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THE NATURE AND DUTIES OF RULING ELDERS OF THE CHURCH. Titus 1.5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— . Confusion Over the Ministry in General.

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  1. THE NATURE AND DUTIES OF RULING ELDERS OF THE CHURCH • Titus 1.5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—

  2. Confusion Over the Ministry in General

  3. Huck Finn's analysis: "In Mark Twain's book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Huck got into conversation one day with Joanna, the youngest daughter of Peter Willks, who had died. He told her that in the church of the Revd Harvey Wilks (her uncle from Sheffield) there were 'no less than seventeen clergy,' although, he added, 'they don't all of 'em preach the same day - only one of 'em. 'Well, then, what does the rest of 'em do? 'Oh, nothing much. Loll around, pass the plate - and one thing or another. But mainly they don't do nothing.'' Well, then,' asks Joanna in wide-eyed astonishment, 'what are they for?' 'Why, they're fore style,' Huck responds. 'Don't you know nothing?'"

  4. John Stott: "There is much contemporary confusion about the nature of the ordained pastoral ministry. What are clergy? Are they primarily priests, presbyters, pastors, prophets, preachers or psychotherapists? Are they administrators, facilitators, managers, social workers, evangelists or liturgists? There are many options." (Calling Christian Leaders: Biblical Models of Church, Gospel and Ministry, p. 114).

  5. Confusion over Ruling Elders • Church Government diversity in the Body of Christ demonstrates this: • Episcopal: Hierarchical government, only clerics are elders • Congregational or Independent: Direct rule of individuals; the pastor is elder yet the people rule directly • Presbyterian: Representative (federal) government, elders (Pastors and laymen who are separated out for local church co-laboring with the pastor, represent Christ and the Church

  6. Practically, even in those churches known as Presbyterian, there is confusion • A Board? • An executive? • A Rubber stamp? • Opposition Party (to the pastor!)? • House of Lords (Deacons being House of Commons?) • A Pastor-Teacher?

  7. The Nature and Duties of Ruling Elders

  8. "The ruling elder is a Biblically mandated office with Old and New Testament warrant, established and regulated by God in His Word for the health of the local church and the advancement of the kingdom of God in the world."

  9. The Nature of the Office of Ruling Elder • Biblical (i.e., Ex. 18.13-27; Acts 15; 1 Tim. 5.17-18; James 5.14; 1 Peter 5.1; 2 Jn. 1.1; 3 Jn. 1.1) • Necessary (i.e., 1 Tim. 3.1-7; Titus 1.5) • Plural (i.e., Titus 1.5, Acts 14.23; Acts 20.17; Phil. 1.1) • Distinct from and complimentary to the Teaching Elder (Ex. 18.22; 1 Tim. 5.17; Eph. 4.11) • To be held in Honor and Obedience (1 Tim. 5.19; Heb. 13.17)

  10. Why Pastors Need Ruling Elders • Oversight • Insight • Sharing Burdens

  11. The Duties of the Office of Ruling Elder • Ministry of Spiritual Oversight (Heb. 13.17-18) • Ministry of Prayer (James 5.14) • Ministry of Guarding the Gospel (Acts 20.28-31) • Ministry of Reconciliation ( • Ministry of Unity (Acts 15.1) • Ministry of Stewardship (Acts 11.29) • Ministry of Encouraging the Gospel (Titus 1.5)

  12. Summary of the Work of the Elders in Titus • “Set in order the things that remain, and appoint elders...” (v. 5) • “For...” (v. 6 and ff) • Paul’s command to establish a plurality of elder leadership was aimed at conducting the work of spiritual oversight and advancement of the Gospel in a local community of disciples

  13. The Work of the Elders in Titus • Silence the Insubordinate (1.10-12) • Rebuke the False Teachers (1.13) • Advance sound doctrine (2.1) • Establish godly role relationships in the local church (2.2-10) • Preach grace-based holiness of life among the people (2.11-15) • Establish godly relations between classes and ranks (3.1) • Promote good works (3.8) • Avoid foolish controversies and rebuke those who divide (3.9-11) • Promote stewardship in the local church (3.14)

  14. The Qualifications of the Office of Ruling Elder • Scriptural Warrant (Exodus 18.21; 1 Tim. 3.1-7; Titus 1.6-9)

  15. Qualifications Considered • Called of God • Character Qualifications • Relational Qualifications • Practical Qualifications • Other Qualifications

  16. Called of God • Vocation: From the Latin Vocare: “to call” • In the Bible there are General Calls (From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 4.17; See also Acts 2.38), Effectual calls (All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. John 6.37), Technical Calls (See Amos 7.14-16), • There must be an INWARD CALL: “If a man desires the office of an overseer...” - 1 Tim. 3.1 • There must be an OUTWARD CALL: Acts 6.3; Heb. 5.1-4 • “Son, are you called?” Reverend Eckley, a 98 year old Nazarene preacher to a fledgling PCA pastor

  17. Character • Fear God (Ex. 18.21), Trustworthy and hate a bribe (Ex. 18.21), Above reproach (1 Tim. 3.2; Titus 1.6,7), Sober-minded (1 Tim. 3.2), self-controlled (1 Tim. 3. 2; Titus 1.8), lover of good (Titus 1.8), hospitable (1 Tim. 3.2; Titus 1.7), not a drunkard (1 Tim. 3.3; Titus 1.7), not violent but gentle (1 Tim. 3.3; Titus 1.7), not quarrelsome (1 Tim. 3.3), not arrogant (Titus 1.7), not quick-tempered (Titus 1.7), not a lover of money (1 Tim. 3.3; Titus 1.7), upright (Titus 1.8), holy (Titus 1.8), disciplined (Titus 1.8)

  18. Relational • “A man of one woman” (1 Tim. 3.2; Titus 1.6), Children submissive (1 Tim. 3.4; Titus 1.6), Children are believers (Titus 1.6), Well thought of by outsiders (1 Tim. 3.7)

  19. Practical • “Able men” (Ex. 18.21), A man who has been taught sound doctrine (Titus 1.9), Able to teach sound doctrine (1 Tim. 3.2; Titus 1.9), Able to rebuke (Titus 1.9), Manage Household well (1 Tim. 3.4-5), Not a recent convert (1 Tim. 3.6)

  20. Other Qualifications • Must be Male (1 Tim. 3.2, Titus 1.6; 1 Tim. 2.12) • Must be willing to serve (1 Tim. 3.1) • Must be able to have unity with the pastor and elders (NOT uniformity, but unity) • In Faith (Titus 1.9) • In Purpose (Amos 3.3; Eph. 4.3) • Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren’t going to the same place? Amos 3.3 (The Message)

  21. Book of Church Order and FPCC Requirements • Willing and available to serve • Able to subscribe to the WCF, WLC & WSC and BCO as containing the system of doctrine and government taught in the Bible • Able to endorse the Vision & Mission of FPCC as approved by the Session • Able to take the Vows of Eldership

  22. Principles • Observable • “A long obedience in the same direction” - Eugene Peterson • Sustained • Not perfect but forgiven and an established motif of newness in the areas of qualification

  23. The qualifications are given as guidelines to help us select good, faithful men to serve us in the leadership of the church. There are no perfect men and the qualifications are not designed to find perfect men. But they will help us get an eldership that is fully qualified to do the work God has assigned. Praise God for these good men who have the desire to do this important and sobering work.” - David Posey, FocusMagazine

  24. Final Thoughts

  25. Jerry Stapella and why as Pastor, "I love elders."“We called him the Italian Stallion. He is at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and his name is Jerry Stapella. This man owns a yacht air conditioning business in Fort Lauderdale. He looks like Hoss Cartwright on steroids. You don’t want to fool with this guy! He is now almost blind and walks with a cane, but I still would not take him on. He is as tough as nails. He was led to Christ by Dr. James Kennedy and later he became a ruling elder at Coral Ridge. If I could go back before that time and show you the life of Jerry Stapella, it would not be pretty. There were lots of loose ends. But if I could show you the sweet beautiful man of God packed into that giant body, you would marvel. That big man became a giant ruling elder, in life, in faith, and in service—just like the photo. But he does one thing that reminds me of how important it is to look for the man of God’s choice and lay hands on him. Jim Kennedy has severe back problems. (Ben Haden has back problems. I have back problems. I think there is something in the Bible about preachers having to be predisposed to back problems before being ordained.) Every now and then, Dr. Kennedy can’t get out of bed. Ann, Dr. Kennedy’s wife, calls Jerry Stapella. Jerry comes over and literally lifts Dr. Kennedy out of bed and carries his pastor to where he needs to go. That is the picture; that is the portrait of an elder.Sometimes pastors need to be carried. And we need strong but loving elders who can help carry them and help carry the ministry.The truth is, behind that portrait of an elder carrying a weak pastor is the picture of Jesus Christ carrying you. We are all weak, and we all need to be carried. Each and every one of us ought to think not only about church leadership, but also about our response to Christ and to recognize that we are prone to wonder, that we need our Shepherd.You see, the portrait of an elder approved of God is the portrait of a man who looks like Jesus, who lovingly comes to us and carries us…all the way home.” - From a sermon, “Portrait of An Elder Approved by God” by Mike Milton

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