Little boys might want to be a farmer, fireman or ball player when they grow up. How many aspire to be godly leaders in the church?
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1 Timothy 3 (ESV)
1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.
2 Therefore an overseer must be
the husband of one wife,
able to teach,
3 not a drunkard,
not violent but gentle,
not a lover of money.
4 He must manage his own household well,
with all dignity
keeping his children submissive,
if someone does not know how to manage his own household,
how will he care for God’s church?
6 He must not be a recent convert,
or he may become puffed up with conceit
and fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders,
so that he may not fall
into a snare of the devil.
8 Deacons likewise must be
not addicted to much wine,
not greedy for dishonest gain.
9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
10 And let them also be tested first;
then let them serve as deacons
if they prove themselves blameless.
11 Their wives likewise must be
faithful in all things.
12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife,
and their own households well.
13 For those who serve well as deacons
gain a good standing for themselves
and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
14 I hope to come to you soon,
but I am writing these things to you so that,
15 if I delay,
you may know how one ought to behave
in the household of God,
which is the church of the living God,
a pillar and buttress of the truth.
16 Great indeed, we confess,
is the mystery of godliness:
manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3 Summary
As twenty-first century Americans, we have a distrust for institutions. This isn't without reason, for it's almost impossible to find a institution anywhere that doesn't have some sort of major flaw in its history.
Unfortunately, this is true of the Church as well; it's all too easy to think of example after example of ways the Church as an institution has caused harm over the centuries.
So our reaction is to want to privatize our religion, to just break away from the inevitable sins of the institution and form my own little church consisting of me and Jesus.
But such individualism has never been a mark of God's people. We are designed and created to live in community, and communities require order. God has ordained elders and deacons to provide that order, and in this chapter, Paul instructs Pastor Timothy in what sort of Godly men should fill these positions.
This chapter begins with a major assumption: that there are some men in the church who aspire to be elders (overseers - v1). Just as young boys often aspire to be professional athletes or big time farmers, our young men ought to be aspiring to serve the Lord's church and preparing themselves to do so with the same intensity that they practice playing ball or working to build up the farm.
Most of the qualifications listed here have to do with a man's character, not his ability.
The ironic thing is that in asking men to serve as an elder or deacon, the most common objection is along the lines of "I don't know how," or "I'm not very good at..."
The Bible's answer is that if a man is showing faithfulness in all aspects of his life then God will show faithfulness to him as he serves the church by giving him the strength and ability to do so.
This passage does have one ability based qualification: a man must have the ability to teach (v2). Certainly some knowledge about what the Bible teaches is necessary to teach other Christians, but at the same time, a man need not be an expert. In fact, sometimes the best way to grow in your own knowledge of a subject is to teach it to others!
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our loving and faithful Father, who calls us into His household, the Church, to live in fellowship with Him
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that godly men will aspire to these callings.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: