a well prepared meal will go untouched by a child who has spoiled his dinner with a bag of candy, similarly the truth holds no interest for those willing to accept rumors. The “other side of the story” may never be heard, and even when it is, it is often disregarded as a weak defense against the supposed facts already established in everyone’s minds.
     For this reason, it is imperative to refrain from spreading rumors in the first place. “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases” (Proverbs 26:20).
     God commanded, “You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people” (Leviticus 19:16). The behavior of a “busybody” is described as “disorderly” (II Thessalonians 3:11) because “gossips and busybodies” are those who say “things which they ought not” (I Timothy 5:13). And, Paul exposed the wickedness of “whisperings” (Romans 1:29; II Corinthians 12:20) insomuch as gossip thrives on whispers while the truth demands an open hearing.
     When a dispute must be resolved, both accounts deserve fair consideration. The Pharisees opposed Jesus, but Nicodemus correctly asked, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (John 7:51). The will of God in such cases is plain: “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21), for “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him” (Proverbs 18:13).

---Bryan Matthew Dockens
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Some Thoughts about What We “Earn”
     At a recent news conference (which followed the announcement of his new multi-million contract with a professional sports team), the just signed athlete promised the fans that he was now ready to get busy and “earn every bit of my salary”. Think about that for just a minute. He now makes more in a single game than many people make in several years of hard work. And, while duly noting the importance of professional sports (!), we must be reminded that this is only a GAME! Professional athletes are being paid outrageous sums to play GAMES!!! It’s really very hard to reconcile the notion of playing a game with “earning” millions per year. Yes, these athletes will receive the money, but we sure hope they’ll learn to be careful how they use the word “earn” around folks who really have to work for their money.
     Now, to make a spiritual application, let us consider our souls and eternity. God in His great grace has made salvation available to us through His Son (John 3:16; Acts 2:38; 2 Peter 3:9, etc.). He makes forgiveness and salvation possible for those who will humbly submit to His will, and heaven awaits for the faithful in eternity. While all of these wonderful provisions are true, let us never imagine that we can “earn” them. Salvation does not come by meritorious works (Eph. 2:8,9). Jesus taught that when we have “done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10).
     If you want to know what we “earn”, look at Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.” Eternal death is what we “earn”. Are you sure that you want what you’ve earned? Salvation, on the other hand, is God’s gift. We receive that gift by meeting the conditions of pardon that He has revealed in His Word.
     God’s blessings are far more precious than an athlete’s multi-million “salary”, but we won’t “earn” them. Thanks be to God for his amazing grace and mercy. Let’s constantly remember our debt to Him, and rejoice in what He has made possible for us through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

---Greg Gwin
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