1 Timothy 3:1 "It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do."
1 Timothy 3:14-15 "I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself inthe household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth."
1 Timothy 4:6 "In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following."
As a pastor, my aim is to stand before the Lord Jesus Christ at His judgment seat and to hear Him say: "well done my good and faithful servant." As the Apostle Paul writes to pastor Timothy in his first epistle to Timothy, he wants to make sure that Timothy proclaims to his congregation certain truths that they will need to be an effective group of believers. On seven occassions you find Paul making statements to Timothy about setting forth the truths of God's Word before the people: "the command entrusted to you" (1:18); "writing these things" (3:14); "pointing out these things" (4:6); "prescribe and perservere in these things" (4:11-12); "prescribe these things" (5:7); "maintain these principles" (5:21) and concerning immorality "flee from these things" (6:11). Among the 14 different subjects discussed by Paul in 1 Timothy, we find the need to preach the Gospel, issues on men and women, marriage, doctrine and morality. With particular reference to 1 Timothy 2:1-4:6, we find five general areas that in all reality affect one another that must be addressed by every pastor and church in every age. Today's post begins consideration of what God has to say about men & women, the church, marriage and the culture. The first two of these we will cover quickly, since other recent posts have covered in detail God's visions for godly manhood and woman hood. We could call this discussion: God's will on men, women, the church, marriage and culture.
God's will on men. 1 Timothy 2:1,8
As we noted already, we won't camp to long on this point or the next, since much has been covered in recent posts. Paul's statements are so clear on the subject of godly men that barely no further comment is needed. He states in 1 Timothy 2:1 - "First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men." Then in 1 Timothy 2:8 we read - "Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension." In short, God through Paul desires godly men who will be spiritual leaders without hesitation. So that is God's will on men, but what about His will on women?
2. God's will for women.
We read these words in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness." God desires women saved by grace through faith to demonstrate the richness of His work inside of them, to exercise their distinct roles as women while enjoying equal status and value in God's site and to enjoy God's redemptive restoration of their womanhood in Jesus Christ.
3. God's will on the church. 1 Timothy 3:1-13
In 1 Timothy 3:1-13 we see Paul laying out details concerning the qualifications for Pastors (3:1-7) and Deacons (3:8-13). God has ordained at least two major offices in the local church (and I would suggest a third, elders, in texts such as Acts 11:30; 1 Timothy 5:17). In just focusing on the offices of Pastor and Deacon, it is amazing how many of the qualifications center around the family life and moral/spiritual development of the man. This is not to say of course that pastors should not possess the ability to administrate, teach, preach nor that Deacons should not possess skills for practical, pastoral care of God's people, since such qualifications are spoken of elsewhere in God's word (compare Acts 6; Ephesians 4:11-12; Titus 1). Nevertheless, other than the short phrase for Pastors being "able to teach" in 1 Timothy 3:2, the qualifications for Pastors and Deacons center mainly around their home lives and testimony.
To get more specific, more space is devoted in the qualifications on the subject of Pastors and Deacons marriages and homelife than any other set of qualifications. Just notice briefly the qualifications that center around marriage/family:
1. "Husband of one wife" 1 Timothy 3:2
2. "his own household" 3:4
3. "his children" 3:4
4. "his own household" 3:5
5. "Deacons likewise...." 3:8
6. "Women" or in some versions "their wives" 3:11
7. "husbands of only one wife" 3:12
8. "managers of their children" 3:12
9. "their own households" 3:12
These qualifications admittedly places pressure on pastors and their families and if not careful, can tempt many pastors and their families to perform, rather than rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit. As with any Christian, whether in the pew or behind the pulpit, only the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of the cross make such standards of living not only possible but reality. (compare Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:18) These observations obviously overlap between the comments we are making about God's will for the church and marriage. The church and its equipping servant leadership (pastors) and effective servants to the people (literally the meaning of "deacons") constitute God's will for what He wants in terms of the order, leadership and example in the local church.
Closing thoughts for today
As I mentioned a moment ago, God's will for the church and for marriage intertwine and overlap. For now we will close out today's post, however let me conclude with this observation regarding why Paul is making such a big deal about the marriages and homelives of the leadership in an among the church. The point? Marriage is a big deal to God in his church, and he wants men and families of those men to champion and model before the congregation and ultimately the culture what sound marriages and home lives look like in a world where disfunction is unfortunately, but in reality, the norm. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit and the cross can pastors, deacons and the church body live out God's will for men, women and the church. Tomorrow we will consider God's will for marriage, as depicted in these verses and in other verses.
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