Eldership, Manhood, and the Fame of Jesus(Part 2)
Scripture: Titus 1:5–1:16
Jesus is calling us to bigger things. Do you believe that? I believe that God is stirring in Tomball. And he wants to use us for His glory in this city. He wants to use you. God's people, on God's mission is so powerful, Jesus said, "The gates of Hell" can't stop it. Jesus is calling us to something bigger than ourselves, bigger than our generation -- He is calling us to something that will resound for eternity -- The glory of God. That gets me excited!
Men, God has an epic vision for your life. What's yours? Get a bunch of stuff? Climb up the corporate ladder? Retire early? Be successful? Not bad things -- but is that it? Don't settle for that. It's piddly. Pagans have those goals.
God has something much bigger for you. Man caves are cool. Guns are cool. Steak is awesome. But there is something more awesome -- true manhood. It's here in the text. If you missed last weeks, you need to get it.
Last week was about the office of elder, or pastor, how they are required for your life, what they do, and how that mirrors the task of Biblical manhood. Today, we look at the character and qualifications of an elder, and how that is the pattern for masculinity. We will be looking at what God says the qualifications for a Pastor are, and at the same time, we will be double-dipping, applying it to elders and men in general, at the same time.
Ladies, be praying for your man all morning. Pray for him more than you do already! Pray for your pastors, and for future leaders in our church. We will talk about femininity and womanhood in chapter 2.
Common question, "What does God want for me?" Men, have you wondered this? It's right here in Titus 1. God wants true masculinity for you. The list of qualifications for elders is to be our life's goal, aim, pursuit, and vision. Every man in this church must be dialed in "I want to be this." This should be your vision.
I have bad hair, it doesn't grow down, it grows out. Pictures of me from high school should be burned. Now, I don't care so much, I can't see my hair -- but I'm sure my Natalie would like to look the opposite of an ogre in public. We were watching a movie with Ryan Gosling in it recently, dudes hair was sharp. Went and got my hair cut, opened that picture from the movie -- "As best you can, make my head look like this." Vision. This is where I need to go.
You may never be an Elder, but all are called to be elder quality.
1 Timothy 6:11, "O man of God, pursue godliness." All Men of God here today, God is calling, "Pursue Godliness." Imagine If we all pursued godliness the way that some pursue a hunting, or gadgets, our hobbies. The men in this church would be scary biblical.
Now, The list here in Titus 1 for Elders, and a similar list in 1 Timothy 3, is where to look for Elders, and Biblical Manhood.
As we read the passage, Paul used a word three times, "MUST." Repetition is communication. It communicates, heaviness, importance, seriousness, to what is presented.
There is so much great stuff here, had to cut it out of the sermon, post it on The City this week.
There are three categories that we work with, that we find here in the qualifications: CALLING, CHARACTER, & COMPETENCE.
While, not listed here in Titus, we see it in the parallel passage in 1 Tim. 3.
1 Timothy 3:1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task
This word has a strong connotation for reaching out for it, striving for it, godly ambition. Not only is it not wrong to desire being an elder, it is noble, "good". Of course there can be impure motives, but it must be said -- this is a good thing.
Desire is the first point of examination.
The calling is to be a pastor -- not a preacher. "Well I can't preach -- that's not the calling." "Well, I just want to preach --- that's not the calling." "I just want to make decisions..etc.." It's all about shepherding.
The desire must be there, manifested as a calling, because this is a heavy task. Lots of sacrifice. Lots of burden, pain, heart-ache --- but all filled with joy! Because it's not for a business, but for King Jesus and His people.
Where are the men who will count their lives cheap for the fame of Christ?
Where are the men of God who will pour out their souls for the glory of God?
Where are the men who want to live for more than the cheap thrills of this world?
There are future elders, deacons, biblical counselors, cg leaders, church planters, foreign missionaries, & missional monsters all sitting in this room. Where are you?
What is God calling you to? What are you doing about it?
Paul moves from CALLING into CHARACTER.
Character is the bulk of the qualifications. God wants men of character. Let's read them one more time. (v.5-9).
Notice what Paul did not say: Find the most successful men in the church. Get the CEO's in to the table. Find the guys with the seminary degrees. Nothing about success, seminary, or even age.Elder is not a description of the person, it's a description of what they do "The elder, shepherd, oversee."
Already we are seeing what Samuel said at the anointing of young David to becoming King, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart."
The Spirit says in verse 5 and 7, "above reproach."
The word means blameless, it doesn't mean perfect or sinless -- if that were the case -- no one would qualify, except for Jesus. It means there are no blaring, glaring, neon-sign, "are you kidding me?" sins in their life.
Elder quality is mean who are not perfect, but are pursuing holiness.
Every word in this passage is present tense, meaning, the current mark of their life. Not the past sins, failures, and shortcomings -- but what kind of man are they today. Again, no one would qualify. Paul wouldn't, murder. Peter wouldn't, he denied knowing Jesus three times!
We need to all examine our souls today. Dial into this list of qualifications and, even now pray, Before the open word of God, in the presences of Jesus Christ, "What is the state of my soul?"
As we go through the list, we need to be praying, "Lord, convict me of sin, reveal me areas that are not honoring to you, and grant me the grace through the holy spirit to put them to death and honor you, my wife, my children, and live what you have called me to be."
And whatever the Lord shows you today, it's grace. Don't be discouraged, that's from demons, God brings hope.
Now, "Above Reproach" is the drop down menu, like on a computer. Click it, and a list shows up. The rest of the qualifications, further unpack above reproach.
This list, isn't meant to be a check-list, but more saying "find the contours and the edges of the mans life, is his life characterized by these things."
First area to consider...THE HOME.
HIS MARRIAGE - "The Husband of One Wife."
Lots of ways to unpack this one. Most obvious, "one wife." No polygamy. He can't have multiple wives. This was an issue in the greco-roman world, as well as in many third world countries, tribal villages -- to this day. Being in Thailand, this is a problem today!
Additionally, he has a marriage worth imitating. This doesn't mean a perfect marriage, but how do they handle conflict, difficulty, strain, sin etc..
This doesn't mean if he has been divorced or is a widower he is disqualified. Literally the Greek means, "he is a one woman man." The past isn't being brought into account. It's today. This would also include discussions of purity, lust, pornography, so on.
"Children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination."
This one has some interpretive challenges.
I do not think this means the elder's qualification, hinges on his children being Christians. The word "believers" can also be translated, "faithful", which would pertain to his parenting and authority. And this is speaking of Children who currently live under his roof.
We take the translation of faithful for three reasons...
1) Because of what follows "debauchery" - wild living, and insubordination, don't heed authority. Those words help define what Paul means by "faithful."
2) Paul didn't say this to Timothy. Why would he give Titus a very different qualification than Timothy? We should favor Timothy's passage on this point, it's longer, more exhaustive, and there aren't' any translation difficulties in 1 Timothy 3. So we go with the more clear reading.
1 Timothy 3:4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?
3) Salvation belongs to the Lord, not man. Conversion is 100% in the hands of the Lord. No Father, whether the best or the worst, can't control the conversion of His Children.
God is saying, "if a man cannot oversee and lead his household, don't try and lead mine."
Excellent Father. Kids love him and respect him. Great husband, wife follows him. Every man in here needs to assess his home.
This also doesn't disqualify a single man or husband without children. If that's what God meant to say, then he would have said it plainly "must be married and have kids."
This would mean, Jesus couldn't be an elder. Nor could Paul. People say, "Well, that's Paul...c'mon." So, being single and not having kids isn't the issue -- it's the character of the man. You would still examine the home of a single man, his purity, any dating relationship, how he handles his, who he has discipled (Spiritual Children) money etc..
It's not about life experience -- it's about leading from the Word of God. Paul didn't experience raising a kid or leading a wife -- and he gives some great counsel. It's about the Word.
WHAT HE MUST NOT BE --- Serious problems for being a pastor.
"For an overseer, as God's steward MUST NOT BE.."
GOD. God is always a keyword! The office of elder, is under the authority of God. Elder's are stewards of the church, and men, as we saw last week, you are a steward of the home -- under God.
How much thought do you give that? God's ownership over your life.
This is all from God, under God, through God, and for God. We need a completely God-centered life, and approach to masculinity.
CONSIDER GOD. The one who spoke the universe into existence, the one who walked with Adam, who flooded the earth, who called out Abraham, who talked to Moses, who split the red sea and freed Israel from Egypt, who spoke to David and Solomon, Who right now, angles are swirling about crying, "HOLY! HOLY! HOLY!, Who sustains everything in the universe by the Word of His power!
The one who loves sinners, who died on the cross for sinners, to grant us new life, forgiveness and hope, who rose from the dead. The one that demons bow down before, the one who is going to come back on a white horse, with a sword coming out of his mouth, with eyes of fire!! THAT'S GOD.
He has said, "You are my steward." He says, men of God are not to be:
Arrogant -- means self-willed -- the must always get their way, stubborn. Never submits to others. Their entire life exudes the aroma of arrogance. "Think of themselves more highly than they ought, and want everyone else to as well." Arrogance is insecurity not just in self, more importantly in Christ.
Men who have been devastated by the Gospel, cease to be dominated by arrogance -- they become humble. They see, "I'm the chief sinner. AND LOOK AT WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR ME!!?"
Quick-Tempered --- Inclined to anger. Know someone like this? They are a spark away from explosion. Their fuse is a not an inch long, but one electron. We all have bad days -- but this their every day. Egg-shell Eddy -- everyone has to be on eggshells.
Word was used to Greek culture to denote the wrath of the greek gods -- Quick Tempered people have an idolatry problem -- and it's self.
Drunkard --- Must be controlled by only kind of Spirit -- The Spirit of God, not a martini. Drunkards don't have control of themselves, dangerous, sinful. Pastors are not forbidden to enjoy God's creation, it is good and holy in the sight of God, but it cannot be abused.
Ever seen a helpful drunk? Case closed.
Violent --- Literally, "Fist-fighter", "Take this outside" --- not as common today, but in the greek it also means BULLY. They can't be a bully, intimidate, and overpower others. Bullies are the worst. You can't pick fights with the sheep.
1 Tim 3 adds, they are not to be "Quarrelsome." Do you like to stir things up? Love to argue. Get people riled up? Sinful. Godly men are not to be physically violent, but also, they are to avoid verbal violence. Words are almost more painful than fists. Cut down co-workers, shame someone in a crowd, cut down your wife and kids to bully them. Shameful. Sick.
2 Tim. 2:24 "And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone"
Greedy for Gain (v.7) -- He can't have money and materialism issues. It shows where his treasure is. That It's not Christ.
He must have integrity with money, not lured by money --- because it will kill you. And will destroy a church -- been in that church. The elders are stewards are God's money, and must be careful and wise -- which is why we have a wonderful finance team.
Questions to consider: Are you tight fisted or generous? Do you give to the work of the gospel, offerings, and tithe, on a generous and regular basis? Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Elder quality men's hearts are not in their wallets.
v. 8 is a transtion, "WHAT HE MUST BE"
Hospitable - word literally means, "friend of strangers." Has more to do with his relationship to unbelievers. Friendly to them. Doesn't mean his home is open for pot-lucks all the time, but is a kind to all people, especially those who don't know Christ.
Timothy says, "Respected by outsiders." So they must not only know non-Christians, but the non-Christians say, "I like that guy. He's a good guy."
We can say from this...Godly men are missional men. Purposely engaging non-Christians to love them, care for them, and tell them about Jesus.
A lover of Good -- Not indifferent or apathetic about what is good, helpful, and holy for the soul. But loves to dwell on the great and holy things of God, and the awesome things that God has made. He's a man that prizes virtue, and abhors evil.
Self-controlled & Disciplined -- These are different. Self-control is what keeps us from doing what is sinful, and discipline keeps us on the track to do what is right. This applies across the spectrum of life. Tied to the desires of the heart.
1 Cor. 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Saying no to sin, and even no to things that are good, but would not be good for the moment --- or ever. Is a Fry-daddy wrong? No -- but I should never own one. I'd deep fry my shirt. Would not be good for me.
Upright & Holy -- Upright -- integrity, solid. Doesn't cut corners and do shady business stuff.
Holy here means, "set apart", unto the Lord. He's a tree that doesn't wither, among a bunch of dead trees (Psalm 1). Paul contrasts the elder quality man, with the Cretans. He must be a counter-cultural man. He isn't just a fish that swims upstream, He's a fisher of men. Utterly different. No comparison.
Lastly, v. 9 "Hold to the word, teach the word." He's a Bible guy.
He must be able to wield the word to help feed the sheep, correct the sheep, and defend the sheep from harmful teaching.
Doesn't' say he must be able to preach. The greek here literally means to "come to one's side, to encourage." Help them get what God's word is saying. Paul doesn't use the greek word of preach, "proclaim, herald the truth."
1 Timothy 5:17 tells us that not every elder is going to have the gift to preaching, "especially those who labor in preaching and teaching." Some will labor in in preaching, others won't touch it -- that's up the Spirit of God.
But godly, elder quality men, true manhood -- clings to the word of God, bleed bible, it's their life, their direction. Not wishy-washy with the truth, they stand and say it boldly without flinching.
Among unbelievers, The stand strongly on the Gospel, that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and that it is freely offered to all, put your faith and trust in Jesus death and resurrection, to pay for your sins -- you are saved from the wrath of God, and given eternal life with Him.
Important to maintain biblical purity, and doctrinal fidelity, for the glory of God and the good of the church, and her witness to the world. Doctrinal errors that pervade the church get permission from the Elders. They allow them, by inaction, or announce them by their own teaching.
Have to rebuke bad doctrine, and show what's true from the Bible. Godly men, must do this for their home, lead their wife and children in the truth of God.
This is the kind of men God wants for his church. Kind of man, God is calling you to.
God has a compelling vision for manhood. Don’t settle. Some of you will be elders, deacons, church planters, but all of us are to be godly men.
Reach for what you thought you could never be, because the good news is, Jesus is alive in you (Galatians 2:20) and He is the Chief Shepherd and Overseer of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).
We need to move past ourselves and look to Jesus. Focus on self less, and Him more. He's the Alpha male we want to be like.
God calls men to impossibilities and makes them possible with Him. Ask him to do these things in you. Kill sin and pursue Jesus, pursue Godliness.