Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Man of God

Tuesdays with Timothy #

I Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

The "man of God" is an Old Testament name given to God's prophets. Only one New Testament person is called the man of God; Timothy. Pastors today follow the line of Timothy. We are not prophets like Elijah or Apostles like Paul. These temporary offices are no longer in existence. But Timothy's office continues today. Pastors follow a long line of men who stand before God's people, open the Bible and expound what God has said in His Word. When Paul calls Timothy a man of God, I believe that all Pastor's and preachers called into this ministry and recognized by a church and given the ministry in the church, follow in those footsteps as men of God.

 Why would Paul use a decidedly Old Testament term in charging Timothy? Let's consider the Old Testament usage. A man of God dedicated his life to doing the will of God in prophetic utterance; men called to speak for God and in the name of God. Timothy isn't a foreteller, but he does declare "thus saith the Lord".  God didn’t speak directly to Timothy. He took the God-breathed Scriptures and declared what God has said in his preaching ministry. The man of God in the Old Testament spoke the Words of God. When David and Moses spoke the Word of God, they were remembered as the men of God (2 Chronicles 30:16; Ezra 3:2; Nehemiah 12:24). Pastors are only men of God if they speak the Word of God. If a man waxes poetic about politics and becomes a motivational speaker, he may be an influential man and he may be a popular man, but he is not being God's man. A man of God speaks the Words of God.

The people called the prophets a "man of God" out of respect for his position. Not all people honored the man of God. Certainly not all people liked the man of God, but calling the person the “man of God” understands that he came not in his own power and wisdom, but as an ambassador of God. There is very little respect for the office and the ministry today.  Some of  the blame for this disrespect can be laid at the feet of pastors. Don't be surprised when you don't respect the office God has given you that no one else respects it. The Old Testament men were called men of God because that is what they were known for. I'm not calling for a dress code and to speak like a bad caricature of Jonathan Edwards and to be dour and stiff. But if a man acts like the ministry is no big deal then certainly the people he preaches to are going to take it that way as well. The man of God takes that calling seriously.

Holiness characterizes of the man of God. There is a lot of talk about delivery and the way you preach. There isn't a lot of talk about holiness and the preacher. Paul spoke a lot more about holiness in Timothy's life than he did homiletics. The man of God doesn't have to be a flashy speaker. The man of God doesn't have to by a dynamic personality. The man of God doesn't need to be a great business meeting moderator. But the man of God must be holy, in and out of the pulpit. 

God's men need to follow the Lord Jesus. In character, in the content of the message, in our life in and out of the pulpit, the man of God must imitate Christ. Obviously, all Christians should do this, but this needs to be a distinguishing marker of the man of God because his life is given to God in the service of God. He is not the world’s man. He is not the church's man. He is not even his own man. He is God’s man. Paul encouraged Timothy by reminding him that He belongs to his master.

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