Our Relationship To Others
How do we relate and how should we handle Christians in our care? One key is to always manifest the truth in love and commit to the Will of God.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing Alright today? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook. I’m glad to be back with you. What a joy it is to open up the Word of God.
We’re in 1 Timothy, just starting to walk through this wonderful letter that Paul wrote to his son in the faith, Timothy. We’ve gotten now to verse three. He said, “I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus when I went into Macedonia.” And you could take the last two words in verse four and bring them up there into verse three. “So I want you to stay. So do.” The translators have put those two words in to help finish out the sentence. Paul was a great architect of unfinished sentences, as you know. So he said, “I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus when I went into Macedonia, and I wish you’d stay there. That thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than godly edifying, which is in faith.”
Let’s think about this. This staying at Ephesus was a matter of entreaty. He said, “I besought thee, I didn’t command you.” He said, “I besought you. What should be our relationship to Christians who are under our care?” Peter said, “Taking charge not as being lords over God’s heritage, but as being shepherds.” You remember that passage in 1 Peter? “Elders,” he said, “Face your duty and take charge not to be paid, not for filthy lucre, neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief shepherd shall appear, you’ll receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” He said, “I besought you.” It’s not a matter of dictating.
Now, there are some groups, and you need to be aware of this, beloved. There are some groups where people say, “You come and we’ll disciple you.” And when you get into that group, you find that they take charge of your whole life and tell you what you can wear and what you can do and what you can say and where you can work and what your life is going to become, and you are completely dominated by somebody who is commanding you under the idea of making a disciple of you. Well, I don’t find that in Paul’s dealing with any of his coworkers, certainly not with Timothy’s, that I besought you. I asked you, I pled with you. I lovingly requested of you, but I didn’t command you.
See, our job as pastors… I was in the pastorate 18 years full-time and I know a little something, then, about that form of the ministry. And our job as pastors and Sunday school teachers and leaders in the church is not to tell other people what to do, but to lead them by example and by love and by inspiration, and by the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our life. You get on fire, people will come around to see you burn. Just remember that, will you? When you’re tempted to tell the other person off, or to give commands. That isn’t the way it’s done in God’s way of doing things.
Yes, there needs to be leadership, of course. Somebody has to lead and others of us have to follow. That is for sure. But you don’t need to dictate. You know the difference? Paul did. He said, “I besought you to abide still at Ephesus that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine.” Now, of course, he was referring to the heresy that was creeping in even then, where people said you can be saved through faith in Christ, but you also have to keep the Jewish law. Desiring, this is verse seven, desiring to be teachers of the law and understanding neither what they say nor whereof they affirm. They have turned aside from the faith unfeigned. You find this all the way through his writings, warning about folks who are trying somehow to add on to the free grace of God something that you have to do. Now, you see, that’s been all through the history of the church. You find it cropping up everywhere.
Read the Book of Galatians and find that they had their problems the same way, and then you read the history of the church through the centuries, and you’ll find again and again people are saying, “Well, it’s alright to trust Christ but you have to do this as well.” You have to be baptized in a certain way, or you have to observe certain customs, or you have to dress in a certain way, or you have to eat only certain things if you’re gonna be saved. Well, the Bible doesn’t teach that. “By grace are you saved, through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not of works.” We can’t do anything to be saved, and you can’t do anything to stay saved. And nothing that you and I can bring that will satisfy the holiness of an absolutely perfect God.
We have to plead for mercy. We have to come as supplicants and let God save us by His grace and keep us by His power. Well, you know that, don’t you? And yet that was the thing that Paul was warning against. And every now and again you’ll find people getting off on a side track and saying, “Well, yes, the Gospel is important but this also is very important, you must do this or that.” See, good works is a result. The good things that Christians do are the result of having been born again. Ephesians 2:8 and 9 is followed, I might remind you, by Ephesians 2:10. 2:8 and 9 says, “By grace ye are saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” Now, Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should live in them.”
So the good things that a Christian says and does are not the cause of his salvation but the result of it, you understand that? The good things that a Christian says and does are not the cause of his salvation but the result of it. Please make sure that you have met the Lord Jesus Christ yourself, not just in church, not just in taking the mass, not just in rituals through which you may have gone, but now talking to the Lord Jesus for yourself. The Bible says, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord… ” That’s the Lord Jesus Christ, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Talk to our blessed Savior yourself. Ask Him to come into your life and to fill you with His Spirit and to make you a fruitful and God-honoring Christian. Talk to Him, pray to Him, and commit yourself to Him and then you’ll find that you’re doing and saying good things because He has made you His very own.
No other doctrine. “There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,” said Peter. How true that is. Now, in verse four he says, “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith.” Now, he said, “Make sure the people know there’s only one Gospel message. There isn’t any other Gospel.” That’s verse three. Now, in verse four he says, “Don’t give heed to fables.” You know the tendency is to give dignity to anything that has been around for a long time and every pastor, of course, has run up against this. One of the two reasons for not doing anything in the local church is we never did it before and the other reason is, we did it before. You’re up against the encrustations of tradition and old beliefs, many of them mythical and not really founded in fact.
I ministered, for example, in one church where the whole community, maybe 90% of it, was devoted to another church, not ours, another faith, I may say. And so I was warned as a young pastor coming in there, they warned me, the deacons gathered around me and said, “Now, Brother Cook, we wanna warn you. Don’t preach against these other people, we don’t want a riot in our town. You just stay off of that.” [chuckle] Well, I smiled and listened to them and then I proceeded to preach the Gospel. And there were so many of these blessed folk who had belonged to a faith that is deficient, you may say, in its grasp of the Gospel. Many of them came and committed themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. We didn’t have any riots. I was there five years and everybody cried when we left, so I guess it was Alright, [chuckle] but we didn’t have any riots, we had a lot of people saved, though.
You see, the belief that you mustn’t be out and out with your preaching, for example, because something happened 50 years ago. Well, it gets to be a fable. It gets to be something that people use as an excuse for doing nothing. And so, Pastor, don’t be scared off in your Gospel preaching, just preach in love. Don’t preach in anger and don’t attack people. Just preach the truth of God in love, manifesting the truth in love, that’s what Paul says. Manifesting the truth in love and God is gonna bless you. But don’t give heed, he said, to fables, old ideas that have been around for a long time and aren’t based on fact, old prejudices, old wives’ tales of one sort and another. He said, “Don’t pay any attention to them.”
Now, the modern equivalent of a fable is something that is said to you or about you that isn’t true. That’s a fable too. He says, “Don’t give heed to that.” You see, if you go around and try to straighten out everybody that has said something wrong about you, you’ll do nothing else but that. You’ll end up spending all your time trying to put out small fires here and there, and the devil will have you so busy defending yourself that you won’t get anything else done. Remember what I said to you in one of the other broadcasts recently, that OJ Smith taught me, “No defense, no attack.”
And so the modern equivalent of a fable oftentimes is what people say about you or to you that isn’t true, so don’t pay any attention to it. You’re not required to answer everything. Did you find that out yet? You’re not required to answer everything. Sometimes the best answer is to keep your mouth shut. I love that proverb, un dicho they call it in Spanish that the Latins have: “En boca cerrada no entran moscas.” In a closed mouth the flies do not enter. Oh, boy, that is so true. And may the Lord help me and all of you, my dear friends, to know when to be quiet. You don’t have to answer back. “Not answering again,” said Peter. You don’t have to talk back, that’s not your duty as a Christian. You don’t have to talk back. You can manifest the truth in love. You can take your stand for the Word of God, but be loving and be kind and know when to shut up. Good idea? Alright.
He says, “Don’t give heed to fables and endless genealogies. Now, it’s good to look up your family tree and somebody else’s and all of that. And that may be interesting, but he said it doesn’t minister, it doesn’t minister anything but questions. One of the rules that you and I can follow in our own ministry is to stay away from anything that doesn’t produce positive commitment to the will of God. If you preach or teach something that simply ends up with a bunch of questions, you haven’t really ministered to other people. Stay away from anything that doesn’t result in positive commitment to the will of God. Well, we’ll come back to this. Our time has gone. We’ll come back to this and then move on into 1 Timothy. Now let’s pray.
Dear Father today, may we minister the things that result in positive commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ. I ask in His name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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