The Work of Preaching
There is no more difficult and challenging work than preaching; there is no more rewarding and wonderful work in the world than preaching.
Tonight, we want to study Paul’s directions to Timothy and Titus and understand the work of the preacher. Paul wrote 1 Timothy “so that [Timothy could] know how [one] ought to conduct [himself] in the house of God” (1 Tim 3:15). We need to learn how preachers conduct themselves in the church.
Stand Against False Doctrine
Several times in these short epistles, Paul tells the young evangelists to stand against falsehood. 1 Timothy 1:3-4. Apparently, many were wanting to show that they were related in the flesh to key Jewish leaders. Genealogies were being devised to show kinship to these leaders. 1 Timothy 4:16. 2 Timothy 2:23. Titus 2:1.
False doctrine was a serious problem in the early church. Many were wanting to impose the Jewish law upon the Gentile converts. Many claimed that Jesus had not really come in the flesh, but he only appeared to do so. Many came along claiming to be the Messiah.
False doctrine is a serious problem in today’s world. Many of our brethren are advocating full fellowship with denominational churches. Others are claiming that elders have no real authority. Others are introducing instrumental music in the worship or allowing women to lead worship.
Those who are God’s servants must stand against such teaching. We can’t just be opposed to false doctrine; we must actively warn the brethren of the dangers of false doctrines. Unless we stand against error, we will be swept away by it.
Teach the Brethren
These epistles tell the young evangelists to instruct the brethren. 1 Timothy 4:6. 1 Timothy 6:17. 2 Timothy 2:14. 2 Timothy 4:2. Titus 3:1.
Those who preach God’s Word have the responsibility of teaching the brethren—the preacher should help God’s people understand and apply God’s Word.
Be an Example
The Bible instructs ministers to be examples for the rest of the church. 1 Timothy 4:12. Titus 2:7.
Many preachers hate the “fishbowl” life they live. They believe it is unfair that the brethren hold them to a high standard of living. However, we are to be examples to the flock.
Rebuke Elders Who Sin
One reason that ministers must live as examples is that they are to rebuke elders who continue in sin and refuse to repent: “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear” (1 Tim 5:20).
If we keep this passage in context, it immediately becomes clear that Paul is speaking of the eldership. Paul had just told Timothy not to accept an accusation against an elder without two or three witnesses (1 Tim 5:19). The elders who are found to be in sin are to be rebuked in the presence of the other elders.
This does not give the preacher the right to disagree openly with an elder. The point of this text isn’t that elders should be rebuked for making decisions with which we disagree. The only time we have the right to rebuke an elder is when that elder has been found to be living in sin.
The preacher is to rebuke others who sin as well: “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority” (Tit 2:15).
Do God’s Work Without Partiality
Those who preach must not show favoritism in their preaching: “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality” (1 Tim 5:21).
There might be the tendency on the part of some ministers to fulfill their role with partiality. The preacher may refuse to preach on a text because a “buddy” is struggling with that sin. The preacher may preach on a topic because he knows it will upset someone he enjoys upsetting. Every bit of God’s Word must be proclaimed without favoritism.
Keep Himself Pure
Those who preach are told to keep themselves pure. 1 Timothy 5:22. 1 Timothy 6:11.
Purity is an important concept in Scripture. “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (Js 1:27). Jesus died for the church that she might be “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27).
Timothy needed to keep himself pure so that he could be used by God. If a preacher’s life is not pure, he will have great difficulty teaching the Gospel. Individuals might say to him, “Why should I live this way or that way, because you don’t do it yourself?” Yet, when preachers have pure lives, they can be greatly used by God.
Not Be Ashamed of the Lord’s Testimony
Paul told Timothy not to be ashamed of the testimony about Jesus: “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Tim 1:8).
Timothy might have been tempted to be ashamed of the Lord’s teaching. The proclamation concerning the cross was a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles (1 Cor 1:23).
Paul wrote 2 Timothy from prison. Timothy might have been tempted to be ashamed that one to whom he looked up was in prison. Yet, since Paul was imprisoned for the sake of the gospel, neither Paul nor Timothy had anything for which they should have been ashamed.
Commit What He Has Learned to Faithful Men
“The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2:2).
Preachers should really be reproducing themselves. They are to train others for the work of ministry. The Lord gave positions in the church “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12).
The minister should be in a position to train others in the church. He has been to school and received training no one else in the congregation has received. This should not cause the minister to have a haughty or holier-than-thou attitude.
One reason brethren aren’t active in good works is that the brethren don’t know what to do.
It would appear that the man of God would, at times, be justified in anger and frustration. He might have worked tirelessly to see a soul converted to Christ, only to have that soul leave Christ within a few weeks. He loves the church and doesn’t want to see false doctrine taught in the local church.
However, the preacher must be gentle (2 Tim 2:24-25).
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.