Scripture reading for October 8th: Titus 1, Psalm 51, Proverbs 16
Key Scriptures: Titus 1:5-9 “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you–if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy Word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”
Paul wrote another letter to Titus, another one of his spiritual sons who was an elder that Paul had left in the church on the Island of Crete. He charged Titus to set the church in order by wisely appointing overseers who met the qualifications of character and faith in God’s Word. They must be able to teach and correct those under their charge. Their character would first be reflected in their own children and home life as well as their reputation in the community and church.
Faith Confession: I thank God for the opportunity to serve in His Church and be an overseer. I hold fast to His unchanging and trustworthy Word which enables me to give instruction and make correction of those who contradict it.
Psalm 51:12-13 “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You.”
Scripture reading for September 28th: 1st Timothy 3
“Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.” (1st Timothy 3:1) God calls men and women into pastoral and apostolic leadership. It is a high calling and those who open their hearts to respond, desire a noble task. Leading in Christ’s church is challenging and rewarding for those who apply themselves fully.
“Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited, and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.” (1st Timothy 3:2-7)
As we look at the qualifications of an overseer, there is more about character than gifts or talents. The person must be above reproach and if married, husband of one wife. (or wife of one husband) They must manage their own household and finances well as a prerequisite for working with the family of God and finances of Christ’s Church. New converts are not yet proven in their character and humility and should not be placed in leadership. One ability mentioned is the ability to teach. Teaching sound doctrine is one of the great needs of the church.
“Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.” (1st Timothy 3:13) It is a noble task to serve Christ as overseer!
Scripture reading for October 18th: 1st Timothy 3:1-16
In this chapter, Paul tries to help Timothy with some guidelines for those who work at overseeing the church. He gives Timothy some qualifications for both overseers and deacons and their spouses. These are not meant to be laws, but help Timothy evaluate those seeking to become leaders in the church and to give instruction to the church of the standards that God values in His leaders. Behind all these values and qualifications is what Paul calls ‘the mystery of godliness.’
It’s a good thing to desire to be an overseer in Christ’s church! Overseers are what we might call the pastors, superintendents and bishops of today. “Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.” We note that these qualifications involve character more than gifting or charisma. The ability to manage and minister in the home takes precedence over ministering in Christ’s church. If it doesn’t work at home, in will not fly in God’s household!
“He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and the devil’s trap.” Time in service is also a qualification. It takes time to grow in grace and the character of Christ. Pride and conceit are primary weapons of the devil and each man is born the first time will pride as a stronghold. When Christ changes us, we need time to grow in relationship and to build a reputation outside the church as well as in as a consistent follower of Christ. Reputations are easy to lose!
These instructions were given to help people know how to conduct themselves properly. But a relationship with Christ is foundational to godly living. “Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.” (1st Timothy 3:16) Faith in Christ brings godliness to all who believe as we humbly follow our Lord!