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Sunday, August 30, 2017 am                                            NT Church 2017 Index

NT CHURCH 2017 (24)
Elders 3 – Their Qualifications (2)

 

We are in the midst of a study of leaders in the Lord’s church.  We are talking about elders.  We have noted their responsibilities, and last week we began examining the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.  Last week’s lesson was preliminary as we noted the need to meet these qualifications with a standard that high, but not impossible.  We discussed the quality of desire.

Today we want to begin noticing the other qualifications.  We must seek these qualities as we look to appoint elders and ensure they are maintained as they serve as elders.  This lesson is not designed as a detailed study of each of the qualities, though we will make some observations about each of them.  Also, with many of the qualities, questions arise as to their exact meaning or scenarios where we see them considered (especially the family qualifications).  We will not be addressing these in this study.

Also, worthy of note is that we have two passages with slightly different lists of qualities.  How do we approach these?  Do we consider one or the other?  Or do we combine the lists and examine every quality? It has been observed that while there are differences, each list examined independently describes the same type of person.  As one person noted, if we only had one list, the same men would be appointed, whether in Ephesus (1 Timothy) or on the Isle of Crete (Titus) or in any other congregation.  For example, if we only had the list in 1 Timothy, the qualities mentioned would imply that an elder was both just and holy even though these qualities are only mentioned in Titus.  The point is we need to look at the overall character of elders, considering the qualities mentioned as we do so.  In this study, we will notice each quality mentioned, whether in one or both lists.

 I.                     Blameless

a.       1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:6, 7 – (two times in this text).

b.       Blameless – “above reproach” (NASB).  Actually, this is two different Greek words.  One meaning that which cannot be criticized or not open to attack. 
The other word is similar in meaning, but implies one to whom something cannot be laid. 

c.        When we think of one being blameless it doesn’t mean that one is never accused of something.  Rather it means that what is charged cannot be substantiated. 
Similar to 1 Peter 3:16 – having a good conscience, that those who revile your good conduct may be ashamed. 
Consider Jesus in John 8:46, Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?
Quite often, when elders are doing their work they are accused by those they are disciplining, or when someone doesn’t like a decision they make.  Sometimes these charges are bitter.  But when examined, what is said is without foundation. 
Worthy of note in this matter is 1 Timothy 5:19-20

d.       NOR does it mean that they can never make a mistake or stumble.  Being human, sometimes we make errors in judgment.  We may handle a situation the wrong way.   Perhaps in frustration one becomes upset and loses his temper.  Does this automatically disqualify them from serving? 
We need to ask questions.  Is this his character, or are there unusual circumstances that caused this lapse in judgment?  Is he willing to REPENT and confess his error?  (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:10-11)   Does he learn from his mistakes?  MANY other questions could be added to these. 
Consider Peter, who denied the Lord, and was a hypocrite, even to the point of influencing others (Galatians 2:11-13), but later we find him in 1 Peter 5:1 describing himself as an elder. The point is, a single act MAY NOT disqualify him from serving.   LOOK at his character with all the qualifications. 

e.       Finally, consider this with the remaining qualities.  In considering one to serve (or remain in service), we should ask. “Is he blameless in …?“  and then plug in the remaining qualities.    And again, I remind, be objective in defining what blameless means. 

 II.                   Not a novice

a.       1 Timothy 3:6. The word “novice” actually portrays the idea of a new convert, one newly planted. 

b.       Considering his work, he needs to be experienced in making decisions.   He needs to know enough to beware of false teachers and ungodliness – how to spot them, and deal with them if they infiltrate the work.  He is entrusted with keeping the church pure and faithful as well. 

c.        Why “not a novice”?  In 1 Timothy 3:6 we are told, “lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.”    Often associated with youth, particularly those who have knowledge, is arrogance.  Sometimes they think they know it all, when they usually don’t.  
An elder should know the word of God well enough to make sure what we do and who we accept into the body belong there (not saying we pick and choose who to allow into our midst, EXCEPT based upon God’s word, especially the warnings). 

d.       ALSO, just think of one young in the faith – they are untested (having not proved themselves), and other things that come with inexperience.  Imagine one becoming a Christian and immediately taking over.  What is the potential for errors, both doctrinally and in decisions they make? 

e.       Able to teach (3:2) – a demonstration of his maturity.  NOTE: True knowledge is more than merely knowing and relaying facts.  It is wisdom and grasping scripture.  Consider Hebrews 5:12-14. 

To Be Continued Next Week