Sunday, November 26, 2017

Paul's Epistles – I Timothy – Part 5: Requirements for Elders and Deacons

Paul's Epistles – I Timothy – Part 5:
Requirements for Elders and Deacons
Pastor Bruce A. Shields

This letter from Paul to Timothy will be the next “epistle” examine.

Immediately on his release from his first imprisonment before he visited Spain (Romans 15:24; Philemon 22), Paul more than likely visited Macedonia, Ephesus, etc. Not being able to stay long at Ephesus, he left Timothy to take charge of the work.

This parting was a tough trial to Timothy (I Timothy 1:3; II Timothy 1:4).

To encourage and instruct Timothy (who was sensitive and timid, and not strong (II Timothy 5:23 frequently upset stomach because of nerves), Paul wrote and forwarded this letter from Corinth.

Introduction of I Timothy
False Doctrine and the Law
The Lord’s Grace and Timothy’s Charge
Pray for All

Requirements for Elders and Deacons
I Timothy 3:1-13
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11 In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
We are designed to accomplish” - I Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

The purpose of this letter is given in I Timothy 3:15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”

a. To aspire (seek / want) to be an Overseer (Elder / Pastor) desires a noble task

                                                                 i. It is a righteous, good and splendid thing to want or seek to become an overseer (Elder / Pastor)

                                                              ii. Paul makes this statement because at this time, pastors were raised up from the local congregation

b. The Requirements - An overseer (Pastor) must be;
                                                                 i. Above reproach - Blameless of accusations (Speaking of the present, not the past)

                                                              ii. Faithful to his wife - (some translations say, “husband to one wife”) a warning both against polygamy, and remaining dedicated to your wife.

                                                           iii. Self-controlled (temperate) - pleasant and calm

                                                            iv. Respectable - well thought of, decent, good, upright

                                                               v. Hospitable - welcoming, generous, sociable

                                                            vi. Able to teach - lecture, edify, train, educate (preach)

                                                         vii. Not given to drunkenness - (not a lover of wine, not a drunk)

                                                      viii. Not violent but gentle - not aggressive, vicious, brutal, cruel, but calm, kind, temperate

                                                            ix. Not quarrelsome - not confrontational or argumentative

                                                               x. Not given to money - not a lover of money, or “money hungry”
1. I Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s.”

c. His family, home and personal life outside the church
                                                                 i. Must manage his own family well
1. setting the proper spiritual tone of the household
2. As a good administrator / supervisor...HUSBAND / FATHER
a. “...what man is there among you who, when his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?...” Matthew 7:9-11

b. “Fathers, do not frustrate your children, so that they will not lose heart.” Colossians 3:21

c. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

d. “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

e. “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them...” Psalm 127:3-5

f. “He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9

                                                              ii. See that his children obey him - however;

                                                           iii. He MUST do so in a manner worthy of respect
1. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family how can he take care of God’s church?

                                                            iv. He must NOT be a recent convert - or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.

1. A new convert, or novice, may lose sight of good judgment through pride of position

2. “Pride comes before the fall” Proverbs 16:18

                                                               v. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders - So that he will not fall into disgrace and the devil’s trap

1. A good reputation in the non-Christian world we must live in, but not take part of
2. One who does not have a good reputation without those outside the church, (perhaps he was a liar, cheater, stole from others, a scam artist, etc...), if made an elder could bring shame to the local church, and the devil would use his poor reputation to destroy the local congregation

a. The Requirements
                                                                 i. Worthy of respect - (be grave - seriousness of purpose) Others have a high opinion of them, they are admired and looked at as a great value to the local church

                                                              ii. Sincere - (not double-tongued - saying one thing, meaning another) But genuine, honest, truthful

                                                           iii. Not indulging in much wine - (not given to much wine / not a lover of much wine - a drunkard)

                                                            iv. Not perusing dishonest gain - (not greedy of filthy lucre/money made dishonestly) chasing or going after/making money dishonestly

                                                               v. Must keep hold of deep truths of faith with a clear conscience - (mystery of the faith)
1.  The message of Christ’s sacrifice for sin and His resurrection (the message that Paul refers to as “the faith”) is easy to understand. The basic gospel message is simple enough for even the youngest believer, but it is also a humbling mystery that was only hinted at throughout the time of the Old Covenant. Now God’s plan of salvation has been revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ, and we are held responsible to “hold” that message firmly.

When Paul advises Timothy to appoint deacons who “hold to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience,” he is telling Timothy to find mature believers—men who understand the message of the gospel and are living it out.

                                                            vi. They must first be tested - (Proved) experienced veteran Christian believer’s who are Spiritually Mature

1. ...and if then, there is nothing against them let them serve as deacons

b. His Family and Personal Life
                                                                 i. He must be faithful to his wife - (let the deacons be husbands to one wife) The same as required of Elders earlier, a warning both against polygamy, fornication, spiritual/physical and emotional adultery, and remaining dedicated to your wife.

                                                              ii. Must manage his children and household well - again, same as the Elders requirements

c. The difference between Elders and Deacons
                                                                 i. We see 14 or so requirements for the Overseer’s/Elder’s/Pastor of the church, and approximately 8 for the deacons, and 3 for the wives of elders and deacons

1. This fact also shows that the bible is NOT as anti-woman as the liberal women’s lib/anti-Christians want you to believe.

a. We see men with MORE instructions, held to a HIGHER accountability with STRICTER judgments against us, as well as instructions to remain faithful to ONE WIFE ALONE, and to manage the home in PROPER faith, love and care as the Lord demands

b. Men are called to love their wives “as Christ loves the church”

c. If a man is not loving his wife in this manner, he is being disobedient to Christ, and unfaithful to his wife, breaking trust and covenant, and must repent.

d. God will not hear the prayers of a man who is not treating his wife properly.

e. 1 Peter 3:7husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
                                                              ii. Overseer’s/Elder’s/Pastor’s are called by the Holy Spirit to be the Spiritual Leaders/Teachers of the local congregation

                                                           iii. Deacons are chosen BY the local congregation to help with the administrative duties of the church seeing to the needs of the congregation to help the Elder’s

1. Deacon literally translating to “waiter of tables”

                                                            iv. Some congregations/denominations do not understand the difference between Elder’s and Deacons and their responsibilities.

                                                               v. Some cults claiming to know Christ, calling themselves end-time saints, name the elders the lowest of five offices within the church.

1. Holy Scripture teaches otherwise

a. Worthy of Respect
                                                                 i. admired by others

                                                              ii. others hold a high opinion of them

                                                           iii. respect has been earned

                                                            iv. a Proverbs 31 woman

b. Not Malicious Talkers (not slanderers) but Temperate
                                                                 i. Not a Malicious talker - means hateful, spiteful, mean, nasty, cruel, wicked
1. All of these are opposite of kind

                                                              ii. But a Temperate - meaning kind, pleasant, calm, self-controlled

c. Trustworthy in Everything (sober and faithful)
                                                                 i. sober and faithful in all things

                                                              ii. So 3 instructions for the wives of Elders and Deacons,
1. Worthy of respect
2. Not a malicious talker

3. and trustworthy in everything

                                                           iii. A woman can become a Proverbs 31 woman through the power of Christ and the Cross


Paul’s instruction here to Timothy for choosing Elder’s and eventually Deacon’s as needed shows that Paul was concerned with a few things;
Firstly, the requirements are a MUST, for all stations mentioned.
Secondly, the fact that the “requirements” deal with the persons “Faith”, “Spiritual Maturity”, and “Personal Life”
A person who is prone to (meaning: likely to or liable to suffer from, do, or experience) moral or personal failure.
This does not mean the person in question is not a Christian, or a false convert (although they could be), but simply put, they are not Mature enough Spiritually, or in their faith to properly manage their lives, either personal or Spiritual.

And because these people are managing the congregation, a lot is required of them.

i.e. you have a position opened in a soda manufacturing plant for a plant manager.
Many people apply, most only looking at the benefits and rewards for serving the position.
You narrow the search down to two people;
A)   The first is a hard worker who always works overtime, sticks to the rules of the company, never misses a day, however, has only worked in the soda industry for a short time, the employees do not like him outside of work because he is a liar and a drunk, but he “gets the job done”
B)    The second man has worked in the industry for years, comes in when asked for overtime, misses occasionally for family vacations, gets along with the employees, even sees some of them outside of work for picnics and other functions, does not party, and people respect him.

It’s obvious to us, there are things more important than just “getting the job done”.

God wants His church to be run with respect, and honor, so that those outside of the congregation will see the power of Christ in people’s lives.

It is important for believers to walk the talk, live the word, but it IS ESSENTIAL for the leadership to walk the talk!

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