Priorities of Redeemer Church:”Biblical Church Leadership”

Posted on November 24, 2007. Filed under: Daily Journey |

Sunday, November 25, 2007 

Here are a few notes and thoughts about Dr. Tim Presson’s sermon this morning at Redeemer Church, Fort Worth.

1Tim.3:1-13 (ESV)  

Qualifications for Overseers

3:1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer [1] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, [2] sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Qualifications for Deacons

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, [3] not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must [4] be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

 http://www.esv.org/

Tim began the sermon by stating that he does not think many pastors preach this text because it confronts the pastor where he lives. He stated that many preachers, perhaps most, do not preach expositionally, rather, they preach topically, thus avoiding certain challenging or controversial portions of scripture. I have heard this text preached several times as an ordination sermon for pastors or deacons, but I only preached this text once in my 15 years of pastoring. I was preaching through 1-2Timothy at the time, and when I came to this text I found it quite daunting because I knew my own failures to live up to it.

Tim did a great job, as usual, in the sermon. He did something I don’t think I could do- he covered the whole thing in one sermon with 2 main points: Elders and Deacons.

I. Elders- God gives elders to the church to edify the church through prayer and the preaching of the Word and by being an example of the character traits listed in these verses. He referred back to Eph.4:11-13 “11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds [2] and teachers, [3] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, [4] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,”

He gave a very sober summary of the responsibility of the elders by saying the elders would have to give an account to God for how they led the church.

II. Deacons- they are to demonstrate love in tangible ways. Again the qualifications focus on character, but there is an emphasis on leading by serving in love. Tim pointed back to John 13:1-17 and how Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. then we looked at John 13:34-35 “34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Tim gave a strong challenge to the congregation “We must be a radically serving congregation and deacons are to set an example for us to follow.”

This sermon is the last in a series on The Priorities of Redeemer Church. The series was intended to instruct the congregation on the basics of what this church believes and how it operates; it was a much needed series because of the rapid growth this church has experienced. There are so many who have joined in the past year to year-and-a-half that in order to keep the church united and heading in the right direction we needed this kind of a study. Combine this with the Foundations Class for new members (which Dawn and I just finished a few weeks ago) and you get a pretty solid foundation for all us newbies.

Our church is not your standard Southern Baptist Church, though we are a part of the SBC. One of the differences is in church polity. This is an elder led church. In other words, the congregation doesn’t have to vote on every $50 expenditure. I served in a “normal” SBC church for 15 yrs that had congregational polity. Things are running sooo much more smoothly here at Redeemer! I really doubt I could ever serve in a “normal” SBC church again. But it does depend on the quality of the elders, and here at Redeemer, Dale and Tim are wise, godly men who exemplify the 1Tim.3 passage.

*********************************************************************

Justification by Grace Alon Through Faith Alone- Saturday, November 24, 2007

In the past few years I have been hearing and reading that this great biblical doctrine, this pillar upon which the church stands or falls, has come under attack from within evangelical quarters. My wife and I recently attended a Ligonier Conference in Ft. Worth with R.C. Sproul and he mentioned, repreatedly, the dangers of this attack upon justification. 25-30 years ago the attack was on the inerrancy of Scripture. 20 years ago it was the attack on Lordship salvation. Now it is justification.

None of these attacks on orthodoxy should surprise us. 5 years from now the next attack may be on the deity of Christ or the doctrine of the Trinity, coming from within evangelical circles. Heresy is like a big carousel, just wait a little bit and you will see an old heresy revived and people will hop on for a ride.

I came across an excellent article about justification by Philip Ryken at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals website. Here is the website address:

http://www.reformation21.org/Upcoming_Issues/Union_with_Christ/358/

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