I heard a story once of a church that split and went to court over who would keep the church building. As the trial progressed, the true meaning as to why the division happened came to light. One of the Elders was upset because, at a church potluck, a boy sitting next to him got a larger piece of ham than he did! This Elder did not have the heart described in Titus. Paul lays out God’s guidelines for leadership in today’s devotion.
“For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,”
Set the Bar High
There are two places in the New Testament where you can find the qualifications of an Elder, 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. The reason for this is that Paul is writing the two men he poured into during his ministry as they become pastors of their own churches. They needed to know how to identify men who would serve as overseers in the church. They are the guidelines that churches are to use today when it comes to raising up elders.
Elders need to be men who are above reproach. Reproach is a term meaning there can’t be a charge lodged against them. They don’t live a life one way at church and another way at home or work. Their character is evident to all, and they have a heart for the Lord. When you have an elder who is self-serving, they use the people in the church for their personal gain.
Guidelines for Leadership
The overriding theme of an elder is self-control and consistency. They are men who can be counted on when the church needs them. When a church is full of Elders who love Jesus and are under the Holy Spirit’s submission in their personal lives, it is ready to be used by God to reach the masses. Pray for the Elders your church to avoid temptation and serve as models for everyone else to follow.
All of us have done those exercises where we have to write our epitaph or choose the words we want on our tombstone. Our teaches do that to make us think about how we want our lives to end to take steps to ensure that happens. What would you write on your tombstone? Paul tells Timothy that he has finished well
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;”
In Paul’s final words, he tells Timothy that he is satisfied with the work God used him to accomplish, and although it wasn’t easy, he has emerged victorious because he has kept the faith. All you have to do is read 2 Corinthians 11 to see all that Paul has endured. He kept fighting against the resistance within the church and the attacks of the enemy. He is at the end of his life, knowing full well that he finished well.
Do you put much thought into finishing well? Some people take the steps necessary to make sure they are financially secure through the end of their life; others pour into their families so they can enjoy their grandkids when they are old. What have you done to finish well with Jesus Christ? Are you fighting the good fight and remaining faithful?
There are a lot of people who die full of regrets. They have burned bridges with family and left a legacy of compromise in the workplace. As believers in Jesus Christ, we have a choice to remain in the spiritual battles that rage every day or choose the comfort and security of sitting on the sidelines. Paul chose to fight, and he emerged victorious at the end of his life, and he has no regrets. Don’t live a life full of regrets. Choose to engage in the battle, and with Jesus on your side when it is all over, you too will have finished well.
Do you remember some of your favorite teachers from school? They were able to hold your attention during class while at the same time letting you know they cared about you. The same can be said for some of your favorite preachers. There are some teachers out there you need to be aware of. They are the ones who are more interested in entertaining than instructing.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,”
Reject Sound Doctrine
Paul is telling Timothy that there will come a time when people won’t listen to strong Biblical teaching and will reject Scripture’s sound doctrine because it doesn’t fit their lifestyle. I don’t think that has been more true than in the times we are in. When the church is surveyed, it is always astonishing what people believe the Bible says. God’s Word is both true and without error.
Because people won’t want to hear the truth of God’s Word, they will gather teachers who tell them what they want to hear. If you listen to many of the famous Bible teachers today, you will find they fall into this category. They are flashy and funny, but they will never say anything that will offend their listeners. These teachers are experts in pop culture but infants when it comes to the explanation of the Bible. They feed their people milk instead of the meat of the Word.
Find a Good Teacher
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you need to sit under a teacher who opens the Bible and explains it. The Word of God is living and powerful. It’s able to speak to you today even though it was written thousands of years ago. Through the Holy Spirit’s power, it can convict you of your sins and encourage you in your daily walk with Jesus.
The Apostle Paul tells us multiple times in the New Testament to walk in the Spirit. What does that mean? It means that we are to follow His leading in our daily walk. We are to respond to His conviction and operate in His power. This new 31 day devotional encourages and instructs you on how to do that. Add this to your morning devotions and start your day inspired to be used by God. You can purchase it here or you get it in any ebook format you read here. All of your purchases of our resources help continue the ministry of Daily Walk. I thank you in advance.
When Jesus was on trial before He went to the cross, He had an encounter with the chief priest. He asked Jesus, “Are you the Christ?” and today’s verse was Jesus’ response. Jesus let the chief priest know who He was and what He was going to do. One day Jesus will return.
“And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”
Truth & Prophecy
The version of the Bible that I’m using for this devotion is the New American Standard. I love how it uses all caps with certain words Jesus spoke. Jesus tells the chief priest that he will see Him sitting at the Father’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven. Those are some powerful words to speak to the chief priest, but they both truthful and prophetic. Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 1) and will one day return on the Clouds for His church (1 Thess 4:17). The question is whether we believe it or not?
Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? That He descended from heaven to take on the form of man (Phil 2) and become our servant? If you just think that Jesus was a good teacher or did some good deeds, you aren’t a believer. Even the demons know who Jesus is, and they tremble at the thought. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6) He is the only way to get into heaven.
One Day Jesus Will Return
You also need to believe that Jesus will return one day. We don’t know when that is, only God does, but we need to be ready. This world won’t heal itself or get better but will descend into wickedness in the last days. As a church, our only hope is that Jesus will come and rescue us before the tribulation. When that day comes, Jesus will arrive on the clouds, and we will be caught up in the air with Him.
Several times a month, our church feeds close to 200 families with enough groceries for several days. We have been doing it for over four years, but when COVID hit, the need went through the roof. We started handing out food every Tuesday and on the last Friday of the month. We typically get a line of cars 40-50 lined up down the street. Our incredible team of servants can get them all taken care of in a matter of hours, but it’s about more than the food. It’s about our people being the Salt and Light of Jesus.
“For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me.”
Always Have the Poor
Sometimes we can be so servant-minded that we miss the presence of the one we truly serve, Jesus. It is essential to feed the hungry and serve the poor, but if we go to them without Jesus, it will just be charity. Jesus addresses this issue with the crowd that was criticizing the woman who anointed Jesus. They said that the oil should’ve been sold and given to the poor. Jesus replies that you will always have the poor, but I won’t always be with you.
We mustn’t get so caught up in the cause that we forget to take Jesus with us. There are many good causes in the church today that don’t mention the name of Jesus once. They purposely don’t do it because they don’t want to scare people off. If the ministry isn’t about letting people know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one gets to heaven without Him, it’s not a good church ministry.
Be the Salt and Light of Jesus
Be the salt and light of Jesus. Go and minister to the needy, but don’t forget to tell them about Him. Be so filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit that people want what you have.