"Esteem Them Very Highly In Love,For Their Work's Sake"  

I Thessalonians 5:13


     Any man who preaches the gospel of God's free and sovereign grace in Christ and faithfully gives himself to the work of the ministry in study, prayer and preaching is to be treated with the highest possible respect and esteem by the church and people of God for whose benefit he labors, and by all other faithful ministers of the new covenant with whom he labors. It is true, the preacher is just a man, sinful, frail and often erring. His faults are not hard to find. Therefore, he must not be worshipped or blindly followed. But he is God's man, chosen, ordained of God and sent forth to preach the gospel of Christ with divine authority as God's ambassador to your soul. Therefore, he is to be loved and highly esteemed.

     This esteem must begin with your own pastor, the man through whom God speaks to you and ministers to your own soul. If God has given you a faithful pastor, one who is committed to Christ, committed to the gospel, committed to the glory of God and committed to the welfare of your soul, you are blessed beyond measure. Few people in this world are so highly favored. If you do not so esteem your own pastor, it is not likely that you truly esteem any other servant of God, because the basis of this esteem is not the man but the work which he does. And all of God's servants are involved in and devoted to the same work.

     Yet, this esteem is not to be limited to your own pastor. It is to be extended to all God's servants, who labor among you. Any man who labors among God's saints, anywhere in the world, preaching the gospel of the grace of God is to be given the same love and esteem you give to your own pastor.

     And this high esteem for God's servants is the secret of peace in God's church. Paul admonishes you "to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves." The connection is obvious. To a very great degree, the peace and harmony of God's church, or lack of it, is determined by the loving esteem, or lack of it, in which the servants of God are held by his people. Will you not do your part to promote, rather than erode, esteem among God's people for his servants?


Don Fortner