Summary: This sermon deals with biblical qualifications for those who desire to be elders and deacons within the church.
Effective Leaders For Christ
2/28/93 R/87 Text 1 Tim. 3:1-7 1 Sam 16:1-12 John 13:1-17
Today we are seeking to ordain on behalf of the entire
Presbyterian Church, those men and women that we believe that
God has called to serve in the offices of elders and deacons.
Jesus says to all who follow him, "you have not chosen me, but I
have chose and ordained you that you might go forth and bring
fruit." God desires to raise up effective leaders for Christ who
are going to have an impact upon this church and upon the commu
nity it finds itself in.
To be an effective leader, one must be a biblical leader. We
are going to examine the Scriptures together to see what qualifi
cations we find for those who would be leaders. The Bible tells
us that those who are leaders will be held to a stricter stand
ard, and they should be careful how they teach. We teach by the
things we say, the things we don’t say, the things we do, and the
things that we do not do. Everyone here is a teacher today.
If a leader is unable or unwilling to live up to the stand
ards of God’s word, he or she should remove him or herself from
the position of leadership and allow those who are willing to pay
the price to take the reigns of servanthood.
Our text this morning is found in 1 Timothy chapter 3. We
find in verse 1, "Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets
his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task". An
overseer is the equivalent of our term for elder. Do you recog
nize that everyone should desire to become a leader? It’s a good
thing for a believer to want to grow and to serve? What is wrong
with a church that can have 180 members and yet struggles to find
12 people to take office for Jesus Christ? What has captivated
our hearts to the point of making leadership undesirable. The
bible says it’s a good thing to set one’s heart on being an
Our motivation for wanting to be a leader, is that we love
Jesus Christ. Anyone who seeks office merely to be seen or to
exert authority over others, has completely missed the will of
God in this area. In order to be an effective leader for Christ,
we must be willing to be a servant. Jesus defined what a leader
was by picking up a towel and washing 12 pairs of dirty feet. It
would have been easier for Jesus to have said, you wash your
feet, or wash one another’s feet, but Jesus led by example.
Jesus stated it plainly, he who would be leader, must first be
servant of all. We thank God for the six elders and six deacons
who have set their hearts on being servants for God in the capac
ity of leaders.
Verse 2 says, Now the overseer must be above reproach. This
passage is saying, there should not be any obvious defect of
character or conduct in the leader’s life which the malicious can
exploit. The word of God is zeroing in on the fact that the
person’s sexual life must be exemplary. If you are being unfaith
ful in your marriage vows, or if you are having sex outside of
marriage, or you are engaging in homosexual activity, you have no
business holding the office of elder or deacon. This is not to
say that a person may not stumble and fall into sin, but if a
person has decided to engage in a behavior without repenting and
forsaking it, he or she is not worthy of the office.
The word above reproach, is followed by the words, the
ð 7 3 Šhusband of one wife. This qualification is here because of the
prevailing view at the time. The Jewish and a large portion of
the pagan population considered it meritorious for a person to
remain unmarried after death of divorce. Remarriage was seen as
a sign of self indulgence. Paul was concerned that remarriage
would be a stumbling block to those outside the kingdom. It would
not be good for the standards of behavior outside the church, be
higher than those in the church. Here is an example of where we
use our freedom in Christ to become all things to all people, so
that we might win them to Christ. We willingly forgo something
we have a right to do, in order to not be a stumbling block to
someone else’s faith. Since this is not a stumbling block issue
in our society today, it is no longer a necessary qualification.
For Paul tells us in the Corinthians that a Christian is free to