By Johnie Edwards
The Bible often refers to the Lord’s people by the term “fellow,” including the preacher! Instead of thinking of the preacher as the hire of the church, we need to think of the gospel preacher as a Bible fellow.
Paul referred to Christians at Ephesus as fellow citizens. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19). There was a time when the Gentiles had been aliens from the body of Christ, but they now possessed citizenship and family membership in the New Testament church. Every Christian is a citizen in the kingdom of God when he obeys the gospel (Col. 1:13). By the way some act toward the preacher, you would think that he, although a member of God’s family, is not a fellow citizen!
In writing the Colossians, Paul named three Jewish Christians as being his fellow workers as he said, “. . . These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me” (Col. 4:11). Paul said of Onesimus, “. . . a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you” (Col. 4:9). I sure wish more brethren thought of the gospel preacher like this! Preachers and other members are working together for a common cause the spread of the gospel.
Paul did not look upon the young gospel preacher, Titus as a hire of the church, but rather as, “. . . my partner and fellow helper concerning you . . . they are messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ” (2 Cor. 8:23). Preachers and other members of the church are partners (Phile. 17), and fellow helpers in the work of the Lord.
All Christians are fellow servants. The Holy Spirit refers to the gospel preacher, Epaphras, as “. . . our dear fellow servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ” (Col. 1:7). Please notice how Paul refers to a gospel preacher.” All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord” (Col. 4:7). Instead of referring to the preacher as a hired-hand, why not refer to him like the Lord said a beloved brother, a faithful minister and a fellow servant?
It is penned concerning Epaphroditus, “Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants” (Phil. 2:25). Paul thought of this preacher as a companion, fellow soldier and his brother in the labor they were engaged in. What a refreshing way to refer to the gospel preacher! As the letter to Philemon was being written, Apphia and Archippus were referred to as, “. . . our beloved, our fellow soldier” (Phile. 2).
God’s children, including preachers, are fellow heirs when faithful to serve God. Paul encourages Gentile Christians by stating that they, “. . . should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Eph. 3:6). Remember Paul said, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ …” (Rom. 8:17).
It is past time that we begin to think of gospel preachers the way the Lord thinks of them and quit calling faithful gospel preachers, a professional hireling, a manipulator of the innocent, a cancer in the body, obstructer of spiritual growth, proxy for others, a paid functionary, the professional sermonizer, and the like. If a gospel preacher is any of these, he should stop being such immediately.
Guardian of Truth XLI: 23 p. 20
December 4, 1997