Opening Prayer Thoughts.
Praise God that he has given leadership to lead the Bride and, that when that leadership is united and does its work well, the church is blessed. Pray that God would be preparing now men for leadership in our congregation in the future.
Confess the sin of grumbling against those who have been called and ordained by God to serve in His Bride.
Please ask the Holy Spirit's help as you come to his Word.
Please read 1 Timothy chapter 3-4:5
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Daniel Hempkin, Minister of Hebron RPCNA.
We could spend several weeks on the topic of the office of overseer, but for our purposes, here, we will briefly study what Paul says about this office. First, we should note that the Greek word which means "overseer" is that from which we get our English word "bishop". However, Scriptures like Titus 1:5-7 and Acts 20:17 & 28 make clear that the overseer/bishop is the same as the office of elder. Far from being governor of many congregations in a region, the overseer/bishop is one of several elders in the local church. Secondly, we see that the qualifications for this office are mostly spiritual and moral. An overseer must be above reproach (of known good moral character), the husband of one wife (literally a "one-woman man" – a man who practices fidelity in marriage or chastity in singleness), sober minded (makes clear-headed decisions), self-controlled (well-ordered in his thoughts), respectable (well-ordered in his life), hospitable (has a love for strangers), able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle (controls his temper), not quarrelsome (not given to being argumentative), and not a lover of money. He must also have a well-ordered home-life and should not be a recent convert, lest his quick advancement in the church make him conceited. Lastly, he must have a good reputation, even among unbelievers. Notice that "able to teach" is the only purely intellectual qualification. The rest have to do with a man's moral character and the fruits borne from a healthy spiritual life. Christians should be careful to select such men to be the elders in our churches.
The term "deacon" means "servant". In the broadest sense, every Christian is to be a deacon/servant. In Mark 9:35, for example, Jesus tells us that anyone who wants to be first in His Kingdom "must be last of all and servant [deacon] of all". However, there are some who are ordained to the office of deacon – servant of the church. As with the office of overseer, the qualifications for the office of deacon are mostly spiritual and moral. Unlike the office of overseer, there is no requirement that the deacon be "able to teach". This is because the office of deacon is not a teaching or authoritative office, but one of service, carrying out the financial and mercy ministries of the church. Most of these moral and spiritual qualities parallel those required of elders, so we need not repeat ourselves. However, verse 9 should be examined more closely. A deacon "must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience". In the New Testament, a "mystery" is something previously unclear, which is now revealed in Christ Jesus. A deacon needs to be someone who understands the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, and then who lives out the Gospel in a life of service. Verse 13 tells us that those who serve well in this office gain a high reputation for themselves and gain great assurance that the fruits of true faith in Christ are being borne in their lives.
3:14-16. The Mystery of Godliness.
Paul says he is writing all these things to Timothy so that, in case he is delayed in his journey to Ephesus, Timothy will know how to teach people to behave "in the household of God". This household is not a building, but the family of God's people, the Church of the Living God. This Church upholds Truth to the world, like a strong pillar, buttress, or foundation. Key to upholding Truth is the Mystery of Godliness. As we noted yesterday, in the New Testament, a mystery is something that used to be hidden or unclear, but which is now revealed in Christ Jesus (see, for example, Romans 16:25-26 and Colossians 2:2). By calling this "the mystery of godliness", Paul indicates that certain things revealed in Christ produce godliness in believers – changed lives that glorify God. Particularly, he mentions that: 1) Christ was manifested in the flesh – God became human; 2) He was vindicated by the Spirit – His miracles and His resurrection proved He was telling the Truth about God; 3) He was seen by angels – Angels (both holy and fallen) saw and acknowledged Him as the Son of God; 4) He was proclaimed among the nations – The Gospel spread quickly beyond Israel in fulfillment of Jesus' commandments and predictions; 5) He was believed on in the world – As the Gospel went forth, the elect heard and believed it; and 6) He was taken up in glory – His ascension and seating at the Father's right hand shows His Father's pleasure in Him and that His redemptive work is accomplished. True godliness rests in knowing who Jesus is, what He has done, that His atoning work is finished, and that He now reigns at the right hand of God the Father.
4:1-5. Teachings of Demons.
Paul warns Timothy that God the Holy Spirit has specifically revealed that "in the later times some will depart from the faith". We need to note that in the New Testament, terms like "later times" or "last days" refer to the whole age from Christ's first coming to His return. During this age, many professing Christians will depart from truth because they are devoted to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons. When people depart from the basic teachings of Christianity, they are giving themselves over to the teachings of evil spirits. False religion has its source in Satan and his servants, and is promoted by people who have become so comfortable with defying God's Word that their consciences are like cauterized flesh – scar tissue that has no ability to feel. Paul particularly warns Timothy about those who "forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods". He points out that marriage and foods are gifts from God. No food can make a man unsuitable for God's presence if that food is received with thanksgiving to the One who provided it. Throughout the history of the Church, false gospels have tended to focus on human works and earthly conditions. (Consider the modern health, wealth, and prosperity gospel). Every false religion says we attain our goal (whether "heaven", "oneness with God", or something else) by what we do. God-revealed religion tells us our works contribute nothing to our salvation, but, rather, that Jesus has paid it all. Our standing before God depends completely on Him. While this produces good works in believers, our salvation is wholly accomplished by Jesus alone. Anything that teaches to the contrary, or that otherwise forbids anything God has called "good", is a doctrine of demons.
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 40B. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Memory Verse - Lay the Word of God up in your heart.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
Ephesians 2:4-7 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 12 – What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the state in which he was created?
Answer – When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, on condition of perfect obedience, forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil on penalty of death.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Thank God for the work he has done in unifying the congregation's leadership in the past two years. It is a significant sign of His blessing upon, and desire for, the congregation.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC