Double Honor

Those who demonstrate excellence in the office of overseer are worthy of high regard. How do we honor our pastors and other leaders?

Good afternoon, Church. Happy birthday, America. Hey, if you have a Bible, open up to 1 Timothy 5:17-18. We'll be spending all of our time in that chapter and some of the surrounding chapters. First Timothy Chapter five, verses 17 and 18. We're continuing our series, preparing our hearts to be led as we are anticipating the future arrival of our next lead pastor and preparing our hearts to receive him, welcome him, honor him and encourage him in a way that's worthy, as God has laid out in these these verses that were about to read on how we can encourage our elders. Let me pray for us and we'll read the text. Please join me in prayer. Father, if we haven't stopped to hear you say you love us today, would you slow us down? Would you remind us of your grace that's always present, of your spirit that resides in us, of your sovereignty, God, that you don't sleep nor slumber nor grow weary, that there's millions of people in this world and they could be praying and you're not overwhelmed nor do your resources run out, that Jesus is alive today making intercession for us even as we speak, advocating to the father. We thank you, God, that all that we need for life and godliness is provided in you. Help us not to put in earthly treasures; help us not to put in temporal things. Give us eyesight for that which is spiritual, that which is eternal. Help us invest more wisely our time, resources and energy.

Lord we surrender, we give it back to you if we've taken it from you because you own everything, even our hearts. Even if it's a small piece, God, we repent. We ask that you would invade and permeate every ounce. We love you. We thank you. Jesus name. Amen.

All right. So first, Timothy, chapter five. And you guys have it, but I can't see it, but that's OK. Chapter five, verses 17 and 18. It says, Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching for the scriptures say you shall not muzzle and ox when it treads out the grain and the laborer deserves his wages. Let me start by asking a question. Right. We're talking about preparing our hearts for the next lead pastor at Calvary. If I said, what were you looking for in the next lead, pastor? What qualities, characteristics? What would you say? Don't say it aloud. Maybe you thought of something. It's in your head right now, whatever it is. Initially, if it was like, hey, I wish he was taller or whatever, you know, whatever it is, think about what that is. Maybe some of you said, you know, I wish the next guy was a great orator, that he would just be able to woo us with his words, weave these tales, engage us not just with our heads, but our hearts as well. I wish he was a great speaker. Maybe you're saying I wish he would come from a large church because he would have that experience and that background, know how to handle systems, know how to draw the masses towards us, know how to put things in place to grow us. Maybe you said, I wish he was highly educated. He knew Greek and Hebrew back and forth, Aramaic and he could recite it. He knows it so much, he says in his sleep and I wish he came from the top Christian university. Maybe you're thinking I wish the guy was an author because then he can sign my books, you know. Or he looked the part, that when he walked into the room, that guy commanded respect, that that guy commanded a sense of an air about him. They're like, I want to get to know him. I want to listen to what he has to say. Or maybe you're saying this. I just hope he's not boring. Right. I see you guys sleeping out there. I'm kidding. Your like, I wish, I just want to stay awake and stay engaged. I want to have my emotions stirred, affections moved, I want to have my heart pricked and whatever else you may have added. Maybe that's some of the things you did say. Maybe you didn't. What are some of the qualities or some of the things that came to your mind when I ask that question? I want you put a pin in that and I'm going to share a story.

This past Christmas, we exchanged gifts. I'm more of a practical gift giver, like, give me a shovel, give me something to use. I don't want a pillow pet, you know, or a snuggly or whatever they call, you know, I want something that I can use and its not going in the garage sale next year. I do like sentimental gifts though. If you walk by my office, there's a mannequin leg that's hanging in my room. There's a great story behind it. But that's one of my favorite gifts two years ago, three years ago. My favorite gift last year was this piece of wood right here. The story behind this was I had a tree that I cut down and I was splitting it. I cut it down with a chainsaw and then I was breaking it apart for firewood and my son comes running out. This is sometime in the summer, late fall maybe. And he's like, Dad, Dad. He's like my sister asked me to help her with a project. And I need you to cut out a piece of wood for me, like your sister. And you were happily getting out here on a nice day. Why isn't she out here? That sounds kind of fishy.

No, no, no. It's for her. Trust me. I'm like, whatever. And so I cut this piece of wood out. Here you go. And he takes it. Thanks, my sister will really appreciate that. And he runs off. I never see this piece of wood again for several months. I don't know how long it was right. And unbeknownst to me, my son went to somebody else's house. He sanded it - it's still kind of jagged. It's really heavy. He sanded it. He stained it and he wrote or he used some epoxy to put some lettering on it and what he did is he wrapped this for Christmas and he put it under the tree and I think he was waiting and watching to see if I would notice this hunk of tree underneath the Christmas tree. And I had no clue. And then as Christmas came, he got the present. He gave it to me, look what I got you. And I still don't recognize it because it was so early in the year that he did this. I mean, he was ahead of the game. Right. And I was like, that looks familiar. Why does that look strangely familiar. It's really heavy. I go, is this. He goes, yeah. I go, Oh, cool. You got me a cutting board, right? I was like, nice. This is will last the rest of my life. And then I begin to open it and was a very first present I opened on Christmas and as I opened it I read these words:

The Christian faith, simply stated, reminds us that our fundamental problem is not moral, rather our fundamental problem is spiritual. It is not just that we are immoral, but that a moral life alone cannot bridge what separates us from God. Herein lies the cardinal difference between the moralizing religions and Jesus' offers to us. Jesus does not offer to make bad people good, but to make dead people alive. Signed Ravi Zacharias.

If you guys know who Ravi Zacharias is, let me take a moment to explain who he is. Ravi Zacharias is a great orator. The man can wordsmith like nobody else's business. He travels all around the world, or he did - he's passed now and he would speak. I remember one of his first ever trips was in Vietnam. He spoke to the soldiers. He spoke to the Viet Cong. Anybody that would listen to him, he gave them the gospel in danger of being shot at occasionally. And since that point, he would jet all around the world, Africa, Asia, universities. He was at Ohio State. He was at Iowa. He would go to hostile areas, places where religion or especially Christianity, is not welcomed. And he would speak at prestigious universities. He would speak to dignitaries. He spoke to the UN prayer breakfast. The man was a great speaker. The man had a huge following.

Millions of people were probably influenced by him around the world in his decades plus ministry. He was highly educated. Check that box off. Studied at some of the best universities. Talk about writing books. He wrote dozens upon dozens, many of which I purchased and read from him and he looked the part. I've actually met Ravi Zacharias. One time I met him at Moody. He's about this tall, so he's taller and he has this crown of white hair. It's like the crown of wisdom that sits upon his brow. And when he walks into the room, you can look up to him and he looks different and he stands out. But then he has that command. If you've ever heard him, you're like, oh, this is a giant among men. And he wasn't boring. I don't recall a time where I was listening to him where I fell asleep or was not engaged based on his storytelling abilities, based upon how he would make the most complicated, controversial questions and make sense. Like you've ever had a doubt about your faith. You ever had a question about Christianity? He would weave it and say it, not like in a manipulative way, but like, whoa, that's true. I resonate with that. He passed away not too long ago and postpartum, they found out that he lived in the end of his years. He struggled with some moral things.

When I opened this up it was the first gift I got for Christmas. And I bawled like a baby because I knew a hero of my faith was taken down. He stumbled. I just cried. I didn't finish reading it. My favorite gift that Christmas.

When we look for things in leadership, especially in spiritual leadership, we're looking for more than just abilities and talents. We're looking for spiritual virtue and integrity. I like the fact that he made this plaque because it represents to me, it's heavy, it's jagged, it's not finished. And the burden for leadership is like that. In fact, James says this, James 3:1, not many of you should become teachers my brother's for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness because you're the example. I don't know how many people knew Ravi and potentially walked away, struggled, doubted. Or simply checked out. In fact, maybe, you know, people who are not going to church right now because they've been hurt by elders, they've been hurt by leaders, they've been hurt by somebody in the church, and they're just floating, coasting. Maybe you're barely here yourself. That's why it's so important that leaders not only have these skill sets, which are important. Ravi was a great man and I am still impacted by him. And I pray that God's grace was even greater than his hiddenness of sin. When God raises a people to serve his church, he looks for those whose hearts are right with him. He's concerned not about, as I said, their abilities or talents, but their spiritual virtue.

The most important quality, probably in a leader is who they are when no one else is looking. It's called integrity. For a man can not only preach, he must also live it. This is what the great preacher Charles Spurgeon describes as a good preacher and a bad Christian: quote: He preached so well and lived so badly that when he was in the pulpit, everybody said he ought to never come out again. And when he was out of it, they all declared he never ought to enter it again. What a man is will influence his followers to be fully committed to what he says. Let me say that again, what a man is, what he demonstrates, what he models, what he does when no one's looking, what a man is, will influence how his followers are committed to what he says.

Teaching sets the nails into the mind, but example is the hammer that drives them deep into our thoughts. Well, what Paul here is doing in first Timothy is instructing Timothy to find elders that will rule well. So what is an elder? An elder, it's a general term, referring to those who are called overseers in chapter three verse one. The word there's overseer, someone who has command or is in charge of, but the same unbroken letter talking about the same person uses overseer and elder interchangeably in chapter five, verse 17.

In fact, elder, overseer and pastor are all interchangeable terms that refer to the same office and the same person. So when you read that in Scripture, whether it's Timothy or Acts 20, those offices all had the same standard, the same strictness that they're judged by, as James would say. Maybe they function or maybe they feature different parts. The pastor focuses more on the shepherding and the feeding of the flock. The overseer functions more with the authority and the supervision of the church managing it, and then the elder, which doesn't just mean someone who is old, although it can mean that, but more spiritually, more specifically, it's somebody who is mature in the spirit, mature as a believer. Paul is calling the elders in Ephesus to rule well. The word here in Greek for rule means to stand first to set or place before in a presiding fashion, to be an example of, to preside over, to hold authority by leading. So an elder is someone who is spiritually mature and is responsible for taking care of the church. I think the emphasis, though, on this verse appears to be not on the verb of the adverb well. And I like how that verb is translated elsewhere to excellence or beauty, that an elder should lead with excellence or in a fashion that is beautiful. We'll come back to that.

So where does it all start when we get an idea of what a good elder looks like? We have to go back to Chapter four. So if you just turn over one chapter in First Timothy, Chapter four starts in verse six. This, I think, is the root of what we're looking for. First Timothy chapter 4, verse 6: be a good servant of Christ Jesus. A qualified leader, firstly, is a qualified follower. A qualified leader, firstly is a qualified follower and a good servant dedicated to Jesus Christ. Well, what makes a good servant? The text following these verses or that verse gives us three indications of what a good minister does. Verses one through six of chapter four a good minister preaches the word of God. Verses seven through twelve. A good minister practices the word of God. Verses 13 through 16. A good minister progresses in the word God. See Ravi Zacharias - man that guy could preach. That guy could teach. Somewhere along the lines later in his life, he stopped practicing. Somewhere along the lines, he stuff progressing. Let me ask you a question, are you practicing? Are you progressing even a little bit, even incremental steps?

So let's break this down one by one. A good minister preaches the word of God, starting in verse six. If you put these things before the brothers and the previous verses of Chapter four, he's talking about a warning against fables and false doctrine that's been creeping in, being Bereans. If you put these things for the brothers, be a good servant of Christ, Jesus being trained in the words of faith and the good doctrine that you have followed. So a good teacher identifies that which is false or misleading, preaches and trains the congregation, his brothers and sisters up in admonition and encouragement and God's word. Secondly, the good minister practices the word of God. I'm going to focus in on verse eight of Chapter four here, Paul transitions to an analogy of athleticism. He says this is my verse for exercise, my life goal. For while bodily training is of some value (Phillipians says very little) godliness is a value in every way as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. So he says, when you look at athletes, right, the Olympics are coming up. They started in Greece, so they would have some maybe competitions going on. When you see an athlete, when I've seen these track sprinters, do you know that these people seclude themselves away for a year or two in places where they like: I have to not watch TV because it's too much a distraction? I got to run this much. I have to eat this much. I can't do this. I can't do that. They are so disciplined because they know they're playing and competing at the best. Elsewhere scripture says run to acquire the prize, right. And right here a good elders will call to. And by the way, all believers are called to. The elders are supposed to be the example and are called to a stricter level. It says we should strive. We should be like an athlete who puts aside distractions. In fact, it says in verse ten of chapter four for this end we toil and strive. That works strive there is agonise, in English the word, agonize. We need to be stretching so much that it's causing even some discomfort or pain to pursue that which is holy, that which is good, that which is godly, that we are practicing. You know, as an athlete, you know, I don't like running. I just don't. I had to chase the ball, otherwise I just won't run. Right. So baseball and football. All right. Soccer, that was too much. But I would be so tired unless I, but then when I put my mind to it and I got into it, I actually enjoyed it. And it's the same thing as Christians. We are supposed to be striving and pursuing and training like an athlete does. And exercising, living out and practicing, not just reading, not just hearing, not just teaching, but putting into practice.

Now, let's define what godliness is. Godliness is a proper response to the things of God, which produces obedience and righteous living. When you interact, when you meet, when you are in relationship with God, he's naturally going to woo and encourage you into a relationship where you be encouraged. You'll be desiring to walk in obedience. It says that we loved him because he first loved us. His grace encourages and admonishes us. And it says here that godliness is also profitable, not just for the now, but also for the future. Let me give an example of that. So one of the qualifications for an elder in Chapter three is to not be quarrelsome. Somebody is not quarrelsome as a peacemaker. Somebody's that's not quarrelsome, is more concerned about other people than their own. Let me put it a different way. Somebody who is not quarrelsome, is more concerned about understanding than being understood. Somebody who is not quarrelsome, is looking to reconcile even when it costs something. Somebody who is not quarrelsome will rebuke or turn away I should say, a harsh answer or harsh question with a soft answer. Somebody who is not quarrelsome is looking to find a solution, not start more strife. In fact it says in First Corinthians that a sign of immaturity and infancy is somebody who brings division, serves up strife, causes enmity. That person is actually spiritually an infant, that they are on the milk of the word still and they can't handle the meat. Somebody who is quarrelsome, causes fights is actually spiritually an infant. When I read that and I understood that I had to do some soul searching guys. Because it's easy for us to say that's not me, that's my defense, that's not me.

And then if you're brave enough, ask other people and they'll tell you hey, do you think I'm quarrelsome and if they don't answer right away, the answer is probably yes, they just don't want to quarrel with you right now. But here's the thing when you're not quarrelsome. So here's the promise of godliness. And the blessing of it is when you recognize and you work on that. You know what happens when you when you when on it? You have less conflict, needless conflict, with people over small, infinitesimally nominal things. You focus on the big things. Ok, I'm going to - this is not in my notes. When I venture off, I get in trouble sometimes. I wish sometimes we would stop the fighting amongst ourselves and we'd fight towards winning more souls for Christ. I wish we would focus less on our differences and we'd focus on our common ground in our common salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, I wish there was more energy being poured into those who don't know Jesus and those who are hurting and need serving, than the people go, you know what? I don't like how you said that creed or you're this ism or this schism. And I just I just find that to be unproductive. So not only does it - and I don't think conflicts bad, I think sometimes conflict can resolve the lack of intimacy and remove the obstacles that keep me and you from going deep in a relationship.

And here's the thing. When people offend me and I forgive them or vice versa, you know what happens? We get closer sometimes. May take some time. But now I have struggles that I have wrestled through with them and we're still together. That bond grows and I know I'm wrong and I need tp be open to being wrong and being corrected. And I need you guys to help me with that as well. And you need vice versa. But that's the blessing that we grow closer in relations and more intimate. And here is the future promise. What if our neighbors saw what we did? What if right now there's somebody in your mind? You know what my neighbor is the one I have a quarrel with. Yep, I don't like their dog or their kids are too loud or they're always playing that loud music late at night, you know? And I just last time they came over or last time I saw them. I just gave them a mean look and I said something. I whispered it and they heard me this time, you know, whatever. And what you need to do maybe is go over to your neighbor and ask for forgiveness and reconcile with them, own up to it and say, you know what, I'm sorry I did that. I lost my cool. I want to work on it. Can you please forgive me? And what happens is when we're less quarrelsome, we draw people into the kingdom, we're more like Christ.

We're less pushing or more pulling inviting and drawing. And someday somebody come to you. You know what? You may think this is a big deal, but when you said this to me, when you did that to me, I just I couldn't get out of my mind that you were like that. And I want to know why you didn't lose your cool when everybody else in this world is. And you weren't quarrelsome. So there's future promises living in a godly life now and I'm sorry, present promises and future promises in the future. You know, I'm going to stay here on this idea that he uses this athletic competition here. I was thinking about this. It got me thinking actually of the game of soccer, even though don't play soccer because soccer is known as the beautiful game. I've got on mission trips across the world. You know, the most famous sport is soccer. You'll find it everywhere. You can take trash bags. There it is. Boom. Go. And I'm playing against these little kids - they are like this small. And I try to keep up and they're just too good. Right. And everywhere. It's known as the beautiful game. You know why it's called the beautiful game partly was because of Pele, which you see here doing the bicycle kick. He was an exceptional soccer player.

That word for really well, for elders, it's a Greek word, CAYLUS, which can mean exceptional or excellent or beautiful. He didn't coin the phrase, but he really encapsulated it because when he would play, he would do things that you would watch and go, that is amazing. He makes it look easy. He does it with such joy. He does it so that it makes it look beautiful. Maybe it's not athletics, maybe it's a composer. Maybe you listen to music and when you listen with your eyes closed and you can put yourself in the orchestra pit and you hear and you see all that's going on, you begin to weep because the music is moving your soul, whatever it may be. I'm here watching. I don't like dancing. Well, I do like dancing. I'm watching dancing show. And they do this contemporary dance and there was no words and they just were dancing on the floor. And I was like, I totally am tracking with the song and with what's going on and the story they're telling through dance. And I was I was like, that was beautiful. As much as there are people. And I love Ravi and I do believe God's grace is big enough. I hope one day I have a face to face conversation with him and thank him for what he did. But he did leave a blemish. He left a tarnish because he didn't rule towards end of his life.

For every people that's like that. There are Christians who are living a beautiful life and are drawing people like Pele, drawing people to soccer. There are Christians in this church who draw people to Christ. Let me give you some qualifications that they lay out in First Timothy Chapter three of qualifications for overseer's elders and preachers. They need to be above reproach, need to be blameless. They need not do anything that would ever bring a mark against God's glory, God's church that would discourage somebody from coming to Christ, above reproach. Husband of one wife. You know, it's beautiful. And literally there it means in a Greek. He's a one woman man. I am a one woman man. You know what's beautiful is when you see an elder who not only preaches on this, but then you go in his home and you see him love his wife well. I share this earlier and I'll share it again this service. There was a person in our church that I respect a lot. And it was it was really, really like in passing. And his wife calls out of the blue and just how he answered the phone, how he was respectful. I was like, you sound like you're still dating her and you've been married like a long time. And I was just in wow. Of how gentle, how beautiful his conversation with his wife. And I was like, I want a marriage like that.

That was beautiful. I didn't say this to him. So he still doesn't know it. But people are watching. There are lives that struggle. But an elder needs to be above reproach. He needs to be have that beautiful game for lack of a better term, like Pele in soccer, able to teach hospitable, gentle, not violent.

Here's the other half. Not a lover of money, it's more blessed to give than to receive. Even though this text, we don't talk about how a pastor is worthy of his wages. He's not to be overwhelmed or driven by the love of money. Manages his household well. You know, what is beautiful as a youth pastor. I love it when I see kids in families. I love it when I see them get along. I love it when I see them even go through tough moments. You know why? Because those tough moments lead to like the iron sharpening iron. I know it's not like it sounds cliche, but it grows that family. It's sanctifies your love for one another. I know kids want to have good relationships for their kids. I know parents do as well. And we have a lot of help to do that. But I'll be the first to say it's tough sometimes, but when they manage your house well, it's a beautiful thing, is it not, when you see, like in - not only that - there's people out there who are nonbelievers when they say, hey, your kids talk to you, your kids do this.

And I'm like, yeah. And I'm like, what do you do? What's your secret? I go, It's right here in the Bible. You want it? And they're like - no, something else. It's not working for you? Is it, you know? But it's a beautiful thing.

Upright, somebody who is upright is concerned about justice, making sure that people who are not not able to advocate themselves, they're being advocated for.

Somebody who's holy is not somebody who has one foot in the world and one foot in Christ. They are solely, single-mindedly committed to God. Understanding that, hey, I have my doubts. Yeah, I struggle, but I am all in as best I can. Lord, help me with my unbelief. Lord, I fear right now. It's because my minds off of you. Help me to fear the living God and not the not the creation. It's a beautiful thing when an elder obeys and follows through as God laid out in his word.

Let's continue on in verse. Or the last part was progresses in the word. If you talk about preaching the word, practices the word - critical, and progressing in the word. Verse twelve. The second half: set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and purity. That's the example. That's the standard that the elder is supposed to do. He is the model to which we model ourselves after which points to Christ.

Then in verse fifteen. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them so all may see your progress, that you're maturing, you're growing, and keep a close watch on yourself and on your teaching. Every single thing you invest yourself in people you invest yourself in God, you invest yourself in the Holy Spirit. Some of you guys may say, John, this sounds like a high calling because it is. You know what I think that the scriptures saying here is we're not looking for the perfect elder. We're looking for the elder who has a perfect person in him because there's no such thing as a perfect person. But there's a perfect Holy Spirit who works in you and through you and sanctifies and matures you in your walk. We're not looking for somebody who is using their own strength, but somebody who is relying upon the spirit, growing, preaching, practicing and progressing, even if it's incremental.

In closing, let's go back to Chapter five verse seventeen. So that's the elders who rule well. Let them be considered worthy of double honor. The word there for honor can mean respect or high regard. All elders by default should receive respect because of what they do, what they're held accountable to, and we don't always see what they do. A lot of things happen behind the scenes, guys. A lot of people are calling and asking for help and counseling.

And I know our leaders are there doing a great job. They're worthy of honor, but those are worthy of double honor I think they're also talking about not just respect in high regard, but renumeration, because in context, he talks about for the scripture says you shall not mussel an ox when it turns out the grain as that ox is making food for the farmers, he says let the ox eat as well. And then he quotes Jesus here. The laborer deserves his wages. So double honor as in renumeration and high respect, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching, those who teach the word of God and those who proclaim it.

Let me give you an example of what that may look like. I didn't know this, but the Medal of Honor, I knew was the highest award you could receive in our armed services. But I didn't know a lot of these things. And I'd like to share a couple of stories with you in closing. This is actually the first African American who received the Medal of Honor in United States history. This is William Harvey Carney. He was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was born a slave in Virginia, but eventually made his way to freedom in Massachusetts. When the Union Army began accepting volunteers he joined the Fifty Fourth Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, the first African American unit organized by the northern states though it was led by white officers.

You ever seen the movie Glory? It is based on that. The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, led by Robert Gould Shaw was tasked with taking Fort Wagner, a beachhead fortification that guarded the southern approach to the Charleston Harbor. A previous attack on it failed, and the fifty fourth was chosen for the next attempt. As the soldiers storm the fort walls, the union flag bearer was killed. Carney grabbed the flag, held it for the duration of the battle. Carney, along with the rest of the 54th was forced to retreat. And throughout the battle, Carney never lost possession of the flag despite suffering multiple injuries. He says, quote, Boys, I only did my duty. The old flag never touched the ground, he said at the battle. Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor in nineteen hundred, years after it ended. Imagine walking in his shoes.

Let me share one more story. This is Jason Dunham. Jason Dunham was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for sacrificing himself to save his fellow Marines during the Iraq war. Dunham's unit was conducting a patrol in Hassiba, Iraq, when a firefight erupted nearby. His unit was ordered to intercept cars in the area that had been spotted in the attack. As Dunham approached the vehicle to search it, an insurgent jumped out and engaged him in hand-to-hand combat. After wrestling the insurgent to the ground, Dunham noticed that he pulled the pin of a grenade and dropped it.

Dunham, immediately and without hesitation, covered the grenade with his helmet and body bearing the brunt of the explosion and shielding his Marines in the blast, Dunham was mortally wounded but saved the lives of two Marines. He was evacuated to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland in a coma. After it was determined he would not recover. He was taken off life support and died later.

This is the highest medal you can receive in the armed forces. Did you know also there's also renumeration that goes with it. Everyone who receives it receives a monthly check as a way of honoring the fallen, honoring those who sacrificed. It's the same thing with our elders. They deserve our respect. Both in high regards and renumeration, I think Colby does a good job and I appreciate their support.

Let me leave you with this. Like the officers I mentioned, the last one, there is a beautiful man that will never let you down, who has always kept God's law that was perfect in his obedience and yet willingly laid his life on the on the line when he jumped on the grave of sin for you and me, took it willingly without hesitation, embraced it so you and I could have forgiveness of our sins and eternal life. That is what a beautiful man does. That is our good shepherd. Our high priest. He is our elder, our head elder, and if you don't know him and you're unsure of your relation with him, would you please do yourself a favor? Come talk to one of the pastors here. We will love talking more about how you can start a relationship with Jesus Christ and get to know what happens to be the most loving relationship you'll ever experience.

Let's pray. Father, I thank you, Lord, for your word that gives us hope, that gives us encouragement, Lord, for your example of love, God, that as a husband I'm supposed to love my wife as Christ loved the church who preferred her, laid his life down for her and made her holy and blameless and presentable to God the father. That is what beautiful leadership looks like. I pray, Lord, for every husband here and every desiring husband to be here, that that's what we would do for that example, that we'd follow that. God for every believer here, God it says no man knows a greater love than to lay down his life for a friend. And you died for us, while we were enemies with you as Roman five says. But we thank you, God, that you are a holy, loving just and patient God. That is the most beautiful picture of love. May we never forget it when we're down and we're surrounded or deflated. That all we have for life and godliness is in you for both today and the future. Thank you. We love you, Jesus. In your name we pray. Amen.

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