Have you ever been in a church where the leadership is untrustworthy? Where the teaching has been unbiblical or very shallow? We went to a church once where the main text of the sermon was a magazine article! The Bible was just an add on. Needless to say we never went back.
Paul was not only concerned about fixing some of issues that the Ephesian church had, but he was also exhorting Timothy to work hard as a pastor. He was committed to helping and guiding young Timothy in his responsibility in shepherding the people in this Ephesian church, both in easy and in difficult circumstances.
In our text Paul showers Timothy with a number of pieces of advice, but implied in this passage is what we should be doing as people of faith in the local church.
- Pastors are to preach.
God gave us teachers and preachers whom we are to honor and respect (vs. 17). We are to trust them and learn from them as they lead and teach in the church. This means a couple of things for us.
First, we need to make sure we are a part of a church where the pastors truly love the Lord, hold the Bible in high esteem, and therefore preach the Word at all times.
Secondly, it means we need to be teachable. We must be learners who are willing to hear the Word explained and applied to our lives. Instead of becoming defensive, we need to humbly accept the truth preached from God’s Word even when the truth is hard.
- Pastors are to rebuke.
God gave pastors the job of rebuking us when we continue in sin without repentance (vs.20). It is one of the ways in which they care for our souls. What this means is NOT that we must be sinless, but that we must practice repentance because we acknowledge that we are sinners. In 1 John, we are told that whoever says they are without sin is a liar (1Jn.1:8).
I love what Charles Spurgeon wrote about repentance. He says, “Repentance is a discovery of the evil of sin, a mourning that we have committed it, a resolution to forsake it. It is, in fact, a change of mind of a very deep and practical character, which makes the man love what once he hated, and hate what once he loved.”
We all struggle with sin; there is no way around it. But we can help each other not only see our sins, but also fight them.
3. Pastors are to encourage.
Just as pastors are to lovingly call people to repentance, so they are also called to acknowledge and encourage their congregation in godliness and good works. We all feel good when we are encouraged. Encouragement makes us want to continue on, even when life is draining or the battle seems too hard.
But this means that we need to live lives of conspicuous godliness (vs. 25), not in order to receive the honor of men or superficial flattery, but in order to honor God and to be an encouragement to each other and to those around us.
The job of a pastor is not an easy one. Instead of honor, they often receive criticism. Many nitpick at sermons instead of sitting with the posture of a learner. Many get offended when sin is called sin, especially when it hits too close to home.
This is why it is so very important to find a church home where the leaders are godly, where Christ is preached weekly, and where life is lived authentically so that we can all help each other overcome sin and grow in holiness.
Looking To Jesus,
GET EXCITED… Natalie Grant & Love God Greatly are teaming up for one VERY special night of praise and worship on September 22 at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas!! Trust us when we say that you won’t want to miss this power-packed ministry night! And get this: for each ticket purchased, concert goers will receive a FREE Love God Greatly Bible study journal! How amazing is that?!
*A special invitation to GIVE BACK: For those in our LGG community who are not within traveling distance or simply can’t make it to the concert, would you consider GIFTING a concert ticket to a very worthy cause? We’re giving YOU the opportunity to purchase concert tickets for our amazing friends at a local women’s and children’s services ministry here in Rockwall. Your donated ticket(s) will give one (or more!) of these precious women a unique worship experience, plus their very own LGG study journal to take home with them! What a sweet way to still be able to participate in this exciting night AND get more women around the world in God’s Word. THANK YOU for helping us reach and dream BIG in order to make Him known!
This Fall, be the one to reach out, the one to extend the invitation…the one to initiate unity and community among your neighbors, co-workers, moms, sisters, and friends. Gather together and join us as we study 1st & 2nd Timothy for the next six weeks!
You can find our women’s and corresponding kids’ journals here: