Qualified Leadership

Steve Viars January 26, 2008 1 Timothy 2:9

 

- This morning I’d like to introduce what we’re going to be studying by asking you a couple of questions...

1. Is studying the Bible like going to MCL?

- Many of us have been to MCL---it’s a well known cafeteria in this town...

- and when you go there, you get in a line where you pick up your tray and silverware...

- and then you look over a dizzying array of food choices...

- they have all sorts of salads...all sorts of vegetables...multiple meat selections...great bread...and what seems like hundreds of desserts...

- and the obvious principle behind a cafeteria is...you take what you want and leave the rest...

- no one expects you to, out of courtesy, take one of everything...

- it’s assumed that you will leave what you don’t like...

- for example, there’s this big slab of liver in the meat section...

- I contend that no one has ever taken that...I’ve thought about putting a little mark on the underside with a pen and then checking back several months later...

- who would ever pick liver if you have pork, beef, chicken, or fish?...

- and again, that is perfectly acceptable behavior at a cafeteria...and it fits our American way of doing things to a “T”...

- my question is...is that the way it works with studying God’s Word?...do we pick what we want and leave the rest?...not around here we don’t...

- we believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible...

- inspiration means God-breathed (theopneustos)

- verbal means, not just concepts, but the actual words of Scripture...

- and plenary – to the full extent, each word in the original language in which Scripture was given is equally important and valuable...

- the apostle Paul said it this way...2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

- that’s why we don’t treat studying the Bible like eating at MCL...

- Revelation 22:18-19 - I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

- now, you might say, are we getting ready to study some ideas that are a bit controversial?...yes, and for some of us (male and female), our real attitude toward God and His Word might be tested this am...

- and you might say, well, does that concern you?...that leads us to the second question...

2. whose church is this?...

- Who does Faith Baptist Church belong to?...

- to Jesus Christ...one of the wonderful ways the church is described is in...

Acts 20:28 - Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

- so our church belongs to Jesus Christ...so we don’t try to altar the message to make it more palatable to the modern mind...

- we simply teach His Word...all of it...and trust Him for the results...

- in fact if you’re familiar with the passage in Acts...[and remember we learned a couple of weeks ago that in Acts 20, Paul was talking to the elders from the city of Ephesus, and Timothy is now serving as a pastor for the church at Ephesus...]...

- Paul got those men together in Acts 20 and he said...Acts 20:26-27 - Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

- the word translated shrink was a nautical term in Bible times...

- it referred to a sailor folding up a ship’s sails and stowing them away...

- and Paul says – I did not do that with the Bible...I didn’t take any of it and hide it...

- I didn’t let the fear of man keep me from giving all of it to you...

- every person will have to answer for how they responded to God’s Word, even on the occasions when God said something that they might not have liked...

- but Paul could declare – I’m innocent – I did my job – I declared to you the entire purpose of God...

- now, since we believe that all of the Word of God is inspired and profitable, and because we believe that this church belongs to Jesus Christ who purchased it with His own blood...let me invite you to open your Bible to 1 Timothy chapter 2 this morning...[page 163 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you.]

- our theme this year is Seeking God’s Plan...in a few weeks we’ll be distributing a survey to our congregation, and then later a survey to our neighbors and community members asking for input about ways we can more of blessing and have more of an impact on our community and our world...

- that will be the first formal step in our church family establishing our next 5 year strategic ministry plan...

- but we also want to seek God’s plan in many other ways as well...including in these first two months of the year...Seeking God’s Plan for His Family...

- we’re working verse by verse through the book of I Timothy and asking what God wants churches to be like...so far we’ve seen two emphases...

- He wants us to be characterized by Purposeful Instruction...

- not legalism...not a bunch of rules added to the Scripture in a self-righteous fashion...

- but with focus on the gospel of grace, submitting ourselves to sola scriptura...the authority of the Word of God alone...

- and when that happens, the result is...

- 1 Timothy 1:5 - But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

- the first 8 verses in chapter 2 that we studied last week added the idea of aPrayerful Focus...

- God’s plan is that His people would make entreaties, and prayers, and petitions, and thanksgivings for all men, especially leaders in government and others in authority...

- and we found quite a few ways that might apply to the way you and I live today...

- now the next verses this morning, chapter 2 verse 9 through chapter 3 verse 16, emphasize the issue of Qualified Leadership...

- read I Timothy 2:9-3:16...

- so Paul now turns his attention to qualified leadership, and with the time we have remaining, let’s look for Three categories of people necessary for the church to focus on what really matters.

- all through this book there has been an attempt to help God’s people major on the majors...

- one of the dangers of the false teachers at this church was that they were emphasizing things that would get the church off track...

- a church that is legalistic is off track...

- a church that gets all wrapped up in politics is off track...

- that’s why verse 6 of chapter 1 speaks about the danger of straying...about turning aside to fruitless discussion...

- the final verse we studied last week, chapter 2 verse 8 talks about doing things with wrath and dissension...

- so you get this sense that Paul is trying to help Timothy navigate his way through a potential minefield of problems that could render the church ineffective...

- now, the verses we read are not hard to understand---Paul talks about women, and then he talks about pastors, and then he talks about deacons...and though there is a lot of content here, for each group, there is one central idea that is especially emphasized...

- and that’s what we want to try to do with our outline...and we won’t be able to comment on every word or every concept...

- but even hitting the main ideas allow us to zero in on some truths that are very practical for anyone today who really wants to seek God’s plan...Three categories of people necessary for the church to focus on what really matters...if any of this is not in place, the church will eventually be off track...

I. Women Who Adorn Themselves with Good Works.

- Paul often talks in very long sentences...and he assumes that his readers are going to carefully unpack what he’s said...

- the problem with our culture is that, in many cases, we read less and less...

- it’s like, can I see a video...that doesn’t work with Bible study...you have to carefully follow the argument, or the flow of thought in a passage...

- the central argument here is – churches work best when women are more concerned about what is happening in their hearts, and what is happening with their hands...than in other kinds of externals...now, let’s break some of this down...

A. By dressing appropriately.

- I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that people are welcome here regardless of how they dress...there’s nothing wrong with dressing comfortably...

- we also understand that many people have very tight budgets...and the idea of having special “church clothes” for themselves and their family members isn’t even possible...

- and we want everyone to feel comfortable to come and hear the Word of God without some kind of over-emphasis on dress...

- however, we also said in that same message...that of course the way we dress should certainly meet the standard of modesty...and that thought comes from a passage like this one...

- now, let’s put that in its historical setting...

- one of the things that was unique about the church was that everybody was welcome to come to Christ...and they were treated as equals...

- Galatians 3:27-28 - For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

- such an arrangement was entirely unheard of...where Jews and Gentiles could come together and worship as one in Christ, and men and women could worship and learn together, and wealthy persons and poorer persons were all part of the same family...

- and there were bound to be problems...

- people from a strict Jewish background would have taken the position that women should not be taught the Word...

- people who were wealthy were coming out a culture where it was fashionable for people, especially women, to show off their wealth with gaudy displays of jewelry, and elaborate hairdos and dresses...

- Ephesus was also a very immoral place...so you have people who are used to dressing in a way that drew attention to their body parts, and purposely provided an occasion for lust...

- well, you bring all of that together in the church...and some teaching needs to be done...

- so Paul tells Timothy to instruct women to adorn themselves with proper clothing...

- both the word “adorn” and “proper” are related to Greek word “kosmeo”...

- that word means “to arrange, to put in order, to make ready”

- we get our English term cosmetic from this word group...

- and Paul uses 2 key words in verse 8 to describe what is proper...”Modestly and discreetly”...

- modestly – aidos – “modesty mixed with humility”...

- the root word is connected to the idea of shame...and the idea is that a godly woman would be ashamed if the way she dressed took her anyone else’s attention away from worshipping God...

- the word “discreetly” is the Greek word sophrosunesself control, especially over sexual passions

- now, what about the issue of braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly garments...

- all of that has to be understood in its historical context...

- that has to do with persons flaunting their wealth by lavish displays purposely designed to draw attention to oneself...

- now, what do we do with this?...

- I think we have to avoid two extremes...we’re certainly not going to put this on the shelf and say---well, that was for another time and place and because people in our culture don’t want to hear about modesty, we better steer clear of that...

- but on the other, we can’t come up with some absolute list of what constitutes modesty and what doesn’t and then impose it on every person in the church...

- doing that would be a violation of the very principles Paul emphasized about legalism in chapter 1...

- so what do we do?...well, we trust the Holy Spirit to help His people apply the principles of His Word...

- so friend, its true for men and women, but since its written to women---let’s ask it that way...maam...do you attempt to dress in a way that honors God and facilitates worship...by avoiding styles and choices that either over emphasize body parts or that inappropriately display wealth?...

- and there’s no question that this is completely counter cultural --- but that is what the church is supposed to be...

- and I hope we all understand that ultimately this is an issue of the heart...it comes down to why you dress the way you do?...

How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood? Is it to show her love and devotion to her husband and his goodness to her? Is it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshiping God? Or is it to call attention to herself, and flaunt her wealth and beauty? Or worse, to attempt to allure men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshiping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance. – John MacArthur, Commentary on I Timothy

- now, if you come back to the main argument, the overall point here is...

B. By cultivating a life of good works.

- verse 10 – but rather by means of good works.

- In other words, the focus is on her heart and on her hands, not on her body and not on her wealth...

- so this week, when a woman sat down with another woman and opened the Scriptures and tried to provide counsel and accountability and teaching...she was adorning herself with good works...

- when women came in this week and served others in the food pantry and clothing closet, they were adorning themselves with good works...

- when women served in the literally hundreds of positions necessary to keep a church like this going today, and this week, they were not drawing attention to themselves, they were seeking to focus attention on the Lord whom they love...

- I want to take a minute and thank Janet Aucoin and all those who are working with her to lead our women’s ministries here...

- it is amazing the kind of services and resources that have been put together...and that is such an important part of our church life...

- but the bottom line is – God’s Word works...its true...

- and when we place the focus on things that really matter, that are of eternal value, there is a blessedness that comes from adorning ones life with good works...

C. By learning joyfully.

- the rest of the verses in this chapter might sound surprising to some of our ears...

- they would have been surprising to others for an entirely different reason...

- there very well may have been people in the church at Ephesus who agreed with some Jewish rabbis and said that women should not learn God’s Word...

- and Paul puts that entirely and completely to rest...

- he said in verse 11 that she should receive instruction...

- many of Paul’s valued co-workers were women and they had a very important place in the development of the NT church...

- however, and this is the crux of what is being taught here...women were not to be the primary discerners of doctrine over adult men...

- it really could not be any clearer in the Scripture...and this is consistent with every other place in the NT where this subject is discussed...

- now, I realize that some say...well, that’s just cultural...it’s not for us today...

- the problem with that is that the reasons that are given in the rest of the chapter are not cultural, they are doctrinal...

- so our pastors, and our ABF teachers here are men, in order to obey what God has clearly laid out for His church...

- now, if any man here would say --- boy, PV really gave it to the women today...I don’t see how...

- because I don’t know of any woman in this church who really wanted to preach next Sunday, anyway...

- and the truth of the matter is guys, all I did was skillfully place the sharpened axe right over the necks of every man in the church...

- because if we’re going to ask women to be what God wants them to be in the church, that simply increases our responsibility to be what God has called us to be...and the same is true in the home and everywhere else...

- now men, if you say, well, I’m not sure I like how that one came out...you might want to hold onto your chairs...because it gets stronger in chapter 3...

- because not only does God want the church to be populated with women who adorn themselves with good works...but God also desires...

II. Pastors who Are Above Reproach.

- if you say, I’m not sure I like what God has said so far in these verses, how would you like to be in a pastor’s shoes...where you could go out and do certain kinds of things and be in one level of trouble, I could go out and do those exact things and tomorrow morning find myself unemployed...

- and the common theme here is...

- with women, God doesn’t want it to be a big show with no substance...

- the same is true with men...God expects pastors and deacons, and of course all the men in the church to be the real thing...now, let’s break this down a bit...

A. Motivated by a God-given desire.

- 1 Timothy 3:1 - This is a true saying, If a man desires the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.

- We’re often asked---How can I know if God has called me into the ministry...

- it starts very subjectively---with a God given desire to be a pastor...

- I was talking to someone this week about a particular problem someone in the church has gotten themselves into – and that’s always happening in a church this size, and sometimes it can get a bit messy...

- and this person said...and you wanted to do this?...and the answer is – absolutely...

- I love this job, I consider it a great privilege to serve here and I wouldn’t want to do anything else...but I believe that is a God-given desire...and a person who doesn’t have that isn’t going to make it...

- now, as I said earlier, we can’t go through all the concepts, but sometimes that’s better because you can see the main emphases...did you see what else really matters to God regarding pastors...

B. Family qualifications.

1. the husband of one wife.

- and the point there isn’t – well good, I only have one...

- the words there are “may-ganay” – one woman...

- the idea is that the pastor can’t be a flirt...there can’t be any question in any persons mind about the fact that there is only one woman that a pastor is interested in sexually and that is his wife...

- and I understand that there are two things that could bring me down faster than anything else---financial impropriety or sexual immorality...the world says that you should sweep that under the rug as long as the person can perform his job – Scripture says that in God’s house, leaders have to meet certain family requirements or they’re not qualified to do their jobs.

2. manages his household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity.

- the emphasis there is not on all the choices the child makes, but on whether the father leads and responds in a godly, dignified way...

- now, there’s a lot more that could be said about that...but there is a huge implication here for all the men of the church...

- the way you function in your family matters to God, a lot...

- and if we’re serious about seeking his plan for His family, then we have to be giving careful attention to the way we relate to our families...

C. Character qualifications.

- again, time doesn’t allow us to go through each one, but the point is very important, isn’t it?...

- temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable...

- not handsome, tall, rich, eloquent, smart, able to hit a fastball or a three point jumper...

- its all about character...

- God wants the men in the church to be working on their character...

- I want to commend the nearly 200 men who came to Men of Faith the Saturday before last...

- and we’re not going to make that a legalistic test of spirituality either...but it says something when that many men come together to study the Word at 6:00 on a Saturday morning...

- I’m glad for the number of men in our church who are involved in Point Man groups...

- but guys, I would just ask you this morning...are you placing emphasis on developing your character?...and if you’re married, would your wife and children be able to say that they are thankful for and confident in your character?...

D. Ministry qualifications.

- v. 2- apt to teach

- v. 5 – able to manage the church of God

- it’s instructive that the Bible doesn’t say nearly as much about what a pastor is to do, compared to what is said about what a pastor is to be...

- and in this world that is all about style, and appearance, and performance...isn’t it refreshing to have a God who says---whether talking about women or talking about men – no, it’s really about character...

- now, we see this same emphasis when it comes to...

III. Deacons Who Are Men of Dignity.

- did you see that in verse 8?

- not the wealthiest guy, not the most handsome guy, not the most athletic guy, not the big shot around town...men of dignity...

- now, how does this break down?...

A. Who understand their role.

- the office of deacon was instituted in Acts 6 [develop]

- the word deacon means servant...

- cf. Men of Faith and the way we had guys sit with their deacons and why

B. Family qualifications

- very similar to that of pastors...

C. Character qualifications

- again, very similar to pastors...

D. Their reward

1 Timothy 3:13 - For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Conclusion...

- MCL – there was a lot here that is counter cultural...

- but it is clearly from God’s Word...

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video