How Should The People Of God Treat Those Men Who Preach The Gospel To Them?
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
Read Hebrews 13:7-19
The tendency among men is either to treat God's servants with contempt, as the judaizers at Galatia did Paul (Gal. 4:16), or regard them with an adoring, worshipful reverence, as Cornelius did Peter (Acts 10:25). Both of these attitudes are wrong. The faithful gospel preacher is only a man; therefore he must not be placed on a pedestal to be worshipped and followed blindly. But he is God's man, God's messenger to men; therefore he must not be despised, ignored and treated with contempt, Paul tells us plainly how the people of God should treat faithful preachers (pastors, evangelists, missionaries).
A faithful pastor is one who labours among God's people. He is not a lazy sluggard, but a diligent labourer. His time, energy and attention are consumed by the ministry of the gospel. He studies, prays and preaches, watching over the souls of God's elect as one who must give account. He has little time for anything other than the work of the gospel. Such a man, who spends his life serving the interest of men's souls, should be highly honoured by those for whom he labours (2 Thess. 3: 1, Heb. 13:7, 17; 1 Cor. 9:9-14).
'Know them which labour among you.' God's people should make it their business to become personally, even intimately, acquainted with faithful gospel preachers, especially their own pastor. Get to know the man who ministers to you. Try to know what his personal needs are, so that you can supply those needs. Try to find a way to assist him and relieve him of unnecessary burdens, so that he may more fully give himself to the work of the gospel. 'Esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake.' Every faithful gospel preacher deserves and should have the high esteem and sincere love of God's people, because of the work which he performs. He is God's spokesman and representative to you, and he should be treated as such. Those churches which develop such an attitude towards the servants of God will in great measure 'be at peace among themselves'.