Eldership, Manhood, and the Fame of Jesus (Part 1)
February 26, 2012 Series: Titus: God's People, God's Mission
Scripture: Titus 1:5–1:9
We are back in Titus today. Chapter 1, verses 5-9. Today we will be looking at God's great call for His church. We will be looking at, for these next 2 Sundays, Eldership, Manhood, and the Fame of Jesus --- too much for one sermon. Men, I'm going to talk about manhood and masculinity all throughout, and especially at the end, so hang with me. Maybe even take notes today. Ladies, be praying these things for your man.
Let's ask the Lord for Help.
After the Gospel, the most important factor in a Church is it's Pastors. Her Elders.
Since God has designed our lives to thrive and revolve around The Church, the community of Christ, -- then elders are one of the most important factors in your life as well.
Look at the text, 1:5
Here is Paul, writing to Titus, his true child in the faith, he led Titus to Christ, discipled him, they went on church planting trips together, they are close.
He tells Titus, "I left you in Crete, to continue the work we started, get the churches on the right track. And first order of business: Appoint Elders."
Majority of this letter has a quick, imperative, commanding, urgent, sense to it. Paul cuts right to the point. "Titus, finish what we started, get elders."
Now, I read this and think, "Why didn't Paul do it before he left?"
Now, I think Paul didn't appoint elders when he was there, because the men were not qualified yet. This is a bunch of brand new churches. Cretan history notes that Christianity was introduced around 62 AD. Which fits the estimated writing of this letter, 65 AD, we've got 1-3 year old Christians here.
You don't get elders just to get them, you get them when you got them.
Alexander Strauch, the yoda of church leadership, in his book, Biblical Eldership, "It is better to have no Elders, then to have the wrong ones."
Eldership is of utmost importance to God's church. It must be done according to God's word.
To have God's people on God's mission, to make disciples and make much of Jesus, the church needs elders, leaders, -- she needs pastors.
First thing we see about Eldership -- THE NECESSITY for ELDERS
I'm making a big deal out of this because the Bible does right here.
We want to plant churches, and when this church planted, we heard things like "Do we have to have Elders and Deacons, and Membership, etc...Let's do something different and new."
Sometimes, what's different and new is flat-out unbiblical.
We make a big deal about Eldership and soul care, because Jesus does.
After the Resurrection, in John 21, Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love me?" Peter says, "Yes Lord." Jesus says, "Tend my sheep, Feed my Sheep."
In Greek, Jesus uses the same word of Shepherd or Pastor. "Shepherd the Sheep. Pastor the Sheep. Lead the Sheep. Feed my Sheep."
Jesus requires that his sheep, have shepherds. And when the Bible speaks of the church, we need to automatically think, "This is also about me, what Jesus wants for my life." Jesus requires that you have pastors.
What matters to the church, matters to your life -- Because you are a part of the church. The church is not a physical building, but a spiritual one.
What's central to the church, is central to you.
A Christian that doesn't have a life impacted and fueled by a local church, is missing out on God's design for their life. Part of that design is having Pastors, Elders.
This is why we value Church Membership so much. You need Pastors, not just teachers, you can get that on TV. We are designed by God to have...pastors, shepherds, watch over our souls.
The Bible uses Overseer (Bishop), Shepherd (Pastor), and Elder to describe the leaders of the church. But they are all speaking of the same thing.
We use the words "Pastor" and "Elder" interchangeably, because the Bible does.
They are not different men. It is the same office, same function. Being paid by the church doesn't make you a pastor, or mean you can’t be an elder. Being unpaid doesn't make you an elder, and doesn’t mean you can’t be a pastor. Being on the staff of a church doesn't mean you're a pastor.
Titus 1:5 "appoint elders"
Titus 1:7 "For an overseer" (Bishop)
In Acts 20, Paul addresses the Ephesian elders, and uses all three terms.
17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders (presbuteros) of the church to come to him....28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers (episkopos), to care (poimaino) for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood
All three, interchangeably used to describe what these men do.
"To care" same word Jesus told peter, "Tend my sheep."
Paul said, care, shepherd, tend, pastor God's church.
Now here is precisely why Elders in the church matter, and are necessary for your life.
When God says, "I want Elders over my church." What God is also saying is, "I want Elders in your life." Let that sink in.
The New Testament doesn't sponsor a solo, noncommittal, fringe, apathetic, on the fence, come-and-go-as-I-please, flaky, doing my own thing - relationship with the Church.
God is clear --- you need leaders in your life. All of us. Pastors need Pastors too. Pastors who don't have Pastors get into trouble!
When the Bible calls us Sheep, it's not a flattering term. Sheep are senseless, short-sighted, prone to wander, messy, creatures. Christians, we are prone to wander, messy, people.
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way
We all need the Chief Shepherd, the true Senior Pastor Jesus Christ, who bore all of our sins, died for them, forgave us, rose and gave us new life, made us clean -- we need Him, we need to obey Him, and he saying to every Christian in this room, "Have elders over your life. To watch over your soul."
I want you to have a robust understanding of Eldership. So you know how God's church functions, how it impacts your life at Redeemer, and if you were to move on from our body, you'll know the kind of church to look for. And I want you to know how future church plants will be structured for the fame of Jesus.
A church that doesn't have elders, is not a church the New Testament speaks of – it’s in disorder according to our passage. Necessary for the church, and necessary for your life – a life without soul-care from Pastors, is in disorder.
Next thing we see in the text, A NON-NEGOTIABLE PLURALITY OF PASTORS.
God wants a group of men to shepherd his church, a plural, ElderS.
Every time the Bible speaks of church leadership, particularly elders -- it's always a plurality of men. 64 times the word elder is used, 60 of them are plural, the other 4 are speaking about one elder.
This is Paul's pattern:
Acts 14:21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Same structure here in Acts being told again to Titus. Appoint a group of men.
The only church the New Testament acknowledges is pastored by a group of men. And where the men are equal.
At Redeemer, I have no more power or authority than any of the other Elders. There is nothing in the Bible that gives me that right. Zero verses. And I'm so glad. It's a holy thing. It's grace. It's protection. It's reflective of the Godhead, the Trinity, with shared authority, leadership, and responsibility.
God does it this way, because no man is ultra-gifted.
I am deficient. I am weak. God puts a group of men together to complement gifting, strengths, and weakness for the good of the church. And also for the safety of each other, for accountability, maturity, encouragement.
No one in the universe is allowed to be in authority, and not under authority.
Jesus submits to the Father. The Trinity is a shared and submissive authority, to one another. Pastors that don't want to submit to other Pastors are acting like the devil.
What does this say about Christians? You? Is a joyful submission to authority a dominant characteristic of your life? Anything less, is our sinful flesh. Rotten. What we've picked up from the fall in the garden of Eden.
Additionally, is there an eager openness for peers to speak into your life? If the elders mutually submit, who do you mutually submit to?
Women tend to get this more.
Men, masculinity is responsibility in leadership and holy, mutual submission. You are not the Alpha Male -- that's reserved for one person - the Alpha and Omega, King Jesus. Repent of that. Jesus is the alpha male that was clothed in humility. Masculinity always involves humility.
The pattern of the church, is to be the pattern of our lives.
God has engineered your life to submit to the leadership of a group pastors, for the expressed purpose of soul care.
This is not so your life can be micro-managed, but for soul care.
Pastors in the church are important, because it is God's design to care for your soul. Jesus to Peter, "Tend my sheep."
Last thing from the text we'll see today is THE ELDER'S TASK
What exactly does God want these men to do --- for you. The shepherds are for the sheep. Men, really grasp this section, we are going to apply this to ourselves at the end.
Note that Paul says, "as I have directed you." There was some teaching that Paul already gave Titus, that we don't have here. But it is show throughout the NT. In Paul's words to a group of Elders in Acts 20 compare them to Peter’s words to a group of Elders 1 Peter 5.
1 Peter 5:1 So I exhort the elders (presbuteros )among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd (poimaino) the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight (episkopos), not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
Acts 20:17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders (presbuteros) of the church to come to him....28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers (episkopos), to care (poimaino) for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood
Note: Those three greek words are used interchangeably again...
What is the primary function of the Elders in these texts?
To Shepherd. To Pastor, care, lead, feed.
Pastoring is summed in four words: Know, Feed, Lead, Protect.
Shepherd is the banner or bucket, that every other pastoral task falls under. I believe that because of how the text flows. "Oversight" is a further explanation and unpacking of "Shepherd."
Next, the give oversight.
Oversight gives the sense of a watch-man. Observing the sheep, not so much in the sense of a nun with a ruler, but as a loving shepherd. This words has a sense of importance and intention. Overseeing means you are involved, care, can't fall asleep at the wheel. The task is at hand.
Overseeing is a holy inquiry, to make sure things are going according to God's word, for His glory and the joy of the church.
Next, Elders are to rule. Paul’s instruction to Timothy about eldership
17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
Rule means to guide, direct, manage, lead the church. Vision, direction, goals, leadership, and Authority lies with the Elders. At the end of the day – authority lies with the pastors.
They are to rule, but as Peter said, "not in a domineering way over those in your charge." Which is a sobering sentence from the Lord!!
Not in a domineering, lording --- “as though we are Jesus”, but as God's Steward
Titus 1:7 "For an overseer, as God's steward."
This is not my church, in the sense that this doesn't belong to me. It's all His. This is His thing. You belong to Jesus. You're his sheep. I'm his servant. Redeemer Church isn't "my baby." If you ever here speak like that, please punch me in the face.
So elders, shepherd, rule, oversee -- with this in mind. We are stewards.
The word steward here was used in Greek culture to denote "the steward from among the slaves who is set over the house and property of the owner." And this would mean, also over other servants. No more value or importance, serving our Master. It’s for His Kingdom…not mine .
Pastors are head-beggers, showing the other beggars where the food is.
Acts 20:28 “Care of the church of God, which He obtained with his own blood.” That bloody cross, brought made us you his.
Soul Care is the Task
Hebrew 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Pastors are to stand guard and protect the church from false teachers, deception, wolves, bad doctrine, and unrepentant sin. On the positive side, we are to labor for your maturity and growth in Christ.
The Bible says, "We make it our aim to present everyone mature in Christ." Soul care is about growing in our affections and devotion to Jesus. It's all about Jesus.
Eldership matters for your life, answer this rhetorical question, in your mind - Who is going to give an account for your soul? Who are you submitting to? Are you obeying this verse? Are you a member? Do you any intention of becoming one, if you've been here awhile? I feel this verse for the members of our church. Don't wander. You need your soul cared for.
Soul care isn't accomplished by smooth words, slick presentations, & entertaining services.
Titus 1:9, tells us how it's done.
The ministry of the Word.
All Eldership is to be done from The Book. Reproving, rebuke, exhorting, teaching, preaching, praying, counseling --- all from God's word. My thoughts and ideas don't matter a whole lot --- we need God's word. This is how you live, how you change, your spiritual food.
Pastors must be able to identify what harms the church, reject it, and give what is sound and helpful – for you.
Our shepherding, overseeing, ruling, stewarding --- all done by wielding the word for your joy. The Pastor’s Authority is from the Word of God – that’s all I’ve got. “The Bible says…”
It all springs from the Word. Knowing, feeding, leading, protecting --- all from God-breathed message you hold in our hands.
ELDERSHIP IS THE PATTERN FOR BIBLICAL MANHOOD
I said in the beginning, this is also about manhood. Men, everything I said today -- this is your task, in your family.
You are to care for your wife and children, in as sense, to pastor them. You are to feed, them, protect. You are to be the Overseer, Elder of the home. You are to rule, not in a domineering way -- is that you? You domineer, dictator?.
Maybe you don't dictate, do you abdicate? Are you asleep at the wheel? Hope your wife forgets it’s Sunday. Ignore her sin. Ignore sin in your kids.
Are you wielding the word for your family? Or just moralism? Or your own home-brewed, generational wisdom? “God says…”
The Puritans called the home a "little church."
Jonathan Edwards, “Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by his rules." The rules for the church, apply to the home, headship, authority, submission, love, care.
George Whitefield, “A man ought to look upon himself as obliged to act in three capacities:
• As a prophet, to instruct:
• As a priest, to pray for and with;
• As a king, to govern, direct, and provide for them.”
How are you doing men? Eldership is the model for the home. Our Men’s Leadership Lab is designed to help us in these ways. Learn the Bible, learn to be a leader, serve, email me. Starting March 6th.
What cannot be overlooked is that, we were straying before. We were lost. Maybe you still are. Do you feel lost? Alone? A sinner lost in the darkness.
We we wandering from God, running from God, wanting nothing to do with Him, but if you are in Jesus, you're a Christian, that's all changed. Yes, we need Eldership, but oh do we need the Lordship of Jesus over our lives.
1 Peter 2:25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Jesus is our chief Shepherd, he is the Senior Pastor. He is the perfect overseer of our souls. Elders are a servant shadow to the true and better overseer --- Jesus Christ.
What Joy to know that Jesus is watching over us! Jesus is caring for my soul. He doesn't outsource. I love and care for you you, but know, Jesus loves you so much more.
Are you still straying? Have you repented and gone to the True Shepherd? He welcomes you by the Cross. This is possible because of the verse before...
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Jesus is our pastor, because He is our Redeemer. He died in our place, for our sins, bearing our sins in His body. All the gross things we wouldn't dare speak of in church, Jesus grabbed them, put them on himself, and gave us glory. He took wrath, and gave us heaven. His wounds killed Him, but they made us alive.
If you haven't been forgiven, ask Jesus to save you today. Ask him to forgive you.
Jesus is our Shepherd.
It's all for Jesus fame. The Church exists, you and I exist to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Let's do just that.
Prayer: Jesus this is your church, you said you will build it. Build a powerful church in Tomball for your glory. Raise up godly men and women. Raise up more church planters for your fame. Raise up more elders to serve your sheep. We are your people. We love Jesus, for your fame we ask. Amen.