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1 Timothy 3v1-13

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1 Timothy 3:1-13.

- In directing Timothy on matters to be dealt with in the running of the Ephesian church, Paul had first instructed about handling false teachers; then the priority for the church was prayer for the salvation of souls (man’s role); then he dealt with woman’s role. Having dealt with the conduct of individual believers, Paul now instructs Timothy about church government, the appointment of leaders and servants to maintain the functioning of the assembly of believers. This was so the fellowship would be self sustaining, self sufficient and self administrating. So Paul gives the qualifications for elders.

- Read 3:1-3

- Last time asked 3 questions: who wrote? To whom? Where? - written to Timothy not to the church. Timothy was to appoint elders - check list for job interview, not a check list for criticizing.

- ? Anyone had to employ staff. ? been on interview panel. What do you look for? - ? paper qualifications, ? experience, set them to work on primary bench - see work attitude - character the most important quality.

- leaders in the church - many styles of church government and different titles - some good, some misused and some blasphemous

            -God - pope - meaning “father” (cf. Mat 23:9) call a man pope he is taking on the title of God!

-Christ  - vicar - vicarious, a substitute one standing in the place of another. Jesus is the only vicar - His vicarious sacrifice, He died in the place of you and me.

- priest - similar idea, one coming between God and man. We are all priests but only one High Priest, only one through  Whom we approach God, no human go between (Graham try distributing communion in Anglican church) “Oh come to the Father through Jesus the Son...”

-Leader - only position of leadership in the NT church, called  overseer or “elder”- επισκοπό, being compounded of επι, over, and σκεπτομαι, to look or inspect, signifies one who inspects or has oversight, a superintendent - it involves the care and oversight of a Christian church. Responsibility and care are combined, leadership and service. [traditionally rendered "bishop"]. -always in plural, several bishops over one fellowship (call Robin “bishop”) - not one man over a whole collection of churches - the word is misused, changed its meaning

-the other term is elder (presbuteros) hence Presbyterian church - same system Jews used, society governed by a group of elders

            -elder suggests spiritual maturity, overseer implies care.

-Servant - the only other position in the church was deacon, but not a leader, the word means servant from which we get the  term “minister” - but we’ve turned minister into a respectful title, today’s ministers are really overseers, term misused

- Congregation - then there were the people who make up the congregation. The Holy Spirit gives different gifts to them (eg. John an evangelist is an elder but Laki an evangelist is not). One of the gifts often used as a title is that of “pastor” - a shepherd, one who feeds the flock, how does he feed? Bu teaching God’s word. It is a role not a position of leading the church (eg Robin and Bryan).

- Paul spoke to the oversight of the Ephesian church [Acts 20:28-31 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.  I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.] -gives an idea of their role - care for the flock, feed and protect

- Read Act 6:1-6 - elders were to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word - spiritual oversight: Building up; Authority (elder); Service; Instruction (main role is teaching); Caring (overseer) -we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word. [ Jer 3:15 Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding]

- a church may grow without deacons but not without elders. Deacons raised up as need arose to take care of practical matters - finance, serving, administration, welfare - mundane matter on money- not one church do leaders hand over finances to servants.

- serve in temporal affairs hence their moral life must be above reproach. Since much of their ministry could be secular they need to maintain their own spiritual life.

-elders were to be taken up with spiritual matters - how much of an elder’s time on church affairs is taken up with the matters of running the fellowship and how much on devoting yourself to the Word and prayer? Do a quick audit - if more time on the former perhaps some of those matters need to be delegated to servants an in Acts 6.

- Paul lists the qualities that were necessary, not recommended but essential.

-Before we look at the list of qualities you might like to think of the attributes you would list:(how different the Bible would be if man wrote it!) filled with the Spirit; knows and loves God’s Word, man of prayer; gifts of the Spirit - but they are not spiritual qualities. Leader; good communicator; charisma; good up front man, caring people’s person etc - but they are not natural talents

-not spiritual qualities, not natural abilities but character

-note they are all qualities of character with the exception of “able to teach” - that is the only thing mentioned that has any reference to the actual job they are to do

- the qualities describe a man having himself and his affairs under control, orderly - a man with his mind ruling his affairs, self disciplined A man who is in possession of himself , in control of his passions doesn’t lose control, lose his temper and resort to violence. Self-control is behind many of these qualities. Perfect self discipline is required in those involved in church leadership. In leadership you will face severe provocation, but the overseer is not to react but submit to the injustice, bearing it and responding gently

•   above reproach -  blameless; ανεπιληπτον, a person against whom no evil can be proved; the word implies not only that a man is of good reputation, but that he is deservedly so.

•   one woman man - the spirit behind the requirement, not a womanizer. The effect of infidelity in leadership is devastating on a fellowship. ? previously married, if pin me down (cf. 5:9 - referring to widows) it means one wife ever

•   sober minded - vigilant; νηφαλεον, from νη, not and πιω, to drink - the word originally connotes abstinence from alcohol, but here it has a wider metaphorical sense: sober, sober-minded, clear headed ,desires under control

•   discrete - σωφρονα,(same as key quality in women cf. Ch.2) prudent, from σώ, sound, and φρην, mind, a man of a sound mind; having a good understanding, and the complete government of all his passions. self-controlled, thoughtful.

•   respectable - good behaviour; κοσμιον, orderly, decent,-ordered in demeanour and in fulfilment of all duties and of the inner life from which these spring (cf. 2:9). The preceding term, σωφρονα, refers to the mind; this latter, κοσμιον, to the external manners. 

•   hospitable - loving strangers, entertaining those from outside who visit

•   able to teach - key requirement in an elder,skillful in teaching - this reveals a key role overseers play in taking care of the flock - they are fed through teaching. with hospitality the only specific functions mentioned

•   gentle - επιεικη, meek, yielding, lenient, kindly, forbearing, reasonable, fair - it denotes a humble, patient steadfastness which is able to submit to injustice, disgrace and maltreatment without hatred and malice, trusting in God in spite of it all

•   peaceable - αμαχον, not contentious or litigious, but quiet and peaceable.abstaining from fighting.

•   manage his home - home is the proving ground of a man’s leadership qualities - Christianity begins at home - if you can’t get it together there you can’t do it before the world. He may have the theory, doctrine and principles right but how does it work out in practice, in reality?[Luke 16:10-12 He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?  And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?]A leader must have his own being as well as his family and church under control and in order - these things go together, if lack of discipline is evident in one area it is likely that there is disorder in other areas as well A man is to rule/govern/manage his home (contrary to current notions). A man who does not know how to govern his own things will not be entrusted with caring for God’s things..

•   dignity - σεμνότητος = seriousness, dignity, stateliness - it describes the characteristic of the man who carries himself with the perfect blend of dignity and courtesy, independence and humility to his fellow man. The word avoids the suggestion of sternness yet retains the idea of natural respect (e.g. Mr Rose).

•   good reputation - the world is looking for opportunities to criticize - there must be no grounds for such.

•   not addicted to wine - is clear that one who drinks does not make a good leader - their judgment is affected and they lack self discipline which is an essential quality.

•   not contentious -  striker - "not a giver of blows," "not given to violence." - physical and as in not argumaentative

•   not loving money - the overseer is not to be a lover of money and possessions - greed often leads to contention (cf. 6:4-10; Jas 4:1-4).

•   not a new convert The danger for a new believer who rapidly rises in position and is given large responsibility early on before their Christian character has had time to develop is pride - the same judgment that condemned the devil. It is subtle and pervasive. A young Christian is not equipped to handle such temptation and  so it is tantamount to bringing about his fall to give him such responsibility early on. The young Christian should be protected from temptation until he matures in Christian character. Don’t rapidly give responsibility to believers but let their character be proved first (cf. 5:22).

•   not conceited

-Deacons must show similar qualities to overseers (ὡσαύτως ”likewise”) in addition they were to hold the faith with a clear conscience - they have the practical role yet they are the ones with a spiritual requirement given

- serve in temporal affairs hence their moral life must be above reproach. Since much of their ministry could be secular they need to maintain their own spiritual life.

- dealing with finance hence must be trustworthy hence need for period of probation.

- not double tongued -διλόγους = given to repetition, double-tongued - the word could mean "tale bearer," suggesting the idea of gossipers; or it could be "consistent in what one says," i.e. "not saying one thing while thinking another," or "not saying one thing to one man and a different thing to the next." not speaking behind people’s backs

- women, not wives (NIV) but deaconesses - doesn’t refer to women elders because women were not to be in authority but they were able to be deaconesses (eg. Phoebe)

- added requirement that they be faithful and not malicious gossips - literally “devils!”

- there is a reward (v.13) in service: well done good and faithful servant” - receive high standing - God honours faithful service.  - The qualities required in deacons have been listed but there is also a reward for those who serve as servants in the church. The reward is for those who have served well - who have completed the task of service assigned to them by God.

-If you prove faithful in discharging a small duty, more responsibility is given. "Standing" is literally "step" - faithful service can be a step to higher responsibilities eg. Stephen and Philip went from deacons to evangelists

- Boldness in faith comes as the result of faithful service. You want to be a bold witness for your Lord, to stand out and be recognized as strong in the faith? - the way to this is service. [testimony: I the most timid of creatures, counting money, turning on heaters, sound system etc.]

- To be an overseer is a noble task, talks of strong desire (v.1) (lusting after) to serve God in this way. It has its reward but it is also a lonely and vulnerable position v.6&7 refer to the devil - the enemy is out to strike leadership when the shepherd is struck the sheep scatter - so let us pray for their protection - our spiritual welfare is tied up with theirs.


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