OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew

     When an individual is considering a position of employment, he is often given a “Job Description.”  This is a list that explains all the responsibilities that are required of the one who holds that job in the company.  If hired, the employer expects the employee to fulfill each one of the expectations with the “Job Description.”  If he completes the tasks, the employee is usually complimented, and, at times, rewarded.  He is considered a good worker.

     When a preacher is “hired” by a local congregation, the leadership will often present him with a “Job Description.”  This list lays out the expectations that the eldership and the congregation has for the minister.  In addition to this list, however, the preacher also has a job description that was established by God.  It was God who originated the task of preaching.  “…it pleased God by the foolishness of preach-ing to save them that believe” (I Cor. 1:21).  Since God developed the role of the preacher, it is not surprising that He also established some responsibilities for the position.  These can be found throughout the New Testament.  Many of the obligations are concentrated in the books of I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus.  God expects the preacher to fulfill each of these responsibilities.  If he neglects them, God is not well-pleased.

     One of the preacher’s duties is found in the opening verses of I Timothy.  Paul, a seasoned minister of Christ, is writing to a younger preacher, Timothy:  “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, 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:  so do.  Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (I Tim. 1:3-5).  “Charge some that they teach no other doctrine.”  These words are part of the preacher’s job description.  A good minister, a faithful minister, will abide by this obligation.

     This particular task is not one of the pleasant tasks of the ministry.  However, it is an extremely vital task.  The doctrine of Christ is found within the New Testament.  This doctrine is singular in nature.  There is only “one faith” (Eph. 4:5).  The truth of this doctrine will set men free from sin (John 8:32).  Only by abiding in the doctrine of Christ can a man expect to have God and Christ in his life.  “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.  He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (II John 9). 

     Within the world, there are many false doctrines that are at war with the doctrine of Christ.  The apostle John ac-knowledged this point when he wrote:  “Be-loved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God:  because many false prophets are gone out in the world” (I John 4:1).  Peter also affirmed that false teachers who hold to “damnable heresies” would try to infiltrate the church.  “But there were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (II Pet. 2:1).

     These false doctrines cry out to the masses.  They beg not only to be heard, but to be followed.  Sadly, this can and does happen.  “And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by whom the way of truth shall be evil spoke of.  And through covetous-ness shall they make merchandise of you:  whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumber-eth not” (II Pet. 2:2-3).  Some are led astray because they have itching ears.  The false teacher comes and scratches and soothes the itch (II Tim. 4:3-4).  Others are led astray because of their ignorance and immaturity in Christ (Rom. 16:17).  Dear readers, these false teachers are wolves in sheep’s clothing (Acts 20:29).  Their teachings devour souls and destroy congregations of the Lord’s people.

     For these, and other reasons, the preacher of the gospel of Christ has been ordered by God to “charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (I Tim. 1:3).  And again:  “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine” (II Tim. 4:2).  Again, this is not a pleasant task, but it is a vital responsibility.  The minister who has the courage to do it is well-pleasing in the sight of God.  “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of a good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained” (I Tim. 4:6).

     One would think that faithful members of the church would appreciate this difficult task of the gospel preacher.  Thankfully, some do.  Some, however, are not so grateful.  In fact, they are critical of the man who arises to challenge the false teachers and false doctrines that are leading the souls of men to perdition.  They accuse the minister of being mean-spirited, harsh, and unloving.  They ridicule him for stirring up trouble and causing division.  They chastise him and tell him that he needs to go back to the “positives” of the gospel.  Some will even become his enemy because he has told them the truth.  One wonders why those who say that they love the truth despise a man for trying to protect the truth.

     Perhaps we should not be surprised by these negative reactions.  Jesus defended the truth against the Jewish leaders and was opposed.  Paul rose up against the Judaizing teachers of his day and suffered persecution.  Peter refuted the heresy of the first century and was crucified upside down upon a cross.  Man’s reaction to reproof and rebuke cannot determine whether or not the preacher will fulfill his job description.  He must do his duty to God regardless of what man might think.  “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).