Church Elders – Role, Work and Qualifications

Church Elders – Role, Work and Qualifications

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– All right, First Timothy for Beginners, lesson number five. The title of this lesson, The Role, Work, and the Qualification of Elders. First Timothy chapter
three, verses one to seven. Well now that Paul has
taught on the subject of the role of men and women in the church as they relate to each other
in the context of the church, he goes on to provide more information about the qualifications for those men who will provide leadership. So he establishes the idea
that spiritual leadership given to the men in the
context of the church, and now what kind of men
are going to be leaders? And this is what he is
going to talk about. He teaches that men, not women, are to aspire to spiritual
leadership in the church. And now he defines the
character of those few who will fulfill those
positions in the assembly. We know that God has
always provided leadership for His people, so it’s no
different for the church. Elders are those who lead in the church. And Paul will describe
which men can aspire to this role in the body of Christ. So the preacher or the
evangelist’s role is to recognize and develop potential
leaders in the church. That’s one of the tasks of the evangelist. This is why Paul is teaching
Timothy in this chapter. Not only why, but what he is
teaching him in his chapter. He wants to help and guide
Timothy in his search for and development of men
who will grow as leaders. Because that will be Timothy’s task. He’s going to have to find leaders. So he has to know, well
what am I looking for? So Paul begins by commending those who would seek leadership
roles in the church. He says it is a trustworthy statement. If any man aspires to
the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. So to have this desire
he says is a good thing. And the role itself is
a good thing to want. So many men, in my experience anyways, they feel unworthy and unprepared, too unspiritual to serve
as leaders in the church. Some of it is modesty, others
sometimes it’s reality. Paul addresses this issue immediately by stating that to
desire to serve this way is not necessarily motivated by pride. It’s a good thing if you have the feeling that you want to lead God’s people, that there’s a role there for you and you think you’d like
to tackle that role. That’s a good thing, he says. That word aspire means to reach out for. It seems that this, this if any man, you know what he says, if any man desires. This was a saying in the early church. Something like saying praise
the Lord was a saying. And Paul confirms that the saying is true. This idea that to aspire for
leadership is a good thing, that’s a true thing, that’s a good thing. So the first qualification of an elder is to desire to serve the Lord. If you have to be pressured, if you have to serve out of guilt, or you do it without conviction, you have to show that
you desire the thing. It’s okay to say well, should I go? I’ll wait and see if other people confirm that they see this in me. That’s okay. Modesty requires us to not
think too highly of ourselves. But you have to want to. And you have to want to because it’s a difficult thing to do. So there are three Greek words
that are used to describe a person and the role of a church leader. And all three words describe
the same person, the same role. It’s just different facets
of the man and his work. So one of the words is presbutoros. In English we transliterated that word to simply mean or simply
pronounce it as presbyter, or elder is another way of
translating that Greek word. And this word describes
the person himself. A person of maturity. It refers to a man of
age, of a certain age. Ones who are older than
others by comparison. Today if you’re 65,
well you’re not that old in comparison to others
in your group today. But if you were 65 years old
in the first century, yeah. Because the life expectancy was somewhere around 50 years old. So you had apples with
apples type thing, okay? It also refers, as I say, to one who is older than
others by comparison. For example, they used the
same word for the elder son in the parable of the
prodigal son, the elder son. They used that same word. Luke 15:25. It also indicates the office
or the position of elder. First Peter 5:5. So the context determines the meaning, whether it’s talking simply
about a man who is mature or a man who holds the office of
elder or presbyter in a church. The Jews also used the term presbutoros to describe the older men as
well as the office of elder in Judaism within the synagogue
or within the Sanhedrin. Same role was within the Jewish system. Matthew 16:21. The Gentiles used the word
to describe a position held within the government of a town. You had the elders, the city elders. It had no link to religion. It simply meant the older wiser men who were in charge of the city. So both Jews and Gentiles therefore were well aware of the
significance of this word in reference to a leadership position as well as the maturity
of the one who held it. So it was a common word. Everybody understood what it meant. Another word used to describe this role and this person, episkopos. Episkopos. In English, an overseer. Another way translated into English, a bishop, a superintendent, a guardian. All of these words translated into English from the Greek work episkopos. This term describes the work or the office which the elder exercises. However many times it refers to the person who does the work. It suggests authority. The authority to lead,
the authority to oversee, the authority to supervise or guard. First Timothy 3:1, Acts
20:28 uses this word. First Peter 2:25, Peter uses this term
in reference to Jesus. He says he is the guardian of your soul. Episkopos of your souls. In Philippians 1:1, Paul
demonstrates that this role of overseer or bishop
was a specific office in the church even at that time. And not just a leadership
quality of a certain man or certain men in the congregation. He writes to the church and he begins, to all the saints in Christ
Jesus who are in Philippi including the overseers and the deacons. So he specifies. Everybody in the church, all the saints, I’m writing to all of you. But specifically to the
overseers or the elders or the bishops or the superintend. There are many, many words always describing the same person. Another word, poimen. Poimen meant pastor or shepherd. This word describes the way that the man actually did his work. The word describes the
attitude that the leader has in his work with the
congregation under his care. In Matthew chapter nine verse 36 and Ephesians chapter four verse 11. Matthew nine, it is used of Christ. He is the good shepherd. Ephesians 4:11 uses the term
pastor, one who shepherds. A most familiar imagery for both Jews and Gentiles of the day. A shepherd caring, guarding his flock. So these were not kind of like obscure words just made up by the apostle. These were very common words that were circulating in that culture that were appropriated for specific
roles in the church. Note that all three words apply
and refer to the same person and the same office within the church. All English translations refer to the same person and the same role. The presbyter, for example. The word priest comes from this word. The term elder or overseer or bishop or superintendent or guardian
or shepherd or pastor. All of these words refer to the exact same person in the Bible. I’ll give you an example. A man can be a father, but can also be a son. He can be a brother, he can
be a husband, and a friend. And yet all of those words
refer to the same man. Well in the same way, all these words refer to
the same persons, okay? In the New Testament, this
person was always a man and always served in a group of two or more men for each congregation. If you went throughout the New Testament, or especially the book of Acts, but if you went through
Acts 14:23, 15:2, 15:23, Acts 20:17, 20:8, Philippians 1:1. On and on and on, every time they talk, every time the writers talk about elder, an elder in the church, make reference to elders,
it’s always plural. You know when Paul writes
in Philippians 1:1, he’s greeting the church. He didn’t say and the overseer,
he says and the overseers. Always plural. Well there’s a reason
why it’s always plural. Different churches, different situations. But when referring to the elders, it was always plural and not singular? Why? Because there was never just one. There were always two or more. It doesn’t actually teach that. It would be nice if you opened the Bible somewhere in Timothy and he says I command that there should always
be more than one elder. But the Bible doesn’t
teach us only in one way. Sometimes it teaches us by telling us or commanding thou shalt not kill, repent and be baptized, sometimes. Sometimes it teaches us
by example or inference. So what are we to conclude? If every time we read about the position of elder in the church,
every single time throughout the New Testament when we read about that, it’s always in the plural. Well I would conclude
that all the churches in the New Testament who had
elders had more than one. Okay? So there is a teaching by example. So to summarize a little bit about what he talked about in the last lesson and in what we are talking about tonight. In other words, in the New Testament, no church ever had a woman
as an elder or pastor and no church ever had only
one pastor or elder or bishop. They always had two or more men who would serve in the local congregation. Also, in the New Testament
there is never a bishop or pastor or elder put in charge of more than one congregation. The church that is talked about in the New Testament is not a pyramidic design. One guy on the top, two
or three beneath him, six or seven beneath that guy, 50 over here, and then a thousand. Eh. In the New Testament the church is always described as a local entity,
self-contained entity. That’s the New Testament style or design for the church of our Lord. So each congregation had its
own elders who led locally but had no authority beyond
their own congregations. How far we have gone away from that model. And how much trouble we
have gotten in because, I’m not saying we, but you look around in the world and the denominational world, how much trouble have churches gotten into because they didn’t follow this model. A good example of these
three words all being used in the same sentence is
Acts chapter 20 verse 28. He says be on guard for
yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit
has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. So in verse 17 of that same passage, it says that Paul sent for the presbutoros in verse 17 to come to see him. He sent for the elders,
plural, to come to see him. In verse 28, he tells, let me see, yeah in verse 28 he tells the episkopos, in other words the overseers,
bishops, or guardians, to poimen, to shepherd the
flock, which is the church. So the elders who are overseers should shepherd the flock. Same person, three different words. Mature men, elders, who
had the responsibility and authority, bishops,
overseer, guardians, to care for the church, shepherd, pastor. All right, so let’s talk about
the work of these leaders. And before we go on to the
following verses that describe the qualifications necessary
for church leaders, we need to examine their work. In this way, the qualifications
will make a lot more sense. So these are basic things,
basic principles here. First Timothy, but good to review. Seven tasks of the elder. Number one, to teach. To teach. First Timothy 3:2. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,
temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach. Paul says apt, meaning
skilled, at teaching. Skilled at giving and providing
instruction for others. Since the church grows by its knowledge of God’s word in theory and practice, this ability is extremely important. Second task, to protect. Acts, we ready already in verse 20:28, be on guard for yourselves
and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit
has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. So he says be on guard. An attitude of watchfulness
over the church, watches mainly over false doctrine and practices in the church. In Titus 1:9 it says there that
elders’ method of defense is to know the Word, like he
needs to know the Word himself, and maintain this doctrine
in the face of opposition. Able to refute false
teaching if necessary. In Hebrews 13:17, the writer refers to the elders or the leaders as watchmen. Because elders are responsible for souls. Their task and appointment is from God, so must be careful what they teach. Third task, lead. First Timothy 5:17. The elders who rule well, there is no way, there is no way to interpret this to mean that they are not in charge. I have heard people try to say well, elders, you know, they
cooperate with the congregation. They’re not really in charge. And I say really? Well let’s take a look
at First Timothy 5:17 and see if you can wrangle something else out of the elders who rule well are to be considered
worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard
at preaching and teaching. They stand before the
congregation not as kings, not that kind of leadership, not that kind of rulership,
but as shepherds. There is a difference there. In First Peter five, Peter says therefore I exhort the elders, there’s another plural
there, the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness
of the sufferings of Christ and a partaker also of the
glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according
to the will of God. And not for sordid gain,
but with eagerness, not yet as lording it over
those allotted to your charge, but providing, proving rather,
to be example to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the
unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise,
be subject to your elders. And all of you, clothe
yourselves with humility. All of you means you
younger men and you elders, clothe yourselves with
humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. So elders lead in Christ’s likeness. This means that their leadership is not only for budget matters, but they lead also in
holiness and sacrifice and service and mercy
and spiritual maturity. I mean how else does the flock learn and imitate these things unless there are some who will lead
them in these things? Number four task of church leaders, they minister to the sick. James 5:14, he says is
anyone sick among you? Or among you sick? Then he must call for the elders. Oh, there’s that plural again. He must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil
in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered
in the faith will restore the one who is sick and
the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins,
they will be forgiven him. So we are wanting our most mature spiritual members to pray and minister. And these should be
found among our elders. Now James 5:14,15 could mean two things. A prayer of faith can raise
up those who are sick. We have seen that with Marty, right? The church intently, and
especially our elders, were praying for him and he is well. So it could mean a prayer of
faith can raise up the ill. Also a prayer of faith
can strengthen someone who has been weakened
by the ravages of sin. Excuse me. So either meaning is possible
here based on the Greek words. We simply use the one that fits because both are true and can apply. For example in Acts 8:11,
24, Simon the sorcerer, he asked Peter to pray for
him because he had sinned. Peter was a leader. In Acts 28:8, there is
prayer and the laying on of hands done for those who were ill. A word about anointing with oil. It was a sacred custom among the Jews. Kings, for example, were
anointed at coronation. The term the Lord’s anointed one became synonymous with the term king. First Samuel 12. The Jews believed that
the anointing with oil carried with it a transfer
of some of the holiness and virtue of the Lord in whose
name the anointing was done. So it had a very spiritual connotation. They also thought that it imparted a special endowment of the Spirit. First Samuel chapter 16. This was in the Old Testament. In the same way as baptism, the anointing with oil was
effective because of the faith involved and not because the
oil or the water had any power. There’s no magic oil
or anything like that. Another task. And by the way, there are
still some that do it today. Just as a symbolic gesture, but there are some people that,
I don’t mean just the big, the trend today of using
all kinds of different oils. But I mean there are churches
where elders do use oil still as a way of encouraging
the person who is ill. Next one, five, shepherd the flock. Luke 15 he said, Jesus says. So he told them this parable,
saying what man among you, if he has a hundred sheep
and has lost one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open pasture and go after the one which
is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he
calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, rejoice with me, for I have
found my sheep which was lost! I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven
over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons
who need no repentance. So the church leader models
his role after Christ. He is the source of protection,
spiritual nourishment, guidance in the Christian
way to the congregation. The work of a shepherd are
what the qualifications in First Timothy chapter
3:2-7 fit him for. He is a shepherd, and
later one we’ll go over the qualifications that this shepherd should have in order to
qualify to be an elder. Number six, discipline. Let’s go to Titus for this. He says holding fast the faithful word, this person, this elder
holds fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to
refute those who contradict. For there are many
rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially
those of the circumcision, who must be silenced
because they are upsetting whole families, teaching
things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. So discipline means two
things or activities. One, to give teaching and
correction to one who is in error. What they are teaching is wrong. It’s not Biblical. And so they are being
disciplined in the sense of they are being taught the correct way. Or it can mean a rebuke or
an admonishment to someone who is disobedient or rebellious
or divisive in the church. In every congregation, in every family, there is always somebody who
needs to have the authority. Authority to protect against
internal attack and danger. And the elders in the church are the ones who serve this role. Who else? And then number seven, mature the saints. Mature the saints. Ephesians four, Paul says
and He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets,
and some as evangelists, some as pastors, whoops sorry, I had to point it out
again, plural, and teachers, for the equipping of the
saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ until we all attain
the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the
Son of God, to a mature man, to a measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no
longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by
every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by
craftiness in deceitful scheming, but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow in all aspects
into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together
by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working
of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. And so the elder’s role is
to help the church grow up and increase in its ability to imitate and serve Jesus Christ who
is the head of the church. When Christ comes, he will
complete the elder’s task of transforming the church
into what it was meant to be. The perfect body and
complement to Christ himself. For now, they provide spiritual leadership through teaching and
example and guide the church so its activities are in line with overall Biblical teaching and principles. I like to say the elders
are helping the church to prepare for the coming of Christ. They are getting the church ready for that by making sure that they remain, the church remains faithful
to Christ’s teaching, faithful to their confession of faith, faithful in their actions. Okay. Yeah, we need to move along. Qualifications he talks
about now in chapter three. The next verse, verse two. So we’re going to look at qualifications. He says an overseer then
must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,
temperate, prudent, respectful, hospital, able to teach. So let’s look at these
individually, shall we? An elder needs to be above reproach. So he begins with positive attributes. Now here above reproach
doesn’t mean sinless. It means a man who has made right, who has made right to
the best of his ability the things that are wrong in his life so that these matters cannot
be charged to him again. Yeah, I used to smoke
cigarettes, you know, when I was in my 20s,
but I quit way back then. I have made that right. Somebody couldn’t say hey, you know what? Your preacher smokes. Well what gives him the right to get up and tell people what to do? He was addicted to nicotine. Well yeah. Up to 1977 yes, but not since 1977. You know what I’m saying? So in the same way, above
reproach doesn’t mean you’ve never made a mistake, you’ve
never done something wrong. It means you’ve corrected what you can and you have moved on. You have grown up. Above reproach. Nobody has something
that can discredit you. The elder lives now in such a way that he will not cause shame on
himself or the church. The husband of one wife, yes. A lot of debates about this particular verse and what it means. For example, lots of different things. It can mean a person who
has only had one wife in all of his life and
that wife is still alive. It can mean that. It can mean a person
who is not a polygamist, although he may have been one in the past. He had many wives, now
he only has one wife. It can mean a person who is
properly married even though he may have been a widower
or a divorcee in the past. Again, he is the husband
of just the one wife. Now the literal translation of the saying husband of one wife,
this is a saying, okay? It’s a colloquialism, you know? It’s a saying of the time. We don’t use this anymore. But in those days, they used that. So the literal translation of
the saying husband of one wife is we want a man who is a one woman man. That’s the literal translation of it. A one woman man. Now what’s interesting is
that Paul could have clarified this by saying just very clearly, an elder needs to be a man who has never been divorced or widowed. Man that would have been
clear as glass, right? He could have said that. But he chose this saying instead. I think he was referring to attitude here and not legal status. You know, like a widower. That’s a legal status. You were married, your wife is deceased, you are now a widower. You were married, you were divorced. That’s a legal status. You were legally married,
now you’re legally divorced. And you’re legally re-married, okay? Those are legal status. But in the beginning here Paul is talking about attitudes, not legal positions. And so a one woman man
eliminates polygamists and it speaks to the faithfulness
of a man as a husband, whether he has been widowed
or divorced previously. Again, it could mean that. It could also mean a man
who has only one wife that has never had any other wives and that wife is still alive. That’s why there’s a debate. That’s why different people have come to different conclusions about this. If you are looking at it from the perspective of a one woman man, it’s referring to a
man who is not a flirt. Not a man who is involved
with other women, who pays attention to
a lot of other women, who always has to catch the woman’s eye. You’ve seen guys like that. They can’t even go into
Applebee’s and have a meal with their wife without kind of shining on the waitress and hitting her up with a lot of conversation
and so on and so forth. So an elder must be devoted
to the woman he is married to. I believe this is the point. But of course, as I say, there are different ways
to interpret this as well. Temperate is the next one. A man who thinks straight,
who is sober-minded. Not going off on every idea
or carried away by emotion. Someone who is well-balanced
and not excessive. Today we’d say no drama. We want a man who is not continually creating drama around him. Another one, he says a man who is prudent. Balanced in his judgment. A man who is self-controlled,
who is careful. Someone who is not
swayed by sudden impulse. Your sudden impulse affects
300 or 400 other people. You need to be careful. He also says he must be respectable. Dignified. Another word for the
word here is dignified. But not haughty, not regal, not that way. In other words, inward moral excellence that shows itself in an
outward orderly existence. He’s a respectable person. His behavior is consistent, diligent. His conduct inspires
respect from other people. Okay? You don’t let your child
call you by your first name. I forget which one of our kids, but somebody tried that once. I’m sure it wasn’t Paul. But they said, I forget what context, but they say, so Mike, what do you think? And I went excuse me? I said no, no. I am dad to you. Dad, father, sir. But I’m not Mike to you. So the same idea. Sometimes some men don’t
have a way of at least getting a little bit of
respect for themselves. And so we want people who are able to act in a respectable fashion and
draw respect from others. Hospitable. We know what it means. A lover of strangers. In New Testament times hospitality was important and sometimes dangerous since there was persecution at the time. And it was risky offering hospitality to preachers and teachers who traveled from place to place to help the church. So not just one who offers
food and a place to stay, but someone who accepts
those of different cultures, different ideas, different backgrounds. Okay? And then he says apt to teach. We have talked about that. It means to be skillful in teaching. A person who gets results. Able to grow in their ability to teach. And not necessarily, this term here, not necessarily someone who is an orator, a professional public speaker. But someone who can communicate effectively with other people. Verse three, let’s read verse three. He says, continuing
with the qualifications, he says not addicted
to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free
from the love of money. So not a drunkard, right? Not a drunkard. So here he begins some negative things. So in those days, wine
was a common beverage. Like water today in New Testament times. So the point is not to abstain from wine. It was used. It was a common usage among all families. The passage mean that an
elder is not addicted to wine or any other thing, for that matter. Not addicted to porn or to videos or shopping or food or drugs. The thing that wine has in
common with all of those things is that there is an
addictive property within it that you need to be
very, very careful for. And again, these are common sense things that you want in your leadership. He says not a drunkard,
sorry, not pugnacious. Not a brawler, not a fighter, not someone who is confrontational. Especially someone who
likes confrontation. They feed off of confrontation. You don’t want that kind of person. Someone who is aggressive
or verbally abuse. Yeah, that’s not a good
thing for an elder to be. Because it will just provoke trouble and never-ending problems. On the contrary, he goes
to something positive. He said we want him to be gentle. One who is not self-willed. That’s what gentle means. My way or the highway. The guy who’s my way or the
highway, yeah, he is not meek. That’s not meekness,
that’s not gentleness. Someone who is flexible, considerate of the views of other people. Someone who is yielding,
not authoritarian. It’s not an easy thing to
balance these qualities. You need someone who is not
afraid to take leadership, someone who is not
afraid to make decisions, to call a spade a spade so to speak. But also that same person
needs to be flexible and willing to listen to other
people’s ideas and opinions. Uncontentious. Not quarrelsome or causing
strife or division. Some people through gossip or attitude, they cause trouble wherever they are. On the contrary, elders create peace and they create harmony, not trouble. Free, he says, from the love of money. A person who doesn’t judge everything from a money perspective,
like the bottom line is always how much is it going to cost? The person who uses money but it’s not the driving force of their lives. Not addicted to making and
spending and saving money. The driving force of our
lives is Jesus Christ. Not money. Money is a tool that we use. Money is something that God
gives us to use in His service. To care for ourselves and of course to care for other people. He says he must be one who
manages his own household well, keeping his children under
control with all dignity, but if a man does not know how
to manage his own household, how will he take care
of the church of God? Again, common sense, right? Another qualification. A well-managed home. Keeping his children under control and respectful of his
leadership in the house. And he does this with dignity, meaning he’s serious about
his family and its conduct. The true test for a good
church leader is not if he is successful in
business or rich or powerful. There is no mention of this in the Bible. The true test is how he has
led and managed his own home. One who does a good job at home can be expected to do a
good job with God’s family, the church, because
they are both families. And a lot of what goes
into being a good dad goes into being a good elder. Then verse six. He says and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation
incurred by the devil. So again, not a new convert. A man with experience as a Christian since leaders are especially
attacked by Satan in many ways. I’ve seen a lot of churches destroyed simply by attacking the leadership. There could be a thousand people in the church and five elders. And if you can get those five elders divided and fighting against each other, it’ll ruin the thousand. I mean, I’ve seen it many times. So leadership in any position, especially the church,
can go to one’s head. And a leader who is proud
becomes vulnerable to temptation. Solomon says pride goes
before destruction. Proverbs 16:18. Unfortunately in the
church when a leader falls, he brings a lot of souls with him. The danger is that the
inexperienced elder would fall into pride and receive the
same judgment as Satan, who also fell because of pride. Let’s look at verse seven here. It says and he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. So a good reputation
outside of the church. The point is that the elder
represents the church. So any accusation against him also falls on the church as well. So if a leader is disgraced
because of his reputation, he can be used as a pawn in Satan’s effort to discredit the church. Now there are other
qualities mentioned in Titus, the book of Titus, but these are the ones
that Paul lists here. This is not an exhaustive list. I mean we could have said someone who is honest and kind and loving. You know, we could have added those. But this is a kind of a snapshot of the type of man who fits
the role of elder or pastor, whatever you want to call him. Note that these qualifications, except for that of being
a man and being married, they are all qualities. In other words, we want him to be temperate. But the question is well how temperate do you need to be in order
to qualify as an elder? How gentle do you need to be in order to qualify as an elder? Because there are qualifications. And there is the very temperate,
not so much temperate. What’s the passing grade? Because these are qualities and attitudes that all Christians should have. All Christians should
be temperate and prudent and gentle and so on and so forth, right? So how much of this do you
need to qualify as an elder? Well the answer is that a potential leader has all of these qualities to a degree that they are visible to other people. For example, a well-managed home. Well a potential leader has a home life that others know about. That they say you know brother so and so, they have such a nice family
and the kids are involved. Or hospitable. A potential leader is well
known for his hospitality. Why? Because many in the congregation
have experienced it. So the point is that a potential leader’s qualifications are obvious
and visible and growing. You don’t have to wonder if he is gentle or if he’s not confrontational
because you have seen these qualities in him already. They may continue to grow,
but they are absolutely there. Okay, one more point here and I’m done. So how are elders appointed? Or chosen, if you wish. Well the only example in
teaching that we have in the New Testament concerning this
is in the following verse. In Acts chapter 14 verse 21 to 23. It says after they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and
to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue
in the faith and saying, through many tribulations we
must enter the kingdom of God. When they had appointed elders
for them in every church, having prayed with fasting,
they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. So Paul appoints them through prayer and the laying on of hands. Fasting and prayer to seek the Lord’s will to make a right selection. The laying on of hands
to publicly authorize their new leadership roles
and confer authority. We’ve done that here. When Mike Coghill was hired as a minister, he went up front and he and his wife, the elders gathered together,
they laid hands on them, they commended them to
the service of the church. Titus also has something. Paul says to Titus, 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. So the evangelist appoints the elders. The term appoint means to raise up, signifying to find them, to
train them, to authorize them. So elders are not self, my point is, elders are not self-appointed. You don’t get up one day and say I believe I’m elder material. I believe I’m just
going to appoint myself. No. Or I believe I’ll get a bunch of people in the congregation to
kind of nominate me. No, it doesn’t work that way. In both situations, what one thing was common
to both of these verses? They were chosen. They were both. In one they were chosen by Paul. In the other they were chosen and trained by the evangelists, okay? So they are selected and
trained and appointed by evangelists and elders
according to the teaching and qualifications found
in the New Testament. The beauty of the system
is that in other passages the Bible says that the elders appoint or commend evangelists into ministry so that they can create an
ongoing cycle of growth. Evangelists appoint elders,
elders appoint evangelists. They plant churches, train
and raise up more elders who will then in turn appoint evangelists. And it just keeps on
going and going and going until we get here today where we have a full complement of elders
and evangelists, okay? All right, we are going
to stop right there. I think that’s a lot of
stuff for one sitting. We’ll continue with
First Timothy next time. Thank you for your patience. I appreciate it.

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