Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Thursday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on September 10, 2020 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: 1 Timothy 3:1-16 (NKJV)
3:1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
14 These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.
Having addressed the significance of the order of creation to the Church, St. Paul turns to the necessary qualifications for consideration of those men who may be called to the office of the ministry. As St. Timothy and St. Titus were charged with examining such men as might be ordained to the one office of the ministry, whether serving as bishops, presbyters, or deacons, the holy apostle sets forth such criteria as form an important aspect of such examinations to this day.
The words of 1 Timothy 2 have already very clearly taught that no woman may be considered for the office of the ministry; the point of what St Paul sets forth in chapter 3 is that many Christian men within the congregation are also not to be called to this office, lest scandal ensue.
And the criteria which are set forth are those for consideration of a man for his ordination. Removal from office centers around three points of offense: false doctrine, impenitent immoral life, and willful neglect of the duties of the office (and the assessment of those duties is according to the biblical standard, not something which people imagine should be the duties of the office). Service in the ministry is troubled by many afflictions from without and within, and that situation is only made worse when there are many within the Church who desire something else from their pastors besides faithful preaching, teaching, and administration of the Sacraments. And it is only made worse when pastors share in that confusion.
Prayer: Almighty and Everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and that we may obtain that which Thou dost promise, make us to love that which Thou dost command; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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