Back in October of 2011, I began to cover 1 Timothy 3 where Paul gives the offices and the qualifications for those offices that God has ordained to govern the Church. How Does the Church Relate to its Pastor? has been a pretty popular post as it explores the nature of the office of Pastor. Paul gives us a little more insight into this relationship as he encourages young Pastor Timothy in Chapter 5.
Accusations and Elders – LESSON AUDIO
Here, he tells Timothy that churches should honor their pastors. ( as we noted in the study from 1 Timothy 3:1, Elder, Bishop (Overseer) and Pastor are interchangeable terms for the same office. See post What is a Bishop?)
1 Timothy 5:17-18 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE AN OX WHILE IT TREADS OUT THE GRAIN,” and, “THE LABORER IS WORTHY OF HIS WAGES.”
Honor, as noted in the previous post in 1 Timothy 5:1-16, is respect and care. Here it is equated with paying the pastor for what he does. He says the same thing only with a little more gusto as he addresses the church at Corinth;
1 Corinthians 9:7-11 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? 8 Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE AN OX WHILE IT TREADS OUT THE GRAIN.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? 10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?
It would seem that any Christian who knows what his pastor puts in to serving his flock would not need any encouragement to take care of him. Unfortunately this is not so. Pastors who do their job work very hard. They do not work for one hour a week as some like to pretend, but study, pray, teach, counsel, visit the sick and care for those in need. They much like a mom with a really large family. You know the saying, “Man may work from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done.” This goes for the pastor as well. Yet there are some in most fellowships who disregard or even despise him. Therefore, Paul must also exhort Timothy in this way.
1 Timothy 5:19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.
This is not to say that there are never pastors in sin. Certainly there are and unfortunately we have no shortage of examples in American Evangelicalism. This is also not to say that pastors who are in sin should not be held accountable. The next few verses shed some light on this.
1 Timothy 5: 20-22 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. 21 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. 22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.
The “those who are sinning” in verse 20, I believe most likely applies to a false accuser. The reason is that the words used here are taken from Deuteronomy 19 where Paul derives his teaching on the subject.
Deuteronomy 19:15-20 “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established. 16 If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, 17 then both men in the controversy shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who serve in those days. 18 And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, 19 then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you. 20 And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you.
I don’t what to give it all away here and I am sure that that the post is getting a bit long for some. Suffice it to say that though God commands it, many in the church do not give their pastor the respect and care that their job deserves. It is sad but not unexpected. Pray for you pastor! Demonstrate to him that you really care and unless you know that he is in sin, don’t gossip or accuse. Those are God’s orders, not mine.
Accusations and Elders – LESSON AUDIO