Summary: Who serve in our churches that also surround the throne of God? Elders. What office of leadership for God's people spans from Genesis to Revelation? Elders. Who needs them? We do.
We’ve embarked on a summer theme of Christian service where we are working to apply the fruit of the Spirit to service activities through service teams. This week’s theme is serving with Joy. Tonight we will introduce the next focus: Serving as peacemakers for Christ.
When we look at what God says about serving I can’t think of any work of service for the church any more important for today than the service of our elders, can you? They are a vital part of the body of Christ, specifically called by God to shepherd the flock and oversee the whole congregation. Theirs is a ministry of service that requires maturity and spiritual leadership. These men give of themselves and concern themselves with our needs and spiritual welfare. Titus chapter one and 1 Timothy chapter three have this in common: both instruct us about the eldership of the church.
It is interesting how Titus focuses on the importance of the church doing good deeds and yet he begins this instruction by talking about the establishment of elderships in every church. Good deeds in Christ are to be under the oversight of good elders who serve. Christian service requires leadership. God’s design for the church is that each body have elders that serve in the shepherding role as the body serves Christ under their oversight and guidance. The elders direct and assist us, protect and guide us, pray for and with us, as the church grows in serving like Christ.
This church is blessed with three men who serve as our elders: Butch Feher, Bob Mayes and Jim Siler. But this church also has at least six members who have served as elders in the past, either here or in other places: Joe Spencer, Gordon Mosley, Robert Boyd, Joe Cade, Roger Camp and Richard Carmack. We are thankful to God for your service and invite you to stand at this time, not for applause but while we pray for you. Would all of you who have served or are now serving as elders please stand?
Heavenly Father, your word tells us that surrounding your throne are 24 elders who bow and cast their crowns before you in holy worship and praise. Father, you are the source of their wisdom and you are the one who created them and direct them in their works of service. As we realize the honor you give to elders in your presence, and the honor they give to you, help us honor the elders you have blessed us with. We thank-you, Father, that you have blessed this church with men of spiritual maturity who have served and continue to serve You by serving us in example and oversight in Christ. Bless these men and their families O Lord. Lead them and guide them so that they may lead and guide us in your way and will.
Father, for those who have served as elders in the past, we thank you for their years of labor and continuing example. They are still such an encouragement to us all and a source of wisdom and experience for our elders presently serving. Please keep them in your care, Father and may their labors follow them as a great eternal reward in glory with you in heaven.
For our brothers who serve as elders here today, we seek your blessings O Lord. May they be wise and courageous, faithful and strong. May this body help make their service here to be a joy and not a burden. Thank-you for Butch, Bob and Jim, Lord. May their words and works bring you honor and glory as they serve Christ by serving us.
Father, please continue to raise up men from among us who will become faithful elders for this church. Stir the hearts of the brothers here to seek that noble position and dedicate themselves to serving Christ in this way. I pray for our youth that they may begin early to grow up in Christ into serving you as members of the church. I pray for our young men that they may be strong in the Lord and devote themselves to becoming servant leaders of the church. I pray for those in our number who are qualified to serve us now, that they may seek your will and realize that you have prepared them for this duty and service.
Finally, Father, let this congregation grow in strength, in spiritual maturity, in service and in number according to your holy will as revealed to us in the Word. In Jesus name we offer this prayer, Amen.
Thank-you brothers, you may be seated.
Titus was given a job. Look at chapter one with me and listen to what God’s word says about this.
The first four verses set it up by way of introduction: Paul’s God given work was to spread the faith in Christ and knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness. He did this by preaching the gospel and establishing churches all over the place. These churches didn’t have New Testaments. They didn’t have nice buildings with power point and pews. They didn’t start with experience and a history of Christian faith. The spiritual maturity they had came from their Jewish members. But even these Jews needed to be versed in the new covenant of Christ. Just imagine what church must have been like before Matthew, Mark, Luke and John… before Acts, Romans, and all the letters of Paul, Peter, James, John and Jude. Where did the church go for guidance?