Elders The charachter of an elder
The character of an elder
Doxology: Praise God from whom (inside cover “Rejoice!”) AMEN
Call to worship
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14, 16)
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love. (2 John 3)
Hymn No 321: “Bring to the Lord a glad …”
Prayer of Adoration, Invocation and Thanksgiving
Children’s Address John Donnell
Hymn No 138: “Fairest Lord Jesus”
Scripture Reading Exodus 18:13-27
Prayer of Confession of sin
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Hymn “Psalm 130”: Psalm 130, Tune “Martyrdom”
– 5 verses
Tithes, offering and dedication
Induction of Sunday School Teachers
· I believe in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour.
· I am a Communicant Member of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Townsville.
· I believe that the Holy Bible is the infallible Word of God, as understood by the Westminster Confession of Faith.
· I promise, with the help of God, to:
1. Be loyal in Church Worship attendance by attending each Sunday.
2. Encourage my students to attend Church Worship.
3. Be loyal to the Sunday School by attending each week, including school holidays, except the Summer Holiday.
4. Be diligent in preparing each Sunday School lesson.
5. Be regular in attendance at one of the Bible Studies within the Church.
6. Use the Teaching Material as approved by Session.
7. Attend Sunday School Teacher Training Sessions, if and when provided.
8. Attend meetings of Teachers during the year to plan activities.
Prayer for others
Scripture Reading Titus 1:5-9
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
Over the last few weeks, as we were leading up to the election of elders, you heard the Word of God preached to you about the eldership. This is to help the congregation to, when they take the ballot paper, they will look at the names in front of them and then apply Biblical standards as they vote for possible candidates. We don’t vote for people whom we consider good friends; we don’t put a tick alongside the name of someone who at a distance may look like he is going to do good as an elder. No, we take the election of elders serious and we first ask ourselves, “What does God’s Word say about eldership?” Then we ask about the task they should do as the Bible sees it. It is legitimate and correct to ask about the heart of an elder and also about the character of and elder. These aspects of eldership are clearly spelled out in the Scripture; they are essential and not optional.
; God-ordained ministry
You heard the Word on eldership from Acts 20. There we learned that eldership is a ministry in the church ordained by God. We read about it in Exodus 18 today. It is not something some church assembly concocted somewhere in the distant past. We can defend eldership from the Bible as a God-given ministry to his church.
; Elders are overseers
Elders are appointed in the church of the Lord as overseers. It is they task to be like the watchmen on the wall. Their task is to proclaim the will of God, to caution with the Word of God and to provide leadership from the Word of God.
; Elders are shepherds
Elders are not called to lord it over the people of God. We heard from Ezekiel 34 about the heart of an elder. They should have the heart of a shepherd providing strength to the weak, heal the sick of soul; pastorally they are called to bind up the injured of heart. Elders must have a heart for the lost sheep, searching for the stray and lost to bring them back into the fold. Elders must protect the flock against the attack of the one who seeks to scatter them.
In short: elders must have a personal knowledge of the Shepherd of the flock, the Lord Jesus Christ; what flows from their relationship with the Lord is the desire to see that the sheep in the flock are cared for: they must have the desire and ability to pray for and with the people of God; they must have the passion and the ability to go and look for those who are still living in darkness of sin and bring them to the Shepherd.
; Elders must keep watch
Elders are called to keep watch. Why? We live in a sinful world. There is an enemy out there who just seek to devour the flock of God. Elders are on the outposts guarding the church from onslaughts from the evil one. In the process they need to constantly keep watch over themselves: their own lives should be exemplary and attractive. In their personal intimate relationship with the Saviour they find the charge to care for the flock with passion of the heart of the Saviour himself. In the end every elder – and this includes the ministers – must give account to the Saviour how they discharged of their ministry.
Today, from Titus 1, we will give you some guidance regarding the Biblical standards of elders under the topic: the character of an elder.
; Leadership by Example
In general, the role of leadership is one of example. Behind anything we say is what we are, and that is why in this text, starting in verse 5 and running down to verse 9, you don't hear anything about teaching until you come to verse 9. The character of the man is the foundation of his preaching and teaching, because the pattern of his life is the platform for his proclamation.
Leadership is basically spiritual virtue, spiritual character, spiritual maturity, godliness, holiness, righteousness, integrity of life that sets a pattern for others to follow. An elder is a leader - that is someone who lives a life that others want to copy. We are not just managers. Elders are not here to organise and structure, but to mobilise the church to service in God’s kingdom by taking them by the hand as he leads in front.
All pastors and elders are here to become patterns that you desire to follow, people you want to become like because they pattern for you the very things that they teach from the Word of God.
The apostle John, we heard only last week, writes to a certain women and her children. Right at the beginning of that letter he introduces himself as “the elder”. And then he continues to call them “children”. He and they understood that spiritual leadership is a kind of parenting role where you live before people, you set an example before them, as well as teaching and instructing them--they go together.
; The family of an elder
Dr John McArthur Jr, writes about these verses and comments:
If you want to know whether a man lives an exemplary life, if you want know whether he can lead someone to faith in Christ by the power of his own virtue, if you want to know whether he can teach the truth, if you want to know whether he can model it, whether he is consistent, whether he can lead people to salvation, lead them to holiness, lead them to serve God, then look at the most intimate relationships in his life and see if he can do it there. See if he has integrity there. See if the credibility is there.
; Godly children
An elder is called to guard and lead the flock. He will have to say, “This saith the Lord!” When someone is called into a leadership role to guide, teach and help others to grow in the Lord, he will have to not only in words, but in acts say, “This is how to live, this is how to conduct yourself, this is how you are to raise your children, this is how you pass godliness from one generation to the next. But let’s say this leader cannot do that, every one has the right to say, "Wait a minute, you have got wild and uncontrolled children, who live in rebellion and reject the gospel. Who are you to tell us how we should live?"
God saves people through the means of godliness in the lives of others. And if I, in my home, am committed to living a godly life, and a virtuous life, and to proclaiming saving gospel truth that is lived out in integrity, there is every reason to believe that God in His grace will use that to redeem my children. It may not always happen.
The point is if a person neglected his God-given duty to lead his children in the fear of the Lord while they were still in his home under his care, and they because of their unbelief, as a result of that neglect, live in such a way that they bring reproach on that man, it would disqualify that person for the eldership, purely because the Bible tells us that an elder must rule his household well, and that his children must be believers because they saw an example in their father of godly living.
It might be argued that some children, after they left their father’s home, got married and then become wayward from the ways of the Lord, that that elder should not be held responsible in the same way. But it stands that this waywardness of the child must not be because of the lack of teaching from his father when still under his father’s care. Further, the waywardness of the child, even after he left home should not be of such a kind that it constitutes a charge of being wild and rebellious. If what this child says and do in public would openly bring his father in disrepute, his father would not do the right thing to become an elder. It might be argued that even a man should, while serving as elder when such a thing happens, step down because of the reproach it might bring upon the church.
; Faithful husband
An elder should be a man of one wife, meaning that he must honour his marriage. The reason of course is that the relationship between Christ and his church is expressed as a relationship between husband and wife. If the elder does not honour his own marriage, who will he be able to call the bride of Christ into a pure and godly relationship with Jesus Christ?
; Other requirements
The other requirements mentioned in verses 7-9 have to do with the moral life of an elder: it speaks for itself that if he is successful and faithful in being a good exemplary father in his house, he will not be self-willed or arrogant, quick-tempered, or a drunkard, or violent or dishonest. He will be hospitable; loving what is good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
Just a few remarks: Last week we heard the Word of God from 2John, and hospitality stood out as a mark of an elder. It flows from his love for the Lord and love for others. After all, he is but a steward of what entrusted to him, and he will understand to share in hospitality. Upright in verse 8 refers to someone who walks in the ways of the Lord.
; Sound doctrine
Finally, the elder must be one who understands the teachings of the Word. He must love the Bible and sound doctrine. His life must be governed by the Word in each and every aspect. Why? From this Word he must teach, rebuke and encourage. He can’t do it if he does not know this Word.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is God’s standards for the leaders of his church. They are high. But God honours a church where leadership is godly, biblical leadership. You must now prayerfully, honestly with the Word in one hand and the ballot paper in the other cast your vote. If you do not some of the people on the list, just don’t vote for them.
Hymn No 299: “Turn us again”
To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 24-25)