Church Leadership The Sunday Elders
1 Timothy 5:17-25
July 14, 2019
Summary: Leadership in the Church is a critical part of the overall makeup of the direction and success of any church. This is why leadership is so important to guide and direct and teach the church body. Paul is instructing and teaching Timothy in working with Elders of the Church.
I Consider Elders as Worthy
Sunday is important to the Christian because it’s considered in scripture as the first day of the week, resurrection day and the day the early Christians partook of the Lord’s Day. (Acts 20:7) Sunday should always be important to the Christian for that reason, that is, for remembering the Lord at His table, for giving Him praise and thanks, for worshiping Him.
Hebrews 10:25 Forsake not the assembling of ourselves together or the NIV, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
ILL.- What do we expect when we make the effort to come on Sunday morning? Answer: High-quality preaching, good music, Christian education for our children, social groups, also we expect big meeting rooms, a quality kitchen, childcare, ample parking, and clean rest rooms.
Hey, I think we’ve got all or most of these. People need to come to our church!
We just need to stay rooted in group worship, in reading the scriptures , think about them, pay attention to them, and obey them as best we can. Even though we’re not under law but under grace we still need to obey God’s love letter as best we can. He gives us His Word for our direction in life and for our good.
Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
. It is so easy for a church to lose its bearings and begin to drift off course. There is so much in the world that tempts a church to compromise God’s Word, chase tangents, or get caught up in the latest cultural fads.
2. This is why leadership is so important. After Paul started churches, he would ordain elders in those churches (Acts 14:23). Why? God commissions church leaders with the charge of keeping the church on course and in line with God’s Word. Titus 1:9; Hebrews 13:7
3. Spiritual leadership in the church is very important, and Paul knew this. God is a God of order and structure. So, when writing to Timothy, Paul deals with the subject of leadership. He dealt with the qualifications of leadership in chapter 3, and here he deals with very practical matters in regard to leaders and the church body.
What is the result when the leaders and the people understand and fulfill their responsibilities within the church? Look at 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13. Peace!
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.
In any organization, when leaders are full of self-will, and the people are full of disrespect towards authority, it is a recipe for contention, chaos, and confusion.
Leadership is an absolute key issue for any local church, and we must understand what God teaches about it, if the church is to fulfill its God-given purpose.
First, we must understand the biblical position of spiritual leadership.
Every church must decide who will provide vision, direction, and leadership for the church. In some churches, one powerful family does this. In some, it is one wealthy man. In some, it is a board of Elders, deacons or trustees.
2. But what does the Bible teach? Does God give specific instruction to local churches through His Word? Is there a specific position that God has given this responsibility to?
• Notice in our text that Paul says, “Let the elders that rule well…” When you see the word “rule,” it does not carry the idea of a dictator. The word “rule” carries the idea of spiritual authority. It means “to stand before in rank; to preside.”
• In every organization, God establishes the principle of authority and responsibility (home, government, church, work). God is a God of order and structure. If there isn’t leadership, then nobody can stand accountable and responsible.
• So this is clearly speaking of providing leadership.
Elders who direct the affairs of the church are worthy. Elders should work, direct, and serve in the church. If they are elders in name only then perhaps they shouldn’t be elders.
Hebrews 13:7-8 “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Remember your leaders who spoke the Word of God to you. Does this mean that elders should be teachers of the Word? I would assume so. They should at least know the Word well enough to teach. They might not be expert at their delivery, however, but no preacher is either!
True Sunday elders should teach the Word of God and live out the Word in daily living. Consequently, we should imitate their faith.
I Thessalonians 5:12-13 “Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.”
Sunday elders should be respected for their work and service for the Lord. Often in churches they are not respected, only criticized. Some criticism may be fair but some is definitely unjust because church members often do not know what goes on “behind the scenes” in the working of the church.
Sunday elders should be working and serving elders.
What’s that text? Gal. 5:13 “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”
Matthew 20:26-28 "Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
The example of Jesus was that of being a servant. Surely, this must apply to His followers? And to His church elders/leaders?
17The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."
Consider elders as worthy. How so? Worthy of double honor. This double honor is pay. Some see this text as preaching pastors who should get paid for their work.
If elders serve well, they should be well-respected, considered as worthy servants of the Lord and should not be criticized or accused of wrongdoing unless it can be proven. Serving elders are men of worth and worthy of our respect and love.
II. PARTAKE NOT IN THE SINS OF OTHERS
21I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism. 22Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
In this text, it’s saying that by laying on hands on a servant of the church, by setting them apart for a specific task of the church, we are also involved in their life and work. BUT WHAT IF THEY GO WRONG? Then, in a sense, we would be sharing in their wrongdoing. This is why Paul said “Don’t be quick to ordain someone.”
Do we ever share in the sins of others? If so, how so? Yes, by doing what they do. By going along with them.
I Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."
Corruption can come in various ways. We are all exposed to it daily by being tempted to take the short cut. Each of us know what they are in our work, school, university or daily lives. In our interactions with people we should be of loving and caring nature, not just because we have to! Same goes for the church worker the elder, Deacon Pastor. All of our actions should mirror Jesus and his actions towards his children.
III. REMEMBER THE JUDGMENT
23 Stop drinking only water and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. 24The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not cannot be hidden.
ILL.- A man is sitting in the coach section of a flight from New York to Chicago, biting his fingernails and sweating profusely. Noticing his disturbed expression, a flight attendant walks over and says, “Sir, can I get you something from the bar to calm you down?”
The man gives a nod of approval while shaking terribly. Seconds later she comes back with a drink. He downs it quickly and seems to calm down.
Ten minutes later, the flight attendant sees him shaking and biting his nails again. She brings him another drink which he downs immediately. A half hour later she returns to see him shaking uncontrollably, and almost in tears.
“My goodness,” the flight attendant says, “I’ve never seen someone so afraid to fly.” “I’m not afraid of flying,” says the man. Then what’s the matter? “I’m trying to give up drinking.”
23 Stop drinking only water and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
Apparently, Timothy was frequently ill (upset stomach, etc.) and Paul advised him to use a little wine for his ailments. I suspect there may be many people that use that reasoning for drinking alcoholic beverages. Red wine is good for you, the doctors say. Yes, but only in moderation.
24The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not cannot be hidden.
To me, these two verses say, “remember the judgment.” Remember that payday is someday soon.
Eccl. 12:13-14 “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
II Corinthians 5:6-10 6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
There are many who need to remember the judgment. As it’s been said, and I’ve quoted it: “Life is like a cafeteria. As one goes through, he can pick and choose whatever he wants, but whatever he chooses must be paid for at the end of the line.”
ILL.- The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray, "Take only one. God is watching."
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. One child whispered to another, "Take all you want. God is watching the apples."
God is watching all right but not the apples or the cookies. He’s watching you and me. He’s keeping watch on all mankind. How can God see us all at one time? That’s His problem. But He can handle it.
Paul said that some sins are obvious, but some are not, but all will be remembered at the judgment! DOES THAT THOUGHT SCARE YOU? It should scare some people, but it shouldn’t scare the person whose faith and trust are in Jesus!
Romans 4:7-8 “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven; whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."
Thank God for Jesus! Thank God for His blood! Thank God for His death! Thank God that Jesus traded places with us and paid the penalty for our sins! Praise Him, praise Him!
By the Grace of God Go I !