East Side Church
(Baptist - Disciples of Christ)
201 Spruce Ave.
Sharon, PA 16146
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June 7, 2015
"Establishing Elders"
Titus 1:5-9

Intro: Paul sends letter to Titus, a pastor on Crete, on how to do ministry. After many pastors, our church needs biblical clarification of a pastor's role. Study will encourage our church leaders to grow spiritually; will help all of us to live more intentionally, displaying the Gospel's attractiveness. Last week, learned God's grace is the only glue able to hold a church together!

Titus' Responsibility! (Sermon focuses on 1:5.) Paul commands Titus to straighten out what was left unfinished, specifically, to appoint elders, to establish godly leadership. But Titus would have known this already; why remind him? So rest of the church will hear Paul's apostolic command to Titus: Titus has the authority, the responsibility to appoint and build up other leaders! But how is Titus to do this; how are elders to be selected? Apostles/church planters were involved in the selection process. (Read Acts 14:23 w/footnote variations!) Democratic process w/apostles exercising oversight, evaluating the character of those selected. Contrary to some denominational sentiments, being an elder is not a position open to anyone! Important to see what God's Word has to say about the requirements for being an Elder, (see Titus 1:6-9); we'll examine those next week!

The Elders' Purpose! "Elders?" Church leaders! Different titles depending on your church's history/tradition: Elder, Overseer, Bishop, Presbyter. Disciples have Elders; Baptists usually don't. NT indicates that there was to be more than one elder in a church. (Read Acts 20:17, 28; I Timothy 5:17.) Why? From Jewish culture; multiple leaders in local synagogues. However, Titus is setting up elders in Crete, a primarily Gentile area.

Why multiple elders? Wisdom! Important to understand that the Elders' core responsibilities are to teach God's Word and to exercise authority over God's church . Different types of governmental rule: Monarchy, (Rule by a king.) Democracy, (Rule by majority.) Aristocracy, (Rule by a few.) Bible presents a church government that combines all three types! As a congregation, we are submitted to the authority of our King, Jesus. When we hold our annual business meeting and vote on issues, we function as a democracy. But we also have the Elders providing leadership, direction for our church. Having multiple Elders safeguards against a single person acting sinfully and abusing their authority. Having multiple Elders also safeguards when a church majority is acting contrary to the Bible. Church might not listen to just one person, but when all the elders warn that the church is going in the wrong direction, they may keep church from departing from the faith! The Elders' core responsibilities are to teach God's Word and to exercise authority over God's church . Why? Accountability! To protect the church, pastor, and each other against false teaching and sinful living.

Application: A Matter of Trust! (Read I Timothy 3:14-15!) Certainly believe that Bible is sufficient to help us live Christian lives. But the Bible also addresses how our church government should be set up. Our church should have multiple elders, people of spiritual maturity selected by the congregation. The elders submit to each other, keeping each other accountable to each other, to the church, and to God. Recognizing the elders are submitted to Christ's authority, the church recognizes and respects the elders' spiritual authority. The Elders' core responsibilities are to teach God's Word and to exercise authority over God's church .

Talk about authority and accountability, humans, especially Americans, get suspicious. America started through a rebellion against unjust authority. We can't imagine people with authority acting responsibly, godly. But it comes down to trust! Do we trust our Christian brothers and sisters to select godly leaders? Do we trust the pastor to train and equip those leaders to exercise godly authority? Do we trust those leaders to make decisions that will impact our church? Do we trust God to help our church as we grow together, following His will, and keeping each other humble and honest as we carry out our responsibilities as leaders?

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