With a renewed emphasis on the priesthood of every believer, congregational church government has dominated the Protestant church. This form of church government, most often found in Baptist churches, usually maintains the presence and title of elders/pastors and deacons/trustees, but the power resides with the members of the congregation, who vote concerning yearly budgets, church programs, and leadership appointments. Divisiveness can be a negative result of this format, but the added accountability can stave off blatant corruption.
One other popular system is the presbyterian church government.** As indicated below, this simply means that the church is lead by the eldership (who are supported by the deacons). The church body may have limited say into the major decisions of the church, but those who meet the biblical qualifications for leadership share the weight of power. Though this system can foster a “them and us” attitude between the congregation and the elders, it produces a balanced level of efficiency and accountability.
We must not insist that all other churches be like ours, but rather acknowledge the rich history and continuing value of churches which adhere to other systems of leadership.
Victory Church is a mixture of both. The congregation votes on major issues, items with a high dollar amount. The vast majority of decisions are made by the board which consists of the Pastors and Deacons. Or the Elders and Deacons.
The pastors guide in the spiritual aspects of the church. They preach, teach, counsel, serve in out reaches of evangelism. The Deacons serve to maintain the facility, to care for the physical needs of the congregation.
They all are to live up to their qualifications as stated in word.
What are the qualifications for a deacon?
In 1 Timothy 3:8-12 Paul lays out the qualifications for a deacon:
A deacon is self-controlled in speech, appetites, and actions (1 Tim. 3:8; see also 1 Tim. 3:11). According to Paul, deacons must be “dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain.”
A deacon is sound in the faith (1 Tim. 3:9). Deacons must “hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience,” which means that they must have a firm grip on the truths of the gospel and live consistently with those truths.
A deacon has been tested (1 Tim. 3:10). Paul writes, “Let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.” Practically, this means that deacons should have a proven track record of faithful service before they are appointed to the office of deacon.
If married, a deacon is faithful to his spouse (1 Tim. 3:12). If single, the deacon must honor Christ with his body (1 Cor. 6:18-19).
A deacon manages his children and household well (1 Tim. 3:12). Does the way he manages his household indicate that he will faithfully serve the church’s needs?
The basic message is that deacons are to be Christians whose trustworthiness, self-control, and soundness in the faith shows that they are able to be trusted (i) to faithfully care for the church’s physical needs and (ii) to serve as an example of faithful service to others.
What are the qualifications of a pastor or elder?
In the NT the words “bishop,” “elder,” “overseer,” and “pastor” are used interchangeably to describe the same men (Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5–9; 1 Pet. 5:1, 2). Bishops (pastors, overseers, elders) are responsible to lead (5:17), preach and teach (5:17), help the spiritually weak (1 Thess. 5:12–14), care for the church (1 Pet. 5:1, 2), and ordain other leaders (4:14).
1. blameless. Lit. “not able to be held” in a criminal sense; there is no valid accusation of wrongdoing that can be made against him. No overt, flagrant sin can mar the life of one who must be an example for his people to follow (cf. v. 10; 4:7; 5:7; Ps. 101:6; Phil. 3:17; 2 Thess. 3:9; Heb. 13:7; 1 Pet. 5:3). This is the overarching requirement for elders; the rest of the qualifications elaborate on what it means to be blameless. Titus 1:6, 7 uses another Gr. word to mean the same thing.
2. the husband of one wife. Lit. in Gr. a “one-woman man.” This says nothing about marriage or divorce (for comments on that, see note on v. 4). The issue is not the elder’s marital status, but his moral and sexual purity. This qualification heads the list, because it is in this area that leaders are most prone to fail. Various interpretations of this qualification have been offered.
Some see it as a prohibition against polygamy—an unnecessary injunction since polygamy was not common in Roman society and clearly forbidden by Scripture (Gen 2:24), the teaching of Jesus (Matt. 19:5, 6; Mark 10:6–9), and Paul (Eph. 5:31). A polygamist could not even have been a church member, let alone a church leader.
Others see this requirement as barring those who remarried after the death of their wives. But, as already noted, the issue is sexual purity, not marital status. Further, the Bible encourages remarriage after widowhood (5:14; 1 Cor. 7:39). Some believe that Paul here excludes divorced men from church leadership. That again ignores the fact that this qualification does not deal with marital status. Nor does the Bible prohibit all remarriage after divorce (see notes on Matt. 5:31, 32; 19:9; 1 Cor. 7:15).
Finally, some think that this requirement excludes single men from church leadership. But if that were Paul’s intent, he would have disqualified himself (1 Cor. 7:8). A “one-woman man” is one totally devoted to his wife, maintaining singular devotion, affection and sexual purity in both thought and deed. To violate this is to forfeit blamelessness and no longer be “above reproach” (Titus 1:6, 7). Cf. Prov. 6:32, 33.
3. temperate. The Gr. word lit. means “wineless,” but is here used metaphorically to mean “alert,” “watchful,” “vigilant,” or “clear-headed.” Elders must be able to think clearly.
4. sober-minded. A “sober-minded” man is disciplined, knows how to properly order his priorities, and is serious about spiritual matters.
5. good behavior. The Gr. word means “orderly.” Elders must not lead chaotic lives; if they cannot order their own lives, how can they bring order to the church?
6. hospitable. From a compound Gr. word meaning “love of strangers” (see notes on Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:2; cf. 1 Pet. 4:9). As with all spiritual virtues, elders must set the example; their lives and homes are to be open so all can see their spiritual character.
7. able to teach. Used only here and in 2 Tim. 2:24. The only qualification relating to an elder’s giftedness and spiritual ability, and the only one that distinguishes elders from deacons. The preaching and teaching of God’s Word is the overseer/pastor/elder’s primary duty (4:6, 11, 13; 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:15, 24; Titus 2:1).
8. not given to wine. More than a mere prohibition against drunkenness (see note on Eph. 5:18). An elder must not have a reputation as a drinker; his judgment must never be clouded by alcohol (cf. Prov. 31:4, 5; 1 Cor. 6:12), his lifestyle must be radically different from the world and lead others to holiness, not sin (Rom. 14:21). See note on 5:23.
9. not violent. Lit. “not a giver of blows.” Elders must react to difficult situations calmly and gently (2 Tim. 2:24, 25), and under no circumstances with physical violence.
10. not greedy for money. The better Gr. manuscripts omit this phrase. See note below on “not covetous.” The principle is included, however, in Titus 1:7; 1 Pet. 5:2.
11. gentle. Considerate, genial, gracious, quick to pardon failure, and one who does not hold a grudge.
12. not quarrelsome. “Peaceful,” “reluctant to fight”; one who does not promote disunity or disharmony.
13. not covetous. Elders must be motivated by love for God and His people, not money (cf. 1 Pet. 5:2). A leader who is in the ministry for money reveals a heart set on the world, not the things of God (Matt. 6:24; 1 John 2:15). Covetousness characterizes false teachers (Titus 1:11; 2 Pet. 2:1–3, 14; Jude 11), but not Paul’s ministry (Acts 20:33; 1 Cor. 9:1–16; 2 Cor. 11:9; 1 Thess. 2:5).
14. who rules his own house well. The elder’s home life, like his personal life, must be exemplary. He must be one who “rules” (presides over, has authority over) “his own house” (everything connected with his home, not merely his wife and children) “well” (intrinsically good; excellently). Issues of divorce should be related to this matter. A divorced man gives no evidence of a well-managed home, but rather that divorce shows weakness in his spiritual leadership. If there has been a biblically permitted divorce, it must have been so far in the past as to have been overcome by a long pattern of solid family leadership and the rearing of godly children (v. 4; Titus 1:6). submission. A military term referring to soldiers ranked under one in authority. An elder’s children must be believers (see note on “faithful” in Titus 1:6), well-behaved, and respectful.
15. take care of the church of God. An elder must first prove in the intimacy and exposure of his own home his ability to lead others to salvation and sanctification. There he proves God has gifted him uniquely to spiritually set the example of virtue, to serve others, resolve conflicts, build unity, and maintain love. If he cannot do those essential things there, why would anyone assume he would be able to do them in the church?
16. not a novice, lest … puffed up with pride. Putting a new convert into a leadership role would tempt him to pride. Elders, therefore, are to be drawn from the spiritually mature men of the congregation (see notes on 5:22). fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Satan’s condemnation was due to pride over his position. It resulted in his fall from honor and authority (Is. 14:12–14; Ezek. 28:11–19; cf. Prov. 16:18). The same kind of fall and judgment could easily happen to a new and weak believer put in a position of spiritual leadership.
17. good testimony … outside. A leader in the church must have an unimpeachable reputation in the unbelieving community, even though people there may disagree with his moral and theological stands. How can he make a spiritual impact on those who do not respect him? Cf. Matt. 5:48; Phil. 2:15
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[d] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[e] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
What is the immediate context?
Look at who is speaking.
Who is being spoken to?
Where is it being spoken?
What is going on politically?
Vs 16a Walk in the Spirit. But I say.
Walk– peripateo, imperative. To live or behave in a specific manner.
Spirit-pneuma, Holy Spirit.
But I say– tell. Declare. Present active indicative.
Indicative- The mood in which the action of the verb or the state of being it describes is presented by the writer as real. It is the mood of assertion, where the writer portrays something as actual (as opposed to possible or contingent on intention). Depending on context, the writer may or may not believe the action is real, but is presenting it as real.
What does that mean exactly?
Is it an urgent command, suggestion, general statement of fact?
Vs 16b you wont gratify your flesh, your lust.
Gratify- teleo, telegraph. Tempt the felsh. to make happen. Satisfy.
Flesh- physical aspect of a person as opposed to their soul. Often understood as the seat of sin and rebellion to God.
Lust – epithymia, self indulgent craving. Inordinate. Displaces proper affections for God.
Is this a promise? Is it a one sided deal or both ways? Do I have a responsibility in keeping from walking in the flesh?
What is my responsibility? What is the promise?
Vs 17-18 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Vs 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Desires– Epithymeo, lusts
Opposed- antikeimai, contrary, hostile towards.
What are the desires of the flesh? 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[d] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[e] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Sexual immorality-moicheia, adultery. Sexual intercourse with someone other than a spouse.
Impurity– proneia, fornication. Sexual acts that are morally objectionable. All forms of illicit sex.
Sensuality and lewdness– akatharsia, uncleanness, impurity, immorality understood especially as dirty and impure. Filthiness. Homosexulality, beastiality, etc.
Idolatry-eidololatria, the worship of a material representation of a diety
Sorcery-pharmakeia, sorery especially exercised through the mixture of a substances to make potions, used of poison making.
Hatred– echthra, enmity, a state of deep-seated ill-will.
Strife– bitter conflict. Heated often violent dissension.
Jealousy– a greedy or prideful longing for something that belongs to another. resentment
Anger-thymos, wrath indignation, outbursts of wrath.
Rivalries– selfish ambitions. Strong desire for personal success without moral inhibitors.
Dissensions– discord that splits a group.
Envy– phthonos, spite and resentment towards the success of possessions of another.
Murderer– phonos. Unlawful killing of a human being.
Drunkenness– methe, temporary state resulting from excessive consumption of alcohol.
Orgies– revelries, carousing. Excessive eating or drinking accompanied by moral debuachary.
What are the desires of the spirit? 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Fruit– karpos, a deed understood as if the natural fruit produced by a plant of a tree.
Spirit-a result of the Holy Spirit working in your life. Yeilding to the spirit.
Love-agape, loving concern. Spiritual love.
Joy– chara, like chairs, grace, the emotion of great happiness and pleasure.
Peace– Eirene, harmonius relations and freedom from disputes. The absence of war. Freedom from worry.
Patience– long suffering. Forbearance. Patient endurance of pain of unhappiness.
Kindness– chrestotes, goodness, kindness. The quality of being warmhearted, considerate, humane
Goodness– agathosyne, the quality of moral excellence. To be generous,
Faithfulness– pistis, quality of being faithful. What can be believed.
Gentleness– humility. Acting in a manner that is gentle and even tempered.
Self-control-enkratieia, the trait of resolutely controlling one’s own desires. Especially sensual desires.
No law against them-there is no law opposed to them.