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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15


The Man of God

Pastor John Reaves, Sr.

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 behaviour, 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.

 I Timothy 3:1-7.


How can you tell?


Qualifications for the Man of God


"A bishop must then be..." The qualifications for a bishop (an overseer), a pastor are laid out in scripture. We know what a pastor is supposed to be or must be. He must be blameless, husband of one wife, vigilant (watchful), sober (self-controlled), of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not given to wine, no striker (quarrelsome), not greedy of filthy lucre:... and the list goes on. It has always been strange to me that most preachers only focus on one of the qualifications, "...the husband of one wife..." And I agree, and not one wife at a time but one wife period. He cannot be a divorced man. But that is not the only qualification for the man of God.


What about, "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?)" Ruleth well his own house and having his children in subjection, what about children in subjection, what about that qualification? I cannot tell you how many preachers that have a family in disarray. In many churches the pastor’s kids are the worst.


A pastor who cannot even, "Rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?" He cannot and that is why a lot of churches are in spiritual and financial ruin. I know of one case in the Northern United States, where a pastor of a church, had a son who was in and out of trouble, because of theft and arson he was at least twice on the front page of the local newspaper. According to the Word of God that pastor is no more qualified to pastor than a divorced man.


The qualifications for a pastor were given for a reason, why? "Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without;" verse 7. That includes paying your bills, finances. The office of Pastor must have respectability. A lot of pastors have made the comment, "The world is really getting bad, they don’t even have respect for the man of God." I wonder why? Respect has to be earned. It doesn’t just happen. If the office of pastor has no respectability neither will the message, and that’s why the man of God must meet the qualifications laid out in the Word of God.


The Man of God, How Can You Tell?

All saved men should be men of God but when the Bible speaks of a man of God it speaks of someone called for a specific purpose, like Moses. "And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death." Deu. 33:1. Moses was called to bring forth God’s people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt. Which no doubt is a type of the man of God now a- days, the pastor is to lead and be an example to the flock. The type is definitely there, Acts 7:38 refers to Israel as being the church in the wilderness and Isa. 63:11 speaks of Moses as being a shepherd.


But the question is "Men of God, how can you tell?" In the Book of I Samuel, chapter 9, we read of Saul and his servant out looking for the lost asses of Saul’s father and we pick up the story in I Sam. 9:5-8:


 "And when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us. And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can show us our way that we should go. Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we? And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way."


Is He Honourable?


We notice the that servant of Saul knew there was a man of God in the city because he was an honourable man. "And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man." verse 6. The root word honour in Webster’s 1828 dictionary gives this definition: "the esteem due or paid to worth; high estimation. A testimony of esteem; any expression of respect or of high estimation by words or actions," and honourable: "worth of being honored; estimable; illustrious or noble; actuated by principle of honor; conferring honour; consistent with honor or reputation: regarded with esteem; accompanied with marks of honor or testimonies of esteem; upright and laudable; directed to a just and proper end; not base; a title of distinction applies to certain members of noble families, persons in high positions, etc." Which goes along with the qualifications, "...he must have a good report (testimony) of them which are without..." I Tim. 3:7 and with that comes respect.


Many preachers think they can get their degree in respect like they get their Doctorate degree, honorary but this one must be earned. And how can preachers get any respect or degree of honour when their testimonies are in such state. Things that are going on in the ministry today are so bad that Sodom and Gomorrah looks like a nice place to live.


How can the pastorate have any respectability when we have pastors running off with people they meet on the Internet, running off with their piano players and leaving their wives and children, pastors messing around with deacon’s wives and it’s splattered all over the news. There is little respect for the office of pastor because there is but few honourable men holding that office.


When I was a young preacher in the late 70’s and on deputation you would be amazed at what I had to contend with while trying to raise support to go to the mission field. Preachers promised support and even voted on it and yet it never came in. Drive for four to six hours and preach, present the field, my family with me, no supper, no love offering, not even so much as a thank you. God help us.


I have had preachers lie to me, right to my face, and when I found out it didn’t even bother them, no apology. What we have today is a lot of Mommy, Daddy, and preacher called men, and it shows in their ministry. Churches and bible colleges training young men how to be a preacher but to no avail, for most, because they are not called and if you’re not called it does not work. Result is, most of the pulpits in North America are being filled by men that want to be, or think they are, called. And when you have men in the ministry who are not called, the respect of the position is gone because they do not have what it takes to pastor, and being honourable is one of them.


Honourable has to do with respect and how can you respect someone when they say one thing and do another? Romans 2:21&22 says, "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?" "Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?" Simply, how can you have respect for someone who says one thing and does another? You can not. That is Phariseeism, "for they say, and do not." Mat. 23:3. That is hypocrisy at its worst. We have many preachers today who are heavily involved with double standards.


When I was just a child I sat on the lap of W. A. Criswell who claimed to be a fundamentalist, but held hands with the liberals, and of recent times has had an audience with the Pope. He is no fundamentalist. At age 23 I was saved and went to B.B.C. Springfield, and as a new Christian, I just simply believed the Bible. "For there is no respect of persons with God." Rom. 2:11. If it is wrong for women to wear immodest dress then they should not wear shorts, but neither should men. That includes young men wearing silk shorts chasing after a basketball. When I approached the president of the college concerning this problem he said, "That’s different," and went on to tell me that I was so narrow minded I could see through a key hole with both eyes and that I would not be in the ministry in 10 years. My reply to that, "narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Mat. 7:14.


If it was not for the grace of God there was no way I could have made it as a preacher. Especially when you consider the example I had as young preacher. The first pastor I worked with after Bible college was one that other preachers lifted up as being a great preacher. I was not even with him three months before my wife caught him and the secretary in his office doing things that pastors and secretaries are not supposed to do. But he was a hot shot B.B.F. pastor, an untouchable. But let some unknown get caught, and he’s gone. Double standards...


The same goes for those Pastors that say, "Our church will not have any B.B.F. missionaries behind our pulpits," and yet they will have B.B.F. pastors preach for them or "we believe in local church only" but associate with those that believe in the universal invisible church and even have them to preach for them. Double standards everywhere we look. No wonder there is so little respect for the office of Pastor. No wonder most of the young preachers coming up are confused and don’t know where to stand. The examples placed before young and new preachers is less than honourable. Certain men are lifted up as being some great ones at preachers conferences. Then young preachers buy their books and follow them.


We are training two young men at the Bible Baptist Church in Brandon and recently bought them some books at a conference. One of those books being "Great Bible Words" by I. W. Rogers. On page 13 it says, "Our Scripture quotations are from the American Standard Version, which is probably the most accurate translation available..." And if that was not bad enough on page 34 it says, "I have introduced my discussion of the blood of Christ in this way in order to emphasize the fact that when the blood of Christ is mentioned in the New Testament it means the death of Christ."


What! The blood means nothing? What about Acts 20:28? "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." What about Romans 3:25? "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." Or Eph. 1:7? "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."


The most startling part about this book, published in 1969, is found in the preface: "It would be impossible to mention all the sources of help and encouragement the author has received in the preparation of these messages. But he feels that he must mention at least four of them. Editor M. L. Moser, Jr., encouraged us in the writing of these articles and published most of them in The Baptist Challenger over a period of about two and one-half years.


"Dr. B. F. Dearmore, former Dean of the Independent Baptist College, Dallas, Texas, read the manuscript and wrote a letter in which he said, "I have enjoyed reading your manuscript. I consider it a very outstanding work. I have been blessed in the reading of it."


Many preachers are claiming to be Independent Baptist men of God, but it is evident that they are saying one thing and doing another or as II Tim. 3:5 says, "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."


Who Follows Him?


You can tell a true man of God by who follows him. Moses is referred to as a man of God and Joshua followed him. Elijah is referred to as a man of God, I Kings 17:18, and who followed him? Elisha. True men of God produce men of God. But what do we see in the churches today? We see supposedly men of God hand picking their replacements to take their pulpit? And those that take the pulpit in most cases go down the road of compromise.


Can He Show You the Way?


You can know the man of God because he can show you the way you should go. I Sam. 9:6, "...he can shew us our way that we should go." The servant of Saul knew that the man of God could give them direction, "The way they should go." In many places we read in the Word of God that the man of God had a message from God to tell as found in I Sam. 2:27, "And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house?"


Or as in I Kings 12:22-23, "But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying, Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying," and as in Isa, 58:1 says, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression..." A man of God today is someone who has a message from God and can show you the way you should go and does as II Tim. 20:27, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." And as Acts 20:27, "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."


You see the true man of God can show you the way, John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." But not only the way of salvation but also the way to go after salvation, Mat. 7:13-14, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Not only does he show you the right way to go but he also warns of the wrong way. He cries aloud and spares not. Someone who will not get up behind the pulpit and preach the narrow way ought to resign and go sell cars or insurance.


Many preachers today do not have a back bone. They are afraid to expose, afraid to preach on tithing, modest clothing, separation, but a true man of God loves his people and knows where the other way leads, to destruction. Churches are falling apart at the seams because preachers are spineless and afraid to make a stand against divorce and remarriage, and against such vices as smoking, drinking, rock music, etc.


Where are the men of God like Moses who said, "Who is on the Lord’s side?" or the Elijahs who stood against the false prophets? Give us men who will stand and we will have men of God. True men of God stand for the right way and the narrow way. Unfortunately many of God's people are not like Saul’s servant who wanted to go to the man of God to know the way they should go. The result is they are just wondering around in the wilderness destined to relive many mistakes.


Is He in it For the Money?


In out text I Sam. 9:7-8 we read, "Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we? And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way." Saul felt he had to give the man of God something for his trouble and the servant said, "...I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way." verse 8. But you can search in vain and you will not find where the man of God took the money. A true man of God is not for sale. "...Not greedy of filthy lucre,..." I Tim. 3:3 or as Titus 1:7, "...not given to filthy lucre." And I Pet. 5:2 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." Not for filthy lucre. One who does it for the check is not a true man of God.


While I was in Bible College a lot of the students would talk about how much they wanted to make and all the benefits, like a new car every year, expense accounts, etc. But money is never to be the issue of where God wants you, it should be God’s will period.


Concerning Elisha, the man of God, in II Kings 5:14-16, He could not be bought.


The true man of God does not do it for money. A real man of God is not in it for the money.Want to spot a true man of God? Look at his lifestyle. I have known so-called pastors who live like kings but can not afford to support missionaries. I could not begin to tell you how many churches I know of which have been destroyed financially because of some money grubbing preacher stealing mission money. Case in point, a church in Springfield voted to take me on for support. Two years later, nothing, but the pastor was found out. He had been writing mission cheques out to himself and writing missionaries’ names on stubs.


Many preachers are afraid to stand and cry aloud because they’re afraid they will run off the tithers. Those of this sort are not true men of God.


Conclusion


Christians, the kind of pastor you should want is found in Jer. 3:15. God says, "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." And if you have a man of God in your midst you should go to him for direction.


Dear Pastor friend, we must take heed to the Word of God as found in I Cor. 9:26-27, "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."