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1st Timothy 3:1-13


“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.  Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.  Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery of the faith in pure conscience.  And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.  Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.  Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.  For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 




1st Timothy chapter 3, we are in the middle of a series of exhortations relative to verse 15, Paul hoping to get to Ephesus to see Timothy whom he has left there to put things in order.  He said, ‘But if I tarry long, if I don’t come, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.’  He’s giving Timothy some exhortations and instruction in regards to Church order.  And I believe he’s putting some of these things in writing, ah, because of Timothy’s youth, because of his disposition, that Paul is backing up the things Timothy will have to say by including those things in this letter.  He has challenged Timothy to take charge of the church, to forbid those that are teaching false doctrine, to forbid the immorality that is taking place, partly because of the culture there at Ephesus.  He has told him to fight a good fight, to be a good soldier in the middle of all this.  There is a warfare, and we are part of it, there is a war, there is a battle.  The enemy his missionaries, and the enemy is out to make converts.  The enemy has missionaries in our culture, that are seeking to convert our young people, a generation, a nation, to their own belief system.  And it is a war [an information war, in essence, but more than that too].  Timothy is challenged, and Paul tells him how to set certain things in order, in Chapter 2, in regards to the Church, in regards to public prayer, in regards to the role of the men during the public worship service, and then of the women in the public worship service.  And as he comes to this section, there would have been no chapter break, he begins to talk about the role of elders [teaching-pastors], overseers, the role of deacons, the role of women serving, more properly deaconesses [and I know some deaconesses that do as good as and even better than some men in that role].  And then the exhortation, relative to that service before, then in chapter 4 he goes into the Spirit speaking expressly things about the last days that would be contrary to all of that proper instruction.  Now, it’s interesting, he speaks much of godliness in 1st Timothy.  You won’t find the word anywhere in the New Testament until you get to 1st Timothy.  The word “godliness” is not found anywhere through the Gospels, Acts, Romans, but when you get to 1st Timothy you have the word 8 times.  And no doubt, Paul exhorting this young man Timothy to godliness, God-likeness, living a life that is worthy of the name of Christ, and to impart that to others in the church, and challenge them.  There’s a war along those lines. 


Godly Desire To Serve Leads To Ministry


When he gets to the 3rd chapter he says, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” (verse 1)  ‘This is a true saying, it’s worthy of taking note, this is a true saying, there’s truth in it.  If a man desires the office of a bishop he desires a good work.’  Now this “desire” is not ambition that is unhealthy.  There’s not inkling in the grammar of something that is ill here.  ‘This is a good thing,’ and this “desire” literally means “to stretch ahead,” or “to stretch forward.”  It’s not an instant thing, the idea is “the leaning in the life of a young man is towards godliness, and he says in his heart, ‘I would love to serve you Lord.  I would love to do this, I would love to give my life to ministry, I would love to be involved in caring for your people.’  [Comment:  And when you say that to God, and mean it, he takes that seriously.  That’s how this site came about (see]  And the idea is, if someone desires that office, desires leaning forward towards that, they’re desiring a good work.  Now, it’s the office of a “bishop,” an “overseer” is the word, the episcopas.  We have it mentioned in 1st Peter chapter 5, “To take the oversight of God’s flock without constraint, not for filthy lucre.’  To “oversee”, we have sometimes in the New Testament a term presbytus or presbyturis, we get “Presbyterian” from it.  The idea is, that word is translated “elders.”  And much of the time the word “elders” and “bishop,” “elder” and “overseer” are used interchangeably.  The episcopas the “oversight”, the “overseer” describes the function, the work, that it is “seeing over, watching over.”  To me, when you go through the New Testament, you look at the role of assistant pastors, you look at the role of elders, clearly throughout, this has to do with sight, watching out for, caring, taking the oversight, has the idea of looking, watching, seeing, caring for the Bride of Jesus Christ, knowing how precious to Jesus Christ his Bride is---being cognizant of the fact all of the time that that Bride is blood-bought.  That it doesn’t belong to you, it’s not to be cut into pieces, nobody in it should become territorial, divided up, and split up, it’s the Bride of Christ.  [Comment:  And yet what have the various leaders within the Body of Christ, those groups genuinely filled and indwelt with God’s Holy Spirit?  They have done just exactly that, been territorial, split up, divided up.  Is this Jesus’ desire?  See, and scroll to the section on Zephaniah 2:1-3.]  And to be an “overseer” means to take the work of the episcopas which is overseeing [the flock of God].  The word “elder”, when it talks of an elder who would be an overseer, speaks of the dignity or the maturity of the one who is in the role of oversight.  Now we also hear, in Ephesians 4, of the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, and the teaching-pastor---not “pastors, teachers” two different gifts, Granville-Sharpe rule there, one gift, a teaching-pastor.  In other words, God wouldn’t give someone a gift to shepherd the flock, without the ability to feed it, or give somebody the ability to feed it, without the heart to care for it.  That’s a teaching-pastor. 


The Four Offices Of Ministry Given By Paul In Ephesians 4




Apostles, I don’t believe there are any apostles today like there were back then, directly commissioned by Christ.  They had a miraculous ministry, they were eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus, from the baptism of John to the resurrection, the ascension.  Their names are written in the 12 foundation stones in the holy city of Jerusalem [i.e. the New Jerusalem, cf. Hebrews 11:8-10; Revelation 21:1-23], they’re going to rule with Jesus over the 12 tribes of Israel.  There is a peculiar, particular class of apostles that had the authority to lay the foundation of the Church and to write Scripture [that is why I believe the apostle Paul was the apostle that replaced Judas Iscariot, and not Matthias, chosen by Peter in Acts 1.]  That has passed away.  There may be someone whose an apostle in the sense that they’re sent forth to bring a particular emphasis to the Church, that they impact the Church in a particular way.  But the apostolic ministry of laying the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ [called throughout Paul’s Epistles the church of God] has long past. 




Prophets, apostle, prophet.  This is not the gift of prophecy that you and I might have.  The office of a prophet.  I’m not exactly sure, we were talking about this with staff on Monday.  We know the Prophets prophecied until John, from Samuel (there were those before that), but Samuel and the line of prophets until John the Baptist.  Jesus said that.  But then we have Agibus, whose a strange character in the New Testament.  And he’s not just forth-telling, we say the gift of prophecy is forth-telling, speaking with authority, but he was also foretelling.  ‘There’s a famine coming,’ and the Church responded before it happened, on the word of Agibus, recognized.  He bound Paul with his girdle, said ‘The guy who wears this is going to go to Jerusalem bound.’  Strange ministry.  We’re primarily a non-prophet organization, just in case you feel like tying me up with your overcoat or something.  Ah, prophet today, I’m not sure.  Billy Graham, is a man who has stood by the side of Winston Churchill, who knows how many Presidents, kings, queens, rulers, like Daniel, like Jeremiah, like Ezekiel, like Elijah, and spoken the Word of God, spoken the Gospel of Christ, godliness, to world rulers.  Possibly, I don’t know. 




Evangelist, and we only think of evangelists in the context of that altar-call, leading people to Christ [of which Billy Graham fits right in here], but Paul says the evangelist is for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry.  We heard so many reports after the Harvest Crusade, youth groups that went back to the churches and started to lead their friends to Christ, and the stirring that took place in the churches, and the year that followed the Harvest Crusade.  So that gift of evangelism is not just for that evening, when there’s the crusade and the invitation. Certainly it is for that, but there’s a larger picture of that then having effect on the Body of Christ that happens to be there to watch that, and the equipping of the saints then through that for the work of the ministry. 




Now there’s the gift of the teaching-pastor, which is in that list of four graces given to the Church.  Now, I believe that every pastor is an elder, and an overseer.  I don’t believe that every elder is a pastor [ie he’s old enough to be classified as an elder age-wise].  I believe that there’s a difference between an associate pastor, whose here with me, and I have several men here with me, and say ‘They’re here for the long haul,’ to end this together, to get all together and finish the journey.  And then there are assisting pastors that are here, that are here no-doubt to learn, and to see, and one day they’ll go out and plant other churches.  They function in an assisting way, but one day will have a different goal. 


A Look At Church Government, Then And Now


The Church looks at these terms, episcopas, presbytus, and starts dividing the Church over a term that’s probably synonymous, but then you have the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the forms of government then are in conflict, ‘Is there an episcopas, bishop, single overseer that oversees the Church or a group of Churches?’ [ie hierarchal like the Roman Catholic model]  “Or is it the presbytery where you have a group of elders, a plurality of eldership leading and teaching?  [The United Church of God is using that form of church government, a counsel of elders, general counsel of elders, and a revolving presidency ruling over it.]  And of course there’s Congregational forms of government that aren’t even mentioned here, where we have one place where there seems to be insinuated of a vote that would be taken, and where the congregation decides what they want.’  [ie like a pure democracy of ancient Greece, which never works well, whether in a church denomination or in a national government.]  And it is interesting that Lightfoot says by the end of the 1st Century there were presbyterian, episcopal, congregational forms of government.  [I honestly don’t think that these forms of church government were to be found within the genuine Body of Christ during the first 300 years in Asia Minor, which would have been following the apostle Paul’s and John’s model given within the Epistles, especially these Pastoral Epistles, which tend to show the early churches of God were “semi-autonomous.”  And the early Church under Paul was way different than most realize.  See,]  Now these are the guys who heard right from the Lord, and people who heard right from the apostles, so there was confusion right away.  The beauty of that, is I don’t mind any of those things, and the beauty of it is Satan was so confused he couldn’t stop the Church, here we are 2,000 years later.  If we all had one form and all looked the same he would have snuffed us out a long time ago.  But because we don’t know what we’re doing, and we have taken so many different forms, and yet carried the same message, he’s scratching his head.  And here we are 2,000 years later.  I can enjoy some of that.  I tend to think that a congregational form of government, you know, it’s like the sheep telling the shepherd where to go.  A congregational form of government often makes the shepherd a hireling, because they hire him, and then if he doesn’t preach the way they want him to preach, they fire him.  And then his temptation is not to say anything that will be out of line, because he likes the parsonage, he likes the paycheck, he likes the job, ‘So I’ll marry ‘em and bury ‘em, leave me alone.’  As you look at Church history though, I think you see the pattern is, you see God raise up Moody, Spurgeon, you know, look at Charles Stanley, congregational form of government, but there’s no doubt that God’s raised him up to be the overseer of the work there, or Chuck Smith, or Charles Swindol, or James Kennedy, those are good men.  [Look also at John Wesley, Elder Brewster, Chuck Smith, Billy Graham, Franklin Graham.  See,]  There’s a pattern.  But if someone desires the office of oversight, to labour in the Church [Body of Christ, and/or in their own congregation] in that way, to be an elder, to care for the Bride of Christ, whatever form that may take, assisting, or that of a senior pastor, a leader, an elder, an overseer, they’re desiring a good work.  Take note of that.  It’s a good work.  Then there’s lots of good things in this world you can desire to be.  I mean, I would encourage you, if you’re a contractor, to be the best contractor in Philadelphia.  I remember when my kids were little they said, ‘Everybody treats us the way they treat us because you’re the pastor.’  ‘Ah, want me to live in obscurity so everybody leaves you alone?’  You don’t understand, if I was a football player, if I played in the NFL, I would want to be the best, so I could have a testimony.  If I was a boxer, I’d want to be heavyweight champ, so I could have a testimony.  If I was an inventor, I’d want to invent the best things, so I could have a testimony.  If I were a businessman, I would want to excel at what I did.  Whatever you put your hand to, do with all of your might for the cause of the Lord, for Christ, so you can be a testimony.  And this is also a good thing, it’s a good work.  It’s not an easy lucrative business [tell me about it].  It is a good work.  In fact, the word “good” there indicates “excellent”, and the word “work” there has the idea of “difficulty.”  Being an elder, an overseer is an excellent difficulty.  Don’t get into it unless you’re called there, you’ll drown.  It is an excellent difficulty.  It’s a good work, it is a work.  And Paul’s saying ‘If someone feels called to that, these are the requirements, you don’t want just everybody jumping in there that doesn’t belong there, because it can be damaging.  You don’t step in there because you’ve got a diploma put in your hand.  It has nothing to do with the requirements here that God lays out.  It is God’s calling, God’s anointing. God’s gifting.’ 


Biblical Requirements For An Elder, Teaching-Pastor


‘A Teaching-Pastor Must Be Blameless’


And it’s interesting to look at the requirements now that he says should be present if someone wants to step into this office of oversight [i.e. teaching-pastor, elder].  First of all, “A bishop [elder, teaching-pastor] must be blameless,” that rules us all out, right off the bat there.  Obviously it’s not blameless in that sense, only Jesus was blameless in that sense, and he got blamed for being a glutton and a drunkard and a lot of other things.  What it means is that nothing, the language has the idea of that your critics have nothing real to lay hold of in your life.  It doesn’t mean you’re not going to be accused.  We already know this, if you were perfect they’d crucify you.  It doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be critics.  You know, if you are not living in a compromising lifestyle, then the way Satan always comes is through the mouth, through the tongue, accusation.  It doesn’t mean you’re not going to be accused, it says ‘make sure this individual who wants to be in leadership, this man, is a man that nothing can really stick to.  They might sling mud at him, but make sure it isn’t anything that can stick, they have no place to lay hold of.’  Because if they say, ‘I’ve seen this guy, he’s running around with women all the time,’ and if that’s real, hey, that brings a reproach to the cause of Christ.  ‘I see this guy, you told him not to park at the bar, but every Wednesday night I see him about 1 o’clock in the morning staggering out of there.’  That brings a reproach to the Body of Christ.  He should be blameless.  And that should be what you want, too, in leadership in the Church.  There may be accusations, but none of them should be founded, none of them should be founded, he should be blameless.


‘A Pastor Must Be The Husband Of One Wife’


“the husband of one wife,”  I’m still married to my first wife.  Should be the husband of one wife.  Now what’s that talking about?  Ah, first of all, culture in the Roman Empire, the Romans said that every man should have a legal wife to bear his legal children, a concubine for pleasure, and a mistress for adventure.  Polygamy was practiced.  So in one sense, certainly, somebody whose in leadership should be the husband of one wife.  We should simplify this, some of the Bedouins even today take four wives in Israel, and some of the Arab clans still have harems.  They say one wife is too much, ten is not enough.  I don’t understand that, different culture.  Should be the husband of one wife.  Now what does this mean [for us]?  Does this mean if you were divorced and you went through a difficult time, and then you came to Christ and got saved, that you can’t be in leadership?---because before you were saved, you got divorced?  I don’t think it means that.  Then when we come to Christ, all things are passed away, all things become new.  Paul was a murderer, and a blasphemer, you would never have hired him on his resume’.  It doesn’t mean if you’re married and your wife commits adultery and the marriage disintegrates, that you can no longer serve Christ.  I don’t think it means that.  The Greek literally has the idea of a one-wife man, a one-wife man.  The kind of man who agrees with, gives himself to and is committed to a monogamous relationship, lifelong with one wife.  I do think divorce is a plague in the Church, and I do think if someone is in ministry, and there’s divorce, I think that needs to be handled a proper way with accountability, and maybe that it’s necessary to step down for the cause of Christ.  ‘But if you’re going to put somebody in,’ he said to Timothy, ‘you want a one-wife kind of guy, in that crazy culture you live in,’ and our culture is just as crazy today.  Pick a man who has a solid marriage, that’s committed to his wife, who has a solid home.  Warren Wiersby spoke in one of the Calvary Chapel Pastor’s conferences several years ago, and they asked him, “How do you balance ministry and family?”  There’s always a juggling act.  He said ‘Well the best thing you can do for your congregations is build a strong family, have your marriage and your family be strong.’  And he said, “The best thing you can do for your family is build a strong church for them to attend.”  And he said “They should both be complementary.”  So, the one-wife man, the husband of one wife. 


‘A Teaching-Pastor Must Be Vigilant’


“Vigilant,” is the idea of temperate, it’s interesting, the root means “wine-less”, because temperate was synonymous with someone who wasn’t drinking.  Because someone who was drinking, and the worship of Bachus in that culture, drinking was often, as it is today, associated with fist-fighting and carousing.  Some things never change.  In the hieroglyphics in Egypt, 4,000 years old, they found an inscription by one of the ancient university professors which said “My students are no good, all they do is carouse and drink beer.”  So there’s nothing new under the sun, except they drank it warm, they didn’t have any ice.  He should be “wine-less” in the sense he’s temperate, vigilant, his life should be tempered like steel, it should be solid, it should be in place. 


‘Must Be Sober, Self-Controlled, Of Good Behaviour, Given To Hospitality’


He should be “sober,” this word means “self-controlled.”  You would think that would be “wine-less”, but it’s sober in a different sense.  He’s self-controlled, he’s not out of control.  Ah, “of good behaviour,” I don’t have to explain that.  You should just, if you want to be in leadership in the Church, behave. “of good behaviour,” it simply means that.  “given to hospitality,” certainly in the culture, traveling apostles, evangelists, there was no Motel-6, it was to care for them, to bring them into your home.  And I think it’s still a great thing to have folks over, to spend time with folks, given to hospitality, hospitality is just a good thing. 


‘A Teaching-Pastor Must Be Apt To Teach’---The Core Of Being A Teaching-Pastor


“apt to teach;” isn’t that interesting?  You go down this list of requirements, for somebody whose to be in leadership in the Church, and it says these three little words, “apt to teach;”  Now we’ve built seminaries there, we build Bible schools there, we build institutions there.  This is a long list that speaks of the character of the man.  God is saying ‘If you will give me your heart, if you’ll give me integrity, and if you’ll give me character, and if this is not a game, and if you’ll be faithful to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and if you’ll live without compromise, and if you’ll consider others above yourself, and you don’t do things, even if you think you have the liberty to do them, you would never do them, because they would stumble somebody else, and that somebody else who might get stumbled is blood-bought, a part of Christ’s Bride, and you’re supposed to be caring for those people.  If your life is a life of integrity and character, all you need to be is apt to teach, and I can anoint that, I can make that work, if you’re apt to teach.’  In the Old Testament, God used Balaam’s donkey to talk.  So he’s not restricted in regards to, you know, if he used a donkey in the Old Testament, then he can use one now.  And he does here every Sunday.  I read one commentator say “In the Old Testament it was a miracle when a donkey spoke, today it’s a miracle when one shuts up.”  “apt to teach;” certainly willing and able.  You know, I see a lot of guys, great guys, who swear they are pastors, and if they don’t steal or borrow a flock, they don’t have one.  And I say, generally the way you tell a shepherd is that there is a bunch of sheep around him.  Someone will go on and swear for years about their calling, but there’s no flock.  “You know, I really want to believe you.  Where’s your church, though?”  Or a pastor, “Where’s your flock?”  There has to be the ability to feed, because if there’s the ability to feed, free food, they come. Why do people come here?  Free food, and healthy sheep reproduce.  Shepherds don’t beget sheep, sheep beget sheep.  And if they’re fed and they’re healthy they reproduce by themselves.  I remember one time I was in a shepherd’s field in Bethlehem, outside, south of Jerusalem, outside of Bethlehem.  And we were there, and there was another church there, and we started to talk, and we said ‘We’re Calvary Chapel,’ and they said, ‘What is going on with that Calvary Chapel, how come they’re growing, what’s going on, what’s the secret?’  And just as we were talking this Bedouin shepherd came out, and he had this big bag of oats, and he had these two long tin troughs, and he started throwing these oats into the troughs, and the jingle that it made, there were not sheep there with us, but within two minutes they were coming out of the rocks, they were coming from all directions, and they were gathering.  They knew that sound of oats hitting the steel trough.  And I said, “That’s the secret right there, free food.” [to learn the best method of feeding sheep with this free food, see and]  If you feed them, they will come.  You know, it’s a funny thing, the church is growing, you know I remember when there were 25 people coming, and it was a Bible study.  And the church has grown, and of course one of the difficulties, I feel like my first responsibility is to feed.  Jesus said ‘If you love me, feed my sheep,’ and then, ‘tend my lambs, feed my sheep.’  And it’s impossible at this point to do every hospital visit, to do every funeral, to do every wedding, ah, you know, new folks will and ask me, ‘Will you guys come over for dinner? and they’ll say to Kathy, ‘Will you guys come over to our house for dinner?’  And I say, ‘Yeah, are you patient?’  [laughter.  Pastor Joe’s church congregation has been reputed to have grown to over 30,000.  I imagine he’s broken that up amongst various assistant pastors and into numerous congregations now.  I do believe his personal congregation is over six thousand people right now, as he says.]  Because there’s 3,000 couples in the church, and if we go out one a week it will be sixty years, and that’s without any further growth.  [laughter]  And we want to, I really mean that.  We say to people ‘Yes, we’d love to, be patient.  Keep asking, don’t get offended.’  And sometimes people get offended, because they don’t get the pastor they want to do the funeral, and I understand.  But if I did all that, I couldn’t do this [ie feeding the sheep with these awesome expository sermons].  And I find, that the unpardonable sin, is not to feed.  Because as long as I teach and feed, people will stay and complain.  [laughter]  But if they come and don’t get fed, they’ll leave.  So, primarily, the shepherd, the pastor-teacher, teaching, “apt to teach”, certainly that’s important.  But without all the requirements for integrity and character, it doesn’t stand on its own. 


“Not Given To Wine”


“Not given to wine,” now it’s a different phrase, it means “not sitting long by the wine.”  Ah, to me, an elder or a leader in the Church has no place drinking, to me.  If you pay my salary, you don’t put the money in the bucket so that I can take it and go to the bar or the state store and spend it on alcohol, that’s not why you put it in there. And when we hire someone on staff, an elder or pastor, that’s one of their requirements, no alcohol.  If we hear you’re drinking, you’re confronted.  If you want to maintain that position, you’re fired.  You don’t have the right for several reasons.  One is you don’t have the right to take that money, it’s a sacred trust, and spend it on that, and secondly, you don’t have the right to stumble anybody that Christ died for.  Because if I went out to a restaurant with my wife, and I’m not condemning you for doing this if you have a glass of wine with your wife for dinner, it’s wrong for me.  You pray about it.  If I did that 50 people in the restaurant would say ‘Pastor Joe drinks!’ you know, it would just be in the paper the next day. [Comment:  Calvary Chapels started out as a ministry reaching out to the multiple thousands of Hippies during the late 1960s, and many of them were alcoholics and addicted to drugs.  Through God’s Holy Spirit, they were all healed, miraculously, and Calvary Chapels then became a sort of ‘hospital church’ for those struggling with addictions, as well as reaching out to normal folks that didn’t have those problems.  So their ministry is still geared to reach out to those folks struggling with addictions.  The pastors do understand that alcohol consumption in extreme moderation is not condemned in the Bible, but due to the focus of their ministry they take this “no-alcohol consumption for those serving in ministry” stance.  Immoderate consumption of alcohol leads to alcoholism for many people (not all, by the way), and that is why the Bible teaches against any consumption that goes beyond extreme moderation.  I’m a recovered alcoholic, and know this is true.  Had I never consumed alcohol beyond extreme moderation I never would have progressed into alcoholism.  That’s why the Bible teaches “extreme moderation in alcohol consumption.”  If you can’t tow the line on that one, stop drinking alcohol altogether before it’s too late.]  So…[tape switchover, some text lost]…that’s like giving your enemy ammunition and saying ‘When I’m really down, unload on me, will you with this, massacre me.’  Someone whose in leadership, there shouldn’t be an association in other peoples minds between that leader and alcohol, it shouldn’t be there.  It shouldn’t be there in the home, you shouldn’t have that influence on kids, and it shouldn’t have that influence on God’s kids.  I don’t reserve any of those rights. 


“No Striker”


“no striker,” means that you shouldn’t go out on strike if you’re not getting paid enough [he laughs, he’s just kidding].  No, you shouldn’t be out punching people, that’s what it means.  Because they usually go together, if you’re sitting too long by the wine, you’re libel to clobber somebody before you get home that night.  That’s just a good requirement for a pastor or an elder.  You shouldn’t be somebody that’s punching people in the nose all the time.  Just good stuff.  There may be a circumstance that would [laughter] demand, if I found someone abusing one of my children, a right-cross may be necessary.  And if I found someone abusing one of yours, I’d probably feel the same way.  To defend the defenseless is one thing, but having someone who is notorious for flipping out, fist-fighting, is just not good for church leadership.  That’s not in keeping with the nature of Jesus. 


‘Not Greedy For Money’


“Not greedy for filthy lucre;”  Now, I get the idea by the way it says that, it’s talking about the negative side of being after money, “not greedy for filthy lucre;”  Now first of all, that means you’re not a hireling, and that’s a good thing.  Second of all, it certainly isn’t in keeping with some of what we see in the name of Christ on television, where we watch half an hour of a religious program, and twenty minutes is given to begging.  And how many people are turned off by that, and turned away from Christ because of that?  I can’t imagine Paul, John, Peter in the middle of a congregation saying ‘Alright, dig deep!  Here comes the bucket, dig deep, the thermometer’s on the wall up there.’  [laughter]  ‘And the Holy Spirit spoke to me, there’s three people here tonight that are gonna give a thousand dollars, stand up!  Stand up, raise your hands!  Stand up!’  Why are you laughing?  Have you ever seen anything like that?  Jesus said ‘When you give, you don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing, give secretly before your Father in heaven, and the Father who sees will reward you openly.’  What that means is whoever’s saying that, has either learned to act like that from another nut, or they’re a thief [or sometimes both], because the Holy Spirit never told anybody to have people stand up in front of everybody so they could show off how much they give.  And don’t fall for that.  Because if you stand up, somebody else is going think ‘A thousand dollars tonight, it’s me, it’s me,’ and everybody goes ‘Ooooh, ooh,’ get the tape, because that was your reward, ‘Ooooh.’  You won’t get a reward in heaven, so you want to listen to that tape a lot of times, ‘Ooooh.’  See if it’s worth a thousand dollars, ‘ooooh.’  [laughter]  And look, we can laugh about this, but how many of us have been turned off by seeing somebody, and all they’re doing is hocking people for money.  I think there’s a responsible way to ask, I think Billy Graham can come on and say ‘Hey look, we’re doing this Crusade, would you pray about partnering with us, and if the Lord leads, you can send your contributions to…’ and then you move on.  There’s a way to do it that’s understandable to me.  We don’t do it.  But there’s a way that is so ill that any non-believer can look at it and say ‘This is ridiculous.’  Oral Roberts, ‘Unless I get three million bucks by this date, God’s gonna kill me.’  …I don’t think that’s the way to do it.  And I don’t think that’s the reason that somebody should be in ministry.  And when it says “not greedy for filthy lucre”, you know, what you live in, and what you drive, how many boats you have, and how many mansions you have, and how many planes you have, all of that has to do with this requirement, so that you don’t stumble anybody else.  That’s not the reason you’re there. 


‘Not Wanting Your Own Way, Not Contentious, Not Covetous’


“but patient,” verse 3, simply means not wanting your own way.  Because if you’re in ministry you can’t be somebody who wants your own way.  Because there’s always something higher than your own way, and that’s the cause of Christ.  “not a brawler,” means not contentious.  It’s not your territory you’re fighting for.  “not covetous;” that’s without explanation, it’s just something we should understand.


‘One That Rules Well In His Own House’


“one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;” (verse 4)  (so they don’t float away into space J )  That’s not what gravity means, remember that.  “(for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (verse 5)  ‘One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity,’  That means with dignity.  It doesn’t mean that if you’re in ministry your kids shouldn’t be kids.  If you’re called to ministry, you’re a pastor here this evening, or an elder in the Church somewhere, no, never lay a trip on your kids, ‘You can’t do that, we’re in the ministry.  Don’t act like that, we’re in the ministry, you live in a glass house.’  You don’t get them to act a certain way for the sake of your reputation, or you will produce kids who hate the ministry.  Because kids gotta be kids.  Just because you’re a pastor doesn’t mean your kids aren’t going to be crazy, and shouldn’t be allowed to be crazy, kids are allowed to be kids.  But there’s also a dignity to it, that when you say something, ‘That’s enough now, and do this,’ that your kids are in line.  And the basis of your rules when you’re in ministry, you’re raising kids is not ‘You’ve have to act this way so I can be a pastor,’ no, no, no, no.  ‘You need to act this way because I’m a Christian, and you would act this way if I was a Christian carpenter, or if I was a Christian plumber, or if I was a Christian race-car driver, we would have a rule-book, right here.  And the reason you’re going to do what I’m asking you to do, is because Jesus Christ is our Lord, and this is the book that we live by, and it doesn’t have anything to do with being in the ministry.’  So let your kids be crazy.  Just make sure they straighten out when you talk to them.  So what about if your kid goes AWOL?  You know, there is a time in life when they turn away, and I know a good man in ministry whose sons or daughters have just gone south, and it’s a heart-ache to have a prodigal.  One of my good friends in Calvary, his son got involved with cocaine, selling drugs, and he went to his elders and said “I’m going to step down.”  They said “Why?” and he said, “Well, my house, it’s out of order.”  They said “What are you talking about?  He said, “Well, it says if you don’t rule your own house well, how can you rule the household of God?  My son has introduced me to all the important people of our town, the Sheriff, the Justice of the Peace, the DA. And they said, “Before you resign, let us talk.”  And they came back about a week later, and they said, “Now how have you handled this, what have you done?”  And he said, “Well, I put him out.  I put him out of the house, told him he couldn’t live with his two younger brothers, he couldn’t live here because there were rules in our home.  He was welcome to our refrigerator, the gas, the heat, the electricity, everything we wanted to give if he abode by the rules, but if he was going to live like an outlaw, we would not finance that rebellion, he had to go.”  And they said, “We want you to stay on, because we believe that is ruling your house well. You know we went to Normal Geisler, these guys, we asked them what it meant, and we went to seminary professors and they said “One who rules his own house well is one who has the proper rules in place.””  In other words, the United States Government and State of Pennsylvania rules the highways, they put up a sign that says 55 miles per hour.  That doesn’t mean they don’t give out speeding tickets.  That means they’re ruling well, that things are in place that need to be in place.  But you know the free moral agent on the other end of that, you’re gonna have the highway patrolman chasing him down and giving out speeding tickets.  And he said when he put him out, he said, I just told him, the day I made him leave I grabbed him and I said, “You owe me one thing.”  And he said “What’s that?”  And he said “I’ve changed your diapers, I’ve fed you, I’ve sat up in the middle of the night with you when you had a fever, I’ve paid for you to go to school.  I put years and sweat and tears into you.  What you owe me is if you find anything out there better than Jesus, I want to know about it.””  And he shut the door.  And he was gone for months.  And one day he was at the office, there was a knock on the door, his wife opened the door and he was standing there all beat up, funky, and she just looked at him and couldn’t say anything, and he said “Tell dad, there ain’t nothing better than Jesus out here.”  And he was back.  But if we’re going to be leaders in God’s Church, our home is a microcosm, and if we don’t rule there well, if there’s not dignity there, we don’t do what is right there, if we can’t call our kids to order, how can we call God’s kids to order, how can we order the house of God if we can’t order our own home in a proper way?---with love in a sacrificial way, as an example, certainly.  Ah, requirements, ‘One who rules his own house well, having his children in subjection with all gravity (for if a man doesn’t know how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)’ 


“Not A Novice”


“not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” (verse 6)  Not a novice, not one newly come to the faith.  You got saved last week, you want to be an elder this week.  Let’s wait awhile, you’re a “younger” right now.  Not wrong to want to be an elder, but you’re a “younger” right now.  So let’s just move along, let’s grow spiritually, that’s a good thing.  I talked with a little kid about this big on Sunday who is determined to be a pastor.  And I think, ‘Man, I wish I had got started when I was that young.’  He is determined.  He already knows what he wants to be.  We ain’t ordaining him though, yet.  [laughter]  We’ll also get bad backs leaning over to lay hands on him.  “not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride” somebody whose going to start to believe their own press clippings, ‘You’re one of the leaders over there, aren’t you?’  ‘Yea, say that again, LEADER, I like that, say that again.’  “not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”  Now the grammar allows for two things, and probably both of them are true.  Is it the condemnation affected by the devil?  In other words, because of his own pride, means “to blow smoke” literally, you know, he’s blowing his own smoke, that then the devil’s going to catch him and condemn him.  Is it condemnation affected by the devil, or is it the condemnation of the devil that we can read about in Isaiah 14, that when he was lifted up with pride, God cast him down?  And certainly pride is something that will make God keep us at arms length.  He’ll love us, challenge us, chasten us, deal with us.  ‘But not a novice, Timothy, don’t let it be somebody that’s brand new, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.’  [Comment:  Once upon a time a church denomination set up three colleges to train young men to be ministers, because their denomination was growing so rapidly.  Years later, by hard experience, it was learned that quite a few of those ministers knew the truth of God in a physical knowledge kind of way, but by their fruits it was apparent they weren’t exercising the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  They, essentially, had been ordained into ministry as novices, men in their mere twenties, most of them.  Also, the leader adopted a hierarchal form of church government, patterned after the Roman Catholic model, whereas the early New Testament churches of God were at best semi-autonomous, like Calvary Chapels.  This led to ungodly conniving for power at the top under the denominational leader (unbeknownst to him, for the most part).  These two errors, combined, brought devastating results, and God essentially had to destroy that particular denomination.  The members went out to create quite a few smaller denominations based on the doctrinal beliefs of their parent church.  Some have learned the lessons of the past, some haven’t.  One group in particular appears to be going through a very real spiritual revival.] 


“Moreover He Must Have A Good Report Of Them Who Are Without”


“Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into the reproach and the snare of the devil.” (verse 7)  So we might get it from two angles from the devil.  One is he shouldn’t be a young believer, the other side of it is, the unbelieving world shouldn’t be looking at him and saying ‘That guy’s a screwball!’  Now that would eliminate a lot of people on TV, wouldn’t it?  There was a guy who was on TV in California, and when I first moved to the West Coast, I saw this guy, I couldn’t believe it.  He was on TV on Sunday, he had a coonskin cap on like Davy Crockett, he had a big can of Budweiser he was drinking, he had girls bringing him messages in bikinis, he had the Bible open on the table, and he was saying ‘You people in San Francisco, you haven’t been sending in your money, if you don’t send in some xxxx money, we’re going to go off the air there!’  And I couldn’t move, I was like [laughter].  And I watched him again after that, just to make sure I really saw it the first time [laughter].  Now that guy is not a guy whose of good report with those who are without.  You know, we saw some of these guys exposed on TV, they learn which area gives the most money if you send a little picture of a girl in a wheelchair, they learn which part of the country gives the most money if they talk about helping a little kid with cancer.  They learn which part of the country gives the most amount of money when they show somebody on crutches, and they do these demographic studies, and then they lie, and they fleece the flock of God, instead of feeding it.  [Jesus said “Freely have ye received, freely give.”]  And it brings a reproach on the Church [Body of Christ], doesn’t it?  I mean, how many of you who have had friends, you try to tell them about Christ, and they say ‘Oh, you’re one of those?  I saw this guy on TV, are you one of those?’  ‘No, no, I ain’t one of those.’  Must be of good report without, in the community outside too, lest he falls into the snare of the devil.  So, a bishop, an elder, an overseer [which really is referring to a teaching-pastor]. 


Requirements For Deacons


“Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;” (verse 8)  grave means dignified, not doubletongued, doesn’t mean forked-tongued, deacons. Elders, given to the spiritual needs of the Church.  Acts chapter 6 says, ‘In those days, when the number of disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration of the Grecian Hellenistic widows.  Then the twelve called the multitude of disciples unto them and said, ‘It Is not fitting, reason, that we should leave the Word of God to serve tables, wherefore brethren look out among you for seven men of honest report,’ that’s “honest report” is marturos.  In the first chapter he said ‘Remain in Jerusalem until you be filled with the Holy Spirit to be witnesses, to Jerusalem, Samaria, the uttermost parts of the earth,’ good report means “witnesses” there…‘Look out among you for seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, tact, whom we may appoint over this business.’  Now this is to wait on tables, this is to wait on tables and make sure that their food administration was divided fairly.  They had to be of good report.  They had to be filled with the Holy Ghost, and with wisdom.  ‘We will give ourselves to continue in prayer and ministry of the Word.’  So, they were chosen there and it says the deacons, Steven, Philip, you know the list there.  The elders were given to the spiritual care of the Church, the deacons given to the practical things enabling then the overseers to be more free to do the work of prayer and of teaching, giving themselves to the Word of God.  So the deacons, to oil everything and make it run.  [On a submarine it was the Navy chiefs who did that, interfacing with the officers and crew, freeing up the officers so they could concentrate on their duties.  Quite similar, with the Chief of the Boat being the head interface between captain and crew, serving the needs of the crew.]  Ah, they must be dignified, not doubletongued, and probably both things are true.  Doubletongued means “not a tale bearer,” not repeating stuff, not given to gossip and slander.  It also has the idea of not saying one thing to one person, and turning around and saying another thing to another person…that’s a man-pleaser.  So they had to be dignified, not doubletongued, “not given to much wine,” so some of you would rather probably be deacons than elders.  I think it’s the same requirement [see my comment about Calvary Chapels and alcohol a few pages back].  “not greedy of filthy lucre;” we have it again, “holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” (verse 9) and in the first chapter he had talked about that, living in such a way that your conscience is open before the Lord.  “And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.” (verse 10) Now notice that word “also”.  Now verse 8 says “likewise”, that points us back, and it is literally “in like manner” to the requirements for elders, ‘in like manner must the deacons be grave…’  “Let these also” like the elders, “first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.”


Requirements For Deaconesses


I’m saying that, because when we get to this next verse, verse 11, it says, “Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.”  King James says must their wives” you can see there “must their” is in italics, “even so” is the same phrase as verse 8, where it says “likewise”, it is literally “in like manner.”  Now we have “In like manner, women,” that word “wives” there is “women.” “In like manner, women must be grave, not slanderers, sober, and faithful in all things.”  And the context is “those that are serving in the Church.”  And I think we have some deaconesses here in our church.  Ah, Phoebe, Romans chapter 16, verse 1, a diakonos, one who served Paul, carried that great Epistle of the Romans and brought it to the church in Rome, a servant, a deaconess.  And certainly we have some great, great ladies around here that are giving to serve in wonderful ways [we ordain deaconesses in our denomination].  Their requirements, they should be dignified, that’s “grave”, “not slanderers”, that’s an interesting word, it’s used I believe 38 times in the New Testament, 36 times it’s translated “devils”, or 35 times, and twice it’s translated “slanderers”, speaking about the tongue, in particular of a woman.  Now that’s because gals have a particular ability [you ain’t kidding].  My wife can slice and dice me with the tongue. They can say ‘Oh, that’s a nice dress, saw one like that in the salvation army last week,’ not a diabolos, there’s nowhere in the Bible that warns women about men.  There are lots of places that warn men about women.  Honey-dripping women, smooth-talking women, just because they can do that.  I mean, I can beat my wife in a fair fight any day.  Probably even guns, knives, swords.  But with this [must be sticking his tongue out], I’m a goner.  [laughter]  ‘OK, ok, whatever you say,’  I’m just joking [laughter].  Women who are serving in the church, dignified, not slanderers, “sober”, that’s “self-controlled” again, and “faithful in all things”---not having their own agenda, not having their own agenda.  Coming alongside to help and aid with what God is already doing through the leadership in the Church, ah, not having their own agenda. 


‘Deacons To Rule Their Own Houses Well’---A Promise From God


“Let the deacons be the husband of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” (verse 12) we talked about that with the elders.  Verse 13 says this, “For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  And it’s not a good translation “used the office of a deacon well”, literally it says “for they that have served well”, that would be everyone he’s talked about so far, public prayer, to the women in public worship, to the elders, the deacons, to the women serving [deaconesses], “For they that have served well purchase to themselves a good degree,” and the idea is, ‘they gain a reputation.’  If you serve well, you have a reputation, you’re in good standing.  “and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  Ah, we’ll end there today.  ‘Those who have served well, gain to themselves great boldness in the faith…’ it’s interesting, back with these deacons in Acts chapter 6, and it names them, and it’s interesting they’re all Grecian names, the wisdom of the Jerusalem elders of appointing all men with Grecian names, so the Grecian widows would sense more fairness.  It says, ‘Whom they set before the apostles, when they had prayed and laid their hands on them, the Word of God increased, and the number of disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly, and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith, and Steven, full of faith and power did great wonders and miracles among the people.’  So, this young man who was chosen to wait on tables, and who was not offended to take the most mundane tasks to assist in the care of the Bride of Christ, in no short time finds God’s blessing on his life, to where miracles are taking place and great wonders.  And it says here, “those who have served well purchase”, not like they’ve earned it, but the idea is, you end up with a good reputation, a good standing, “and with great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  You know, serving well.  If you are goofing off, and you’re compromising, I mean, be honest, you’re a Christian, you go out and you get loaded, you get drunk, what do you say?  ‘oh Lord, did it again, oh Lord don’t come, don’t let the Rapture happen till I get sober Lord, don’t come,’  or your go out and you get stoned, ‘oh Lord, don’t come,’ I hope he doesn’t listen to you, I want him to come.  Because if you’re in the warfare and you’re living your life the right way, and you’re trying to live without compromise, and you’re in the battle, you’re saying ‘Come Lord Jesus!  Come Lord and get us out of here! Blow the Trumpet, lift us off this ball of dirt and take us to heaven!’  ‘Or pour out your Holy Ghost and let us see the greatest revival this nation has ever seen, and if you’re not gonna do that, then take us home!’  And I encourage you to live in such a way that you can lift up your heads and look forward to the coming of Christ, and live before him, in the sense that if you live the right way, and if you serve well, that you end up with a good reputation, you don’t bring a reproach to his name, and he’ll grant you great boldness in the faith, because you are walking what you’re talking.  And God will bless it when there aren’t those inconsistencies there, his approval, his blessing…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on 1st Timothy 3:1-13, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]


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