1 Timothy 4:6
If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.
1 Timothy 4:7
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.
Paul assigned Timothy to serve as pastor. While in prison, Paul wrote to Timothy this letter to guide him on how to be a good pastor. Actually, this letter is one of those referred to as pastoral epistles or pastoral letters. The instructions given here are designed to make Timothy not just any pastor but a good one. This will make you a good pastor!
First Timothy chapter four begins with what the Holy Spirit revealed to Paul. The Holy Spirit revealed that as we move towards the end of time, some believers will abandon the faith and prefer deception over truth. Deception will come from hypocrites in the church. Hypocrites who exercise extremism that makes them look more committed than others and more religious than others. Let me pause here and say that, our greatest risk as a church will not come from our obvious enemies out there, but from within the church among the highly respected.
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
From among the believers, liars and hypocrites to deceive the congregation will arise. Their aim is to have followers. Their aim is to have people who pay allegiance to them. Paul tells Timothy that these teachers of deception will ask people to show faith through extreme practices. Do not marry, do not eat certain foods, etc. Since this must happen, Paul tells Timothy to warn the people about this danger that lurks within them. Then Paul tells him in our text today that if he points out these things to the believers he will be counted among good pastors. This will make you a good pastor!
A good pastor cannot be silent when such a risk exists. A good pastor cannot just be preaching that all is well when some in his/her congregation are abandoning the faith. A good pastor will not be silent when commitment and spiritual maturity is falsely measured by extremism prescribed by suspect individuals. People who only pray while kneeling believing every other posture of prayer is false. People who believe God can’t make things clearer as time goes by and only the understanding of forefathers is the only understanding of scripture that can be. How can a good pastor ignore danger and carry on as if nothing is wrong? If you point out these things, you will be a good pastor!
If you point out. To point out is to highlight and not to make it a permanent subject. If you point out. To point out is to give it brief attention that is sufficient then dispose of the subject and move on. To dwell on the subject excessively may introduce negative energy or derail the mission focus. To give too much attention to an enemy is to promote the enemy. A good pastor will not saturate the congregation with such, but will only point out. This will make you a good pastor!
A good pastor is nourished on the truths of faith. To nourish is similar to the benefits of healthy eating and drinking. Nourished has to do with a well taken care of the plant. To nourish is to provide something that is highly needed for growth. A good pastor is nourished on the truths of faith. A good pastor consumes the truths of faith and there’s evidence that it is changing him/her. Ask yourself, what is nourishing you? Are you nourished on congregational gossip? Are you nourished on scheming and power struggles? Are you nourished on pursuits of lucre? Are you nourished by the latest world news and politics? What you consume frequently, intently, and passionately is what nourishes you. A good pastor is nourished on truths of faith. This is what makes you a good pastor!
Truths of faith are the major teachings of the church. Basics of faith. The more we consume these truths the more we get nourished and get better. This is what will make you a good pastor!
Paul tells Timothy that a good pastor follows good teachings. What you follow is what you are interested in. Are you interested in good teachings enough to be deemed a follower? To follow is to live by. Good teachings that you live by. A good pastor lives by good teachings. There are bad teachings that other pastors follow, but a good pastor follows good teaching. What teachings shape your worldview? What teachings influence how you operate as spouse, parent, neighbor, and relative? If it is good teaching and not any teaching, you are a good pastor!
A good pastor avoids godless myths. Myths are popular and acceptable but they are untrue. A good pastor does not buy into myths, but by study establishes the truth and promotes it. This will make you a good pastor!
Train yourself to be godly. Train means to force it. Force yourself. Self-discipline. Train is to force yourself to go in a certain direction. Train yourself to be godly. Force yourself to be reverent by leaving your distracting electronics and phones at home when going to worship. Force yourself, train yourself. Force Bible study and prayer for yourself until it sticks as a fruitful routine. Train yourself to be godly. This will make you a good pastor!
And it shall be like people, like priest;
I will punish them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
Like people, like priest. People will strive to be like their leaders. The congregation will strive to be like their pastor. If the pastor is good, the people will be good.
1 Corinthians 11:1
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
It should be safe for people to imitate their pastor and still be on the journey to God’s kingdom. Is your pastor safe to imitate? Are you safe to be imitated?
Dear God, make us good pastors, give us good pastors, and may we mature in our faith so that others can imitate us as we imitate You, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
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