- A Noble Task Series
Contributed by Steve Shepherd on Mar 25, 2011
Scripture: 1 Timothy 3:1-13
Denomination: Christian/Church Of Christ
Summary: 1- The noble task of being an elder 2- The noble task of being a deacon 3- The noble task of being a Leader for Christ.
INTRO.- A noble task. What’s that? It depends on what you consider to be a noble task. I personally would not commend tending bar as being a noble task nor many other jobs in this world. Like: prostitution, dealing at a table at a gambling casino, etc. Nobility carries the idea of excellence or high moral character or standing. High ranking, excellent, moral, superior, illustrious.
ILL.- When Richard Nixon was Vice President (1953-61 under Eisenhower) he enjoyed relating an incident that took place at the Boy Scout Jamboree at Valley Forge. Practically every scout there had a camera and was trying to get a picture of the Vice President. One little fellow was as anxious as anyone else, but after snapping three shots he closed his camera and said, “That’s all my budget allows for Vice Presidents.”
Personally speaking, my budget doesn’t allow for Politicians !
ILL.- A little girl asked her father, “Do all fairy tales begin with Once upon a time?” The father replied, “No, some begin with - If I’m elected.”
We all know that being a politician is not popular these days. Far too many don’t keep their promises or else they deal under the table in order to get what they want. What do you call that?
Now here’s a better example of nobility.
ILL.- I love the old story about missionary Hudson Taylor who was scheduled to speak at a Large Presbyterian church in Melbourne, Australia. The moderator of the service introduced the missionary in eloquent and glowing terms. He told the large congregation all that Taylor had accomplished in China, and then presented him as "our illustrious guest."
Taylor stood quietly for a moment, and then opened his message by saying, "Dear friends, I am only the little servant of an illustrious Master."
Now that’s being noble as far as I’m concerned! I believe that if anything good comes from our lives then the Lord should be praised for it. HE IS THE AUTHOR OF GOOD IN OUR LIVES! And when we live for His praise and glory and that’s being very noble or very excellent!
Being a doctor has generally always been considered a noble task. And so, with being a preacher or a pastor. However, with some corruption in these ranks they are not considered as high ranking as they once were. BUT THEY SHOULD! These jobs/occupations should be restored to the position of nobility by those who serve long and well! In every denomination we see a large reduction of men and woman entering the clergy.
PROP.- In our text, Paul speaks of several noble tasks in the church.
1- The noble task of being an Elder
2- The noble task of being a Deacon
3. The noble task of being who we are as disciples of Christ
I. THE NOBLE TASK OF BEING AN ELDER
1.Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3. not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6. He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
Would you want to be an elder? If you do, you desire a noble task. An elder who is qualified and does his work is a noble person indeed.
Being a good elder is something that some should shoot for! However, it seems like we don’t see many folks who have the desire to be an elder. WHY IS THIS? Why is there a lack of interest of being an elder or church leader in general?
It could be either that because some leaders in the past had major issues during their time of leadership, or else the congregations where they served criticized them so much that no one wanted the job!
ILL.- On April 12th, 1945, Harry Truman was summoned to the White House. Ushered into Eleanor Roosevelt’s sitting room, the vice president was gently informed that President Roosevelt had died.
"Is there anything I can do for you?" Truman asked after a moment’s reflection. "Is there anything we can do for you?" Eleanor replied. "You’re the one in trouble now!" That’s probably how a newly elected elder may feel.
ILL.- President Clinton once said running a country is a lot like running a cemetery; you’ve got a lot of people under you and nobody’s listening.
That may also be how elders feel. I know that’s often how preachers feel. Nobody’s listening.
Many may feel that they could do the job. They have the education, the skill sets, the personality but decline since they feel they can’t devote the time, or they feel they lack the heart to serve. Gods call, always puts the right people with the right heart for service as Elders of the church. This is never so true as what we have here as elders at Risen Christ. We can all be so thankful for the heart driven dedication our elders have at Risen Christ.
II. THE NOBLE TASK OF BEING A DEACON
8. Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as Deacons.
12. A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
What’s the difference in an elder and a deacon? That’s a good question for many people and most don’t know there is a difference.
The word “Deacon” in the NT indicates one who is a servant. It’s not that elders don’t serve, because they do. In fact, Seth Wilson of Ozark Christian College said one time, “Elders are servants of servants in a serving brotherhood of love.” Amen?
If Elders are supposed to be “servants and servants” then what about Deacons? They, too, are to serve one another in love. It’s just that their service may deal more with the physical aspect of service whereas elders deal with the spiritual and operational stuff of the church.
It’s not that Deacons can’t be spiritual and serve in spiritual ways it’s just that their service may deal MORE with the physical stuff of worship.
We get this idea from the early in church in Acts 6 where those early Deacons served food to widows who were being neglected.
Acts 6:1-4 1In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4. and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."
I think that Deacons in the church today should be quick to serve the widows who need with errands, rides, various projects, etc. For example, I’ve known of Deacons to go to widows’ homes, rake leaves, paint their houses, and do other kinds of work for them.
If the family doesn’t take care of them then the family of God should, and this would be a part of the Deacons’ service. Most of the time, however, we may think that the Deacons are simply here to serve the Lord’s Supper and do nothing more.
Deacons should rightfully serve in the church and outside the church anyway they can!
Deacons serve as needed and where needed. Today in the LCMS more and more Deacons are doing what I am doing here. Some Deacons also can go through what is called SMP or Specific Ministry Pastor to become Pastor of a specific church. Or also what is called Clague for older Deacons but the SMP Pastor and Clague Pastor both become Ordained. This is done to meet the needs of smaller churches and churches that can not afford full time pastors.
But Deacons also, have a list of qualifications in this text. They must:
- Be men worthy of respect.
- Be sincere.
- Must not indulge in much wine (a little will do!)
- Must not be dishonest
- Must hold to the truths of the faith (men of strong faith)
- Must be tested (watched before being asked to serve)
- Must be a one woman/wife man
- Must manage his children well (Well? I think we all feel we fail from time to time on this one!)
ILL.- William Arthur Ward wrote: "We must be silent before we can listen. We must listen before we can learn. We must learn before we can prepare. We must prepare before we can serve. We must serve before we can lead."
Before any leader can lead (Elder or Deacon) he must first be a servant to others. Being a humble servant is probably the best qualification for any leader or any Christian, for that matter.
Ruth 1:16-18 “But Ruth replied, "Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
Ruth said to her mother-in-law, Naomi, after losing her husband, “I will go with you....” How’s that for being serious and dependable? That’s the kind of stuff we need to see in both men and women today. These kinds of servants will always bless the Lord and the church.
The past few months and if we are honest the past few years have been hard for Christians and Church leaders in particular. Pressures come to our church leaders dealing with so many operational issues. Financial, staffing, education, tending the needs of the building and grounds.
Facing change and change always comes is difficult to deal with as a leader. It is a noble task to be a church leader, knowing the job has hard decisions that need to be made. It does require all the do and don’ts we just list.
But most importantly of all is the understanding that is not about self. It is an honest quest to service, which comes from a humble heart. A loving heart and contrite spirit and hunger for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! It is not about any one individual, Pastor, Deacon, Elder. It is about serving Christ’s church impowered and directed by the Holy Spirit that is instilled in these leaders that makes all the difference.
Human leaders will always fail if not directed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If man goes on his one pride, self-reliance and his own diligence he or she will fail!
III The Noble Task of Being a Leader for Christ.
Every single one of us here at Risen Christ are leaders, and mentors. You are a Father, Mother, Grandfather, Grandmother, Son, Daughter, Sister, Brother, Aunt, Uncle, Daughter in Law, Son in Law. You get it, you are someone that is a leader and is a mentor for Christ.
In every action you take with a heart of Christ you are a leader. A leader to the lonely, the sick, the hurting, and the unbelieving. Christ wants us to lead others to him our classmate, friend, co-worker, neighbor you are a leader, leading them to their own salvation in Jesus.
We are all instructed to be Leaders to the lost world out there. A leader of Gods Hope, Love, Joy and peace. You are to be the salt and light to this very dark world. This world that gets darker every day.
You have the gifts use them for Christ, whether you are a Pastor, Deacon, Elder or member of his church. It does mater what you do and say to others in the name of Lod and Savior Jesus Christ!
God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son to die for your and my sins. Does this not make want us want all the more to be leaders for Christ to this unbelieving world.
In Christ we Pray!