LWEP-4 - Life & Work of Preachers (Part 2)
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LIFE & WORK OF ELDERS & PREACHERS
To the young gospel preacher Timothy the aged evangelist Paul said,
“Take heed to yourselves and to the doctrine continue in them, for in so
doing you will save both yourself and all those who hear you,” 1 Timothy
We welcome you to our final study in the life and work of a gospel
As always we encourage you to locate your Bible and let's study
together as we think about this good subject.
What is a gospel preacher really like?
In our previous lesson we noted some of the principles Paul laid out
in his address to the Ephesian elders.
Today we continue with that idea identifying what makes a good
evangelist, a good preacher of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We began
with this very important principle gospel preachers must realize: don't let
the trials and tribulations we face keep us from preaching the gospel.
Look at Acts 20:24. Paul has talked about some of the things he's
dealt with, some of the persecution that's going on in, and as he thinks
about that here's what he says. He says “But none of these things move
me.” What do you mean Paul? ‘I'm not giving up on Christ because of
them. I'm not going to quit preaching the gospel. I'm not going to say it's too
much. I'm throwing in the towel. None of these things move me.’ Move you
away from what Paul? From standing foursquare for Jesus, from
proclaiming with boldness: ‘Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life,’ from
standing up to error, from preaching to the Jews that no longer the law of
Moses, but it's through Christ you can be saved. Paul says ‘I don't care
what happens to me. I'm not going to move away from teaching Jesus as
the truth and the only way of salvation.’
Friend regardless of what happens to us, we may be mocked. Don't
get me wrong people, are going to you stand up and preach the truth on
certain things people are going to make fun of you? They’re going to say
you’re weird. Your way’s outdated. They're going to say that's no longer up-
to-date. They're going to say that's crazy. They're going to say that's wrong.
Just stand up and preach the truth. You may be mocked for preaching that.
Worse may even happen. There may come a point in time where we face
physical persecution. There may come a point time in our country, if things
continue at the rate down the path they're going now, where we're actually
have to face prison time for preaching the truth about Jesus and God's
principles about morals. How should I look at all that? None of these things
move me in essence. So what if that happens? I want to keep preaching
and keep doing what I'm preaching and doing.
Let me share with you a passage in which Paul really illustrated this
idea. 1 Corinthians 9 I want you to listen to what Paul said in verse 16.
Here are Paul’s words 1 Corinthians 9:16 Paul said “For if I preach the
gospel, I have nothing to boast of for necessity is laid upon me yes. Woe is
me if I preach not the gospel.” Why is it that Paul could say none of these
things move me? Paul said in essence ‘woe is me if I preach it not.’ I'm not
going to give up preaching it. I need to consider what'll happen if I don't
preach it as a Christian. I have been commissioned to tell others about
Now let's say I get in a difficult situation. Let's say, I know if I say this
persecution is coming. Because of cowardice, I don't say it. “Woe is me if I
preach not the gospel.” Hey I'm way more-don't take this the wrong way-but
I'm way more respectful and fearful of God than I am of anything men could
do to me. We think about the power of God and the blessing of preaching
the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let's not let tribulation and
trials keep us from preaching that,
Second principle we want to emphasize today is that as a gospel
preacher as an evangelist we must never value the physical and the
worldly things of this day over the spiritual and important things of this life.
Let me illustrate it this way. Paul says again in Acts 20:24 “None of
these things move me.” Now listen to this “Nor do I count my life dear to
myself.” Paul did not value the physical over the spiritual. Now friend I'll
assure you, Paul meant exactly what he said. His life was proof of that.
Paul was imprisoned. He was beaten. He was stoned. He was shipwrecked
in the sea. He was even willing to go all the way to the Roman Caesar
himself and stand and give a defense of Christianity. He didn't care
whether his head was taken off. He didn't care whether he was stoned or
beaten or even had to face death. Paul didn't value the physical and the
worldly over the spiritual and the really important matters of this life.
Now let me illustrate it another way. In Philippians 1:19-22 the apostle
Paul would say ‘I'm in a rock and a hard place in essence. I'm caught
between the two.’ He said here's what I'm in between he said “I desire to be
apart I desire to part and be with Christ, which is far better, but to stay with
you is more helpful.” He said ‘I really can't tell exactly what going to
happen, but I know this for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.’
Friend as a gospel preacher, as an evangelist, and really as any
Christian we've got to realize the physical and the fleshly must never take
precedence over the spiritual matters of this life that are so important. You
know the sad thing is sometimes for all of us, it does sometimes. We let,
you know, things of this world the allurements, the attractions, the desires,
the things are so much fun, the fleshly lust sometimes, sometimes we let
those become our focus. We've got to realize what's really important in this
Now here are two questions I think that will really help us that will
really help us set our house in order. I want to listen to Jesus’ words in
Mark 8:36-37. Here are two rhetorical questions He asked: “What will it
profit a man if he gains the whole world loses his own soul? Or what shall a
man give in exchange for his soul?”
Don't give up on the ministry of the work. Yeah there may be difficult
times. Yeah there may be challenges. It may not always be easy. People
may not stand up for you. You know you may have to face certain things,
but will it be worth it in the end?
Friend it absolutely will! To hear those words “Well done good and
faithful servant enter into the joy of your Lord,” nothing could compare with
that. Paul said “I consider the sufferings of this present day there are not
worthy be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us,” in
Romans chapter 8. That's a beautiful idea! For Paul said, “Heaven is really
going to be worth it all.”
Another principle that we want to emphasize about the life and work
of a gospel preacher is these people, these ministers, these gospel
preachers, those of us who preach the word, we've got to make sure that
we're innocent of the souls of all men by teaching the whole counsel of God
to them. Now let me illustrate it this way. Acts 20:26-27 Paul says this
“Therefore I testify to you this day. I am innocent of the blood of all men for
I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” Now friend
I understand as well as you do the people are going to give an account for
themselves on the Day of Judgment. Romans 14:12, “So then each of us
shall give an account of himself to God.” But I also realize this “Let not
many of you become teachers knowing we shall receive a stricter
judgment,” James 3:1. Why are we going to receive a stricter judgment?
Because we're proclaiming the word of God and the way and attitude and
means in which we do that will also be brought into effect. If I know
somebody, if I know that I ought to be teaching all this, and I only teach
parts of it because of the persecution or the pressure that it might bring,
can I really say I'm innocent of the blood of all men?
Let's illustrate it this way. Do you remember two texts in the book of
Ezekiel? You got it in Ezekiel chapter 3 and in Ezekiel chapter 33. You've
got this illustration and the illustration is a very vividly or vivid one. There's
a man who's given the position of the watchman. During the time of military
conquest and conquering, you have the walled city and in that city you've
got a tower, and there's a man placed in that. His responsibility is to stay up
whenever body goes to bed and to watch and make sure that the enemy
and their armies aren't approaching. If they are, he's to ring the bell.
Everybody wakes up and be ready for war. Now you got this
watchman, let's say he sees the enemy coming, and he knows there's
about to be an attack. He does nothing. Well the person, the people, who
die are going to die in their own sin and iniquity, Ezekiel 33 says. You know
what God said about that watchman? “His blood I'll require at your hand.”
Now look at the positive side of that. Let's say the watchman's up
there he sees the enemy coming. He rings the bell. He sounds the sound.
People still die in their own sin. They're going to give account of their own
blood, but the watchman's been freed of that. What's the principal there? If
we don't say and preach and teach the whole counsel of God, friend there'll
be a lot of reckoning on the Day of Judgment we'll have to give an account
for. Now do we do it unkindly? That's not what we're saying. We want to
preach the truth in love, Ephesians 4:15. We want to say with compassion,
with kindness, with goodness, and with the right motive and attitude exactly
what God wants us to say and speak and to do the totality of that. Friend if
we don't say it, that's when we need to fear.
Now let's say I know somebody. Let's say we're teaching on the
subject of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. I know there's a situation
where somebody's not in a right marriage. That situation begins to play
itself over and over in my mind to the point that I'm know will not willing to
say what Jesus taught and said about marriage, divorce, and remarriage. If
I don't preach and say that, can I really say I'm innocent of the blood of all
men, if I don't say what God has said? Have I warned? Have I taught?
Have I tried to encourage those who might be in sin?
The practical applications may be myriad, but we need to realize
that's the responsibility. Maybe many ways we can apply this, but the
responsibility first and foremost is to be innocent of the blood of all men by
proclaiming the whole counsel of Almighty God.
Another part of the life and work of a gospel preacher is we must
never be covetous for other people's belongings.
Listen to what Paul said in Acts 20:33. Paul said very simply “I have
coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel.” You know as we've already
mentioned the wound we have been all blessed by God. God here's what
God's promised, God's promised to take care of us. We recognize that
Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all
these things shall be added unto you.” Now everybody may not have the
same thing. It's possible that somebody may have something that I think I
need, or something that I want, or maybe even something that I think would
make life easier for me; and because they've got that and I don't it could be
easy to begin to get jealous or began to be covetous. Why isn't my house
that good? Why don't I have a nice car? Why don't I have these things? It
could come to the point where you think ‘hey I deserve that, and I need
that. I want that, and I ought to be able to get that.’ Paul didn't feel that
way. Paul said “I've coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel.” A gospel
preacher must be careful that he doesn't say to himself ‘Why hasn't God
blessed me like so-and-so? Or why hasn't God given me these things?’
Friend if we're really serving the Lord, we need to do as Paul did and
say “I've learned to be content in whatever state I'm in,” 1 Timothy 6.
Now let me give you the backdrop to not being covetous. And here's
the really the key idea and it's found in Hebrews 13. I want you to notice
what the Scripture says in verse 5 following. The Bible says “Let your
conduct be without covetousness, be content with such things as you
have.” Why? “For He Himself, God Himself has said ‘I'll never leave you nor
forsake you.’ So we may boldly say ‘The Lord is my helper. I will not fear.
What can man do to me?’” Now when you think about that passage, let
your life be without covetousness. Be content with such things as you have.
For the Lord said “I'll never leave you nor forsake you.” Here's the here's
really the emphasis that the Hebrew writer's trying to make.
Why is it I must never be covetous of anything anybody else's got?
Because I have the one thing that is more important than all else. You
know for long time I think I missed the point that passage, and I think it's
this: Christians should never be covetous because they have one thing that
is supreme to all else. What do we have? The Lord. The Lord has said “I'll
never leave you. I'll never forsake you. Therefore we can boldly say,
‘Here's what I've got.’ Here's what I can say, ‘The Lord is my helper. I will
not fear. What can man do to me?’”
If you've got God, what else can you have? What else can you not
have maybe is the right question? If God is for us who can be against us?
With God all things are possible. I can do all things through Christ who
strengthens me, Philippians 4:13. There's no need to get caught up in the
that the stuff in the and the junk and the things of this life that often have
the potential to pull us away from God. If we've got God we've got it all.
“Cast all your cares upon Him. He cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:7.
Let's mention another principle that is identified as part of the life and
work of a gospel preacher. It's also found in this address to the Ephesian
elders in Acts 20:34. Paul says to himself, as a gospel preacher and all
preachers everywhere really, ‘Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty.’
Listen to these words. Paul said, “Yes, you yourselves know that
these hands have provided for my necessities and for those who were with
me.” What in essence is Paul saying? Paul's saying I wasn't afraid to work.
I wasn't afraid to get hands dirty. There's a shovel that needs to be picked
up and worked with these hands can do it. There's a hammer that needs to
be used. I can do it. He was not afraid to get his hands dirty whether it
meant physical work to support himself or physical work that was required
in service to our God.
As a Christian we've got to realize, and as especially gospel
preachers, we've got to realize that we shouldn't be lazy that you know
work might need to be done. If there's work that needs be done, hey let's
do it. I'm here to help. I'm here to serve. I can work just as good as
anybody else. Let me get out there and help as well, that's the mindset and
the attitude that we ought to have. Listen to 2 Thessalonians 3. I want to
show you how God feels about the person who is lazy and who really isn't
willing to work. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says this. Paul said “Even when we
were with you we commanded you this, if anyone will not work neither shall
You know if somebody's hungry-what's the let me ask you this-what's
the cure to hunger? I don't think a lot of people know the answer to that
question. What's the cure to hunger? People say well the cure to hunger
might be government cure to hunger, might be family, no you know what
the cure to hunger is? Work. If man won't work neither shall he eat. If you're
hungry, get a job and especially as it relates to the work of a gospel
preacher-get your hands dirty go out and do the work of God. Get busy.
Don't be afraid to help people and do things that might open doors for
evangelism. Hey somebody who's lazy, who wants to be around a person
like that? Somebody always wants to bum off you. I knew a gospel
preacher one time was real bad to want to bum of other people, who was
real bad to think people kind of owed him something, and he'd go over and
show up at people's house wanting a free meal all the time, and just kind of
think people owed him that. Somebody's cooking and say ‘I ought to show
up over there and eat because they ought to feed me.’ Wait minute now. If
you want to eat, work. You know take care yourself, work with your own
hands. Don't be lazy and expect that from other people. Do the work of
God and stay busy in the kingdom of our God.
Just a couple of other things that Paul mentions that are extremely
important as it relates to the life and work of a gospel preacher. We
mention this: as gospel preachers we want to be encouragers and
strengtheners of those who may be weak in the faith. Just like with the work
of an elder, gospel preachers have the ability and privilege to encourage
and strengthen those who may be weak in the faith. Paul says in Acts
20:35 “I've shown you in every way by laboring like this that you must
support the weak.”
Friend let's do what we can do to encourage. Hey there's a whole lot
of discouragement in the work. You want to see discouragement? Turn the
news on today. You know you don't have to look very far to see a lot of
problems, a lot of things that are discouraging, a lot of calamity, and trouble
in the world.
As gospel preachers, let's do our best to encourage and strengthen
those who need help.
Another principle to notice is we want to realize that as a gospel
preacher we also need to recognize the privilege of being a very giving
person. Remember again the words of Jesus in Acts 20:35. He said “It's
more blessed to give than it is to receive.” You know, as we've said, you
may not have every nice thing or ever fine thing or everything anybody
else's got. But if you've given yourself to the Lord, you've given yourself to
the preaching of the gospel, and you have given your life in the service of
the salvation of souls- my friend what greater reward could there be on the
day of judgment than to know that the impact of the preaching of the gospel
through you, as a human tent as an individual, has helped people go to
heaven? What a great joy that in and of itself would be!
Then we mention this: just like with the elders, gospel preachers need
to be men of prayer.
Remember what Paul did as he closed with the elders in Ephesus?
There on the beach they knelt down and Bible says and when he'd said
these things when he'd said all these things, he knelt down and prayed with
them all, Acts 20:36. You know when we think about again, people in the
Bible who stand out those are men and women of prayer. As we think
about gospel preachers, Bible class teachers, evangelists, missionaries,
you've got to be a person of prayer. Luke 18:1 said “Men ought always to
pray and never lose heart.” James 5:16 says “The effective fervent prayer
of a righteous man overcomes much.” “Pray without ceasing,” 1
Thessalonians 5:17-21. Realize this: we can come boldly to the throne of
grace that we might find grace and mercy to help in time of need.
We don't always know exactly how every situation's going to work
out. We might not know how every need is going to be met. We might not
know exactly you know the wisdom with which we ought to approach
something. But here's what we do know: the Bible says we can approach
God in prayer and He can help. “Cast all your cares upon Him. He cares for
you,” 1 Peter 5:7.
Friend what we want to close with today is fruit for each of us to know
this: The God who wrote this Bible cares deeply for me and He cares
deeply for you. He wants you and He wants me to live in heaven with Him
for eternity. He wants that so much that He gave His most precious gift His
own Son. The Bible says “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
though He was rich yet for your sakes, He became poor that we through
His poverty might be made rich.”
Jesus left that beautiful place called heaven, came to this land of
sorrow and sin, lived among men, suffered as a man, died as a man, was
resurrected, and now is reigning at the right hand of God. He said this: that
each of us who are willing to follow Him, can have a home in heaven with
Him one day. He's coming to claim His own.
Are you one of His own? Have you obeyed the gospel of Christ?
Do you believe Jesus is God's Son, John 8:24? Would you be willing
to change your life and repent of things you know are not right and turn to
God, Acts 3:19? Would you confess the beautiful name of Jesus before
men, Romans 10:10? Would you to have your sins washed away be
immersed in water, Acts 2:38?
Here's the clarity with which Jesus spoke on the plan of salvation:
Jesus said “He that believes and is baptized will be saved. He that does not
believe shall be condemned,” Mark 16:16.
Friend if you've never obeyed the gospel, we're begging you today become
Get your life right so that one day you can live in heaven for all eternity with
Study Questions for: “Preachers: Lesson 2”
1. In 1 Timothy 4:16, what did Paul tell Timothy to take heed to?
2. According to 1 Timothy 4:16, who will be saved by doing this?
3. According to Acts 20:24, did the trials move Paul?
4. What did Paul say about not preaching the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 9:16?
5. What did Paul say about dying for the cause of Christ in Philippians 1:19-
6. What 2 questions did Jesus ask in Mark 8:36-37?
7. In Romans 8 what does Paul say about the present sufferings?
8. According to Romans 14:12, who has to give an account of their life on
the Judgment Day?
9. According to Ephesians 4:15, how shall we preach the truth?
10. What shall we do according to Matthew 6:33?