OceanSide church of Christ
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ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH (6)
Qualification of Elders (4)
Victor M. Eskew
A. When we need someone to fulfill an important task, we want that person to be qualified: President, teacher, surgeon, and pilot.
B. The same should be true with the body of Christ. Those who hold various positions need to be qualified to do what they do.
C. The Lord definitely wants elders and deacons to be qualified. He has set forth their qualifications in the books of I Timothy and Titus.
D. We have been looking at the qualifications of elders the past several weeks. We have examined the following headings:
1. An Elder’s Desire
2. An Elder’s Family
3. An Elder’s Spirituality
4. An Elder’s Temperament
E. In this lesson let’s examine two more sections:
1. An Elder’s Behavior
2. An Elder’s Relationship to Money
I. AN ELDER’S BEHAVIOR
1. Both lists of the qualifications of elders begin with this quality.
a. I Timothy 3:2
A bishop then must be blameless…
b. Titus 1:6
If any be blameless…
2. Definition (423):
a. The word seems to be a legal term meaning not accused, not arrested, guiltless
b. One that cannot be called into account, not open to censure.
c. NOTE: Another Greek word is translated “blameless” in Titus 1:7, but the meaning is the same.
3. Daniel is an example of a “blameless” man.
a. Out of envy, the presidents and princes sought to find evil against Daniel.
b. The result (Dan. 6:4)
Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the king-dom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.
4. Another example of being blameless is found in Zaharias and Elisabeth, the parents of John the Baptist. Their blamelessness was within the spiritual realm (Luke 1:6).
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
5. If a man can be accused of a fault, a sin, or a crime:
a. He becomes a stumbling block to others.
b. Others see him as a hypocrite instead of an example.
c. The flock focuses upon his fault and nothing more.
B. Of good behavior (I Tim. 3:2).
1. Definition (2887)
a. Orderly, well arranged, seemly, modest, decorous
b. The word is derived from the Greek word “kosmos” meaning “world.” God has made the world with order and decorum. This is how an elder’s life is to be.
2. An elder must not have a chaotic life, but one that is orderly.
a. His outward appearance, his mental state, his habits, his home, and his spiritual life need to be well arranged.
b. He understands things such as priorities, time management, and organization.
C. Not given to wine (I Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7)
1. Definition (3943)
a. From two words meaning “to stay near wine”
b. He is not a winebibber, a tipper, a drunk.
2. In the Old Testament, the kings were the shepherds of the people. Often-times they were denounced for their drunkenness.
a. Isaiah 56:12
Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow be as this day, and much more abundant.
b. In Proverbs 31:4-5, we learn what is wrong with strong drink for those in positions of leadership.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of the afflicted.
3. An elder given to wine violates many of the other qualifications: vigilant, sober, ruling well his own house, holy, and temperate.
4. With the thousands of beverages that are available to man that do not contain alcohol: coffee, tea, sodas, shakes, frozen drinks, Gatorade, water, flavored water, juices, etc., why does anyone need to pervert his brain with an alcoholic beverage? Especially an elder?
II. AN ELDER’S RELATIONSHIP TO MONEY
A. This might seem like a very strange section to some.
1. To some extent, money makes the world go round. It is the medium of exchange.
2. As overseers, the elders are going to be handling the contributions of the members.
3. In the first century, some of the elders were paid (I Tim. 5:17).
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.
4. To some, money involves power. They like to wield that power in order to manipulate those who are in charge.
B. Two qualifications have to do with the an elder’s relationship to money.
1. Not greedy of filthy lucre (I Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7)
1) Sordid gain
2) Eager for base gain, greedy for money
b. This qualification speaks about how an elder acquires money.
1) Specifically, it deals with getting money through bribes (Ex., Samuel’s sons, I Sam. 8:3).
And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
2) Most elders are not paid today. However, they can still be influenced by money, money that is contributed to the church.
a) Contributors try to influence his decisions about various aspects of the work through money.
b) Elders will “tone down” the pulpit because the large contributors do not want to hear about certain subjects.
c) Elders overlook sins in the life or in the family of the large contributor.
d) Elders treat the large contributor with respect and honor while the small contributor is overlooked and shunned (See Mark 12:41-44).
2. Not covetous (I Tim. 3:3).
a. Defintion (866)
1) Not avaricious
2) Not loving money
b. Example: Paul (Acts 20:33)
I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.
c. If elders are covetous, it will play out in how they manage the church treasury.
1) The leaders of very small churches can be covetous with money.
2) The elders of churches that have generous contributors, especially those who will leave large inheritances, can become covetous.
d. The elder’s heart becomes covetous when he seeks after, hoards, loves, and trusts in a large bank account.
e. Passages to consider:
1) Luke 12:15
And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
2) I Timothy 6:17-17
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.
3) Psalm 119:36
Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
A. In behavior, elders are supposed to be exemplary. They do not need to engage in behaviors that will tarnish their character.
B. With regard to money, these men do not love money, nor are they swayed in their decisions by base gain.