Read 1 Timothy 3:1-13
There is something unthinkable about this unstoppable movement called the church. The “unstoppable” flows from the reality that Christ Himself builds it and the Holy Spirit empowers it. But, still, the unthinkable is found in the fact that frail and faulty men and women play a key role in it. I am guessing you can complete the battle cry of those outside the church, can’t you? “The church is full of __________!” (Hypocrites, right?) It is no surprise that the generational complaint still lives today. After all, it is true. On our best days, those of us who comprise the church are prone to wander and surprisingly inconsistent.
Nevertheless, God desires that those who lead His unstoppable church be people described with the word “godly” rather than “hypocrite.” Through His Spirit, He has listed qualities that should characterize those who serve Him. Notice that He not only gives qualities for pastors and elders but also for deacons . . . those whose ministry might seem as “simple” as preparing and delivering a meal to someone in need (Acts 6:1-7). In that regard, every believer in the church of Jesus should, by the Spirit’s help, minimize hypocrisy and maximize godliness.
Though the two lists have their differences, in broad strokes, they focus on some of these general areas:
- Family commitment – How a person relates to spouse and children is critical! If you are married with kids, your faith is to impact this vitally important facet of life.
- Outside reputation – What those in the community think of the church member is important! Although you do not have ultimate control over that, are you giving them clear reasons to shake their heads and roll their eyes?
- Financial integrity – Jesus made clear that His followers cannot serve God and money (Matthew 6:24)! Are there dimensions of your finances that are questionable or that have gained a position of priority higher than they should?
- Biblical theology – Not only the elder, but all who serve must “keep hold of the deep truths of the faith.” Do you have a grasp of basic Bible doctrines and teaching?
Although God’s desire touches more than we have above, the key question for each of us is, “With the Spirit’s help, am I minimizing hypocrisy and maximizing godliness in my life?”