Communicate in All Good Things

Communicate in All Good Things

You guys are in for a treat this morning, because the text I’ve come to this morning has to be the most awkward text for a preacher to preach on in the whole Bible. So you are going to get to see me squirm.

I can tell you, that if I was just making a list of topics to preach to you about, I’d never cover this topic. It would never even cross my mind. But because I’m preaching through books of the Bible, trying to cover all of it, this topic is sort of thrust on me this morning and I have to cover it.

We are going to look at just one verse in Galatians 6 this morning. Verse 6 says:

”Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”. (Galatians 6:6).

And I’m just going to go ahead and let the cat out of the bag - this is a text about paying your pastors well.

It is the most self-serving verse for a preacher in the whole Bible. But it’s still Bible, and I didn’t cherry-pick it, we’ve just come to it, so I’m going to preach it just like I have every other passage we’ve come to while studying the word.

”Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”. (Galatians 6:6).

500 years ago, when Martin Luther was teaching through the book of Galatians for his church people, here is what he had to say about this text:

“These passages are all meant to benefit us ministers. I must say I do not find much pleasure in explaining these verses. I am made to appear as if I am speaking for my own benefit.”

And one thing you’ll see as we go on this morning is that this isn’t an isolated passage. This is a theme. It’s something that is repeated over and over again in the gospels and in the epistles.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

There are three important truths in this verse I think are worth talking about and learning. Let’s pray and then I’ll give them to you.

This passage teaches us that there are God-appointed teachers and learners

Look at the verse again:

”Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”

I want to show you something that might not be obvious - A big part of God’s plan for church is teaching.

Turn with me to Ephesians 4 and let’s read verses 11-15

”[Eph 4:11-15 KJV] 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:”

Notice that this passage says that God gave certain gifted people to the church: apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastors and teachers. The word “and” between pastors and teachers is not the same word as the other “ands” in verse 11. Pastors and Teachers are meant to go together and be one office. Pastor/Teachers.

God gave pastor/teachers to the church for several reasons according to this passage:

  • First, for the perfecting of the saints. You need pastor/teachers for Christians to be perfected or “made complete.” So this means that if there are no pastor/teachers, then Christians will never mature.
  • Second, for the work of the ministry. This doesn’t mean that its the job of the pastor/teacher to do the work of the ministry. It means that its the job of the pastor/teacher to prepare the church to do the work of the ministry.
  • Third, For the edifying of the body of Christ. When the pastor/teacher is doing what He is supposed to be doing, then the church is built up. Numerically, Spiritually, they are growing.
  • Fourth, to protect us from bad doctrine. You see that in verse 14. You need pastor/teachers to teach you so you don’t fall into bad doctrine.

And the end result of these four things: perfecting, preparing, edifying and protecting, is that we grow up into Christ. In other words, when the pastor is doing his job of teaching right, the people in the church are growing and maturing and doing more and more in the ministry and we are becoming more and more a Christlike church.

So listen, you need teaching. You need a teaching pastor. It’s an important part of a healthy church. It’s a big part of what God ordained the church to be.

Outside of the Bible, one of the earliest records we have of what church was like was written by a man named Justin Martyr. Let me read it to you how it starts:

”On the day called Sunday there is a gathering together in the same place of all who live in a given city or rural district. The memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits. Then when the reader ceases, the president in a discourse admonishes and urges the imitation of these good things. Next we all rise together and send up prayers.”

Kind of sounds like one of our church services doesn’t it? The president (we call him the pastor) reads the scripture, explains and preaches the scripture, and then we pray.

That was written sometime around 150 AD. Listen, this isn’t new. This is God’s plan. This is how God builds up his church members. We need teachers and we need learners.

Look at the verse again:

”Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”

Not only does this passage teach us that there are God ordained teachers and learners…

This passage teaches us that there is a God-appointed curriculum

Notice that it says ”Let him that is taught in the word communicate.”

God didn’t just ordain teachers, God gave them something very specific to teach. They are to teach the word.

2 Timothy 4:2 says to pastors:

”Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

We have back here on the wall some words. I put them there. They are a reminder for me. They come from 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

”All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

Those verses are a reminder to me that if you are going to be perfect, if you are going to be complete Christians, the things that is going to do it is “all scripture”, and what’s missing from those verses is what I’m supposed to do with all scripture:

  • Doctrine - Teach you what is true about God, man and the world we live in.
  • Reproof and Correction - Sometimes my job is to take the Bible and correct you and rebuke you with it.
  • Instruction in righteousness - Sometimes I’m supposed to take the Bible and teach you how to live.

But here is the important thing I want you to remember this morning. I don’t get to make it up! I’m supposed to take something that God prepared - the Word of God - and just give it to you.

I don’t like everything John MacArthur has said, but I really like what he said about preaching. He said the job of the preacher is not to be a chef but a waiter. My job isn’t to prepare the meal, it’s to get the meal from the one who made it to you without messing it up.

Listen to me, if a preacher doesn’t derive his authority from the word of God - he has nothing to say. If I’m up here and I’m not preaching the Bible. Go home. Go fishing. Watch NFL reruns. If I can’t tell you what the Bible says then it’s not worth your time, because believe me, I don’t have anything. It’s not me.

Frankly, I’m an uninteresting, mediocre person. If I had to stand up here and just tell you what I think all the time, I’d run out of things to say in about 1 week. Because I’m boring and my opinions and my thoughts aren’t worth your time.

But do you know what? I have the privilege, the amazing privilege to bring you what God has said and listen - this book isn’t a dead book, it’s alive. This book is still speaking to us even though it was written 2,000 years ago. And this book, if you let it, will still change your life and make you like Christ.

”For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

And I get to present it to you every week and hope I don’t mess it up.

If you come here to hear Ryan Hayden, that’s sad. But I hope you can look beyond me and learn from the Word every week, because that’s not sad. That’s powerful and amazing.

So my job, as the pastor, my primary duty is to study and teach and preach the word.

  • I’m supposed to ”give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (I Timothy 4:13).
  • I’m supposed to ”Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
  • I’m supposed to ”Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;”(1 Peter 5:2)

Whatever else I do, my main job is to be a Bible teacher and preacher and to deliver the word to you.

So this passage teaches us that there are God-appointed learners and teachers and a God-appointed curriculum. But the main thing this passages teaches us is…

This passage teaches us that there is a God-appointed way of providing for God-appointed teachers

Look at the verse again:

”Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”

The word “communicate” there does not mean what it means today. It does not mean “have a conversation with.” Not at all. It’s actually closer to the idea of a “commune” or even “communism” than a “conversation” - what it means is to share or to partner with.

Most of the time this word shows up in the Bible it shows up either as “partaker” or “distributor.” It actually never refers to verbal communication as we use the word today. It always refers to sharing something physical.

So, meaning no disrespect to our King James, let’s paraphrase this for our better understanding:

Let him that is taught in the word share with and distribute to him that teacheth in all good things.

“All good things” here means what it says “all good things” - it means anything that is good for you is good for the preacher. If you need money, the preacher needs money. If you need a savings, the preacher needs a savings, if you need to go on vacation, the preacher needs to go on vacation, if you need to save for retirement and help your kids go to school, the preacher needs to save for retirement and help his kids go to school.

It sounds incredibly self-serving to say this, but this is actually what this passage is teaching.

The old puritan Matthew Henry said that this verse was about:

the free and liberal maintianing of our ministers.

Martin Luther said:

We have come to understand why it is so necessary to repeat the admonition of this verse. When Satan cannot suppress the preaching of the Gospel by force, he tries to accomplish his purpose by striking the ministers of the Gospel with poverty.

So there is a principal here that is really simple: Those who feed and bless you spiritually should be supported by you financially.

And listen, this isn’t isolated to this passage. This is almost a theme. It’s all around the scripture. Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 9.

Look at verse 11:

”If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?”

Look at verse 14:

”Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”

Read this whole chapter sometime. Paul explains to the Corinthian church why he didn’t take a penny from them, but he makes this really strong case for why that shouldn’t be normal, why they should expect to support and pay their pastors. The whole chapter is about it.

Look at Romans 15:27

”It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.”

Look at 1 Timothy 5:17

”Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”

Luke 16:11

”If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?”

Do me a favor, write these passages down and study them later on your own. What you are going to see is that each of them is about sharing your physical goods with your spiritual teachers. It’s all over the New Testament. It’s almost embarrassing.

Look at our text one more time:

”Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”

Remember how I said a second ago that the word “communicate” there is closer to “commune” than “conversation” - I want to go back to that for a second. Because the word “communicate” here is a variation of the word Koinanae or Fellowship.

I think its important that we understand that the relationship isn’t supposed to be a transactional relationship. Its not like you go to the store and you drop down your five dollars and you get your tub of ice cream and you get a receipt. That’s the wrong way to think about the relationship between a pastor and his church. It’s not like you just go in and you plop down your twenty in the offering plate and you get your sermon. I don’t think “paying” is the right word. It is “sharing.” Sharing the good things of life.

The preacher shares the word, the people share the good things of life with the preacher. That is the command here.

Now, before I wrap this up, let me say one more thing, just as kind of a caveat to this whole thing. No preacher should get into the ministry for money and money should never be the motivation for a preacher to preach. If I ever start thinking “I need to work on my sermon and study so I can get paid” I need to find something else to do. THat’s not what it’s all about.