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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Qualifications for Elders (1 Tim. 3:1-7)

Outline: Qualifications for Elders (1 Tim. 3:1-7): 
  1. Titles
  2. Tasks
  3. Tests
Summary:  Last week we considered the role of men and women in the local church (2:8-15). When doing so we heard Paul say that he does not "permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man."  A natural and appropriate question to ask would be this: who then should teach or exercise authority in the local church?  Paul's answer comes in the very next passage (3:1-7) were he describes the qualities that must mark a man if he is to be considered fit to carry out the noble task of shepherding the blood-bought flock of the Good Shepherd.

Main Point: Shepherding God's people is a noble task reserved for qualified men in the local church.

Discussion Questions:
  • What is the relationship between 2:8-15 and 3:1-7?
  • How should we think about the relationship between the titles pastor, elder, and overseer (cf. Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5, 7; 1 Peter 5:1-2)?
  • What wisdom do you see in the biblical pattern of having multiple elders in each local church? 
  • What is meant by the phrase "first among equals"? [Hint: think Peter among the other disciples]
  • What is involved in the task of biblical eldership (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Heb. 13:17)?
  • What biblical tests or qualifications must be met for one to be considered for eldership?
  • Why might the home be a fitting context to test whether or not one is fit for eldership?
  • What other conditions must be met in order to proceed with eldership?  What is at stake if such conditions are not taken seriously? 
  • How might this passage shape your prayers for yourself and for your leaders?
Application Questions:
  • In what areas am I lacking in godly character?  What steps can I take to grow?
  • How has this passage helped me see the significance of the elder's role in the church?
  • How might I pray for my leaders in light of what I've learned in this passage? 
  • How might I respond to/interact with my leaders in a way that would bring joy and not groaning as they seek to care for the church (Heb. 13:17)?
Prayer Points:
  • Praise Jesus who met God's qualifications so that we might be qualified through faith in Him
  • Thank God for Jesus our Chief Shepherd and for the under-shepherds He has given to you
  • Pray that you would personally grow in these biblical qualifications for the glory of God
  • Pray for faithfulness and fruitfulness as well as joy and protection for your elders 
  • Pray that God would enlarge the shepherding ministry at FBC by raising up more qualified men to help care for the flock

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Men and Women in the Church (1 Tim. 2:8-15)

Outline: Men and Women in the Church (1 Tim. 2:8-15): 
  1. Gospel effects on men in the local church
  2. Gospel effects on women in the local church
Summary:  Just as we saw that the gospel is meant to inform the scope of our prayers (2:1-7), so now we see that the gospel is meant to shape the contours of how men and women live and relate to one another in the local church (2:8-15).  The gospel has implications. The gospel has effects.  It doesn't just save us, it also transforms us.  As Paul said in 1 Cor. 6:20-21, "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price, so glorify God with your body." The same logic is applied here.  Jesus paid your ransom and now He serves as the Mediator between you and God almighty; thereforeglorify God by living as men and women who are marked by godliness and a deep reverence for God's order within His household.  

Main Point:  Men and women should allow the gospel to effect the way they live the Christian life

Discussion Questions:
  • What is the logical significance of the word "then" in v.8? 
  • What does it mean that men should pray, lifting holy hands? (cf. Ps. 24:4; Isa. 1:15; Job 17:9)
  • Read vv.9-10 then describe and discuss the five points on the "Modesty Spectrum":  1) dress to impress, 2) dress to seduce, 3) dress without thinking, 4) dress intentionally modest for the glory of Christ, 5) dress extravagantly with every good work (cf. 5:9-10).
  • How are modesty, self-control, and good works related to one another? 
  • Discuss this statement: all of us are under various layers of authority and are called to recognize and humbly respect God-given authority in our lives.
  • What heart attitude should characterize how a woman learns in the church? (v.11)
  • Why is a woman not permitted to teach or exercise authority over a man? (vv.12-13)
  • What is the most probably interpretation of v.15 according to pastor Brandon? (v.15)
Application Questions:
  • Am I currently expressing outward devotion to God while lacking integrity of heart and life?   
  • What category do I find myself in when it comes to the issue of modesty: 1) I dress to impress, 2) I dress to seduce, 3) I dress without thinking, 4) I dress intentionally modest for the glory of Christ, 5) or aim to dress extravagantly with every good work I can (cf. 5:9-10)? Explain.
  • How can I dress in a way that does not seek to impress others with costly clothes, name brands, fads, fringe fads etc?   
  • How can I dress in a way that does not accentuate (or expose) the contours of my body, especially the most intimate parts?
Prayer Points:
  • Confess to God any sin that is tainting your worship.
  • Praise Jesus for His integrity of heart and life that make it possible for you to continually approach God with clean hands and a pure heart.
  • Ask God to empower you by the Holy Spirit to live an integrity-filled life so that you can lift holy hands before Him in a lifestyle of worship. 
  • Ask God to help us be a people who respect God-given authority in our lives, especially in the church as the household of the living God.  
  • Pray that we would not be swayed by our culture and its sad confusion over gender God and that we would joyfully honor God's good design for men and women.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Prayer that Pleases God (1 Tim. 2:1-7)

Outline: Prayer that Pleases God (1 Tim. 2:1-7): 

The aim of this passage is two-fold:
    1. To call us to pray for all people
    2. To Motivate us to pray for all people
Summary:   If the church is to be a "pillar and buttress of the truth" (3:15), then prayer must be strongly prioritized ("first of all").  One of the primary means that God uses to bring about His purposes in the world is the prayers of His people. This passage has a two-fold aim, to call God's people to pray for all people and to motivate God's people to pray for all people.  And it is the description of God's heart for all people (2:3-7) that is meant to stimulate our prayers for all people (2:1).  In one sense, God is simply saying "imitate my heart for the lost."  Perhaps this is the secret of all faithful and effective prayer: crying out to God in such a way that God hears the echo of the loving desires of His own heart.

Main Point:  We must let God's love for all people shape our prayers for all people

Discussion Questions:
  • What hints in v.1 teach us about the priority that prayer should have in our lives?
  • Who should be included in our prayers? (vv.1-2)
  • What in this passage is designed to motivate and stimulate our prayers for all people? 
  • Reflect on the phrase "God our Savior." What do we learn about God's heart for all people?How should this shape our prayers for all people? 
  • What does it mean that Jesus is the one and only Mediator between God and man?
Application Questions:
  • Have I been seriously and urgently prioritizing prayer? Explain.
  • What is the current scope of my prayers? Do they include all people? Civil authorities? What new habits need to be formed in order to increase the scope of my prayers?
  • How has God's love for all people shaped my prayers for all people?
  • What do we mean when we say Jesus is our "ransom"?
Prayer Points:
  • Praise "God our Savior," whose big heart lead to our salvation
  • Praise Jesus for paying our ransom with the high price of His own life
  • Praise Jesus, our faithful Mediator, who made a way for sinful man to reach the holy God
  • Ask God to allow His love for all people shape our prayers for all people
  • Ask God to make us a church that is marked by fervent, big-hearted prayer for all people