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The Book of 1 Timothy - Step In!, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
October 5, 2022 6:00 am

The Book of 1 Timothy - Step In!, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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October 5, 2022 6:00 am

As you look around the country, there’s a noticeable leadership crisis happening in Christianity. It’s never been harder to lead a church than right now. In this program, Chip tackles this complex subject as he continues his series based in the book of 1st Timothy. He’ll look at how the Bible defines leadership, God’s expectations for those in authority, and the subtle traps people can fall into.

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Everywhere I go, I hear the same thing. There's a leadership crisis in the Church. Pastors are hurting. Church leaders are hurting. What's it look like to be a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ?

How do you do it? It's never been more difficult to lead, so we want to help leaders grow. That's today. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. I'm Dave Drury, and the mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. As we continue our newest series, the book of 1 Timothy, Chip's going to tackle the complex subject of leadership in the Church, how the Bible defines it, what God expects of those in authority, and the subtle and prominent traps leaders can fall into. This is such an important topic, so let me encourage you, after today's message, to share it with someone in your life.

Now, you can easily do that through the Chip Ingram app or by downloading and sharing the free MP3s that you'll find at livingontheedge.org. Okay, if you have your Bible handy, let's join Chip now for his talk, Step In. So we're in chapter 3, 1 Timothy, learning from the Apostle Paul, life coaching. Big takeaway and tip number one is that everybody needs a coach. You've got to step up.

We all have to ask, what's that look like in our life? Second, you've got to step down. You've got to become men that are strong by kneeling, praying, surrendering our rights, our way, our agenda, and experiencing God's supernatural power to bring about change. Tip number three, coaching tip number three, is if you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time, right?

If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time. I don't know how many of you had fathers that were in the military or maybe your fathers that were coaches. My dad was both, and if I heard this once, I think I heard this a thousand times, and the other one I heard was, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, right.

So by the time I was about 12 years old, I was a workaholic because you've got to set goals. I really look back, and I hope you take this in a good way. So many things my dad built into my life, I look back and think, I'm so grateful.

It was really hard at the time. So I remember going out as a little kid, I was eight years old, and we had a lawn mower, and you know, they used to have the handles, and then there was a little bar, and I wasn't big enough to reach the handles like this, but I could take the bar. And so I'm eight years old, and whether he was a crazy parent or he thought, hey, you know. So I said, I'd like to mow the lawn. He said, okay.

So I mean, it took me forever, but I'm pushing it, my mom's going, please don't let him cut his feet off. So by the time I was nine, I had three lawns. By the time I was 12, I had a little lawn business of about eight or 10 lawns, and one really big one, and two paper outs. And I did pretty well. So when I was 13, I lent my parents $3,000 at 6% interest. I was a little entrepreneur, and they paid me.

They wanted to buy a piece of land behind our house. And then that played into everything. It was like, okay, I was about 13, and the basketball coach in junior high recommended, because I was five foot three as a freshman, that maybe wrestling was my career. I should be a wrestler. And that was just like screaming, no, be a basketball player. So it's in the Midwest, so that, I mean, on Friday night, you could rob everyone in the entire town, because they were either at the football game or the basketball game. And I remember sitting in there and thinking, as a 13-year-old, someday I want to be on that basketball court, I want to have a scholarship, I want to graduate near the top of my class, and I want to have a pretty girlfriend.

Ready, set, go. And I was maniacal in my pursuit. And I remember graduating from high school, taking my hat, throwing it in there, and as an unbeliever sitting in a big circle of about 20 or 25 people, we used to call them reefers back then, passing it around and talking about what we're going to do with our future life. And I was sitting next to Jackie, and I didn't have any convictions about drugs. At my size, I thought, I can't put anything in my body that's going to limit my, I was always so small. So I was about 5'11 by then, and so I passed it on, and Jackie turned to me and said, you must be very happy tonight. I said, well, why is that? Well, you got a basketball scholarship, you graduated near the top of your class, you got the cutest little girlfriend. And all I can tell you, I had never heard of the Holy Spirit.

I mean, I'm sure I heard it in church or something. But I had the most overwhelming empty sense that I'd ever had in my experience up to that time at 18. Because, and I don't blame my dad, it was like he cared, so you will be happy if you're successful. The way to be successful is set goals. The way to get your goals is develop a strategy. The way after developing a strategy is you come up with tactics. The way to have tactics is you do it every day when no one else is willing to get up.

I was that crazy kid with gloves outside shooting in the snow and all those crazy things. Here's the problem. The goal was way too small. Even if you aim at something, if you hit the wrong thing, your life can be a disaster. And so what the apostle Paul is going to do in his coaching tip to Timothy is he's going to say, Timothy, yeah, the goal is to straighten out the teaching, right?

I mean, these false teachers, they're messing everything up. And the how-to is not in your power. I want you to kneel down. I want you to pray. I want the church, God's people, to live in such winsome, godly, loving life that we attract people rather than at this point raising a lot of negative attention. But like any leadership book you have ever read or ever will read, the only way you change an organization is it starts with leadership. Everything rises and falls with leadership. You want to change a culture?

You can tweak anything under the world, but you either have to have a radical change in the leaders or you have to completely change out the leadership. That's why when teams lose, what do they do? They don't fire the players.

What do they do? Fire the coach. When a company's going downhill, what do they do?

Fire the CEO. Basically what he's going to say to Timothy is, yes, we need to put a band-aid in this and you've got to address the problems here. And in chapter 3 he says, if you aim at nothing, you'll hit it. What you have to do now, Timothy, is we have to develop leaders who will be the kind of people that don't let false teaching happen and are the kind of people that live out this faith in a radical way so that we honor the Lord Jesus and the big agenda of the gospel goes forward.

So we're in chapter 3, 1 Timothy, we pick it up. It is a trustworthy statement. If any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is the fine work he desires to do.

And then he's going to give the qualifications. Two words by way of just a quick moment here. An overseer, the word's episcopas. The word literally is a compound word, someone that looks into something. In other words, someone who's in charge who looks into something to make sure things are going okay. And then gives help or direction or support. The other word, interchanged, is the word elder, or you could translate it shepherd, and that's just a different function.

They're used interchangeably. So he says, look Timothy, whether it's a house church of 20 or 25 or 30 people or 10 or 12 people, you know what? Remember how wherever we went, we found who the best leaders were, we put them in charge. Here's the qualifications going forward of the kind of men that you need to choose. So we want a long-term play.

We want to solve the issues in the church for the long term, and the way to do that is to develop leaders. And so the first thing he says, he says, if any man aspires, that's our good English translation, literally there's three little words. If any man sets his heart. If any man, in other words, his desire, his dream, sets his heart like I set my heart to be on that basketball court.

I set my heart to date that cheerleader. I set my heart to, if any man sets his heart or aspires to the office of overseer, it's a fine work. And then he says an overseer or an elder must be above reproach, and what you're going to see is he sort of bookends.

Above reproach includes from inside the church, outside the church, how he speaks, what he does, his money, his marriage, his family. In other words, everything is, he's not perfect, but what you see is what you get. At the very end of this list, he'll say someone who's dignified. It's another very general Greek word that basically has the idea that when you meet this guy, you respect him.

He's the kind of person, you respect the kind of marriage he has, you respect his finances, you respect how he handles conflict, you respect how he raises his kids. And so now he's going to give sort of a very specific list of the kind of men you want to look for. You know, in baseball, I played baseball in college as well, and the dream was to be, remember, a five tool player?

You hit for average, hit for power, you can field, you have an arm, and is it speed or is it one other one? Yeah. I mean, that's the ultimate player that you're looking for. So basically what he's saying is, look, Timothy, we're going to deal with the problem, and we're going to do it a really different way. We're going to use God's power, sort of not our human anger and stuff, and then we need five tool elders.

We need elders that live this out, and you need to develop them, because they don't grow on trees. But what you need to do is you need to have a perspective, you need to have a profile. It's like those of you who are, if you're ever looking to hire someone, you know, here's how not to hire someone. Find someone you like and see if they'll take the job. Here's how to hire someone. What is the job?

What are the functions? What do you need to do? And you develop a very clear profile of what are the characteristics and skills for that job, and then once you have the profile, you go try and find a person that fits the profile. And so that's what he's doing right here. Isn't it amazing how much leadership there is in the Bible? So he says, well, here's the profile. He must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, skillful, and teaching.

All pretty positive. Not indulging in much wine, not a bully, but gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity. But if a man doesn't know how to manage his own household, how will they care for the church of God? And, by the way, not a new convert, so he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so he will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil. Deacons, likewise, very similar, must be men of dignity, that big general word, not insincere, not prone to drink too much wine, not greedy for money, but holding to the mystery of, are you ready again, the faith, these truths, these doctrines, and how, with a clear conscience, remember what the goal of our instruction is, love from a pure heart, a good conscience, sincere faith.

He's going to weave that all the way through the book. These men also must first be tested, then have them serve as deacons if they're beyond reproach. So, you're looking for these kind of men and these spiritual responsibilities, and then these that have more of the servant hands-on issues.

I mean, the early church, we got to feed people, we got widows to take care of, we got all kind of very specific issues, so we want a little bit different giftings, but we got to have great character in both of them. Women must also be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. Commentators will agree or disagree whether this is deaconesses as an official role in the church, or whether it's the wise of deacons. Either way, it just means that the women that are leading need to be godly, just like the men. Deacons must be the husband of one wife, good managers of their children and their households. For those who serve well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. Before I go on, let's just pause. There's a lot of different words here. You might jot in your notes, it's a title of a book, it's called The Measure of a Man by Gene Getz. I've taken elder groups through it, young men through it.

I mean, he will take a short chapter on every one of those words. Probably where there's some controversy that it's worth pausing is the husband of one wife. You know, people will say, well gosh, that means if your wife died, I guess you can never be an elder. Others, if you've ever been divorced for any reason, even if it was an unbeliever, you could never be an elder. Or back then, you know, people had more than one wife, you know, like two or three.

And that sort of was not what we're looking for in the model for the future. I think Gene Getz has a very interesting observation when he looks at that whole list. He just makes this one observation because that thing about, you know, the husband of one wife has very controversial in the church over many, many years. He says literally it's a one woman man and he just makes this point.

Every single thing in that list is about character, not about history. So I mean, I, it takes me a little while and I'm not sure you're all that interested. You might be. I mean, most of those things that I just read, you don't need to be a Greek scholar. See, not addicted to too much wine. I wonder what that means in the Greek.

Don't get drunk. Not, oh, that's profound. Or how about not a lover of money. I have no idea what that means. I just, I don't know, I just, you know, right.

I mean, you know what this list is? Be a Christ-like man. Be a Godly man. Don't most of you know what a Godly man looks like? Most of you know what it looks like to be a loving husband. Not perfect, but a really good dad. Know what it's looked like to have things under control and not have a secret life. Yes, have our issues, right?

We've all been through probably some level of addiction in our life and struggled with whether it's porn or alcohol or drugs or codependency or, you know, whatever. But he says, Timothy, this is a trustworthy statement. If any man sets his heart on the office of being an overseer. See, I think in God's perspective, the elder who's living the life and accepts this humongous responsibility of giving oversight to the church of Jesus Christ has far more standing than the biggest CEOs of the biggest companies in America or around the world.

And it's just as big a job. Because as the leaders go into church, so goes the church. And so he gives qualifications and then in verse 14 he says, why? I'm writing these things to you hoping to come to you before long, but just in case I'm delayed, I'm in verse 14, I write so that you'll know how one should act in the household of God. In other words, Timothy, I just want you to know, this is what a pastor does.

This is what leaders do. And then he talks about the household of God, which is the church of the living God, not a religious institution. That's the pillar and the support and put a box around this one in your Bible, the truth.

Over and over and over he starts with the truth. There is a right, there is a wrong, there is a God, there is one, there's one mediator. He came to save sinners.

There is an eternity. Everyone will stand before a holy God. Jesus has paid the price for all men of all time.

Those who receive the gift, eternal life. Those who say, I don't need you, I'm on my own, maybe later, and dis God. God says, I respect you. I will give you the freedom to reject me. You can be apart from me, but whatever you choose in this life, you get for eternity. I don't need you now. God will say, I won't force myself on you now or ever.

And it's a Christless eternity. And you're bombarded by an enemy who's orchestrated a world system that says success and salary and sex and security, that'll make you somebody. You drive this kind of car and you have this kind of wife and you have this kind of logo and you go to these sporting events if your kid makes a traveling team or he makes a scholarship and if you can bench press so much and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It keeps changing and changing and changing, and believe me, I'm just glad that by 18 years old, I came to the conclusion that success does not mean happiness. Now, I was successful in just a little pond, right?

Just a little pond. I mean, my dad taught me well and he gave it to a very driven, workaholic type A personality. At age 32, I will have a beautiful wife, three kids, an Irish setter, a luxury car. Back then, a minivan was really cool.

A minivan and I'll be a leader in my community. It never occurred to me that I would fail. I mean, that's a big blessing. Now, because his mantra was fail, that's just how you learn how to take the next step. Get up, you fail.

Get up, get up. So I just assumed if I got up earlier than everyone else, I worked harder than anybody else, and I played out my dad's game, that I would be 32 years old and I would have a beautiful wife, an Irish setter, and I still had, I was going to wear $300 suits, because everyone on this planet has this, maybe it's not real clear in your mind, but you have this invisible picture of what success looks like, and if you could ever hit it, then you'd be a somebody, and you'd be a somebody. You just need to understand, the games that people play, it's just all relative. You've got to ask yourself, what and who do you really want to be?

And make sure, as the old illustration goes, that your ladder is really leaning on the right wall, because you can be a successful failure. And when you have lots of money, it's really hard to raise good kids. Insurance companies have done demographic studies.

The only people that have worse problems with their kids, as measured by times in rehab and all the rest, is the absolute lowest of the poor of the poor and the richest executives. Be careful what you set your heart to be. Chip will be back in just a minute with his application. You've been listening to the first part of his message, Step In, from his series, The Book of First Timothy, Life Coaching from the Apostle Paul. Our mission, as many of you know, is for Christians to really live like Christians.

But that's a lot easier said than done nowadays, right? Through this new series based in the Book of First Timothy, Chip highlights the vital warnings and pieces of advice Paul shared with Timothy that helped him navigate the hostile society he lived in. Don't miss how we can put this wisdom into practice in our everyday Christian lives. To get plugged in with this series, visit LivingOnTheEdge.org.

That's LivingOnTheEdge.org. Well, Chip's with me in studio now to share a special word that's been on his heart recently. So, Chip, would you take a minute and do that?

Absolutely, Dave. What I want to share today is something really important. You are one of a kind, unique physical and spiritual DNA. You were created by God to fulfill a purpose that no one else can. Maybe it's to be a safe sounding board when people are wrestling with their faith.

Or maybe it's funding big ideas into big realities. I don't know what your purpose is, but God has a strategic vision to use your skills, to use you in ways that you never dreamed. But what has God designed for you?

Not sure? Well, here at Living on the Edge, we've created a brand new resource called The Real You. It's an online questionnaire designed to provide insight into how God wired you. This is more than a spiritual gift test. You'll identify the patterns in which you think, what motivates you, and why teams need someone just like you.

It'll take about 20 minutes to complete, and it won't cost you a thing. Then, based on your responses, The Real You will offer suggestions about how you can practically live out God's purpose for your life, whether that's at home, in the office, at church, or in your community. As a Living on the Edge partner, we want you to be the first to access this resource. Head over to therealyou.org to learn more. That's therealyou.org.

Most Christians don't know how to leverage their God-given wiring and experiences for the kingdom. We want to change that. Thanks, Chip. Well, as you can tell, we are really excited about this new resource. We hope The Real You will help you not only discover who God made you to be, but how he made you to think, act, and live. As Chip said, you can sign up for this free assessment by going to therealyou.org, or if it's easier, text the word REAL to 74141. That's the word REAL, R-E-A-L, to 74141.

App listeners, tap Special Offers. Well, Chip, I'd like to wrap up this message by reading from 1 Timothy 3.15. I write so that you'll know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar, and the support of the truth. Well, take a minute, if you would, and unpack for us how the Church at large has failed to be the pillar and support of truth in recent years.

I'd be glad to, Dave. This is something that is very, very painful, I think, for us in the Church, and especially us maybe who are Christian leaders, to really own the reality that we have not acted well in the household of God. And whether it's Protestant pastors falling with big denominations, as we've read recently, or whether it's priests with immoral behavior, or whether it's evangelists and scandals, or megachurch pastor, or celebrity worship leaders, we have to own the reality that in significant measure, we have not been leaders or Christians that, in my words, have lived like Christians. And it's undermined the gospel. It's undermined the credibility. We have acted and done some things in some massive ways. And honestly, at the heart of most of it has been the cover-ups.

I was reading in Proverbs chapter 28 this morning, and it says in verse 13 that the one who conceals or covers his transgression or sin will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes it will find compassion or mercy. And I think, honestly, we just have to own where we failed. Instead of being defensive, when you blow it, when I blow it, and whether it's with our family, whether it's at work and there's an outburst of anger, or we don't tell the truth, or there's hypocrisy, this is what builds credibility. You own it.

You don't cover it. You don't fake it. You don't act like it didn't happen. I've certainly had to really own things I've said or things I've done wrong, and it was very humbling, and I hated doing it. But it was so cleansing, and even when I've had to do that with unbelievers, I have found that the response is the opposite of what you would think.

It's like, wow, really? Thanks. And then I apologized. And people are not looking for Christians that are perfect, but boy, they are looking for Christians that are real.

So here's our application today. Could I encourage you to at least get two or three minutes today and bow your head, close your eyes, and say, Lord, is there anything in my life that I've concealed? Is there anything that needs to come to light? And then own it, and then ask that next hard question, is there anyone that I need to go talk to to not just confess it but forsake it and make this right? And as you do that, God's going to work.

And as tens of thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of people listening to my voice, can you imagine the cleansing power that would occur in the next couple days as we would just own our stuff and then make things right? Great challenge, Chip. Thanks. Hey, before we go, let me remind you of an easy way to listen to our extended teaching podcast, Hear Chip Anytime, on Amazon's Alexa Echo and Echo Dot. Just say, Alexa, open Living on the Edge, and you'll hear that day's extended teaching anytime you want. Well, for Chip and everyone here, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-26 11:52:13 / 2022-12-26 12:03:12 / 11

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