The duties of an Elder determines the qualifications.

 

Jesus conquered the grave – We win! – Live in the Thrill of Victory

Jesus’ death on the cross freed us from sin – We are not condemned!  – Live in the Thrill of Victory

 

Eldership

 

Last week we discussed the Why, the Who, and the How of Eldership. First we must remember that Christ is Head of the church.  His authority and power cannot be usurped without consequences.

God ordained the Elder led congregation form of government for the local church.

God set down qualification of who could be an Elder of His Church – the foundational qualifications for an Elder is a spiritually mature Christian man who desires to care for others.

God gave us the example of how to install the Elders into authority over the congregation.

 

This week we will see that the Greek words used for this office defines the duties of the office and thus requires certain qualifications so the men in the office can faithfully execute their responsibilities.

 

The Biblical office of Bishop is also described as elder, shepherd, and maybe even steward.

 

1 Timothy 3:1 Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2  Now the overseer

The Greek word is episkopos meaning Bishop or Overseer

 

Titus 1:5  The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders (presbooteros) in every town, as I directed you. 6  An elder (no Greek word – implied) must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7  Since an overseer (episkopos) is entrusted (oykonomos) with God’s work,

 

Oykonomos is a noun just like episkopos – so it reads – An overseer is a steward of God’s work.

 

Ephesians 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors (poimane) and teachers,

 

The Greek word poimane is translated shepherd everywhere else in the New Testament accept here. Poimane describes the office of Elder, Bishop not the evangelist, minister; that is why I do not use that title.  I do not hold the office of Elder, therefore I am not a shepherd.  No preacher can be called a Pastor unless he holds the office of elder and then he should be called Shepherd not Pastor.

 

Just like the Greek word baptizo was transliterated from Greek to English, baptizo to baptism and has caused confusion over the years. The Greek word poimane was translated into Latin and then transliterated into English, poimane to pastorem to pastor this too has caused confusion in the area leadership roles in the church.

 

So a Steward, a Shepherd, an Overseer, and Elder are all Biblical, interchangeable words to describe the office that God ordained to rule the church.

 

Each word gives a different view of the various functions of the same office.

An Elder describes an older man who has age and wisdom from life experience.

An Overseer/Bishop describes the responsibility of watching over and making decisions.

A Steward describes the trust of great treasure – financial matters but more importantly the souls of the saints.

A Shepherd describes the care of a flock, a flock that needs feed and protected.

 

Acts 20:17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders (presbooteros) of the church. … 28  Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers (episkopos). Be shepherds (poimane – verb) of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

 

The elders of the church oversee the flock and feed the flock. They also have to be on guard from false teaching and keep warning the Christians with tears just like Paul.

 

Acts 20:29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30  Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31  So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

 

We see in Acts also that the elders in Jerusalem were in charge of the finances.

Acts 11:28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. …29  The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. 30  This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

 

The elders are to settle doctrinal disputes as in Acts 15.

Acts 15:1  Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2  This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.

 

Titus 1:9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

 

Titus 3:9  But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10  Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. 11  You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

 

Elders are to teach the Christians.

Ephesians 4:11  It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be shepherds and teachers, 12  to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

 

1 Timothy 5:17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18  For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”

 

Elders are to manage the affairs of the church.

1 Timothy 3:5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

 

Acts 21:17 When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers received us warmly. 18  The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. 19  Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.

 

Elders are to restore the Christians who fall away.

Galatians 6:1  Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

 

Elders are to visit and pray for the sick.

James 5:14  Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

 

Elders will be held accountable for the church.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

 

1 Peter 5:1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2  Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

 

Peter sums up the duties of an elder very well; shepherd, oversee, serve, and be an example.

Because of the duties an elder has he must be qualified to fulfill those responsibilities.

Jobs have job descriptions – If you can’t fulfill the requirements then there is no need to apply; you are not qualified for the job.  That doesn’t mean you have no worth it means you don’t have the qualifications to meet the demands of the job.

 

God has not called all who are willing to serve as Elders of a congregation. The greatest qualification is desire but just because a man is willing to serve as an Elder does not mean he is qualified to be used.  We see an example of this in Judges 7;  32,000 men came out to battle and only 10,000 weren’t afraid.  Gideon had 10,000 men willing to serve but God only used 300 who demonstrated the qualities of a warrior.

 

Judges 7:4 But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. … 6  Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

 

A man must not be afraid to fight the enemy but an elder must have the skills to defeat the enemy by the power and wisdom of God. Let me read the qualifications without any comment.  Knowing the duties that must be fulfilled as an elder you will understand why each qualification is required.

 

Titus 1:7 Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless–not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8  Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

 

1 Timothy 3:2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3  not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4  He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6  He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7  He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

 

During Bible study on Wednesday we will go over each qualification in detail – I don’t have time to cover that this morning.

 

 

We know that God set up Elders within each congregation to protect and care for each Christian. But the men who fulfill this office are following the true Shepherd and Overseer of our souls.

 

1 Peter 2:23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25  For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

 

Jesus died so that we would die to sin. Jesus died so that we would live for righteousness.  Jesus’ death on the cross brought us healing, forgiveness.  Come to Him, come to the one who is the true Shepherd and overseer of your soul.