Memorial Day: Pray We, and Our Children, are Good People (1 Timothy 3:1-7)
Praying Scripture Series
Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes on May 27 for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH
Today is Memorial Day and I have to say I am so very grateful to all of our veterans. I am so grateful for all those that died serving our country. When I was a young boy I was in Cub Scout and on the Saturday before Memorial Day we would go to the Veterans Administration Cemetery and put flags by all the graves. My brother and I always wanted to get to my grandfather’s grave to put a flag next to his grave.
As I think of Memorial Day I also think of being good citizens. Christians must be the best and most upstanding citizens of our country. We must be good people. We must be responsible. We must have the best ethics. We must be the hardest workers We must have the most integrity. We must be dependable. We must be the kindest.
You know that I love history. I was recently listening to a history book on the Revolutionary war. That is my favorite time period. In my opinion, one thing about the United States up until World War II we were a country made up of dedicated citizens. We were people who did not like to depend upon anyone else or the government. We were hard workers. We had good financial stewardship. We were frugal and did not like to be in debt. We took all these great qualities into the military with us. Our founding fathers were dedicated men and their wives were every bit as dedicated. John Adams is one of my favorite men. He was a completely dedicated man, but so was his wife. John and Abigail Adams were faithful to each other through everything. They were also faithful each other. But I do not think he was faithful to God. It is said that he was a unitarian. George Washington was faithful to his wife and it seems very faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. Washington was a good man, and good gentleman.
What does it mean to be a good person? I know the Bible teaches that no one is good, no not one (Romans 3:10-12). That is true, we all miss the mark of holiness and we all need Jesus. But you know what I mean when someone says, that person is a good person? Christians ought to be that way.
We continue the sermon series on Scriptures to pray for your children. Some could ask: “Could this series be titled: “Scriptures to pray with your children?” I would say, yes, as long as they are still Scriptures to pray for your children. Not only that, these are Scriptures to pray for yourself and for your spouse and for your church and for the other churches. These are Scriptures to pray. We must pray the Word of God.
Today, we come to 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9. These two passages are God’s standard for leadership. However, they ought to be two passages that we all strive for AND PRAY FOR. These two passages could be summed up with the idea of PURSUING HOLINESS AND THEREFORE HAVING A GOOD REPUTATION WITH THOSE OUTSIDE THE CHURCH. How do we do this? We DON’T. We let the Holy Spirit do it through us. We pray this passage. In summary:
I desire that Meagan and I and our descendants are good people who strive to live by these expectations. I further desire that we understand these patterns of behavior are expected in church leaders. Therefore, that has been my prayer.
I will pray: “Lord, I ask that Meagan and I, Mercedes and Abigail, their spouses, and our descendants strive to live by the 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 expectations of church leaders, whether they are in leadership or not. Further, Lord I ask that Meagan and I and our descendants hold true to these expectations within the church. I pray that we teach and train the church what patterns of behavior we must expect from our leadership.”
I pray that myself and my descendants live out 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9, but we will only focus on 1 Timothy 3:1-7 today.
Let’s look at 1 Timothy 3:1-7:
It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6 and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
- Let’s briefly look at 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
- In 1 Timothy 3:1-7 we have instructions for overseers or elders.
- In 1 Timothy 3:8-13 we have instructions for deacons and their wives.
- In verses 1-7, Paul begins and ends this section with the same theme, the idea of being above reproach and then the idea of being respected by those outside the church.
- When I talk about this passage I believe Paul is talking about “patterns” of behavior. These are patterns we should expect in church leaders.
- These are also patterns we should expect all Christians to try to live up to.
- It is also important that you as a congregation understand that our leaders are called to a higher standard. I read the following: Congregations that would accept a member of a cohabiting unmarried couple as a lay leader: 31 percent Congregations that would accept a member of an openly homosexual couple as a lay leader: 23 percent
- We start to give a little and we end up giving a lot.
- Let’s look at the full list of vices to stay away from. These are from 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
- We must pray that we and our children stay away from the appearance of sin in our life.
- We must pray that we and our children are not be addicted to wine. (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).
- We must pray that we and our children are not pugnacious or quick to argue (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).
- We must pray that we and our children are free from the love of money (1 Timothy 3:3).
- We must pray that we and our children are not fond of sordid gain (Titus 1:7).
- Understand that staying away from these and pursuing what I am about to talk about makes us good citizens and Christians pursuing God. They make us trustworthy.
- Business Leader Identifies the Importance of Trust
- In his book The Trust Edge, business consultant David Horsager contends, “Trust, not money, is the currency of business and life.” He points to a 2009 research study called the “Edelman Trust Barometer.” The study, based on interviews with over 4,000 people in twenty countries, highlighted the importance of a company’s ability to build trust.
- For instance, when people trust a company:
- 91 percent chose to buy from them
- 76 percent recommended them to a friend
- 55 percent will pay a premium to do business with them
- 42 percent share positive experiences online
- 26 percent bought shares
- In contrast, the study also found that when people distrust a company:
- 77 percent refuse to buy from them
- 72 percent criticized them to a friend or colleague
- 34 percent shared their negative experiences online
- 17 percent sold shares
- Christians must be trustworthy.
- Here are the full list of virtues to pursue and pray for. These include Titus 1:5-9:
- We must pray that we and our children will be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).
- We must pray that we are our children will be a faithful husband or wife (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).
- We must pray that we and our children are temperate (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).
- We must pray that we and our children are prudent (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
- We must pray that we and our children are respectable (1 Timothy 3:2).
- We must pray that we and our children are hospitable (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
- We must pray that we and our children are able to teach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9), this means that we must be able to exhort sound doctrine and refute wrong doctrine.
- We must pray that we and our children are Gentle (1 Timothy 3:3).
- We must pray that we and our children are Peaceable (1 Timothy 3:3).
- We must pray that we and our children manage our own household well (1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:6).
- We must pray that we and our children are self controlled (Titus 1:8).
- We must pray that we and our children have a good reputation with those outside the church (1 Timothy 3:7).
- We must pray that we and our children are not be self willed (Titus 1:7)
- We must pray that we and our children are God’s steward (Titus 1:7)
- We must pray that we and our children will love what is good (Titus 1:8)
- We must pray that we and our children are just (Titus 1:8)
- We must pray that we and our children are devout (Titus 1:8)
- We must pray that we and our children are living a godly life
Leaders are called to lead and lead by example, but all Christians must aim high.
I read the following:
At the age of 23, Second Lieutenant Karl Marlantes was in charge of 40 marines during an intense battle in the Vietnam War. Marlantes had moved his men into the jungle as they waited for U.S. jets to bomb a hill that North Vietnamese soldiers had overtaken. Unfortunately, the jets came and dropped their bombs on the wrong hill. So when Marlantes led his men out of the jungle, they were instantly under fire from untouched machine-gun positions. Marlantes knew it would only take a few minutes before the enemy rockets and mortars found his troops. The entire mission ground to a halt as the U.S. soldiers ducked behind downed trees and huddled in shell holes.
Marlantes knew what he had to do next. He writes:
If I didn’t get up and lead, we’d get wiped out …. I did a lot of things that day … but the one I’m most proud of is that I simply stood up, in the middle of that flying metal, and started up the hill …. I simply ran forward up the steep hill, zigzagging for the bunker, all by myself, hoping [my own soldiers] wouldn’t hit me in the back. It’s hard to zigzag while running uphill loaded down with ammunition and grenades.
But then in the midst of his solo charge up the hill to take out the enemy, Marlantes suddenly saw some movement in his peripheral vision:
It was a marine! He was about 15 meters below me, zigzagging, falling, up and running again. Immediately behind him a long ragged line of Marines came moving and weaving up the hill behind me. Behind the line were spots of crumpled bodies, lying where they’d been hit. They’d all come with me …. Everyone was intermingled, weaving, rushing and covering, taking on each hole and bunker one at a time in groups …. We, the group, just rushed forward all at once. We couldn’t be stopped. Just individuals among us were stopped … but we couldn’t be …. I was we, no longer me.
Do you know Jesus?
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)
 Ted Olsen, “Go Figure,” Christianity Today magazine (May 2009); source: National Congregations Study