Honour and Respect – part 18

mountain path

Exodus 20:12. Honour your Father and your Mother.

 

Ministers are not employed primarily by the church but by God. Of course to keep order alive is a responsibility on the elders of a congregation to call and pray for a good minister for their flock. But having said that the true minister is still one who is set aside by God. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12 and 13, we read of a way in which we are to honour those who are over us in the faith and that is respect for those who are honestly doing the work of the gospel. In 1 Timothy 5:17-19 we are told that we are to pay our minister properly and to protect the reputation of those who teach us in the gospel. There will always be rumours to undermine those who are leaders in the work of God. Don’t listen to rumours. Don’t entertain accusations unless you have two or three reliable witnesses. We honour our teachers and our leaders by conforming to their doctrine and by believing what they are saying and adjusting our lives accordingly,

 

They are also to be supported financially. In Ephesians 6:6 and 1 Corinthians 9:1-14 there are some very strong statements made in support of those who are working full-time for the gospel, labouring for the souls of men and women and caring for the spiritual needs of their congregations. The people of God should gather around and support such people. We believe in a paid ministry, not because ministers want monetary reward or material gain – God forbids that – but rather because it is a biblical principle which enables ministers to survive while they care for us spiritually. Unscrupulous people manipulating the churches for monetary gain are of course inevitable. They were known even in New Testament times (1 Timothy 6:3-10). Paul has further warned us that ‘… evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived’ (2 Timothy 3:13). This does not, however, reflect a picture of true biblical ministry by godly men of spiritual integrity.

 

Furthermore we need to support our missionaries and church planters who are in far-away fields. That is why we encourage tithing or regular giving to the local Church. The work of God should be conducted without any encumbrances. Labourers should be given the tools they need to reap the harvest for the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

In Hebrews 13:7 and again in verse 17 we read that they are to be honoured by being obeyed, imitated and submitted to because they have to give an account to God for your souls. You may, one day, have to give an account to God for the way in which you have conducted your family matters, for what you did with your business and your business practices. But there can be no responsibility that can in any way measure that which ministers have as preachers of the gospel. Preachers have to stand before God and account for every sermon delivered, every act carried out in the ministry, and every soul encountered in their work. Read James 1:1 by way of example.

 

We know that often a Church can be a real disappointment for some reason or other and sometimes there may be valid reasons for withdrawing from a congregation. Nevertheless, in the normal course of events, our Churches when properly run, can be a real influence for good in our communities. Do your best to make it work.

 

Meditation:

Check whether you yourself are a real Christian. If so you belong in a fellowship of God’s people. Do not Church hop. If your fellowship seems weak to you, talk to God about it.

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