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1 Timothy 3





The chapter before us today is a most important chapter because it lays out part of God’s organizational plan for the local church.  The first and most important thing to remember about this is Jesus is the head of the church (Colossians 1: 18).  The church belongs to Jesus because, according to Matthew 16, He is the one who builds the church.  So, first and foremost, the church is to be led by and dictated to from Jesus.

But there are also some other organizational structures that the Scripture puts into place for the local church.  One of those is the office of the overseer or bishop.  In other places, this office is referred to as an elder. The original word for this office is episkopos.  Obviously in Baptist life, we don’t refer to men as overseers or bishops.  There are a growing number of Baptist churches that do refer to certain men as elders.  But in most Baptist churches, the term we use for this office is pastor. 

Elders or pastors are tasked with the responsibility of leading the local church.  Elders are not dictators but men who have leadership authority within the church.  This is such a great responsibility, that the Scripture lays out some rather strict qualifications for who can be an elder.  These qualifications deal with how he should lead himself first, how he should lead his family second, and how he should lead his church third.  And verse 7 adds to the list of qualifications that he must have a good reputation with those outside the church.

Next, this chapter speaks of the office of deacon.  Biblically a deacon is a servant.  The Greek word diakonos literally means servant.  As a result, deacons do not have Scriptural authority to rule a church.  They are to serve.  As they serve, relationships are built which means that deacons who fulfill their Biblical role will necessarily be seen servant leaders in the church. But they are not the ultimate decision makers in the church.

You might think that anyone could be a servant.  But the Bible gives us a list of specific qualifications for men who are to serve as deacons in a local church.  If  you look at the list, it is not  an easy one to fulfill.  Isn’t it interesting that God would have such specific requirements for servants?

The New Testament church that works as God has ordained will have a plurality of elders leading, a body of deacons serving, and a church body that is not only caring for one another but is also reaching out in a variety of life changing ways to those who are not Christ followers.  When the church operates in this way, there is no other organization on this earth that is more beautiful, captivating, inspiring, or powerful.  And people on the outside can’t wait to become a part. (See Acts 2)

May we be such a church.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

1 Timothy 2





As Paul begins this chapter, he speaks about prayer.  He actually uses four different synonyms for prayer: supplication or request, prayer, intercession, and thanksgiving.  All of those have a bit of a nuanced meaning that is somewhat different from the others but the point is we are urged to pray as this chapter opens.

Paul says first of all that we should pray for all people.  There should be no one that we intentionally exclude from our prayers.  One of the reasons for that is verse 4 says God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  There is not one that God doesn’t want to save.  Therefore, there is not one that we shouldn’t want to pray for.

From the category of all people, Paul draws out a select group of kings and people in government positions.  At the time Paul was writing this, the Godless Roman Emperor Nero was on the throne.  He was certainly not a friend of Christ followers.  Yet, here those Christians in Ephesus were told to pray for him.  And so, should it be for us.  We need to pray for those who have positions of authority in our government.  When we agree with them, we should pray for them.  When we disagree with them, we should pray for them. 

Paul goes on to give us some motivation for praying for those in authority.  He speaks of our praying leading to a peaceful and quiet life.  Peaceful, here, refers to an inward peace that only Jesus gives.  Quiet life refers to an external peace with those around us.  Paul adds to that the importance of living  a godly and holy life.  Godly refers to living in a way that honors God.  Holy refers to living a life that is different from those who don’t know Jesus. 

As we have already seen, in verse 4, the Bible is clear that God desires or wants all people to be saved.  This does not mean that everyone everywhere will be saved.  It simply means God wants everyone to be saved.  So, if God wants this, why doesn’t it happen?  When we were created we were given a free will.  Among other things that means we have the power to choose.  So, while God may choose for us to be saved, we may not choose that.  And if we don’t choose God’s offer of salvation, we will not be saved.  God honors the free will that He gave us.

From there we move on to a most powerful statement.  “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.  The word for mediator refers to being in the middle.  One who mediates in any dispute or deal stands between the two parties but he must be able to relate to both parties.  The only way Jesus can relate to both parties is He is God and He is man.  Because He is the only one who fits that description, He is the only one who can serve as mediator between God and man. 

From there we move to verse 6 which says that Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all.  In other words, Jesus gave Himself as a payment for all.  When He died on Calvary’s cross, He died once for all.  His sacrifice was sufficient for all people of all time.  His payment covered the sin debt of all humanity.  That’s the reason God can desire that all men be saved.  Because of what Jesus accomplished, salvation is available to everyone. 

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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