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Raising the Bar, Part 1 - Titus 1:6

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
April 15, 2020 1:00 am

Raising the Bar, Part 1 - Titus 1:6

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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April 15, 2020 1:00 am

What does a man of integrity look like? How does he think, speak, and act both in the public eye and behind closed doors? In this convicting message, Stephen deals with that question as he expounds Paul's command to Titus to find men who are "above reproach."

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The elder while not having attained to godly perfection and no one in the church will until the day of Jesus Christ. But he is committed to demonstrating a godly pattern is willing to submit his life, his activity, his interests, his duty to the list provided to Titus and Timothy for the sake of providing a pattern in living no elder can claim flawless perfection, but he can pursue faithful progress are not. If that were the standard there would be no leaders at all. But church leaders must be constantly progressing in their walk with Christ in pursuing godliness each day. Let's be honest, the problem in most churches is not that the standard for leaders is too high. The problem in most churches is that the standard is too low. Paul clarified for us what should be expected of church leaders and were looking at what Paul wrote in this series called the shepherd's mantle. This is wisdom for the heart. Today Stephen Davey concludes his exposition from the book of Titus with this lesson called raising the bar church leader by the name of Jerome wrote a letter to a younger elder in the church.

In his letter was dated 8394 and in that letter, he bemoaned the lack of qualified leadership in the church is not a new problem. By the way, in his letter he went on to include some rather scathing comments reserved for particular his generation of church leaders and he said, seem more interested in the beauty of the cathedral that in the character of the leader. He wrote and I quote many build churches nowadays there are walls and pillars of glowing marble their ceilings, glittering with gold, and their altars started with Jules yet to the choice of Christ's ministers in the church know he'd is given the appointments for leadership were given to the wealthy and well-connected. The charismatic winsome leader rather than to the nature and character of the one appointed which is all the more tragic when you think of the church is grappled with the certainly since the early centuries. When you consider the role of the elder. The owner is the under shepherd of Jesus Christ who is the chief Shepherd of the church, both local and universal Jesus Christ has literally entrusted into the into the care of men.

His dearest and most costly, most precious possession his bride, the church redeemed by his own blind to how precious are you a priceless are you men who lead in the church are literally shepherding the bride of Christ, who happens to be on her way to the marriage supper of the Lamb were simply given the care depth to shepherd the past York to feed the guy to protect her. Along the way.

She's handed off his word to Christ.

Her bridegroom was in the more value we place on the body of Christ, the more value we will place on the leadership of the body of Christ we can you imagine any mother or father just going out and and then getting some random guy off the street and saying, look for 20 bucks an hour would you come to our house to watch our kids. We like to get away for a little while.

We don't care who you are. We don't care what you going to be like her and her kids. We we really don't care what you're like we just need a break. 20 bucks an hour okay well that tell you that would inform you of how low the level has been placed upon the lives of those children see the higher the value the greater the concern for those we entrust with that priceless possession come over to babysit back in the early days are twin sons were about a year old you thought Europe that Jones on the 20 bucks and are being is about two dollars an hour. Back then. They deserve more. Trust me, you would be there because my wife trusted you knew something about you, but you'd still discover when you got there that she'd have the whole evening mapped out for you when bathtime was then after bathtime with what they would drink it makes it no little chairs and they drank that that that more likely another sippy cups.

You know the perfect blend of juicing and Benadryl of just teasing you had that you and your growing up and and and then after that, you know that there there be storytime and by the way, this is the book to read from. And then after that is bedtime and this boy gets his little white blanket and that boy gets his little green blanket in this boy gets very beaver and that boy gets Michael monkey. Whatever you do don't mix those up the entire evening would be mapped out for the babysitter as my wife and taken months and months of hard work to get those boys on a schedule and she wasn't about to let her get ruined in one night of riotous living is more to it than that. Of course, these are our precious children and were not going to hand them off to anybody, just anybody to do just anything they well please wanted do you think God cares any less about his children, then we do our God also desires to entrust his precious children to those who will love the flock and warned the flock and guide the flock and guard the flock and teach the flog literally those who are willing to lay down their lives for the good of the flock. Those who are willing to embrace the negatives. The difficulties in the challenges along with the joys and delights of guarding and guiding the flock effect is interesting when when the Christ told the church to follow their leaders. There's an interesting text where a nuance of leadership comes out that much like parenting comes to the surface, the writer of Hebrews instructs the believers in Hebrews 1372, obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch. They keep watch over your souls. The word translated keep watch literally refers to someone going without sleep.

Going without sleep.

One loving mother or father hasn't lost sleep over the care of their little child, or concern over an older child losing sleep is tantamount to being a parent you never get past that.

The older I get, the more realism to be apparent for the rest of my life, and there can be children for the rest of their lives. There is that concern that's built in about you, but I've always had a hard time falling asleep when my children were still out at night or two daughters were the last to leave the nest like our last child.

Her youngest daughter started college in the fall, and she will be gone and she knows, perhaps more than all the others. Poor thing.

Saturday night's curfew. Just about any other night because she's safely home. I have a hard time falling asleep and I really need sleep on Saturday night because Sunday's coming. And it's the only day I work I need some sleep like we were texting last night.

She kindly became a little earlier than normal. My parents especially older children have stayed awake at night praying not only for their physical needs, but there spiritual needs and spiritual well-being of your children. That's the role of a loving, caring, spiritually minded parent. It's as if God is saying. I want that for my children to. Why would he want anything less. I want to entrust my children to leaders who are willing to lose sleep over them the care that much that bliss. And that's how much God values you because he just sort of backs up the truck for anybody who thinks they want to leave and he says okay if you do that then peers who you have to be and here's what you gotta do, so it should come as no surprise then to us that God delivers the church a list of some 20+ standards for those who will lead those entrusted with the charge of his children unless somebody is just adamantly opposed, and obviously suppressing of the obvious truths of God's word is pretty clear to the Bible through the God isn't about to entrust the well-being of his church to just anybody to do what ever they good and well. Please do now in our last session we discussed the biblical roles of the elder pastor Bishop.

Those three terms used interchangeably, the same man same office, same body of men. We talked about the role of guarding and guiding and protecting and leaving and feeding. That's what he does, among other things, is a loving, caring spiritually by the shepherd. That's what he does but now were told and were given all a lot more information that I what he does but who he is there to lists in the New Testament about this kind of individual. The first list is first Timothy chapter 3 the parallel passage and that's the longer list and will deal with that.

We get there.

One day, Lord willing to do the shorter list, which is in Titus chapter 1, which basically repeats much of most of what Timothy read from the hand of Paul about the same time to turn to the list of qualifications is porous than the Titus was pick up where we left off in verse five of chapter 1. For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe not accused of dissipation or rebellion for the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teachings of that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict me to get to the end of a list like that in every church leader feel something stirring in his soul. That sounds something like I resigned. Who is this going to begin to approach effective you compare this list with first Timothy you come up with 23 standards were qualifications and if you include aspiration if any man aspires if you consider that equally at a a qualification which are which I do here at 24 who can possibly meet these standards, especially when the very first qualification so clearly says above reproach in it and by the way, shows up that way also in first Timothy three same order above reproach.

For those of you are considering the office.

Those of you with me serve you need to know that. I guess if if you start there you muzzle and their above reproach you need to read any further right with the word might be helpful for you to know the Paul uses here translated above reproach is a word that does not refer to perfection but to a pattern and elder like any member of the flock is a fallen sinner and sinners do what sin but here's the difference. The elder while not having attained to godly perfection and no one in the church will until the day of Jesus Christ.

But however here's the difference. He is committed to demonstrating a godly pattern and like he's willing to submit his life, his activity, his interests, his duties to the list provided to Titus and Timothy for the sake of providing a pattern in living no elder can claim a flawless perfection, but he can pursue faithful progression.

And here's the pattern of that kind of progression in Titus chapter 1, and you need to know that the words above reproach. Just sort of serve as a categorical heading is like. That's the summary statement and every qualification that follows his hand to that opening statement.

Everything is connected back to that is to be above reproach as it relates to his marriage, as it relates to his parenting as it relates to his character as a relates to his public and private lifestyle.

Here's the pattern. Here's what you pursue and why must the elder pursue this pattern because his life as a leader is then becoming a pattern for all who follow him and Jesus Christ takes that very seriously. Obviously, leadership is tantamount to influence leadership equals endorsement the very nature of leadership invites imitation anything that's that's wrong. That should be on no you don't.

New Testament certainly didn't discourage it. In fact, the New Testament not only acknowledges that truth it unashamedly encourages it. Paul wrote to the believers in Philippians 317 brethren join in following my example and not just me as an apostle notice and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us, not about you, but as a believer I love to see an older man, anatomy, all of the watch you and learn from him. That's just part of our God is set up. The church will find in chapter 2. Older women turn around and provide the pattern for younger women, older mentor and provide a pattern for younger men follow the pattern you have another text encourages the believer.

Hebrews 13 seven. Remember, those who led you who spoke the word of God to you and considering the result of their conduct imitate their faith.

The New Testament does, they don't imitate anybody. It says, in fact do that. The apostle Peter tells the elders to be an example 1st Peter five for literally a 2+ AA pattern type for the flock to follow. Paul wrote what seems to be an audacious comment if you grasp what he saying it isn't within the balance of the entire text for the rights of the Corinthian believers who were in desperate need of a model he says version is 11 verse one.

Be imitators of me as I imitate Christ. Paul didn't tell them to imitate him just because he was an apostle or a leader. He tells them to imitate him as he imitates Christ because you can't see Christ of Christ is given us leaders.

We can see them.

The reason you have this list here. Titus chapter 1 is you basically have a pattern put into print, which is nothing more or less than the character of Jesus Christ which we all pursue reason a leader must pursue this pattern of living is because he setting a standard for all those who follow him to pattern after him their own lives and their own conduct, and although we believe it must be nothing less than leading them to follow Jesus Christ we are imitators by nature. In the New Testament plays on that and encourages that all you have to do is look around the world and you know that imitation is part of human nature, right Madison Avenue is built up $1 billion plus industry and the fact that we all basically want to follow in. We just want we want to melt in and and and and we want to fit in. We are by nature copycat use that word reference to me or any of you, but you know what I mean. I read a couple of days ago.

In fact, this is on the news Ryan police were called to a mall in Orlando, Florida to try to control a mob.

The mom had gathered and they were waiting there were waiting to have a chance to buy Nike tennis shoes shoes were a limited edition going on sale at the moment the NBA All-Star game began. There also in Orlando and only then and when the shoes were gone. That was it. So people were gathering, waiting for the whistle and riot police were there. Keep control, see, these were the shoes worn by athletes. He looked up to because their models were them the wanted to wear them to is really nothing wrong with it, human nature, human want to be like people admire the New Testament knows that and then sets in this line men who will be patterned after with that though comes the downside the net people we admire may not be worth admiring imitation is not all bad. Just make sure the people we are imitating are worthy of imitation you have to battle that even with a Madison Avenue mentality today billions of dollars are spent by children under the age of 10, and the mentality of the marketing world goes after them we have reports now and enough debt data to know that it is that elementary school child that picks the kind of car there parents drive the kind of shoes they wear the kind of lunchbox they carry the pants and the shirts and the blouses and whatever on so trends are created and fads are established and then rotated around the keep the money for anything about those either were neckties. I see maybe three out there that still do okay those neckties over the years have gone really why and then really skinny and then really why in the really skinny and really, why in the really skinny. Why because we like variety now because the money needs to keep flowing is not bad.

We have to make sure were imitating something worth imitate no one or James the apostle said, listen, let me recommend to you in the body that not many of you become teachers.

Why, because you gonna incur a stricter judgment. Why, because your life will be multiplied potentially many times over in the lives of those who patterned who made decisions made allowances to determine their lifestyles after yours and for that reason.

Paul then begins with this qualification. Make sure the one leading is above reproach. This word does not denote sinless perfection or even a pristine past called in that one, but it does refer to a general assessment, one author wrote of a man's maturity and reputation.

I found it interesting in studying the grammar of this text that this is a compound record the first part means up in the second part means to call to call up literally, it has the idea of a man not only receiving a high calling answering a high calling, but also has the nuance of a high standard, high level of living higher pursuits which with incomes, limitations in allowances unique to this role came to my mind when I study the word was the idea of raising the bar at that high jumper who continually tries to excel higher and higher. That is the heart and the passion of the leader. It isn't what can I get away with what would be allowed, but how high can we raise the bar to call up can simply refer to raising the standard in ladies and gentlemen I know preaching to the choir, but in a world where the standard has all but disappeared for a lifestyle worth imitating.

It is more desperately needed than ever. Eugene Peterson writes these challenging words, there is little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture, we have celebrities but not saints.

If we look around for what it means to be a mature hole, blessed person will find much these people around but they're not easy to pick out no journalist interviews the talkshow features they do not set trends. No Oscars are given for integrity and at years end. When the list of the 10 best dressed or the 10 best looking is compiled. No one compiles a list of the 10 best live lives, our society today is devoid of models, neither the adventure of goodness nor the pursuit of righteousness gets headlines any. The question now isn't in the mind of Paul and even with this challenge, where the perfect people. But where are the people who live lives worthy of being patterned after where is the progression and a demonstration of that with commitment and passion. Let me tell you this beloved we we are the answer that is a church. The church is the answer to that question that our world is asking now like never before. How my supposed to live what's right what's wrong what's acceptable, what's not acceptable what's holy what's on the holy the church is the answer to that every Christian is to be an example fact, even the younger believers are implicitly challenge my part when he when he writes the young Timothy to be an example in speech and conduct in law in faith and purity for some of the four if the leaders of the church are be godly because they are being imitated, then that means the ones who are following them will have the same goal in mind we are all pursuing the character of Jesus Christ. We all have the calling we all must together raises the bar for the apostle Peter could write that every Christian needs to apply with all diligence is not writing the leaders in writing to the believer as well add to your faith moral excellence in the moral excellence knowledge and the knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness in your brotherly kindness love for these qualities are yours and are increasing the they render you neither useless nor on fruitful and you can just hear him, as he writes that just the bar being raised higher and higher. Every Christian is to be an example for everyone else. In fact, you're being watched. You may not know, and I don't mean by me being watched by someone. Some of you have many people were watching the beer leader out of the community and a lot of people are watching decisions you make choices. The lifestyle you chose the patterning themselves after staying every Christian is to set a godly holy example and certainly every Christian leader is to provide a demonstration of progression in this pattern within the Christian community. What an important reminder we need to have a high standard for ourselves as well. You're listening to wisdom for the heart with Stephen Devi were currently in a series from Titus chapter 1, entitled the shepherds mantle. Today's lesson called raising the bar is not done so.

Stephen will bring you the conclusion to this lesson tomorrow. We'd love to hear how the teaching you hear on wisdom for the heart is helping you in your walk with Christ. Please take a few minutes and write to us our email address is our mailing address is wisdom for the heart PO Box 37297 Raleigh, NC 27627 sure and like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel. However, it is that you want to interact with us, we'd enjoy hearing from you. Sure and join us tomorrow for the conclusion of today's lesson right here on wisdom

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