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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO www.timeintheword.org

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Role and Duties of Pastors - Part 1

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verses of the Day - Titus 1:5-9
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you — if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

Daily Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 5

Puritan Catechism
Question #11 - What are God's works of providence?
Answer - God's works of providence are his most holy (Ps. 145:17), wise, (Isa. 28:29) and powerful (Heb. 1:3), preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions (Ps. 103:19; Matt. 10:29).

Devotional Thoughts

The Role and Duties of Pastors - Part 1
An Examination of the Scriptural Qualifications for Elders

The Scriptural qualifications for a man who would desire to answer the call of God to be an elder in the church are quite specific. These qualities do not fit a man for the office though. We understand that Christ gives pastors to His church (Eph 4:11), He calles them and appoints them and qualifies them for this task. Not every man who has the qualities is necessarily called to be an elder. And a man may be called but disqualify himself through sin (1 Cor 9:27)!

So what are these qualities and where do we find them in the Scriptures?

1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 tell us that an elder must be:

1. Blameless - above reproach and disrepute. This is actually the chief characteristic of a pastor. All the rest of the qualities we see given actually modify this one character quality. The rest of these qualities defines what it means to be blameless.

2. The husband of one wife - literally a "one-woman man." This does not refer to marital status, but to purity. It does not mean that a pastor must be married. Paul and Timothy were not married as they carried out their ministries as elders. Neither does this mean that a pastor cannot have more than one wife in his lifetime. Some would say that a pastor whose wife dies cannot remarry for then he will have been the husband of two wives. But remember, this phrase has nothing to do with marital status! It has to do with his purity and faithfulness whether as a single man of a married man.

3. Temperate - vigilant and serious minded. He is a man who is even tempered, serious minded, dedicated, and alert!

4. Sober-minded - self-controlled, curbing one's own desires and impulses. Better said, he is a man under the control of the Holy Spirit.

5. Of Good Behavior - well arranged, seemly. This means just what it says, to be good in the way he acts, speaks, and thinks!

6. Hospitable - "lover of strangers", generous. A man who is known to be loving and caring toward others.

7. Able to Teach - a skillful teacher. He can rightly handle the Word of God and is effective in teaching it to other.!

8. Not Given to Wine - One who does not abuse or become addicted to wine. He is not controlled by an addiction to alcohol and does not abuse it. We know that this cannot mean that he does not drink alcohol at all, for while we know that the Bible condemns drunkeness, it never condemns the drinking of alcohol. In fact, Jesus drank wine, and Paul, in inspired Scriptire, tells Timothy to drink wine to help treat a stomach ailment. If Timothy, at the time pastor at the church at Ephesus, did what Paul told him then surely this would not disqualify him from the ministry, would it? Ridiculous. This means specifically that a man of God is not controlled by an addiction to alcohol.

9. Not Violent - not a "bruiser" or given to fights. The pastor must not be know as a fighter, an arguer, or a "striker", one who beats or hits others.

10. Not Greedy for Money - Generous, not controlled by a desire for money. A man who enters the ministry for the money probably is not preaching the gospel anyway!

11. Gentle - reasonable, fair. This also means meek, or well mannered.

12. Not Quarrelsome - not contentious or looking for trouble. He is not a troublemaker, a rabble rouser, or one who loves to argue just for the sake of conflict.

13. Not Covetous - not controlled by desire for possessions. Content and satisfied.

14. One Who Rules His Own House and Children Well - Manages his family rightly as a husband and father, having a submissive and godly wife and obedient children. Here is where many pastors fail. And this is indeed a necessary qualification. If a man cannot lead his own family how dare he think he can lead the church of God. If his house is out of order he needs to put his family above his ministry and put things right at home. For if he loses his home then he has no true ministry!

15. Not a Novice - not a new convert, mature in the faith. Not a new convert, but a man seasoned in the faith. Also not one given to chase after every new fad, tossed about by winds of doctrinal change. Settled. Established. Solid.

16. Having a Good Testimony among Those Outside - an upstanding reputation even to those outside of the church. A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.

17. Not Self-willed - not self pleasing or arrogant. Humble.

18. Not Quick Tempered - not prone to get angry quickly, not hot headed. Balanced in his outlook and responses to stress and difficult situations and difficult people.

19. A Lover of What is Good - loving and desiring what is good. The word "good" means healthy. A pastor needs to love those things which promote physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

20. Just - upright. Moral. Trustworthy. A man of his word.

21. Holy - devout, pleasing to God. Set apart for the work to which he is called and holy in the way he lives. Holiness seems to be a lost qualitiy these days. Everybody wants to be practical with their faith, but not many chase after being holy.

22. Self-controlled - disciplined. Well ordered, self-controlled, not a loose cannon.

23. Holding Fast the Faithful Word - Believing and being convinced of the truth of God's Word and offering the truth to others. Steady and sure in his ministry, his teaching, his counsel, and his handling of the Word. Feeding the flock in his care and always ready to give an account to God for those he leads.

These are the qualities required of a man who would pastor God's church. A man called, qualified, set apart, and appointed by Christ to do the work of caring for souls.

In closing today, the historic Baptist Confessions of Faith apply these Scriptures by setting forth these statements about elders:

First London Baptist Confession of Faith, 1646
Christ for the keeping of this church in holy and orderly communion, placeth some special men over the church; who by their office, are to govern, oversee, visit, watch; so likewise for the better keeping thereof, in all places by the members, He hath given authority, and laid duty upon all to watch over one another.

Also such to whom God hath given gifts in the church, may and ought to prophecy [viz., teach] according to the proportion of faith, and to teach publicly the word of God, for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of the church.

The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, 1689
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. In Him, by the appointment of the Father, is vested in a supreme and sovereign manner all power for the calling, institution, order, or government of the Church.

In the exercise of the authority which has been entrusted to Him, the Lord Jesus calls to Himself from out of the world, through the ministry of His Word, by His Spirit, those who are given to Him by His Father, so that they may walk before Him in all the ways of obedience which He prescribes to them in His Word. Those who are thus called, He commands to walk together in particular societies or churches, for their mutual edification, and for the due performance of that public worship, which He requires of them in the world.

The members of these churches are saints because they have been called by Christ, and because they visibly manifest and give evidence of their obedience to that call by their profession and walk. Such saints willingly consent to walk together according to the appointment of Christ, giving themselves up to the Lord and to one another, according to God's will, in avowed subjection to the ordinances of the Gospel.

To each of these churches thus gathered, according to the Lord's mind as declared in His Word, He has given all the power and authority which is in any way required for them to carry on the order of worship and discipline which He has instituted for them to observe. He has also given all the commands and rules for the due and right exercise of this power.

A particular church gathered and completely organised according to the mind of Christ, consists of officers and members. The officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the church are bishops or elders and deacons. These are to be appointed for the peculiar administration of ordinances and the execution of power or duty with which the Lord has entrusted them and to which He has called them. This pattern of church order is to be continued to the end of the world.

The way appointed by Christ for the calling of any person fitted and gifted by the Holy Spirit for the office of bishop or elder in a church, is that he is to be chosen by the common consent and vote of the church itself. Such a person should be solemnly set apart by fasting and prayer, with the laying on of hands of the eldership of the church (if there be any previously appoint elder or elders). The way of Christ for the calling of a deacon is that he is also to be chosen by the common consent and vote of the church and set apart by prayer, with the laying on of hands.

Because the work of pastors is to apply themselves constantly to the service of Christ in His churches by the ministry of the Word and prayer, and by watching for their souls as they that must give an account to Him, the churches to which they minister have a pressing obligation to give them not only all due respect, but also to impart to them a share of all their good things, according to their ability. This must be so done that the pastors may have a comfortable supply and that they may not have to be entangled in secular affairs, and may also be able to exercise hospitality towards others. All this is required by the law of nature and by the express command of our Lord Jesus, Who has ordained that they that preach the Gospel should live by the Gospel.

Although an obligation lies on the elders or pastors of the churches to be urgently preaching the Word by virtue of their office, yet the work of preaching the Word is not exclusively confined to them. Therefore others who are also gifted and qualified by the Holy Spirit for the task, and who are approved and called by the church, may and ought to perform it.

BONUS: Check out what The Once Dead Poet learned this week about a man being Elder Material.

Puritan Voices
We are reading a small portion each day from a sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon titled The First Christmas Carol from Luke 2:14.

III. I must now bring before you the third point. There are some PROPHETIC UTTERANCES contained in these words. The angels sang "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men." But I look around, and what see I in the wide, wide world? I do not see God honored. I see the heathen bowing down before their idols; I mark the Romanist casting himself before the rotten rags of his relics, and the ugly figures of his images. I look about me, and I see tyranny lording it over the bodies and souls of men; I see God forgotten; I see a worldly race pursuing mammon; I see a bloody race pursuing Moloch; I see ambition riding like Nimrod over the land, God forgotten, his name dishonored. And was this all the angels sang about? Is this all that made them sing "Glory to God in the highest?" Ah! no. There are brighter days approaching. They sang, "Peace on earth." But I hear still the clarion of war; and the cannon's horrid roar: not yet have they turned the sword into a ploughshare, and the spear into a pruning-hook! War still reigns. Is this all that the angels sang about? And whilst I see wars to the ends of the earth, am I to believe that this was all the angels expected? Ah! no, brethren; the angels' song is big with prophecy; it travaileth in birth with glories. A few more years, and he that lives them out shall see why angels sang; a few more years, and he that will come shall come, and will not tarry. Christ the Lord will come again, and when he cometh he shall cast the idols from their thrones; he shall dash down every fashion of heresy and every shape of idolatry; he shall reign from pole to pole with illimitable sway; he shall reign, when like a scroll, yon blue heavens have passed away. No strife shall vex Messiah's reign, no blood shall then be shed; they'll hang the useless helmet high, and study war no more. The hour is approaching when the temple of Janus shall be shut for ever, and when cruel Mars shall be hooted from the earth. The day is coming when the lion shall eat straw like the ox, when the leopard shall lie down with the kid; when the weaned child shall put his hand upon the cockatrice den and play with the asp. The hour approacheth; the first streaks of the sunlight have made glad the age in which we live. Lo, he comes, with trumpets and with clouds of glory; he shall come for whom we look with joyous expectation, whose coming shall be glory to his redeemed, and confusion to his enemies. Ah! brethren, when the angels sang this there was an echo through the long aisles of a glorious future. That echo was—

"Hallelujah! Christ the Lord
God Omnipotent shall reign."

Ay, and doubtless the angels heard by faith the fulness of the song,

"Hark! the song of jubilee
Loud as mighty thunders' roar,
Or the fulness of the sea,
When it breaks upon the shore."

"Christ the Lord Omnipotent reigneth."

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship


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