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John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Honouring the man Of God

Wednesday, 02 May 2012 23:44 Bolaji 'Theo' Douglas
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Honouring the man Of God (1Timothy 5:17)

“Now we ask you brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in Love because of their work” (1Thess 5:12).

Many people today believe they are already honouring the man of God in the way and manner they relate to them, and many more are eager to do so. While they may be right about the way they go about it and on my part I would call their actions a commendable one, I would also in the same breadth recommend others who desire to do so to go ahead with their heart felt desire. But the point need be raised that there are some who still struggle to understand why the man of God is to be so honoured, and some actually find it offensive to see the man of God so honoured. Their position is further strengthened by the way some people carry out this process in ways and manners that raises eyebrows. It raises eyebrows because a closer scrutiny of what is being done has no scriptural basis and precedent. It raises eyebrows because the one who is trying to give the respect and the one who is lapping up the accolades are going about it in a wrong way with no scriptural leg to stand upon.

This need not be if there is a proper understanding that is grounded on the truth as revealed through the scripture about why and how, the man of God should be honoured. The rightful and proper honour that is meted out to the man of God in the appropriate way and manner is scriptural, and such acts pleases God especially when carried out in ways and manner that are in line with sound scriptural principles and ethics.

We need to understand why as believers there is the call for us to honour the man of God. You see the call to honour the man of God does not arise because of his title, or because of his gifting or the size of his ministry. To honour the man of God along these lines is to honour him according to the way of the flesh, this amounts to honouring him for the wrong reasons and is not based on the truth.  We are not called to honour the man of God for these reasons, but rather the call to honour the man of God is based on the following truths.

- The man of God represents God and is in God’s appointed service and he is identified clearly by the way the scripture described him below:

“To respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord”.

Like an Ambassador representing the leader of a nation and is subsequently given such recognition and honoured thus, so is the man of God, in his service to God. He is an Ambassador of Christ, entrusted with a message, and the message is the word of God. He is therefore on a mission for Christ. When the scripture uses the word ‘who are over you in the Lord’, we must be careful(I say this to the one who is trying to honour and the one that is being honored) not see this position as one that makes the man of God lord over the sheep. This is wrong. Rather they should allow the humility demonstrated by Christ guide their interpretation of this when he decided to wash the feet of his disciples:

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him – John 13:14-16.

And they must also allow the word used by Paul to describe Timothy’s disposition to the church to guide their interpretations.

For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state – Philippians 2:20.

- The man of God is rendering to us a very important and vital service. He is recognised by the nature of the work he is doing:

“Hold them in the highest regard in Love because of their work”

They are working so hard to serve both God and man. How hard you may ask? Well they so risking even their lives in the process. This is what they have been called to do, and what they are doing both willingly and diligently, and for which they would eventuall be asked to render an account at the right time.

“They keep watch over you as men who must give an account” (Hebrews 13:17).

We need to be careful how we go about doing this, and that is why we need to look at how to go about honouring the man of God, without breaching the scriptures. We need to understand how to go about honouring the man of God, without ascribing to him the honour due to God alone, and in the process end up committing the sin of idolatry, or simply turn the man of God into some pop idol in the likeness of Michael Jackson, Madonna or David Beckham.

This should not catch us by surprise as many have already fallen into this error. Many have ascribed this honour unto those who do not deserve it, and many have tried to honour the man so described as the man of God, the same way that the world honours its own, a form of honour that borders on hero worship and idolatry.

So let us look at the ways to honour the man of God.

1 – Honour him through Obedience: (1 Thessalonians 2:13, )

“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be no advantage to you” (Hebrew 13:17).

We need to obey them for the following reasons:

A - They speak the word of God: Obedience remains a vital key in the kingdom of God, obedience to God begins when we obey those whom he has sent to deliver his word to us. It smacks of hypocrisy, when we say we want to obey God, yet struggle to obey his messengers. Jesus told the Jews, if they truly belong to God, then they would obey his teachings, since these teachings comes from God (John 8:42 –45).

B - The instructions they give is for our benefit:

The instructions they have been given to deliver to us is for our own benefits, they are meant to bless us and to reveal to us the plans of God for our lives. They have not been given instructions for themselves but rather as messengers they have been sent to give to us a message that is meant for our own consumption and is meant to do us good. Failure therefore to obey is to our own detriment and not the messenger. God said to Ezekiel that if he sends him to deliver a message to anyone and he refuses to do so and the person perishes in the ignorance of his ways, Ezekiel as the messenger would be held responsible. But if he obeys and delivers the message, then the onus is on the person to comply and the messenger is exonerated from whatever befalls the person if he fails to obey the message.

C - Obedience encourages them, and makes their job easier: Obedience brings result, because obedience is always rewarded. Therefore for the man of God, his or her reward is the joy of seeing the result of his service manifest in the lives  of the people he has been sent to minister unto. Obedience is perhaps the highest and the most important honour that can be accorded to the man of God. This is important because the message represents the word of God. Every other honour given to him that excludes obedience is meaningless.

I say this because the man of God is rewarded by results, and his result or the testimony of his service is the result that comes about in your life through obedience. The man of God is not rewarded because of his title, he is not rewarded because of the size of his ministry, but he is rewarded by the results which the message entrusted to him produces.  (They keep watch over you as men who must give an account)

Paul in his letters expressed the joy and encouragement that he derived when heard about how the church he had laboured for accepted and followed the teachings he left them with, in the same vein he expressed dismay where he found that the church had chosen to disobey similar teachings and gone after wrong teachers and their teachings.

2 – Honour him through prayers:  One of the mistakes believers make is to assume that the man of God does not need to be prayed for. Also it would amount to folly for any man of God to believe that they do not need to be prayed for, that is arrogance and pride. Paul asked for prayers, note the usage of the word “we” and “us” whenever he asked for prayers, was he only requesting for such prayers to be made for his own team alone.  I hardly think so, rather he is requesting for intercession for all who are in ministry doing the work of God. (2 Thess 3:1-2, Colossians 4:2-3, 1Timothy 2:1-4).

The man of God occupies a position that puts him in the firing range of the enemy, the man of God is battling against strongholds which are bitterly opposed to the service that he has been commissioned to render. Also the man of God first and foremost is human, he suffers and goes through the same emotional ups and down that all humans go through (James 5:12, 2 Cor 7: 5-7,   ), but he is kept by the grace of the one who has called him into service. Paul was hindered in his ministry on many occasions by Satan.  Peter was also thrown in jail because of the gospel and it took the intercession of the believers to deliver them.  (Acts 12:5-11, 2 Corinthians 12:7).

3- Honour him with your Love: As a matter of fact there is no way anyone can honour the man of God without loving him. Honour is one of the visible attributes of love, we esteem those we love, we cherish them and we show them respect. And one of the ways that love is also expressed, is through obedience, Jesus told his followers “If you love me, then you will keep my commandments “ . So why do I need to love the man of God, I love him because he represents God, I love him because as a believer one of the tenets of my faith is love, I cannot claim to love God if I do not love his messenger. As matter of fact my love for the man of God is one of the areas where my claims to love God will be tested. (Mathew 10:14 –15).

4 – Honour him with your substance:  Love is sharing and giving, many people do not know why gifts are given, and many give gifts for the wrong reasons. We give because we love, love is all about giving, it is sacrifice, and one of the ways we express the genuineness of our love is through the act of giving. God demonstrated his love for the world, by giving his only son (John 3:16).    The bible enjoins the believer to honour those who toil over their soul by sharing with them the material blessings they have received.

“Anyone who receives instructions in the word must share all good things with his instructors” (Gal 6:6).

The reason why people struggle to carry out this instruction is because they fail to understand where this instruction is coming from. Listen every instruction coming asking the believer to give is premised on Love, a vital attribute which the believer inherited in his new nature, and love is giving. So when the bible instructs the believer to give, it is not tasking the believer by asking him or her to do something contrary to their nature, but rather it is asking the believer to do what they have been equipped to do in their new nature.

The blessing that arises from giving comes because in giving we are walking and exercising the power that comes from our new nature, we are walking in love and that is why it is essential for us to know why we give and to have the right motive for giving. Any giving that is not done out of love yields nothing, while giving that comes out of love is rewarding (Phillipians 4, 2Cor 9).

The reason why the king is delighted to receive gifts from his subjects is because the gifts represent their affections for him. When the kings gets angry because he does not receive gift from his people, it is not because he is hungry or is suffering from lack, rather he sees it as a sign that he is not loved by his people.

We do not give to the man of God because we want to catch his attention this is akin to buying his attention; rather the main motive driving our giving should be because of love and nothing else. It is the love for God demonstrated through our love for his servants, who represents Him.

You must understand that honouring the man of God by giving in love is not the same thing as paying him for his services; you are not paying him when you give to him because you love him. There is respect and honour when your act of giving is motivated out of love. We must be careful never to fall into the temptation where we now try to control or bring him under our influence as a result of our generosity. It is true but sad that many try to use their position of generosity to reign in the minister, up to the point where they even want to dictate to him what manner of sermon he should preach or even how he ought to run the ministry. This is wrong and sinful, it is a form of witchcraft.

So what do we give from our substance, the scripture says “all good things”. Yes everything and anything that would make his ministry a rewarding one. Anything that would help ease, the burden of the ministry, everything ranging from material things to moral and spiritual assistance. It must be said that giving them only material gifts alone is as bad as not giving them anything at all. Equally bad is, erroneously believing that the only gift implied has to be spiritual in nature alone.


Home Expositions The Church of Christ Honouring the man Of God
James 1:12
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

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