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Made for More Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church Logo

Household of Faith - 1 Timothy 3:1-15 - Gospel Church

Made for More / Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church
The Truth Network Radio
September 17, 2022 8:00 am

Household of Faith - 1 Timothy 3:1-15 - Gospel Church

Made for More / Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church

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September 17, 2022 8:00 am

The church is God’s Plan A, and there is no Plan B... God created the household of faith for a reason, and He’s inviting us to be a part.

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Oh, man. Man, what an incredible story. Hey, that's what this weekend is all about. It's all about church as a family, church as a household, and we're going to see that play out in Jim's life and hundreds of other people's lives. We want it to play out in your life. There's a step for you to take today, but it's going to all come as we talk about church as a family. So if you have a copy of Scripture, take it out and turn with me to 1 Timothy. We're going to be in Chapter 3, some in Chapter 2.

We're going to bounce around a little bit here today. But the thing that I want to talk to you about first is this concept of house rules, okay? In God's household, there are house rules.

There are things that He has ordered in a particular way. I bet you the way you grew up, there was house rules some kind of way, okay? In my life, I remember the first week I was on a college campus, I had moved to go to college, and I'm playing ping pong, okay? And someone, you know, it's the last point of the game, and I serve it right off the table, and I'm like, hey, give me the ball back, I get another chance. And they're like, no, no, you, in the real world, ping pong rules, you can lose on a serve, okay? My house rules growing up my whole life were you can't lose on a serve.

That's not an actual rule. It's a house rule, right? And many of you guys have house rules, things going on in your house. Maybe it's a house rule about, you know, who gets to pick the TV show, or maybe who gets to choose what is for dinner, if it's your birthday, or there's just kind of house rules and norms that every little individual household, every little culture that's being built in a home has, right? Sometimes those house rules really almost turn into house roles.

And you can see this play out in a lot of different ways. Whose job is it to cut the grass? Whose job is it to manage the checkbook?

Whose job is it to do drop off, or pick up, and all that kind of stuff? And it kind of turns into there's roles within a family. In God's household, there are rules, there are roles. There are things that God has done to set up his home, the church, that's what we're gonna see right off the bat, the church in a way that it will flourish.

Here's the big idea for this weekend. The church is God's household, all right? And as a household, it is mirrored in terms of leadership and roles, and the way that it's organized, and how we interact with it. There are rules and roles that go with that.

There are house rules here, all right? And the Scripture is so clear to us about what they are. Now, here's the reality of the sermon this weekend. It's not that we're controversial or controversial or whatever you want to call it because of the culture that we live in now, but we have to have kind of the fortitude to say, wait a minute, if it's God's world, and God has ordered the church, and he is good, and he loves us, he probably did this for our good, and therefore we don't need to apologize. We don't need to kind of be scared of this and talk about these things in really hushed homes, you know? And we don't want to, like that can't be what it is. Nor do we want to be brash and not realize that this does hit our culture.

It does hit our culture in a certain way. Some of the things I'm gonna talk about maybe for you today, or maybe at one of our campuses, this might be a little bit of a, it could sting a little bit, but what we're gonna see is, man, God has done this for our good and his glory. He has set up families in a particular way.

He has set up the church in a particular way. And we, Mercy Hill Church, have got to be more concerned with our health as a body than we are about being liked. Okay, we've got to be more concerned about our health in the community of faith, and our evangelistic fervor, and how our health spills over into the mission field, and how we treat each other in here, and how that testifies to people out there.

That's what we've got to be more concerned with than being accepted, right, by the culture around us. And so that's where we got to go today, okay? And we're gonna see, it's a beautiful thing.

When you start to think about God's household, and the way that he has set it up, and the way that we think about a family, you think about church, man, it really is a beautiful picture. It's not something we should run away from. It's something we should hold up, and we should allow to shine, and we should be able to see the beauty that's in it, all right?

And so that's what we're gonna do today. I want to start in verses 14 and 15 in chapter three. Then we're gonna go all the way back to chapter two and kind of work back through, okay? But the point of the whole thing, I think, if you really want the end of chapter two and chapter three in 1 Timothy, which are, I'm telling you, they're debated. There's books written.

There's all this stuff. If you want it to fall open, okay, and just break right apart so you can understand it, I think what we've got to understand is right off the bat, the very end of the argument that he's gonna get into is right here. I hope to come to see you soon, but I'm writing these things so that if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave, listen, in the household of God, which is the church of the living God. All right, the church. Now, the church is global, but it's also local. The church is a global body of believers, but it is expressed locally in churches like Mercy Hill Church and many of the other great churches that are in our community and around the world. He says further in verse 15, the church is a pillar and a buttress of truth. If someone says to you, hey, what is the church, okay, and I've said this, man, the church is a movement in all places for all people, and we define it different ways, but if someone says, man, what is the church, the dominant metaphor in the Bible is family.

That's the dominant metaphor. Now, it's not the only metaphor, but family is the dominant metaphor for this idea of local church, and I love the church. I pray that you will love the church. Man, I love to be around God's people. I love to come and be in groups where we get a chance to talk about the deepest things of life. I love to worship.

I love to sing with the saints. Man, I can't wait to see what heaven is gonna be like. We get a taste of it right here when we get a chance to participate in a changed community that is not perfect and has problems, and as iron sharpens iron, you can't do that without friction, okay, if you noticed, all right? So, I mean, it's not perfect, but we get a taste of what it's like, and this idea is the metaphor of it, the dominant kind of thing that we see in the Bible is brother, sister. It's God as Father.

We are children. It's this idea of the church as a family. It's one of the reasons why we are so excited to be launching new churches. Hey, we can give it up. Gateway Church in Waynesville launches this weekend, y'all. Let's praise God. Hey, these are pictures. Yep.

These are pictures from last week from their pre-launch. We had a team right here from Mercy Hill go up there, do evangelism, help them set up, all that kind of stuff. Why are we so, why is our church so bonkers about church planting and getting more churches out? Because we love the church.

Why? Because the church is family. Man, God loves the church. Is it his body? Yes. Are there other metaphors?

Yes. But we see this idea of family and in understanding family, all of a sudden, the way a church is organized begins to just fall open. It begins to break apart and it begins to make sense to us.

Why? Because, and I'm not going to go preach this whole sermon, but if you understand the book of Ephesians chapter 5, which I have preached on, which we've talked about, a family in God's eyes for our good and his glory is ordered in a very particular way. If we see from Ephesians 5 and other places that here is how a family is ordered. A husband is willing to love his wife more than himself and by loving her in that way and by laying his life down in that way, he serves his family in leading his family. He is leading them. He is a primary visionary for them. He is providing for them. A wife in response to the leadership of her husband would follow his lead in helping to execute the vision of the family. As communicated through God, as communicated in a husband, as saying, hey man, this is where we're going.

All right? She comes alongside as a helper. We see that from the book of Genesis, the very first woman.

We see this idea. She comes along and she helps and she serves. And together as they raise children, the children respond to their parents in honor as their parents discipline them in godliness and the kids respond in honor and obedience most of the time.

Okay? And it's a beautiful, and that's the picture. And it's a beautiful picture of how God orders a home. Well, today, in understanding the metaphor of family and understanding the metaphor of how God has set up a family to run and to be beautiful, we get a chance to see how the church is run as, verse 14 to 15, the household of God. All right? And I know that some of this stuff already can begin to sort of, you know, it's like, wait a minute, okay, we're talking about leadership.

We're talking about headship. And we're talking about some of these things. But we've got to understand, what did the Bible say? The church is the household of God, but it also said the pillar of truth. So in a culture that begins to go haywire, sometimes we've got to ask the question, is the Bible out of date or is the culture out of line?

All right? If the culture has such a good bead on family, why is divorce at 50%? Why have we raised an entire fatherless generation? Why can we not, with a straight, why can we not, in our society, with a straight face and a straight answer, answer the question, what is a woman? You understand what I mean? So for us, what we've got to say is like, man, well, the culture's not getting it right. They're not going to be served if we begin to acquiesce. What we need to do is take on our role as the pillar and buttress of truth.

We're not mean. It's not that I don't understand that some of these things can hit a little bit and sting, and I'm not trying to whip up a base here, okay? It's not the point. But the point is, what does it mean to be a pillar and a buttress of truth? It means that when a culture is going haywire, there's something that don't move. That's what it means, that it's a pillar. You know, in Ephesus, where Timothy was, there was this temple to Diana. Hundreds of columns, massive columns, pillars that held up this temple and all that. I think maybe Paul's kind of borrowing some of that, and he's saying, hey, man, the church is supposed to be immovable.

It's supposed to be the one that is the pillar. And so that's the road that we need to walk. Now, I say all that, okay, let's back up. You know, pillar of truth, got it.

Man, not going to bend, not going to run around. But at the same time, it's the household of faith. Let's begin to build out what that analogy looks like and what that metaphor looks like for the church and its leadership, okay? Listen, a lot of times when we preach, most of the time we preach, we're talking about how we function as the church. You guys remember in high school you had the class that was actually like the U.S. government class? It's like, man, this class is not for how to function.

It's actually for how it's set up. That's somehow how this sermon is, okay? This sermon's a little bit more that way of just like, hey, how is it organized, the church, as a family? And my hope is in seeing it, man, we're going to say, man, I see the place for me in that. I want to join in to what's going on there. All right, so let's go back. Let's go back to 1 Timothy 2. I know some of y'all thought I was going to skip this part because I didn't about two weeks ago.

I just totally jumped over this, okay? I told you I was going to come back to it. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man.

Rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing if they continue in faith and love and holiness with self-control.

Now I want to go back and start talking about this. The reason is we're going to get into talking about how the church is organized through the eldership of the church. But the eldership of the church is totally tied to the reason that women are called to learn in silence and submissiveness in this particular passage, okay?

Now what did this say? It said that they are to remain quiet. If you have been at any of our campuses in the last week or maybe even this weekend, you probably saw a woman pray from the stage. You saw maybe in the last few weeks you've seen women giving testimonies through video.

If you've ever come to Mercy Hill and you've done classes, you may have had a woman teach an equip class or something like that. Now how can our church walk in that way and yet remain faithful to this scripture? Well, I'm going to tell you exactly why. Because the Bible is talking about a very particular silence here, okay? It's talking about a particular quietness. And that particular quietness is in reference to this concept in verse 12 that says, I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man.

There is a particular quietness that comes from this passage that is not general. And I don't build out a case for saying that it's not general just because we do it a certain way at Mercy Hill. We do it a certain way at Mercy Hill because of all the examples we see in scripture. Like, for example, when Aquila and Priscilla in Acts chapter 18 both teach Apollos what is right and wrong in his theology, okay, for example. Or we see other things like 1 Corinthians 11 five where it is very clear that women are prophesying and praying in the local assembly. Or you see other places like where the Bible tells us in Matthew 28, the disciples are called to go and make disciples. Now we're all disciples and we're all called to go make disciples, not just the men in here. And what are we called to do? To teach them to obey what God has called us to. Or Colossians 3 where the whole church is called to teach and to admonish one another.

See, what I'm getting at here is that there is a particular quietness, all right? And we try to be faithful to this at Mercy Hill where we say, man, we want the women of our church to express all of the giftings that God has given them. There are no giftings, we believe, that are given just to a man or just to a woman. Man, the giftings are universal in the body of Christ. We want women to express that in every type of way that is permissible, but there's one type of way that the Bible says is not permissible. And the Bible calls that, listen, verse 12 here, the teaching or exercising authority over a man. Now, if I was going to, and this is where we're going with this, because chapter 3 is all about eldership, okay?

If I was going to try to define what an elder is, I would say they are teachers who exercise authority. You understand? That is the definition, maybe. I'm going to use a different definition in a little bit. But that is a great definition here. It is authoritative teaching that comes from the pastoral or the office of elder.

That might mean me on a stage right here. It might mean our elders who are empowered to go out and to teach our community group leaders how to be good leaders. All right, there are other times, but generally what I think this is getting at is there is a voice that is reserved for the pastors and elders of the church.

All right, and in that particular moment, the women are to remain quiet. Now, here's what he says, for Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

Yet she will be saved through childbearing if they continue in faith and love and holiness with self-control. Now, what can this mean? Okay, I think what Paul is saying is this. He's hearkening back and he's anchoring this idea of headship and eldership.

And there's one place where a woman should not speak up and speak over in an authoritative way. And that's the voices reserved for pastors and elders in the preaching and authoritative teaching of the church. All right, I think he's going to anchor that all the way back in creation. And what he's going to say is he's going to say, hey, Adam was formed first. And there's a headship in that that we see in Adam. And then he's going to say there was even a failure of Adam in his passivity that I think kind of opened the door for Eve to become a sinner and a transgressor that brought sin into the world. But he's anchoring this stuff in creation. And he's going to say, hey, because men are first, Adam is first, there is a quietness when it comes to the headship role in a church, maybe even just like in a family in Ephesians 5, that comes with men. Now, one of the things we've got to say is this that I forgot to say.

This is interesting to me. Two thousand years ago, the scandal of this passage would have not been that women were to remain quiet. The scandal would have been that women were to learn. You understand? It's like that would have been the scandal then.

The scandal now has kind of changed, right? But I think Paul maybe in even being able to see what the objection would be, he roots this stuff in creation. And he said, when God began to form humanity, he formed Adam first.

And there is headship and leadership that is supposed to be there. Now, look, this ain't this. This is not the sermon for this.

I could go way down this road. OK, because the reality is maybe the problems that we see in our world today are because God has created men to lead and lead others to flourish in the sphere that he has given you. And many of us either do not step up to the plate or because of the cultural moment that we're in, we have acquiesced. And we have just decided that that's not a category anymore, even though it's God given to you.

And when it's God given to you, you can't just wish it away. OK. This is what is one of the most ironic things in our culture today. We will decry the failures of men. We will talk about fatherlessness all day long. We will talk about how there is a disproportionate amount of men.

I mean, by far, that commit violent crime. We will talk about gang violence. We will talk about all of this stuff. And we will say failure for male leadership. And in the next breath, we will reject the category altogether. We will act like it's not even a thing. How can we not see as a culture that it is the rejection of the category that leads to the failures? It is the embracing of the category in a God godly way that will help us to begin to reverse some of these things.

But this is a little bit of a different sermon. OK. What we end up seeing here, though, he says, hey, Adam was formed first. What? There is there is a headship there. There is something that he's he's rooting there now.

And we see the problems of this when men fail to leave. What was Adam's number one job? Adam, you had one job. Protect the garden. You know what I mean? Like, man, make sure it flourishes. Make sure.

And you're passive in that. And here comes Satan and he convinces Eve and and all of this. And now what happens? Man, sin comes into the world. And what does the Bible say in Genesis chapter three?

Very clear, plain as day, that one of the one of the after kind of effects of the curse is that a woman would grasp for the authority of her husband. That one of the angst that we see in a family is that a woman would try to grasp and reach over and grab for the authority that God has given because Adam was first. Now, it's listen, this thing is all a metaphor, family, and it's all rooted in creation. What is he saying here? I think he's saying this whole concept, if you go back, this whole concept of yet she will be saved through childbearing and all this kind of stuff.

I think it's all rooting back to Genesis three. And I think what he's getting at is, and you see this later, I don't have time to go through this, you can go back and read on your own. First Timothy chapter five, what you see is there are women that are in this particular church, in Timothy's church, and because they have found this new freedom in the gospel, and these are women that are not married, they are going from house to house, they're stirring up trouble, they are reaching and grasping over the authority of the elders in the church by undermining and undercutting their leadership. And Paul is saying, man, they need to stop.

They need to stop doing that. And actually, in First Timothy chapter five, you know what he says? He says, man, they might ought to get married and start devoting time to their children and raising them up. I think there's a practical thing that he's getting at here. I think the practical thing about this whole childbearing and they'll be saved in that is in the home we have a mission. I think about in our home, my wife has been so faithful in our home because we have four children, and if you've got four children, you have four unbelievers before you ever have four believers. Right? And that's kind of where we're at.

We've seen two of them come off the board, so to speak, okay? And she's continued to pour in. And I think what the Bible's getting at is there's a very practical, man, I want to be missional in my home that kind of saves us in a sense. It keeps these women in Timothy's church from going from house to house because they have a mission field right in front of them. I think that's a practical application of what he's saying, but guys, the non-practical, totally crazy theological, this is Paul, is he's going back to Genesis 3, and he's saying, yeah, that women are saved in childbearing, meaning from the seed of a woman would come the Savior. From the seed of a woman would come the serpent crusher himself.

Man, if it was not for women who were willing to bear and labor in childbearing, there would be no hope for the world because we never would have got Jesus. And I think that's kind of what he's getting at here. Now, let's move on to 1 Timothy chapter 3, okay?

So we're kind of just building this out, right? The whole reason I camped on that, remember the teaching or exercising authority, kind of a definition of an elder and a pastor, that's the one thing that is taken off the board and says, guys, you need to pursue this. Men in the church, this is your responsibility. Now, he begins to build that out more, 1 Timothy 3, starting in verse 1.

The saying is trustworthy. If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore, an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well with all dignity, keeping his children submissive. For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into condemnation of the devil.

Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders so that he may not fall into disgrace, into the snare of the devil. Now, I can't go through all of the character qualifications here, okay? I mean, we could do that. We'd have to do a different class for that.

We could just talk about every single one of them. I do want to say this. Man, there is no elder on the planet that could do this perfectly, all right?

There's not one. But there is a spirit, I think, in eldership and pastors that should be like, man, they're known. We understand where the touchy points are here. People know that.

Man, they're growing in that, okay? And so this is kind of a character thing. But before I get into much of that, let me just kind of talk to you about the office of elder, all right? Elders are ones who function in oversight and shepherding. You will see in the Bible that the word pastor and elder, sometimes the word overseer, those things can be interchanged.

So we see this in Titus chapter 1, for example, or Acts chapter 20, verse 28. You'll see kind of an interchanging of some of these words around. At Mercy Hill, you'll hear us kind of interchange. We don't say overseer much. We'll say pastor and we'll say elder sometimes.

They mean the same thing, okay? A lot of times we'll say elder more because that's actually just by way of how many times it shows up in the Bible, it comes up a lot more, okay? So we'll talk about elder. Now, elder, another thing about elder is in the Bible, most of the time elders is plural. So this whole idea of like there's a man of God and he's the one and he's leading the church and what he says goes.

That ain't the right, that's not where we're going, okay? Like nobody has that much authority. It's supposed to be the elders of the church that come in and they provide oversight for the church. This is how God orders his church. This is the house rules of the church.

It is for our good. God is giving us elders in a church that they might lead out oversight, men hear from the Lord, informed by the word, kind of figured out where are we going, what's the next season. They're overseeing the discipleship ministries of the church.

This is what that pastor-elder office is doing in our church. Now let me just say this, okay? Because I know, I don't know if this is kind of coming up yet. It's going to come up, all right? But some of us in this very sermon, this is going to be the one where we get to choose if God is going to be Lord or if we're really the Lord. Lord means boss, that's how you spell Lord, okay?

B-O-S-S, that's how you spell it. And some of us, this is the sermon where we've got to figure out, man, is God good in what he has given us? Or is God holding out on us and he set this whole thing up for some other nefarious reason?

Or am I going to lean in and trust what God says is good? I told this story before, but very clear in my mind, was one time I was probably 21 years old. I was leading out on a mission trip in Montana and I had the opportunity to be the one who was leading out in a big block party, okay? I'm talking face painting, bounce houses, you know, the whole deal. And part of the block party was, and it was crazy, man, I was over my head. The generators kept falling, kept going out, then the whole bounce house was collapsing and we're pulling 20 kids out before they'd suffocate and all this stuff, okay?

And so we're trying to get all this. Well, every time, I'm running around crazy, every time I run around, I run by the snow cone machine table. And this ain't like an industrial snow cone machine, okay? This is Mr. Happy's snow cone machine from Kmart or whatever.

That's what this is. And these two sweet little old ladies from my church, every time I run by, they're going, Andrew, the snow cone machine is jammed, the snow cone machine is jammed. And I'm like, okay, so finally I get a minute to myself and I finally look over there and I watch what they're doing. They've got the biggest blocks of ice and they are jamming them in the snow cone machine and just elbowing them down like this, okay? And they're just like jamming it into the machine. And I go running over there, I'm like, I'm like, stop, stop, stop, unplug it. I was like, I mean, it was already jammed again.

I was like, that's, I said, guys, this is not, this isn't going to do this. And so we're looking at the thing and there's this big old block of ice that's jammed in there. And we're like, well, what can we do? Well, we can go get a bunch of hot water and try to, but by this time we got like five or seven little kids that are holding their snow cone.

They're all lining up, you know, they're giving me the eyes and everything. And so I was like, well, the other option is I can stick my finger down in there and dislodge the ice and pull it out. And so, you know, we went for that option. So I go down, I go down. All right. And I, and I dislodge that ice. And for whatever reason, that thing had one more spin in it and it just cut my fingernail right off. Just cut it straight off.

I mean, I come up now we're serving cherry snow cones. Okay. It was crazy. All right. You got to ask Anna about the story. I told the story bunch. People are like, she literally passed out. Okay.

Anna did when she saw, I mean, it was like, it was nasty. All right. And I think about that. The reason that I remember that story is this. Right as my fingers are going in the thing, there's a little sign that says, do not put fingers inside snow cone machine. And it's like, you know, at that moment, you got it. You got to make a decision, right? Like, hey, did the CEOs of Mr.

Happy Snow Cone Machine put that on there? Because they know it's awesome, you know, and they know, like, if you stick your hand in there, it's the funnest thing in the world and there's puppies and it's awesome. You know, or is it like, man, they don't want some idiot, you know, to get over his head and not make it. Why does why does God give us warnings and rules? Why does God give us an ordering of his church? This for some of us in here today, for some of us on our campuses, this is one of those things. We are going to be pushed today to think to ourselves. I don't like the way the church is ordered.

I wish it was a democracy. That seems fair. Some of us are going to say, man, I don't I don't like this idea at all of like, man, there is, you know, there's this concept of men leading in this way that women are not supposed to lead in that particular way. And I don't like that. And because of that, I'm just going to take my Bible and kind of cut some of the pages out. I'm going to decide what God really thinks. And in that moment, we become the boss of our life. We become the Lord.

They're Christian. There will be times. There are times in my life. There will be times in your life when you got to go up against the word, wrestle it to the mat and allow it to win.

That's what it means that God is boss. And for some of us, we're going to make that decision today. And maybe this will be the boiling point, so to speak. I think about some of our college students. High point.

I think about some of our college students at Clifton. It's like maybe this will be the boiling point that brings you to that place where you're like, man, which way am I going to go here? Am I going to trust what the word says? Here's what the word is saying. This whole thing is a metaphor family. OK, I don't know if you ever heard that before.

This thing has fallen open to me. I think it's exactly that. I think the elders are set up as husbands and dads. I think deacons in the church are set up as wives to lead the family.

OK. And not just men and women. That can get a little bit weird when it comes to deacons. I'm just saying I think that's kind of the metaphor for household of God here. And this is how we we flourish. So let's look at elders and let's look at deacons and let's talk about us.

All right. Elders are called men of character. They function like husbands and dads.

That's what they are supposed to do. They are called men of character. The first thing is that I said, they're called men in the church.

All right. So let's talk about men and we'll talk about character. They are men in the church.

This is a beautiful thing. This is called complementarian theology, just so you know. And complementarianism means that God has created men and women absolutely equal in His sight. Dignity, worth, value, giftings, you know, impact in the church, all absolutely equal. But equal does not mean same.

You can be different and be equal. And so what we have is God has set up the church in a complementarian way. There are roles that a man assumes, just like in the family.

All right. There's a role of headship that a man assumes in a family. There is that role in the church with eldership. The flip side of this is would be another theological thing called egalitarianism. OK. And the funny thing about egalitarianism is in trying to promote women, it actually begins to erase the category. And that's what feminism does a lot of times, too.

All right. And so what you end up having is you have something that's trying to like promote. But in actuality, you're usurping what God has said. You're not going to make it more beautiful than God has made it.

You're not going to be able to outdo it. The beautiful thing about complementarianism is that complementarianism itself, by definition, is an argument for women's inclusion in the ministry. Complementarianism means this. There are things that we miss out on in the church if we both don't come to the table. Egalitarianism, by definition, is saying, well, there's no difference at all. So really, one of us could be eliminated.

One of us could not even be there. And that's not what God has. God has too much beauty in the way that he has called us in the family to interact with one another and in the church to interact with one another. No, the Bible points to a full-bodied humanity, including both men and women, equal in value and before God, equal in contribution and service to God. But they are different in the roles that they have. And that is why, in some ways, just like in the family there are roles, there is a role in the church where men are called to eld, to pastor, okay? To lead in this way. Now, it also says that there to be men, I would say men of character, right?

There was a list that long of all the character qualifications. And I'm not going to go back and preach on every single one of these, but I do want to say this. Y'all, when it comes to a church selecting elders, and we do this, man.

We come before the church, we put the elders out and say, hey, these are the guys that are stepping up to the plate next. You need to come and talk to the current elders if there's a reason that these men shouldn't serve. If there's some reason that they shouldn't serve, we need to know that. Why?

Because character is king when it comes to this stuff. I am all for boundaries. I am all for accountability. Man, we have that. I have that here. We have lay people that have that, you know, our directional elder board. They speak into my life.

They can ask me anything they want to. I'm all for that. We need that. But accountability and boundaries will not trump character. We have got to look in and we've got to see the character of these men who are leading. And I'm talking to elders here. I'm talking to elders in our community group.

But you need to be praying for your elders. Let me tell you something. It is a tight line to walk.

There is a line. Some of us have seen, you've seen a different, you know, maybe you've seen an infamous podcast, even that's come out in the last year or so, about how an elder can, in strength, actually become bullying and domineering. And you see kind of churches and, you know, you see this kind of, man, man, churches can end up falling and disintegrating because of the character of its elders.

You know why it's a tight rope to walk, though? The flip side of that is, in being so afraid to be strong, you end up becoming groveling and weak. And then you've got a group of elders who are not, who are too afraid to call a spade a spade, or to call out someone's sin, or to preach the truth from the plain word. So it's like, man, what we need is prayer, you know, for the elders of this church to walk that line and to model what it means to be a godly man and to model what it means to lead in this way.

You know, leaders are models. One of the things I think we can ask is this, of the elders of our church. Man, if we all imitated our elders, what kind of church would we be? That's a good question to ask, right?

And that's a question that I think comes from some of the character stuff that we see here. Elders oversee. They shepherd the flock. Guys, at Mercy Hill, we have five directional elders. They're the highest decision-making body in our church.

I am one of those. Another one of our pastors on staff is one of those. And then three lay guys in their 50s and 60s that have walked with the Lord for a long time, raised families. Many of them will have grandkids, have been in the business world, have learned, have learned how to walk with Jesus in a lot of different ways.

That's that group of five. Our role and that board of elders is to oversee high-level decisions that the church is making in direction and vision and those types of things. Hey, but then there's 26 other elders that are shepherding elders. They oversee our group's ministry. Man, they help train our group leaders. They check in on groups. They make sure when there's pastoral issues that comes out of groups that we have pastors that are there to meet and to shepherd the flock. Man, they protect the sheep and they fight the wolves. And they pray monthly when we get together, man, for the flourishing of this church and for the body. That's our elders.

But doesn't end there, look, because there's more to the analogy, in my opinion. Deacons, likewise, must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience and let them also be tested first. Then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives, likewise, must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. Again, with the family analogy here, there are roles in the church, but they're not the same thing. They're different roles.

So you could say it like this, okay? Elders serve by leading. Deacons lead in serving, okay? So elders' service to the church is in their leading. But deacons serving in the church, actually, their service to the church, their leading in the church is their actual service. Now, I don't know what comes to your mind.

I've got to clear some stuff up here because I know my context, okay? I don't know what comes to your mind when you hear the word deacon. You may be thinking about a board of men that run around talking about about the pastor behind his back, okay? Or sit over him and kind of dictate to the pastor what he is supposed to do. That's the wrong picture of what deacons are, okay? And I'm going to tell you something. I'm normally kind of a live or let live kind of guy if it ain't about Mercy Hill.

I don't want to speak into a lot of churches, do a lot of things in a lot of different ways. I want to tell you something. That type of polity is why so many churches around us are dying.

And do you know why? I think it's rooted all the way back in Genesis 3. You've got a group of deacons that are grasping at the authority over an elder's head. They're trying to grab for something that God has not given them. Man, we have this so messed up, okay?

And so I'm not, that's all I'm going to say about it, all right? But for us, the picture that you need is not a board of guys that are grasping for authority over a pastor's head. The picture is, I want you to imagine the greatest waiter or waitress you ever had in your life. That's service. Okay, what does a waiter or waitress do? Our seminary professor that many of us went to, Danny Aiken, he said, he used to tell us in seminary, he's like, hey, everybody who wants to be a pastor when they're in seminary, they should go be a waiter at a restaurant for a couple of years and learn to serve. What does a waiter or waitress do?

You know what they do? They anticipate a need and meet it before it's even asked. They jump in, they lead the church to be a serving group of people. And that is what deacons are called to do. They are called to come in, and we see that, listen, Acts chapter 6 is the greatest. The funny thing about deacons is, unlike elders, the Bible don't give you a real clear picture of exactly what they're supposed to do. It gives you what their name is, and I think it gives you who they are, I'm going to get into that.

But it don't tell you exactly. The clearest picture we have is in Acts 6, when the pastors kind of give them a charge to help set up the serving of the widows. And executing on a task in order to help the vision of the church continue to flourish and the elders to be freed up for the ministry of prayer and for the word. Now, I got to tell you this. This word deacon is very funny. It's a very funny word.

And you say, why is that? Well, how many other words in your Bible are transliterated? That word deacon just means servant.

That's all that it means. That exact word that I just read occurs 29 other times in the New Testament, and almost all of them, it just means servant. And somebody, when they translated the Bible, they were like, oh, that's a Greek word, and we don't speak Greek.

We speak English. So I'm going to take that word, diakonit, I'm going to take that word deacon, okay, and I'm going to move it into the English, and I'm going to write servant or minister or something like that. A few times, this is one of them. And actually, the word in different forms shows up like 100 times in the Bible, okay? So a few times, somebody somewhere along the way decided, well, we're not going to translate it this time.

Why? We're not going to translate it. We're going to use it, and you know what, it becomes confusing because it becomes an office of the church. And look, I'm not saying it's not, and I'm not actually, I think there's a lot of room for debate on this, but what I will say is I think there is a confusion of what servants of the church, leaders in serving, are supposed to do, maybe because that word ends up not being translated like all the rest of the words are in our Bible, okay?

And it kind of throws us off track. What we need to see here is that deacons are leaders in serving. Elders serve by leading, deacons lead by serving. And so I'm going to say at Mercy Hill, this is what's funny, okay? At Mercy Hill, some of you are like, wait, leaders in serving, you're thinking to yourself, wait, I lead a kids' classroom. Or you're thinking, maybe I lead a group, or I lead a setup team, or a teardown team. Nobody told me I was a deacon.

Congratulations, okay? This is your opportunity to understand. Well, it's not that you're a deacon, it's that you're a leading servant.

That's what the word means, okay? You are a servant of the church, and you're not just serving. Every one of us, I do think that the word deacon being transliterated is good in this regard. Every one of us should be serving the church. Not all of us are leading in serving. Some of us are plugging into serving.

Others of us have a team, and you're leading out in serving. Now, I know the next question that comes to mind is like, well, wait a minute. This said, husbands of one wife, or it said in verse 11, like look, it said, their wives likewise must be dignified, not slandered, sober-minded, faithful in all things. I got to tell you, preacher, this is plain as day. Actually, it's not.

It's really not. If you get into the Greek, this word says their wives. You know what word actually isn't there?

The word there. So that's not what it says. If you get in Greek, it doesn't say their wives. It says wives. Oh, well, that's still pretty plain as day. Like, this is just talking about the men of the church that are deacons, their wives.

Actually, it's not that plain. You know why? Because that word wives in Greek other times in 1 Timothy chapter 2 is translated as the word women. It's just women. 1 Timothy 2, 9 through 12, same exact word, is translated as women.

And then it's also funny. Why would there be rules around the wives of the deacons, but nobody said anything about the wives of the elders? What sense does that make? Further than that, you have clear examples in the scriptures of people like Lydia and Dorcas or Phoebe in Romans 16. The word literally says in Romans 16 that Phoebe is a servant of the church or a deaconess in Greek. So I think for us, what we've got to realize here is this idea, man, that the eldership of the church is something that God has said, hey, this is something that men are supposed to step into, called men of character.

But I believe the plain teaching of the scripture, when you actually get into the wooden translation of the Greek and then you begin to understand the different examples that are there, is that this whole concept of deacons, we need to rethink it and just say there are leading servants in our church that give themselves away in so many different areas, and we are so grateful they help us to execute the vision of the church that is set out by the elders. Application point, I'm way out of time, all right? Join the family and love the family.

This is the application that I want to give this weekend, okay? Join the family and love the family. Jesus loves the family. Jesus loves the church. It is God's household. I want you to love it.

I want you to join it. Jesus Christ had every single qualification of the elders that I mentioned here. He never sinned one time, and yet He gave Himself on a cross for us. Hey, did any of you all have a moment today at our campuses or here when I was like, I can't believe it, I felt like I was going to cry. We finally did communion without having to tear the little top off the thing. Can you believe it?

I mean, we're finally there, you know, finally. What's communion all about? Man, we already took communion earlier, right? Man, the blood of Christ, the body of Christ, it is broken. You want to talk about a leading servant. Oh, my, Jesus served to the point of death.

He laid His life all the way down. Man, He loves the church. He wants you to be in the church. He has given Himself so that you could be, and our sin was separated from God. But Jesus Christ has laid His life down for us to come into the church. Is there a gift in your life from God that you are neglecting? And that is your place in God's house. Man, God's house rules.

He's organized it in a certain way for His glory and for our good. Are you jumping in? Are you jumping all the way in? You know, I've met a couple different people this week in the community. This happens to me sometimes, okay? Maybe you can relate to this, but people will see me and I can see the look. It's like they know me, but I have no idea who they are, okay? Like they've seen me, you know, on their thing or whatever. I met a couple different people this week in the community that are like, hey, I've seen you. And then they said, I've seen you on the internet. They're like, I've seen you.

I've watched you on YouTube. And I was like, man, that, you know, I told them, I'm like, hey, YouTube is a window so that you won't be so scared of coming in. Like that's what it's about. It's about coming all the way in. Some of you might be watching this online right now. The whole reason we do online anything is that you will come in. It's not to build some platform.

We would just cut it off. It's so that people will come in. And so that our church, whenever you miss, you'll have an opportunity to stay up with your faith community. I understand that.

But that's the idea. Are we coming all the way in? I pray that you will.

You have an opportunity to do that. It's called The Weekender, if you haven't heard. We're really good at marketing.

That's what Jim said in his video, okay? So The Weekender, right? And man, it's this week, hey, September 23rd and 25th, guys, this is an opportunity. We are bustling with new people at our church right now. I've seen seasons like this in our church's history.

Man, hundreds of people are brand new. If you're on the sideline, God has set up the church, the elders to lead, the servants to lead you in serving. There is a place for you here. And it is time for you to jump off the sideline and into the game. And the way that you do that is by jumping into The Weekender and hearing what we have going on. Hey, but for others of you, and I'll end with this, man, for the others of you, listen, you are in and I wanna call you in this message.

What should you do with this? Like, okay, great, I just took a, you know, it's like in high school, you just took the government class. Now I know how it all works. Well, I think what we're supposed to see in this is that God really loves the church and he loves you being in the church and he set the church up to be ordered in a certain way.

And he really wants you to love it. And I think we have an opportunity to love the church. Man, do you love the way that it is set up? Do we speak in hushed tones? We don't have to do that.

I mean, there's no reason. The next time somebody begins to engage you on the theology of your old school church, man, why not show them the beauty of what it looks like for a church that serves each other well and cares for each other and has leaders that would lay down their life for the flock that aren't just beating their chest because they're at the top, but are like, man, I'm like the shepherd. There's elders that are like a shepherd that would lay their life down. Why don't you try to show somebody the beauty of that rather than us being, let's love the church.

Let's love it the way God made it. Let's not be scared of talking to people about it, others of us. Man, maybe you went to the weekend or a long time ago, but you're not meaningfully involved. Listen, there are elders who are shepherding your souls. There are leading servants in this church that have teams.

They want you on them. Man, let's jump all the way in. The last thing I would say is this. Man, as God has ordered the church to flourish, if we can stay faithful to that, I believe that we will flourish. And as we flourish, man, we're gonna see a great movement. I wanna call you one more time to be at the vision nights that we have coming up at all the different campuses, okay? Man, they're starting this weekend.

They're running all the way through September. And I know if you haven't made plans, hey, leaders, if you haven't made plans for your group to be there, man, let's pack these things out and talk about what God is gonna do over the next 10 years. Let's pray. Father, we come before you right now, and Lord, we ask that you will move in our church and give us a love for the church. Give us a love for the way that you have ordered the family, a love for the way that you have ordered the church. I pray that some people in this message or at our campuses hearing this, God, I pray that they would make a decision to follow you as Lord today. They would wrestle you to the mat, that they would see that you have won and it's for their good and your glory. God, do these things in us in Christ's name we pray, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-24 12:49:48 / 2023-02-24 13:12:19 / 23

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