Summary: A sermon on the congregation's responsibilities to their elders (Much material taken from BIBLICAL ELDERSHIP by Alexander Strauch, Chapter 9 Paul's Instruction to Timothy)
Lao Tzu said this of a leader: A leader is best when people barely know that he exists. He is not so good when people obey and acclaim him. He is worse when they despise him.
Do something that will make them uncomfortable but elders stand and recognize them.
Except for last week we have been talking about the church. Today I want to conclude this mini series on the church by talking about the elders this morning and tonight.
When Paul and Barnabas traveled through Galatia, they planted churches. Upon their return to Antioch, they appointed elders for those churches. Acts 14:23: Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. These churches were less than 2 years old, so the elders would have been fairly recent Christians. For Paul, developing and appointing elders was an important task in establishing and developing new and healthy churches.
Background of 1 Timothy:
We don’t know all that happened after Paul was released from his first imprisonment. We do know that he and Timothy visited Ephesus. Their visit was not pleasant because what Paul had prophesied in Acts 20 had come true. False teachers were poisoning the church with deadly teachings. We see in 1 Timothy 1:20
Paul evidently moved on from Ephesus but left Timothy in Ephesus to help this troubled church and to stop the advancement of false teachings.
The opposition at Ephesus was fiercely argumentative as seen in 1 Timothy 6, so Paul wrote the letter of 1 Timothy to reinforce his instructions to Timothy and the church.
Although the church in Ephesus had been governed by elders for more than 5 years, problems existed within the eldership. Therefore, Paul felt the church needed fresh instruction on leadership, especially eldership.
Tonight we will talk about the elders responsibilities to God, to their families, and to church.
Thesis: This morning we are going to discuss this congregation’s responsibilities to our elders.
Honoring elders- 1 Timothy 5:17-18
We need to show care and concern for the elders, because they direct the affairs of the church and they give time and attention to the preaching and teaching.
Elders are willing and able to give a good deal of their time, skill and energy to the spiritual care of the local congregation.
Now all elders are to be “able to teach”- 1 Timothy 3:3. Good teachers “work hard” at long hours of study and preparation. Teaching is absorbing work. It is mentally strenuous, time consuming work that demands a great deal of strength and self discipline.
When several months without a preacher, George and Dean filled the pulpit. Realize how much it takes. It is not just working a few hours on Sunday and that’s it.
Ephesians 4:11-12: It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up