God’s Leadership Standards (1)
IN the Old Testament, God selected and appointed the prophets and preachers directly. During the earthly ministry of Christ, He Himself called and commissioned the disciples and the Apostles. Christ also appointed Paul directly when He saved him, empowered him and put him into the ministry. The Holy Ghost called and sent Barnabas and Saul (Paul) into the work of the ministry. As the church became established, the Apostles were now responsible for appointing and sending other ministers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Acts 14:21-23; 15:40,41; 2 Timothy 4:12; 1 Timothy 1:3; Titus 1:5). Paul had appointed Titus, who was now to appoint ministers and leaders for all the churches in every city in Crete. These qualifications for church leadership are given to guide him and to guide us in choosing and sending pastors and teachers to feed, teach, lead, guide and grow the churches. The church is only as strong as its leadership. Weak leadership can only raise a weak, dying church. Ignorant, compromising leadership will build an ignorant, sinning church. A careless leadership will make the church carefree and worldly. A permissive leadership can only raise a sickly, backsliding church. For the church to be a rapturable New Testament institution, the leadership must be selected according to New Testament standards (2 Timothy 2:2).
All significant institutions and organisations in the world have required standards for their executives and officers. Industries and ministers have specific requirements demanded of those that would serve in different capacities. Without such standards, civilisation would collapse. The standards in the industry are high. The church cannot afford to be sentimental and break down required standards for the selection of its leaders and ministers. If the judiciary, the banking industry, the medical profession, the building industry and others in the world keep to their standards of selection, appointment and promotion, how much more should the church keep to required moral, spiritual, scriptural standards! If we remove the ancient landmarks and lower the standards raised by Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church and the Apostles, who laid the foundation as wise master-builders, the world will rise up in condemnation against us on the Day of Judgment.
If we ask, “who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:16), we answer, “Our sufficiency is of God, Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament” (2 Corinthians 3:5,6). Paul the apostle said, “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). He was saved by the grace of God (1 Timothy 1:13-15). He was given the privilege of ministry through the grace of God (Ephesians 3:8) and He was made effective in ministry by the grace of God (1 Corinthians 3:10; 15:10). Saving grace (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 2:8), Sustaining grace (Romans 5:17,21; Hebrews 4:16), Sanctifying grace (Acts 20:32; 2 Corinthians 1:12), Strengthening grace (2 Timothy 2:7-9; 1 Peter 5:10), Serving grace (Romans 12:6-8); Hebrews 12:28), Sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 9:8; 12:9) – grace for life and ministry is available and is ours for the asking. Titus, as a pastor and an overseer in Crete was not just to preach; he was to “set in order the things that are wanting”. Paul himself was committed to this important and necessary responsibility in all the churches. “And the rest will I set in order when I come” (1 Corinthians 11:34). Timothy was assigned to remain in Ephesus “that thou mightiest charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). He was to set things in order doctrinally. Both Timothy and Titus were to appoint leaders to pastor and lead other churches. Although Titus and Timothy were overseers in different places, the standard of pastoral selection was the same (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 2 Timothy 2:2). The standard of selection or appointment was not to be partially applied. “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” (1 Timothy 5:21).
Further Reading (King James Version):
Titus 1:5-9; Acts 14:21-23; Exodus 18:20-22; Isaiah 52:7 11; Malachi 2:5-9; Acts 6:3,4; 1 Thessalonians 2:4-10; 1 Timothy 4:12-16; 2 Timothy 2:2,19-22; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 Corinthians 4:1,2; 2 Peter 2:9-19; 1 Timothy 6:6-12; Hebrews 13:1-6; 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8; 1 Timothy 4:12-16; 2 Peter 1:5-11; 2 Timothy 2:2,15; Leviticus 10:19,20; Psalm 50:16-22; Jeremiah 23:23,24; Romans 2:21,22; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Hebrews 10:29-31; 2 Peter 3:11,12; 1 Peter 4:17,18; Psalm 139:21-24.
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