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What an Overseer Must Be (Part 2)

1 Tim. 3:1-7

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. We continue to study the qualifications for an overseer, bishop, elder, and/or pastor. You remember Scripture is defining what a man should be in his observed behavior, or how he lives his life in front of other people. You also remember all of these character qualities are to be now present and observable in the life of an overseer.

In addition to all we have studied a leader is to be:

TEMPERATE OR SOBER MINDED. We might say a church leader must be “even tempered, not easily angered, not volatile or explosive in temper, and temperament.” The root meaning of the word describes one who is in control of themselves with regard to intoxicants. Paul deals with that in v. 3 when he says a church leader cannot be a drunkard. Here the Apostle’s concern is that church leaders “must be” in control of themselves mentally which rules out all forms of excess. An elder, deacon must not be one who is given to uncontrollable temper and angry outbursts when put in a situation where they are being attacked or their leadership is being criticized! When a man is called by God to the office of overseer, he is secure, not in himself, but in the truth in his heart God has called him and placed him in the right place at the right time to minister as God intends.

  1. SELF-CONTROLLED. Self-controlled means “sound mind, rational in the sense of what is intellectually sound; or rational without illusion.” Self-control is required of an overseer because he must be trusted, and give others the feeling they can come to him under any circumstance and know that his response will be calm, rational, and balanced without fear that he will ridicule or demean them in his response to their situation.

  2. RESPECTABLE. In secular Greek the word translated “respectable” describes one who disciplines himself and who may thus be regarded as genuinely moral and respectable. As Paul uses it here it also means well-behaved, honorable, and dignified. One author says that “respectable” is “not merely a demand for good breeding and flawless manners, but it describes a person whose orderly outward life is a reflection of inner stability.” Up to now Paul has been addressing characteristics that, when observed by others, reveal how the man handles his own heart toward the Lord. These next requirements define how a man must now be in his relationship and actions toward others. Like so many other truths of being a true Christian, any of God’s overseers must give all others the impression they are invited into the Kingdom, as they are at that moment; rather than driven away because they have been given the impression they are not good enough. Paul tells us an overseer must now be:

  3. HOSPITABLE. In some instances it means “foreign, alien, appearing strange, or creating distaste.” In contrast to that it also has the concept of “guest.” Most often it is used in the NT to mean “strange.” When Paul includes “hospitable” in the requirements for an overseer, he has in mind the entire process of leading an enemy of God to the point the person desires to become be one of His adopted children. The “hospitable” part of them desires to reach out to them to establish the kind of relationship that will allow the overseer to share the gospel in a way that causes the stranger to want to become a member of the Christian community. The “hospitable” part of the man compels him to reach out to the foreigner, or stranger and invest in all it takes to move the outsider into the realm of family! The last qualification Paul lists in the observable behavior of an overseer is that he must be

  4. ABLE TO TEACH. This does not mean an overseer must be able to teach biblical doctrine at a college or seminary level. The point being made here is that an overseer must know the Scriptures well enough to be able to differentiate between doctrinal truth and doctrinal error. How does an overseer learn sound biblical doctrine so he can explain truth, and recognize error? By spending quality, quiet time each day, not just reading, but thinking about, meditating on, and diligently studying Scripture. Lord willing we will continue the list next time. Beloved, you see don’t you, why God must put the desire in a man’s heart to be an overseer. It is no small title!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

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