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January 24, 2021 7:00 am
Paul's letter to Timothy focused first on sound doctrine. Because it was foundational to the faith, but sound doctrine wasn't Paul's only consideration. The apostle was also concerned about those men who would be called to lead the fledgling church are welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.
After instructing Timothy on the importance of sound doctrine.
Paul encouraged his charge to seek out men in the church who could assume the positions of responsibility so the work of God might go forward.
Join Dr. Boyce as he examines the qualities in the roles of godly leadership from first Timothy chapter 3 it's been our privilege in these days to study first Timothy together as blog in which the apostle Paul now aging is passing on to his understudy Timothy some of the principles that God has given him for the strengthening building and continuation of the church important time for us to be looking at this book and as we study actually of already been blessed by its teaching. We saw when we began chapter 1 that Paul's first concern was for sound doctrine. We talked about that in a number of ways.
In contrast with false doctrine because they know that there were many false doctrine circulating van and if they were circulating land. They certainly are circulating now more in our time.
He talked about it in a personal way. Because after encouraging Timothy to remain strong in doctrine.
He goes on to show that this is the very doctrine that had produced his conversion because he was one who in his mistaken zeal for God gone about persecuting the church. He was a zealot.
He was fanatical in his opposition to the truth of the gospel and that this very gospel is very doctrine and the blonde who stood behind it reached him and saved him.
So is not commending you see for Timothy something that he hasn't found personally effective in his own life, then having done that, he goes on in the second chapter in the verses we looked at the last time to focus on the heart of this Dr. namely, that God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ in Christ is become the mediator through them alone. We have salvation all did make a mistake, however, and he doesn't want us to make the mistake either of thinking that the health of the church. All you need is sound doctrine. All is also concerned of the Bible as a whole is with people. Therefore, after having spoken in the first two chapters as he has about strong doctrine. He goes on in this chapter now to speak about strong leadership because the doctrine will start to make their way in the church through those whom God calls to particular forms of service.
So when we think about our church is an area which we want to concentrate as well. This matter leadership we have a certain ambiguity in America. However, about leadership, which we see on the national level but which also is something that seen in the church were very egalitarian society. We don't want to see anybody lead to vigorously and sometimes we protest that even on spiritual grounds. We say, well that is fleshly. We want to do is wait upon God. By all means we must wait upon God. But God does work through people. When we turn to the Scriptures and we study those whom God has been gracious enough to use we find not a collection of weaklings, no perhaps in themselves they were weak or even worse, imperialistic, we find a collection of strong leaders who, by the grace of God were enabled both by those characteristics given to them by God in the direction given to them by God to lead the people of God and difficult times.
Abraham was a leader of a political leader. He was the king not religious leader in the sense of being a prophet or priest. Certainly a leader. He was a patriarch. He took his people out of his family. He went out in the land and he was a strong figure and became by his faith. Father of the faithful Moses, one of the greatest leaders of all time.
Moses was raised in Egypt with all of the advantage of an Egyptian education and privilege. Some people have suggested as being the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter that was even the possibility that he might become one of the Pharaoh's lead stayed there. Perhaps today to be a pyramid in Egypt, marking Moses and Eddie turned his back on that identify with his people because he heard the call of God to that kind of leadership led his people through the wilderness for 40 years. They were very rebellious bunch. As you know, say it takes a strong person but a person of a certain type to do that alcohol is aware of that when he turns to Timothy and threw him to the churches that are under his care. He speaks in this book, particularly also in Titus as you know the concerns. Another area of the world and Titus at another area of responsibility, but he speaks here about leadership and encourages Timothy as he also encourages Titus to seek out in the churches. Those who are able to assume the positions of responsibility in order that the work of God might go forward and not be hindered in these verses that we come to deny chapter 3 verses 1 to 13. He talks about elders calls them overseers and deacons. The two main areas of leadership within the church.
Now he calls these noble task old King James version translates that a good work and he says if anybody sets his mind on one of these offices that is of anybody wants to be an elder of anybody wants to be a deacon is desiring a good work. I'm not sure why the translators of the new international version change that noble task. Usually they work for simplicity of language in good work is certainly a simpler language. The noble task, I suspect it was because of theological reasons we contrast faith and works in good works are not supposed to be that which we depend upon in order to be justified. We depend on faith instead and I suppose I thought that if they translated that if you desire to be an elder or deacon your desiring a good work the perhaps somebody would think they could be saved by being an elder or deacon. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to be saved from the elders of the deacons but that I suppose is what went through their mind and so they translated noble task, but either way you get the idea. Paul saying this is a good thing down on the elders don't look down on the deacons as a young man or young woman there that aspires to leadership in the church what their aspiring for his good butchery saying maybe that the aspiration itself is good grammar is actually leader that I don't think it excluded. I think it say that's a noble ambition are better to aspire to leadership in the church to leadership in politics that God may give you the gift to do that as well. I don't think you saying that here. I think he saying the task itself is good. The task is noble and poor is the church doesn't have a liberal sprinkling of those who can assume these positions of leadership.
He deals as you can see easily with the task of overseer first and the task of deacon. Second, let me begin with this matter of the diaconate because in a certain way. It's foundational to the other certainly is historically the early days of the church. When the deacons were first chosen in the office of deacon began, there were no elders in the church I went through the where the apostles. The apostles were functioning in the role of elders. We always had leaders in the church.
I don't mean to imply that the apostles, by virtue of the fact that Christ himself and selected them for that office and they had special gifts for that office really were not elders in the same sense that men were elected to the eldership later on. So in these early days when the first officers in the church were established selected and then commissioned to their task was not elders would deacons. I say that is an important truth and a foundational one because as you know the meaning of the word deacon's service or servant hood and all of these offices in the church are distinguished from most of those offices that prevail in the world by virtue of the fact that it is a servant type of leadership you know that the office of deacon is instituted the six chapter of acts and it's a very interesting passage to study because in a more general way.
It teaches us certain principles of Christian leadership.
It teaches us. For example, that there's to be a division of responsibility. Problem there was that the apostles in those days were doing everything because they were the only acknowledged leaders in the joblessness to big and so they said is not right for our energies to be divided.
This way we have our job to do. We have to get on with it. It's true that the other jobs are there and they're important what we need his people to do them. And so the deacons were elected for those particular responsibilities. Which of the deacons responsibilities is very important in the church. This division of responsibilities. I'm talking about elders and deacons here in this study because that's what Paul talks about that. There are many many different divisions of responsibility and leadership in the church to go beyond these we have learned to think that way, you say think the way God thinks about the way men think when we talk about leadership in the local church say however, because such a big subject, we could go on and on about it that when we are talking about this office of deacon were really talking about several areas of ministry to come under the responsibility of the deacons.
One is quite obviously a ministry of mercy, that is to help in financial and in other ways. Those who really have needs emphasize the mercy part is about a mercy and we follow God when we engage in ministries of mercy mercy bias definition is good favor service door. Those that don't deserve it and that's the quality of ministry that we should aspire to seek some of us think were very noble and were simply returning to somebody else what somebody's already done.you have elderly parents send their needy because they have not been able to work in their old age they don't quite enough to take care of them and you send a little bit of your money to take care of your parents that is not a ministry of mercy that I've taken care of you and bless you and provide for you and that's something you owe them who would even think about not doing that somebody wouldn't take care of their families worse than an infidel says in Scripture, we talk about mercy were talking about people have no claim upon us whatsoever. I think at that point we want to say especially that it extends not merely to the household of God, that is certainly a major responsibility of the deacons to the needy in all walks of life. Those who come by the doors of the church is those we have contact with in our neighborhood. Many, many, many different kinds see what motivates us and that kind of services the knowledge that we are the recipients of mercy we have any claim upon God. God have to save us God to send his son the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sin, not at all servant of God and not send his son of God, let us go to hell if God had not even looked in our direction are given us a second thought, God would be absolutely just, he didn't owe us something that we deserve nothing from God have received everything in Jesus Christ.
How can we fail to be merciful to those who have no claim upon us the truth, I do have a claim because they're part of humanity. We recognize some claim, even the area safe that operates me say to the deacons have a responsibility of evangelism because through the ministry of mercy. There are ample opportunities for evangelism just rounded out the also have, I believe the responsibility of training others in those tasks because leaders have this responsibility in these verses we also have the work of the elders described not so much the work but certainly in an indirect way through their qualifications. A suggestion of the work that also occurs elsewhere where Paul uses here is a word translated in the new international version overseer or in some other versions. Bishop is the Greek word Episcopal us now to know that in the Greek language are two different words that are used. I believe the same office are Episcopalian brother don't always take it that way.
They distinguish a bishop from what we call an elder. I think although you have those two words are actually the same office in Scripture and they are talking about different things.
Now the word for elder is the word press. Boras where we get our word Presbyterian Presbyterian from and Episcopal loss which is translated bishop is the word you get Episcopalian from those two words are symbolic of two different kinds of government that have developed in the church.
The Episcopal form of government which is a rule by bishops is the Episcopal awesome bishop are the same word assist when the Greek word went over into the English language. People couldn't always say Episcopal so well. So the simplest possible became shop and that's the way the word bishop gave about and on the other hand, you have a Presbyterian form of government which is ruled by elders which is literally what that word is Boras means the elders, not necessarily in age but certainly in terms of spiritual maturity watching the two of the same.
What Paul does is exchange the words as he talks about the leadership of the church and he saying you see that those who are to have oversight what the bishops do are to be those who are mature in the faith.
The elders in the faith that he saying that those who are the elders in the faith are to exercise this kind of spiritual rule.
Get a very good statement of what the elders are to do in Paul's farewell words to the Ephesian elders which we have recorded in the 20th chapter of acts is talking these man who you know came down from Ephesus to visit him in the port on his way to Jerusalem. He understood rightly that this would be the last time he would see them. Presumably it was because of his final words of encouragement and says this guard ourselves and all the flock, which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops, overseers, shepherds of the church of God which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave savage wolves will come in among you, and will not spare the flock, even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them so be on your guard what he challenges the elders of Ephesus within those verses is a twofold responsibility. One is oversight the very meaning of the word bishop Episcopal loss.
Let me just give you a breakdown of that Greek word because it will make it stick in your mind, and I think to have an illustration will make it stick their fiscal process 402 Greek words, Appa which means over and stop us or stop loss which means guard now overseer is one who is guard over something in the illustration I have. You can see any day when you go into the drugstore and buy some mouthwash is that there is a mouthwash available in the name of the mouthwash's scope or they get that word scope. Well, it's a Greek word, somebody in the company. I don't know what company it is a classical education, and he knew that word stop loss means guard and so he named his mouthwash stop loss because it has the guard over your breath to see now Paul says what the world is interested in guarding breath and what I want you to do is guard the flock. I want you to be as concerned about the people of God is overseers as the world is about to have halitosis.
Secondly, talks about teaching and the understand that from the context, because he's talking about false doctrines as false teachers are going to come in and he wants them to be on their guard.
What he means is he wants them to be on their guard against false teaching. So elders are to be exemplary in their teaching. You know all these qualifications of leadership that he gives here not only in first Timothy three, but also in Titus are more or less the same for the office of elder. The office of deacon, but there is one qualifications given for the office of elder. That is not given the office of deacon and that has to do with teaching you find here in verse two after he talked about them being above reproach, the husband of one wife, tempered self-control, respectable, hospitable, he says able to teach doesn't necessarily mean that all the elders must be orators certainly doesn't mean that all the elders must be preachers doesn't even mean that all the elders must teach Sunday school classes as mean by the ordination of God. They must have an aptitude for sharing the close of the word of God with the people of God be able to do that in such a way that they those in their charge might be guarded against the false doctrine which is prevalent in every age when the talks about that. He shows that's to be something that is not only done by knowledge lest we think that somehow what we need are intellectuals to be our elders, but rather to be done by holiness of life, so that those who not only know the truth of God would live the truths of God might demonstrate them for the people in the church, let me just conclude in this way. I think when we read over a passage like this in spite of the fact that Paul says those who desire such offices's desire good worker and noble task were inclined to say we have any humility in any sensitivity to the qualifications that are listed here. I better not take that up because if that's what's required. Who could possibly do that. How could one possibly be a leader in that way. Look what he saying self-control, temperament, respectable, hospitable, nonviolent gentle girls about a lover of money. It's only part of the market any of us do that answer is, of course, we cannot but there's one who not only can dig Lord Jesus Christ were called as his people to be his followers and emulates his attributes and in doing that become the kind of leaders of the people of God, the God desires asked the question, what is it that makes a good leader world will say all leaders a person that knows his own mind leader is a person that marches to his own drummer. A leader is a person that rises above the cries of the rabble and does what he himself in his own vision perceive us and God says that's on a leader in my book leader in my book good leader is one who is a good follower, a follower of Christ. And furthermore, lest we consider that ignoble. Let's remember the Lord Jesus Christ who is our leader made that same statement of himself. Why did he say he was a leader because he was a follower of his father. He said I've come down from heaven to this earth, not to do my will but the will of him who sent me. He said I do nothing about the father once. That's the noble task. That's the aspiration. May God give us many who desire that above all things. Let us pray. Our father was these words to our hearts. We read them and we are so inclined to say. Indeed, in ourselves, we must say, oh father, not maybe not us call someone else.
Something is awesome is that it is said to be good where to desire to lead in that way. So we pray that you would work in our hearts to make us more like Jesus, our leader, yet a follower. So grow grant our church by your grace might also be blessed in this way grow through the leadership of those whom you have given us for Jesus sake a manner error listening to the Bible study hours featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce Joy is a requisite of the Christian life and it's our privilege to spread that joy in a world filled with so much misery. If you'd like to know more about joy. We like to send you our free CD by Dr. Donald Ray Barnhouse entitled administration and compassionate care is free CD offer is our gift to you.
Call us at 1-800-488-1888 we be pleased to send you a copy of administration and compassionate care that number again 1-800-488-1888. Speaking of sound leadership. Dr. Boyce had a vision of keeping the sound interpretation and proclamation of God's word alive for future generations. You can help in preserving that important vision with your gift of any amount to the Bible study our you can make your donation by calling us at 1-800-488-1888, or you might visit us online at the Bible study our God award our US mailing address is 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601 and in Canada you can reach the Bible study our at PO Box 24097 RPO Josephine Northbay, ON P1B 0C7.
We look forward to hearing from you think and act biblically is Dr. Boyce's daily devotional that corresponds with the message you just heard on the Bible study our read and subscribe to think and act biblically at the Bible study our God award by Mark Daniels Isaiah speaks of the coming Messiah is the cornerstone, and Jesus speaks of himself as the foundation on a rock. Paul goes a step further. In his letter to Timothy and declares Christ's church to be a pillar of truth.
We know the importance of a strong foundation but what's the significance of a pillar.
Find out next time. Dr. James Boyce here on the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically than