Eldership Pt. 2 – 1 Timothy 3:4-7

Posted by: admin | 06/15/2014 | 12:15 pm

What Should An Elder’s Life Look Like?

–When we look today at the second portion of Paul’s list of the qualities an elder should have today, 2 parts of it have to do with the elder’s personal life; completely separate from him running a church.  In most careers, as long as your personal life doesn’t affect your business life, your employers do not care.

In this passage, however, we can see that clearly if one is to be an elder inside of a ministry, their personal life must be one that is considered healthy.  In leading others, particularly from a place where you are held as an example to be followed and imitated, your character is absolutely essential.

ILLUSTRATION: Terry Maketa, who is our sheriff here in El Paso County and has been for as long as I can remember, has recently been brought up on charges from improper use of tax payer’s money, to creating a hostile work environment.  But the main focus of the media isn’t these two issues; it’s that he’s had multiple affairs on his wife.  The Gazette wrote, “Maketa is accused in May of a string of affairs, dismantling oversight of the $60 million office budget and creating a hostile work environment. The El Paso County Commissioners have started an investigation and called for the sheriff to resign. The District Attorney’s Office says it is reviewing criminal complaints.

While Maketa has said he was “embarrassed and humbled” by the revelations, he has indicated he will stay in office until his term ends in January. Maketa did not return a call Monday for comment.”

  • The reason that the news is so focused on Maketa’s personal life is because it reflects poorly on the County as a whole.  Maketa’s affairs make it shameful for officials in El Paso and also shameful for his deputies to wear a uniform that Maketa has now disgraced.  By doing these wretched things, Maketa has forced the media to expose his error in order for us as tax payers to put as much distance between him and ourselves as possible so that everyone doesn’t think this is the kind of behavior that we would condone.
    • When in a very public position of leadership, you need to be both very ethical and transparent or you have to be completely closed off and a very good liar.

Mark Twain once wrote, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

Doctrine of sermon: An elder’s personal life must reflect character that is considered by all as honorable.

THIS IS THE WORD OF GOD

    I.            WHAT SHOULD AN ELDER’S LIFE LOOK LIKE?: He must manage his own household well.

  • The word for “household” in this passage is the same as the word for “family” in the original language.  However, in this passage, household is probably what Paul had in mind; particularly due to the amount of power that a father had in the home.  In the days of Rome, the head of the household had great power over those living with him: He could force marriage (usually for money) and divorce, sell his children into slavery, claim his dependents’ property as his own, and even had the right to punish or kill family members.
  • Paul is insisting that an elder must have a home life that is worthy of imitating.  When others look at his home life, they should think of it as an example of what a family should look like.  Another thing that you’ll notice about an elder that needs to be mentioned is that an elder, by Scripture’s mandate, must be a man, not a woman.  There are many denominations that deny the Scripture’s authority in this area and ordain women as elders to their detriment.  I don’t believe that women can’t lead, however if you find a congregation where men aren’t leading you find a group of men who are going against the will of God.  This is in no way an impugning of women or a reflection of their character, rather it is God’s mandate to men that they should lead.

–Turn with me if you will to Genesis 3:9-12

ILLUSTRATION: Many men in today’s churches have more in common with Adam than they do with the character of Christ.  They refuse to lead because they don’t want to have the disapproval of others in their lives.  More than anything, many of them are flat out cowards.  God’s calling you out men.

  • When we look at the elder’s family or household, all things must come into question.  Look at his finances, does he have debts that he is not paying or is he so deep in debt that people are chasing after him?  Look at his wife; does she seem content and speak good things about him (particularly when he’s not around)?  Look at his children; are they wild and uncontrollable or are they obedient and submissive to their father?  If an elder hasn’t weeded his garden at home there’s a good chance that he would also permit demons to teach from the pulpit.  Considering how an elder spends his personal time and makes decisions is an important element.  Some might say that this particularly important when looking at an elder’s finances.

ILLUSTRATION: While looking at where a man spends his money, we also must consider even more where he spends his time.  In this life you will always be able to make more money, but each one of us is given only a certain amount of time.  When you were born you were each given a particular amount of money in the bank of time.  Your balance was set when you took that first breath, you began spending that balance.  The bank of time does not allow you to go into debt, they do not give out credit, and they do not issue out loans to anyone.  You can only spend what’s in your account and once it’s gone, it’s gone.  Time is everyone’s most valuable possession.

Redemption: If a man already takes care of what God has entrusted to him, then he can be entrusted with more…

 

 II.            WHAT SHOULD AN ELDER’S LIFE LOOK LIKE?: He must not be a recent convert to the Christian faith.

  • HAS THIS MAN BEEN A GOOD STEWARD IN HIS OWN WALK WITH THE LORD?  What Paul is saying is that an elder must have proven himself faithful over a long period of time.

Illustration: One thing that’s interesting about trees is that they start their lives in a time when the weather is most forgiving.  The seed sprouts only when there is enough water present and when the temperature is right.  However, what happens to a tree when there is a drought?  Does it dry up and die?  When it is dry and the surface stops having any moisture, the trees roots are forced to go deeper into the earth.  What makes a tree strong isn’t its trunk or how many leaves it has on its branches, it is the depth of its roots.

  • An elder must have gone through the droughts of life and he must have experienced the hardest of storms in order to be made ready for eldership.  Things don’t become easier for an elder who is helping to oversee the kingdom of God, they become harder.  An elder must have a sturdy, longsuffering faith if he is to lead.

Illustration: When children climb in trees, they don’t seek out the weakest looking ones.  They don’t climb up on saplings because they will break.  You don’t see tire swings tied to frail looking branches because if a tree is going to support the weight, it must be thick, strong, and reliable.

  • If someone is ordained to the office of elder before they’re ready, Paul warns that you may actually endanger them.  If they’re leading others, that means that you have not only endangered them by allowing them to lead, but you also endanger those they are leading.

–Turn with me if you will to 1 Timothy 5:22

Redemption: Before ordaining an elder, his faith and life must be carefully weighed; he must have a longstanding record of dealing well with those around him…

 

  1. III.            WHAT SHOULD AN ELDER’S LIFE LOOK LIKE?: He must be well thought of by non-believers
  • That is, the one being appointed must have a good reputation with those who are outside of the body of Christ and not just those who are inside of the church.

ILLUSTRATION: Can you imagine a lighthouse, that instead of lighting up the night warning ships of rocks ahead, that the lighthouse only lit up the inside of itself?  God’s purpose for us wasn’t just to illuminate our own lives and those of the church, but to illuminate the lives of those who dwell outside the lighthouse and give them light in the darkness also.

  • An elder must simply have, once again, a long standing record of bearing fruit which is the evidence of the power and presence of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
  • It doesn’t matter whether or not a person who isn’t a believer believes, rather it’s important for them to know that you believe.  Would a non-believer say of the person who’s an elder that they certainly and authentically believe in Jesus Christ?

RIGHTàIllustration: When a light house shines out into the darkness for long enough and is seen by enough merchant ships, it no longer serves as simply a warning to avoid the rocks, it starts to become a landmark by which to navigate.  The North Star in the night sky is another example of this.  It gives its light so that travelers out in the ocean can find their way home, even if their lost.  It is the steady beacon of light against a night sky that doesn’t go out, no matter who is gazing at it.

Redemption: Simply put, an elder displays Christ to whomever they meet.

Conclusion

Doctrine of sermon: An elder’s personal life must reflect character that is considered by all as honorable.

 

Application:

Three pastors went to the pastor convention and were all sharing one room. The first pastor said, “Let’s confess our secret sins one to another. I’ll start – my sin is I just love to gamble. When I go out of town, it’s cha-ching cha-ching, let the machines ring.”

The second pastor said, “My secret sin is that I just hate working. I copy all my sermons from those given by other pastors.”

The third pastor said, “My secret sin is gossiping and, oh boy, I just can’t wait to get out of this room!”

–Even if an elder’s sins appear secret, God always finds a way to make sure that they don’t stay secret for long.

 

Illustration:  I have people that are very close to me that all went to a church as a family.  Every Sunday, the pastor would slam his hand on the pulpit and preach that you had to live a Christian life.  He would talk about how the authentic believer obeyed Christ in everything and the church grew for a time; until one day it was found out that the pastor was having an affair with one of the Deacon’s wives and that they had been doing it for years.

Illustration: Small cracks that erode the foundation video.  An elder must have a life both in the open and in secret that displays Christ because if he doesn’t, he may just be the sink hole that causes the collapse of a ministry.