Sermon – A Noble Task (1 Timothy 3:1 – 3:16) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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1 Timothy 2023

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Sermon 7 of 18

A Noble Task

Pete Woodcock, 1 Timothy 3:1 - 3:16, 5 March 2023

Pete continues our series in 1 Timothy and preaches from 1 Timothy 3:1-16. In this passage, Paul lays out the requirements and qualifications of an overseer in the household of God. What are we to expect from our elders?

1 Timothy 3:1 - 3:16

3:1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

  He was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated by the Spirit,
      seen by angels,
  proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
      taken up in glory.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

And if you have a bible with you, if you'd like to turn to 1 Timothy, chapter 3, we'll be reading the whole chapter. But if you don't have a bible, it's okay. It's gonna come up on screen. So you can follow it there. Here is a trustworthy saying, whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task, Now the overseer is to be above approach, faithful to his 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, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, have we 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 also have a good reputation with outsiders so that he will not fall into the scrapes and into the devil's trap.

In the same way, demons are too worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested. And then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as Deacons. In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect.

Not malicious talkers, but temperate and trustworthy in everything. Adiki must be grateful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus. Although I hope to come to you soon, I'm right into you with these instructions so that if I'm delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household. Which is the Church of the Living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

Beyond all question, the Ministry from which True Godier Springs is great. He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. Happy father. We do pray that you'll speak to us now through Pete. Please, teach us something of yourself from your word, my man.

Well, good morning. My name is Pete Woodcock, and I'm 1 of the elders of the church, and we're gonna be looking at elders right now, but let me ask the Lord to help me. Father, we thank you for the songs that we've sung and all the kids that are out now and or blessing these things are to us. Thank you for the band and all the people that have set up with chairs and It's it's such a blessing to be part of a team where there are so many people working hard that we may hear your word. Help us now then, please to hear your word.

That we may respond to it in faith, in trust, in Jesus name, R. M. Now there are certain households, families that capture the public interest, royalty, celebrities and so forth. What's it like to live in that household? We want we want to know?

What are the secrets? What are the hidden ways of working within the household? How are the members of the household treated? What's the relationships like within within that household? Is there a hierarchy in the household?

And what it's like to be under that hierarchy? And how do they treat the outside world? Are they fair? Are they kind? Are they generous people?

And of course, if anyone leaves a household, or a family, then we're really interested to know why did they leave and what is all about and what it really is like inside? How were you treated? Dish up the dirt? What are the inside personal conversations? What's it like?

Living and being brought up in that household, write a book, spare us nothing. That's the sort of thing that we want. Now Paul is writing about a household and none other than the household of God. What's it like being in that household? And he's writing about what is expected of an overseer of this household of God.

So in chapter 3 versus 14 and 15, have a look at Paul writes. Although I hope to come to you, he's writing to Timothy, although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing to you these instructions so that if I am delayed you know how people ought to conduct themselves. Look at it. In God's household, which is the Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Foundation of Truth. He's talking about the household and how you can Dutch yourself in the household of this living church.

In verse 5, he talks about the care of God's church. And in verse 1 of chapter 3, here is a trustworthy saying whoever aspires to be an overseer of this household. An overseer of this household desires a noble task. So we're in the household. We're asking questions.

What's it like? What's it like to be an overseer? And my first point is this. It's a noble task. It's a noble task.

Now here is 1 of Paul's famous trustworthy sayings. It's his second 1 actually in in 1 timothy so far. He says here's a trustworthy saying whoever aspires to be an overseer of this household desires a noble task. And when he says, it's a trustworthy saying, he's sort of saying, hey, wow. Why?

Listen to this. It's it's not that everything else he says, he's untrustworthy. It's like underlining this. He says, this is really, really good news. This is amazing.

This is wonderful. And it's wonderful to its core. It's true. It's good news that you can believe. Now back in chapter 1 and you can turn to it if you want to, There's another trustworthy saying.

His first 1 is in verse 15. Here's a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I'm the worst. But for that very reason, I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who believe in him and receive eternal life. See what Paul is saying is, this is a trustworthy saying.

This is a wonderful saying. And he's overwhelmed with the wonder of God and the wonder of God's love for him personally. And Paulie said, I'm really happy to be on display to the world and to the church. I'm really happy to be on display to prove the trustworthy saying that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I'm the chief or whom I'm the worst. He he wants people to point him out.

See that blood over there? Yeah? That's that's Paul he was sore. See him? Do you see him?

See that man? He was once a blasphemer. He he was once a persecutor He was once a violent man, but no more. Listen, that bloke there Good. If you're thinking, gosh, she's pointed out a violent man, a blasphemer, a persecuted.

I wanna move away from it. No. Don't move away from it. Cute up. Have a chat with him.

Don't meet him afterwards. Take him a coffee. He's phenomenal. He's changed. He is now a member in the household of the god that he blasphemed.

Wow. The god he blasphemed welcomes him as a member. He is now appointed and overseer in the family of people that he wants persecuted even put into death 1. Wow. He was once a violent man towards this household that he's now loving being a member of.

It's an amazing thing. And he's he's been shown mercy so he can be an example to the rest of the world. He's an outsider that's come into this wonderful glorious household and he's saying, I want the church to be like that to the world And if it's going to be like that to the world, an example of god's grace to the world like I am, then the overseers of this household must be great examples of being changed by grace of sinners coming to Christ. Look at the words he uses. He uses word church.

Did you notice that in our reading? Church is not a building. Yep. That's why we can meet here. This is church.

It's a people. It's an assembly. It's a congregation. It's a gathering. The Greek word means called out from together together.

That's church. We're called out from the world to gather together to witness to the world. Then notice he says Church of the Living God. Did you notice that? This isn't a dead God.

This isn't some religion going on here. This is this is a wonderful trustworthy saying. This is the assembly of the living, god, the source of all life is the assembly of that God. And then notice he uses the word household. Which it means dwelling and inhabited house.

It's not just an empty castle. It's an inhabited house. The assembled household dwelling place of god. That's what the church is. And it's wonderful because it's what God has always been about.

In fact, it's what the whole universe is heading towards. A great assembly of lots of different households of God coming into the universal household of God. That's where we're going. That's where we're heading to the great celebration when the whole household of God throughout the world and throughout time comes together. And Christ is the bridegroom and the bride is the church.

God made us for this household. God's son Jesus died for this household. Hebrews chapter 12 for the joy for the joy set before him, he endured the cross. Scoring the shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus came to die on that cross With all the shame and then dignity and pain, he endured that.

Why? For the joy of coming into the household of God where there's the throne of God and presenting a people to God. Bringing his bride into the household right at the end of the book of Revelation. Let us rejoice the last book in the bible. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory for the wedding of the lamb has come, his bride, has made herself ready.

There is this consummation. There is this household celebration. There is this marriage. Before the throne of the bride and the bride groom in the household of god. Martin Luther, was a German reformer right back in the sixteenth century.

He says, He used to use this illustration. He says, there's a king. He tells a story about a king represents Jesus. Was marrying a poor well, more than a poor girl, a prostitute. The king was marrying a prostitute.

The king represents Jesus, the prostitute represents us. It was his great illustration. And at their wedding day, she says to him, all that I am I give to you and all that I have I share with you and she shares her debt and her shame and her diseases. But the king says, all that I am I give to you and all that I have I share with you and he shares his righteousness his power, his love, his household. All of that.

It's a beautiful, beautiful summary of the gospel that our great Bridgeland takes our sin on himself and our judgment and he shares his righteousness with us. And we're just waiting for that eternal celebration. We're waiting for that eternal household of the living God. And while we're waiting, the bride is meant to get themselves ready. So in the individual households all the way around the world in local churches, Paul says, whoever aspires to be an overseer of this earthly household waiting for the great consummation, that great wedding day, whoever aspires to be an overseer of this household, decides a noble task This is a noble task.

Here's a trustworthy saying whoever aspires to be an overseer. This hires a noble task that word noble means honorable, excellent, high quality. Why is it a noble task? Because you're overseeing the getting ready of the household for the wedding day. What an amazing task that is?

So before Paul presents the qualifications of an overseer, he encourages Christians to Aspire to this noble task. The word Aspire actually means sets his heart on or stretches himself after. So here's a man aspiring, struggling to overcome his weaknesses, to acquire the needs for the task. There's this stretching out overcoming my weaknesses so that I could do a noble task like this. And the word desire is very similar It means there's a goal before him.

There's an ambition. He's stretching out and running towards. So with his fullest desires, with his strength stretching out, he wants to be a servant and overseer in this household. Paul said, that's good. That's a noble task stretching, struggling to live a life that is an example.

To the world and to the church. And of course, that servant who Jesus says whoever wants to be great among you must be a servant whoever wants to be first must be a slave just as the son of man didn't come to be served but to serve and lay his life down as as a ransom for many. That's the noble task, serving the household. And you do it in a number of ways. Verse 5, it says manage the household of God and verse 2, it says able to teach the household of God.

This is what particularly overseers must have. And Paul, I know we're we've got a lot of verses here, but Paul, sort of shows us what that task looks like on the ground when he talks to the ephesian elders, He's writing to Timothy to talk to the ephesian elders now. But earlier on, years before he had talked to the ephesian elders, and he had said this and it shows us something of the task at ground level. He says this in acts chapter 20 and listen carefully. He says, This is Paul speaking to the elders.

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock for which the holy spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the Church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage worlds will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number, men will arise and this stop the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard.

Remember that for 3 years, I never stop warning each of you night and day with tears. This is the working out of the noble task It's noble because you're dealing with the household of none other than the living God, the Church of the Living God. But here's he says, Look, your overseers here. You overlook. You look over.

But the first thing is keep watch on yourself. Oversee yourself. Don't let go of yourself. Be careful, pay attention to how you live because you're the example. To the household and then look after the flock.

Then he says the Holy Spirit made you overseas. This is the work of the spirit. This is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit of God to oversee the household. Then it says, be shepherds and watch out for wolves. There are lions and wolves and false teachers, and there even come up a bunch you to kill the sheep.

Watch out. And then he says, look at me, I'm an example. Day and night, I did this job. It's not just a job, you see. It's a life.

It's not just a job in a church. It's a calling and a life and a holy spirit energized overseeing. A notice that the elders are plural. It's not just 1 man. It's not just 1 man.

You need a group of people. Working together. So that's my first point. It's a noble task of shepherding and managing the household. That's my first point.

The noble task. Here's my second point. The extraordinary work of an ordinary life the extraordinary work of an ordinary life. It's so ordinary What are the qualifications of an overseer? Let me read them versus 2 to 7.

Chapter 3. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his 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 he must do so in a manner worthy of of full 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 also have a good reputation with outsiders that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap. To Aspire, and desire to be an overseer is not so much to desire to to aspire and desire the role But the characteristics that make the role, the characteristics that make you suitable for the role, That's what you should aspire to. It's all about character. It's the holy spirit working in everyday ordinary life, character way more important than gift. In in 1 sense, when you read this stuff out, it it's an unremarkable list.

It's just an ordinary day living. It's about your character in everyday life, character is more important than structure. Character is more important than personality. Character is more important than ability. Character is more important than gifts.

Character is more important than looks. Character is more important than education. The overseer of the household of the living god is to reflect normal Christian living he's saying, you're never massively different to anyone else in the congregation. Except for the able to teach. We come to that in a minute.

The overseer is to model ordinary Christian life in everyday life. There is nothing said about being part of the top education elite. Is there? There's there's nothing saying about what school he went to. Or what bible college he went to?

Or what theological degrees he's got? There's nothing about it has he got a nontrivial spirit in order to plant a church because that's what we need. Nothing about that. Is he a great leader? Nothing about that?

Nothing about being a great preacher. Nothing about how many books is he written? How many platforms does he speak on? Or being a great strategist or being a miracle worker? There's nothing about that.

It's ordinary stuff, but extraordinary. Of the 15 characteristics of an elder, of an overseer. 14 are about character godly living, and 1 is about gift. So often, we we adopt a model of the world. It always amazes me with books.

And when you go to the back and there's a picture of the blog who's written the book, And it doesn't just tell you, he was a filthy sinner and he was saved by grace of Christ. It says, he's written 18 books and he's been 83 years teaching at this Theological College even though he's only 25. And here's a beautiful picture of his wife and there's his wife there and he's got 14 children. We don't know whether they're crazy children or not. But it's all about how much he speaks and he knows Don Carson or something like that or It's all It's amazing, isn't it?

How we can so easily pick up the world. There's nothing about that. So let's whiz through these things. We'll go through as many as we can. We'll win through them.

Above reproach. Above reproach means nothing to take hold of. You can't take hold of. You can't take him down. Yeah?

You must have nothing in his life that Satan or unsaved people can legitimately criticize the church for. Now, people may wanna take him down. People always do attack a godly man. That's always going to happen. But there's nothing that sticks really.

There's no truth about the accusations. And even if he does make mistakes, which he may well, He's above reproach in the sense. He'll say, sorry. He'll make mistakes, but he'll confess and repent and make a mess. That's what's going on here.

He wants no excuse for sin in his life. So you can't stick something to him. That's what he's saying. Above reproach. And I mean, 1 sense, all the other things that come on, above reproach, are the things are sort of a description of water.

Above repurchases. In other words, he's he's he's not open to obvious violations of any other things that become the rest of his character. So above reproach, faithful to to his wife, or some translations have the husband of 1 wife. It literally means a 1 woman man. Yeah?

I don't think it means he has to be married. But he's got to be a 1 woman man. It doesn't mean he has to be married because of 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul says that, you know, I'm not married and it's quite good if you're not in order to serve the gospel. But if you're gonna be married, you're a 1 woman man. And even if you're not, you're a 1 woman man in the sense that you're faithful to the things that you committed to, your covenants, your promises, And in this case, the marriage covenant.

You're committed. You honor the marriage covenant covenant. You're committed and you stay committed. How can you handle the bride of Christ, the household of God if you mistreat your wife? If you treat your wife badly, who are you to handle?

The bride of Christ? A 1 woman man So a 1 woman man is always aspiring and desiring in the battles of unfaithfulness, giving himself again and again to those promises devoting himself to those commitments. He's loving his wife. He's washing his wife with the word of God's His Ephesians 5. He's washing his wife for the word of God, with the word of God for Jesus.

So he's above reproach. He's faithful to 1 wife. He's temperate. Now the word here used to be connected with just strong drink. But it's much more moderate.

He's moderate. He keeps his head in situations even when things are going bad. He's a sensible judgment of things. You see Paul is in a ship wreck and everybody's going bonkers, but Paul keeps his head and preaches the gospel. It's wonderful.

Isn't it? So a temperate person can advise someone, but he doesn't just speak and listen to the person as well. He might have to rebuke people, but he knows you can't just rebuke someone. You've got to get some encouragement as well. So there's encouragement in the rebukes.

He's temperate. He's moderate. A temperate man is always looking to God, aspiring, desiring, to be moderate in his emotions. Now we're all different people, and some of us have emotions that flare up very quickly and some take ages to burn. And that's why you have fellow elders in the church.

You moderate, you be careful, you You compare. Self control is the next 1. It's very, very similar to moderate It means self mastery. Doesn't lose control in a crisis again. Put the pen down before he writes back to a critical letter, takes a bit of time before he sets off his text in reply.

It's so easy, isn't it? But he's self controlled. He'll discuss with others. He'll say, what do you think? Am I too harsh here?

I might need to criticize someone, but is it too harsh? Is it is it not gentle enough? What is it? What you know, what what should I be? So a self controlled man is always turning to God and turning to others and praying before.

Responding. Respectable. He knows how to handle again a crisis without stooping to shameful methods of revenge and muddsling and violence. He can be trusted to keep his word. A rich respectable man, even if everybody is attacking him and disrespecting him, there is respect back Hospitable.

It means loving strangers, not just looking out for his friends, so he can have a laugh with his mates. But loving strangers, as Jesus says, in in the sermon on the mount. You know, even the pagans will go and make friends with with their own like, And what good is that? He says, but look out for people that are strangers that are different to you. Put up with their strange ways because they're strangers.

They come from other countries. They do things differently. It's weird. Put up with them. In Hebrews 13, the writer says, keep on loving 1 another as brothers and sisters and listen.

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers. For by doing so, Some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Isn't that amazing? You write someone around for a meal and you never see them again? Always wonder what happens to those people.

Were they offended? They would have been an angel. Yeah? That's a good 1. All those people you invite around and they never come back again.

That's a good 1. I'm gonna remember that. Say, what did I do? Was it because I gave them pork? Or was it because, I don't know, my humor didn't go down very well?

No. They're angels. Yeah. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were there, together with them, Our brothers and sisters that are in prison, we want to pray for them and love them. Don't we?

That's why we want to care for people that are in these countries that are going through there. Brothers and sisters in North Korea, my goodness me. So a hospitable man will aspire to looking out for the the stranger and open his home up to that. Able to teach would come onto that. A minute, not given to drunkenness.

It's a very similar thing. You're not gonna be influenced by alcohol or drugs or anything else. You're gonna keep a clear head as an example. Not violent, but gentle. You know, the the word means we're not violent.

Giver to you know, you you're you're not a giver of blows. So you're willing to pardon those that that mistreat you and you're willing to forgive. That spurgeon writes the pastors and he says that every pastor must have 1 blind eye and 1 deaf ear. Brilliant advice. Because when you're a pastor, you hear all kinds of things.

You know? And you've got to turn a deaf ear to what people say about you and a blind eye and pretend you didn't hear it. You come into the kitchen at the hub and there's people talking and you walk in to make a coffee and there's suddenly, oh, and you heard something and you have to say, oh, I didn't know, I didn't know, deaf ears, blind eye, you know, yeah, like that. You have to do that because you're not gonna be violent. Not corollary.

In other words, not getting offended offended by little things that people say and do. Not a lover of money. A lover of money destroys people. A lover of money is a lover of this world. Paul goes on to that in chapter 6 and we see that when we get to it.

Don't be a lover of money. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Yeah? And it and it is, you know, I I I know in my ministry people have tried to buy me on a number of occasions and and sometimes offered you quite a lot of money I've had people turn them up on my door to give me money if I've shut up on something. It's quite interesting, isn't it?

I I remember being invited to speak at a conference and then having all phone calls from people saying, listen, If you speak at this conference, you mustn't talk about this subject. And I said, well, I never thought about talking about that subject until you've said. Now, I must And they said, well, please don't come. Okay. Manage his family well.

Look at versus 4 to 5. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him and and and and do it in a worthy manner. It's not to say that the children is as soon as you say, oh, it's here. And the children is some kind of weird you know, a billion dog thing. There will always be problems with children, but there's a difference between stubborn sin in a child and how fathers have put their children off because they're so awful fathers.

Either through neglect or over over laws. You can't be like that. Not a recent convert and so it goes on. The third thing then, so there there there there there there there's so many things there, isn't there? And and Tom will come back to some of these things when he preaches on Deacons.

There's loads of stuff there. But do you know, they're so ordinary, aren't they? But if you get all this ordinary right, it's extraordinary in this world. A faithful husband is extraordinary. A man that loves his children.

You know, it is not heavy handed or is not just neglectful. Is wonderful. A respectful person. Even though there's disrespect coming out, he respects. The outside world says, I may not like what he says or what he believes, but he's a good 1.

He's a good 1. Thirdly, then able to teach, able to teach, That is to teach the word of God. That is to hold to the historic truth. You see that in Paul's other other letters. Someone said that the only the only sort of instrument that the the good shepherd has given under shepherds because that's what an overseer is, is the Shepard's crook.

It's the only thing we have for authority. And the Shepard's crook is the scriptures. That is the authority. That is what we teach. We don't get authority in our personality or even our position.

We should never say things like I'm an elder and you need to listen to me. It's not our position that gives us authority. It's the scriptures. The teaching of the scriptures that give us our authority. So it should be, you need to listen to me because I'm interpreting what the bible says into your life.

So that there's no abuse of a personality or whatever. Okay. Now let's land this then. Where are we? Let's this is my fourth point.

This is applications and implications. There's so much stuff to say that. So I hope you're with me. Are you is everybody alive? It's warm in here and Okay.

Fourth fourth point in applications and implications. First thing, the household of God needs God appointed leaders. The household of God needs God appointed leaders. You see, some think that the church shouldn't have leaders. And it feels sort of right that to some degree because everybody is equal.

And particularly with the great reformation doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, In other 1, everyone can teach everyone, which is what we do believe. So why do we need leaders? Isn't church meant to be a great democracy where basically we pray and maybe vote, and that's how the holy spirit works. But it isn't how the holy spirit works. The holy spirit gives gifts to the church and the gifts to the church are overseers.

Remember the ax 20. In ax 20, 28. Paul, it says this, keep watch over yourselves that you're following these things and all the flock of which the holy spirit has made you overseers. So overseeing is a holy spirit job. The holy spirit has made you overseers.

And shepherds of the Church of Christ. In Hebrews 13, listen to this verse 17, have confidence in your leaders. Now you can have confidence in your leaders. If you're seeing them, aspiring to those things that we've just read out. If you're not seeing that, then you really can't have confidence in your leaders.

It's 1 reason why Internet church doesn't work. You can see or at least you can come and investigate how I treat my wife. You can see or you can easily investigate and talk around how how my children You can see and know if I get drunk when I go down to the pub. You can see that with Internet churches, you don't know what the man is doing. And if the man is hidden away, And you have that old idea where he just comes out of a door to preach and then goes back into the door and you never see him again for the rest of your life.

Other than just on a Sunday. There's something wrong with that. We are elders meant to be examples among the people doing stuff that you can see is he faithful to his wife? Look at how he plays around when he sees women. That's not good.

And so there is this seeing that's going on So if you see those things, those basic principles that they're aspiring to, then have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account We're accountable to god those of us that are overseers. Do this so that their work will be a joy and not burden. So that would be no benefit to you. Praise for us, he says. Praying.

So there are clearly leaders here given by the holy spirit, leaders to submit to leads us to obey, leaders to pray for, leaders to rejoice in. And obviously, Paul is making that point in verse 1 of chapter 3 of 1 timothy. The idea that there's no leaders in Christianity is wrong. And the idea that you shouldn't be a leader is wrong. Second point then.

Leaders Where are we? Gosh. Leaders and overseers are themselves followers. If they're not, there's something wrong. Leaders overseas are themselves followers.

Paul says, follow me as I follow Christ. And so neat leaders need to be applying the gospel and the lordship of Christ to every area of life, and that's what he's just said, to your work life, to your married life, to your home life, to your emotional life. To your financial life, to your recreational life. There's a constant following the lord Jesus Christ and applying how it is to follow the lord Jesus Christ in those areas of the life. We're aspiring to that, desiring that, working hard at that.

And Paul understands that challenge. Paul says about himself in 1 Corinthians 9. He says, therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly. I'm not just expanding energy, like an aimless runner. I do not fight like a box of beating the air.

I'm not just sort of hitting out anything. No. He says I strike my body. It's an illustration. It's not flagellation as the Catholics go on about.

It's it's it's saying I will I will subject my body and my thinking. So I will strike my body and make it a slave so that listen, after I've preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. So the preach has to preach to himself When I finished here, I need to go home, and I need to look in the mirror and say, everybody likes households. They're interested in households. Blah, blah, blah, spare.

Yeah. No. First point I'd like to make is that the household had gone. I have to preach to myself. If I don't do that, if these sermons aren't to myself, then I'm a dry leader.

I make shoes for everybody else and still go barefoot. Now every every leader is a follower It's not leading and then you don't follow. This has gotta be personal. This has gotta be intimate. This has gotta be preaching to yourself.

People ask me, how do you think up preaching to people? I'll tell you how I just think about me and how rotten I am. And then I preach at myself, and every worker knows the necessity of keeping sharp blades and keeping their tools in repair. And as ministers, as overseers, this is a constant following of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you're a minister that isn't being refilled with looking at Christ and seeing him as the great servant of the people, then you will dry up and that's what happens so often with minuses.

We need refilling reinvigorating, looking at these points in our life, happy to hear someone say, a little bit of a criticism in order to put it right if it's right. Oh, yeah. Thank you. Not wanting sin. Third thing, it's been said that the church will not progress above its leaders.

Gosh. That's worrying if that's true. And I think there's some truth in it. In other words, we need to pray our leaders will be godly so that we will be godly. It's our task to pray the overseers of this church will be godly.

And they're very godly. They're the example. We wanna point to them and say, how do I treat my wife? Oh, you wanna have a you wanna have a look at him? What about money?

Well, you wanna go to that elder? Look how he deals with money. What about, you know, when people are utterly criticized critical of him. Well, you want to go to him? He had a lot of criticism.

Fourthly, the world is full of toxic leaders and that's the word that's being used all over the place. It's full of it. It's depressing if you watch the news. The met police. People use the word.

It's in it it was it institutionalized, you know. It's it's horrific. The whole institution almost needs to be shut down. Leaders, don't you know, good people go in and they can't change the thing. Or the fire brigade, the stuff that goes on there, or even gymnastics and sports and schools and care homes and religious organizations and churches and financial world and the political world.

Leadership shot through, isn't it? It's toxic everywhere. We put leaders up that don't believe anything. They're unfaithful to their lives. Why would they be faithful to the country they're serving?

They lie. Why wouldn't they lie to us? There's leaves everywhere. They're abusive to women. Why would you put them in charge here then?

And so Paul says, I want to come to church. I want you to come to church, to see as we were seeing last week, what men and women alike. I want you to come to church not to see men loathing it over people like the pagans do. Jesus says that's not right. I want to see men serving loving, giving, like the good shepherd, laying their lives there, like the lord Jesus Christ, who for the joys set before him endured the cross.

I wanna see household overseers that are like that so that when people come into the church, they see men that are testing themselves, approving themselves, or or or rather, you know, looking at themselves and at plying these words and aspiring and striving and stretching to be these very things. I want to see elders that are not just elders sitting there going on with elder, but striving to be more godly, striving to be more enthusiastic. Giving up the drink if it's causing anyone to fall. That's what I want to say. People come into church and they'll see men acting as men and women acting as women, and it will be a massive massive thing.

That's why you must pray that we don't have any elders or overseers that will fall. It's an utter disgrace. It's a terrible thing when a Christian fails the lord Jesus Christ, but we can gather round and cover and love and help but it's a dreadful thing when a leader falls. It's a shocking thing. When a leader has been saying stuff like me and then goes and falls in some public way.

So men, all men strive at this. You may not be able to teach. That's okay. The thing is about cornerstone. May I say, there are lots of men that are able to teach and fulfill these fulfill these things, and we just can't have them all on the eldership.

Because there's a time thing there. We've got people like Matt Dreyer. He was an elder. Living this stuff. We've got people like, Paul Moralee, working his guts out.

He's doing this stuff, but they're not necessarily on the eldership. There's loads of people like that. And it's a wonderful thing, but keep striving. Keep pushing. Keep giving yourself to this.

And then 1 last point, a firing shot at the ladies. If you want a bloke, look for a bloke like this. Yeah? Doesn't matter if he's fat and ugly and he's got smelly breath. Yeah.

Doesn't matter if he's got 1 eye and 1 leg or no legs. It doesn't matter if, you know, well, I better not go on, not the description that just went through my head. It doesn't matter but it does matter if he's got these qualifications. Do you want a good looking, drunk good as a husband? It's a shocker.

Do you want a good looking, gifted man with money who's not a 1 woman man as a husband? It's a disaster. In the end, the looks don't care. Don't matter. But you want a man that's striving and aspiring to these things.

So, pray. Praise for men. Pray for us all and pray for us leaders that we would be like this. Let's bow our heads and I'll get a hand over to Steve. Henry Farooq, thank you for the wonderful joy it is to be part of your of your family, the family of the living god.

And we thank you for the blessings, the gifts that you've given us in leaders. But we do pray that you will help all of the leaders here to to love you, to be faithful to you, to be faithful to the the ministries that you've called them to. And lordly pray that you help us all to strive to be ultimate followers of the Lord Jesus. We thank you for his wonderful example. And please help us to always keep him in the forefront of our minds.

Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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