Leaders and Helpers in the Church
by Dr Gregory Magruder | October 20, 2019
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Gainesville, FL 10/20/19
"Leaders and Helpers in the Church”
1 Timothy 3
INTRODUCTION: Parkview Baptist Church does not accept the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. We have been pressured as recently as 2 years ago to do so. But we as a church have decided that the local congregation and not a convention will decide how we want to govern our local church. We continue to accept the Baptist Faith and Message 1963 as our statement of faith which does not address the issue of local church leadership beyond the guidelines set in our text for the day in 1 Timothy chapter 3. The church needs leaders and helpers to guide the local church. So, let’s see what Paul writes to Timothy about the leaders and helpers in the church.
THE LOCAL CHURCH NEEDS SPIRITUAL LEADERS.
*Who can be the overseer of the local church? Paul says that “anyone” can desire and feel the call to that office. “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task” (3:1).
- Women and men are equal in Christ. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
- Women preached and had leadership roles in the early church (Acts 21:9; 1 Corinthians 11:5; Romans 16:1-5).
- However, the culture and practice of that time and even in our day prefer male leadership (Titus 3:5-6, 1 Timothy 2:12)). In Christ, women are equal but in culture women lag far behind the gospel goal (see Philemon on Paul’s approach to slavery).
*What are the qualifications of overseers or spiritual leaders?
- The leader’s conduct and character must be “above reproach.” “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” (3:2-3).
- The leader must manage his home life and children well. “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?” (3:4-5).
- The leader must not be a new immature believer and should have the respect of those outside the church community. “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” (3:6-7).
LEADERS NEED THE ASSISTANCE OF GODLY HELPERS.
*Deacons are servant leaders who have been chosen to help in the work of the ministry of the church. They usually assist in practical matters like feeding the hungry and taking care of the needy. So the Twelve…said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:2-4).
*What are the qualifications of deacons or godly helpers?
- Deacons must be models of integrity and good behavior. “Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain” (3:8).
- Deacons must be spiritually and doctrinally tested and approved. “They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless” (3:9-10).
- Deacons must set a good example in their marriages and families. “Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well” (3:12).
- Women deacons must model good character and behavior. “Their wives [women]likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things” (3:11).
- Deacons who serve well will receive a reward. “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” (3:13).
The church needs spiritual leaders and godly helpers. Is God calling you?