INTRO: There is no more important work or weighty responsibility on earth than that imposed upon elders in the Lords church. The spiritual health of the congregation depends on its elders. The future of the local congregation depends on its elders. Whether or not the local congregation maintains its identity as the Lords church depends on its elders. So, it is not overstating to say that selecting elders may well be one of the most important and grave events in which a congregation engages.
I. CONSIDER THE ELDERS WORK (Titus 1:7 STEWARD)
A. They feed the church - Acts 20:28
1. note: 1 Tim 3:2 apt to teach and 1 Tim 5:17 they who labor in the word and doctrine
2. certainly, they must know what teachers teach
3. a church not fed well in the word and doctrine is ripe for Satans onslaught
B. They watch for wolves - Acts 20:29-31
1. so, they protect the church from danger
2. error, immorality, divisive spirits, etc. are threats to the security of the church
3. so, Titus 1: 9,10
C. They oversee - 1 Pet 5:2
1. note 1 Tim 3:4,5 and 5:17 a rulership function
2. but a word of caution is at 1 Pet 5:3
3. men selected, serving must be understood to have authority and responsibility granted by the Holy Spirit - when selecting, one question might be, Is this person one to whom I Can submit? (Heb 13:17)
D. In doing these things ...
1. there is a great expenditure of time, energy
2. too, there is often the agonizing that is emotional
3. to shepherd the flock of God is a giving life out of the glare of bright lights - no glamor
II. CONSIDER THE ELDERS QUALIFICATIONS
A. First, he is an example of faith
1. 1 Pet 5:3 example, pattern
2. if he is not this, other qualifications really do not matter ... he would be unqualified without reference to 1 Tim 3 or Titus 1
3. I think, too, of the beatitudes (Mt 5) and how those qualities should be present in any man who would be an elder
B. Then, what about 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1?
1. 1 Tim :1-7 & 11 with Titus 1:5-9
2. not all faithful Christian men must or can meet these qualifications
3. these qualifications equip a man for his service as an elder ... and the must is not optional to the text
C. The man, his wife, his children
1. all are part of the qualifications
2. when considering a man, we must consider his wife and children as well - faithfulness, submission, example ... willingness to share him?
3. this man, family will go from relative obscurity to considerable visibility ... at times, the microscope
D. His desire?
1. not to use office as status, for personal advancement or advantage, to follow personal agenda
2. simply to be the steward of the Lords heritage ... the shepherd of the flock
3. further, to see to the advancement of Lords kingdom
CLOSE: As we engage in the search for additional elders, let us do so with prayer, with the word, with concern. Indeed, this should be a time of fervent prayer.
Cecil A. Hutson
07 March 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)