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What an Overseer Must Be (Part 3)

The Overseer and His Family

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 are continuing our study through the 1st of 4 general statements that define and overseer, elder, bishop, or pastor. All of these qualifications must now be present in the man’s life. The visible presence of all of these qualifications state publicly the man is obedient in observable behavior.

Our focus today is in 1st Tim. 3:3. An overseer must not be a drunkard. You will notice this is the 1st qualification stated in a negative way. Everywhere Scripture condemns drunkenness. The only things an overseer should be addicted to are Scripture and obeying it by living it in his daily life! Ps. 119 might be considered an overseer’s daily desire and thought pattern. An overseer should be addicted to all these qualifications!

The 2nd negative qualification that must be true now in an overseer’s life is that he is:

  1. Not violent but gentle. See back in verse 2 and overseer is to be sober minded and self-controlled. The word “violent” describes a person who is neither sober minded nor self-controlled – but is, as one writer said, a quick tempered bully! The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to immediately contrast the right behavior of an overseer using the word “gentle.” A gentle leader does not retaliate in anger or bitterness, but responds quietly in a kind, patient, and considerate manner that encourages a troublemaker to come to Christ, and learn that a gentle spirit is more profitable than bullying.

    God’s overseers are also men who:

  2. Are not quarrelsome. The word group from which quarrelsome comes, was generally used in Paul’s day to mean physical combat in the military sense. It holds that same meaning in the NT. We read in John 6:52, “the Jews then disputed among themselves…” Read James 4:1, 2. Here it takes on a broader meaning that enters into the spiritual realm, where Christians fight and quarrel among themselves. It is interesting to note that none of the words in this group are ever used positively in speaking of the warfare of the Christian against “spiritual forces of evil.” The advantage that Christians have is given to us in 1st John 4:4. When Paul says in overseer must not be quarrelsome his point is that an overseer must be a man who displays to others the peace of God. It is that peace of God that fills a man’s heart with the assurance of salvation and all such a relationship with God brings into his life. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is setting forth the whole idea that a church leader must be a man of peace whose, attitude, his heart rejects any form of threatening and/or fighting with others. The constant thought in an overseer’s heart must be, it is not about me, it is about GOD! I like the way one author sums up this idea of “not quarrelsome, when he says, “Christian leaders who possessed these outward traits agave evidence that they had inner control and commitment to Christ.

    Finally, an overseer must be obedient in observable behavior by:

  3. Not being a lover of money. In those days it was the overseer who handled the money given through tithes and offerings. Read 1 Tim. 6:3-10. One sure way to tell if a man is called by God to be an overseer is his attitude toward money! One of the surest ways for a pastor or any other church leader to get into trouble is in the area of finances. All of us have heard of pastors, and other church leaders who are guilty of embezzling, misappropriating, and just plain stealing money from local church funds. “Debt” is a 4-letter word that many pastors use way to frequently! An overseer that is in debt cannot focus on ministry, because he is always focused on money! If a pastor can’t control how he spends his own money, he won’t control how he spends yours either! I am not telling you, a pastor must be independently wealthy! He may very well have some debt. The point is, that debt must be manageable, and he must be paying it down, not letting it ride. He should not need to spend every penny to stay even! There are 11 qualifications in this 1st part of the list. An overseer must meet all of them! All of them are indicators to those to whom overseers minister, that his heart belongs to the Lord, not him! This is the starting point for a man who “desires” the noble task of being one of God’s overseers. I trust that you now see that whether a man is an overseer who is a pastor, or one who is an elder that is not called to pastoral ministry, he must be called by God. As we have become accustomed to hearing so often today, “but wait, there’s more!” We will look further into the office of overseer next time, as we begin to examine an overseer and his leadership of his family!

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

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