1 Bible 2Luke 12:48, “To whom much is given, from him much will be required”

1 Timothy 4:12, “Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity”

Our Text – (1 & 2 Timothy & Titus 6-9)

The main biblical texts that lay out the requirements of church leaders are 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 2 Timothy 2:1-2, 13; Titus 1:5-9; Acts 6:1-6. Exodus 18:21 speaks about selecting capable men from all the people, men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain, and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

Key verse – 1 Timothy 4:6, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained”

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Introduction

The Apostle Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus give a firm and solid Biblical foundation for the organization and function of the church. The Apostle Paul, probably the greatest builder of churches of all time, was very concerned that the churches he established had good leadership.

On his first missionary journey “Paul and Barnabas chose some of those who had faith in the Lord to be leaders for each of the churches” (Acts 14:23).  His instructions to the church leaders at Ephesus on his last visit with them is reported in some detail (Acts 20:17-35). In his letters to Timothy and Titus, Paul is specific on the character required of leaders, as does Peter in (1 Peter 1:4).

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Paul’s Later Years

The Apostle Paul was a missionary, evangelist, author, prayer warrior, theologian, teacher, and church administrator. As a church administrator, he gave us the Pastoral Epistles, which we address in this study. The book of Acts was written before Paul was tried before Caesar. Luke wrote in Acts 28:30-31, “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him”.

  1. The Prison Epistles & Period of Freedom

During this two year period, Paul wasn’t idle. He taught, witnessed, and during this time he wrote four books of the New Testament. We call them the Prison Epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon). The prison Epistles will be covered in another study.

Most Bible teachers believe that Paul was set free when his case came to be heard. That would have been in the year AD 64. After being set free, Paul probably traveled east to Greece, Crete, and Asia Minor. Perhaps he also traveled to Spain, and was during this time that he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus.

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  1. Paul’s Second Imprisonment

In AD 67 a great fire broke out in Rome, destroying much of the city. It may well be that the emperor Nero started it to clear ground for a building project. The populace of Rome was very angry. To find a scapegoat, Nero blamed the Christians and began the first Roman persecution of Christians. The Romans already regarded Christians with suspicion because they would not go along with the Romans’ pagan ways.

As a Christian, the apostle Paul was arrested and put in the Mamertine Dungeon in Rome. This imprisonment differed greatly from being under house arrest in his own hired house during his first Roman imprisonment. While he was in the dungeon, the Holy Spirit guided Paul to write his last book of Scripture, 2 Timothy. Soon after he finished the book, he suffered death at the command of Nero. Being a Roman citizen, Paul would have been beheaded. Thus, he went to be with the Lord and the reward of faithful service that awaited him.

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  1. The Pastoral Epistles

At the beginning of church history, Jesus gave apostles to the church to guide the church and to organize it. Very early, pastors and deacons were added. In the Jerusalem council meeting, it was the apostles and the elders (Acts 15:6) who hammered out the first great doctrinal dispute concerning salvation by faith alone. Who were the elders? The elders were pastors.

As the Apostle Paul was winding up his third missionary journey, he had decided to go to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost. It was early summer because Pentecost took place in our month of June. On the way from Macedonia to Jerusalem, Paul stopped at Miletus (Acts 20:7). There he gave a touching farewell to the pastors of the Ephesian church.

Acts 20:17 reports that he “called the elders of the church” in Ephesus to come to him. In verse 28 of that same chapter, Paul warned them, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God”. Here we see three Biblical titles for a pastor.  In the New Testament church, pastors were called elders. This name stressed that they were to be mature believers, not novices. They were also called overseers (bishops). This name stressed their role as church administrators. And they were to be feeders, or pastors, of the flock. A pastor is a shepherd who takes the flock to the pasture. He feeds his flock by preaching the Word and teaching his people.

Today “pastors,” “elder,” and “bishop” are often treated as three different positions, but in the New Testament church they were one and the same. In the book of Titus we see this truth again. We learn from Titus 1:5 that Paul had left Titus behind in Crete to “ordain elders in every city.” Verse 6 states that the ones to be appointed to that position should be “blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.” And then verse 7 states, “For a bishop must be blameless”. The elder/bishop/pastor was one and the same individual. The letters to Timothy and Titus are therefore called the Pastoral Epistles.

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First Timothy

The first of the three Pastoral Epistles written by Paul is also the first in the order they are found in our Bibles. First Timothy, like the next two epistles provides instruction and guidance concerning the nurture and protection of the churches. Like a faithful father, Paul was concerned for his children, the people in the churches that he had planted in the face of great opposition. His instructions in 1 Timothy and the other two Epistles provide many Biblical principles as to how the church should function.

  1. The Place of Writing and the Key Words

We do not know where Paul was when he wrote 1 Timothy; there are no clues from the book itself. After Paul was set free in AD 64, he traveled to the East. Some have called this trip Paul’s fourth missionary journey. Though the book of Acts does not cover it, there are geographical and political hints in the Pastoral Epistles that he did indeed take such a trip. The key word of 1 Timothy is “good.”

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  1. The Theme and Purpose of Writing

Paul wrote to Timothy to tell him to take courage in facing false teachers in the church (1:3, 4; 4:7). He also wrote to spell out the character and qualifications that should be present in those who want to be pastors or deacons (3:1-13). In addition, Paul urged Timothy to maintain his purity of life (4:12). This book is a “must” for any class dealing with the doctrine of the church.

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  1. The One Addressed

Timothy was a native of Lystra, a city in central Asia Minor. His father was Greek, and his mother was Jewish. The Bible tells us nothing more about his father. However, we do know that his mother, Eunice, was a woman of faith as was his grandmother, Lois (2 Timothy 1:5). Timothy was led to Christ under the ministry of Paul (1 Timothy 1:2). Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to become the pastor of that church, However, Timothy was a somewhat timid individual; thus Paul needed to encourage him to stay in Ephesus to guide the church in the face of some false teachers (1:3).

Billy Connors wasn’t a great athlete himself, although many people consider him to be the best pitching coach in major league baseball. New York Yankees manager Joe Torre said, “Sometimes the best players can’t coach, because they were such naturals … whereas guys like Billy had to work at it, and pay attention to all the little things.”

Billy also knows and cares about the men he coaches. All of them have been to his home for a meal. His genuine concern opens their ears to what he has to say. This account of a caring and competent coach made me think of Timothy in the New Testament. Though at times he seemed timid and fearful (2 Timothy 1:6-8), Paul considered him proven and dependable in guiding others. T

The Apostle Paul wrote, “I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you … For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state” (Philippians 2:19-20). Spiritual coaching/leadership isn’t just telling people how to accomplish great things for God. It begins with caring for them and earning the right to be heard. Then, with a keen eye and a kind word, we can encourage others in the way of faith.

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  1. The Qualifications of Pastors

First Timothy 3 begins by stating the Biblical qualifications of a pastor. Here he is called a “Bishop,” stressing that a pastor is to be the overseer, the administrator of the church. Verse 1 of chapter 3 shows that being a pastor is a desirable “good work.” A pastor must rule his home well, meaning that he must be “the husband of one wife” (literally a “one-woman man”) (3:2) and have “his children in subjection with all gravity” (3:4). Since a pastor must be the husband, this office is restricted to men. The pastor is not to be a given to wine, a fighter, or greedy. Neither is he to be a new convert a “novice,” (3:6). He must have a good testimony in the community (3:7).

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  1. The Qualifications of Deacons

The other Biblical office in the church is that of deacon (3:8-12). A deacon must be sober minded. He must not be two-faced or greedy for money. And, like a pastor, a deacon must be the husband of one wife and have children who are not rebellious. Paul also presented a qualification for the wives of deacons. Deacons will know a great deal about what goes on in other members’ lives and should not make that knowledge public and neither should their wives.

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  1. The Charge to Timothy

Paul charged Timothy to be an example to the flock (4:19). He was to let no man despise his youth. This challenge does not mean that Timothy was a teenager or even a young adult (in his twenties). He was at least thirty years old. A dozen years earlier he had been a coworker with Paul on Paul’s second missionary journey.

Timothy was to treat elderly men and women in the church with respect (5:1-2). The church was to look after widows who had no family to care for them. There were some restrictions as to age (sixty or older, 5:9) and character (“well reported for good works,” 5:10). The letter closes with a final word to Timothy to keep that which had been committed to his trust (6:20).

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Titus

The theme of Titus – the “Godly Life of the Believer”.

It was the second Pastoral Epistle written by the apostle Paul to his trusted companion Titus, who had been left as pastor of the churches on the island of Crete. Like the First Epistle to Timothy, this letter had as its purpose to give the young pastor instructions to aid him in his work. Titus was a Greek and was converted under Paul’s ministry, for in Titus 1:4, Paul called him “mine own son after the common faith.”

We are not sure where Paul was when he wrote this book around AD 65. It may have been during the time of freedom between his two Roman imprisonments. He may have written it from Ephesus or from Nicopolis (Titus 3:12). Some of the key words are “sound” (meaning “correct” or “healthy”), “good,” and “good works.” The apostle Paul had begun to organize the work in Crete, but had to leave before the task was finished.

The entrance of false teaching in the form of legalism necessitated a strong stand for the truth. In this task Titus needed clear instruction as well as encouragement in the work that lay before him. For this purpose the book would be outlined as follows:

After an extended greeting (1:1-4), Paul urges Titus to complete the organization of the work in Crete that he had started (1:5); reviews the requirements of elders, (1:6-9); urges a strong position against false teachers (1:10-16); gives instruction concerning the various classes in home relations (2:1-10); makes clear how a holy and godly life is made possible (2:11-15). To join into good citizenship (3:1, 2); reviews the reasons for godly living (3:3-8); issues a warning against false teaching (3:9-11); outlines his future plans (3:12-14); he sends his greetings (3:15).

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The writing of this book by the apostle Paul was two-fold. First, it was to give instructions as to the kind of men who are qualified to be pastors. Pastors should be men who rule their households well, who rule themselves well, and who treat others well. They also are to be true to the Word (Titus 1:5-9).

What might Paul say to pastors who deemphasize doctrine in order to make attending their church more acceptable for a broader spectrum of people? Doing this their actions would violate what God mandates for pastors to do.

Why is sound Biblical essential for actually helping people? Sound or healthy doctrine is the pastor’s primary instrument for helping people. God works through sound Biblical doctrine to convict people of their sin and to exhort them to live as God expects.

Secondly, it was to show the manner of life in which believers should live who have been saved by God’s grace. Older men should be dignified and sound in the faith. Older women should be reverent, not gossipers. Younger women should be holy and submissive to their husbands while younger men should be serious minded (2:1-8).

The book of Titus clearly teaches that salvation does not occur by our doing good works. It is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy [that] he saved us” (3:5). However, good works are to follow salvation (3:8).

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Second Timothy

Second Timothy was written during Paul’s second Roman imprisonment, but it isn’t classified as a Prison Epistle; rather it is the last of the Pastoral Epistles.  It was written from the Mamertine Dungeon in Rome. The Roman emperor Nero was persecuting Christians. Paul had been arrested because of his faith in Christ. The dungeon was cold and damp and for that reason Paul asked Timothy to bring him a cloak (2 Timothy 4:13). Paul had already gone through a first judicial hearing and during that hearing no one came to testify for him (4:16).

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The theme of 2 Timothy is the “True Minister of Christ. The apostle Paul wrote this book for two purposes. First of all it was to ask Timothy to come and be with him. Secondly, it was to show Timothy the proper course for a true servant of Jesus Christ in a time of a falling away and apostasy. Paul predicted that in the last day, apostates would arise in the church that would:

(1)       Be proud,

(2)       Self-centered, and

(3)       Greedy for money.

That prediction certainly came true and also is very true for the time in which we now live. When many fall away, those who know the Lord must be strong in preaching salvation and grace through the blood of Christ (2:1).

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2 Timothy contains the clearest verse in the Bible as to the nature of Scripture: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (3:16). For this reason we must defend the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture. We must be faithful to “preach the word” (4:2).

Why is preaching the Word so important for a pastor? Because he will give an account to Christ for how he handled the Word. The Word convinces people of error, rebukes their sin, and exhorts them to do right.

Why might someone not want to hear the Word preached?  Because they don’t want their sin exposed; they are comfortable living for themselves; they are proud and don’t want to submit to any absolute authority.

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This epistle is the Apostle Paul’s last words before his death. He wrote, “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day” (4:6-8). His words and testimony should be a challenge to each of us to live in such a way that when we reach the end, we have no regrets and can leave this earthly life with confidence and trust in God.

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Thoughts in Relation to Leadership in the Church

Hebrews 13:7,17, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you”

Acts 20:28, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood” and 1 Peter 5:2, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve”

Most pastors take their calling seriously because they recognize they are charged with the awesome responsibility of feeding, teaching and overseeing the flock that God has entrusted to them.  However, there are too many times when the enormity of their task goes unappreciated. Although they aren’t looking for praise, they do need the encouragement of those who are helped by their ministry.

The assurance of prayer, a word of praise, an expression of love – what reinforcement these can give them! Stop and think for a moment of all the influences that have touched your life spiritually. Probably high on your list of those who have contributed to your spiritual benefit would be a godly pastor or leader within the church. Does your pastor need encouragement? If so, look for ways you can give him a boost.

If our pastor faithfully preaches God’s Eternal Word and tries to live an exemplary life, do all you can to support and encourage him? Of course, no pastor is perfect, and sometimes a careful rebuke may be needed (1 Timothy 5:20); however, a pastor carries an enormous responsibility (Hebrews 13:17), and a faithful man of God is worthy of loving respect and generous financial support. Mark Twain once said he could live for a whole month on just one good compliment!

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Further Reflection

The nature of the service provided by pastors and their families is unique. God has entrusted to them one of the most precious of assignments, the spiritual well-being of His flock. When a pastor becomes ineffective, the very souls of his members are endangered. When eternity is in the balance, we should all be concerned. Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures.

They are the ones who perform a wedding one day and possibly a funeral the next. They are the ones who receive phone calls in the wee hours of the night to bring comfort to those in need. They are the ones who may have to make an unpopular decision for the church, but the right decision by God. They are the ones who counsel us during times of trial and comfort us during pain. They are those who visit us or a loved one in the hospital.

Furthermore, their lives are exposed to the entire congregation and community who are watching their every move. Pastors are expected to have ideal families, to be perfect people, to always be available, to never be down and to have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward. Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet most of us are disappointed when a pastor becomes overwhelmed, seems depressed, lets us down or completely burns out. We need to encourage our pastors, not only during Pastor Appreciation month, but each month throughout the year.

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Concluding Thoughts

Luke 12:48 tell us, “To whom much is given, from him much will be required”

1 Timothy 4:12, “Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity”

Leadership has its privileges, but more importantly, it comes with huge responsibilities. You are a leader. Yes, you! You may not be the president or manager of an organization, but you will be called on to lead others. Do you teach Sunday school? If so, you’re a leader. Are you a parent? If so, you’re a leader. Do you have a job? You’re a leader. Do you have friends? You’re a leader.

No matter who you are, others are looking at you and being influenced by your example. As you think about this awesome responsibility, what should you do? Someone has said that a good leader is one who “knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Joshua was like that. He knew the way because God had told him. He went that way by being obedient to the Lord, and he showed the way by providing servant-leadership. Let’s look specifically at what God told Joshua: be strong and courageous – (Joshua 1:6); obey all of God’s laws for living – (Joshua 1:7); think often about what God has said – (Joshua 1:8), and remember that God is with you – (Joshua 1:9).

We need to keep these lessons of leadership in mind, because people are following our example. If we learn them well, we will know, go, and show the way that pleases God, and we will be good leaders.

Proverbs 29:2, 4, 7, 12, 18, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan . . . The king establishes the land by justice, but he who receives bribes overthrows it . . . The righteous considers the cause of the poor, but the wicked does not understand such knowledge . . . If a ruler pays attention to lies, all his servants become wicked . . . Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law”

A church’s congregation will reflect the attitude, stability, compassion, honesty and vision of their pastor. We cannot expect those followers to grow beyond or turn out fundamentally different than their pastor. Please consider what the book of Proverbs tells us about the influence of good and bad pastors:

(1) Attitudes – When good leaders rule, people rejoice; when the wicked reign, people groan.

(2) Stability – When moral leaders rule, they establish justice; compromising leaders tear things down.

(3) Compassion – Good leaders express concern for the poor; bad leaders reflect no compassion for anyone.

(4) Honesty – When leaders pay attention to lies, their staff begins to esteem the same deceptions.

(5) Vision – Solid vision keeps everyone on track; chaos reigns wherever the vision lapses.

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It’s good to follow the teacher who follows the Master Teacher.

 

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