Wednesday, March 23, 2016

STUDIES IN TITUS (pt 13)

SOBERLY CONSISTENT

The leaders of the church

must be sober.



This is NOT speaking of having too much alcohol to drink, though many have taken that route in their understanding and application of this verse.

In other translations, the word “sober” is rendered “sober minded, sensible, self controlled, live wisely, master of himself”.

The word comes from σφρων (sphrōn ~ so'-frone) from the base of G4982 and that of G5424; safe (sound) in mind, i.e. self-controlled (moderate as to opinion or passion).

It is obvious, then, that Paul is speaking of someone who has his passions under control; someone who is not controlled by circumstances nor reacts strongly to the same.

Level-headed comes to mind.

It is someone who has prayed David’s prayer from Psalm 27:11 and lives in that experience:
“Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.”
The word “plain” in that verse means level, consistent. “Because of mine enemies” speaks to what Paul will tell us shortly about the purpose of all these particular qualifications for leaders.

We all know people who get overly excited when something good happens, and get terribly low when things don’t go as planned. I’ve known people like that who can shift from one to the other in a matter of minutes.
“God is awesome! I prayed for Sister Susie and she was immediately healed.” Phone rings. Long conversation. After the conversation, “Sometimes I wonder if God even knows that I’m alive. My wife just called and told me the bathroom has sprung a leak.”
Unstable. (James 1:8)

No rule over their own spirit. (Pro. 25:28)

We cannot have that kind of person in a leadership position in our churches.
If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan? (Jer. 12:5)
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. (Pro. 24:10)
Paul has already mentioned one of the negative sides of this requirement when he wrote “not soon angry.”

But, this one, “sober,” covers the full range of emotions and their outbursts. The passions must be under control.

You want someone in leadership that you can count on to “be there” when you need them, not wallowing in “the slough of despond(Pilgrim’s Progress) when you need to be encouraged.

Do pastors have their ups and downs?
Of course, they do.
Is it permissible?
Of course, it is.
Do they have good days and bad days?
Of course, they do.
Can they get excited when things are going well?
Of course, they can.
Can they get discouraged when things go awry?
Of course, they can.

Let us not forget that God has chosen human beings to run things for Him on this planet, and that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)

We are only dealing with the extremes in this requirement.

If you are not able to tell the difference, then please turn down any request to be on the pulpit committee or among those who recommend elders for the church.

Consistency is the key.

That is what you are looking for when considering someone for leadership.

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