Summary: The Elder needs to be above reproach in his commumity
Last week we looked at the relationship that the Elder is to have with his family, this week we will look at an area that is also very important to consider when deciding on who to elect as church leaders.
Paul says that it is a good thing to desire to be an Elder in God’s church. I hope that our men will look at these characteristics and use them as a check list of things that they want to develop in their lives.
Once again they are things that all Christians should strive toward, so the message is not only for potential church leaders, but for all.
When we get to the message on the work of the leaders, then it will really become apparent why it is important that we see the qualifications as MUSTS!
MUST BE ABOVE REPROACH: BLAMELESS (3:2, 1:6-7)
A. This word literally means “nothing to take hold upon”; that is, there must be nothing in his life that Satan or the unsaved can take hold of to criticize or attack the church. No man living is sinless, but we must strive to be blameless, or “above reproach” (NIV). Wiersbe
B. The same word is used in 1 Timothy 5:& to describe the conduct of widows who were to be consider to be put on the list for church support.
C. Billy Graham never allowed himself to be put in a position in which an accusation could stick.
D. Expositors Greek Testament says that it is not good enough for him not to be a criminal, but he must be one against whom it would be impossible for a charge to be taken seriously.
E. No shame or embarrassment should be brought on the church by its leadership.
Don’t take a position of leadership in church unless you are prepared to be honest, pure, and loving in your lifestyle. Leadership is a privilege, and with privilege comes responsibility. God holds teachers of His truth doubly responsible because we who lead are in a position where we can either draw people toward Christ or drive them away from Him.
This is illustrated in the life of the famous author Mark Twain. Church leaders were largely to blame for his becoming hostile to the Bible and the Christian faith. As he grew up, he knew elders and deacons who owned slaves and abused them. He heard men using foul language and saw them practice dishonesty during the week after speaking piously in church on Sunday. He listened to ministers use the Bible to justify slavery. Although he saw genuine love for the Lord Jesus in some people, including his mother and his wife, he was so disturbed by the bad teaching and poor example of church leaders that he became bitter toward the things of God.
Indeed, it is a privilege to be an elder, a deacon, a Sunday school teacher, or a Bible club leader. But it is also an awesome responsibility. Let’s make sure we attract people to the Savior rather than turn them away.
As the Elder is doing his job he will have opportunity to deal with a lot of people who can try his patience. Even under provocation, he must not strike out at people, either with words or fists. Unless the Elder has self-control, he will always be getting himself into trouble.
A. NOT PUGNACIOUS, NOT VIOLENT (1 TIM 3:3 TITUS 1:7)
1) The word pugnacious literally means “a striker”, one who hits.
2) A “striker” (v. 3) is one who uses physical force to get people to agree with him, and we know that “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20, NKJV).
3) we cannot bully people around to get them to do what we want.
4) The Elder is to be one who is gentle. This only makes sense because we can’t have elders who go around beating people up.
B. UNCONTENTIOUS, NOT QUARRELSOME (1 TIM 3:3)
1) Does not like fighting with words or physically.
2) Doesn’t always insist o getting what he deserves or his rights at the cost of others.
3) The Elder must not be one who is always looking to win arguments at any cost. We are called to the ministry of reconciliation, not to be right all of the time. I STRUGGLED WITH THIS A LOT WITH THIS WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS.
C. NOT QUICK TEMPERED. (TITUS 1:7)
1) This is not a command against anger. The Bible says to be Angry but do not sin (Eph 4:26)
2) Jesus was angry, but never lost control of himself. (MARK 3:5)
a) Jesus never lashed out at people in anger.
b) Some people confuse temper tantrums with righteous indignation!
3) A person with a quick temper will blow off at the slightest provocation.