It is interesting to note that the Apostle Paul gave the young preacher, Timothy, seven charges for himself and for the people he was pastoring in the two letters addressed specifically to Timothy:
A) 1 Timothy 1:3-4 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
B) 1 Timothy 1:18-19 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
C) 1 Timothy 5:7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.
D) 1 Timothy 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
E) 1 Timothy 6:13-14 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
F) 1 Timothy 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
G) And the seventh charge, which is actually a ninefold one:
2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
The first five points were covered in part one:
1) Preach the word;
2) be instant in season, out of season;
5) exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
6) Watch Thou In All Things.
Webster's 1828 Dictionary gives these as part of his definitions for watch: "1. To be awake; to be or continue without sleep. 2. To be attentive; to look with attention or steadiness. 3. To look with expectation. 4. To keep guard; to act as sentinel; to look for danger. 5. To be attentive; to be vigilant in preparation for an event or trial, the time of whose arrival is uncertain. 6. To be insidiously attentive." Way of Life Encyclopedia defines it as "spiritual alertness." Whether in regards to our Lord's return or in regards to our own spiritual welfare, the theme of watching is one that is repeated throughout the New Testament.
Pastors are shepherds given the duty to watch over their flocks - to protect them from danger and to prevent them from straying:
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Acts 20:27-31 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
Being watchful is a duty for every true believer. It is our lack of spiritual soberness and alertness that gets us into trouble so many times. We need to heed the warnings of Scripture, and prayerfully watch in all things:
Matthew 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Matthew 26:38-41 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Mark 13:33-37 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
Luke 12:35-40 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
1 Thessalonians 5:5-6 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
Revelation 3:2-3 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Are you watchful? We need to be!
1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
7) Endure Afflictions.
The Greek word for the phrase endure afflictions means "to undergo hardship", ie. undergo severe labor, trials or sufferings.
2 Timothy 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Paul is stating that there will be hard times for the man of God, there will be trials, there will be afflictions and times of suffering that he must endure in his ministry. This Christian life is a battlefield after all! You entered it the moment you got saved.
The true preacher or pastor will stick with what God has entrusted him with, and will not run to greener (ie. more lucrative and less challenging) pastures. He will persevere in and plug away at whatever God has called him to. There are too many hirelings today - running after a buck, wanting to run some "easy" ministry, but then running away at the first sign of real trouble - but not so with the preacher or the pastor that God has put in place.
John 10:11-13 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
The hireling neither cares for the sheep, nor for the ministry God has called him to. He is like the false professor of salvation, who turns from the truth at the first sign of real trouble:
Mark 4:16-17 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.
The preacher after God's own heart is not like the hireling. He will suffer affliction and patiently endure whatever trials the Lord wills him to undergo in his ministry.
James 5:10-11 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
Like Abraham, he knows that the Lord will reward his faithfulness and steadfastness - he just needs to persevere in well doing because the harvest will be reaped in due time:
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Hebrews 6:15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
Hebrews 10:32-36 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
The trials are just the stepping stones to greater glory!
1 Peter 5:1-4 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
If you are having a hard time enduring afflictions in your walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, consider the following passage, and learn from the example of Jesus:
Hebrews 12:1-3 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Love compels and constrains (see 2 Corinthians 5:14) true believers to endure hardships for their Saviour and for the sake of the lost they encounter each day:
1 Corinthians 13:7 Charity... Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
8) Do The Work Of An Evangelist.
The word evangelist means "A preacher or publisher of the gospel of Jesus Christ; a messenger of good tidings." Of course the good tidings we are to proclaim is the message of salvation.
It is interesting to note that though not all Christians are called to fulfill the office of an evangelist, all are called to do the work of an evangelist. Our Saviour has commissioned us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (see The Great Commission). The responsibility to get the message of salvation out to the lost is laid upon every believer. We are all to be ready with the Gospel, taking whatever opportunities come our way.
The word evangelist is used only three times in the New Testament. The first use of this word is found in Acts 21:8 in reference to Philip, one of the seven deacons chosen by the Jerusalem church in Acts 6. By looking at Acts chapter 8, we can note several things about this evangelist:
A) He was busy doing the work that the Lord had already called him to do - verse 5.
B) He went where the Lord told him to go - verses 26-29.
C) He took the opportunity that the Holy Spirit placed in his path - verse 30.
D) He preached Jesus Christ to those he encountered - verse 35.
E) He exhorted this new believer to obey the Lord - verses 36-37.
When you break it down like that, it looks so simple: take the opportunities given to you to get the Gospel out to those you encounter each day; open up the Scriptures and use them in your witnessing to clearly present Christ to the lost; then encourage those who respond to the Gospel and receive Christ to obey the Lord in all things, starting with believer's baptism (see Matthew 28:18-20). (I realize there is much more to the ministry an evangelist does than what I have brought forth, but I wanted to bring out several applications that all believers can easily apply.)
John 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
Matthew 9:36-38 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Psalms 126:5-6 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
Are you being wise? Jesus said, "Follow Me!"
Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
9) Make Full Proof Of Thy Ministry.
To make full proof of means "to carry out fully, entirely accomplish." Jamieson, Fausset and Brown define it as, "fulfil in all its requirements, leaving nothing undone." Matthew Poole gives this explanation, "make a full proof unto others of thy faithfulness in thy ministerial office and employment." Lastly, Matthew Henry provides these comments: "It was a great trust that was reposed in him, and therefore he must answer it, and perform all the parts of his office with diligence and care. Observe, (1.) A minister must expect afflictions in the faithful discharge of his duty. (2.) He must endure them patiently, like a Christian hero. (3.) These must not discourage him in his work, for he must do his work, and fulfil his ministry. (4.) The best way to make full proof of our ministry is to fulfil it, to fill it up in all its parts with proper work."
Whatever the Lord has called you to do in service to Him, that is what you are to fulfill. Don't worry about the ministries of others - you must give account for your own! If you are a God-called pastor or preacher, you have a ministry only you can fulfill - fulfill it in the will of God.
As I read this particular phrase, make full proof of thy ministry, what comes to my mind is the necessity of proving (ie. testing and trying) what is God's will or ministry for each of us, and then fulfilling it so the proof is evident to others that you are called of God to that ministry. Consider the following passages:
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Ephesians 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
2 Corinthians 8:22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.
2 Corinthians 13:3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.
Galatians 6:4-5 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.
1 Timothy 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
Timothy had already proven himself to the Apostle Paul, and now he was to serve the Lord in such a manner that his ministering was proof to others as well.
Philippians 2:19-22 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.
Are you fulfilling the ministry the Lord has called you to do - whatever that ministry is?
Acts 12:25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.
Colossians 4:17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
A brother in my church recently made this comment in his preaching: "Whatever God calls you to do is the most spiritual work you can do." We should not be seeking a ministry, we should simply be fulfilling what the Lord has already given us to do! As we walk with Him, He will open the doors He wills in our lives. We each just need to be faithful to what God calls us to do.
Do you think, perhaps, that the Lord has not given you a ministry? We may not all have a position of ministry, but, behold, we have all been given a ministry:
2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
God has called each and every one of His children to do the work of an evangelist and to make full proof of our ministries. Are you being used of the Lord to get the Gospel of Christ out to a lost and dying world?
The following two articles were posted online:
A job is one you choose;
A ministry is one Christ chooses for you.
A job depends on your abilities;
A ministry depends on your availability to God.
In a job you expect to receive;
In a ministry you expect to give.
A job done well brings you self esteem;
A ministry done well brings honor to Jesus Christ.
In a job you give something to get something;
In a ministry you return something that has already been given to you.
A job well done has temporal remuneration;
A ministry well done brings eternal rewards.
Do you have a JOB or a MINISTRY?
(Quoted from Standing In The Gap)
Check this perspective. Some people have a JOB in the church; others involve themselves in a MINISTRY. What's the difference?
If you are doing it just because no one else will, it's a JOB.
If you are doing it to serve the Lord, it's a MINISTRY.
If you quit because someone criticizes you, it's a JOB.
If you keep on serving, it's a MINISTRY.
If you'll do it only so long as it does not interfere with other activities, it's a JOB.
If you're committed to staying with it even when it means letting go of other things, it's a MINISTRY.
If you quit because no one praises you, or thanks you, it's a JOB.
If you stay with it even though no one recognizes your efforts, it's a MINISTRY.
If your concern is success, it's a JOB.
If your concern is faithfulness, it's a MINISTRY.
The average church is filled with people doing JOBS.
A great and growing church is filled with people involved in MINISTRY.
Where do you fit in? Where does your church fit in?
If God calls you to a MINISTRY, don't treat it like a JOB.
If you have a JOB in the church, give it up and find a MINISTRY.
God doesn't want us feeling stuck with a JOB,
but excited and faithful to Him in MINISTRY.
Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy:
Part One - The Preacher And His Preaching
Part Three - The Preacher And His Graduation
Part Four - The Preacher And His Victory
60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible