WHAT GOD LOOKS FOR IN A CHURCH WORKER (Timothy 8)
(READ 1 Timothy 3:8-16) We saw in the last blog that it is very important for those who lead a group of Christians to have godly character traits so they can set a good example for Jesus. The church in Ephesus didn’t have this and it resulted in many problems. The unqualified leaders were unable to correct errors in the church, and were causing many of the problems themselves. Godly leaders are a must. This applies to anyone in any type of leadership role in the church, including those who help the leaders.
The apostles in the early church in Jerusalem were so busy taking care of the physical needs of the people that they didn’t have time to study the Bible and pray, so they ordained deacons to assist them by taking care of physical needs of people and property (Acts 6). Paul describes these people in 3:8-10: “In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
The godly characteristics for church leaders (3:1-7) are the same for helpers (3:8-12). “In the same way” means they are to be no less godly. They may have different spiritual gifts but they, too, must be good examples of Jesus. Like the overseers, they “are to be.” Paul is commanding Timothy to have qualified people who in the present time are “worthy of respect.” They, too, are to be honorable and have a good reputation among those who know them. They must be “sincere,” having no deceit, dishonesty, hypocrisy or deception. They can’t be “indulging in much wine,” nor are they to be greedy and be “pursuing dishonest gain.” They must be faithful in all they do (3:9) and must have proven themselves to be competent and dependable (3:10).
Again, Paul emphasizes the importance of being a godly husband and father (3:12). Those who serve are commanded to meet the needs of their family before anything else. Those who meet these standards and faithfully help the leaders will be blessed now and, in all eternity, (3:13).
While all Paul has said so far is for male leaders, there is a place for females to serve as helpers of leaders as well. These women deacons can minister to women and children, often much easier and more successfully than men can. 3:12 In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
They, too, are commanded “to be” godly women setting a good example for Jesus. They are to be “worthy of respect” just like the men. They cannot be women who gossip, criticize or slander others (“not malicious talkers”). Instead, they are to be self-controlled, especially when it comes to drinking wine (“temperate”). Because of the responsibility given to them they must be “trustworthy in everything.” They will be looked up to and respected. They will know things about others that no one else knows. They can cause much hurt and damage if they aren’t mature, godly women.
Paul includes this whole subject about what kind of a person a leader or helper must be so Timothy can correct the problems in Ephesus (3:15). He encourages Timothy by telling him he wants to come in person (3:14). It would not be good for Paul to arrive and find Timothy hasn’t corrected some of the problem areas in the Ephesus house-churches. Thinking about Christ’s church brings to mind a hymn of the early church and Paul quotes some of it as a way of praising Jesus (3:16).
“I am writing these instructions so that you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:14-15).
If Paul were writing you a letter about your church, what would he say? What problems would he point out? What would he tell you to do about them? What would he say about the leaders and workers in your church?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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