- Sermon Notes
Have These Spiritual Goals
1 Timothy 3:1-7
Paul is writing to give instructions to Timothy, his young son in the faith. Timothy joined Paul’s missionary team as they were traveling through the Asia minor area of Derby and Lystra. Though he was a young man, Timothy was well taught in the scriptures and was well spoken of by the brethren.
Because Paul was his mentor, Timothy became highly regarded and respected in the churches they had planted. Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to oversee the churches that came out of the great revival that began there several years earlier.
Though the churches were growing, they were also in need of leadership. They were in danger of getting off into the weeds. Certain men were teaching strange doctrines that were dangerous and needed to be confronted.
In chapter 3, Paul gives instruction to Timothy in regards to the qualities of character that leaders of the church should have in their lives. This is going to become absolutely essential if the church is to keep growing and stay out of the weeds. There are few things that trouble a church like having the wrong kind of leaders.
This list of qualities, however, is not just for those who aspire to be leaders, these are qualities of character that all of us should desire to have in our lives because they are the very definition of spiritual maturity.
Notice that this is not a list of education degrees, this list describes the content of character of spiritual maturity. The content of our character determines the course of our lives, it determines the course of the church, and ultimately, will determine the course of our nation.
Therefore, these are qualities of character we should all desire. Are we done growing? Have we finished transforming our character? God most certainly hasn’t finished transforming us, there is still much to do. Let us take hold of those things that transform our character so that we continue to grow in spiritual maturity.
- This should be true for all of us, not just for overseers in a church. If you are a husband, a wife, a father, or a mother - be an example of character.
- If you’re a Christian living in the world, you should be an example of character.
- An overseer, however, must have character that is above reproach. In the Greek it literally means, “cannot be laid hold of.” In other words, there isn’t anything in his life that someone can lay hold of and accuse him of wrongdoing.
- By no means does this suggest that anyone is perfect, but leaders should be free of those things that impeach his character.
- We need a consistency in our lives so that we are the same at home or at work or at church. That doesn’t mean we should bring our ugly side out at church, it means that there is a godly consistency. In other words, what you see is what you get.
Illus - A friend and I were golfing and were put together with a husband and his wife. The husband had a hot temper and could cuss like a sailor. Turns out he was recently asked to be an elder. There’s no way that can end well.
- This verse has met with some controversy as to what Paul specifically meant, but the meaning is plain enough. “Be a one-woman man,” is what Paul is saying.
- In the culture of Paul’s day, it was common for men to have mistresses, or to move from one wife to another if he was displeased for any reason.
- It shows Christian maturity and Christian character to be different than the world. It honors God to honor your wife.
Ephesians 5:25, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
Hebrews 13:4, Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled;
Ephesians 5:31-32, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
Illus – In Kinshasa, DRC, I was speaking at a pastors’ conference and discovered that many of the pastors there had mistresses…
- God used that moment as an opportunity for Holy Spirit inspired revival. We need that today.
B. Be temperate and prudent
- A person who is temperate is someone not given to extremes. Some people have extreme mood swings, or they’re super excited about something for about a week and then they’re on to the next super exciting thing. A temperate person is steady and reliable.
- It shows wisdom and maturity to be able to stay committed to something in spite of the challenges and difficulties of staying committed.
- The opposite of temperance is impulsiveness. An impulsive person is ruled by their emotions rather than careful, prayerful consideration.
Illus - Impulsiveness is often attributed to people that are young. Teenagers are known for making impulsive decisions and ignoring the consequences. The idea in this verse is that temperance comes from maturity, especially spiritual maturity.
Proverbs 25:28, Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.
- Prudence is using good and godly judgment in the decisions of life. God gives us wisdom and expects us to use it, and if we need more, He wants us to ask.
James 1:5, If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Proverbs 14:15-16, The naïve believes everything, but the sensible man considers the steps. A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a foolish man is arrogant and careless.
II. Be Worthy of Respect
- A person who is a leader or an example should be worthy of respect by how they live their lives.
- The root of the word in Greek means to be orderly or proper and is translated as modesty in 2:9.
- The emphasis in that verse is actually that a woman, but this would also apply to a man, should not dress with ostentatious displays of wealth. Why not? Because it doesn’t show respect.
- To be worthy of respect, is to treat others with respect and then receive it in return.
Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
- That would apply to many areas of our lives.
A. Be hospitable
- The root of this word in the Greek is literally, “friendship to strangers.” Oftentimes people use this word to describe someone who opens their home and invites others for a meal. But it means more than that.
- In Matthew 25 Jesus was describing what it meant to be on the alert and be ready, “For you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”
- Then Jesus said that when the Son of Man comes in His glory, He will sit on His glorious throne and will judge the nations. But for what will he judge them?
Matthew 25:34-40 “I was a stranger and you invited me in.”
- Jesus has a heart for the least and wants us to have the same heart; so much so there will come a day when we will give an account to the Lord for the heart that we had toward others.
- The problem is that we live in a society that is so often fixated on the wealthiest, most popular, or most important people. The media tracks their movements; whole magazines are written so people can follow their lives. The more important, the better.
Illus - There is a story about when the Pope was visiting a foreign country and had to return quickly to the airport…
B. Be able to teach others
- Pastors and elders should be equipped in the Word of God to be able to teach others, but everyone should desire to grow in their faith and the knowledge of God’s word so they can teach others.
- In other words, we all need to be fed by the Word of God and continue to be equipped in it so that we’re continually growing in our knowledge of the word and our relationship to God.
2 Timothy 2:15, Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
- God wants us to grow beyond just receiving the milk of the word so we can digest the meat of the word and have greater spiritual discernment.
Hebrews 5:12, By this time you ought to be teachers, but you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
- In other words, we expect our kids to grow and God expects His kids to grow also.
Illus - When our kids were young they found joy in the silliest things. They loved being thrown in the air as far as I could throw them, but as they grew, we expected them to find joy in more mature things.
Illus - The other day Aviah and I were driving and she was doing a math problem in her head, but got it wrong. “I’m not very good at math,” she said. So I responded, “Here’s the thing, God gave you a very, very good mind, you are very smart, but you have to put those things in the mind that God gave you.”
- The same is true with the word of God.
Hebrews 5:14, Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
C. Win people, not arguments
- There are several qualities of character related to how we handle disagreements and conflicts with others.
- Don’t be ‘pugnacious,’ means, ‘don’t be a brawler.’ If you have a leader who is a brawler, there is real trouble in the church. A more accurate translation may be the word bully.
- Bullying people is never God’s way. Instead, he says to be gentle. Treat others with respect, with kindness and gentleness, that is the fruit of the Spirit.
- He continues by saying that the man of God must not be contentious, or, in other words, don’t be argumentative.
- Some people seem to enjoy being difficult. Perhaps they enjoy the power that comes from being contentious; after all, it does get some people to do what you want.
- Here’s the problem; that’s a worldly principle, that’s not a biblical one.
2 Timothy 2:24-25, The Lord’s bondservant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition,
Proverbs 26:21, Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
- I have found that when it comes to resolving conflicts and disagreements, there’s nothing so powerful as grace. A leader must lead, but it’s much more effective to use those things which God blesses.
- God does not bless contentiousness or being pugnacious.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4, Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
- Another quality of godly character is that the man or woman of God is not addicted to wine and is free from the love of money.
- In other words, these things do not master him. God does not want us to be mastered by anything except by Him.
Hebrews 13:5, Make sure your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you.”
- Our inheritance is found in God and we should not be prideful because we have a better cabin on the Titanic; we should be humbled and thankful that we have a place in heaven.
1 Timothy 3:1-7 NASB
1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.
4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6 and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.