March 8, 2015
All right, 1 Timothy 3, of course this is the famous passage where it goes through the qualifications of the bishop. What I want to preach about this morning is the subject of the bishop, the elder and the pastor. These are all the same person in the Bible, but who is this person? What is this position? What does it mean to have the office of a bishop? What are the roles and responsibilities that the pastor or the bishop has? What does he deserve in return? Let’s see what the Bible says.
First of all, let me just lay down for you that when the Bible uses the term “bishop” or “elder” or “pastor”, that these are all interchangeable for the same thing. Let me show you that. First of all, look at verse 1, it says, “This is a true saying: if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must have a good report of them which are without, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”
Now, flip over to Titus 1. Titus 1, so you see that the Bible actually has a lot of qualifications on being the bishop. It’s not just one or two criteria, it’s actually a long list of very difficult criteria that encompass a whole scope of aspects of this man’s life and experience in order to be able to even become a bishop. Look at Titus 1, we have a parallel passage. It says in verse 5, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting,” wanting means lacking or needed, “and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” Notice, now we’re using the word “elders” instead of the word “bishop”.
It says, “If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless.” You notice how he’s going back and forth between the two? He says we’re looking for elders that meet these qualifications because a bishop must be blameless, because the bishop and the elder are one and the same. Then he says, “A bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”
We’ll turn to other scriptures later in the sermon where we tie in the term “pastor” and show the scriptures that tie that in. Let me start out for you by just defining these three words. Why does God use three words to describe the same person? Why not just stick with one term? Why not just always call it the pastor? Or why not just always call it the elder? Or why not just always call it the bishop? Because these three words actually tell us three things about the role that the pastor plays in the church. These are three aspects of the position, and I’m going to go through those with you this morning.
First of all, the term “bishop” means overseer. It has to do with the fact that the pastor takes the oversight of the congregation, oversees the work and is the ruler of the congregation, okay? Then the term “elder” would point to the pastor’s experience and spiritual maturity because, if you remember, one of the qualifications for being a bishop or a pastor, it said not a novice. Now, what is a novice? Well, a novice simply means someone who is new, or someone who is a beginner. It’s funny because sometimes people will use the word “novice” as an insult, “Oh, he’s a novice.” Here’s the thing about that, there’s nothing wrong with being a novice because everyone starts out as being a novice.
Just like there’s nothing wrong with being a baby. If you were just born, I mean if you’re one year old, then being a baby is just fine, okay? Now, when you’re 20, 30, 40 years old, you don’t want to be a baby, obviously, but there’s nothing wrong with being new or being a novice. Why is it that God warns and says that the bishop should not be a novice? It says, “Lest, being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” When we think about a novice, you might ask yourself, “Who in the world would make a novice the pastor anyway? Why did God even have to put that there?” The Bible talks about, for example, even in the parable of the sower. Plants that receive the word of God and get salvation, and they spring right up but they have no root in themselves. They endure for a time and then they fall away.
Part of the reason why the pastor needs to not be a novice and why he is supposed to be an elder is that he has to be battle-tested. He has to go through some of the trials and tribulations to prove that the ground of his heart is good ground and that he is not a shallow believer. What my pastor back in Sacramento used to call a Roman candle Christian, where they get saved and it’s just “boom!”, big explosion, and “pa, pa, pa, pa, pa!” and then just gone. If you’ve been at this church for a long time, there have been a lot of people like that, who just, man, they’re fired up, they’re doing great works for God, and then just “pfft”, gone.
Also, the fact that the third aspect of this position is being a pastor, and being a pastor has to do with being a shepherd. The word “pastor” is synonymous in the Bible with the word “shepherd”. That has to do with the pastor’s job of feeding the flock, which is mentioned over and over again, and the Bible talks about feeding them with knowledge. Where does knowledge come from? Experience. Yeah, it comes from the Bible, but it doesn’t come from the Bible that you just bought yesterday, or a year ago, or two years ago. It has to do with reading and reading and reading and studying and meditating and hearing and understanding. If someone’s going to feed the flock of God, it has to be certain that what’s being fed is the right doctrine, and it’s the truth, and that it’s based on knowledge, and that it’s not a message that’s coming from ignorance.
If somebody’s a brand new believer, no matter how excited they are, no matter how zealous they are, no matter how fast they’re growing, they cannot lead the church because of the fact that they will mislead the church. Because I could tell you all the things that I’ve been wrong about so many times and, let me tell you something, the younger I was and the more newly-saved I was, the more I was wrong about. Then, as you read the Bible, you make correction. As you learn and grow, you keep correcting things and correcting things and correcting things, whereas new believers will often go into false doctrine. I’m going to get into that later in the sermon because I want to go through each of these three in order: bishop, elder, and pastor. These are all three words that are important, and I’m glad that God didn’t just put it all in one term because we need all three terms, because they’re three different roles that the pastor has.
First of all, let’s talk about the role of being bishop. Go to Hebrews 13. Hebrews 13. Let me tell you something, this doctrine that I’m preaching this morning, on the subject of the being the bishop is something that will make a lot of people angry. I don't think it’s going to make people angry within the four walls of our church, but a lot of the Internet listeners who are eating chips off their chest now, too lazy to get out of bed and go to church? They’re the ones who resist this doctrine. Now, there are a lot of great people who listen on the Internet, of course, that actually go to church, that actually attend church.
Listen, if you live in the United States, you have no excuse for not attending church. If you’re living in Timbuctu, okay, there might not even be a Bible-believing church there because there are many dark places of this earth that are full of the habitations of cruelty and where the gospel is very scarce and hard to find. Let me tell you something: in the United States of America, people need to be in church. There are good churches out there, and if Faithful Word cease to exist tomorrow, there are all kinds of other churches in the Phoenix area that you could go to, even if you don’t agree with everything about those churches, that still love God and are serving God and winning souls. They’re out there. We are not the only good church in this area or any area. So, honestly, people that don’t go to church are not right with God. All God’s people said--
Yeah. We need to be in church, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. There are those out there who think, “Oh, assembling of ourselves? Well, we just get together with a buddy and call it church.” No. God has ordained a structure in the local church, and he has put leadership in the local church. Why sit there and have a whole chapter in 1 Timothy 3 about the qualifications for the bishop if you’re not even going to have a bishop?
Congregation: Right. Yeah.
We don’t even need a bishop. We don’t even need a pastor. We don’t even need a leader. We don’t even need leadership, okay? Then why would you sit there and over and over again teach what I’m about to teach you if it doesn’t matter? Well, it does matter. Let me tell you something, there are a lot of people out there who hate this doctrine that I’m about to preach that the pastor is the ruler of the house of God and that he is the overseer. I think part of it is just an agenda and a brainwashing campaign in our country by Satan himself to destroy all authority except the state.
That is the devil’s agenda, destroy the father’s authority in the home, destroy the husband’s authority over his wife, destroy the pastor’s authority in the church, and leave only one authority left, the state. The number one authority that they’re going after is the Lord Himself. They want to destroy the Lord’s authority because He is the ultimate authority. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, above all principalities and powers, and so they want to turn us away from God being our Lord and they want the government to be our lord. They want to attack any other authority that competes with them, where the only morality will be is it legal or illegal? The only god will be the state. The only parent that we have is our fearless leader or whatever.
I mean, this is how governments have operated. All the way back 3,000-some years ago or whenever it was, when Plato’s “Republic” was being written, and that sodomite, Plato, laid out a plan for a totalitarian government. He said, “We need to take children away from their parents. We need to put the government in total authority and take away the parents’ authority to raise their children.” It’s always been Satan’s plan, and today in America we see it being rolled out.
Let’s see what the Bible actually teaches. Honestly, let the Bible speak for itself. There are plenty of scriptures on this. Let’s look at some of them. Hebrews 13, and let’s look at verse number 7. It says, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with diverse and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.”
Now, there’s so many points in that scripture that actually would spill over into points two and three in the sermon, because all of these things overlap. Let me just focus in on the part where it says, “Remember them that have the rule over you.” It’s impossible to remember somebody who has the rule over you if no one has the rule over you. The Bible says, “Remember them that have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”
Look at verse 17. It says in verse 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.” To those who would want to take away the authority that the pastor has in the church and say, “He’s not a ruler. He’s not an overseer. He doesn’t have the authority,” but yet the Bible says that the pastor has to give an account. Why would I want to give an account for something that I have no authority over? That wouldn’t be fair to hold me responsible for something that I don’t have any authority over.
It reminds me of how the government treats parents where they tell parents in some places, “You can’t discipline your kids.” Then, when the kids go out and commit crime and everything, then they hold the parent responsible. Well, if you can’t discipline your kid it’s like how can you control whether they go and commit crime? The same thing here. How can God sit there and say, “I’m going to hold the pastor accountable for what’s going on in that church, but he has no authority. He’s not a ruler.”
Look at the last verse there, second to last, verse 24. It says, “Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.” Three times in this passage he identifies that there are people that have the rule over you in the house of God, who have spoken unto you the word of God, whose faith you should follow, considering the end of their conversation. Go to 1 Thessalonians 5. 1 Thessalonians 5. So far, we’ve seen 1 Timothy 3, he said that, “If a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” Then we see Hebrews 13, over and over again, three different times it’s mentioned.
Look at 1 Thessalonians 5:12. It says, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.” That right there states there are people that are over you in the Lord, who admonish you, meaning they preach to you. That’s one of the things that we’re supposed to do as preachers. It says, “To esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.” Then look at verse 14, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly.” Are there people that are unruly? That say, “Hey, we don’t have a ruler,” or, “We shouldn’t have a ruler,” or, “We don’t need a ruler,” or, “The pastor’s not a ruler.”? The Bible says warn those people that are unruly.
Congregation: Right. Amen.
Look, I didn’t write the Bible. You say, “Oh, you’re just up there, tooting your own horn.” No. I’m up here, preaching the Bible. Welcome to church, where the Bible is going to be preached this morning. I’m not afraid to preach what the Bible says for fear of somebody accusing me of tooting my own horn or abusing my authority. No! I’m preaching the Bible.
Do what you want with it. “Well, I just want to go to church where nobody’s [inaudible 00:15:27], where nobody’s over them. I don't want anybody over me.” Fine. That’s not Faithful Word Baptist Church, and it never has been. We’ll get more into that as the sermon goes on, but look at 1 Timothy 5, just a few pages to the right in your Bible. 1 Timothy 5:1 says this, “Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren.” What does it mean to rebuke someone? To rebuke someone is to sternly tell them that they’re wrong. The Bible used the word “reprove” to tell someone that they’re wrong. That’s a milder word. Reproving someone is just to say, “Hey, you’ve done wrong.” A rebuke is to say, “What are you doing? You are wrong!” All it is, is just a stronger word for the same thing.
He says, “Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father.” What is the Bible saying? To beseech the pastor if there’s a problem, if he’s preaching something wrong, if he’s doing something wrong, to come to him and say, “Would you please consider another point of view?” not just finger in the face, and what does this all have to do with? Just respect. It’s not saying, “Hey, don’t ever tell the pastor he’s wrong. Don’t ever confront the pastor about something,” because sometimes the pastor might need to be confronted, but it needs to be done humbly and respectfully.
When people come to me and seek to rebuke me and put their finger in my face, which has happened before, then basically I will not receive it, because people have to respect the office of the bishop. Even if they lose respect for me as a person, they need to respect the fact that I am the pastor of this church. I have been ordained by God as the ruler here, okay? What does the Bible say in verse 17? Verse 17, “Let the elders,” that what?
Look, is it just me, or does this come up over and over again? I don't think this is some isolated scripture, one verse being taken out of context. No. This is over and over and over again, rule, rule, ruler, ruler, ruler, and yet many people just completely ignore this doctrine.
Congregation: Yeah. Uh-huh (affirmative).
“Oh, you’re one of those people that believes in pastoral authority. Ah, ah.” That’s what the Bible teaches. It’s what the Bible says.
You know what? This house church movement, a bunch of people just getting together and hanging out with no qualified pastor, no one meeting the criteria of 1 Timothy 3, no one meeting the criteria of Titus 1, no bishop, is not following a New Testament model, and they can say, “Oh, we’re just like the New Testament. We have all things in common.” No, you’re not. You’re not following the clear directives and teachings that the Apostle Paul laid out over and over again for how the church is supposed to be laid out.
Look at 1 Timothy 5:17, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, the laborer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” What is the Bible teaching here? It’s saying, “Look, first of all honor and respect the pastor. The pastor should be counted worthy of double honor if he’s laboring in the word and doctrine.”
It says that he is ruling well, hopefully, and it says that we should not receive an accusation against him, except before two or three witnesses. It doesn’t say believe an accusation against him. It says don’t even receive an accusation against him but before two or three witnesses. “Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” Now, don’t bother turning there for sake of time, but back in Deuteronomy, because this is a quote from Deuteronomy where the Bible talks about someone who would be a false witness, where false witnesses rise up. The Bible says, of course, that they need to be punished so that others would fear. People who would make false accusations, and we won’t turn there for sake of time.
Go to 2 Corinthians 10. 2 Corinthians 10, and while you’re turning to 2 Corinthians 10, I’ll read for you from Romans 12. Romans 12 talks about the spiritual gifts and how different members in the church have a different role and a different function, and they have different gifts spiritually. The Bible says, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy,” which would be preaching, “let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.” So there is a person in the church or people in the church who have the role of ruling. That is their job. That is their gift. That is their calling.
Look at 2 Corinthians 10:8. It says, “For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed.” Go to 1 Corinthians 4, and as you’re turning to 1 Corinthians 4, let me just point out for you the fallacy that sometimes those who are prideful and arrogant and puffed up will sometimes have this attitude that says this, “I’m not going to follow man.” It sounds real spiritual on the surface, until you actually read the Bible.
“Well, I’m not going to follow man. We ought to obey God rather than man.” Taking a verse completely out of context where they’re being told, “Do not preach in the name of Jesus,” by the government. “Don’t preach in the name of Jesus,” and they said, “We ought to obey God rather than man.” They’ll say, “We shouldn’t follow any man. We just follow God. We don’t need a man to tell us. We’re not going to follow man.” No, that is a false doctrine.
Congregation: Right. Amen.
Because let’s see what the Bible says, and let’s see how many times it says it. 1 Corinthians 4:16. This is the Apostle Paul speaking, “Wherefore I beseech you, brethren, be ye followers of me.” What does that say? “Just don’t follow any man, just follow the Lord.” Is that what it says?
It says, “Be ye followers of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:1, flip over two pages to the right in your Bible. 1 Corinthians 11:1 says this, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” He says, “Look, I’m following Christ. You be a follower of me.” Now look at Philippians 3:17. Philippians 3:17. Just to the right in your Bible, a few pages. While you’re turning there, I’ll read for you from 1 Thessalonians 1:6, where the Bible says, “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.” Philippians 3:17, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”
Flip over to Acts 20. While you’re turning there, I’ll read for you from 2 Thessalonians 3, “For yourselves know how you ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you. Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.”
Now look, six times we just saw, six times he said, “Be followers of me. Be followers of me, even as I also of Christ. Brethren, be followers together of me. Ye became followers of us. Yourselves know how you ought to follow us. Unto you to follow us.” Six times, but these verses just don’t exist, apparently, because, according to some people, “We don’t follow man. We just follow God.” No, the Bible says follow man and follow God. Follow men of God.
Follow leaders. Follow a bishop that is preaching and teaching the word of God faithfully. You say, “Well, what if he’s not teaching faithfully?” Then you need to find somebody to follow that is. [Inaudible 00:24:00]. If he’s to go, “Well, I just can’t find anybody that’s preaching right,” then you know what? You’re probably ready to go start your own cult now.
Because that sounds a lot like somebody else I know, Joseph Smith. “All churches are corrupt.” That’s what Joseph Smith said. Yet, isn’t it amazing today how we have all these so-called Christians today and all these know-it-alls today who don’t go to church anywhere and they say the exact same thing. Just all churches are corrupt. Every church is apostate. All bishop … No, they’re not!
You’re wrong. There are a lot of churches out there that are preaching the true word of God and that are preaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Look, is any church perfect? No. But let me tell you something, there are plenty of godly, Bible-believing churches out there. It’s just the people get puffed up and think that they know everything and think that they’re better than everybody else, and, “Every church is bad, where everybody is false.” Look, if everybody’s false but you, then you are not right. The reason why I say that is because the Holy Ghost has been given onto all believers. True or false?
Congregation: True. Amen.
He had part of His ministry is to guide us into all truth. The word of God is readily available in the United States. Even at the Dollar Tree, even at Walmart we can all pick up a King James Bible. If the King James Bible is everywhere in this country and in millions and millions of homes, thousands and thousands of churches; and if the Holy Ghost is residing in the heart of every single person who’s saved but only a couple of people are right. There’s only 10 people who got it right. No. I don’t believe that for one second. Let me tell you something, there is not a single doctrine that I preach, I defy you to come to me after the service and point to one doctrine that I preach that is not believed by millions of other people in this world.
Congregation: Amen. Right.
You can pick the most radical thing that you think is so radical that I preach and I can point to millions of people who believe the same thing. You know why? Because the Holy Ghost and the word of God has led millions of other people to the same truths that are true spiritual truths. This spirit that says, “Everybody’s wrong. Everybody’s apostate,” that is the Joseph Smith spirit, who baptized himself.
He literally. This is what I mean, nobody’s worthy to baptize him so he baptized himself and started one of the worst cults ever, the Latter Day Saints.
Congregation: Right. Yeah.
Acts 20:28, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves …” Why bring all that up? Because you know what? We do need leadership. That’s why. We do need people to follow and look to in our early days in Christ. When you’re a babe in Christ, when you’re growing up in the word of God, when you’re learning, you need to follow somebody. That’s what the Bible teaches over … How many scriptures have we seen so far? Pages and pages of notes here. Let’s keep going.
Acts 20:28, this is Paul. He has just called the elders unto him. The elders of the church have been called unto him. He says in verse 18, “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, that He has purchased with His own blood.” He says your job is to take the oversight, to be an overseer of the house of God, and to feed the church of God, which He had 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.”
Now, we see all three aspects in this passage because, remember, what are we preaching about this morning? We’re talking about the three terms used to describe the pastor in the Bible: bishop, elder and overseer. I’m sorry, [inaudible 00:28:07], bishop, elder and pastor. Those are the three biblical words. It does use the word “overseer”, but bishop, elder and pastor, and they have to do with the three aspects of the ministry of the pastor. Bishop is overseer, ruler. Elder speaks to experience, maturity, just the time and experience and knowledge gained. Then a pastor has to do with the ministry of feeding the flock of God, and dispersing that knowledge and making sure that the people are taught well.
That’s why the Bible says the pastor must be apt to teach, because he has to feed the flock. That’s why he can’t be a novice, because he’s supposed to be an elder. That’s not just talking about physical age. That’s talking about elder spiritually. Been saved longer is what that means, elder in the Lord. Then of course the term “bishop”, overseer. That’s why he said, “If a man know not how to rule his own house, how should he take care of the church he got?” You can see that the qualifications are pointed toward making sure that whoever fills that position of pastor can fulfill these three functions.
Why are these things so important? Because he says that grievous wolves will enter in, not sparing the flock. Now, Jude is one of the most famous passages about people creeping in and bringing in false doctrine and false teaching. 2 Peter 2 is also a parallel here; Jude is the other. It says in Jude 11, about these people who creep in, “Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”
Part of the reason why a church needs a bishop or a pastor or an elder is in order to guard against false doctrine and false teaching. That’s big. He says, “Look, you need to feed the flock because there are going to be these grievous wolves that come in and they’re going to bring in damnable heresies. They’re going to bring in false doctrine. They’re going to bring in sin and iniquity and things. The pastor is there to be a watchdog to make sure that that doesn’t happen.” Well, it takes knowledge and experience to be able to identify the false doctrine. It’s not going to work for just the pastor to see it. He has to teach the people so that all the people will be able to spot false doctrine right away. That way everybody’s vigilant. Everybody’s being sober because the people in the pew have been taught the doctrine.
Not just the pastor knows the doctrine and nobody else. No. That’s why he has to be able to teach the doctrine onto the people. Obviously, just an overseer is just watching to make sure that the doctrine stays correct.
Now, in this passage there are men that are brought up here, Core, Balaam and Cain. Now, these three men had different issues. Balaam was one who was motivated by money. He was motivated by covetousness and greed. He had error, according to Verse 11 there, you’re looking down in Jude? Verse 11 it says, “Don’t run after,” he says that, “these bad people have run greedily after the error of Balaam.” Why? For reward. Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness, the Bible says. He loved to do that which is wicked, in order to be paid. That was his problem.
Cain, what was Cain’s problem? Well, Cain was one who brought in a work’s based salvation. If you look at the story of Cain, instead of the blood of the lamb as an offering, instead of the fat of the first things of the flock, it became his works, his fruits and vegetables and the produce of his hands. Then, the gainsaying of Core is something that maybe other people don’t understand as well as the other two. Because if I talk about, hey, people coming in it for filthy lucre’s sake, it’s pretty easy for us to understand that because we can look back at Judas and say you know what? Judas was amongst the disciples and the Bible says he was a thief and had the bag and was stealing money from the rest of the disciples and of Jesus.
People would give money onto that early church of Jesus and his disciples. People would give an offering onto them for preaching the word and their needs will be met and Judas was skimming off the top of the offerings. He was one that was like Balaam. He loved the wages of unrighteousness, where he would sell out the Lord Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver. That’s pretty easy to understand. We hear all the time about people stealing and robbing in a church setting and siphoning money and whatever the case may be. Or just preaching complete lies, like a Joel Osteen or a Rick Warren, just in order to bring in the multimillions, Benny Hinn or whatever.
What was the issue with Cain? Work salvation. This is something that’s always creeping in, where people would creep in with doctrines of, “Hey, you have to turn away from your sins to be saved. You have to clean up your life,” or, “Hey, you can lose your salvation.” These are the types of doctrines that’s always creeping in where they tamper with the gospel itself. They tamper with the plan of salvation. What is the gainsaying of Core? Let’s just focus on the last half of that word, “saying”. Gainsaying, okay? Because wouldn’t you agree that the word “gainsaying” has something to do with something that comes out of somebody’s mouth?
Congregation: Right. Yeah.
Gainsaying, okay? Now, this term is used in other places in the Bible, what it means to gainsay. The Bible talks about God will give us a spirit and wisdom where we could preach to where no one will be able to gainsay or resist. No one will be able to argue with what you’re saying. Let’s go back to number 16 and look at the story of Core and figure out what Core’s problem was. What’s the issue? If God’s going to pick these three men to be archetypes of false doctrine, false teaching, infiltrators creeping in, these three archetypes had three separate issues. He’s taking an example of someone who’s into work salvation, Cain. Then he takes an example of somebody into covetousness and the love of money and greed, Balaam. Then he brings out another archetype of the gainsaying of Core.
Now, here’s the thing that makes it easy to find the gainsaying of Core. Core only said one thing in the whole Bible. That makes it very easy. It’s like, okay, when God said the gainsaying of Core, well, I guess we had to look at everything that Core said and try to figure out what it was that God didn’t like that he said. Well, here’s what makes it easy. Core only made one statement in the entire Bible. There’s only one verse to look at, to figure out what Core said that was the gainsaying of Core. Now, look, is Core the only one? No, because Core had also Dathan and Abiram and 250 other people that followed him. Not only that, but the New Testament says that we have modern day Core, Dathan and Abiram, because he said, “Woe unto them that have crept in, they’ve gone in the way of the gainsaying of Core. They perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Why perished? Because Core died.
Now, let’s see what the Bible says about Core. Let’s find the one statement that Core made that is recorded in scripture for all eternity. Look at verse 1. Now, Core, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi; and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men and they rose up before Moses with certain of the children of Israel, 250 princes of the assembly famous in the congregation, men of renown. They gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “Ye take,” better get ready for it, the gainsaying of Core, “You take too much upon you, saying all of the congregation are holy, everyone of them and the Lord is among them. Wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord.”
What was the gainsaying of Core? Saying to Moses and Aaron, “It’s not right for you to be over the people of the Lord when all of us are equal, all of us are holy. You are taking too much upon you and you have put yourself above the people as a leader,” and that is the gainsaying of Core. Let’s read it again and, you know what? If I’m wrong, then I’d like to hear your interpretation of this verse. “They gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, ‘You take too much upon you, saying all the congregation are holy,’” congregation means church. “’Saying all the congregation are holy, everyone of them and the Lord is among them. Wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord.”
Flip over to 26:9, where this event is referred back to. If we were to read the whole chapter, of course, Moses and Aaron stand up to them and God kills all of them. God kills Core, Dathan, Abiram and all 250 men. He opens up the earth and they drop into hell. Look at 26:9, it says this, “And the sons of Eliab, Nemuel and Dathan and Abiram.” This is that Dathan and Abiram which were famous in the congregation, who strove against Moses and Aaron in the company of Core when they strove against the Lord. Look at verse 3 of chapter 27, just a few pages to the right in the Bible. Numbers 27:3, “Our Father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Core, but died in his own sins and had no sons.”
What we see here is that these people rebelled against Moses and rebelled against the Lord, but who were they really rebelling against in their heart? According to the scripture, it’s the Lord. Because who is Moses? Who are Aaron? All they’re doing is carrying out their instructions from God. God tells them “Moses, say this to the people.” He says it. They all get mad at him. Moses is saying, “You’re not angry at us. You’re not murmuring against us. You’re murmuring against the Lord, because I’m doing nothing other than preach unto you the word of the Lord.” What is the gainsaying of Core? The gainsaying of Core says that we don’t have a ruler, because all the people are holy. God’s among all of us, so we don’t need a leader. We don’t need a ruler. The pastor is just on a power trip and he shouldn’t have this pastoral authority and that it’s false.
Look, I’ve heard it a million times. Well, not a million, but I’ve heard it a thousand. I’ve heard it a lot of times. Well, God warned us. How many times have you heard the word “salvation”? How many times have you seen people preaching false doctrine and lies for the sake of money? How many times have you seen people going to their job or the church or anywhere else and skimming from the cash register or skimming from the till? Okay, so why do we think that the gainsaying of Core is going to be rare and hard to find when the other three are abundant around us everywhere we go? I’m hearing more and more of this with the Internet because of the fact that the Internet makes people feel like they don’t need church anymore.
We don’t need church anymore because we’ve substituted it with the Internet. They get out of church and then they just start surfing the net and listening to all kinds of false prophets. Now, listen to me. We should not listen to those that are false prophets. Now, if somebody is preaching out of false Bible versions, they are false prophets. If they’re not preaching the word of God, if they’re not preaching the King James Bible but they’re preaching one of these messed up ESV, NIV, Living Bible, whatever, that’s a false teacher.
Don’t come to me and tell me, “Oh, man, this guy, he doesn’t use the King James, but man, you can learn a lot from this guy.” Look, if some … By the way, if somebody’s wrong on salvation, “Well, but they preach a lot of other good stuff. It says on the salvation,” where they’re wrong. Then we shouldn’t be listening to them.
Congregation: Right. Yeah.
Because they’ve crept in unawares. They’re under the error of Cain at that point.
What happens is it’s so easy to just basically get sucked into all these divers and strange doctrines on the Internet. Listen, I’m not against the Internet, because I think that the Internet is a great tool in order to mass communicate information. It’s the modern day equivalent of getting up on the house tops. You can get the word of God out to millions of people and it’s great, and you can learn a lot of great things on the Internet. I mean, they’re just a lot of good things to learn on the Internet. For example, you can go on the Internet and you can learn how to do work on your car and just watch someone do it. I mean, I wanted to fix something on my car. I type in the exact model of my car. I type in exactly what I want to fix and there’s a video of somebody doing it. It’s wonderful.
I remember one time I wanted to do some construction work around my house and I bought a book about construction. I tried to figure out from that book about how to build things. I’ve been around job sites but I couldn’t make heads or tails of that book about construction. Once I went on YouTube and typed in how to frame walls, how to install a window, how to lay a tile, then all of a sudden it was like, “Wow, I can do this.” The Internet is a wonderful tool where you can just learn information. It’s like having a library, an entire library in your pocket. Pull out the smartphone and you can look up facts and information and so forth.
Here’s the thing, though, it is also a dangerous thing. It really is. Because what else is on the Internet? All kinds of things, all kinds of horrific things, violence, pornography, just things that we shouldn’t be looking into and studying and filling our minds with. Also, you know what there’s a whole lot of in the Internet too? False doctrine.
False doctrine. Now, here’s the thing. God … Go and answer that. No, I’m just kidding it. Anyway, God ordained a pastor for a reason. Not only that, He got qualifications for a reason. Why didn’t He just say, “Hey, anybody who feels led just get up there and preach and lead,” and so forth? Why didn’t He say that? Because He wanted people to be taught and led and fed by someone who is a proven qualified person, that’s why. That’s what’s wrong with this whole model of breaking the church into a bunch of Sunday school classes where you put a guy who’s been saved for six months and give him a Sunday school class. Somebody who’s been in church for nine months and they’re teaching a Sunday school class, “Oh, that’s going to help them grow.” Yeah, but what’s he teaching? It could be the wrong things that are being taught.
That’s why God says, “I want the pastors to feed the flock. I want elders. I want bishops and even deacons that can preach and feed the flock. These are all tried and tested men, that are not new, that have gone and done their time. They are meeting the qualifications that have been laid out and there are a lot of … That’s a whole another seminar. I’m not going to spend the time belaboring the qualifications, because that’s a whole seminar of itself. There’s a long list of qualifications. Why is it then that people will just tune in to someone who is completely unqualified?
Congregation: That’s right.
Just listen to hours and hours and hours of Bible teaching of someone who is not a bishop? Someone who is not a pastor? Someone who is not biblically qualified? Why? Is that really how God intended for you to get your spiritual meat and drink? No. He intended you to read your Bible and listen to the preaching of someone who’s qualified to teach you and preach you the word of God. You say, “Are you against people going online to get a preaching?” Absolutely not. Because, let me tell you something, when I was a young man, I loved going … I loved my pastor and I listen to my pastor’s preaching, but I loved going online and getting other preaching as well. I would download other sermons.
I literally listen to … While I went to Regency Baptist Church in Sacramento, California, I literally listen probably close to 1,000 sermons on recording during that time in my life, from other preachers that I would download from the Internet on dialup. It took a long time to download the sermons and I had to put them on cassette tapes. There was no … I’d never seen an MP3 player until I was I think 23 years old. I was doing it. I was putting them on cassettes. I was listening to them on my computer and I was dubbing them onto cassettes in real time. It took hours and hours. Over the course of many years, I listened to literally about 1,000 sermons that I listened to on the Internet. Guess who I was listening to? You want to know who I was listening to?
Baptist pastors that were qualified to be Baptist pastors. I wasn’t just downloading every fool, every novice, every … I’m not saying novice is a fool. There’s nothing wrong with being a novice. Everybody starts out as a novice, but I’m not going to listen to 1,000 hours of a novice in order to get trained and taught. I didn’t listen to every Presbyterian, Methodist, Pentecostal, Charismatic, non-denom John. I did not sit and listen to every rabbi and every just person in their living room and in their basement and whatever. You know what I listen to? Baptist qualified pastors that were actually qualified and had experience and that learned things, and it was a great help to my growth.
I’m not going to stand up here and say, “Hey, don’t download preaching from the Internet. Only listen to me only.” No, because you know what? I’m all for people downloading sermons from the Internet if they want to get some extracurricular preaching in. Because, look, some people are just dull. I know some of you can understand this because you could hardly drag yourself here once a week to listen to me preach. There’s some people who come here three times a week. Then there are some people who not only come here three times a week to listen to me preach, they’ll download sermons from other pastors and listen to them to get extracurricular preaching, because they just loved preaching. I loved preaching.
I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s great. Does that mean that you should just go out and just listen to anybody?
Just listen to whoever? Why don’t you use a little bit of discernment who you’re listening to?
Say, “Well, wait a minute. If these people are using false Bible versions, if this people are denying major doctrines of the Bible, if these people are from some total other phony baby-baptizing denomination, or these people are just totally not qual …” How about this, you’re listening to hours and hours of women preaching on the Internet. Is that what God ordained in the local church? They just listen to hours and hours of just these people who get up with strange doctrines, diverse doctrines. They’re young and they haven’t had the experience to learn and get up and preach sound doctrine. It isn’t right. I don’t believe in it.
They’ll say, “Well, but who are these pastors? What gives them the right?” God.
God’s ordination that He laid out qualifications and for people to meet those qualifications and for people to actually pastor a real church. When I say a real church, I mean, there’s people there. I mean, it’s a bona fide, real church. Now, I’m not saying it has to be big. It could be small, but it should be growing. Now, it’s just us four, no more. That isn’t right. That’s not what God ordained. That’s not in the Book of Acts. People will criticize verses like Psalm 105. This verse is found in two places, identical places, where it says, “Touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm.” There, if I have a nickel for every time I heard somebody say, “Oh, that’s just referring to all the people.” Is that right? Is every person a prophet?
No, they’re not. That is the spirit of the gainsaying of Core. Now, I especially want to mention this morning to those who want to pastor someday. I think this is really … You know what, I’m not going to ask for raise of hands, but there are many men in our church who’ve expressed the desire for the office of the bishop. They want to pastor someday. They want to preach someday. They want to start a church someday. That’s wonderful because the Bible says if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desire to do good work.
Let me speak especially to those men who want to be a pastor someday. Great leaders start out as great followers. If you are failing to follow the leader around here, you’re going to fail to ever be a great leader. Because, you know what? I have trained three pastors so far that are pastoring right now. Let me tell you something, the three pastors … By the way, if you’re looking for extracurricular preaching, those three guys are three great guys to listen to. You won’t just listen to them and it sounds exactly like me. No. They’re all different than me. They’ll preach things that you’ve never heard me say. They’re their own independent, independent Baptist churches. There are plenty of other great … You say, “Why do I listen to them?” Then see me after sermon. I’ll list for you a bunch of great Baptist pastors that I would listen to.
Let me tell you this. The three guys that I have trained for the ministry in my young career, because I’ve been doing this for about a decade now, pastoring, well, I approve of the job that all three of them are doing. I have greatest respect for all three of them. I think that all three of them are great men of God. That would be Roger Jimenez, and that would be David Berzins, and that would be Donnie Romero.
Let me tell you something about these three guys. They were always and have always been very respectful to me, always. They have always followed me when it was their time to follow me, but now they don’t follow me anymore. Guess what? I don’t want them to follow me anymore. If those three guys are following me now, something is wrong because they’re on their own now. They’re supposed to be independent. This isn’t a denomination. Let me tell you something. When they were under my ministry, when I was teaching them, they followed and they learnt and they were humble and they were respectful. That’s why they’re succeeding.
Let me also say another thing beyond that, is that the way that you treat your pastor now is going to come back around and get you someday when you’re pastoring, because you know what? Whatsoever men soweth, that shall he also reap. I can tell you something. When I was at Regency Baptist Church, I can stand up here and tell you from the bottom of my heart that when I was at Regency Baptist Church in Orangevale, California, when I was there I was not a troublemaker. I loved and respected the pastor and I would have never dreamed of rebuking him or being rude to him or being disrespectful to him. Let me tell you, there were things that I didn’t agree with. I mean, preacher of rapture was a big one, but there are a lot of other things that you don’t agree with. You know what I did? I sat down, I shut up and I learned a lot.
I thank God for that church. I thank God for that pastor, because he is a big reason why I’m here today because he taught me a lot and he inspired me and I followed his lead. Now, after I went out and started the church, okay, was there some strife at times? Yeah, but you know what? I love him and he loves me and he and I are at peace and I thank God for that. You know what? When I was a member of his church, I was an asset, not a liability, period. I can stand up here and tell you that that there was not any exception to that as far as me fighting him or showing discord against him. It never happened.
You know what? That’s why, for the last 10 years, I’ve rarely had a problem in this area, because I believe that God has blessed me for being respectful to my pastor so people have been respectful to me. I thank God for that, because that’s how life works. If you do good, it will be done unto you. If you do evil, it will come back unto you. I’ve done wrong things in my life and those things have come around and bit me too, okay? I’m just warning you and saying, “You want to be a pastor someday? Well, you know what? It’s a little harder than you think and it’s all going to come back and get you.” That’s all I have to say about that.
Think about the great leaders in the Bible who started out as great followers. One that comes right away to mind is Joshua, right? Joshua, faithful follower of Moses before he was ever the great leader. How about Elisha, who poured water on the hands of Elijah, followed Elijah whithersoever he went and served Elijah? Then he was lifted up to be a great leader where all the prophets were coming to him and looking to him. What about David? Best example in the whole Bible. I mean, you want to talk about disagreeing with something about your pastor? What about when your pastor’s throwing a javelin at the wall? I mean, David went above and beyond. I mean, Saul hated and fought David, but do you ever see David turn on Saul ever?
Show me in the Bible where David turns on Saul and disrespect Saul. No. He stayed humble. That’s why God exalted him to be a great leader, because he was a great follower. How about the apostles? Great leaders, right? What did they do first? Followed Jesus for three and a half years. Even Jesus himself, the greatest leader of all time, obeyed the Father. He said, “I do always those things which please Him.”
He said that even the Son was subject onto the Father. If you think that’s a false doctrine, you’re probably one of these ignorant novices who hasn’t studied the Bible. “Oh, I’ve read on the Internet that the Trinity is a false doctrine.” You know what? You don’t know what you’re talking about because I could prove that up one side and down the other, and you’re fooled if you don’t believe in it. Because there are plenty of scriptures that talk about the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, that these three are one.
The Bible says in Proverbs 15 … Don’t turn there. I want you to turn to Ephesians 4, but I’ve got to hurry up for sake of time here, but the Bible says in Proverbs 15:32, “He that refuseth instruction despises his own soul, but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.” The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom and before honor is humility. What’s part of being a pastor? It’s a position of honor, but first comes humility. First, you pay your dues. First, you’re humble. Again, in Proverbs 18:12, “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty and before honor is humility.”
What does it mean to be the pastor? We talked about being a bishop and, we’ve touched on this a little bit, being the pastor is to feed the flock, right? The bishop is what? Overseer is what that means, ruler. The pastor is what? The shepherd, the one who feeds the flock. Then the elder is what? More experienced and more knowledgeable than you. That’s what the elder in that sense, not necessarily just talking about physical age, but also spiritual age.
He says in Ephesians 4:11, it says, “And he gave some apostles and some prophets and some evangelists and some pastors and teachers.” Why are pastors there? It says, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him and all things, which is the head, even Christ.”
Why do we need the pastor? Why have we been given the pastor? To feed the flock of God, it said in Acts 20:28. He said because grievous wolves will come in. Here, He said, “You need to be fed by the pastor so that you will not continue to be children, tossed to and fro, with every wind of doctrine and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
That’s why the Bible said in Jeremiah 3:15, don’t turn there. You turn to Acts 17, Acts 17, but Jeremiah 3:15 says, “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” The pastor is there to feed you with knowledge and understanding so that you won’t be a child. So you can grow up and be able to be on the lookout for false doctrine and be alert to it. The pastor’s job is to be a ruler, an overseer, a guide, but not only that, the pastor’s job is there to feed the people. Feed the flock. Teach them the word of God. What should be your attitude, as the church member, toward the pastor in his capacity of feeding you, of shepherding you?
Well, let’s see what the Bible says in Act 17:11. Because this is the verse that people really understand half of it, but they seem to ignore the other half of it. Let’s read the whole verse. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Now, there are two aspects here, and I’ve seen people go to two wrong extremes by ignoring this verse. Now, a lot of people would go to the extreme of just whatever the pastor says, they just believe it no matter what, and they never check it out in scripture for themselves. Is that right?
It’s horrible because of the fact that they are just blindly following someone and they have no idea whether what’s been taught is right or not. This is like a cult-like mentality of just, “Well, whatever the pastor says must be right.” That’s the wrong extreme on one end where they’re not searching the scriptures daily whether these things are so. They don’t care to search the scriptures daily whether these things are so. They just, “Well, the pastor said it. That’s good enough. Next.” That’s not right.
Then a lot of people go to another extreme though, where they’ll basically sit in church, skeptical of everything that’s being preached and just waiting for something to be false, waiting for something to be wrong. Just skeptical going in instead of going in, as the Bible says in verse 11 here, to receive the word with all readiness of mind. Instead of going in and saying, “Hey, I’m ready to learn something. I’m ready to receive the word with all readiness of mind.” They go into it with an attitude of, “What, is this really …? Is this really right, what he’s saying?”
Just going into it with a skeptical attitude instead of going into it ready to receive it, ready to say, “You know what? The pastor knows more than I do. The pastor is a God-ordained leader and ruler in the church. The Holy Spirit has made him the overseer and has set him in this position in order to feed me, in order to teach me, so I’m going to come ready to receive what God has for me.” No, no. They don’t have that attitude. They have this attitude of, “Well, I’m going to show up and see if what he’s saying is right or not.” See, that’s not what this verse is teaching. What the verse is teaching is you show up, you’re ready to hear it. You go into it positive. You go into it saying, “This is my pastor. This is the guy who knows the Bible. I’m ready to learn something from him.”
Now, then you search the scripture and verify that what was said was right, but you’re not just going into it with a negative attitude of finding fault and finding flaw and picking it apart because, guess what? You may not know as much on certain subjects, so just because you hear something, “Well, that doesn’t sound right,” that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not right. Because there are many things that don’t sound right that turn out to be right. Who thinks that that’s true, that a lot of things you first hear, “That doesn’t sound right. Oh, it turns out I was brainwashed. It turns out I’d been taught wrong.”
Look, it’s true, my friend. Just sitting there and just, “Well, I don't think this is right or I know about that. I don't know about that.” No. You come and hear the word of God with readiness of mind. Then you search the scriptures to see whether these things are so. Meaning that if something’s not right that’s being preached, it’s because you see contradiction in scripture. This is part of why we bring our Bibles to church, because while I’m preaching you have your Bible in your lap. You’re using your own judgment and judging as you hear the word of God and I say, “Turn to Acts 20,” or wherever I have you turn, Acts 17 in this case, and you’re looking down at your Bible and you’re seeing whether these things are so.
What I say to you, you’re making sure that I’m not saying, “Hey, the Bible says,” and I’m saying some totally different. You’re looking at your Bible like, “What? Where does it say that?” See, that’s where there’s a problem. Or the next day you wake up, so during church you have the Bible, you look at it, but then the next day you’re reading the whole chapter in context. Because you’re doing your daily Bible reading and you’re reading full chapters and you’re saying, “You know what? I’m seeing stuff in here that doesn’t jive with what I’m being preached. Something’s wrong.”
That is something that you should be doing. Not just blindly accepting but reading the Bible yourself to see whether these things are so, but that does not mean an attitude that says, “Well, you know what? I’m just going to show up and see whether the message is true today or not.” Just going into it with that type of skeptical attitude is not what the Bible … Because that’s not readiness of mind to receive the word of God. Be more ready to hear than to give the answer of fools.
One last place I want to turn is 1 Peter 5. This will tie a lot of things together in one actually. 1 Peter 5. Writing this sermon, there was no shortage of scripture. A lot of scriptures to choose from, easily filled four pages with just pure scriptures, a lot of verses, scores of verses on this subject. Look at 1 Peter 5. Again, one thing that I would submit to you is that God wouldn’t give all these tons of scripture if church is just getting together with your buddies and there’s no clear leader.
“Well, but pastors, I just believe that we need multiple elders and multiple deacons and multiple pastors.” Okay, right. Let me ask you this, how big is the church have to be before you need that many multiple pastors and multiple elders and multiple deacons? Since according to the Bible those are all fulltime, paid positions and since, according to the Bible, those all have very strict qualifications. Okay, great. Yeah. Let’s have multiple pastors. As soon as we have the money to hire deacons and as soon as we have the money to pay all of these people, and then as soon as we have just this abundance of men that meet that qualification, which we don’t, then we’ll talk.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the church having multiple leaders. Of course, when a church grows and gets big, that becomes necessary. When you have a church like ours that’s running 130, 140 people, not there yet. The church of Jerusalem was running like 10,000. Let me tell you something, when Faith Forward Baptist is running 10,000, we will have multiple bishops and deacons.
Bigger room, too.
Yeah. We will have to move to a different facility, yeah. “Well, that will never happen.” Well, maybe it will, maybe it won’t. I wouldn’t be shocked if our church someday runs 1,000. Why not? It doesn’t mean … That’s not really the big goal. I mean, the goal is to be faithful and do right and keep winning people to the Lord. The goal, in my mind, you know what I’d rather see happen than to see our church just get huge? You know what I’d rather see? Us to just send out a multitude of young guys that would go out and start churches in other places. That way all the eggs aren’t in one basket.
You know what I mean? Spread it out so that you can basically have all kinds of churches. That way if one goes under, they don’t all have to fail. You could send them out and they’re all independent. That’s the plan. I’d much rather see that. You know what? We’re sending out a lot less people to start churches than I would like to send out to start churches, and there’s one reason. Because the harvest truly is plenty, but the laborers are few and the qualifications are stringent.
Look at 1 Peter 5:1, it says, “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.” This is an elder, a pastor, Peter, and he’s exhorting other elders, other pastors. He says, “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.” Now, look at verse 3, “Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock. When the chief Shepherd shall appear,” why does he say the chief shepherd? Because the pastor is an under shepherd and there’s the chief shepherd over him, Jesus. “When the chief Shepherd shall appear …” By the way, here’s another word for chief shepherd, “archbishop”. That’s Jesus, not some guy in a funny red Jewish hat.
Some cardinal or archbishop with their Jewish Satan hat. It says, “Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock. When the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”
Now, when we talk about the pastor’s role as an overseer, it says here, “Taking the oversight thereof,” you say, “Does that mean that the pastor just has total authority, just total authority over every aspect of our lives?” No, that’s … Now, what the Bible teaches here is clear because it says in verse 3, “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.” What’s the difference between a lord and a ruler? Because here’s the thing, at the beginning of the sermon I showed you a plethora of scriptures that said that the pastor is the ruler. Here’s one that says, “Well, you shouldn’t be a lord,” okay?
What’s the difference between being a ruler and being a lord? Because a lot of people, you know what they’ll do? They’ll look at this verse that says “not as being lords,” and they’ll say, “He’s not the ruler. He’s not the boss. See? It says they’re not the lord. They’re just an example.” Is that really true if all those other verses say he’s the ruler? No. See, here’s the big difference from being a ruler and a lord, because if we let the Bible to define itself and when we see the word “lord”, we’re not talking about The Lord. That’s a name. We’re talking about a lord and if we wanted to find the word “lord” we can use the Bible itself to define it. What did Jesus say? “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his …”?
“… Lord.” When you’re a lord, that means you have servants. Everybody understands that? What do masters have? Disciples. What do lords have? Servants. Okay, so what is this saying? This is saying that God’s people are not here to serve the pastor. They’re not here where you are my servants, where I am here as your lord and you’re my servant. That’s not what the Bible teaches. Of course not. Now, here’s the thing, the Bible does say that the woman, that Sarah, is the example of a wife because she called her husband lord. Why? Because wives do serve their husbands.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, amen?
Wives do serve their husbands. I mean, that’s the … God created the woman for Adam and said, “I’ll make a helpmeet for him.”
What’s her job? To help him.
To serve him, to minister unto him. Okay?
The Bible calls the pastor the minister. Have you ever heard what I do being called being in the ministry or being a minister? Actually, I’m a servant. I’m serving you. I’m serving you breakfast Sunday morning, lunch, Sunday night, dinner Wednesday night, okay? I’m serving you. I’m here to help you. I’m here to serve you. I’m here to be there for you in your time of need. This isn’t about exalting man and saying, “Hey, everybody. We’re all here to serve me. It’s all about exalting me.” That’s an abuse of power, isn’t it?
That’s not what the Bible teaches about a pastor. Are there people who’ve done that? Of course, other pastors and leaders who abused the power and basically turned it into a thing where everybody’s serving and exalting them. Of course, that’s an abuse. That’s why God is giving this warning. That’s not what it’s about. Set the example. Don’t say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Get in the trenches and do the work and say, “As you see me do, do likewise.” Look, how do you say follow me unless you’re out in front, doing it? Why could Paul say be followers of me? Because he’s doing it.
This is saying not to be lords over God’s heritage, but to be examples of the flock. That does mean that they’re not supposed to take the oversight? See, the difference between being a ruler and a lord is that a pastor who’s ruling is calling the shots. He’s the boss. He’s calling the shots, but not for his own advancement or his own glory, but rather making things work toward the gospel being spread and making things work toward the growth of the individuals and the church. That they would grow and thrive, and that families would grow and thrive and that people would be served and that people would be reached. There’s a big difference between saying, “We have no leader,” and between saying, “Hey, our leader is not our lord that we serve, but rather he is our example and our overseer.”
I mean, think about it. If you go to work, there’s the owner of the company, right? You’re his servant. He’s really the lord there. I mean, he’s the one who’s profiting from you in a sense that everything is done for his benefit. I mean, look, when you go to work, you’re doing it for the company, and the owner of that company is the lord of that company in that situation. Then, don’t you also have sometimes an overseer, a manager, a boss, not the owner of the company? It’s no skin off his back, in a sense, whether the company makes a profit or a loss, except that he’s going to be held accountable, but it’s not him that’s being served. He’s just there making sure that things are going the way they’re suppose to go. He’s working with you and he’s leading and you’re following him and you’re taking orders from him.
Look, that’s all I got, plenty of scripture for you to chew on. I don’t see how anybody could walk away from this sermon and still follow this Core mentality. I’m just telling you that in the last 9, 10 years that I’ve pastored, most of the time people have been very respectful to me. The vast majority of people have treated me with the utmost respect and I really appreciate that, and I’m very thankful for that. Honestly, there have been times throughout my ministry where people lose all respect for me. I don't know why they do, but they do. They treat me with disdain and disrespect.
I remember, when I was in Bible College I was taught … Like I said, it’s been very rare. Very rare. Let me say this, when I was in Bible College, here’s what I was taught. They told me, “Do not be friends with any of your church people. You cannot interact socially with any of your church members. Do not be their friend, because they will lose all respect for you.” Now, I don’t believe that. I don’t follow that teaching because the Bible says, “Now, we beseech you, brethren, to know them that are …” I’m sorry, I’m quoting it wrong. The Bible says, “We beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake and be at peace among yourselves.”
Now look, if the Bible says to know them that labor among you and are over you in the Lord, it doesn’t sound like they need to be at some distant, off on some pedestal or ivory tower. No. I don't believe in that, because you know what? I’m not going to sit there because 99% of people can handle being my friend and can handle interacting socially with me. That’s why many of you have gone to eat with me, and gone running with me, and gone hiking with me, and gone skiing with me, and hung out together, and other recreational ways, because of the fact that the vast majority of people can handle that.
I think it’s profitable. I think it’s good for us to have communion and fellowship and friendship and for the pastor to love you and for you to love him. To just be able to just sit down and talk and just treat each other as friends and so forth. You know what? For some people, they can’t handle that. Basically then it just becomes, “Oh, I’m just like the pastor. He’s just like me. Oh well, who is he then?” Well, you know what? I think I’ve shown you plenty of scripture that the pastor is somebody important and is somebody to be reckoned with and is somebody to be respected. Not somebody to be disdained or looked down upon.
Let’s bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for your word, Lord, and the clear teaching thereof. I pray that you would just help these words to sink down into our ears, Lord. I thank you for men of God that I’ve followed in the first part of my life, Lord, because without them I would not be where I am today, Lord. They taught me so many things. I was once very young and inexperienced and have many foolish ideas, but I got under the preaching of great men of God and listened to others. Lord, I just thank you for those men’s influence in my life. I pray that you would use me to influence the lives of others, Lord, and that we would not follow after false teachers, but that we would follow after men of God who tell the truth, Lord. I just pray that we would all be at peace amongst ourselves and to have respect one for another. In Jesus’ name, we pray, amen.