Summary: Sermon on elder installation. Covers the requirements to be an elder, some of the duties of an elder, and the congregations responsibility TO the elders.
Eldership: Where Quality Matters
A sermon by: Chad Martens, Senior Minister
Town and Country Christian Church
INTRODUCTION: Today we have the privilege to be able to set aside 2 of our men and ordain them as elders of Christ’s Church. In preparing for this special time, I thought to myself, “self . . . in order to set things up right, what does the church need to know?”
And based on that question, today we are going to explore the qualifications, and the duties of elders. What makes and elder and elder? And then we also need to explore what OUR responsibilities are, as a congregation, to our elders. That’s important, because there is no higher honor on earth than that of being an elder in God’s church!
Let’s pray . . .
First of all today,
I. What Qualifies a Man to Be an Elder?
A. First of all, let’s turn to 1 Timothy 3:1-7 READ ***
B. This is actually quite a list isn’t it? I’d like to take a minute or two to get into this.
ILLUS: I can tell you that being qualified for the eldership is a lot more than that stupid commercial for one of these schools. In the commercial, we see a job interview going on and the interviewer asks the girl as series of “can you . . .?” questions, and her response each time is, “No, but I have a BRILLIANT personality!” God is looking for more than just good looks and a smile! Let’s just start from the top. . . .
C. First of all, Paul states a very general requirement, which is that the man aspiring for the eldership must be "above reproach" with his fellow church members, and everything written in the passage is a more specific definition of this general requirement
1. Thayer in his commentary writes that this means, "not open to censure, irreproachable"
D. Secondly, the elder must be a man that exercises moral purity, in that he must be, "husband of one wife" So, exactly what is prohibited here? Well, there is so much debate about what this actually means, but my interpretation of it is that the elder must be a man that has only been married once, at least since he has been a Christian. I say that because what we did BEFORE we came to Christ doesn’t matter once we’re buried in the water of baptism! Onward!
E. Paul goes on to list a set of traits that display the nature of self-control that God expects the elders of His church to have obvious in their lives and in the work that they do in and around the church.
1. First Paul mentions that they must be "temperate" in other words, they need to have the ability to keep their head in all situations.
2. He then mentions the need for them to be "prudent.” This basically means for a person to be sound-minded, and being able to curb your desires and impulses.
a. Lenski writes in his commentary that this means to have a "soundness and balance in judgment, not unstable; and not given to quick and superficial decisions based on immature thinking"
b. Warren Wiersbe comments go like this "He must have a serious attitude and be in earnest about his work. This does not mean he has no sense of humor, or that he is always solemn and somber. Rather it suggests that he knows the values of
things and does not cheapen the ministry or the Gospel message by foolish behavior."
3. Next the elder must be "respectable.” This happens to have nothing to do with how the man dresses or what kind of ride he has, but rather that he be a man that is orderly, and lives with proper decorum. For example, an elder isn’t one that has nudie posters handing up in his den, and empty beer cans strewn about his basement.
F. Next he mentions that an elder be "hospitable.” Obviously this is the willingness to taking in Christian strangers or acquaintances for food and lodging.
G. An elder, also needs to be "able to teach" God’s Word.
H. Paul also informs us of the need for them to be “Peaceable”
1. Quite simply put, not quarrelsome. Not one of those guys who is just looking for a fight, and who will fight and win at all costs!
I. He also must be one that is "not addicted to wine.”
J. An elder also should NOT be one who is “pugnacious." Now, what in the world does that mean? Well, someone who is pugnacious is someone who carries a chip on his shoulder and is quick to get into a fight. So an elder must be a peacemaker instead of a troublemaker. Sounds reasonable!