Thursday, November 10, 2022

2022.11.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Timothy 3:4–7

Read 1 Timothy 3:4–7

Questions from the Scripture text: What must an overseer do to his house (1 Timothy 3:4)? In what manner? What do his children do? With how much reverence/dignity? What won’t a man know how to do, if he isn’t doing this (1 Timothy 3:5)? What does this imply is the work of an overseer in the church? What mustn’t he be in the church (1 Timothy 3:6)? What would it risk happening to him? What would it risk his falling into? What must an overseer have with outsiders (1 Timothy 3:7)? What would this avoid his falling into? Who uses this reproach as a snare?

Where should an overseer have been proven? 1 Timothy 3:4–7 looks forward to the second reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that before being made an overseer in the church, a man must have proven himself in the home, in the church, and in the community.

It is God Who works in overseers the character that they ought to have, and it is God Who attends their shepherding and teaching with His power to bless it to His church. This is also the case with husbands and fathers, with church members, and with citizens. So the Lord teaches us here to look for the character that He produces, and the blessing that He brings from it, in those three spheres.

A proven man in the home1 Timothy 3:4-5. A qualified man oversees his own house well. His children have learned to submit with “reverence.” This is translating a word that means “dignity” or even “majesty.” There is a confidence, joy, and nobility about them. They submit not as those who cower at what might happen if they don’t, and not unthinkingly, but as those who have great confidence in God’s use of their earthly father. The church is not to be full of nervous or mindless captives but royal princes and princesses; any children of a man whom God will use for this will be similar in the home.

A proven man in the church1 Timothy 3:6. Before he can be rightly called to shepherd, a man must first operate in a godly manner under shepherding in the church. He is not to be a neophyte—“newly planted.” Even the best-appearing new convert is in danger of getting a big head about himself and his spirituality. Sometimes, in the freshness of conversion, a new believer may mistake the steadiness of more mature believers for less spiritual life or warmth. (This is even easier to do in such a dead and cold time in the churches as that in which your author lives).  

This pride, this puffing up due to lack of experience, can bring a man into the condemnation of the devil. The devil is glad to condemn others in that which he himself is most guilty of. For he was actually puffed up in pride against God! Those who are going to be instruments in God’s hands had better realize Who is weak and who is God.

A proven man in the community1 Timothy 3:7. The qualified man will have “a good testimony among those who are outside.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone likes him. “Good” is still defined by God. But what people have seen in the community is the character described in 1 Timothy 3:2-3

The 1 Timothy 3:2 things are there: he’s not a pragmatist but a steady believer in God who is devoted to his wife, loves strangers, understands the faith well, and can communicate it.  The 1 Timothy 3:3 things are properly absent: he’s not controlled by appetites, doesn’t manipulate or compel people by bare authority, doesn’t take every advantage he can get away with, isn’t always countering what others say, and doesn’t love money. 

People in the community may not like him for it, but they could attest that he is as God has described. This applied to another “blameless man,” Job. Satan reproached him and tried to trap him, but he came out at last refined and even better than before. 1 Timothy 3:7 says that a man’s character with outsiders—in business, with neighbors, with magistrates, etc.—must match 1 Timothy 3:2-3 or Satan’s tactics will succeed against him.

What kind of person are you in the home? What kind of person are you in the church? What kind of person are you in the community? What men in the church do you know that are exemplary in all three?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for working in us and through us. Forgive us for when we act differently in different places. We betray that we like to portray ourselves better than we are. Help us to live and lead in a way that shows joy and dignity and confidence in You. Forgive us for being puffed up and thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought. Grant us forgiveness through Christ and conformity to His gentleness and lowliness of spirit, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

 ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear the Lord” or TPH128B “Blest the Man Who Fears Jehovah”

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