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Protect Leaders And The Truth

1 Timothy 5:19-20
Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning. (NIV)

The church has always been under attack. One of the most effective ways to weaken a church is to demolish its leadership. Therefore, the elders need protection. It is easy for accusations to be made, especially when the leader stands in the way of somebody’s personal agenda. Of course, no leader is perfect and serious sin must be addressed: but no accusation should be considered by the church unless the sin has been witnessed by two or three believers.
At the same time, the truth also needs to be protected. When a serious problem is identified, it must be addressed. First of all in private and then, if there is no repentance, the church needs to know that open sin cannot be tolerated - whoever the sinner might be. This was not a new concept; it was part of the Jewish law (Deuteronomy 19:15) and endorsed by Jesus (Matthew 18:15-17).
Holding these twin truths together (protecting the spiritual leaders and protecting the truth) is not easy, but is vital if churches are to grow healthily and be guarded against Satan’s attacks. Few people can appreciate the intense pressures on pastoral leaders; most people are more concerned about their own affairs. So Paul’s instructions to Timothy (to protect him as well as the leaders he appointed) are essential for the church in every age. Perhaps the best way to avoid such problems is to pray for your leaders: work with them rather than against them. Hebrews 13:17 says, “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 of no advantage to you.”

Heavenly Father. Thank You for the leaders You have given to guide Your church as they teach Your Word. Please keep them all close to You and forgive me for the times I have grumbled. Help me to obey those You have placed over me and enable the leaders to be open to honest fellowship as the church supports them, particularly in times of difficulty. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams