Category Archives: Elders

1 Timothy 17-25

Title: Caring and Confronting Everyone – even your leadership!

Text: 1 Tim 5:17-25

CIT: The Church’s Responsibility in Caring for their Elders

CIS: As has been asked of you concerning those who serve you, be in prayer as you diligently consider the man or men the elders present to complete their team.

 

Introduction: In our passage this morning, Paul will remind Timothy and the church of their responsibility to the elders: Respecting them, Protecting them, Correcting them, and Selecting them. The Context deals with confronting and caring for people in your congregation. This is weird for me to be telling you to take care of me!

The flow: some will depart the faith – they will follow false teaching and false teachers; confront such activity in the body; teach the Truth of God’s Word; When you confront, there is a proper way to deal with your relationships! Relationships are important and these relationships are handled differently. Here’s how you confront the older men, younger men, older women, and younger women.

I.     Respecting your Elders (17-18)

exp.: rd 17-18; Give respect and ‘double honor’ to the elders in your body; vb – be considered worthy is one word in the Gk; imperative verb; which elders? The ones who rule well; requirements: ministry of the Word, prayer; Here we see a big responsibility in ‘ruling”; not lording, but προί̈́στημι (proistēmi); Stand before; a beautiful picture of leadership, out front; head of household;

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13: 12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

Heb 13:7, 17; Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. And, 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

How do we respect these men? Giving them double honor; to those who: 3 job requirements – rule well and ‘labor in the word’ and ‘in teaching’ (preach and teach); This isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination. This really just seems to me to be the work seen in public – which fits our context. The Truth is, so much of what they do is really ‘alone’ stuff or ‘one on one’ stuff or even ‘small group’ stuff.

John Newton described the ministry as ‘a sorrow full of joy’… That’s really accurate.

Some see in this text as two separate elder groups: Leaders and preachers/teachers. Note it says those who rule well, but ‘especially’ those who preach and teach. I don’t think ‘especially’ is focused on the teaching and preaching, but on those who κόπος (kopos)- labor; this is demanding work; vs 18 is the proof text (rd); I like this; Paul uses two separate passages: Deuteronomy 25:4; referenced in 24.15; The 2nd is a quote of Jesus; that’s pretty cool; Lk 10:7; Paul was very familiar with Luke; some scholars insist that Paul would have been familiar with Luke, since Luke may very well have been working on it while traveling with Paul; 2 Tim 4.11

app.: The point is this: respect, w/ double honor, your elders

t.s.: Respecting your elders…2nd,

II.     Protecting your Elders (19)

exp.: rd v 19; protect them from accusation: it is a very serious matter to bring a charge against your elders; Don’t allow it, except where the process of church discipline has properly taken place;

ill.: Consider this: because the elders are very public in their service, they open themselves up to harsh criticism. They’re easy targets. That criticism can be harsh, especially when those who pass judgment don’t have all of the information in front of them. We do so much harm when we ‘accuse’ our elders of negligence because we simply disagree with their leadership; oftentimes it is simply a matter of change that upsets an individual; Someone doesn’t like a decision, a plan, a program, a change in the current system or program;

app.: Respecting our elders is seen in the protection of our elders from false or inflammatory remarks about their leadership and the decisions they make.

t.s.: However, with that said, no elder is perfect; Sometimes an elder needs to be corrected;

III.   Correcting your Elders (20-21)

exp.: that is why Paul continues v 20;

ill.: Vibe magazine interviewed popular comedian and actor Chris Rock.

When asked, “Were you raised Christian?” Rock answered:

I wasn’t raised anything, to tell you the truth. My grandfather was a…preacher. He was the funniest guy. He used to curse a lot, run around, whatever. A bunch of deacons from his church got arrested for selling coke. Not selling it out of the church, but you know.

When asked, “Do you ever regret that you don’t have a connection to a long tradition of belief?” Rock replied:

That I’m not Baptist or whatever? And I don’t have this thing to pass down? Not at all. ‘Cause I do have a long tradition of belief. My belief is in working hard and treating people well. All that other stuff is nonsense.

app.: Ok, there is so much in those statements, but let me just say: Elders Cursing and ‘running around’. That needs to be confronted. Deacons selling cocaine? Elders like that need to be asked to step down. But there is a huge spectrum between an elder participating in illegal behavior and making mistakes. So, just being an elder doesn’t mean he won’t make mistakes. He will. And when he does, he needs to be corrected…

when coupled with v 19, this lines up with church discipline as we’ve been taught by Jesus in Matthew 18; We often err, by not going to the member or the elder; and discussing this one-on-one; We hurt the body when we stand in the hallway and criticize our elders (or anyone for that matter); Should one of us have a problem, go and talk directly to him (that’s first); and if he won’t listen… then 2nd, take two or three witnesses and talk this over with him; if he still won’t listen; bring your two or three witnesses and rebuke him in the presence of the body; The process Jesus gives us is for protecting us on all sides:

  • It protects the person in sin, by allowing them the opportunity to repent without humiliation before the whole body. Isn’t that really the goal? Repentance and restoration?
  • It protects the person doing the confronting, by allowing them to be corrected if they’re wrong. Most problems like these can be cleared up with a little understanding.
  • It protects the body by strengthening these relationships and bringing healing to that one localized area.

Exp.: rd v 21; Paul reminds Timothy not to show partiality to the elders, don’t prejudge them.

t.s.: each one should be Respecting, Protecting, Correcting, and finally Paul reminds them to be careful in …

IV.    Selecting your Elders (22-25)

exp.: rd v 22; caution: don’t lay hands on to quickly; 1st, this is for Timothy, not the body; The senior elder has a tremendous responsibility in leading the flock; when he lays his hands on a man who is unqualified, he ‘shares’ in their sins, past and future; κοινωνέω (koinōneō); this is the vb form of Koinonia (n); that is why he says in v 22c; keep (a watchful eye); yourself pure;

ill.: IH Marshall: this can be used of sharing in gifts and experiences or in actions; it may also be used for giving a share in something to somebody. Here the thought is clearly that by showing some kind of positive attitude to a sinner one is approving of the person and thereby sharing in that person’s sins in the sense of sharing in the responsibility and hence the guilt for them.

It makes me think of Chris Rock’s Grandfather and his leaders selling cocaine. And then Paul adds this parenthetical statement: rd v 23; issues of purity and health; So Paul brings his thoughts to a summation in vs 24-25; rd v 24-5; Here is his point: you will recognize an elder before you select them; their good deeds will go before them;

Conclusion: If you think about this, church, you’re in a pretty good place to be. You’ve chosen one elder – you chose me. But the time is coming when you’ll need to select other men from among yourselves to serve as elders. The standards were set in chapter 3. Now, you’ll need to be praying for those men you’ll ask to step up and serve in the future.

That’s my one take-a-way this morning: Pray

  • Pray that you’ll recognize them by their lives and good work.
  • Pray that the church closely follows God’s Will in the selection process.
  • Pray that God will protect them from the enemy – who desires to destroy their testimony. That the church’s witness in the community will be fruitful.

I’ve been honored to serve with godly men in the past. I stay in touch with these men, even now. It does my heart good to hear of their continued service to the Lord. I think of John who wrote I find no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth.

As always, I want to ask you to reach out to us if you have questions. If you want to know more about Christ and what it means to be a Christ-follower, reach out to us at tarpleybaptistchurch@gmail.com

 

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Filed under 1 Timothy, Church Polity, Elders, Scripture, Sermon

1 Timothy 3.1-7

Title: The Two Offices of the Church (Part 1)

Text: 1 Timothy 3.1-7

CIT: There are standards by which elders should live.

CIS: The work of an Elder is noble and should not be entered into lightly. The church should recognize these men and appoint them very carefully.

 

Intro: Last week we dealt with a particularly tough text, but only if it is taken out of context. When understood within the context of the letter, you understand how important our roles and responsibilities are.

Now, here is our biggest problem: people who serve in areas they shouldn’t be serving in! We’ve all experienced deacons and elders who gave those offices bad names. I’m grateful for the men who I’ve had the privilege of serving with who fulfilled their roles with dignity and honor; And, brought honor and dignity to the office.

You don’t know him, and I’ve not spoken to him in 30 years. His name was/is Malcolm Dickinson. Malcolm and his little family went to our church in Copperas Cove. Malcolm was a deacon and he took his responsibilities seriously. I’ll never forget driving down the road and seeing him working on a widow’s porch. Another time I saw him repairing a screen. He took his job of caring for the widows seriously.

Here’s the thing about Malcolm. He was a coach at the local high school and was busy with 4 little boys – 4 little rambunctious boys. And yet he still found time to be a good deacon.

He was a godly man. I loved to hear him pray during the worship service. It was like everyone disappeared and it was just Malcolm and God.

This morning I want to talk with you about the two offices of the church: elder & deacon. In the context of our passage, Paul is writing to Timothy, but for the benefit of the church. So, this is how I’m seeing this. I want to approach this from the perspective of a letter to the church and your responsibility toward your leadership and your potential leadership. Consider this: God has placed men in your midst who are elders and deacons. You recognize them right now by their actions, their demeanor, and their deportment. You see it in the way they carry themselves and how they are around others. There will come a time when you will need to ask them to step up and fulfill the role. Will you commit to praying about it now?

Ill.: I’ve had the privilege of serving on various teams, committees, and boards. I’ve been on some incredible bands. Over the past 40 years, I have sung with and/or played the bass and/or played acoustic in many bands with many people – and this is what I’ve learned: having the right people in the right place is the key.

I played with many singers and instrumentalists who were very good at their job; however, their personalities caused so many problems in the band that we couldn’t function properly. And it only takes one person to disrupt your group. It is the same with your staff or team or committee. You might have a wonderful businessman who has no business serving as an elder. You have to be careful who you select and appoint to these roles. Again, will you commit to pray over this?

App.: the application remains the same for any team or committee or board or staff member: One wrong person can create havoc on you and your work. So, you as a body can select a really good man – who fits the requirements in every way and still fracture your body. And that is the scary part. Our goal is unity for the benefit of our witness.

Remember the context: These folks have been looking down on their leadership. They’ve shown disrespect and dishonor to folks in authority. And because of it, they’ve been a poor witness to the community at large.

Transition: you have a great responsibility – maybe that is why Paul goes into such great detail about who should and who should not serve as an overseer.

Let’s go back to the beginning and identify the steps that got us to where we are in 1 Timothy:

  • A charge to confront false teachers and their false teaching (chap. 1);
  • The role of men and women in the public arena concerning prayer and worship (chap. 2); the lost are watching; it appears throughout this letter that there is a lack of understanding of how you treat your leadership and those who are seniors.
  • Leadership in the church… the role of the church to put the right men in the right spot… all within the context of false teaching and false teachers.

From this text we find that there are two offices in the church:

  1. Overseers (4 terms: Overseers [bishops], Pastors [shepherds], Elders, and leaders) v1-7; interchangeable
  2. Deacons v8-15

Ill.: The opening of Paul’s letter to the Philippians is one great example of this: Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

BTW: this is clarified in our Statement of Faith (BF&M 2000) in Article 6: VI. The Church

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.

This morning, I’d like to focus on just the first of these two offices: the elders or overseers. We note first in v.1 that Paul declares this a noble task. Rd v 1; The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. This someone aspires to something good. It is a good work. Overseer is ἐπισκοπή (episcope, i.e.: Episcopalian): epi: over and scope: to see.  He desires a noble task. Lit.: a good work; We saw this phrase a good work up in the previous chapter (2.10), as a characteristic of a godly woman. ἀγαθός and καλός, both are synonymous and are used in Scripture attributes of God.

So, the first step in becoming an elder is: you want to be one.

I.     If someone aspires to be an overseer… he desires a good work. So, because this is a good work, a noble task, the church should not enter lightly into selecting men to serve here. That’s why Paul says in the next verse: Therefore… rd v 2-3;

Transition: So, if someone aspires to be an overseer,

II.    If someone aspires to be an overseer, you will see it displayed in his upstanding character.

Exp.: We’re talking Behavior/Actions; rd v 2-3; Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

I agree with DA Carson who said that there really isn’t anything special in these quality characteristics – except for one – being able to teach. I mean really, shouldn’t these be characteristics of any man or woman who claims to be a believer?

  1. He must be above reproach: in Titus, he uses the synonym It isn’t that he’s perfect and sinless, but rather that he exemplifies Christ in his manner and deportment. Thabiti Anyabwile: Being above reproach means that an elder is to be the kind of man whom no one suspects of wrong-doing or immorality. People would be shocked to hear this kind of man charged with such acts. Above reproach; blameless.
  2. He must be ‘a man of one woman’: that’s the literal translation; most translation read: the husband of one wife. It’s hard to know exactly what is meant here. It could mean that he’s never been divorced. There are a lot of scholars I respect deeply who hold to that opinion. I think there is a principle being taught here, though, that is really important. I’m not absolutely positive that Paul is laying down the letter of the law here, but rather presenting a principle. No matter your view on divorced or even single men serving as elders, I think Paul is communicating that this man has a high view of marriage as between a man and a woman and that marriage is sacred. His marriage is a display of this belief.
  3. He must be sober-minded: the literal meaning here means temperate in his use of alcohol. He is sober. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t drink any alcohol, but rather that he never drinks alcoholic beverages to a point that he is out of control. Baptists like to use this part of Scripture to declare alcohol is bad. You should never do it. But that’s just legalism, too. This man, though, he never lets what he consumes get out of control.
  4. Self-controlled. The negatives in v 3 below outline a man who is out of control. He can’t control his drinking (must not be a drunkard). He can’t control his anger (he must not be violent). He can’t control himself in conversation (he is quarrelsome; he always has to be right!). And he can’t control his appetite for more and more money. Maybe he gambles, hoping for a big windfall. He works too long and too hard to make more money, not observing the Sabbath, but trying to get the extra cash. No, our man is self-controlled.
  5. He must be respectable: these are noted by his family (his wife and children) and the community. We’ll look more at this when we get to those verses in 4-7.
  6. He must be hospitable: this Gk word is a compound word translated a lover of strangers. He is a lover of strangers and not a lover of money. The man who loves his money holds his purse strings tight. The man who loves strangers opens up his moneybag and pours out his money for them. He uses his money to love people instead of using people to satisfy his love of money.
  7. He must be able to teach: this is our first and only requirement that isn’t really universal of all believers. Basically, all of the traits we’ve listed simply outline who and how we should be as Christians.

Now Paul turns toward the negatives, which we already listed with the out of control man.

  1. He must not be a drunkard
  2. He must not be violent but gentle
  3. He must not be quarrelsome
  4. He must not be a lover of money.

So, the only requirement listed here that wouldn’t be an expectation of any man in your congregation is that he be able to teach. I believe the reason for this is his responsibility to communicate sound, healthy doctrine.

Conclusion: If… Someone – aspires to be an overseer – he must display upstanding character. You will have already seen it in his behavior.

III.   If someone aspires to be an overseer, then he has set an example of leadership with his family.

If… Someone – aspires to be an overseer – his example has already been set in his family.

Exp.: rd v 4-5; He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

This doesn’t mean that his family is perfect any more than it means that the church is perfect. There are problems; there are struggles. You will find it anywhere you find relationships. The issue isn’t that he has the perfect family. Because he won’t and he can’t! It has to do with his management skills in caring for his family. Here is a good question to ask: Does his wife respect him? Do his children hold him with high regard and have that same respect? You can witness this respect through the submissive nature of their relationship. They hold him in high regard. They know him better than anyone else. Their respect speaks volumes.

Conclusion: If… Someone – aspires to be an overseer – his example has already been set in his family. Not that they are perfect, mind you, but that they see him that same way.

IV.    If someone aspires to be an overseer, then the church must determine his fitness based upon his spiritual maturity and positive public perception.

Exp.: If… Someone – aspires to be an overseer – the church must be careful in its appointment of this someone to the position of overseer. Rd v 6; He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Spiritual maturity will help a man avoid those pitfalls and snares of the devil. Oh Man, if there is anything the devil can do to bring down your elders, he will. So be careful in your appointments. Don’t appoint a man before his time.

So to review:

  1. If someone aspires to be an overseer… he desires a good work.
  2. If someone aspires to be an overseer, you will see this desire displayed in his upstanding character.
  3. If someone aspires to be an overseer, then he has set an example of leadership with his family.
  4. If someone aspires to be an overseer, then the church must determine his fitness based upon his spiritual maturity and positive public perception.

Take-a-ways: As we consider sound doctrine…

  1. Church, your theology drives your methodology. It impacts everything you do. That is why your doctrine is to be pure and sound.
    • Bad theology corrupts a church body. Remember, it was Paul’s purpose in placing Timothy in Ephesus – to protect them.
  2. Church, when you appoint men to serve as elders (and deacons for that matter), you are making a doctrinal statement. Too often, the church wants to pick popular, pretty people. Standards set in the Word of God are cast aside for comfort and popularity.

Ill.: Mark Dever writes: I had made a statement in a doctoral seminar about God. Bill responded politely but firmly that he liked to think of God rather differently. For several minutes, Bill painted a picture for us of a friendly deity. He liked to think of God as being wise, but not meddling; compassionate, but never overpowering; ever so resourceful, but never interrupting. “This,” said Bill in conclusion, “is how I like to think of God.”

My reply was perhaps somewhat sharper than it should have been. “Thank you, Bill,” I said, “for telling us so much about yourself, but we are concerned to know what God is really liked, not simply about our own desires.”

And all of God’s children said, “Ouch”. Dever has a great point: what someone likes to think about God isn’t so as important as what God says about himself. Our theology is important and it must be grounded in God’s Word. The God of Christmas in Luke is also the God of Judgment in Revelation. So, when you appoint men to serve, you’re making a doctrinal statement about what you believe. Finally,

  1. Men, if you aspire to the office of elder, I’d like to close with two thoughts:

Conclusion:

First, as a pastor and elder, there are certain texts of Scripture that float around in my head on a regular basis. Scriptures like James 3.1: Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. And Heb 13.17: 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Professor John Brown was sought out by a former divinity student, who had graduated and moved to the country to become the pastor of a very small church. This young man wrote his former professor declaring his impatience in serving the 16 souls in the country church. He stated that he could not wait until he was finally asked to pastor a much larger congregation with greater prestige and publicity. The kindly professor responded to this eager young preacher:

I know the vanity of your heart, and that you will feel mortified that your congregation is very small, in comparison with those of your brethren around you; but assure yourself on the word of an old man, that when you come to give an account of them to the Lord Christ, at his judgment-seat, you will think you have had enough.

Oh, what a mighty leadership team we could build if we selected men with this mindset.

Second, 1 Peter charges the elders to serve the people under their care: So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And then he finishes with this: And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Let’s pray.

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Filed under 1 Timothy, Calling, Elders, Leadership, Scripture, Sermon

1 Timothy 2.8-15

Title: The Hope We Have that Comes from Godly Men & Women

Text: 2 Timothy 2.8-15

 

Introduction: My parents split before I could form memories. My dad was a military man, so I was shipped back and forth to my grandmother as needed. My religious formation comes from her and I stand before you today because of her prayers.

When I was in 8th grade, my grandmother made $125 a month babysitting for two Air Force Officers. I made about $20 a month throwing Newspapers. Never once did I eat a cold breakfast. She was up early fixing a warm breakfast before school. I saw her reading her Bible in her bed as I made my way from the shower to the bedroom to get dressed. I saw the same thing at night when I was getting ready for bed. She would stop and come in and read a chapter from the Bible with me.

I’m grateful for the strong influence my godly grandmother passed on to me.

Let me also say, there was a period in my life, not so long ago, when I was surrounded by girls. Jennifer and three little girls came to live with us when they had been abandoned. My life was filled with estrogen. Lisa, Jennifer, Elizabeth, Caroline, and Sweet Annie. Even our little dog is of the feminine persuasion. Lisa created for me a safe haven where I could flee to and watch news and sports!

And I shall always cherish those days – hugs and kisses at night. But you didn’t give me no hugs and kisses, Pa!

I want to tell you that I want good things for my little girls! I want them to dream big and chase those dreams to become whoever they want as they pursue their dreams in relation to their faith in Christ.

I think many preachers have abused this text before us today. I pray that I get this right. Not because I’m worried about your response, but rather, I fear the response of the Master – The One who has called me to this service.

Let’s pray: God, help me get this right.

One of the reasons so many teachers and preachers get this wrong is because they take the Scripture out of Context. Context is everything. DA Carson: A text without a context is a pretext for a prooftext. I know you’ve heard that before. I promise you will hear it again. (ill.: Worship Conference Radio Advertisment – Jesus said, “32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”)

Our Context for this passage is Public Worship. You remember from last week that we don’t have the same worship experiences of those in the early church. At first, they met in public places. Eventually, they met in public places and in their homes.

The Goal is that the lost, who witness the church in action, might be saved. The converse of that is that the lost might very well remain that way because of the church’s poor behavior in action. That’s a negative way to say: Church, get your act together!

1st, Let me walk through the text with you and show you how this is all playing out:

Evidently, the problem with what was happening in Ephesus was that the lost would observe some of the men being contentious and also observe some of the women, who were dressing in inappropriate clothing. Now, that is the close-up.

Ill.: Read Acts 19.8-10; this is church planting in action! As they met in the synagogue and then in the Hall Tyrannus, and later, wherever they were meeting publicly, their behavior as men was detrimental to the spread of the Gospel! And the behavior of the women was just as detrimental: they were more concerned with their looks and appearance than their godliness and good works.

But, I think the problem is even deeper: there appears to be a lack of respect for those in authority. The whole church seems to have this problem.

Let’s pull away from this small passage on prayer and practice to gain a greater perspective.

  1. Purpose Statement in 3.14-15: 14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
    1. The Church is a witness to the World against what is false. She is a witness to the Truth of God.
    2. Her witness appears to be damaged because of her behavior. This letter is to inform you of how you ought to behave within the household of God.
    3. A major part of that breakdown for the church was their disrespect for leadership and those in positions of authority. I find it odd that Paul says in combating false doctrine to 1st, pray for:
      1. Kings and all who are in high positions (2.1-2)
      2. Toward their pastor (4.12; 2.11-15; 5.17)
  • Toward the elderly in their congregation (5.1-3)
  1. Slaves toward their Masters (6.1-2)
  2. The Rich toward others (6.17)

There seems to me to be a major problem with these members having respect for those who’ve been put in positions of honor and respect and authority. And, it is hurting their witness. That is the context of this letter: Public Worship viewed by lost folks & a blatant disrespect for others and their positions.

So, Paul commands them to get organized! God gave us structure and within that structure, God gave us roles and responsibility. And, within that structure, you need to show respect where respect is due. Honor those who deserve honor. Respect those who are in certain positions.

Ill.: I learned this in the military. I had an older man who was teaching me. I told him how hard it was to salute an officer who was a low life – unworthy of the respect due to his office and rank. Without missing a beat, my elder said: you salute the rank, not the individual.

Ill.: a few years back, when President Obama was our president. I made a comment about him coming into our worship center. A lady in the congregation – an ultra-conservative lady – made a derogatory comment about the president. And I let it slide. But I shouldn’t have. It was very public, and it should have been corrected in public. There was a blatant disregard for the office of the President. I’m not saying you have to agree with him. Indeed, I can’t find anything for which I can agree. But as Christians, we respect the office.

I saw that as a young man watching my pastor. We were at a convention and the governor was invited to speak. You probably remember her – Governor Ann Richards. When she came in the whole congregation stood to their feet in respect of her position. Except for my pastor; He remained seated. His wife simply looked at him and in a quiet voice said: Are you going to practice what you preach? He stood. It’s was a great teaching moment for me.

Notice 1st, he gets on the men: read 2.8; evidently, their witness was horrible in front of the lost community watching the gathered church; there is contention here; they are lifting hands in anger and they are quarreling in public.

Oh, but women, you’re not without fault either. Your witness is damaged, too. Rd v 9; the women are more concerned with their physical appearance than their spiritual appearance. They want to be seen as pretty and not pious. They want to be seen as gorgeous and not godly. They want to be noticed because of their beauty and not recognized for their behavior.

No one is without fault here. The Church as a whole has been damaging the witness to the world that is watching. But, And here is our 1st point! Our Hope comes through:

1st, Men and Women Behaving as Believers: men, women… the world is watching so ‘behave’.

2nd, When we fulfill our God-given roles and responsibilities in the church. There are roles for leadership and there are roles for men and there are roles for women. That role you fulfill is vital in the presentation of the Gospel by the church as a whole.

As a matter of fact, I think v11-15 actually go closer to 3.1ff, than they do with 2.8-10 or even 2.1-10. It is like he’s saying:

  1. Pray in public for your worldly leaders. There is a hint of: stop being disrespectful of them before the lost world that is watching. Remember: you are to lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
  2. When you gather and pray – Men, stop being contentious and quarrelsome. Women, stop trying to cover up your lack of inner beauty by dressing up the outside. Instead, play down your external beauty and let the inner beauty come through in what you do. Godliness and Good works; with modesty and self-control.
  3. As a matter of fact, let me turn my attention toward leadership in the church. And he does so now in 2.11.

Paul stays on the topic of women; rd 2.11-12; 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

So, as we look toward leadership – women, respect those men who’ve been placed in authority within the church.

So, I think this is about the position as Elder or Overseer or Pastor. In the church, the position of pastor is for men only. And, I believe God has created this picture with purpose – just like he has in marriage. When you read Ephesians 5 you see that marriage is a picture of the Gospel.

And it is the same here. God has a purpose in his design.

So, let’s look closely at what is doing. I think for v 11, he’s simply restating what he has said before. Notice the words he has repeated:

  • Godliness: rd v 2; godliness is required of every believer;
  • Quietly: rd v 2; here in 11 and again in v 12; that doesn’t mean she sits down and shuts up; No! that demonstrates her attitude and demeanor. She is living her peaceful, quiet life within the context of her position in the congregation. Men are to be the same way.
  • We will see peace and dignified again, too.

I get from this that there may have been women who were being disrespectful of the overseers, including Timothy. Maybe, there may have been some who were trying to take over his role. Paul is simply stating how behavior in the church should go and when it comes to the office of Pastor/Elder/Overseer, that office for men.

For me, it is interesting that when you look at the qualifications for elders and deacons, they really aren’t that special – as compared to all Christians. Review 3.1-12;

But then he says in 2.13-15 just why these roles are put in place by God. And, he uses the Old Testament as hermeneutical grounds. Rd v 13-14; He’s quoting from Genesis 2 & 3; There is “the role” and “position” in the Creation account; and, there is the fact of the fall.

  • Adam is formed first and Eve is fashioned from him to be a helper suitable for him.
  • Then, in the fall, consequences take place – and this is what Paul is referring to…

Turn to Gen 3.13ff; The Fall we find hope; in sin, there is the promise of a Messiah who will come and crush the head of the serpent! But continue in v 16; She will endure tremendous pain in bearing children, but in the bearing of her children comes the hope of a descendant who will crush the serpent’s head.

As we go back to our text in 1 Timothy, we see that in v 12 (12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man;). Paul isn’t saying a woman shouldn’t be a teacher. Indeed, as you compare that with other passages of Scripture, we know women are to teach. Indeed, Timothy’s two greatest teachers were his mom and his grandmother! In Titus, he encourages older women to teach younger women. So it isn’t that a woman isn’t to teach. It’s within the context of chapter 3. She isn’t to be an elder. Paul cites the creation account as grounds for this teaching. And, in his reference to Eve, it’s her faithfulness that one day brings about the Messiah. Rd v 15a;

In 15b, Paul moves from the Genesis account back to the women of Ephesus: if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. Salvation comes through you, too, ladies. Your faithfulness, your love, your holiness, your godliness, your self-control, your modesty, your quiet, peaceful life is a tremendous witness to your children, your spouse, your neighbors, your grandchildren and to the lost who are looking in from the outside.

That would be point # 3: There is hope in the order and organization: 1st, through Eve’s faithfulness, her seed is Jesus. 2nd, through faithfulness today, women bring that same hope of salvation. There is great power in submission. There is great power in showing respect and honor.

I see that in my life. And this is my one take-a-way for this morning: There are tremendous power and influence in a peaceful, quiet life lived out in all godliness and dignity.

 

  1. What an incredible leadership role you play in the lives of your children, grandchildren – in the formation of their spiritual lives and their eternal destiny.
  2. Men, do you realize how detrimental you are when you crush the spirits of your women and your children through your behavior? Or, your mischaracterization of Scripture
  3. Organization and structure within the church are beneficial for the church and for the lost world.

I believe I am where I am today because a strong, godly woman – my nana – prayed for me and was an example of faith, love, godliness, and self-control. Furthermore, I mean not to embarrass my wife, but her faithfulness is something that has blessed me, too.

In memoirs of an ordinary pastor, DA Carson tells the story of a turbulent time in the life of his family that he never knew about.

His father lost funding for a church plant where he was pastor. What Carson didn’t know was that it came about because his father spoke out against a leader in the denomination. That leader was furious and with his power, pulled all funding that kept that little congregation going. The pastor and his family had to move. DA Carson writes that he was a teenager when all of that happened.

Years later, he encountered the man who had hurt his family. But DA had no idea of what had happened. He was kind and respectful because his mother and father were always kind and respectful of that man. After the mean man walked away, a pastor walked up to DA and asked how he could have been so kind and respectful to that man after all of the damage he caused the Carson’s? DA asked, “What damage?” It was only then that he learned what had happened.

DA Carson said in all the pain that leader within their denomination caused his family, never once did his father or mother speak ill of that leader. They always showed him great respect and spoke highly of him in front of their children. Carson said it was an invaluable lesson he learned from his father and mother about behavior in the church.

So, ladies, I don’t think this is ugly at all. I think this is empowering. You have tremendous power in how you pass on the faith. You do it in your behavior. You do it in the way you live out your quiet, peaceful life with all godliness and dignity.

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Filed under 1 Timothy, Christian Living, Elders, Evangelism, Scripture, Sermon

1 Timothy: An Introduction

Title: 1 Timothy: An Introduction

Text: 1 Timothy 1.1-3

Introduction: Erin Brockovich is now famous for her legal work against a giant company. She herself was not a lawyer, but rather a legal clerk who worked for a small law firm. Her story inspires most because she represents many of us – at least that is the way we see it.

She didn’t look the part. She wasn’t educated. She had made many mistakes when she was young. She was judged on her appearance and not on her work. The snobs with the money judged her incompetent because she didn’t dress like they did. She didn’t have the law degree they had. It was a modern-day David and Goliath story. Pacific Gas and Electric Company had been poisoning the land around Hinkley, California. Their reckless behavior made the people of Hinkley and the surrounding area sick – many even died.

Her story inspires because she stood up to the mammoth of a company that had money and lawyers to fight. But she never backed down. She spent countless hours learning the ins and outs of that company. She met and got to know the people of Hinkley. She knew the sick by name. She knew their spouses and what their spouse did for a living; she knew who their kids were and what grades they were in. She knew where they lived. She knew where they shopped; who their doctors were; the most intimate details about their lives. She knew the company was dumping hexavalent chromium and contaminating the water sources the people of Hinkley were drinking.

Her story inspires because she spoke out and defended the ones who could not stand up for themselves and won.

For me, the Pastoral Epistles inspire like that. Paul writes to these young men who are serving as pastors in their local churches and encourages them to speak out against those who are killing the people around them. He writes to Titus in Crete and to Timothy in Ephesus. Our focus this morning is on the church at Ephesus and this letter to Timothy. The Letter is entitled 1 Timothy. If you’re using a pew Bible, you’ll find the letter on page ???

Paul states his purpose quite clearly in 3.14-15; rd 3.14f; you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. What we’ll find as we work our way through this letter is that Sound Doctrine is vital to a church’s existence. Unhealthy doctrine destroys a church. Sound Doctrine teaches a church 1) how to behave, 2) it represents God, and 3) is a pillar and buttress of the Truth!

Over the next 4 months, our church will be looking at 1st Timothy. Our basic goal this morning is to look at the introduction of this letter. We find the introduction in 1 Timothy 1.1-3 or on page ??? if you’re using a pew Bible.

Basic Outline: First, we will look at the writer (who the letter is from), then the recipient (who the letter is to), and his purpose, which he alludes to in v 3;

  • From: Paul
  • To: Timothy (and the church at Ephesus)
  • Purpose: you may charge…

Transition: that outline looks short, but the truth is, there is so much here, so let’s get to it.

From: Paul

exp.: rd v 1; Paul wrote this letter somewhere around the years 62-66 AD. Consider the following

  • Paul was martyred by Nero in Rome. That is the historical tradition and has strong backing.
  • Nero died in 68 AD, so, we’ll start with that date.
  • Paul was near his death when he wrote 2 Timothy, his last book or letter that we have. If Nero put Paul to death, then Paul died before Nero. Make sense?
  • So, let’s put Paul’s death around 67 AD – that means 2 Timothy was written near that time.
  • There are at least two winters recorded in the Pastoral Epistles (Titus 3.12 and 2 Timothy 4.21).

Titus 3.12: When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.

2 Tim 4.21: 21 Do your best to come before winter. Another winter is fast approaching. Each reference is a different context. So: at least two different winters. They could be one year apart or more; winter of ’67; the winter of ‘65. So, that would put 1 Timothy somewhere around 62-64 AD. These are rough guesses, of course – give or take a few years on each side the largest span would be 62-66. You probably have a good guess at the introduction in your Study Bible at 1 Timothy.

Next, Paul is imprisoned in 2 Timothy, but in 1 Timothy, he appears to be writing after his imprisonment as mentioned in Acts 28. I tried to locate times and places mentioned in 1 Timothy with Acts and I can’t reconcile them. Allow me to show you what I mean:

1 & 2 Timothy place Timothy in Ephesus. I jokingly say that he is the pastor of the 1st Baptist Church in Ephesus. 1 Timothy has Paul going to Macedonia (1.3). In the book of Acts, Paul does travel to Macedonia from Ephesus (Acts 20.1), but Timothy has not been left behind in Ephesus. Instead, he is sent ahead to Macedonia (Acts 19.22). Added to this, Timothy accompanies Paul on his journey to Jerusalem (Acts 20.4). It is possible that Paul left Timothy in Miletus when he was meeting with the Ephesian elders; however, Paul’s journey was toward Jerusalem the opposite direction of Macedonia.

So, I can only conclude that Paul was released from prison after Acts 28. He ministered and wrote his letters (1 Timothy and Titus) between the dates of 62-66 AD. Then, at some point after those letters, he is thrown into prison again. According to 2 Timothy, he must have gone eastward after his Roman Imprisonment and not on to Spain, because he left his cloak and books at Troas. From his prison cell, during this 2nd Roman Imprisonment, he wrote his last letter, 2 Timothy. Paul has a sense (concerning himself) that the end is near there in 2 Timothy.

app.: He must be feeling that a bit as he writes his 1st letter to Timothy. Verse 1 tells us about his calling: apostle. That means he is a missionary, a church planter. His authority is from God, who has called him and commissioned him. But, as the years have gone by, he finds himself unable to keep up with his previous pace of planting churches and discipling new believers. Jail time has put a toll on his body. Long hours, long travel, persecution, stress, these all have aged him.

So, he has strategically placed younger men in places of service. 1.3: Timothy at Ephesus; Titus at Crete (1.5); He sends their replacements. 2 Tim 4.12: Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. Before that, in Titus, Paul sent Tychicus to Crete – evidently to carry that particular letter. Paul mentions that Zenas, the Lawyer, and Apollos have been there with Titus and that Titus should send them on their way to Paul. Crescens is in Galatia; Titus served in Dalmatia, as well as in Crete. Mark is serving somewhere along the way between Ephesus and Rome. It would be a hard, but fun study to locate all of the names of these young men and see where Paul had located them for service – with both locations and dates.

Now, added to their placement as overseers in their respective churches, Paul has given them instructions about how a church should look and act. Now, this is so important! Don’t miss that! That is what these letters, 1 Timothy and Titus, are all about; more on that in a moment.

t.s.: For now, let’s turn our attention to Timothy

To: Timothy

exp.: rd v 2; he uses the same language with Titus; my true child in the faith. The Gk word here means legitimate. I think this conveys the idea that Paul had a hand in their conversion to Christ and their foundation in discipleship. My guess is that Timothy was converted to Christ on Paul’s 1st MJ. We first meet Timothy in the book of Acts (16.1). Paul and Barnabas had finished their 1st MJ and had returned to Antioch to report their mission work. After some days and some disagreement about how they should handle things, Paul and Silas take off on Paul’s 2nd MJ. Their first stop is in Galatia, at Derbe and on to a small town called Lystra. This is where they meet a young Timothy, who has impressed the people of Lystra and Iconium – and Paul, too. Paul immediately recognizes his potential and wants Timothy to accompany them on their journey. And so begins a mentoring relationship between the two men that will last for the next 15 years or more. So great is this relationship, greater even than any other relationship Paul will have with many men, that Timothy appears in all but three of Paul’s letters. Galatians, Ephesians, and Titus. An interesting side note about that: Timothy was from Galatia and he was the pastor at Ephesus.

The rest of v 2 is a typical salutation – if there is such a thing. Paul has worked at refining his introduction through the years to reflect a high Christology. And, built upon that Christology is the authority given to Paul. It is typical in nature to other letters, but of course, reflects the change and growth in his faith. Listen to Gordon Knight:

This form of salutation reflects three factors: first, the teachings of the Christian faith have molded Paul’s adaptation of the standard form. Second, there is a great uniformity in this molding, especially in the grading section, which reflects a certain crystallization of his manner of expression of the essential Christian truths in these salutations. Third, there are certain variations that either reflect the recipients’ situation and need or anticipate and emphasize that which will be presented in the letter proper.

In all of his letters except the letter to the churches in Galatia, Paul refers to the recipients’ relationship to Christ (i.e.: to all the saints in Christ Jesus, as here – my true child in the faith, etc).

ill.: but here is where we can’t see the bond and what has forged it. As you read through acts you see Timothy right there with Silas and others, learning how to stand for Christ, learning that persecution will come. He is watching Paul as he suffers: in Philippi, in Thessalonica, in Berea as he watched Paul sail away alone – alone for his own safety; he is there in Corinth when the city erupted and wanted Paul’s head. Timothy was at Ephesus the first time Paul spoke there. He probably heard Paul’s promise to return if the Lord willed it. And the Lord did and Paul returned and stayed for two years. He watched as the people jumped up and down, screaming and yelling at the top of their lungs, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” He watched as Paul begged to address the thousands of people who wanted him dead. Paul saw a crowd where he could preach Christ. I’m sure Timothy was one of the men who begged him not to do that. The crowd yelled for two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

We have a bunch of material from Acts where Timothy watched and learned from Paul. But what about the “so much more” that we don’t have. What was it like in those prison cells as they had time for some one-on-one discipleship? What was it like for Timothy to listen to this brilliant man who knew the Scriptures and how to apply them? What was it like to watch as the man went from reading the Scriptures to quoting them because his eyes were failing him? What was it like to hear the story of Paul’s conversion and calling – to hear him tell it – the story we read about in Acts Chapter 9 without the inflection, without the emotion of Paul’s voice?

app.: As a pastor, I’m in awe of this relationship. Paul loves the people of Ephesus. He detests false teachers coming and leading people astray. He trusts Timothy to serve those folks – to teach sound doctrine and protect them from the foolishness that others try to bring into a church.

t.s.: which brings us to this last section… it deals with what I touched on at the end of the 1st section… the purpose of these letters.

Part II:

Introduction: Love Does, Bob Goff; rd pg 94-95; eating Lard instead of Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

That’s the problem with religion: people package it in attractive ways, but always leave a person wanting. The problem with it all is that what most people are selling isn’t what Christ is offering.

Review of Part 1: From; To; Dates;

Purpose: charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine

exp.: rd v 3; Paul gets straight to the point. This is why I left you there in Ephesus. This is why I’m writing to you! Paul deals with false teaching repeated through his ministry. We see it in just about every letter of Paul’s.

  1. We see it in Acts 20, as Paul says goodbye to the Ephesian Elders at Miletus. Rd Acts 20.17; 25-32;
  2. We’ll see it in this letter, so you’re going to see it again and again (1.3-11; 13-20; 4.1-7; 6.3-10; 20-21).
  • Myths (1.4; 4.7)
  • Genealogies (1.4)
  • Concern with the Jewish Law and its application (1.7)
  • Empty sounds and contradictions referred to as ‘knowledge’ (6.20)
  • Deception (4.1-3)
  • Immorality (1.19-20)
  • Financial Gain (6.5)
  • Harsh Asceticism (4.1-5) through denying the self what God has blessed us with; rd; 4.1-5

ill.: false teaching is alive and well in the church today. Consider the following for us:

  • For the first 1500 years of the Church’s existence – teaching came only through hearing the Word. Very few people could read it and very few people had access to it. Consider it was in Latin! The Word of God was spread only through copies and oftentimes, those copies were chained to the altar at the church. Regular people did not have their own copies. The only time they got God’s Word was through the preaching.
  • Along comes Johannes Guttenberg and his printing press in 1450, making it possible to have a copy of God’s Word. And that is what he wanted. “It is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall flow in inexhaustible streams… Through it, God will spread His Word. A spring of truth shall flow from it: like a new star it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light heretofore unknown to shine amongst men”
  • Here is the irony in it all. Even after the Printing Press comes along, the church doesn’t want common people to have the Word of God in common hands. They saw that as a danger. They outlawed Scripture that was translated into common languages. Latin was the ‘Authorized’ version for those folks. I think of the modern-day movement of KJV Only folks.
  • So, for the next few hundred years, the word of God could then be spread by reading it and the public preaching and teaching of it. As the Word of God became more and more prevalent, it was outlawed in certain countries. The Church didn’t want it in the hands of normal people because they might teach falsely. I think it was more about control.
  • The Advent of Radio and Recording makes it much easier to access the preaching part. But today, with the internet and TV, with its 557 channels and nothing on, you can hear multiple preachers in any given hour. You can stream your favorite preacher or teacher into your home any hour of any day. False teaching can be pumped into your homes and into your head anytime you want to listen to anyone who tickles your ears.

app.: For me, it is a scary time.

  • Consider Mayor Pete Buttigieg: the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, IN. He’s the next big thing for liberals because he is gay and he is married to a man. And, he is a very nice young man. He’s intelligent and articulate. He went to Notre Dame, Harvard and Oxford. Ok, so far not too very different from most liberals. But, here’s the thing: he spouts his faith and declares his Christianity unashamedly. And this is where I think Sound Doctrine is of great importance to us. Just look at our text, down in v 8-11. Now, there are some, probably more on the internet than here in this room, who would say it is wrong from me to ‘judge’ him and his faith. I think to some degree that would be true. But this is where we need to be very careful. Scripture is clear on this issue. He may be sincere, but he is sincerely wrong according to Scripture. What is scary for me is that there is a group of young, progressive Christians who are pushing and supporting his rise through the Democratic party.
  • This past year, an article came out in the New York Times questioning the foundational doctrines of our faith (I read about it in Dr. Albert Mohler’s daily briefings): the Trinity, The Virgin birth, The Resurrection of Christ. I’m guessing it was Easter and all – and that’s the perfect time to attack Christians. Nicholas Kristoph interviewed a Seminary president: Dr. Serene Jones. She is the president of Union Theological Seminary. And the article basically boils down to throwing out the main tenets of our faith. Serene Jones doesn’t believe in a resurrection. She says the empty tomb illustrates that “the ultimate love in our lives cannot be crucified and killed.” She says there isn’t a resurrection in Mark – only an empty tomb. Kristoph challenges her, not really, but just so she can expand on her thoughts: But without a resurrection, aren’t we left with just the crucifixion? She answers: “Crucifixion is not something that God is orchestrating from upstairs. The pervasive idea of an abusive God-father who sends his own kid to the cross so God could forgive people is nuts. For me,” she said, “the cross is an enactment of our human hatred. But what happens on Easter is the triumph of love in the midst of suffering. Isn’t that reason for hope? Well, according to Paul – No! If all we have is the crucifixion, if Christ is not raised, then we are to be pitied above all men. If Christ is not raised, then we are hopeless and our faith is futile.
  • Joel Osteen is a motivational speaker who masquerades around as a preacher. I’ve chosen not to slam other preachers, but I don’t think Osteen lands in this category: a preacher. Joel Osteen’s teaching revolves around the self. There is no guilt and shame – those things don’t belong at his church. He will not talk about sin – that is so degrading. What he focuses on is making you feel better about yourself when you walk out those doors.
  • The following is from CBSNews.com this past Spring:

Rachel Held Evans, a popular, progressive Christian writer who challenged the traditional evangelical views, died Saturday, her husband confirmed in a blog post. She was 37.

Evans was hospitalized in April for what she described in a tweet as a “a flu + UTI combo and a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics they gave me.” Her husband, Daniel Evans, had been updating on her blog about her health, writing that she had been placed in a medically-induced coma.

On Saturday, he wrote that she had been weaned from coma medication, but seizures had continued and severe swelling of her brain had been found, which he wrote caused severe damage that “ultimately was not survivable.”

“This entire experience is surreal,” Daniel Evans wrote. “I keep hoping it’s a nightmare from which I’ll awake. I feel like I’m telling someone else’s story.”

Evans was the author of several books, including “Faith Unraveled,” “The Year of Biblical Womanhood,” “Searching for Sunday” and “Inspired.” She spent more than a decade writing about what she described as “faith, doubt, and life in the Bible Belt” on her blog. 

Her popular writing and views on Christianity often enraged traditional evangelicals. In 2015, The Washington Post called her the “most polarizing woman in evangelicalism.” She was an advocate for LGBT membership in the church, urged fellow pro-life Christians to vote for Hillary Clinton and wrestled with the role of the patriarchy in the church. She served on former President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. 

She eventually left the evangelical church, writing in 2016 that “church universal is so much bigger than white American evangelicalism, and that’s going to become ever more apparent in the months and years to come.” 

I’m sad that this young woman died.

But the saddest part of her story is that so much of her ‘ministry’ was much like Hymenaeus and Philetus. She rejected the hard parts of the Bible and followed how she felt. Many have been led astray. She had a great point. I too have been sickened at the organized church; the power plays of individuals; the segregation that is most evident on Sunday mornings.

t.s.: So, how do we handle this? Well, a guilty man should feel guilty. Sin is what separates us from a holy God and we have to deal with our sin. Most people just don’t want to change. But God loves us too much to leave us the way we are. Most people want to hold on to their sin and to religion. But what they end up selling you is much like a tub of lard wrapped in a Cream Cheese package.

Conclusion: We must act and respond like Paul, who is being very clear that Sound, Healthy Doctrine is vital. It is what should guide the church. It isn’t enough to just to babble on and place your focus on things outside of Scripture, like how you feel. We must be clear about what is in Scripture. And that is the whole purpose behind 1 Timothy.

Application:

  1. The Charge: someone has to confront those who are teaching something other than sound doctrine. Someone has to cry out that the water has been poisoned. Don’t drink that water, but rather, come to the life-giving water.
  2. The Word of God is our Standard: It has to be the standard. Culture changes; laws change; emotions change; The Word of God is unchanging! For Timothy, he had the letter to the Ephesians, and he had this letter. This letter closes with a plural “you” – that is ‘the church’, so it appears that Paul had the intention for this letter to go to the church, too.
  3. The goal of this charge is love… v. 5; it isn’t to win arguments, but people. I’ll expound on this next week, but how can we say we love someone, but don’t love them enough to tell them the Truth.

As I think about Ms. Rachel Evans, I’m reminded that her passion was for those who were being rejected by the church. Something has got to change! But what must not change, is the Word of God on which we stand. What must change – is us. Love must drive us to understand God’s Word and use it as the standard for our faith.

 

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1 Timothy 5.17-25

Title: The Biblical Model for Church Leadership: Elders

Text: 1 Tim 5:17-25

CIT: The Church’s Responsibility in Caring for their Elders

CIS: As has been asked of you concerning the deacons, be in prayer as you diligently consider the man or men the elders present to complete their team.

 

Introduction: Keep your place in 1 Timothy and turn to Acts 20. Paul’s journey back to Jerusalem for the last time. On his journey, Paul stops in Miletus after sailing by Ephesus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. 17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.

Paul had a very special relationship with these men. Look with me at this passage as he charges them with responsibility.

Rd Acts 20.17-35; He will return to Jerusalem. There, he will be arrested and spend the next two years in Caesarea, where he will appeal to Caesar. That appeal will be granted and he will then spend another two years in Rome. He will leave Timothy in Ephesus to care for the church there and help the elders with their leadership problems.

Church: leading is hard work. It doesn’t come easily by any stretch of the imagination. I know of my accountability. And I fearfully consider the past and pray over the future. I’ve made mistakes. And it scares me. And, I think about those in my life who made being a pastor so hard. I think about those who tried to destroy the church in moments of trying to ‘be right’ or keep their power.

t.s.: In our passage this morning, Paul will remind Timothy and the church of their responsibility to the elders: Respecting them, Protecting them, Correcting them and Selecting them.

  1. Respecting your Elders (17-18)

exp.: rd 17-18; Give respect and ‘double honor’ to the elders (Acts 20) in your body; vb – “be considered worthy”  is one word in Greek; imperative verb; which elders? The ones who rule well; requirements: ministry of the Word, prayer; Here we see responsibility in ‘ruling”; not lording, but προί̈́στημι (proistēmi); Stand before; a beautiful picture of leadership, out front; head of household;

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13: 12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

Heb 13:7, 17; Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. And, 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

How do we respect these men? Giving them double honor; to those who: 3 job requirements – rule well and ‘labor in the word’ and ‘in teaching’ (preach and teach); This isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination. This really just seems to me to be the work seen in public – which fits our context. The Truth is, so much of what they do is really ‘alone’ stuff or ‘one on one’ stuff or even ‘small group’ stuff.

John Newton described ministry as ‘a sorrow full of joy’… That’s really accurate.

This is a beautiful description of the men in our church who have been laboring, toiling in the word and then preaching this Word. They work on a couple of texts and prepare that work to be presented to a group of their peers. Then, they have an opportunity to preach one of those texts to the congregation.

Some see these as two separate elder groups: Leaders and preachers/teachers. Note it says those who rule well, but ‘especially’ those who preach and teach. I don’t think ‘especially’ is focused on the teaching and preaching, but on those who κόπος (kopos)- labor; this is a demanding work; vs 18 is the proof text (rd); I like this; Paul uses two separate passages: Deuteronomy 25:4; The 2nd is a quote of Jesus; that’s pretty cool; Lk 10:7; Paul was very familiar with Luke; some scholars insist that Paul would have been familiar with Luke, since Luke may very well have been working on it while traveling with Paul;

app.: The point is this: respect, w/ double honor, your elders

t.s.: Respecting your elders…2nd,

  1. Protecting your Elders (19)

exp.: rd v 19; protect them from accusation: it is a very serious matter to bring a charge against your elders; Don’t allow it, except where the process of church discipline has properly taken place;

ill.: Consider this: because the elders are very public in their service, they open themselves up to harsh criticism. They’re easy targets. That criticism can be harsh, especially when those who pass judgment don’t have all of the information in front of them. We do so much harm when we ‘accuse’ our elders of negligence and self-motivation because we simply disagree with their leadership; oftentimes it is simply a matter of change that upsets an individual; Someone doesn’t like a decision, a plan, a program, a change in the current system or program;

app.: Respecting our elders is seen in the protection of our elders from false or inflammatory remarks about their leadership and the decisions they make.

t.s.: However, with that said, no elder is perfect; Sometimes an elder needs to be corrected;

ill.: Vibe magazine interviewed popular comedian and actor Chris Rock.

When asked, “Were you raised Christian?” Rock answered: “I wasn’t raised anything, to tell you the truth. My grandfather was a…preacher. He was the funniest guy. He used to curse a lot, run around, whatever. A bunch of deacons from his church got arrested for selling coke. Not selling it out of the church, but you know.”

When asked, “Do you ever regret that you don’t have a connection to a long tradition of belief?” Rock replied: “That I’m not Baptist or whatever? And I don’t have this thing to pass down? Not at all. ‘Cause I do have a long tradition of belief. My belief is in working hard and treating people well. All that other stuff is nonsense.”

app.: Ok, there is so much in those statements, but let me just say: Elders Cursing and ‘running around’. That needs to be confronted. Deacons selling cocaine? Elders like that need to be asked to step down. But there is a huge spectrum between an elder participating in illegal behavior and making mistakes. So, just being an elder doesn’t mean he won’t make mistakes. He will. And when he does, he needs to be corrected…

t.s: that is why Paul continues v 20;

Correcting your Elders (20-21)

exp.: when coupled with v 19, this lines up with church discipline as we’ve been taught by Jesus in Matthew 18; We often err, by not going to the member or the elder; and discussing this one-on-one; We hurt the body when we stand in the hallway and criticize our elders (or anyone for that matter); Should one of us have a problem, go and talk directly to him (that’s first); and if he won’t listen… then 2nd, take two or three witnesses and talk this over with him; if he still won’t listen; bring your two or three witnesses and rebuke him in the presence of the body; The process Jesus gives us is for protecting us on all sides:

  • It protects the person in sin, by allowing them the opportunity to repent without humiliation before the whole body.
  • It protects the person doing the confronting, by allowing them to be corrected if they’re wrong. Most problems like these can be cleared up with a little understanding.
  • It protects the body by strengthening these relationships and bringing healing to that one localized area.

Exp.: rd v 21; Paul reminds Timothy not to show partiality to the elders, don’t prejudge them.

t.s.: each one should be Respecting, Protecting, Correcting, and finally Paul reminds them to be careful in …

Selecting your Elders (22-25)

exp.: rd v 22; caution: don’t lay hands on to quickly; 1st, this is for Timothy, not the body; The senior elder has a tremendous responsibility in leading the flock; when he lays his hands on a man who is unqualified, he ‘shares’ in their sins, past and future; κοινωνέω (koinōneō); this is the vb form of Koinonia (n); that is why he says in v 22c; keep (a watchful eye); yourself pure;

ill.: IH Marshall: this can be used of sharing in gifts and experiences or in actions; it may also be used for giving a share in something to somebody. Here the thought is clearly that by showing some kind of positive attitude to a sinner one is approving of the person and thereby sharing in that person’s sins in the sense of sharing in the responsibility and hence the guilt for them.

It makes me think of Chris Rock’s Grandfather and his leaders selling cocaine. And then Paul adds this parenthetical statement: rd v 23; issues of purity and health; So Paul brings his thoughts to a summation in vs 24-25; rd v 24-5; Here is his point: you will recognize an elder before you select them; their good deeds will go before them;

Conclusion:

Church, you have a great responsibility in caring for yourself – and it begins in the Leadership you pick. I’m proud of the men you’ve selected. You’ve done a great job.

  • Jason Hall
  • Joshua Webb
  • Phil Baker
  • Lyle Skeels

 

Who is next or who are next? Will you commit this to prayer?

  1. Prayer for those who lead…
  2. Prayer for those whom God is bringing…
  3. The Elders will bring a recommendation, but the church has the final say. So pray…

 

 

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