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Setting Things in Order

Anchored In Truth / Jeff Noblit
The Truth Network Radio
February 26, 2023 7:00 am

Setting Things in Order

Anchored In Truth / Jeff Noblit

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Grab your Bibles and let's go to Titus chapter 1 as we pick back up with our preaching through this New Testament epistle. It's one of the pastoral epistles.

I call it beautifying the bride. I guess part three because first Timothy was part one and excuse me second Timothy was part two and so this is the third of the pastoral epistles. And Paul is like the first and second Timothy writing to Titus to pick up where he left off with Titus as Titus is ministering on the Greek island of Crete.

Quite a large island. Very likely a number of Jews were converted at Pentecost who lived on Crete and so they took their faith back to Crete and Paul also preached and probably other early church leaders preached there and local churches have popped up in about every city it seems like. And so it's very important that the churches be ordered aright and so we talk about the local church being his bride, that's what the Bible says we are, and she's to be beautified by having certain forms and certain functions according to the master groom, Jesus Christ. So we come to Titus chapter 1 as Paul is writing to Titus about his work on on Crete and he says this in verses five and six. For this reason I left you in Crete that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you.

Namely if any man is above reproach the husband of one wife having children who believe not accused of dissipation or rebellion. I read with interest sometimes you may find this strange but if you know me a little bit you may not think it's so strange but as a little boy I love to sit for hours and read the encyclopedia. Encyclopedia Britannica, the world book encyclopedia, just stuff to learn you just read and keep learning stuff. And I did a little bit of that this week and I was kind of impressed again with Douglas MacArthur. Douglas MacArthur was the supreme commander of the Southwest Pacific area in World War II. He not only led the fight to defeat the Japanese all across the Southwest Pacific but then from 1945 to 1951 he oversaw the rebuilding of the nation of Japan. He rebuilt their economy, he rebuilt their country by modernizing it and he established democracy in that land. In essence he stayed in Japan after their defeat to set things in order, get things right.

Sometimes we might think of the war effort being different from this rebuilding of nations but it's all one thing you you can't separate the two because who knows what might have happened to Japan if we didn't stay there and set up a modern democracy. May have been at war with them again but they've become quite an ally since that time. In like matter here the Apostle Paul has been on the island of Crete with Titus.

He's been attacking and defeating Satan's kingdom of darkness. Local churches are now established all across the island but there's much work left to do. To set things in order these churches must be properly structured and ordered.

This is a part of the overall missions effort. So I've entitled this section of our exposition, Setting Things in Order. Paul writes to Titus and said, Titus let's get with it now, let's get these things set in order, things we didn't get through with.

Well Roman number one, note the global strategy, the global strategy. I couldn't avoid this, it just kept jumping out at me as you look at verse 5, Paul writes to Titus, For this reason I left you in Crete. Now I left you in Crete for a reason and he's going to give us the particular specific reason in just a moment.

We'll look at that. But there is a reason behind that particular reason and the reason behind the particular reason he left him in Crete was his global strategy. Paul knew there were too many pressing needs around the world, people who needed the gospel and new churches who needed also to be set in order and established and built up and structured properly. Too much to do to leave the firepower of Paul and Titus in one region.

So he leaves Titus in Crete. Let me add this, that helping established churches become healthy, what we might call true churches. Sometimes I use the phrase biblically, spiritually healthy churches. It's not missions, it's not something separate from missions, it's all one thing because healthy churches are like any healthy organism, a matured or healthy organism reproduces. And so to have greater effects on missions you need sound and solid churches. So Paul continually as he toured and preached the gospel and planted churches, he went back continually to strengthen and mature those churches because mature churches help missions.

It's always been that way, it always will be. So leaving Titus in Crete was a part of his overall strategy to not have a wasteful duplication of manpower in one area, let's get it spread out. So he's leaving Titus in Crete and then he goes on to spread the gospel other places. Matter of fact, this was Paul's Commission as he outlined so well in his letter to the Romans in Romans chapter 1 through 5, verse 5 rather. He says, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for his name's sake. Now first of all it says I have this apostleship. In other words, an apostle is one sent out under the authority of another. He said, I've been given that, I've been sent out by Christ, I'm under his authority to do his work his way for his glory. And then in my particular case, Paul says in Romans 1-5, he said that my apostleship is to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles. Notice, among all the Gentiles.

That's quite an astounding task. I'm to preach so that those who are as we studied earlier, who are God's elect among all the Gentile nations will come to faith in Christ. So he had to have a strategic mission strategy, a strategic strategy for missions so that he could fulfill this commission God had given him.

So that's everyone outside of Israel is his mission field you might say. And then the last part of Romans 1-5, he says those four keywords for his namesake. Paul said that driving purpose and the driving motivation of what I'm about on the earth is doing something for his namesake.

That is bringing him glory. You might be surprised to find out that Paul was glory of God focused. Have you ever heard that phrase before? You thought I came up with that.

No, and I found, look, I haven't come up with anything. Everything I've ever taught you is at least 2,000 years old because the Bible is. So Paul says what drives me, what keeps me going, the reason I have this strategy to not waste manpower and reach the most people, build up the most churches, preach to the most unreached areas is for his namesake. I want my God and his Son Jesus Christ to be honored, worshiped and glorified among the most people.

And that's what's driving this whole thing. Now well how was Paul supposed to get that job done at risk of excessive redundancy? Let me say again, he did a few very simple things and that's all he did. He preached the Word everywhere he went. He established, planted new congregations and then he built up those congregations so they could help him do it still more. That's what Paul did.

Then he did it again and again and again. There wasn't any unique spins or twists to Paul's ministry. It was all excessively, exclusively, redundantly local church-centered work.

Preach the Word, establish churches, build them up and do it some more. That's all you find in the New Testament. All to the end of Christ being honored and glorified. Now back to our text, verse 5 in the phrase, I left you in Crete. Again he strategically places his associates where they need to be so that the most work could be accomplished for the greatest number of people. Now that's Roman 1. So we just see Paul's global strategy jump out here as he leaves Titus behind to take care of things in Crete and he goes to other territories to do more work. Now Roman 2, structure and order is needed in the local church. Structure and order is needed in the local church. It's not very hard at all to find professing churches, i.e. Christian congregations all over the place, who give very little effort to structuring and organizing themselves because everything is centered on the experience you have at the event you have on Sunday. And everything is kind of built on kind of like a Christian, rather I should say a country music concert or something, or some sort of entertainment presentation. If you leave stirred and blessed and encouraged, then well that was a great week.

That was a great thing to do. Well I'm not saying there's anything wrong to being blessed and encouraged, and certainly not, but how are you being blessed and encouraged and what is it that's blessing you and encouraging you, that's very important. And by the way, brothers and sisters, coming to a service on Sunday doesn't make you a part of the church any more than being parked in a garage makes you an automobile. This is an essential part of what we do, but we are the church. We belong one to another and corporately to Christ. It is the whole family life and family life, if it's going to be anything more than chaos, has to have some structure and order.

Dad does certain things, mom does certain things, the kid does certain things, there's routines, there's structure, there's reasons, there's order, and a church must be the same way. So verse 5, he tells us why he particularly left Titus in Crete. He says in verse 5, for this reason I left you in Crete, here it is, that you would set in order what remains. That you would set in order what remains.

You could say that you would set in order what is wanting. I think Paul is saying, Titus, you know we got to a lot of things while we were there, but my goodness, there's some very important parts of ordering, structuring the churches that we just didn't get to. And I've got to go somewhere else, Titus, you stay here and get this work done. Now just kind of tongue-in-cheek, my staff, we enjoy picking at each other and playing with each other and so I kind of see that perhaps Titus and Paul were human too. And maybe they like to pick each other, I can see Titus saying as Paul left, thank you very much. You know how ornery, worldly, and difficult the Cretans are and you're leaving me with this by myself.

Well I appreciate that Paul, have a good time wherever you're going. It was a daunting task. Well Titus, Paul writes to him, you set things in order. The great scholars tell us the great terminology of original words used here have a sense of urgency, like this is very important.

Also the idea is setting in order, the same phrase would be used if you are taking a broken bone and setting it back aright, fix what is defective in other words. And then specifically, here's where you're to start Titus, look at verse 5, last part. Titus, appoint elders in every city as I directed you.

That brings us to Roman numer number three, the critical importance of leadership, the critical importance of leadership. Now the first thing you notice here is that the churches existed but there were no pastors, no elders, different terms for the exact same office. Some people use bishops, some use elders, some use overseers, some use pastor, but they're all interchangeable.

It's not separate offices in the church, it's all different terms to describe the one office of pastor in the church. Now under the critical importance of leadership notice a elders were essential for a church's well-being. Elders were essential for churches well-being and here's what I'm about to bring out a moment ago. So we note that the churches already exist but there are no pastors over the churches and that is that elders and pastors are not essential as to the being of a church but they are essential for the well-being of the church. So there's a lot to get done in these churches, a lot of maturing, a lot of structuring, a lot of ordering of things and Paul tells Titus, so the very first thing we've got to do is get God-called overseers to oversee the work of these local churches. So again, pastors or elders are not required as to the being of the church but they are essential as to the well-being of a church.

We have church plants and the one in Iowa always comes to my mind, Grace Life Church of Ankeny, Iowa and I think about all the times I flew out there and met with six or eight people and they didn't have a pastor, they didn't have anything, they were watching our service on the internet as their service and then as things went along later on Seth Channel who's a member of our church here called to preach, we sent him out there more or less with instructions. Now Seth, there's a lot I didn't get to when I was flying out there and talking to these folks so you go on out there Seth and you set things in order and he's been doing that. That's kind of what Paul is doing with Titus here. So the first thing Titus is to do to get the church properly structured is to establish the structure of leadership in the church and it hit me this morning, I may have to add another spoke to the wheel.

Do y'all have the wheel back there anywhere that you can put on the screen? There's people about there they push all kind of buttons and sometimes that speak and it shall come to pass. I'm thinking as far as the structure of the church, the hub, the wheel is preaching the Word, congregational worship, and then one spoke that comes out from that, local church centered missions, personalized strategic world missions, the bottom spoke home life discipleship, just the idea that it's got to be real at home. You've got to take the church home with you when you're taught and preach the Word, take that home dads and talk about that with your families through the week and then the spoke on the upper right side every member of ministry through small groups but probably need another spoke that says biblical leadership. Now that's assumed and I've always viewed it that way. Now that's understood and assumed but I'll be honest I think where Titus was in Crete in the absolute overwhelming majority of the churches there's a great work to be done in establishing leadership and so I know what my staff is saying, pastor you you critique this all the time you make these changes we have to go through all of our literature and all of our stuff and we have to update it all and now you've added another spoke.

Well that's job security brothers. Pretty soon you're gonna have the whole Bible in the spoke or in the wheel, that's the goal is it not? So now notice how he words it here in verse 5, appoint elders in every city that is that they would be one local church in each city and the people in this day they really live together in little clusters and villages and towns. One of the main reasons for that was protection when you guys so graciously gave Miss Pam and I that trip to Greece and by the way it exceeded all of our expectations it really we want to we've talked so many times we want to go back it's so blessed us to walk those roads where Paul walked and ministered I probably walked right in front of where Aquila and Priscilla had their tent making store and Paul stayed there with them 18 months.

I mean I was probably within five feet because who walked down the Agora which was the marketplace but they would always build their towns well they're major towns and cities by usually it was a solid rock kind of mountain we'd be small to be a mountain maybe a big big hill so they could build a big wall around that outcropping if you will that hill and that would be for safety and if an enemy was attacking they would leave the the town area where they did their trade and commerce and they'd run in there and protect themselves on that in that walled fortress so to speak. And so in every city they would have a local church and these two established elders in each local church in all those cities. Now be in our Roman 3 under the critical importance of leadership, elders must be established according to biblical criteria. In other words we don't just get to do what we want we establish elders in God's church God's got a way he wants to do it and that's why he gives these very simple but very important words at the end of verse 5, as I directed you, as I charged you, you could say as I ordered you to do, I laid out for you Titus how this is going to be done.

Now for my staff out there in other words guys don't become a Gehazi. You don't get to do it your way. Paul was an apostle he penned in Scripture how it's to be done we have that for all time so we don't get to do it our way we don't have to have a independent spirit or we must not have an independent spirit about this. So Titus was to follow the Apostles orders in the matter there was no room for doing his own thing his own way God revealed to Paul the truth and Paul gave the dictates he received to his subordinates like Titus and Titus was not to go do his own thing his own way there's never going to be a quote brother Titus ministries end of quote there's only one ministry that's preaching the word establishing churches and building up churches that's it do as I directed you Titus this was the divine pattern that God divinely revealed to Paul and there is no plan B Acts 20 28 talks about how the Holy Spirit made you overseers so as Titus does this work he's got to discern who has God worked on who has God called if you will drawn into this work this office of being pastor or overseers of the church so again Titus was to do as Paul quote directed into quote I like what another great scholar said he said this idea is to arrange thoroughly Titus go to these churches and thoroughly arrange the leadership structure just as I directed but he's to do that while discerning the Holy Spirit's guidance so that he can find and appoint God's elders in God's churches and this leads to us third sub point that's not spoken of in our text though it's understood and it's it's certainly in the balance of biblical truth and that is see that apostles are no longer in function when you talk about leadership in the church it's important to know Paul and his associates like Titus appointed pastors our elders our overseers and all these local churches because the Apostles were moving away from the scene and for time immemorial now pastors will lead the churches under the dictates left by the Apostles which is our New Testament okay see how that works now this is why we reject any notion of apostolic secession in other words there wasn't the first generation Apostles and then that was handed down to the next generation of Apostles and then the next generation of Apostles all the way down to today and we have I don't know if y'all when I Christian radio used to have this guy on there who was the Apostle Johnny Washington he don't remember Johnny Washington I love to listen to him because he never read the scripture he had a guy that would read for him be like David sitting down here he say read and David start reading didn't stop him preach a little bit on it I just thought that was the coolest thing I guess you got to be an apostle to do that though so I've never tried it but nevertheless we reject that Johnny Washington was an apostle or anybody else at that office was in the first century those men were primarily used to establish the gospel the doctrines once for all delivered to the Saints and now pastor teachers take their truth they receive from God and we continued to bless and build the church with it now a few scriptures here I'll run through these rather quickly to show you why we believe that office of divine revelation and divine authority has passed away and now pastor teachers take their truths New Testament and teach it and lead the churches by Ephesians 2 19 through 20 so then you are no longer strangers and aliens but you are fellow citizens with the Saints and are of God's household having been built upon the foundation of Christ not first the Apostles and prophets Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone and that's pretty interesting isn't it now I thought church was built on Jesus of course it is but Jesus mitigated his truth might not be the best word there super intended his truth through the Apostles he taught them he revealed to them the truth of course he preached it himself but after he ascended to heaven he left those men then to go out and preach the gospel establish the faith once for all delivered to the Saints and that's what the church is built on Christ being the cornerstone but he super intended it through his apostles who wrote the Holy Scriptures Ephesians 3 5 which in other generations was not known to the sons of men as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit the Spirit of God spoke to these men and led these men in ways that no other men have ever been spoken to and led and notice been revealed his past tense I believe that it mentions our emphasizes that it's not being revealed today brothers and sisters if people are still really receiving divine revelation and apostolic authority then in essence the Bible would still be being written and we'd need to run all over the earth and find these guys and find out what the latest truth was you don't think God left us like that do you how firm a foundation you say to the Lord is laid for your faith in his excellent word what more can he say than to you he has said to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled the Apostles the first generation were given these divine special gifts and divine revelation for that purpose and it's settled 2nd Peter 3 2 that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and commandments of the of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles it was given through them for the church for all ages Hebrews 2 3 & 4 how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation after it was first spoken through the Lord it was confirmed to us by those who heard God also testifying with them not necessarily today doing this but he testified with them who those early apostles both by signs and wonders about various miracles and gifts with the Holy Spirit according to his own will that's why we do not believe that these signs and wonders and miraculous gifts are normative in today's church because God was affirming the men who had the foundational face of a faith of our troops rather of our of our faith and they were testified to by the signs and wonders and miracles now there's no longer need for that because they're not giving given divine revelation today are no one's being given divine revelation today Jude 1 17 but you beloved ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ Jude 1 3 beloved while I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation in other words it's not one salvation for you and one faith for you and one doctrine for you and another one for somebody else it's all the same how did it get to be all the same our common salvation if I thought that I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for definite article the faith that body of doctrine which was once for all handed down to the Saints it's not still being handed down we had apostles in the first century of the church they handed down the faith which was once fraud delivered to the Saints there's no longer need for apostles and there's no new direct revelation from God that's why Paul said in Galatians 1 11 and 12 I would have you to know brethren that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man for I neither received it for a man nor I was I taught it but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ I said I directly received this divine truth of God that I preached from God himself and God is not still doing that today so we talked about the importance of church leadership we're talking about primarily Paul's talking to Titus specifically about local church pastors and like early Baptist Church Father in America Pendleton said quite the contrary from there being one pastor who oversees several churches in the New Testament we see a plurality of pastors overseeing singular churches now let's be gracious to our forefathers because as the gospel was moving east to west across our country in the early days there were a lot of what we called circuit circuit riding preachers and churches were lucky to get a preacher once a month so they had no choice but to share preach the pastor so to speak but that was just out of necessity and need because believers are springing up and churches were springing up faster than there were pastors to pastor them I don't want to go into this but there's a substantial consistent evidence that in the New Testament and in the clear teaching of Scripture that though there is a plurality of pastors in the church there is a leader among those equals and that's based on calling and gifting I've humorously said maybe not humorous to some but it's humorous to me because I know me you don't want twelve Jeff Noblitz on your elder body no no no one of me's plenty for me vision and leadership and casting a strategy to fulfill a vision it's just it's I just do that I'd probably do that in the second around I don't know but if you had more than one of me you just we just be fighting all time so it's obvious that God's gonna put a variety of giftings in a in an elder body and we certainly have that and then there's a leader what I think is the pastor teacher of Ephesians 4 to 11 among those equals but when we're in a room everybody has one vote and we function on unanimity we have to be united and all agree before we will bring anything of any major importance to the church and I have one vote everybody says well all right now we move to qualifications for elders and character counts most as God says okay tie to stay here in Crete let's set these churches in order and the primary thing the foundational thing is we've got to get true elders appointed in every church and now here's the kind of guys you must look for verse 6 namely if any man is above reproach the husband of one wife having children who believe not accused of dissipation or rebellion so the qualifications of elders start with a man's character character is the primary thing not skill not charisma not personality not he's humorous not he's fun not everybody loves him character that's what matters now the qualifications that Paul gives to Titus here are very very similar to the one she gave to Timothy in first Timothy chapter 3 but in first Timothy chapter 3 it seems to be written more to the man who's aspiring to the office and then in Titus it's more written to Titus and the churches who are looking for the man to be in the office the same thing but maybe two sides of the same coin I was thinking about this this week that the phrase is often used the man shouldn't seek the office the office should seek the man well that's not biblical not when it comes to elders Paul told Timothy if you any man aspires to the office that's a good thing that he's aspiring to do that doesn't mean that he's going to become an elder but if you feel like God's led you and drawn you that way you have a responsibility in the appropriate way in time to make that known to the church and then the church can go through its procedures following biblical guidelines and biblical standards to see if indeed that's God's will because if the church doesn't affirm it then it's not God's will you didn't get divine revelation this is the divine revelation that critiques everybody and everything but character counts the most so it begins in verse 6 with that phrase we've looked at it many times in the past any man who is above reproach or you could put blameless this is also requirement for deacons in the church they must be above reproach to very very different works the work of a deacon and the work of a pastor overseer pastors and overseers carry an authority that's where what overseeing means and deacons are the unseen servants that keep down things so that the work of preaching the word can go forward unhindered the word are the phrase above reproach or blameless means that which cannot be called to account you cannot be called to account for a charge because the charge is unfounded and it has no credibility your lifestyle proves it to be unfounded your lifestyle proves it to be without credibility so a man has to be Paul says to Titus above reproach now there's a lot to be said here so let me give some practical things here about a man being above reproach no words no charge can stick because his life and his consistency repels it if you will it's like water rolling off a duck's back first of all all of God's men who lead his churches will suffer under false and malicious accusations aimed at destroying their reputation that's challenging okay if he's got to be above reproach and it just comes with his office that Satan's gonna make sure he's accused and demeaned and slandered and undermined then how do we view that well we have to be aware of that because Jesus promised us this was going to happen and remember they called our Lord himself the devil and the son of Satan himself and then he told us in Matthew 5 11 blessed are you not if blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and here it is falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me and when he says because of me he said because you're trying to follow my word my truths but Jesus said it's going to happen to you they're going to say false things to accuse you of everything John 15 20 Jesus says remember the word that I said to you a slave is not greater than its master if they persecuted me they will also persecute you if they kept my word they will keep yours also so as we're talking about ministers and they can't have a charge against them that seems credible at all that doesn't mean there's not going to be a lot of charges my goodness is we've kind of gotten over that bell curve in our community if you will and I think people have gotten tired of saying things about us maybe about me in particular to be honest but my as we help these churches who are trying to turn their churches to biblical health that's the one thing that's really so so very hard for these packages man the things they're saying about us the things they're saying about me and I have to remind them well that's proof you're on track you're you can still be above reproach even if people are trying to bring charges against you well a second thought here about this because of this fact that slanderous false things will be said against a man of God the Bible requires two or three credible witnesses before you're even to hear an accusation against an elder you're not even doing here a charge against your pastor unless there are two or three credible people who can say we know this is fact and note the words credible people first Timothy 5 19 and 20 Paul writes to Timothy do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses those who continue in sin rebuke in the presence of all so that the rest may be fearful of sinning he's the first of all don't even listen if there's not two or three credible witnesses and if you talk to the brother and it is true and they don't repent and they go on in that sin then rebuke that elder in the presence of the whole church and let the whole church know that you're not above being called in account for your sin even if your pastor a church leader a third thought about he's got to be above reproach now listen to me carefully and don't take out of balance what I'm saying past accusations of even a public or serious nature may not always disqualify the man if his repentance has outshined his past sin we run into this sometimes sometimes it's a brother who had some sort of a known sin thing in his life before he was converted as maybe a teenager a young man and now he's 40 or 50 and he's had decades of sterling reputation I don't know of any church or anybody anywhere that thinks you ought to go back to when a boy was 10 and look at all of his life and say there's anything well he stole something at the store one day when he was 12 you know that kind of thing and by the way these are patterns of sins that the Texas referring to because there are no sinless elders and every time we preach on this I lose all my elders every time every time I've ever preached on this and our next elders meeting the guys all pretty much in unison say look man I struggle and I fail like others and if I'm not qualified I'll just resign I said well it's not a fact that you're a pinter and you're striving to overcome sin there's no pattern of willful behavior that is known in your life that disqualifies you so there can be something in a person's past that there's been a long season of time for their humbled repentance to be much much a greater factor than that past failure and they may be qualified for elder each case is independent and unique when you have to look at all of them so number four fourth thought about this blamelessness sinlessness is not the qualification here but rather the absence of an obvious pattern of sinfulness that's the requirement to for blameless now he goes into specifics and we'll just start this and then I'm gonna close down we'll pick it up next week Lord willing he talks about some domestic things the husband of one wife comes out first name with any management reproach the husband of one wife now the older scholars put a lot of emphasis on polygamy and they said almost every Jewish guy had two or three wives so that had to be cleaned up and if that hadn't been cleaned up he's saying in our churches the man may be generally converted but that that's just not gonna go well for church leadership that's got to get fixed but it means more than that because the phrase there literally has the idea of being a one-woman man or a one-woman sort of man he has a long-standing reputation of having only eyes and affections and devotion to one woman he's not a womanizer he's not an adulterer now it doesn't mean that you can't be a single man the Apostle Paul was single Titus and Timothy may have very well been single men it doesn't mean that if your spouse dies that you can't marry again and then be considered an elder it doesn't refer to that surely it doesn't it doesn't absolutely rule out a previous marriage our previous infidelity note my words carefully it doesn't absolutely rule out a previous marriage our previous infidelity because that's not the text could easily have used the word divorce it does not use it he said he has to be known have a long-standing reputation of being a one-woman man now I believe it would be exceedingly rare if a man with a known immorality adultery or divorce becomes an elder but I can't tell you from the text that's absolutely required I'm being as honest as I can with the biblical text now different local churches have different things they just draw some lines and I think that's appropriate for us we have since our beginning had the conviction that no divorce of any kind would be formidable in a man's life if he's to be considered for the office of elder that seemed to be the simplest thing but I can't promise you that that would be that way forever the elders have haven't even ever even discussed that issue but that's our policy at this time all right so we the first domestic qualification character quality he's got a half he's got to have a sterling reputation as a one-woman man all right secondly he says here in verse 6 having children who believe not accused of dissipation or of rebellion in other words he's got to run his household well now I agree with the great scholars who say the word believe here is that the same thing as believing on Christ for salvation it's used in a different way and it's used in a different way at other times in the biblical text so it's not referring to saving faith necessarily we know God is sovereign in that God has his elect and the Spirit of God works on the children and like he does all people and you can't time that out but I like the concept that the word is also used signifying reliability or trustworthiness I think it's the idea that children respect their father and they obey their father and they believe in their father so they are the kind of children that are faithful to him matter of fact this word in verse 9 is used to talk about the faithful word so it's not certainly used of saving faith there but being faithful so the children are faithful under their father's headship and obedient in their home now he amplifies what these children living at home must not be like if he's to be considered an elder not accused of dissipation that's rioting or excess that's the idea of abandoning self-control and giving into youthful lust now in this culture in this day there was flagrant gross immorality practice especially by young men all of the great gods well I shouldn't say all but many of the great gods they worshiped worship was celebrated in drunken orgies with prostitutes it's a filthy and vile environment so the point is if a man hasn't gotten his children who live at home living in such a way that they're not for taking in that then he's not qualified he's not ready to be an elder in the church so not accused of dissipation and then he also uses the word rebellion verse 6 not accused dissipation or rebellion this is the idea of can't be controlled in subordinate same idea a little different aspect as being not accused of dissipation so it's um it's translated sometimes as contradict they can't be children who their very lifestyles contradict what the father says he stands for now so his children while under his roof are subordinate and obedient and not a public scandal I do not believe this applies to adult children who are no longer living in the household that may be some consideration but that's not what to say it here because if a man cannot manage his home he cannot be entrusted to manage the Church of God all right real quick I want to close with some conclusions for practical application these are rather obvious and they'll not be on your screen but let me reel them out and I want to focus a little bit on the third one but the first three our first two rather we'll just more or less mention we should be biblically strategic in missions notice how Paul over and over again talks about how he was careful to make sure he appointed guys to certain areas that the most men power could be used in the most effective ways for church planting and building up the churches secondly churches must be properly structured and have proper practice that's the phrase when he says set in order whether it's leadership small groups world missions home life discipleship and then of course we assume as the foundational structure of the congregational meeting and the preaching of the word these must be set in order and done right in God's church then the third one is character counts for all you gotta understand these qualifications for elder are not just for elders these are qualifications for being a real Christian you're you're not let off as somehow being okay if you don't manage your household well you're not let off the hook if you're unfaithful to your marital vows because well I'm not gonna be an elder no that's not what he's saying character counts for all and I thought of something that um I say off and on through the years because I've lived the reality of it and I've seen it work in this church often and that is brothers and sisters it's almost always the flesh that emphasizes one's skill or one's knowledge or one's ability we don't hardly ever run into this but in the old days it's quite common somebody would come into the church and they would announce as they join I can do these ministries I am gifted in these areas now it's right to join the church and let people know what you think your gifts are and how you might get help I'm not saying that's wrong but they would say it in a way like and if I don't get to do it I'm gonna be upset I came in here to build my kingdom and you better let me that's a lack of character characters when you say what needs to be done I'll do it here we are with about 750 members up to 200 people that often own visit with us and come to worship services how in the world are we gonna let everybody just run do it they feel God's leading them do without total chaos no way we can really care for one another do the ministry the scripture requires if we don't have some way of measuring and ordering this thing and for there to be a measuring and ordering and a structure of this thing it's going to require the character of selflessness it's going to require the character of I may have this give this gift and this gift but you don't really need that right now I'll do this over here it's not what I'm most comfortable with but it needs to get done and I can do it man the first eight years I was here on the staff I did lots of things that weren't my gift and I was uncomfortable doing a lot of them but my pastor told me to do them and I did them I remember um when we bought the building next door here that was the skating rink you know the ice storm crushed it in I forgot how much they wanted for it but it was hundreds of thousands of dollars and we thought well we can't afford that then ice storm crushed it in and we got it a lot lot lot less than what they really wanted for it and our pastor at the time my authority wanted his own private office with his own private bathroom and shower and that's pretty common especially in larger churches and but to get the bathroom way over in this end of that building you had to run up you had burst up the concrete probably at least 40 yards maybe and so some professional contracts came through and cut the concrete took the concrete out then you had the dirt down at least a foot or so to put the electrical in the water lines in there and so me and Bob Pittman got our shovels and we dug that ditch all the way from where the water line came in the bit all the way back to the corner so he could have a bathroom and a shower in that office well I probably am gifted for that kind of work just to be honest trying to think that's not my gift but I guess it might be my gift I've always worked like that and so we dug that thing out I never dreamed honestly at that time that one day that would be my private bathroom and my shower which I never never never use but it's there but I'm convinced brothers and sisters if we're not willing to dig the ditch we'll never find our niche you got to be willing to dig the ditch if you want God to give you the place in the church you ought to be Sarah is a great example in the Bible she humbled herself called Abraham Lord it was a faithful and godly wife and today she's honored among all generations as the role model of the godly woman but she had to be subservient have the character before God gave her that high and honored position so I've always challenged you go to your small group leader and say what needs to be done if I can possibly do it I'll do it and you keep building character and then one day you'll find your place in the church but it always comes through the hallway of character before you get to the room of physician I'm real skeptical of guys who start out in the ministry and they start out on top I'm very grateful and I'm just being totally transparent your pastor Jeff Knoblet needed those eight years under someone else's authority to say yes sir and no sir didn't matter how menial the task it's what I needed to do character counts for all of us that's how you find your place of service so when Paul writes to Titus said here's kind of men I want you to look for look for those men that when the church needed a sewer line dug they showed up with their shovels the next morning that's the kind of guys that might be elder material in God's Church
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-01 18:49:27 / 2023-03-01 19:06:59 / 18

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