Summary: This is the first in a series that examines the qualifications for being an elder.
Title: The Measure of a Mature Christian Man Script: I Tim. 3:1-7
Type: Expository Where: GNBC Father’s Day 2020
Intro: What is your ideal of a “man”? (Pictures: John Wayne, Dwayne Johnson, Carey Grant, Boy George?) Dr. Gene Getz wrote a book called “The Measure of a Man” about 40 years ago. In it he outlines various attributes that should be evident and growing in the life of every maturing Christian man. In fact, he told the story of speaking at a conference once in Gary, IN. There were several steel mill executives who were attending the conference as brand new Christians. When Getz began teaching on the list from I Tim. 3, two of the execs in the front row became more and more animated and excited. They didn’t know that this type of information was in their Bible. They were surprised because the list closely matched the lists they had developed for individuals they would seek to hire for management positions at their mill! Well, what they stumbled upon Paul was given by Divine inspiration.
Prop: Exam. I Tim. 3 we’ll notice five characteristics that measure the maturity of every Christian man.
BG: 1. This passage specifically deals with those in church leadership called “elders”.
2. Not all Christian men are elders in a local church. However, all men are supposed to be growing up to a knowledge and maturity in Christ.
3. In this passage there are 14 measurable characteristics. I am going to examine 1st 5 today.
Prop: Noticing I Tim. 3 let’s examine 5 characteristics that help measure the maturity of every Christian man.
I. 1st Characteristic: Be “Above Reproach”.
A. The spiritually maturing man seeks to serve the Lord’s Church.
1. Notice how Paul begins this entire section: “if any man aspires to the office of an overseer”.
a. Paul says, “If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a good work.” The word “aspires” means “‘to reach out after,’ or ‘to stretch out oneself to grasp something.’ The term does not speak of internal motives, but only describes the external act.” “Desires” means “a passionate compulsion.” Together these two words describe somebody who pursues the ministry because of an inner compulsion. First Peter 5:2 describes elders as people who should serve “eagerly.” It is not so much a drive to be a pastor or elder, it’s a drive to serve—they desire a “good work.” Eldership is work. Illust: Elders at GNBC serve the body…administratively, teaching, praying, working, visiting.
b. Strong churches have spiritual men in positions of leadership in the church. All too many churches are or become bastions of spiritual feminism because lazy, carnal, and unspiritual men shirk their God-ordained duty to spiritually lead their homes and their churches. When that happens the “Eve Syndrome” (Gen. 3:16) kicks into effect, and the woman attempts to usurp the man’s God ordained and designed role grasping at his authority in an attempt to “rule over him”. In marriage the husband is to lead, love, and safeguard his wife and the wife is to respect and be submissive to her husband in all things lawful. In the church, qualified men alone are to lead as pastors/elders/bishops and preach to and teach the whole congregation. The image of God is expressed most fully and beautifully in human society when men and women walk in obedience to their God-ordained roles and serve according to their God-given gifts.” (From The Dallas Statement, section XI)
2. Spiritually maturing men not only go to church they aspire to serving the church.
B. The Spiritually maturing man seeks to be “Above Reproach”.
1. What does this mean?
a. Illust: Literally, to be “above reproach” means to “have nothing on which one could seize”, Today, we might say “no skeletons in the closet”. Nothing which an adversary could crab onto by which another could make a charge or accusation.
b. Illust: 10-15 yrs ago a series of fictional books skyrocketed onto the American Evangelical scene. Wildly best selling books fictional account of end times. Many people came to faith as a result. However, two main authors began to bicker and fight. Sued each other. Then reports of one author began to be heard of luxurious living, gambling debts, and improper money use, and ungodly treatment of other brothers and sisters.
2. Why are maturing Christian men called to “live above reproach”? In the old days, preachers called on those who brought “shame and reproach upon the church” to repent. Though it may sound old-fashioned, Christians men (And women!) must still be keenly aware of what we say and do. The writer of Hebrews wrote about those who fall away and thus “…crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:6). The ESV seems to capture the intent of the last phrase quite well in translating it, “…holding him up to contempt.” We must face it, our actions either bring glory to or reflect negatively upon our Lord and His body—the church. Maturing Christian men will do everything possible to avoid reproach. What are you and I doing, men, to live “above reproach”.