Summary: This message addresses the qualifications of those who serve as elders in the church.
For the last couple of months we have been talking about Who You Are in the body of Christ. We said that We are the church of Jesus Christ. And because we are the church of Jesus Christ, we are a family. As with all families there comes responsibilities. We have looked at our responsibilities to God and to each other and now we are looking at what the church is to pattern itself after. As we have stated on many occasions, God’s Word is to be our greatest priority.
1. It is infallible (no mistakes in its entirety) - Ps.19:7 says, "The Law of the Lord is perfect."
2. It is inerrant (no mistakes in its parts)
Prov.30:5; Ps.12:6 - The words of the LORD are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times.
3. It is complete (nothing needs to be added to it)
Prov.30:6 - Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar. (Rev.22:18-19)
4. It is authoritative (it is the last word) - Isa.1:2 - "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken."
5. It is sufficient (able to meet all your needs) - Ps.19:7-9 teaches us that.
6. It is effective (able to do exactly what it says) - Rom.1:16-17
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
Since God’s Word is infallible, inerrant, complete, authoritative, sufficient, and effective, the church is to follow it wholeheartedly. The Church of Jesus Christ is to Pattern Itself After God’s Word. Are there any specifics that we are pattern after? There are many things but for this morning let’s deal with the first one.
I. We Are the Church of Jesus Christ
A. This Means We Are a Family
B. As a Family We Have Responsibilities
1. To God
2. To each other
a) We are to love one another
b) We are to encourage one another
c) We are to bear one another’s burdens
d) We are to forgive one another
e) We are to be kind to one another
f) We are to admonish one another
g) We are to submit to one another
h) We are to confess our sins to one another
i) We are to pray for one another
II. The Church of Jesus Christ is to Pattern Itself After God’s Word
A. It is to Have a Plurality of Godly Leaders
1. Elders - Who they are
Elders are pastors - 1 Tim.3:1 - This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
Acts 20:28 - "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to 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. (See verse 17)
Specifically they are teaching shepherds - Eph.4:11 - And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.
"Pastors" Gr.poimen, "shepherd" (Strong)
"Teachers" Gr.didaskalos, "teacher" (Strong)
"Kai" connects the two "Pastor-Teacher" or "Teaching Shepherd"
1 Tim.3:2 - "able to teach"
"Teach" Gr.didaskalos, "skilled in teaching, teachable"
"All of these verse illustrate specifically what elders are to do — the are to teach God’s Word" (SH).
How are they qualified?
1. They are qualified by the Holy Spirit - Acts 20:28 - "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to 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.
Their calling begins with a strong desire - 1 Tim.3:1 - This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
Two different words are used here for "desire"
The first, oregomai, "to reach out after" — this described external action not internal motive (MacArthur Study Bible)
The second, epithumeo, "a strong passion" — this refers to a strong inward desire (MacArthur Study Bible)
2. Their calling is confirmed by the church through moral and spiritual qualifications - 1 Tim.3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9
"blameless" (1 Tim.3:2; Tit.1:6-7)
Gr.anepileptos, literally means, "Not able to be held" (MacArthur) or "not able to be taken hold of, irreproachable, beyond reproach" (Rienecker)
"This is a general character qualification stating that he must give no just cause for blame" (D. Edmond Hiebert, 1 Timothy, p.64).
John Calvin, "He does not mean someone who is free from every fault, for no such man could ever be found, but one marred by no disgrace that could diminish his authority — he should be a man of unblemished reputation" (Titus, p.358).