We live in a culture which promotes freedom from accountability, regulations, rules etc. But in Christianity, the church cannot be sustained without certain organisational structure. The Lord has instituted His church with certain structure, operated through pastors, elders and deacons to counsel, guide, correct, rebuke and restore the congregation or an individual towards righteousness. This function is often referred to as Church Discipline. It is one of those essential marks of a healthy church. In this passage, we learn the nature of Church Discipline and why Christians need it.
Most churches are often led by full time pastors and leaders. Which means, they’re primarily called to be the servants of God in extending His kingdom through regular preaching of the Word, administering the sacraments, exercising church disciplines and be involved in discipleship. Their source of income is mostly by the congregation’s faithful and generous giving. In this passage, we learn certain responsibilities the congregation i.e the church has toward the servants of God in a local church, and also other servants who are involved in the mission work elsewhere.
Corporate Worship exists primarily to honor God, to remember His promises, to praise Him for who He is and for what He has done for us. So if the worship is all about Him and not about us, then we’re required to do so in a way that He has commanded us to worship Him, not the way we think He should be worshiped. In this passage, the Apostle Paul confronts disorderly worship practices in the church, and gives us instructions on how to worship God decently and in order.
Head covering is a very contentious issue. However, this shouldn’t divide churches or break fellowship with others because head covering is not a practice upon which the church is built, in this sense it is a secondary issue. The church is built upon the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ. Having said that, we should not avoid learning about this practice and its importance in worship. This passage explores head covering and its implications in our context.
In our first sermon on Deacons, we learnt that they take care of material needs or administrative work in the church. There has been sufficient focus on men leaders and their character qualities. In this passage, we learn about female deacons serving in the church, and the kind of character qualities they need to exhibit.
There are many practical aspects of church ministry like finances, hospitality, venue set up, event organisation, church retreats etc. Teaching elders and ruling elders may not have the bandwidth to look into these matters as they’re primarily called to disciple people, to counsel, to encourage and pray with the congregation at every stage of life. So this is where the bible brings deacons into the picture to handle administrative tasks in order to make the elders’ work easier. In this passage we learn about deacons and what character qualities they ought to have.
Religious leaders often seem very kind in public, but get aggressive and violent when someone opposes them. Sometimes Pastors even beat up their wives and do not respect them in private. There are other leaders in the church, who serve people because of money. Some leaders are good with people in public but poor in managing their own household, their children don’t listen to them and are extremely rebellious. As a father and husband, they’re very passive about family matters, and the list goes on and on. But the Apostle Paul has a response against all these bad character qualities of a leader in this passage.
When the Apostle Paul writes down the character qualities of an elder in 1 Timothy, he lists out many virtues that display Christ-like character. And for the leaders in the church, there are some mandatory character qualities that Paul suggests cannot be compromised. In this 2nd part of learning about elder qualities, we learn how ability to teach, being hospitable and not being consumed by alcohol marks out a faithful, stable and a mature leader in the church.
We have a lot of poor examples of leaders around us, who make big promises but don’t fulfill them. Hypocrisy is so evident in their lives. Many leaders have fallen into sexual immorality, financial mismanagement, abuse of authority in the church etc. Recognizing a man of character has become a difficult task these days. How do we discern the character qualities of an Elder who is not perfect but acceptable in the eyes of God and people? Listen to the sermon to find out.
A person’s wage is often calculated based on how valuable and resourceful the labor is. But when it comes to pastoral ministry, not much attention has been given to the pastor’s labor. This passage gives adequate reasons on why we should be supporting the laborers of the gospel who honor Christ and serve His sheep faithfully.