LWEP-3 - Life & Work of Preachers (Part 1)
Please feel free to download audio and video for personal listening or teaching. Please do not alter any content. All material is copyrighted and intended to be used in its entirety and is free for distribution under these terms. To save, simply click the button and the download will begin.
LIFE & WORK OF ELDERS & PREACHERS
To the young preacher Timothy the apostle Paul said, “Preach the word, be
instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all
long-suffering and teaching,” 2 Timothy 4:2.
We welcome you to our study of the life and work of a gospel
preacher. We encourage you to locate your Bible and stay tuned as we're
going to look at this very encouraging study together.
As we examine the life and the work of the gospel preacher, what an
awesome privilege it is to proclaim the message of our Lord and Savior
Paul said, “I thank God who enabled me to preach the gospel,” 1
Timothy 1:11-12. It is a privilege, and it's an awesome responsibility to
proclaim the saving message of Jesus Christ.
What is the life and the work of a gospel preacher all about? What
makes up the qualities of a good minister of Jesus Christ? 1 Timothy 4:12-
We're going to think about those qualities in the life of a gospel
preacher today again from the address that Paul gives to the elders in
Ephesus as a preacher in Acts 20:18.
Notice the first quality from the life and work of a gospel preacher.
Paul says, “A gospel preacher first and foremost must live an exemplary life
before all people.” Listen to Acts 20:18. Paul says of his own life, ‘You
know from the first day that I came to Asia in what manner I always lived
among you.’ You know as people thought about Paul, and as they thought
about his work, as they thought about maybe some of the things he
suffered, there's one thing in Asia that Paul says stood out. ‘You know the
kind of life I've tried to live.
Paul's not being haughty. He's not saying he's perfect. He's not
saying that he never sinned. That's not what he's saying, but he's saying
‘I've done my best. I've tried in every way to live as an example for Jesus
Christ.’ Isn't that how every Christian and especially every gospel preacher
ought to live? The Bible says in 1 Timothy 4:12 ‘be an example to the
believers in word in conduct in faith in spirit in purity.” In all those things
Paul encourages the young preacher Timothy. Be an example in everything
you do. Make sure you live an exemplary life before the people of God and
before the world.
Now think about it this way with me. Let's say that Paul had been in
Asia and let's say that Paul hadn't lived like he ought to live. Let's say that
he's teaching against immorality, or he's teaching against some kind of
problem sin or lying-whatever it may be-drunkenness-whatever it may be-
and people in their own mind begin to think: ‘You know, I heard Paul say
that, but then I saw something that didn't match up with that.’ Maybe I saw
Paul do something that wasn't honest, or maybe I saw him involved in
some kind of immorality. We hear him preach about it, and we hear him talk
about it and that's great-but we look at his life and he doesn't even believe
Now we know Paul didn't do that. But can you imagine the kind of
hypocritical impact something like that would have? That's why Paul said in
1 Corinthians 9:27 “I discipline my body. I buffet my body and bring it into
subjection.” Why? “Lest when I've preached to others I myself should
become a castaway.”
As a gospel preacher, as a Bible class teacher, as a one who is
working trying to save souls and evangelist make sure that your life lines up
with what you're teaching. Don't be hypocritical. Really live what you
preach and what you teach. When people see that, they can see the two
match up. You know what they say. They say ‘He really believes that. We
know he does because he's trying his best to live it.’
A second aspect that relates to the life and work of a gospel preacher
mentioned from Paul's address to the elders at Ephesus is this: gospel
preachers have got to consider themselves servants of the Lord. Listen to
Acts 20:19 Paul says this little phrase, “serving the Lord with all humility.”
Now we'll talk about humility in a moment. Notice he simply identifies that
part of his work is serving the Lord. As a minister, as an evangelist, as a
Bible class teacher- whatever it may be-you're a servant of the Lord. No
greater work could you have than that. Remember: “The first will be last,
last will be first.” Those who serve are going to be greatest in the kingdom.
There was some bickering in the sight of bickering and complaining
among the disciples of Jesus in Mark chapter 10. They're arguing over
who's going to be first and who's going to have the chief seat, and who's
going to sit you know on the throne in essence. Jesus said this in Mark
10:45 to show the prime example, premier example. “The Son of Man
came not to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.”
You know if we're not careful, it's easy to think that ‘well preachers
ought to be served.’ No, that's not the way it ought to be. Preachers are
servants. Preachers are ministers of God designed to help God's people,
designed to preach the gospel, designed to live the kind of life that they
ought to live. First and foremost, they're servants. I want you to listen again
to what Paul said in 1 Timothy chapter 4. I want you to listen to these
words in verse number 12. Paul tells Timothy, “Let no one despise your
youth but be an example to the believers in word in conduct, in love, in
spirit, in faith, and in purity.” An example let no one despise your youth.
Timothy had some things against him, a little bit, already. He was young
and people might've wanted to hold that against him. Paul said “Let no one
despise your youth. Here's what you need to do: be an example.” Example
of what? Service, word, conduct, faith, love, spirit, purity, and all those
things he needed to be the type of servant that God needs.
Friend that's what God wants of me and you ultimately. I'm a servant
of God. Secondarily, I'm a servant of others as well who are worshiping and
trying to serve God. I want to do what I can to help them. You know
sometimes I see people, and they want to exalt others especially maybe
some in places of leadership. They want to exalt them and kind of put them
on a pedestal. We're servants right down there with everybody else. There
is no big me and little you or little me and big you. We all stand on level
ground at the foot of the cross, and all of us are servants of the Lord Jesus
Christ. Nobody deserves to be exalted over anybody else inside the family
and the people of Almighty God.
Now a third quality, and this is directly tied in to Acts 20:19, is this: the
apostle Paul, as he talks about his work, says realizing that we are serving
the Lord, Acts 20:19, with all humility. What's the work of the gospel
preacher? What's his lifestyle? What are one of the qualities and
characteristics he's to possess? Well he's to serve the Lord with all humility
of heart-not to be haughty or proud. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:18
“Pride goes before destruction the haughty spirit before a fall.” We're not to
think more highly of ourselves then we ought to. As Paul says in Romans
chapter 12, “Rather we're to serve the Lord with humility.” You know when
you think of having that humility of heart, we realize that ultimately God's
the creator. Ultimately Jesus Christ is the Lord and the master and that I
simply have the privilege to serve Him, and I do that out of humility. I do
that out of humbleness of heart, because I know how much God's done for
me. I know how much God's done for each one of us. You know look at
what He gave. Look at what He sacrificed. Look at how much He loves us.
Look at how He takes care of us every day. When I look at all that, you
know I feel quite like the psalmist in Psalm chapter 8. Do you ever feel this
way? Don't you sometimes feel like saying “What is man that you are
mindful of him or the Son of Man that you care for Him?” You know when
we talk about a humbling idea, it's the fact that the God, who spoke this
world into existence, the God who continually provides and cares for His
own has chosen to do that for me and you. Friend how humbling it is to
know that the God of heaven cares for each one of us! Just as a humbling
is this, to be placed in the position to given the awesome privilege to be a
gospel preacher and evangelist, a mission worker. Friend you can't have a
more a humbling experience than that to know you have the privilege to
proclaim the words that have the power to save souls.
We desperately then need to serve the Lord with humility of heart- not
proudness, not haughtiness, not ‘I'm better than others.’ No, with humility
realizing it is an awesome privilege and awesome responsibility to serve
God and to serve others in that capacity.
All right let's talk a little bit more about the life and work of the gospel
preacher. Here's one of the things that Paul will also identify as something
preachers have to realize. Realize that in serving God faithfully, you might
have to do that, well you probably will have to do that, in the midst of trials
each of us face. Listen to Acts 20:19 again. “Serving the Lord with all
humility,” now listen to this “with many tears and trials which happened to
me by the plotting of the Jews.” Now you take yourself and put yourself in
Paul's shoes for just a moment. Paul had been a ringleader of the Jews.
He'd been one of the Jewish elite trained at the feet of Gamaliel. Great
servant of what he thought was God trying to do what was right, and yet he
was living in the wrong way. Jesus confronts him in Acts 9. He makes 180°
turn. Now the one who was the persecutor is the one who is the preacher
of the message of Jesus Christ. Because of that the Jews want to kill him.
Because of that they bounce rocks off his head. In Acts 14 they beat him,
and he's abandoned, shipwrecked. He faced a lot of trials and persecution
even in prison and goes to Caesar himself. Why? Preaching the gospel of
Friend let's realize that as a gospel preacher, any Christian really, but
even for preaching the gospel, it may be the case that we have to face
persecution and trials. Now don't let this catch you off-guard okay, because
God had already promised us that had he not. 2 Timothy 3:12 “All who
desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Here's what Paul
said after they had bounced rocks off his head in Acts 14. Paul arose in
essence, dusted himself up got up off, got up, and said “we must through
many tribulations enter the kingdom of God,” Acts 14:22.
It is going to be the case if you stand for truth; certain people are not
going to like that. If we stand up against false teaching, people may say
things about us that are not true. People may try to do things that are not
right if we stand up against certain moral sins. Hey the immoral world's not
going to like that, and you've got to know it ahead of time. If we oppose
things even inside the body of Christ that are not like they ought to be,
you're going to ruffle some feathers sometimes. Friend if you teaching
truth, you're doing it with humility of heart, you're trying to serve the Lord
and stand behind the word of God, let's realize I know ahead of time as a
gospel preacher serving God faithfully means I've got to do that in the midst
of the trials. Here's the key idea here. When Paul faced those trials, he
didn't throw in the towel. Hey you know he was beaten. Paul was a he was
stoned. He didn't die, but he was he was taken put in prison multiple
occasions. Why? Because he taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, and yet in
all of that Paul didn't give up. There could've been moments where Paul felt
like throwing in the towel. There could've been moments where Paul felt
like it was too much. Hey he may have at times could've felt like Jeremiah
in Jeremiah 20:9. Where Jeremiah's put in the dungeon. Jeremiah is
beaten, and he says to himself ‘I'm not going to speak about the Lord of
God anymore, not going to speak in His name anymore.’ Jeremiah said,
‘His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones. I was
weary of forbearing it, and could not.’ It couldn't be contained. Friend you
can see that in the life of Paul. Just make a note ahead of time. Yeah, I'm
going to have to suffer. I might have to face some things. There may be
trials and persecutions that come from being a servant of the Lord, but
friend that's okay. If that's all I have to do on behalf of my Lord, then I can
chalk that up as something good.
How do we know that? Do you remember Acts 5:42? Here Peter and
John and they've been beaten. They've been put in prison for preaching the
name of Jesus. They're now let out, and the Bible says and they counted
themselves worthy. They counted it a joy to suffer in the name of Jesus.
From in every house and from in the temple and from house to house, they
ceased not teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. They counted a
mere joy to suffer for their Lord and God and their teacher and Master
Jesus Christ and so must we today.
Alright another principle that relates to the life and work of a gospel
preacher is mentioned from Paul in Acts chapter 20. We have got to teach
and preach the whole counsel of God. Listen to Acts 20:20. Paul says to
the elders at Ephesus, “I want you remember this how I kept back nothing
that was helpful but proclaimed it to you and taught you publicly and from
house to house.” Then he says in Acts 20:27 “I have not shunned to
declare to you the whole counsel of God.”
What makes a good gospel preacher? Friend, anybody can stand up
and say the things that are popular, the things that are fun to talk about, the
things that everybody agrees with, but preaching the whole counsel of God
is a lot different. Oh people may stand behind when we preach on things
like prayer and know that we need to pray. People may stand behind it
when we preach on encouraging one another and joy in Christianity and
things that everybody in the world agrees with. When we begin to preach
against sin, began to preach about immorality, when we preach about
ungodliness, or false doctrine, and begin to point out the specifics of that
may not be quite as easy to preach the whole counsel of God then. That's
what's required of us. If I'm going to be a preacher, I can't be a hireling. If
I'm going to be a preacher, I can't be somebody who's just going to say
everything that makes-it's not we're not talking about a good after dinner
speech. Okay? We're talking about the whole counsel of God.
Listen again to 2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word.” What do you mean
Paul? “Be instant in season and out of season. Reprove, rebuke, and
exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” You know that phrase ‘in
season and out of season,’ I believe it was gospel preacher of preacher
Marshall Keeble who said it this way: that means when they like it and
when they don't like it. Friend we've got to preach the whole counsel of God
regardless of how people may feel or not feel about that. We've got to
preach it anyway. You know you think about the prophets Isaiah. He wasn't
always received well. Ezekiel wasn't received well. Jeremiah, Daniel a
multiple of the Minor Prophets faced severe persecution. But those men
are held up as prime examples for us, because they preached the whole
counsel of God.
That's what we must do as well. 1 Peter 4:11 “Speak as the oracles
of God.” Don't say to yourself ‘You know I will be the type of preacher that
everybody likes me.’ “Woe to you when all men speak well of you,” Jesus
said in Luke 6. ‘I going to be the type a preacher that's popular, and nobody
ever disagrees with me.’ That's not possible. You know, you may be
popular. People may like the preaching the gospel, but they're going to be
times when people may not appreciate the whole, the totality. Some things
that hit on you know right in the heart and changes need to be made, and
sometimes they take it out on the messenger instead of actually dealing
with the message.
Now let's mention this also part of the life and work of the gospel
preacher is that he has the responsibility to teach God's word publicly and
from house to house. You know when we think about a preacher, we're not
necessarily talking about somebody standing behind a pulpit. That may be
part of it, but the word for preacher is more than wearing what we think of
as a suit and tie and standing behind a pulpit twice a week and delivering a
30 25 30 minute speech, sermon. It's more than that. Preachers and
teachers of God's word and all Christians really need to teach God's word
publicly and from house to house. Listen again to Acts 20:20 Paul says “I
have proclaimed it to you and taught you publicly and from house to
house.” Again we're reminded of the example Acts 5:42. “They counted
themselves worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus and daily in the
temple,” there's publicly, “and from house to house they ceased not
preaching and teaching Jesus as the Christ.”
Friend don't get me wrong, I believe in the power of the spoken word
of God at any time. But sometimes, not always, but sometimes the most
effective work you can do is sitting across the table from somebody on a
one on one level and studying the Bible- opening up the Scriptures, talking
about the message of Jesus, and trying to make practical application right
there in a one-on-one setting. We see multiple conversions throughout the
New Testament that happened just that way. So let's not think to ourselves,
‘I'm going to be a preacher. I'm going to have a big library. I'm going to
have an office. I'm going to sit in there all week, and I'm going to prepare
sermons. I'm going to teach Bible.’ That may be part of it, but let's realize
outside the walls of that office and on many times outside the walls of the
Lord's church, the building anyway, there's a whole world that desperately
needs to be saved. They may not want to some of them may not do it, but
I've got the responsibility or privilege of trying to do just that.
Another aspect in the life and work of a gospel preacher is that he
has the responsibility to preach and teach God's plan of salvation to all
people. Listen to Acts 20:21 as part of Paul's work both publicly and from
house to house he says this “testifying or proclaiming to Jews and also to
the Greeks repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
What is it Paul is proclaiming here? The gospel plan of salvation. Friend
there's a whole lot of things we could preach, but if we never get down to
the nitty-gritty, if we never get down to the real nuts and bolts of it, we're
not teaching the gospel plan of salvation like we ought to.
You know I've heard a lot of I've heard a lot of good sermons, but I've
heard some that fell short of telling people exactly what they needed to do
to get their life right with God. I understand that may not be the case that
every sermon that can work out that way. You can surely try can surely try,
especially when there are people in the audience who've never heard
about the plan of salvation. We sure want to try to work that into God's
message. We want to try to preach the gospel as far and as wide as we
Romans 1:16 Paul said “I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”
Why? “It's the power of God unto salvation to all those who believe to the
Jew first and also to the Greek.” Mark 16:15 Jesus said “Go into all the
world and preach the gospel unto every creature.”
Friend as we think about God's message of salvation, as we think
about that plan of salvation, what a wonderful plan it is! Have you thought
about how much our God loves you? How deeply He loves you? The Bible
says, listen to this, “God wants all men to be saved and come to a
knowledge of the truth.” That's how much God loves you and me- so much
so He sent His Son to die so that we could have the hope of eternal life.
“He, Himself, Jesus himself bore our sins in His own body upon the tree,
that we having died to sin might live for righteousness by whose stripes we
are healed,” 1 Peter 2:24.
Friend we ask you today, have you taken advantage of the salvation
that Jesus has made available?
When Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper in the passing of the fruit of
the vine He said this to His disciples, He said “This is my blood of the new
covenant shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Have you had your sins forgiven? If not, then friend the Bible clearly
teaches exactly how to do that. On the great day of Pentecost they heard
about Jesus as the Messiah. Then they were taught what to do to make
that right. Peter said in Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized every one of you
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins.” To people who
heard it, believed in the message, no doubt acknowledged Jesus as Savior.
They were told to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins.
Friend we encourage you today do exactly the same thing they did in
the New Testament. If you're not a child of God, we want you to know how
much God loves you. We want you to know that that God has a way to
save you. That way is Jesus Christ. Jesus said “I'm the way the truth and
the life no man comes to the Father except by me.”
Maybe there are things that are keeping you from doing that. Friend
whatever those things are maybe it's maybe it's some problem you're
dealing with, maybe it's maybe some family issues you're struggling with,:
friend I promise you: you'll find more help when you become a Christian,
when you decide to change your life in Christ than you ever have outside of
Help is offered to God's people. If there are things are keeping you
from obeying the gospel, we're urging you today get those things out of the
way, whatever it may be, so that your life can be right with God.
Listen carefully; Jesus made the great promise in Matthew 11:28 and
what an encouraging promise it is! Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye who
labor and are heavy laden. I'll give you rest. My yoke is easy my burden is
Friend have you come to Christ to have those burdens relieved?
Have you really found that rest that Jesus wants to offer?
If not our plea is very simple, we're begging you in view of the love of
God in view of the brevity of life, won't you become a child of God?
If you've never done that and you'd like to study more, you'd like to
talk about it, we’d love to help you with that.
Whatever your need is we beg you to make it right while we have
time and while we have opportunity.
Study Questions for: “Preachers: Lesson 1”
1. How did Paul tell Timothy to preach in 2 Timothy 4:2?
2. What did Paul thank God for in 1 Timothy 1:11-12?
3. How must a preacher live before all according to Acts 20:18?
4. According to 1 Timothy 4:12, how should the preacher be an example?
5. Why did Jesus say He came in Mark 10:45?
6. According to Acts 20:19, preachers are to serve the Lord with all what?
7. What does Proverbs 16:18 tell us about pride and the haughty spirit?
8. According to 2 Timothy 3:12, what will those who desire to live Godly
9. Must we teach the whole counsel of God according to Acts 20:20?
10. According to Romans 1:16, why was Paul not ashamed of the gospel?