High Standards for Ministers

04. February 2012 1 Timothy 0

Text:1 Timothy 3:1-13
Theme: Qualifications of elders and deacons
Key verses: “..if anyone is seeking a position as overseer in the church, he desires an honorable and important work. Here are the qualifications to look for in an overseer: a spotless reputation, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, sensible, respectable, welcoming to strangers…and gifted to teach” (v. 1-2). “He mustn’t be someone recently converted, or otherwise, he may become arrogant…He should also be respected…by people outside of the church so as to avoid the trips, traps and pitfalls of the devil. The same standards apply to deacons…” (v. 6-7) “Put these deacon-candidates to the test first, and if they come through without stumbling, then send them out to serve. Again, the same applies to women in key positions” (v. 10-11a). “Now deacons should live faithfully as the husband of one wife and be in control of their households, including their children. Those deacons who serve well will achieve a good standing for themselves in the community and have great confidence to walk in the faith that is in Jesus, the Liberating King” (v. 12-13).
What God said to me: Good morning, Dwayne. Glad you could meet with me, even though you hardly slept last night. It will be a great challenge to you today to stay focused and meet your writing goal. But I’ll help you and give you strength and creative thoughts. As for this passage, many a ordination sermon has been preached from these verses over the centuries. Yet, as old as this wisdom and direction is, it’s still fresh and vital today. It’s still the standard I expect from those who lead my flock, the church. So, how are you doing with living up to these standards? It’s always good to take a reassessment from time to time. You see, these qualifications aren’t just for those being considered as candidates–although that’s usually the only time this passage is ever referenced or given much thought. No, Paul wrote this to set the bar high for all ministers who help lead in the church, both men and women. At judgment, you will give an account before me, and I will judge you partly based on these requirements. So again, I ask you to consider: How are you doing with them? Are you living faithfully in every area of your life? Do you have skeletons in your closet that could come out and destroy your reputation and hurt the church later on? You know the answer to these questions, as do I. But it’s responsibility to act on anything I’ve shown you that’s not “up to snuff” for an elder like yourself. See you to it.
What I said to God: Wow, thanks for potentially lowering the boom on me early in the morning, Lord? No seriously, I am thankful that You would take time to remind me through Your written Word about your requirements of me and of those who lead Your family. My conscience is clear at this time, although I still struggle with hidden sins from time to time. But I am forgiven, and I so want to honor You and Your church for the rest of my days. Bless and protect my family today, please. Thank You for loaning them to me. And thank You for our local church, where I have the privilege to help lead and teach Your people.