Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Paul sets before us a worthy goal-which most of us will work on for a lifetime

1. Not a new convert 1 Timothy 3:6

The word for "new convert" is neofuton-from which we get the English word "neophyte." It literally means "new plant." Don’t put a "new plant" in a

position of leadership. "New plants" need nurturing, they need fertilizer, they need someone to pull the weeds and make sure they get enough water and light. "New plants" need lots of tender loving care.

What they don’t need is the pressure of leadership. Remember, even a mighty oak tree was a "new plant" once. Given time and careful attention,

that "new plant" will someday become strong enough to stand on its own. Until then, keep it in the hothouse.

But note the warning: "He may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil." The Greek is very picturesque: "He may be wrapped up in smoke." That is, by elevating a man too soon to leadership, he may begin to "blow smoke" and eventually be blinded by his own arrogance.

The danger here is that new believers simply haven’t been properly trained or tested yet. They lack the maturity, wisdom and experience that only comes from knowing the Lord for many years. Martin Luther said that three things were necessary for the making of a minister: Prayer, Meditation and Temptation. Only when a man has been "around the block" a few times

is he ready for leadership. This applies to every level of leadership in the local church. Don’t put a new believer in a key position! Don’t be quick to elevate someone new to your congregation. Give them time to get acclimated. If they are worthy, they will demonstrate that fact over time. Don’t rush. Take your time. It takes a lifetime to grow a good

leader. Don’t spoil the process by elevating someone too soon.

2. Holy Titus 1:8

This word refers to personal piety. It is that quality of life which causes a leader to conform to that which pleases God. Not very helpful?

How about this? A holy person is someone who brings you into the presence of God simply by walking into the room. It doesn’t refer to fake piety or

to a holier-than-thou mentality. In fact, that’s the opposite of what this word means. A holy person makes it easy to believe in Jesus. They simply exude the presence of God by the sheer force of their goodness and godliness.

Recently two people referred to Dr. Hudson Armerding, past president of Wheaton College, in those terms. One friend told me that you felt whenever you were around him that you were in the presence of a holy man.

Another said that whenever he spoke, he made you feel as if God were speaking directly to you.

Perhaps you saw Larry King interview Billy Graham on the day of President Clinton’s inauguration. At one point he asked Mr. Graham, "Are you afraid

to die?" "No, I’m not afraid to die. I know that I’m going to heaven." Larry asked him, "You know you’re going to heaven." "Oh yes, I’m certain of that. I’ve put my trust in Jesus Christ to take me to heaven. I’m not worried at all about dying. In fact, I’m looking forward to it." With that, the camera switched to Larry King who said nothing for a long

moment. The look on his face told the whole story. You might call it baffled amazement. Larry King-who has an answer for everything-had no answer when brought face to face with a holy man.

When you are choosing leaders, choose those men and women who make it easy for you to believe in God.

3. Holding fast to sound doctrine Titus 1:9

This verse is worth quoting in full: "He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it." Every word is important. "Hold firmly" means "constantly holding onto and not letting go." The "trustworthy message" refers to the essential truths of the Christian faith-the fundamentals which must not be compromised. "Sound

doctrine" is literally "healthy doctrine" or "wholesome teaching," referring to the well-balanced teaching of God’s Word that produces healthy Christian living. To "refute" is to "correct" or "convince" those who "contradict" the truth.

This presupposes:

1. A settled body of Christian truth.

2. A knowledge of that truth.

3. A willingness to proclaim that truth.

4. A willingness to defend that truth.

The Christian message has never been universally popular; some have always opposed it. We need leaders who are so well grounded in the truth of the

Bible that they can accurately teach it to others and courageously defend the truth when it is attacked.

4. Able to teach 1 Timothy 3:2

This is a more general statement of the same principle. Interestingly, the ability to teach is the only character requirement related to the actual work of an elder-indicating that teaching and leading belong

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