The Qualifications of God’s Servants
By Matthew Black, Pastor
Text: 1 Timothy 3:1-13
Date: Sunday, July 19, 2009, 7pm
Occasion: Ordination of Marcel Reid
Tabernacle Baptist Church
7020 Barrington Road
Hanover Park, Illinois 60133
Introduction: Open your Bible to the book of 1 Timothy 3:1-13. Tonight, we have gathered in this church to install a new deacon. We carry forward a legacy that has been handed down since the beginning of the New Testament church.
Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also”. For 2,000 years, God has been calling men to preach His Gospel to a lost and dying world. He has also been calling men to serve along side those preachers of the Gospel and help them in the ministry.
Since the very beginning churches have been calling and ordaining pastors and deacons. It is that tradition that we seek to carry on this evening as we reconfirm the ordination of Brother Marcel Reid into the office of Deacon at the Tabernacle Baptist Church.
As if you study the New Testament, you will encounter several names given to the office of pastor. The pastor is called:
1. Elder - This speaks of his wisdom and maturity.
2. Bishop - This speaks of his office as an overseer of the work of the church.
3. Pastor - This word brings to mind the preacher's responsibility to care for the flock and to lead them in the Lord's will.
4. Preacher – Paul says in Romans 10:14, “how shall they hear without a preacher?” This speaks of his sacred duty to boldly herald the whole council of God's infallible, inerrant and inspired Word.
5. Teacher - This reminds the pastor that he is to instruct those given to his leadership.
6. Servant - This speaks of the fact that the pastor is not above his people, but is to devote his life to ministering to the need of others.
7. Steward - This word reminds the pastor that he is in the business of caring for the property of another: The flock of God!
Given the names detailing the work and ministry of the pastor, it seems plain that this office is like no other in the world. Perhaps this explains the reason why God had so much to say to the men whom He had called to lead His sheep.
Tonight, I would like for us to take a moment to look at some of the qualifications God has for pastors, and then we are going to look at the job description and qualifications of a deacon.
Let’s stand and read 1 Timothy 3:1-13, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 8 ¶ Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
I. Verses 1-7 address the qualifications of the Pastor’s Call.
A. He is a Handpicked man. We read in verse 1*, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” The word “desire” means to “reach or stretch out”. This word carries the idea of having a deep, burning desire to be something one is not. What I mean by this is that no one just decides to go into the ministry. The call of God is placed on him through his gifting. It is not that we are naturally gifted, but God puts his hand on some of the LEAST likely candidates! Ephesians 4 tells us this flat out.
1. Ephesians 4 teaches that God gives gifts to his church, and those gifts include: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
2. Like Amos, all of those called to the ministry are quite surprised about it. It wasn’t our plan to be in the ministry. In Amos 7:14-15, we can say, “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: 15 And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel”.
3. Or like Jeremiah – he said in Jeremiah 20:9, “I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay”. Why did he say this?
This was God’s gifting that he had put on Jeremiah from his womb. Look at Jeremiah 1:4-11, “Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. 7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. 10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.”
4. John the Baptist is another we can look to as to God’s gifting. He was gifted from his mother’s womb. It wasn’t his idea. Look at Luke 1:15-17, “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Like the prophets of old, a New Testament pastor is also a handpicked man. It’s not his idea. Paul says in Romans 11:29, “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance”. God chooses the giftings of the Body of Christ. He handpicks, not based on anything within that man. In fact Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:27, “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”.
B. The pastor is a highly privileged man – 1 Timothy 3:1, “If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work”- An excellent undertaking! Why? We can see why in the description of the pastor’s work in 2 Timothy 4:1-5! The pastor has the remarkable privilege of preaching the soul saving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as the great doctrines of the faith! In 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul tells us that proper conduct in this office requires: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
1. The pastor’s work is one of Preparation (verse 2). The man of God must be a studious man. He must be a man of the Book. Notice the use of the word "doctrine”—“exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (verse 2). The preacher is to give his people doctrine, messages squarely based in the Word of God. True biblical preaching is the explanation and application of Bible doctrine. Anything else is just religious speechmaking!] If we are to be men of the Book, then we muststudy this Book!
2. The pastor’s work is one of Perseverance – verse 2, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” The man of God must love the people of God enough to tell them the whole truth from God's Word. There are times when you will build them up and times when you will rebuke the flock, but a pastor always preach the Word of God, not his opinions. The man of God must know that often his message will at times fall on deaf ears! Men will turn away from him, but he must keep on preaching. Some plant, some water, but God gives the increase! God will conform all his people to the image of Christ!
3. The pastor’s work is one of Proclamation – verse 5, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” No matter what happens, the pastor must keep preaching the Gospel.
II. Now we look at the Pastor’s Character (1 Timothy 3:2-7). In this section, Paul touches on 16 areas of the Pastor's character that must be under the control of the Lord Jesus, if that man is to be a successful Pastor of God's flock.
A. His Personal Qualifications -
1. Blameless - (Ill. Lit. "To take hold of") This means that there is nothing in the Pastor's life that Satan or an unsaved world can take hold of to tear down the ministry or the church. (Ill. No man is sinless, but the Pastor must strive to be above reproach in every area of life!)
2. The Husband Of One Wife – (Literally, a “one woman man”). It doesn’t mean one at a time. Simply put, no man can pastor a New Testament church if he has been married, divorced and remarried! Isn't Paul talking about polygamy? No! No polygamist would have been considered for the ministry anyway. How can a pastor who cannot control his own marriage counsel those who come to him for help with the marriages? No man who has been divorced and remarried is qualified to pastor any church.
3. Vigilant - This word means "temperate"-or always watching himself. The pastor must be a man who is in control of himself. The thought here is of one who is able to act, think and render sensible, sober judgment in all areas of life.
4. Sober - The pastor must possess a serious attitude and he must be serious about his work. This does not mean that he cannot possess sense of humor, (Ill. He had better have one), it means that he does not act in a foolish manner that cheapens the Gospel.
5. Of Good Behavior - This refers to an orderly and exemplary life. The pastor must be a man who has his life in order. He is also orderly in his teaching and preaching.
6. Given To Hospitality - (Literally, "One who loves the stranger”.) The Pastor must have an open door. His people, as well as those outside the faith, need to know that the Pastor will receive them and will reach out to them in Christian love.
7. Apt To Teach - The Pastor must be a man of the Book. He must be a student of the Book, and be able to explain and apply the message of the Book to those who hear him speak.
8. Not Given To Wine - Self explanatory! The Pastor, along with all Christians, are not to be controlled by alcohol. This was more important in the days of Paul because wine was used in almost every meal for purification of the water. Pastors were abstainers in Paul’s day.
9. No Striker - Literally, "Not looking for a fight." The Pastor is not to be a man of battles, but rather a man of peace. The Pastor must learn to control his temper and take the good with the bad, the smart with stupid the and the ups with the downs!
10. Not Greedy Of Filthy Lucre - The Pastor must not use the ministry as a means of increasing his wealth. It is right and proper for a church to provide for their Pastor. Anything less is sinful! More about that later, but the Pastor is to stay away from shady deals, under the table deals, etc. He is to be above reproach in this area as well.
11. Patient - The Pastor must be a gentle man. He must be willing to listen to people when they need him and he must be able to take criticism without responding in anger. The Pastor will take a lot! However, proper conduct will mark a man and people will respect the Pastor and will treat him accordingly.
12. Not A Brawler - The Pastor is not to be the kind of man who is always looking for an argument. He must be one who aims for the heart. The Pastor must not be guilty of trying to stir up strife in the body of Christ.
13. Not Covetous - The Pastor must learn to be a man of faith and not depend the things of this world. He is not to be known as a man who is always after what he doesn't have, (i.e., larger church, more money, popularity, fame etc.). The Pastor is to be an example to the flock. He is to lead the way in placing Christ first and then trusting Him for every need – Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”
B. Notice then, the pastor’s Family qualifications, verses 5-6, “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil”. - The Pastor, not his wife, should be the head of the home. He must be the kind of man that is respected by his wife and children. If those who know him best cannot respect him, then why should anyone else?
C. Then notice the pastor’s Church qualifications in verses 6-7, “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil”
1. Not A Novice – I love how the Geneva Bible puts it. He must not be a “young scholar”! The preacher must be matured sufficiently before he is placed in the pastorate. To place a "new convert" in such a place of responsibility and authority is a recipe for disaster! The man of God must be thoroughly grounded before he is placed in the pastorate.
2. Possessing A Good Testimony Outside The Church - The Pastor must be a man whom the community at large can have confidence in and respect for. This means always living the right kind of life in front of the world. It means paying one's debts. It means keeping that right kind of relationship with all men at all times.
III. Finally, I want us to see the pastor’s Co-laborers, the deacons. The elders of the church need to give themselves to the Word and to prayer.
A. Qualifications of a Deacon. In verses 9-13, the deacon’s qualifications are essentially the same as the pastor’s, except the deacon does not need to be “apt to teach”, but often deacons are. I know Bro. Marcel is!
1. Character above reproach. We read in verses 8-13, “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.”
2. Family life above reproach. Verses 11-13, “Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
3. Willingness to serve. Acts 6:1-6, “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.”
Conclusion: I would ask Bro. Marcel Reid and his wife Mrs. Areta to come to the front.
We come today to install Bro. Marcel Reid into the deaconate of our church. He is a servant. He is a man that has proven himself to be blameless.
Bro. Marcel, are you living a blameless life, and do you uphold the biblical requirements for this office? (I do)
Mrs. Areta, is your husband blameless, and do you fit the qualifications of a wife of a deacon, and are you willing to support him in this role? (Yes)
Now Bro. Marcel has already been ordained as a deacon, but we want to confirm that ordination tonight as he takes up service for our church.
I’d like to ask our two other deacons Bro. Mike Klikas and Bro. Miles Crouse to come forward at this time. Let’s have a prayer of confirmation at this time that Bro. Marcel would be set apart for the ministry of the deaconate among us.
(Have Mike and Miles pray, and then close)
Presentation of Certificate
Presentation of Books
 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.