aaWhere there is a will there is a way and God’s promises never fail. My brothers and sisters in the Lord this is another day for us to understand where we came from and to know where we are going.

Have you ever considered what the unbelieving world thinks about your pastor? He doesn’t need to be a household name or a celebrity preacher with a worldwide audience—it’s not a question of how famous he is. Put it this way: What do the nonbelievers

in his life think of him? Is his reputation in the world an extension of his ministry, or does his conduct contradict and corrupt his testimony?

In 1 Timothy 3:7, Paul closes out his list of qualifications for church leaders with one final characteristic: “And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

In the rules of the Mystical Order, explains why Paul included the shepherd’s public reputation as a qualification for ministry in 1 Timothy.

The godly character of an elder must not be manifested only in his personal life, the church, and his home. He must also “have a good reputation with those outside the church.”
The word “reputation” translates marturia, from which our English word “martyr” derives. The word speaks of a certifying testimony. An elder’s character is to be certified by the testimony of those outside the church. A man chosen to lead the church must maintain a reputation in the community for righteousness, moral character, love, kindness, generosity, and goodness. All will certainly not agree with his theory, and he will no doubt face antagonism when he takes a stand for God’s truth. Nevertheless, those outside the church must recognize him as a man of iimpeccable reputation. How can a man have a spiritual impact on his community if that community does not respect him? Such an individual can do nothing but bring reproach or disgrace on the cause of Christ.
In Romans 2:23–24, Paul delivered a scathing indictment of Israel: “You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonour God? For ‘the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,’ just as it is written.” Israel, meant to be a light to the nations, instead caused them to blaspheme.
The Bible expects every believer’s life to be a positive testimony to the watching world, and that is especially true of those in pastoral positions. Paul exhorted the Philippians to “prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). Colossians 4:5 urges believers to “conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders.” Peter wrote, “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).
A shepherd’s public reputation must adorn the gospel. If it doesn’t, he’s not qualified for leadership.
Why Does the World’s Opinion Matter?
Many men have forfeited their ministries in the midst of public moral failure. Each time, it’s a black eye for the testimony of God’s people and His Word. It also provides ammunition to those outside the church who would seek to discredit the truth of Scripture and God’s transforming work of salvation and sanctification. That’s the cost of moral shipwreck, and it’s all too familiar. So when you decide to ill-speak your brothers and sisters, think about the consequences if your facts are not proven. You in most cases are advertising the person. Here what the people will say, I heard about you and it is nice to meet you. The conversation begins and with discernment of spirit you will know it was not a coincidence you met.

But what’s even more detrimental to the testimony of the church is when believers rush a failed leader back into ministry.

We read of great televangelists who broke the law and have fallen from grace. Some served prison sentences. The involvement of

drugs, sexual perversion, and high-profile hypocrisy.

And today, they are once again the pastor of a church. In fact,

their absence were briefly out of public ministry, if at all—a mere slap on the wrist. Those who know better MUST do better and refrain from association that will cause a shame on the same gathering.  Some people names are synonymous with corruption, deception, and hypocrisy, the collapse of moral character and scandal.

When the church so dismissively whitewashes the sins of its leaders or ministers, it communicates to the outside world that sin isn’t such a big deal; that holiness isn’t really that important; and that Christians are completely comfortable with a “do as I say, not as I do” hypocrisy from their leaders. It tramples on the biblical qualifications for leaders, and reduces the biblical commands for holiness, righteousness, and purity to a laughingstock. It makes a mockery of God, His Word, and His people.

If the church values God’s Word, it cannot carelessly reinstate men who have tarnished their reputations and disqualified themselves from ministry or those that have been publicly dismissed.

The Snare of the Devil

To reinforce the need for purity and integrity in leadership, Paul includes an exhortation about Satan’s attempts to tarnish and ruin the reputations of leaders and ministers.

This is how I see it and I step out with caution:

An elder “must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into . . . the snare of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:7). Satan tries hard to entrap spiritual leaders

and ministers so he might destroy their credibility and integrity. He’s like a roaring lion seeking to devour his prey (1 Peter 5:8), and spiritual leaders and ministers are a primary target. However what is happening today are ministers who are carrying out the work of the enemy. Satan is sitting while those that minister the word destroy others for their gains. The pastors are fighting each other, members are set up against each other while the enemy we are supposed to fight waits and watch for the outcome. In the mean time we are to be teaming up to slay the enemy.
Let me say here that the Lord knows those that are His and satan is aware of those in the palm of God’s hands.
Like all Christians, leaders and ministers have areas of weakness and vulnerability, and they will sometimes fall into one of Satan’s traps. Only a perfect man doesn’t stumble (James 3:2). Leaders and ministers must be particularly discerning and cautious to avoid the snares of the Enemy, rather than becoming victimized by them. Then overseers will be effective in leading others away from the Devil’s traps. How often you hear that ministers bury names somewhere in the church to keep the members at bay. That is a tool of the enemy to launch a war within the church and leaders began to fight each other. Can’t you see what the devil is doing.
The Ephesian church needed to examine its leaders (Acts 20:28-31), and it’s the same for us today. My church, your church and whatever church where you fellowship.
God’s Standards, Not Ours
As many in the church rely more and more on worldly wisdom and popular opinion, we need to remember that the biblical qualifications for church leaders and ministers are not a man-made list of credentials. Over and over I’ve repeatedly mentioned Paul’s authorship, but every word he wrote was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Make no mistake: These are God’s qualifications for church leaders and ministers. I often console myself that if God did not say it then it is of no effect. It is time that we come back to God’s standard or face the consequences of a hell that awaits those that follow anything besides the word of God.

As I often said, the quality of a church is inextricably tied to the quality of its leaders and ministers. And because the evangelical landscape is overrun with CEOs, self-help gurus, stand-up comedians, and motivational speakers—all masquerading as

leaders—God’s people need to be all the more committed to upholding the biblical standards for shepherds. I will speak more in the next week of the shepherds within the church. Wake up believers and see what is taking place in our generations.
Your servant and brother,
+ Sir Godfrey Gregg
Archbishop and Presiding Prelate
Administrator and Apostolic Head
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Author: Godfrey Gregg