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An Examination of I Timothy 3:1-11 (Part 2): TRUSTWORTHY Sayings!

As Linda and I plan on visiting New Jersey September 28 to October 7, I’ll be teaching Sunday School both Sundays and my assigned passage is I Timothy 3.

We’ll look at I Timothy 3:1-11 for September 29 and then later at I Timothy 3:12-16 for the October 6th Sunday School. Let’s continue thinking through that first part of I Timothy 3 (vv. 1-11):

What do we learn here about “overseers”:

1. First, it would be helpful to collect all the “trustworthy sayings” to which Paul refers. The Apostle uses that expression in the following passages: I Tim. 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; II Tim. 2:11; Titus 1:9; and Titus 3:8. Here’s a simple chart I put together of those “trustworthy sayings”:

At the very least, we have to say that aspiring to be an overseer in the church is a God-honoring, worthy desire!

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2019 in I Timothy 3

 

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An Examination of I Timothy 3:1-11 (Part 1): God’s Concern for LEADERS!

Friends: Some of you know that Linda and I will be traveling to the pagan land of New Jersey September 28 to October 7. Cedarcroft Bible Chapel is having me speak on the two Sundays September 29 and October 6. I also get to teach Sunday School both Sundays and I’ve been assigned I Timothy 3 as my text. This morning let’s begin a multi-part study of that passage.

We’ll look at I Timothy 3:1-11 for September 29 and then later at I Timothy 3:12-16 for the October 6th Sunday School.

Let’s begin with a few observations of this text:

1. First, this passage is clearly a discussion of leadership in the church. Verses 1-7 are about overseers and verses 8-10 concern deacons. Verse 11 may be speaking about deaconesses.
2.The qualifications for both these offices (overseers and deacons) are quite extensive.

May I ask you this morning to take a few minutes to pray specifically for the leaders in your church — the elders and deacons who seek to serve Christ as they serve you?

I just did this. Join me? (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2019 in I Timothy 3

 

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Stay Spiritually Fit and Healthy — Until You Are Dead! Part 2

In this series of posts we are asking the question, how do we stay spiritually healthy until the Lord comes back or we pass from this earthly scene?  We are looking at the wonderful three-chapter epistle of Titus.  Let’s look at the next section of Titus 1:

Here we learn of Paul’s leadership in leaving Titus in Crete to “put in order what was left unfinished” (v. 5).  Part of that unfinished business was establishing leaders in each church.  And Paul specifies the qualities needed for those leaders.

 

These are high qualifications for leaders in the local church.  But God takes spiritual leadership seriously!  [Note the first use of the word sound in verse 9].

And so should we.  Part of how we stay spiritually fit and healthy is to co-operate with the spiritual leaders God has placed over us.  We need to know who our leaders are, to pray for them and for their families, and to submit to their leadership.  God has not left us alone to keep ourselves spiritually sound.  He has provided leaders!  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2018 in spiritual health

 

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How Do I Get Spiritually Healthy? (a study of Titus: Part 4)

When I was a teenager, my best friend was a weight-lifter, a body-builder.  His father, who was a pretty strict Christian, would often quote I Timothy 4:8 to his son.  It says in the King James translation:  “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 6.03.14 PMpromise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”  The dad thought that proved his son should give more attention to lifting his Bible than to lifting weights.

When I became sophistically educated (meaning:  I had a year or two of New Testament Greek under my belt), I looked up I Timothy 4:8 in the “original Greek.”  It reads: ἡ γὰρ σωματικὴ γυμνασία πρὸς ὀλίγον ἐστὶν ὠφέλιμος, ἡ δὲ εὐσέβεια πρὸς πάντα ὠφέλιμός ἐστιν, ἐπαγγελίαν ἔχουσα ζωῆς τῆς νῦν καὶ τῆς μελλούσης.  Impressed?

Other translations read:  “Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.” (The Message)
“for bodily exercise is profitable for a little, but piety is profitable for everything” (Darby)
“Bodily exercise is all right, but spiritual exercise is much more important and is a tonic for all you do.” (The Living Bible)
Here’s my favorite:  “Denn die leibliche Übung ist wenig nütz; aber die Gottseligkeit ist zu allen Dingen nütz und hat die Verheißung dieses und des zukünftigen Lebens.” (Luther’s German Bible).  (Sorry.  Former missionary to Germany).

I Timothy 4:8 is actually not teaching against bodily exercise, but that it pales in comparison to spiritual exercise.  And as some of you know, I’ve been going to the gym to engage in some of that “bodily exercise.”

Titus:  "Are you elder material?"

Titus: “Are you elder material?”

In our last post, we looked at Titus 1:5-9 which says:

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

And we asked a few questions.  Here are my answers to the questions I raised:

1.  What is God’s opinion of human leaders (v. 5)?  God cares deeply about human leadership — and so should we!
2.  In terms of qualifications, “blameless” (v. 6) can’t mean perfect, can it?  How do we strive to be as blameless as we can be in our culture?  We hold one another accountable, especially as we relate to the secular world around us.
3. Marital faithfulness is critical in spiritual leadership.  Do you agree with the NIV translation of the expression “one-woman-man” that it refers to “faithful to his wife” (v. 6).  Must an elder be married?  Very controversial phrase.  It seems to suggest (in light of the rest of verse 6 and verse 7) a parallel between leading one’s family and leading a local church.
4.  Not having wild and disobedient children seems to be a high standard.  What is the principle in mind here in the last part of verse 6?  To the point to which he is able, a father should be a loving leader in his home.
5.  Which qualification jumps out at you in verse 7?  Why that one?  Not quick-tempered stands out to me.  I’ve seen too many brethren fight over the non-essentials.
6.  If you could pray for any one quality in your spiritual leaders from verse 8, which would it be?  Why?  Hospitality is a lost art today. We treat our homes as our castle and stock our moats with alligators.  We need to recover the privilege of using our homes for Him!
7.  Verse 9 has the first occurrence of our word “sound” or “healthy.”  How important is doctrine to spiritual leadership and your own spiritual growth?  If “doctrine” means “teaching” — and it does — I need truth which I am to build my life on.

Basic Application:

We live in a virtually leaderless society.  Our churches need leaders who are qualified and who model godliness, though not perfection.  We need to pray for such leaders — and we need to strive to be such leaders ourselves!

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2014 in spiritual health

 

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How Do I Get Spiritually Healthy? (a study of Titus: Part 3)

Going to the gym almost every day has produced some interesting effects in my life.  First of all, my wife is very proud of me!  If I love her, I should do whatever I can to make her happy.  And she seems rather happy, even though she still rides a stationary bike bolted to the gym floor going nowhere.

Each time I go to the gym, I do the “circuit.”  The circuit involves about Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 5.23.30 PM10 machines that “work” (read “torture”) various muscle groups, or bodily areas that ought to have muscle groups.  We need such a circuit of machines because we have become fat and lazy with all our labor-saving devices.

Titus:  How do you like my halo?

Titus: How do you like my halo?

I mean, look at the picture of Titus to the left.  He is thin and tanned and calm.  Why?  Well, he walks everywhere — and he has a halo over his head to help him live rightly.

Because God isn’t giving out halos these days, we have to exercise.  And that’s what I’m trying to do.  Kind of gives a new meaning to the expression “a circuit-riding preacher,” doesn’t it?

Which brings us to our next section in Titus about how we can become spiritually healthy.  We read in chapter one:

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Here’s a few questions that occur to me on these verses:

1.  What is God’s opinion of human leaders (v. 5)?
2.  In terms of qualifications, “blameless” (v. 6) can’t mean perfect, can it?  Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 3.57.28 PMHow do we strive to be as blameless as we can be in our culture?
3. Marital faithfulness is critical in spiritual leadership.  Do you agree with the NIV translation of the expression “one-woman-man” that it refers to “faithful to his wife” (v. 6).  Must an elder be married?
4.  Not having wild and disobedient children seems to be a high standard.  What is the principle in mind here in the last part of verse 6?
5.  Which qualification jumps out at you in verse 7?  Why that one?
6.  If you could pray for any one quality in your spiritual leaders from verse 8, which would it be?  Why?
7.  Verse 9 has the first occurrence of our word “sound” or “healthy.”  How important is doctrine to spiritual leadership and your own spiritual growth?

 

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in spiritual health

 

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