Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #7

1Tim 3:1 says, This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. Then Paul gives Timothy some rules concerning the office of bishop. In verse 7 Paul tells this young preacher, Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

This good report is not one that is written in the newspaper, shown or television, or announced to the world. This report is the day-to-day life of a preacher as he meets people on the street, in the store, and at the gas station. Sometimes preachers go to places they should not go and practice things publicly that they should not, because some things do not have a good report.

This word for report is the Greek word MARTURIA, and it is the word from which we get our word martyr. It is translated witness in some passages of the New Testament. In other words, the preacher should have a good witness wherever he goes and whatever he does. He is not free to "do what he wants." A preacher must always be on guard against doing something or being somewhere that will mar his witness.

The way a preacher presents himself, the way he dresses, and his mannerisms should not necessarily be the same as the people around him. We are called to a higher standard, and God expect more from us as preachers; and, believe it or not, the world expects more of the preacher, also.

So, before going headlong into a profession that you are taking up just because you like what little prestige that goes along with the position, be sure to count the cost of discipleship, that you as a disciple should be a step above other disciples, not because preachers are better, but because preachers are spectacles of the community.

And do not do it to be spoken of well, but do it to please God. A good conscience is of great value to a preacher, and that comes only when the preacher surrenders to be virtuous and honorable in the presence of God and in the presence of those around him. God is watching you, but the neighbors are, also.

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