OceanSide church of Christ
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CHURCH ORGANIZATION (4)
Qualifications of Elders (2)
Victor M. Eskew
A. Titus 1:5-9a
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: if any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blame-less, as the steward of God, not selfwilled, not soon angry, not give to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temper-ate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught…
B. This passage and one found in I Timothy 3:1-7 compose the qualifications of men who are to be elders within the local congregation of the Lord’s people.
C. We divided these qualifications into seven sections:
1. The elder’s desire
2. The elder’s family
3. The elder’s spirituality
4. The elder’s temperament
5. The elder’s behavior
6. The elder’s relationship to others
7. The elder’s relationship to money
D. We have looked at the first two sections. We are going to consider the third today, The Elder’s Spirituality.
I. NOT A NOVICE (I Tim. 3:6)
Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
A. The word “novice.”
1. The word is only found here in the New Testament.
a. Strong (3504): not newly planted, not a new convert
b. Thayer: not a neophyte, not one who has recently become a Christian
B. The reason a new Christian should not be an elder is given in the text.
1. Holding such a high, powerful office could cause him to be lifted up with pride.
a. Pride involves an overwhelming sense of one’s importance.
b. The text says that he could be “lifted up” with pride.
1) Lifted up: to envelop with smoke or mist
2) Lenski: “The pride of conceit enfolding him as in a smoky fog.”
2. Pride will only lead to destruction and condemnation.
a. Proverbs 29:23
A man’s pride shall bring him low…
b. Paul notes that is was pride that was the ruin of Satan himself.
1) In Isaiah 14:12-14, we read of the five “I wills” of Satan. (NOTE: The immediate context refers to the king of Babylon, but the figures used seem to be taken from an event of the distant past involving Satan).
2) Basically, he sought to exalt himself above God.
II. VIGILANT (I Tim. 3:2)
A. The term “vigilant” means “watchful” and “circumspect.” It also carries the definition of “wineless” or “unmixed with wine.”
B. An elder is not one who partakes of things that cloud his mind, his reasoning, and his judgment. He knows he must be alert and awake.
C. When we call to mind that an elder is a shepherd, this qualification makes perfect sense.
1. The shepherd must be vigilant with regard to self (Acts 20:28).
Take heed therefore unto thyself…
2. He must be vigilant toward the flock (Acts 20:28).
…and to all the flock…
a. Where are the sheep?
b. What are the sheep doing?
c. What is the attitude of the sheep?
3. He must be vigilant toward the enemy.
a. The archenemy is Satan (I Pet. 5:8).
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
b. It also includes the devil’s ministers (II Cor. 11:14-15).
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
D. The one thing that churches do not need is elders sleeping on the job.
1. Soldiers do not sleep on their watch.
2. Air traffic controllers do not sleep on their shift.
3. Elders to not need to be sleeping on the job.
III. APT TO TEACH (I Tim. 3:2)
A. Apt means “skillful in teaching.”
B. An elder must possess the ability to impart truth to other individuals. To do this, some things are inferred:
1. An elder has to have a good, working knowledge of the truth. One cannot teach what he does not know.
2. An elder needs to be trained in the skill of teaching.
3. An elder needs to spend time teaching the gospel of Christ. “If you don’t use it, you will lose it.”
C. In I Timothy 5:17, Paul told the members of the church to give double honor to elders. Then, he adds: …especially they who labor in word and doctrine.
A. Definition (3741)
1. Consecrated, sacred, pious
2. Moral purity, observing every moral obligation
3. Undefiled by sin, free from wickedness
B. Holiness involves two movements on man’s part.
1. A movement away from the world and the flesh.
2. A movement toward God and spiritual things.
C. To be holy, one must concentrate on two areas:
1. His mind (Col. 3:2)
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
2. His actions (I Pet. 1:14-15)
As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignor-ance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.
D. NOTE: If an elder is going to teach others, he needs to live the life he wants others to live. Jesus did (Acts 1:1).
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.
A. This qualification is closely tied to the previous one. In order for a man to maintain holiness, he must be temperate.
B. Definition (Thayer)
1. Strong, robust
2. Having power over
3. Mastering, controlling, curbing, restraining
4. Controlling one’s self, continent, self-control
5. Two passages from Proverbs:
a. Proverbs 16:32
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
b. Proverbs 25:28
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.
C. Lenski: “Always having strength enough to check anything that would be unjust or would contravene the ordinances.”
D. Temperance definitely makes a difference:
1. Joseph was always temperate.
2. David needed temperance in the matter of Bathsheba.
3. Solomon failed to practice temperance at the end of life and loved many strange women.
4. Samson seemed to have no temperance.
5. Paul practiced temperance and exhorted others to practice it also (I Cor. 9:25).
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
VI. HOLDING FAST THE FAITHFUL WORD (Tit. 1:9a).
A. The faithful word is the divinely inspired Word of God, specifically the New Testament of Jesus Christ.
B. The definition of hold fast:
1. To hold firmly
a. An elder knows that it is possible for churches to turn from the Word of God so he holds it firmly.
b. The churches of Galatia serve as an example (Gal. 3:1).
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth…?
2. To pay attention to
a. An elder knows that God speaks to man through the inspired Word of God.
b. He wants the Word taught and preached and exhorts the members to give ear to it (James 1:19)
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.
3. To adhere to
a. An elder knows that blessings come only to those who obey God’s Word.
b. He strives to lead the church down the narrow road of obedience to God’s Word (Rev. 22:14).
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they might have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
A. In addition to being a good family man, elders are to be very spiritual individuals.
1. They are not new Christians.
2. They are men of vigilance and alertness.
3. They are masters at teaching God’s Word.
4. They are holy and maintain their holiness by practicing temperance.
5. They realize their stewardship in the Word of truth. Therefore, they hold fast to the Word of God with all their being.
B. Yes, these men are to be spiritual. They are to be spiritual giants.