What A Character!
Secular: Bill Clinton:
Frustration… can’t they see what this guy is like?
MacArthur or Dobson… the leader is a reflection of his nation in the mirror…
In the church… God asks us not to reflect our society but our Master…
Elders have been given a task… to preserve and protect the church…
Elders also have to reflect the one they serve…
Titus 1:5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.
6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.
7 Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless-- not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.
8 Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
Personal: God gives character…
We build it up in faith… But it is God who makes us the servant we are…
Bridge: Recognizing who we are in Christ… in the body… as children of God… Where to serve… how to serve…
We are looking at elders… but these passages need to be our standard… they are God’s standard…
The Appointment: 5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.
- Paul left Titus behind to… straighten things out (orthoo)
- Maintain order
- Lead / Guide / Teach / Protect
- The direction came from Paul’s understanding
- Acts 14:21b Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
- There is a battle… and they needed to appoint spiritual leaders… elders to help them continue to grow in their faith.
WHAT A CHARACTER:
- Many people look at this text and others in Timothy as a tick box checklist of Elder or Pastor Criteria…
- Our Empirical (20th / 21st century) eyes
- What Paul is communicating is CHARACTER
- He doesn’t flip flop from criteria to character… it is the character of an elder that either qualifies or disqualifies him.
Integrity: 6 An elder must be blameless
- Heaven helps us if the word here was perfect…
- The idea of blameless is integrity, above reproach
- His Word and motives must be honourable
- LIVE THE FAITH he Espouses…
Faithfulness: the husband of but one wife
- John MacArthur aptly points out that “The Greek phrase is more literally rendered a one-woman man,” or “one-woman husband.”
- Again reading it in context it points to a succession of character traits…
- The question of whether a divorced person can serve as an elder is not directly answered here… what is that only a man who demonstrates true faithfulness qualifies as an elder.
- Faithfulness is essential to one who is bound to the body and to the Very Word of God…
Leadership: a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.
- “Charge of being wild”… prodigality… rioting
- disobedient… failure demonstrate authority… does not mean a lack of challenge…
- Difference between ages… NT era (inheritence… family support… institutions favoured family… prodigal son)
- Demonstration of leadership… personal family… family of God
NOT: Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless-- not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.
- These point to the opposite negative characteristics that disqualify a leader…
- Integrity (dishonest gain)
- Wealth more important
- Faithfulness (violent, drunkenness)
- Lack of respect for others – not faithful to the well-being
- Lack of respect for self and office – drunkenness
- Leadership (overbearing, quick-tempered)
- Not exercising disciplined leadership
James 1:19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
20 for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
Hospitable: 8 he must be hospitable,
- One who can reach out
- Is comfortable around people… share the message
- Love ‘all people’ – Compound word – Stranger-lover
Sensible: 8 loves what is good, who is self-controlled
- Can see good and bad…
- Discern truth from folly…
- Phi 1:9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
- Committed to grow and understanding of what is good…
- Phi 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things.
- Watch our tongue it is the first to betray…
- 1Peter 3:10 For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 11 He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
- Seek peace and pursue it… turn back on evil…
- Guard our thoughts and actions…
- Matt 5:28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
- Proverbs 4:14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.
- Not biased
- Represents just and fair character of God
- 1 Thessalonians 2:10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous (Just) and blameless we were among you who believed.
- Convey the message, practice ministry and live life… devout and holy…
- 1 John 1:8-9 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
- We are forgiven… all believers trusting in Christ and seeking forgiveness… are forgiven.. made righteous and holy.
- We keep striving… and living out our faith
- again with the idea of being in control… so important to be able to maintain or witness
- loving heart + bad action = gross miscommunication
- good message + intemperate response = gross miscommunication
- There is a reason Paul mentions self-control and discipline… (Hebrew idea of hammering a point)
Ability to Teach: 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
- Tenacity to truth
- Learn well (“has been taught…sound doctrine”)
- Hold firm
- Defend (refute) and Discern (sound doctrine)
- Engage the message enthusiastically
- Share it, Live it
Elders are not picked by a congregation to reflect their wants and needs…
- Bill Clinton system…
- Not A political arena
- Not a popularity contest
Elders are raised up by God not by congregations…
We are a body made up of many parts, uniquely gifted, empowered and empassioned for ministry… we are not raised up to ministry by our church but by God himself…
In that way Elders are raised up by God not by congregations… we affirm their -
- With a passion and ability to teach the sound doctrine of Scripture