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 November 23rd: 1st Peter 1:13-2:12
Peter’s name meant ‘rock’ or ‘stone’. Peter was told by Jesus after he confessed Him as the Christ, Son of the Living God, that on “this rock I will build My Church.” (Matthew 16:18) Jesus as the Son of the Living God was the “Living Stone” that was the cornerstone of the new temple of the new covenant. In today’s reading from Peter’s epistle, we have further insight on this new temple.
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”” (1st Peter 1:13-15) Peter reminded these believers that they had been born again into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1st Peter 1:3) This new birth was a gift of grace from God that would bring about changes in thinking and actions. God called His children to obedience and conformity to His will and purposes. Foremost was the requirement of holiness. Holiness is the perfect character of God worked out in our thinking and living.
“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1st Peter 1:22-23) This new birth comes through the Living God’s living Word. The word for ‘seed’ is the Greek word for ‘sperm’! His word in us bring His life and character into us!
“As you come to Him, the Living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him–you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1st Peter 2:4-5) The ‘Living Stone’ is Jesus Christ who is also the ‘Living Word’. When we are born again, we become ‘living stones’ that God is using to build His new temple. Like Peter, we confess that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God! On that confession, God builds His church!