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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Timothy's Instruction to the Church

Behavior in the House of the Lord
Koinonia Study

I Timothy 5

Caree Connolly


We know that Paul is a spiritual father to Timothy. He has often called him his son, in the faith. Timothy currently is in Ephesus to oversee the church that Paul established there. Paul wrote this epistle, to instruct Timothy in things of the church. He wrote these things in order that he might know how he ought to behave in the house of the Lord. All these were to help Timothy's dealings with elders, younger members, and widows. 
Treatments of Church Members
1 Timothy 5:1
Rebuke not an elder, but in-treat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.


Paul was giving Timothy instruction on how to speak to elders in the church. Timothy was a young man and a minister of Christ, so he was Paul was teaching the proper tools on being head of a church. We learned from 1 Timothy 4:12 not to let his youth be a hindrance.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Now Paul is letting him know to not rebuke an elder. The word rebuke means: to criticize sharply. Although 2 Timothy 4:2 says; [Preach the word; be instant in season,out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.] There is a difference in the reproofs made, according to the age, quality, and other circumstances. And elder in age should be in-treated as a father. Showing due respect to the elders in age and elders by office, and given the dignity of their years. Speaking to them as you would a father. And in speaking to younger men, reprove them as brethren. If you start out looking for faults, or picking quarrels, you only build up resentments. Meekness is important in reproving a brother. This can be done with love and tenderness. We have elders, and brethren, but Paul doesn't exclude women. To treat the older women as mothers. His mother and grandmother probably taught early on proper conduct on his behavior. And to treat the younger women as he would a sister. The Bible doesn't say whether he had siblings, but this verse entreats him to in-treat them with purity. In essence; with a lack of guilt or evil thoughts.


Honor Widows


1 Timothy 5:3-7
Honour widows that are widows indeed. But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.


I found about 38 verses in the Bible where God speaks of care and conduct of widows, with 6 references in Timothy alone. Paul is writing to Timothy in this case of the direction needed concerning the widows in his church. Widows were employed by the church as a means to give them the respect and tenderness due them. {Psalm 68:5} Many times, they were used to tend the sick and the elderly. In Acts 6 We read that the apostles noticed the widows were being neglected and not utilized in the church. But if these widows had children, who were able to take on the care of their parent, it placed less of a burden on the church. I think too often today, the elderly are forgotten and put aside. I remember in high school and the Key Club (a branch of the Loins Club) and we visited a home for the elderly. The lady I spoke to, was probably in her 90's. She had worked as a switch board operator. She really enjoyed our talk, but it was sad because her family rarely came and saw her.


This verse uses the word 'piety'. Piety is a; fidelity to natural obligations (as to parents)

Having the children or grandchildren caring for a widowed parent shows that parent honor. And shows honor to God. One of the 10 commandments in Exodus 20:12 states:” Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee”. Ephesians 6:1-3 also reminds us to: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor your father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou may live long on thee earth”.


Some of the widows though, were more desolate. Alone in the world. Either she didn't have children, or her children just didn't care. But in this verse, she put all her trust in God, and continued to be constant in her prayers. Anna, shows us in Luke 2:36-37 of her dedicated prayers to God. But Paul warns Timothy of the widows who lived in pleasure. Meaning that she lived a wanton, loose, and promiscuous life-style. Paul tells Timothy that she is dead spiritually. It says in {1 Thessalonians 4:3-5}


Timothy is charged again in verse 7, that gives instruction on the maintenance for widows, for the children caring for their families, and for the widows to stay in prayer and not live in sin. These are all the things that the world sees. To be blameless. Living as God wills. 


1 Timothy 5:8
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
As we have seen throughout-out the Bible, many times verses are repeated. It's a great reminder of instructions or tools God wants us to remember. Verse 8 is for those who do not honor what verse 4 said; 'let them learn to show piety at home,'.
We see now, the consequences of not providing for his household. Especially those in the faith. Paul says that, he is worse than an 'infidel'. The definition of 'infidel is: one who acknowledges no religious belief'. Some of the commentaries speak of the fact that even the world or unbeliever is taught to care for the elderly. We should be again reminded of the commandment: Honor thy father and mother. Much more important that being an infidel.
INSTRUCTION FOR WIDOWS
1 Timothy 5:9-13
Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man. Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
This portion of verses goes deeper into widowhood. The church had offices for the widows within the church. Positions like; deaconesses. Titus 2:3-5 gives a good account for the behavior and conduct of a deaconess. The aged women likewise, that [they be] in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, Verses 9-10 of Timothy emphasize that widows going into a position of church, to 60 years and above. Sixty was considered 'old age' than. They needed to have had one husband. This was stated since polygamy was practiced than. Not just by the men, but also women. And her character needs to be up-rightly. With her children, her works, and her counsel. Reminds me a little of the Proverbs 31 women.
Continuing with 11, as we read before, that widows of a certain age and charcter were given duties in the church. Paul lets Timothy know that the younger widows were, due to age, still able to marry, and provide for themselves. But they also went more toward the loose and wild behavior. We read about that in verse 6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
These widows were being idle, busybodies, and gossipers. Today’s media has shows like: Housewife’s of Atlanta, The Kardashians, etc. Not shows I watch, but just the clips on up-coming episodes detail all the things in their life, which include: gossiping, busybodies, and going from house to house. Interesting..nothing new happening from back than to now.
1 Timothy 5:14-16
I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan. If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
The instruction set forth in 14 was for the younger widows to marry and have more children. 1 Corinthians 7:39-40 also speaks of re-marriageThe remarriage here is recommended as an antidote to sexual passion, idleness, and the sins noted in 1 Timothy 5:13
Some of the widows had already gone to the path of un-Godly behavior. It's the idle hands that the enemy seems to easy to get hold. 
"Idle hands are the Devil's playground." Author: Unknown
CONCERNING THE ELDERS
1 Timothy 5:17-20
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
In the Bible Study Tools commentary,  instead of 'rule well', the writer uses 'preside well'. 'Oversee' can also be used here. As elders, overseeing, with wisdom, ability, and loving faithfulness was an important duty to have, especially as ministers of God's Word. { I Thessalonians 5:12, Galatians 6:6 } all speak of the double honor, regarding the labor of being in the Word and doctrine. These elder were part of the ministry. I had some trouble trying to understand verse 18. I finally found a commentary by Ron Daniels, a pastor of Calvary Chapel Cheyenne. Verse 18 is speaking of wages. This verse is quoting Deuteronomy 25:4. “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing." 
Basically, if an ox is threshing wheat, he should be allowed to eat some of that wheat. A minister is teaching the Word. It is fitting for them to receive the wages due them, especially if this is the calling God placed them in. 1 Corinthians 9:14 says “ the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living”
Paul continues, concerning the elders, in cautioning Timothy against someone accusing an elder of wrongful conduct. Not to jump to conclusions or a judgment call. This stands for anyone. Deuteronomy 19:15 “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.
Accusations of church members or officials come often in these days. The sad part is, three or more witnesses are generally seen through the eyes of the media.
For Timothy, if an elder is established to be unrepentant, he would be rebuked before the church.

Matthew 18:15-17
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

We are reminded that we are not to be partial. Pastors are the ambassadors for God. Making like decisions God would make. God doesn't compromise about sin. A pastor shouldn't either.
CONCERNING PARTIALITY
1 Timothy 5:21-25
I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure. Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.
In these final few verses, Paul is advising Timothy against being partial. We know from James {3:1} the seriousness of the job of leaders in the church; they serve an eternal God and must please Him first in everything they do. It also says in {Ephesians 3:7}
Regarding partiality, James 2:1-9 gave us God's view on partiality. Galatians 3:26-29 lets us know that we are the same in the eyes of God.
Timothy is cautioned to wait before appointing leaders immediately. Give them time to show themselves approved by God. I've mentioned this before, but I think pastors jump into the ministry thinking there ready, or that its easy.
Verse 23 probably could get into a debate about the use of wine. I will just mention that in Timothy's case, he had problems with his stomach. Paul is letting him know that a little wine would be helpful.
Finally, ending with 24 and 25, we see that there are 2 contrasts. One where men's sins are openly apparent, some are hidden and not seen, but will be in judgment. And the other is similar in that some works are open and broad cast, and others keep their works quiet.

So what can we see is the nugget of truth in this chapter to take with us. 
We don't always see what is not shown, 
but God does, because He sees what's in the heart.


Monday, January 19, 2015

God Knows the Heart

A Severed Relationship
Hosea 1
Shirley Connolly


Introduction: This week's theme for our Koiononia Community study comes through the first chapter of Hosea. I've called it A Severed Relationship but it could also be called The Harlot Bride.

In Chapter One of Hosea, the prophet is about to marry Gomer, the harlot. This might not have been something Hosea, a prophet of all prophets, or actually any prophet of God might normally do. Yet God had His reasons for telling Hosea this is what HE wanted. And once the LORD decides something, no matter who it's about or for what reason, God also expects obedience.
Hosea's forthcoming obedience to God would ultimately change his entire future.

WHAT WAS GOD'S PURPOSE?

The Lord wanted to get a precise message to the people. He looked for the best way. He figured this was the one He'd use to reach the Israelites, who were, at this particular time, in a very bad state.
A very important message is here for you and me as well. What is God's purpose for us?

Perhaps you don't think your life is anywhere close to that of harlot's life or maybe that this book of Hosea might prove interesting but not relate to you. But what does God see in us?

As we study Hosea, we will have the opportunity to compare what we are really like on the inside; maybe not so much with our outside actions, but in our hearts.

God knows our hearts so much better than we do.

In the book of Hosea, we'll learn how the harlot Gomer will choose to continue on with her questionable ways even after she's married, and against her very own husband. She will show how she's a person who never once deserves the kindness she receives from a very giving person.

There is something deeper here too. Something we can take to heart.

God wants you and I to fully grasp through this book of Hosea just how much compassion He truly has not only for what happened in this situation but for us and for the entire world.

Sometimes it is difficult to get our hearts and arms around just how all-embracing the depth of God's love really is.

I.                   WHO and WHY HOSEA?
Preliminary

Hosea was one of God's wonderful prophets. Some commentators gave titles to the prophets as either major or minor, but you wouldn’t necessarily have found that emphasized in any Hebrew translation of scripture. ALL PROPHETS HAD A MAJOR PURPOSE IN THE LORD'S EYES FOR THEY HAD SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO GET ACROSS TO THE PEOPLE THEN AND NOW

God decided to use these prophets who belonged to a particular period in what we now know as the divided kingdom. We read about them in several important books of the Old Testament.

We might wonder why God chose to raise these men up when He could have used anyone if He'd wanted to. Just like today -- God can use anyone He wants to serve His purpose..

During this time in history there were ruling Kings all over the place but most were filled with their own problems. Many, if not most of those Kings continually failed. With failing Kings, God chose to look to these prophets instead to get the right words out to the people.

The Divided Kingdoms: Jeremiah was the last prophet of the Southern Kingdom. Hosea was a prophet of the Northern Kingdom. He came to warn the nation of its forthcoming captivity. In his book, we will come to understand the results of a Broken HOME or having a Broken HEART, while Jeremiah, we see the illustration of a Broken NATION. Since Hosea was a man with a broken heart, he was the best person God could use to convey what He wanted to the people. What He can convey to you and me.

  • He wanted Israel to see it, acknowledge it, and believe it
  • He still wants Israel to see, acknowledge, and believe…but they don't yet.
  • He wants you and I to know and live according to God's ways  

For these prophets, and especially for Hosea, the message seems severe, yet in the end through the tender mercies of God, there's always a way out and a communication infinitely important to learn and comprehend -- to take to heart.

Hosea's wife Gomer shows us a woman who either already was a harlot when Hosea went out to get her, or a woman who became a harlot after he took her to wife. Different commentators bring it out differently, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. The message is clear.

God's message is that many continue to live apart from Him.

So often, we think the Old Testament Standards don't apply to us but they do…

God wants people to see just how far they have come from living up to His standards and how easy it is to do so. God has set those standards for everyone. The Book of Hosea will show us just how unfathomable God's feelings are for us, in spite of the many ways we so often let Him down. This book will also show us the mercies of God and how amazing they are if we will only continue forward in our Christian walks, rather than slip back.

HIS MERCY and HIS FORGIVENESS -- True grace in action

II.                BECOMING OBEDIENT TO THE CALL
Hosea 1:1-6

If you’ve taken a moment to read these verses, you'll find it pretty startling what the Lord is asking Hosea to do. Either wed a woman already a harlot or one that God knows is going to go in that direction.

A.     Hosea, the Prophet
1.      God knew what He was asking of Hosea. Hosea chose to be obedient to it.
2.      When God says "This is what I want you to do, to anyone, including the prophet Hosea" He didn’t mean it as a request, it was a command.
3.      God was not just granting Hosea permission to marry a specific person so God could turn around and make things go wrong. God had a plan to fulfill. He would show both Hosea and Hosea's wife in the story what she was really like.

The Lord knew exactly what would happen. God always knows. It shouldn’t be difficult for us to remind ourselves that if we belong to the LORD, He knows --- He knows --- He knows 

Ø  He knows where we came from;
Ø  He knows where we're going,
Ø  He knows what was on our mind and in our hearts yesterday,
Ø  He knows where our hearts were, and are, and whether to the good or bad,
Ø  He knows what is on our mind and in our heart right now.

Stop and think for a minute what has been on your heart this morning.

HE KNOWS.  YES, JESUS KNOWS.

Ø  He also knows what we are going to think about and then ultimately do, tomorrow!
Ø  He also knows what is His will and what is not. DO WE?

It's perilous to play around with what some call God's perfect will compared to God's permissive will. We either are in His will or we aren’t. There is nothing in the Old Testament scriptures that teaches us about permissive will in difference to God's only will. And if we aren’t living in God's will -- then we are doing our own thing.

Perhaps that is one reason God gave us the scripture: And every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

When God shows you or tells you something He wants you to do that isn't necessarily what you might decide to do on your own initially, how do you go about finding the answer?

B.     Gomer, the Harlot
According to Mosaic Law it would have been proper for Gomer to have been stoned to death, once Hosea learned what she was and that she had a life of harlotry, either as an unmarried harlot first or a wife who turned that way. But what God is showing is the parallel between physical harlotry (as with Gomer) and Spiritual Harlotry (as with Israel, who Gomer represents in this story)

Gomer's infidelity is best described as Israel's infidelity

In God's eyes, there is little difference between the two whether it's PHYSICAL harlotry or adultery and SPIRITUAL harlotry and adultery. But how does this apply to you or me today?

There is a real parallel here. There might be someone who tries to play fast and loose with the Lord and in their Christian walk. Maybe you know someone like this. That's a very dangerous place to be. In God's sight, He sees that, by itself, as SPIRITUAL harlotry.

C.     Physical vs Spiritual Harlotry?
One way to observe is when someone chooses not to cling tightly to the Lord and in her relationship with Him. It's so easy to play fast and loose with the Lord in one's Christian walk.

In other words, we don't look to Him for all our answers, because we simply spend too much time doing our own thing. As we do, we find ourselves playing on the fence, or maybe even leaning toward the ways of the world better than is spiritually healthy for us. It begins to get harder and harder to live with our focus in tact, and in a place that is always pleasing to God.  We begin to lose the fire in our life that was once there.

This that we do physically by our actions can slowly turn to spiritual harlotry. Selling ourselves too short -- Promoting worldly ways more than Godly ways.

Have you ever done that with spiritual compromise, those times when we make excuses for what we do or what someone else does?  

As we read here in scripture, God used plain language with which to speak. He didn’t hold anything back. Now, in the pulpit and in so many other places where faith is shared and discussed, you hear the importance of being politically correct. But the Word of God never changed and it won't now. It still says and means the same thing it did when God inspired it. (God could care less about being PC)

D.    That Spiritual Lesson

We read now about Gomer and Hosea's children. God will use the children of this marriage to teach an object lesson to us.
1.                  Jezreel, the name of Hosea and Gomer's first son is given to mean "God will scatter" which is exactly what happens. Jezreel (a city) turns into a place with a bloody history. God is going to show here that the Northern Kingdom where Hosea lives the people will be scattered, and they were.
2.                  Lo-Rummah was the daughter to Hosea and Gomer. God instructed them to give her that name, which meant she "never knew her father's pity"

What did that come to mean? Some commentators intimated that she did not know who her true father was.

How I see this revealed is when we look at the scandal going on in Hosea's house. God is basically saying: YOU WON'T KNOW MY PITY FOR I AM NOT YOUR FATHER

(Another way to say that is because of what you are doing, you are living as if I am not your father, or as if you have no relationship with me.)

We know His grace is sufficient for all of us, as it is with everything. But how many times do we find ourselves persisting in rejecting God's mercy and His grace in our lives? That's when we need to be ever-so-careful about using these free moral agents of ours (our strong willed minds and hearts) so freely.

It's too easy to live in defeat, when we try to think things through by ourselves. The choices we make mean so much more than we ever realize until we suddenly see after we make the decisions we do, the effect our decisions have on others.

Yes, everything happens for a reason. But how far do we go before we step beyond the boundaries with God? How far below the lines of God's grace will a person actually go and still think he or she can get away with it? Sinking so low in sin, the Grace of God cannot be reached.

A person can trifle with God only so long.

That's what the nation of Israel did. God is really trying to show them themselves through showing them what is happening here through Hosea's actions and GOMER'S actions. Do you think they are opening their eyes even yet?

III.             GOD DELIVERS
Hosea 1:7-end
If you are still reading, by what we see here in the seventh verse, you can also find a parallel to it in 2 Kings 19, and Isaiah 37. There is another prophecy of Hosea there (we find them filtered throughout the book). I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them…

We see how God miraculously delivers the people of the Southern Kingdom but He does not deliver those of the Northern Kingdom. Some of this is shown by the children we just described and the one that follows. In verses 8 and 9 we read about the next child of Hosea.

3.      Lo- Ammi, this one is called. It means "not my people" or not my child, speaking specifically about the nation Israel. But I added it to this next section because it must be read in the context of the verses to come more than the verses from before like the other two kids.

It looks at first like God is ready to give up on Israel, but I called this section "God Delivers" because it is not so. In the next few verses it shows He instead shows more grace than ever Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered…)

His prediction shows that there will be a rejection of Israel for a while, but God in His patience, and even with Him knowing they wanted nothing to do with Him, He still is filled with mercy and compassion for them. God's hand is stretched out to so many to try to bring them back to Him.

It's a precious promise of just how much He wants us to know of HIS love for us too. God does not give up on the ones He claims as His. The Jewish people still can't see it.

Do we as Christians take Him for granted? Or do we as Christians live our whole hearts for Him because of that love, compassion, and mercy He has for us?

IV.             FAITHLESS WONDER
Hosea 2:1- 11

When man or woman proves faithless, God still finds a way to prove just how faithful He is. After we read of all the tragic things that come to Israel because of their faithlessness, we also read how God will come through for them.

Two tremendous promises are shown in what we've read.
Ø  That they (Israel) would experience an increase in growth or population.
Ø  Also that the nation would begin to turn back to God.

Remember how He said the Northern and Southern Kingdoms would come together again and the twelve tribes would again become a single nation? That too was a remarkable promise of God.

Before that we read several "I WILL" verses which spoke of what God had in mind that didn’t seem so great. For your challenge, take the time to look them up and jot them down.
~ I will avenge Israel's blood
~ I will break the bow
~ I will show no mercy
~ I will utterly take Israel away
THEN to Lo Ammi
~ I will not be your God

In those ways, God was showing His purpose in its severity. And yet, we read also of His compassion which is so much greater. It's so important to see the entire picture. God, BECAUSE of His love had to act in judgment because of the infidelity going on in Israel. But His love never changes.

  • How many times will a person turn back from the blessings of an Almighty God? 
  • How many times will we take our Lord for granted and do our own thing?

When I think about this, the darkest period of Israel's history, I also have to apply it to today with the attitudes of so many people … with my own attitude of heart about my relationship with God

Thankfully God is still showing His purpose with us, whether it is with hope or with discipline first. In other words, Calvary is the ultimate expression of what Love really is.

G. Campbell Morgan said:
God interprets Himself to us through our own experiences, an experience we are on cannot always be understood at the moment we are going through it.

In other words, in the midst of tragedy anyone can find the love of God.
We need only to look for it.

Summary:

It's a tragic and heartbreaking story thus far -- this story in Hosea. Someone is taken in and accepted, love and cared for. That same Someone turns away and descends as low as she can go in spite of the goodness of another. And that Someone is restored again

So what is the lesson we are learning from this so far?

The story of Hosea (which allegorically tells us of God's love and also of Israel's rebellion) shows
Ø  How HOSEA came to understand the HEART of GOD.
Ø  We see now or we will begin to see what God suffered when His people sinned.
Ø  It tells you and me what God STILL suffers when you and I sin against Him.

Hosea would best be described as the prophet with the broken heart. He reveals through his book of prophecy the real nature of sin and the strength of divine love.

Never forget how Sin wounds the heart of God. God's agony is also revealed when His people choose to no longer be His.

Thankfully, in spite of sin and rejection, God finds that perfect way that makes it possible for the sinner to come home.


Sources gleaned from G. Campbell Morgan, Matthew Henry, Warren Weirsbe, Charles Spurgeon

Friday, January 9, 2015

Representing Love and Faithfulness to God while in Leadership


WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP at CHURCH

Michelle Connolly 
1st Timothy 3



In 1st Timothy 1 we learned the key ingredients to discover and demonstrate our ministry as women, as well as the expectations for each of us with-in and around the church.

In Chapter 2 we learned about the importance of prayer. Our best of gifts and worship offerings as a woman, is prayer for those around us, whom can’t pray for themselves, for those who don’t have a personal connection with God and for ourselves, allowing for a one on one relationship with God.

Now in 1st Timothy 3 we will learn about qualifications of leadership. The Pastors and deacons of the church. 

This chapter while it can pertain to us personally it is overall the qualifications that we want the leadership of our church to maintain just as we want the same leadership from our bosses at our jobs and even from our husbands, ultimately the Leadership Christ shows the Church. Many of the qualifications that are listed in this chapter specifically speak to the responsibility of a male leader must have, but we can always find application for women to aid in our representation of leadership; following the same qualifications described here, while we represent our love and faithfulness to God.

I Timothy 3: 3-13
 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
By definition a Pastor or Bishop is said to be “overseer, guardian, bishop. It is used in reference to Jesus Christ in 1 Peter 2:25 and in other places of individuals who have a function of leadership in the church ( Acts 20:28 ; Php 1:1 ; 1 Tim 3:2 ; Titus 1:7 ).  Also means, to take care of, to oversee, or to care for. 

The first responsibility God has given the overseer is to watch over the flock. Acts 20:28a says; "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers"; and Hebrews 13:17b says, "They keep watch over you." The idea is one of spiritual alertness, being on watch, being ready. Overseers watch for the souls of those entrusted to them in the Lord. They know that to protect them, constant attention is necessary.”

A second responsibility of the overseer is to shepherd the flock of God as instructed in 1 Peter 5:2. To shepherd carries the idea of tending, caring for, feeding, protecting, and leading. All these tasks are involved in the overseer's service of ministry to the spiritual flock of God. Responsibility is not a compulsion but something that the overseer has entered into willingly.

The qualifications the Bible gives for the overseer strongly emphasize character in all aspects of life, both personal and public. Titus 1:6-9. That the overseer must be above reproach appears to be an overriding qualification, expressing the idea that the overseer should demonstrate integrity in every area Paul mentions. His life and reputation are of such a nature that he is not open to attack or censure. No fault can be found in him that would disqualify him from office or open him to discipline by the body (cf. 1 Tim 5:19-20 ).” Pastors or Overseers lead, pray, teach and guide so

How do we as women represent this same role in our personal lives and those responsibilities we have within the church?

Examples of women who were leaders for God…
“After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.Luke 8

The women who went with Jesus knew that following him could mean death, could mean that their lives would be on the line and yet for the love of God and the people they represented, they demonstrated leadership.

The story of Ester…. 4:11"All the king's officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king. 5:1" On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.” 5:2 “When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.”

Ester represented her people and demonstrated leadership. She took care of their needs by standing firm and gracefully walked into the court knowing her life would be at stake, but knowing the importance of the needs of her people be heard and represented;  she risked her life for the good of others.


Are we making sure that there is no question 
that we hold true to these qualifications as a woman of God?

In what ways are you maintaining these qualifications in your role as a leader?

            


I Timothy 3:8-13
  In the same way, deacons[b] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11 In the same way, the women[c] are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
Deacon by definition is “to serve or minister or attend to the needs of someone, take care of, look after, as in nurse, treat, help, assist and administer to” “The role or office of deacon was developed in the early church primarily to minister to the physical needs of the members of the body of Christ.”
After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the church began to grow so fast that some believers, particularly widows, were being neglected in the daily distribution of food and alms (giving to others as an act of virtue, either materially or in the sense of providing capabilities). Also, as the church expanded, logistical challenges arose at meetings simply because of the size of the fellowship. The apostles, who had their hands full caring for the spiritual needs of the church, decided to appoint seven leaders who could tend to the physical and administrative needs within the body.” (Christianity.about.com)
So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, "We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word." (Acts 6:2–4, NLT
A Deacon could be anyone, man or woman; that met these qualifications. Paul called to Phoebe one of the first appointed women deacons I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea.” Romans 16:1 Scripture makes it clear that ministering as a deacon is a rewarding and honorable calling in the church”
Even if we don’t have an appointed role in the church we are all, in some way a deacon. Women are especially good at the role of deacon(ness) because we naturally have the instinct and nature to take care of those who are in need. Whether it is a physical need or a spiritual need, we as women are able to meet the needs and serve
 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. MT 25:14-30
How do we take care of those we are caring for, serve, nurture or help?
While this part of scripture splits up the definition of Deacon and talks about the separate qualifications for both men and women it really is one in the same qualification. In fact the scripture states that women are to “in the same way…” remember what is expected of them and that through this it brings you into “excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus” So that we may hear His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Mt 25:21
In What ways are you a Deaconness in your life?
I Timothy 3: 14-16
14 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit,[d was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
Paul often, in the closure of his letters reiterates the point of his letter, which in this case was to be aware and stay true to how one “conduct themselves in God’s household” We must remember that we can and are equip to administer, approach, care, guide, teach and navigate as a representative of “the church of the living God” and to always be in awe of the true nature and greatness of our one true God who sent his son here on earth as only God could be represented and then taken up to Heaven. If our purpose on earth is but only a breath and but a glimpse in regards to eternity then it is our gift from God and our responsibility to represent Him well.

How will you represent God as He prepares His kingdom?