OceanSide church of Christ
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THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH (7)
The Qualification of Elders (5)
Victor M. Eskew
A. This is our fifth and final lesson on the qualification of elders.
B. These qualifications need to be well understood by the members of the church and by any man who desires to be an elder.
1. These are God’s requirements, not man’s requirements.
2. These are the qualifications given by the Holy Spirit that enables a man to serve as a bishop in the Lord’s church (Acts 20:28).
C. In our lesson today, we will examine the seventh section of the qualifications: “An Elder’s Relationship to Others.”
I. GIVEN TO HOSPITALITY (I Tim. 3:2)
A. Titus also sets forth is qualification.
1. Titus 1:8 states: “…a lover of hospitality…”
2. In the Greek language, the word is identical to the word in I Timothy 3:2.
B. Definition of hospitality (5382)
1. Hospitality comes from two Greek words:
a. Phileo – love, and, Xenos – stranger
b. Thus, hospitality means “a love of strangers.”
2. Strong: fond of guests
3. Thayer: generous to guests
C. Hospitality involves an individual’s inviting others into his home and cheerfully caring for their needs: food, a shower, a bed, etc.
1. In the first century, numerous types of strangers could show up who had needs: traveling preachers, persecuted Christians, slaves without homes, widows, orphans, the poor, and the sick.
2. The New Testament also enjoins Christians to swho hospitality one toward another (I Pet. 4:9).
Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
D. “It is a love of the lips translated into a dynamic demonstration of what Christianity enjoins in our treatment of other people” (Taylor, 43).
II. NO STRIKER (I Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7)
A. Definition (4131)
1. A smiter, a giver of blows, a bruiser, one who is ready with his fists
2. It involves a person who is pugnacious, contentious, and quarrelsome.
B. We have some examples of those who were in high positions who seemed to be quick with the fists.
1. David with Nabal (I Sam. 25:13)
And David said to his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man with his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.
2. James and John with a village of Samaria (Luke 9:54)
And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, with thou that we com-mand fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
3. Peter at the Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 18:10).
Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
C. “A leader in the church must not be one who reacts to difficulty with physical violence. He must not settle disputes with blows” (MacArthur, 111).
III. NOT A BRAWLER (I Tim. 3:3).
A. Definition (269)
1. Strong: not one who engages in battle, that is controversy
2. Thayer: not contentious
3. MacArthur: “It refers not so much to physical violence as to be a quarrelsome person” (111).
B. First, we need to point out that this is not referring to an elder’s willingness to contend for the faith.
1. Jude exhorts all to contend for the faith in Jude 3.
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
2. In Titus 1:9, one of an elder’s responsibilities is to exhort and convince the gainsayers.
C. This qualification refers to a man’s not being a troubler over inconsequential matters.
1. One who can never be pleased.
2. One who likes to pit one person against another.
3. One who enjoys spreading gossip.
4. One who intentionally holds out in decision-making to create tension.
D. “To have a contentious person in leadership will result in disunity and dishar-mony, seriously hindering the effectiveness of the leadership team (MacArthur, 111).
IV. A LOVER OF GOOD MEN (Tit. 1:8)
A. Definition (5358)
1. Strong: fond of good, a promoter of virtue
2. Thayer: loving goodness
B. The definition of the word really means a lover of all that is good.
1. He is a lover of good men.
2. He is a lover of good works.
3. He is a lover of good virtues.
4. He is a lover of good decisions.
5. He is a lover of good doctrine.
C. This qualification speaks to a man’s ability to reason between good and evil.
1. I Thessalonians 5:21-22
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.
2. This is an essential for an elder (III John 11).
Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
D. Barnabas was a “lover of good men.” After Saul’s conversion, he came to his aid before the apostles and disciples in Jerusalem (Acts 9:26-27).
And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
V. JUST (Tit. 1:8)
A. Definition (1342)
1. Strong: equitable
2. Thayer: rendering to each his due and that in a judicial sense, passing judgment on others, whether expressed in words or shown by the manner of dealing with them
B. As I was thinking about a just man, the following things came to mind:
1. He is one who gathers all the evidence.
2. He always hears both sides of a case (Prov. 18:13).
3. He takes his time instead of being hasty.
4. He is likeminded to all.
5. He has no favorites and does not give preferential treatment to anyone, including his friends.
VI. A GOOD REPORT FROM THEM THAT ARE WITHOUT (I Tim. 3:7)
Moreover he must have a good report from them which are without; lest he fall into re-proach and the snare of the devil.
A. Those that are “without” are those who are not members of the Lord’s church. These individuals could be neighbors, work associates, or friends.
B. Those who are without need to give testimony or evidence that this man has a sterling reputation among them. They may not agree with his religious beliefs, but they can give testimony to his moral character, his love, his goodness, and his generosity.
C. If this is not done, Paul says that he could fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
1. The devil will always seek to dethrone those in positions of power and influence.
2. How awful it would be to install a man as an elder, only to have some in the community to speak badly of him.
a. They might talk of his foul mouth, bad habits, or questionable relationships.
b. The man will have to be questioned, and possibly, removed from his office. In such cases the devil wins.
3. If such a man continues in office, the world will say at least two things:
a. How could that church put “that man” in the position of a leader?
b. As long as that man is leading in that church, I will not go there.
A. The office and work of an elder is extremely important.
B. Men aspiring to the office need to labor to develop these qualifications in their lives.
C. When installing men, the church need to seek out only those men who truly meet the qualifications.