And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. — 1 Timothy 3:10
Brother Loyce Carver, who served for nearly twenty-nine years as leader of the Apostolic Faith organization, understood how important it was to be “found blameless” in terms of one’s Christian testimony. He often told of the blessing he found in making right a seemingly insignificant incident.
Brother Carver would relate that in the South where he grew up, the farmers always planted more watermelons than necessary because it was expected that some would be stolen by the teenage boys in the community. The unspoken rule was that it was all right to take the watermelons as long as they were eaten — it was not acceptable to crack them open and leave a mess, or use them to vandalize property. Because helping oneself to watermelon was a generally accepted part of his southern culture, it was not considered stealing by the Christians of the community.
As a young lad, Brother Carver and his friends occasionally took advantage of this “opportunity” for a refreshing snack on hot summer days. However, after he was saved, the Lord reminded him about those watermelons, and he paid the farmers for the watermelons he had taken. Everyone in the community heard about it when the checks started to arrive! One farmer even returned the money and told Brother Carver to contribute it to his church instead.
More than thirty years later, Brother and Sister Carver visited the same community in Tennessee, and Brother Carver was asked to speak at a gathering on the church grounds. After he finished, one of the men who had stolen watermelons with him as a boy yelled out so everyone could hear, “Hey, Carver! Remember the watermelons we used to steal?” Brother Carver replied, “Yes, I do! I paid for mine; did you?” He later told how thankful he was that he had followed the leading of the Lord and made that restitution!
The value of a clear conscience and a blameless life cannot be overestimated. Today, let’s ask ourselves, Does my Christian life bear scrutiny? Is it above reproach? God can and will help us to make sure it is!
Chapter 3 of 1 Timothy continues the Apostle’s focus on public worship, with a shift in emphasis from concerns about proper church order in Ephesus, to an explanation of ministerial qualifications.
Today’s Scripture talks about two levels of church leadership. The word translated as bishop means “pastor, church leader, or presiding elder.” Although in current usage the word deacon refers to one in a position of leadership or authority in the church, the word translated deacon in this passage simply means “one who serves.” Deacons were initially chosen for waiting on tables and other situation-specific ministries. (For example, Stephen was one of the original seven deacons appointed to serve the Early Church concerning the needs of Greek-speaking widows.) The requirements for deacons were very similar to those for bishops, making it clear that what must be true of leaders in the work of God ought to be true of every believer.
The phrase “the husband of one wife” in verse 2 is simply an injunction against being married wrongly in God’s sight or of promiscuity as a married individual. This does not prohibit an unmarried man from becoming a leader, or a widower from remarrying.
Verse 3 contains the stipulation that those in leadership roles must not be “greedy of filthy lucre,” nor “covetous.” Since church leaders would be responsible for church finances, only a person who had been completely delivered from any spirit of covetousness could be safely set apart for the duties of the ministry.
Verses 14 through 16 are a transition in Paul’s epistle from the prior section on public worship to the practical instructions and exhortations which conclude the book. The phrase “how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God” indicates the thoughtful care that should always mark the work of the church. In addition to a right order in church services and a proper chain of command in church structure, there must also be a policy of correct behavior within the church in order for God’s work to function properly.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. Charge concerning church order
B. The leadership of the church (3:1-13)
1. The office of overseer (3:1-7)
a. The honor of the office (3:1)
b. The qualifications for the office (3:2-7)
2. The office of deacon (3:8-13)
a. The qualifications for the office (3:8-12)
b. The reward of the office (3:13)
C. The reasons for the charge to church order (3:14-16)
1. Because of Paul’s absence (3:14)
2. Because of Timothy’s responsibility (3:15)
3. Because of the truth possessed by the church (3:16)
May our godly behavior demonstrate each day that Christianity is real and the very thing that all men need.