Series: A Sound Church
Article 2: God’s Leaders
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The Vital Role of Scripture in Building and Protecting the Church
In Article 1 we discussed how the authority of the apostles lives on in the Church through their written teachings, which we call the Bible. For a church to be stable and healthy, it’s important to have qualified people who take the Bible seriously. They must ensure that the pure teachings of Scripture are integrated into the life and ministry of the church without alteration. By applying the teachings of Scripture to our daily lives, we are encouraged, corrected, and equipped for good works. In this way, the Church is strengthened and protected and remains true to its purpose. As we study the Bible and apply its teachings to our lives, we contribute to the growth and well-being of the Church, which is why one of our core values is that we have “a strong emphasis on preaching.”
Next week we will be discussing verse 9, so I won’t spend too much time on it now, but it is important to emphasize that the ministry of the Word takes a prominent place in the life of the church. When the ministry of the Word is strong, the church can be strong, and all extracurricular activities are strengthened and informed by sound teaching from the Scriptures.
The apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of making sure that the Bible is at the forefront and guides everything that happens in the church. This ensures that there is order in the church, and as we will see, qualified elders play a key role in maintaining this order.
Ultimately, it depends on the type of man who is appointed to the role. Paul emphasizes that the appointed leader should be blameless, that is, there should be nothing wrong with his character and reputation. In other words, he should be an upright man who practices what he preaches. While it may be easy to talk the talk, true leadership requires walking the walk, even in the face of stumbling. Paul’s emphasis is not on perfection, but on the consistent demonstration of strong character wherever the individual may be. The apostle Paul’s primary concern, then, is the character of the appointed leader.
You see, sometimes we come across people in leadership positions who really shouldn’t be there. Maybe they’re charismatic, outgoing, or make you feel valued in their presence. They may be hardworking, talented, and efficient, with a skill set that produces positive results. However, when we look deeper, we find that their character is quite despicable.
While it’s easy to overlook a leader’s character flaws by focusing solely on their other positive qualities, this approach is not consistent with the teachings of the Apostle Paul. A person’s character is a crucial aspect of his leadership ability and should not be ignored or dismissed.
If you’ve gone through any kind of ministry training, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “Gifts will get you there, but character will keep you there.” But the teachings of the apostle Paul emphasize that it is actually character that gets you there in the first place. It is character that distinguishes God’s servants and makes them reliable and trustworthy.
Order in the Home
So there must be order in the man, and then we will spend more time understanding what Paul means when he says, “There should be order in his home.” It is significant that the apostle Paul begins his instruction on the character of church leaders by focusing on the home life of the leader.
Paul is clear in his message: the home life of a church leader must be exemplary and serve as a model for others in the church to follow. In fact, this call to exemplary living applies to all men, not just those in leadership positions. It is especially important for husbands to prioritize the well-being and spiritual development of their wives and children and to serve as spiritual leaders in the home.
In considering the church leadership in Crete, Paul may have observed the prevalence of broken marriages and dysfunctional homes. He probably recognized the importance of choosing leaders who could model healthy, strong relationships, since such relationships have the power to positively impact both the church and society as a whole.
And that’s why Paul says, listen, when you’re thinking about who should be in leadership and who shouldn’t, if their home is a mess, well, that’s a red flag right there.
The negative impact of Unhealthy and broken marriages
When unhealthy and broken marriages infiltrate the church, they can have a negative impact on the church as a whole. In today’s world, we still see the prevalence of such problems, which underscores the importance of healthy, strong marriages that serve to strengthen the church and society at large. Marriage is a covenant made before God, and it is under attack from all sides, whether from within, without, or anywhere. Therefore, when considering individuals for leadership, Paul emphasizes the importance of ensuring that they are not like those who struggle with such issues. Church leaders must have their homes in order, for how they behave and lead in their homes is a reflection of their true character. The home is the first place where a man’s leadership is expressed, and it is the place where it is most seen and felt. Ultimately, strong and healthy homes are essential for effective church leadership and for making the church different from the world.This applies to all marriages, but it is especially true for those who are appointed and respected as God’s leaders. As Paul stated, the home of such leaders must be in order if they are to be entrusted with the responsibility of looking after God’s house.
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