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Qualifying The Man of God



 "For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict."
Good Morning My Beloved,

Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We are so very grateful for our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world, we are so thankful that you are all with us today.

I would like to encourage you to visit our Prayer Wall, not only to pray for our brothers and sisters in their time of need, but to also add any prayers or concerns that you may have as well. We are all called to pray with and for one another, in keeping with the commands of our Lord.

As many of you know, I recently lost my dad on April 3, after an extended illness. Several hours after his passing, my son, who is 20 years old, was rushed into the hospital. I ask that you would also keep my family in your prayers. 


My heart is heavy this morning, not only for my families loss, but for the church. I believe there a great need to direct the church's attention back to the issue of who is qualified to minister. Because the church today, does not have enough qualified people in the ministry, the church is severely lacking in godly role models in which to follow, the people of God are suffering tremendously in the areas of godliness, sanctification and righteousness and therefore, the church has descended to an all time low level of spiritual living. I am deeply, deeply concerned.

I am concerned about what I say, needs to heard by those who are evaluating there own lives, deciding whether or not they are suited for the ministry because they need to understand the nature of these standards and requirements. I am also concerned because it may get into the hands of those who want to keep qualified people from getting into the ministry. That those who sit on church committees, those who select the leaders of the church, those who are pushing less than sound doctrine, a culturally pleasing doctrine, will attempt to use what I say to discourage them, and ultimately disqualify those who would become godly leaders.

I am terribly concerned about the kind of person who is being allowed to preach the Word of God from the pulpits of the churches today. I am concerned about the whole issue of church leadership, yet I am called to implore those who evaluating these people back to the standards that are explicitly given in Scripture. It is not complex, it is not difficult to understand. They are obvious and very, very clear. They are given to us in a number of places throughout the pastoral epistles, including I Timothy 3, and in our text Titus chapter 1.

Obviously, I want to teach and preach the Word of God, however, I also want to pour myself into those men who would be men who could effectively minister as pastors and elders in the church. I want to build them up and prepare them for the high honor and great privilege of the calling. I want those who are qualified, who meet the criteria, who have been blessed by God, given the gift of teaching the Word of God, to pursue the ministry, not by their own talent but by through the goodness and the grace of God, and the Holy Spirit who works within them to make them suitable for ministry. I want to make every effort to encourage them, because we are living in an age, where those who stand in the pulpits of the churches today, are more inclined to think of themselves as business men, social media sensations, philosophers or entertainers.

Let us bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

Father, we do thank You for this time in Your powerful truth, found in Your rich Word today. Thank You for those that You have gathered with us for this message. Father, I pray that You would speak through me, that those who need to hear this message, would take it to heart and apply it to their lives. Lord, we are not fit for such a task except by Your grace. I want them to understand that it is Your grace that has gifted us. That it is Your grace that has called us.  And it is Your grace that has done it all.

Father, thank You for all those men in churches elsewhere who fit these standards, these qualifications, who are the kind of men You want in Your church, giving it spiritual leadership. Lord, I thank You for those men and ask that You would speak to their hearts. I pray that You would preserve and protect them in the coming days, that You would keep them above reproach, that they might know and experience the fullness of a life of effective ministry, that they be the godly, Christ like role models that others can follow.

Father, I thank You for keeping me, and preserving me from the scandalous sin that seems to plague so many in Your churches today. Thank You for that. I pray that You would continue to hold me to Your standards, that I might be useful to You, that I might be a pattern for others to follow, so that there would be many more qualified teachers in the generations to come. May it all be for Your glory and for Christ's sake.
In Christ's precious name

Today's Message: Qualifying The Man of God

As I was preparing for our message today, which of course, is a very challenging task for me because the Holy Spirit is always at work in my life, therefore, I am always in the process of examining my own heart, my own actions and motives, constantly coming to the realization of how unworthy I am of such a high calling. Understanding that in this life, I can never fully attain the standard, that I can never be good enough but only in some small measure, all by the goodness of God, the grace of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, I have been called to teach the Word, called to the very high standard as set forth in His Word, of which I cannot attain. I am so grateful for His calling on my life, and for His amazing grace that allows me the opportunity to serve such a holy God, while striving to be a man of godly character, and integrity who practices what he preaches. And I am constantly reminded, that no sermon is greater than the life of the man behind it. Because the spiritual qualifications for leadership in the church are non- negotiable, they are set firmly in God's Word.
Open with me your Bibles to Titus chapter 1, as we continue our study of this portion of God's Word, we are studying the qualification of the qualifications, the character required for a pastor. I believe that they are in part, what determines whether or not, a man has been truly called by God to the ministry. That the call for ministry comes from God, attended by the kind of life that only God can produce. Yet, church boards and pulpit committees, continue to offer the opportunity for ministry, to those who are unqualified, who have in fact, never been called to the ministry in the first place, man in whom these qualifications simply do not exist.
I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read to set the text in our minds, as we prepare our hearts for the Spirit of God is saying to us. Titus 1:7-9

"For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict."
Following the establishment of a church, the appointment of pastors and elders must qualify as one of the most important tasks facing the church today. Obviously, this task was a high priority for the Apostle Paul, since we are told in Scripture, that he, in concert with Barnabas, appointed elders in each church.
Paul specifically directed Titus to complete this very important work of appointing elders to serve the various churches established in Crete. Since many of the professed saints of God appear confused about the definition of a church; therefore, it should not be the least bit surprising that believers appear to be cavalier about the responsibility of appointment of elders. 
One of the Apostle Paul's primary prescriptions, was to get the churches on a solid foundation was to appoint qualified godly leaders. I cannot help but to wonder what would happen in the churches today, if they were to apply the Apostle Paul’s prescription by the removing of unqualified men from office of pastorate and replaced them with godly men, who were both qualified and called to serve as church leaders. I cannot help but to believe, that the churches would lose a lot of people, however, I believe that God would bless us with genuine revival!
So what is it, that qualifies a congregation to be identified as a New Testament church? To put it in the simplest of terms, a New Testament church is a congregation that reflects the characteristics of churches described in the New Testament. And, therefore, by that criterion, we must note that many of those churches were obviously terribly dysfunctional and severely flawed; as are we. We do not wish to cast the churches of that era in mythical proportions; because the congregations in that day, were composed of sinners just as the churches of today are saturated with sinners.
We also see in the New Testament church, that Christ runs His church through a plurality of spiritually mature men, called elders or overseers, who are called to shepherd His flock. I want to be clear here, that these men were not elected in the popular sense of that term, but rather, they were officially recognized by the church by virtue of their meeting the qualifications that are given in I Timothy 3 and here in Titus 1. I believe that it is vital for the health of the church today, that we fully understand these qualifications and carefully apply them in officially recognizing those who are to be elders, according to both the Bible's blueprint and the personal experiences of the elders in their application of these truths. 
A more detailed explanation of the New Testament church as an assembly of individuals who have believed the Good News that Jesus is the Son of God. Believing that He is God, they are convinced that He was crucified because of their sin and that He was raised from the dead. Openly confessing faith in Jesus as Christ, the twice-born persons will have been baptized—immersed in water, envisioning their confidence in His death, burial and resurrection. United to the Risen Savior through faith, these redeemed and obedient believers regularly and voluntarily meet to worship Christ as the Son of God. 
And, through their mutual worship, they build one another, edifying one another in this holy faith, advancing the cause of Christ through winning others to the faith and incorporating them into the fellowship of the assembly. Gathered in assembly, the believers practice a congregational order, which calls each individual to submit to the teaching of the Word of God, seeking the Lord's appointment of those whom He wills to lead them in the Word. Those appointed to leadership within a congregation, who are to bear the title either of deacons or elders.
As a footnote, I'd like to point out that I do not believe that the criteria listed is in anyway exhaustive, in fact, there are five items listed in I Timothy that are lacking in Titus, whereas the list in Titus adds five additional items, that are lacking in I Timothy. So, this is not an exhaustive list. However, what is significant about both of these lists is that apart from the ability to teach God’s Word, both of these lists focus exclusively on godly character, and not on spiritual gifts or other abilities. 
Both lists begin with "above reproach" and both lists emphasize the man of God’s home life. And, that the majority of these required qualities are prescribed elsewhere in Scripture, for every believer, every follower of Christ, describing the person who is spiritually mature. Allow me to also note that spiritual maturity does not occur according to some dramatic experience, which causes the person to become instantaneously spiritually mature. Spiritual mature takes time and effort, because one must discipline himself for the purposes of godliness. It is important to also note,  that no one, including myself, meets these qualifications perfectly. However, that said, it is vital that man who is to be recognized as an elder in the church should not have any glaring violations either. Therefore, his overall character should reflect spiritual maturity.
The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:12-16, "Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained."
Although the term "above reproach" is used in verses 6 and 7, is to sum up a man’s home life and his personal character. The Greek word that Paul uses in Titus is different than the word in I Timothy 3, although the intended meaning is essentially the same. It implies that there is to be nothing in the man’s life for which a charge or accusation could be brought against him. He is to be a man of integrity. He is not to live one way at church and another way at home. His wife and children would affirm that he displays the fruit of the Spirit at home. And, if he sins, which given the fact that he is a man, he is human, therefore, he surely will, he is quick to confess it and ask God for forgiveness. 
While there are a number of interpretations and conclusions that many have come to when reading these verses, I believe that it is obvious, that the Apostle Paul is focusing on a man’s present spiritual maturity, not at sins that he may have committed in years past. For example, if a man used to be self-willed, quick-tempered, addicted to alcohol? While there are some who would claim that these past offenses, these previous evidences of spiritual immaturity, would disqualify or prohibit him from ever becoming an elder? If that were so, I would then have to ask, who could qualify? So, in other words, Paul is more concerned with present godly character, rather than with past immature behavior of the man. 
I would remind of of our Lord's Words in John chapter 8, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone.."  
His life is under the control of the Holy Spirit, he is not enslaved to lust. He does not view pornography. He should be a man who has a track record, is proven to being above reproach in both spiritual and moral purity.Allow me to point out, that this this requirement does not eliminate a single man from being called as a pastor, as long as he is morally pure, including his thought life.
Paul tells us in I Corinthians 7:7-9, "Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion."
Nor does not mean that an elder must have children, however, if he does, they must be under his control.
I must share with you, that this particular qualification also has created a lot of debate.Posing the question does it mean "believing," or "faithful," Is it referring to children who are still under the father’s roof, or does it also apply to adult children? I believe that the view that all of a man’s children, whether younger or older, must be believers, goes too far in that it puts on the elder the responsibility for his children’s genuine conversion, which is beyond anyone’s control. Many godly men have had children who have rebelled against God, in spite of the father’s godly example, in spite of his conscientious attempts to bring his child to saving faith.
Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it." There are many who would argue that if a child goes astray, it means that the father failed to bring him up properly. But that is to misinterpret that verse. The Book of Proverbs is not a book of ironclad promises, but rather a book giving general maxims about life. Generally, if you train a child properly, he will grow up to follow the Lord. However, there are always exceptions to this. As important as a father’s example and training are, ultimately salvation is a supernatural act of God. While God certainly uses godly parents in this process, no actions on the part of the most godly father can guarantee the salvation of his children.
Those who are called, who are appointed to serve as elders are charged with the responsibility to oversee the work of God, providing spiritual leadership for the members and assuming the role of shepherd over the flock. It is therefore, vital, that those who are appointed to these positions of leadership, must meet the biblical standard for such an appointment and that the appointment process be conducted according to biblical precepts.  
I believe, however, that the text today requires that we should carefully examine a man’s relationship with his children. Is he a model of godly behavior, not just in the church, but in the home? Does he conscientiously train his children in the ways of the Lord? Does he pray and read the Bible with his family? I believe that if he indeed does, most, if not all, of his children will come to believe in Christ. If all or most of his children grow up and reject Christ, there is likely some error, some issue in this man's theology that home. We should probably not recognize him as an elder. On the other hand, if most of his children follow Christ, but one goes astray, in my belief that it does not necessarily disqualify the man as an elder. However, allow me to stress, that each situation must be prayerfully considered. Which ever view you may, I believe that Paul’s overall message is very, very clear; an elder must be a godly husband and father. 
The Apostle Paul repeats the qualification for an overseer as being one who is "above reproach" and then adds in verse 7, "as God’s steward." A steward was a household manager who was accountable to the owner for overseeing daily operations. I would to point out, that he church, is considered to be the household of God. Therefore, the elders or overseers who manage it, are under God’s authority and must give an account to Him. And, contrary to what I so often hear from pastors today, as a steward, this isn’t "my" church. The church belongs to God, it does not belong to any man. Christ has purchased with the blood of His own Son! As pastors. elders and overseers, we are just His stewards.
Paul then goes on to list five negative character flaws that an elder must not possess, followed by six positive qualities that he is required to possess. In verse 7, Paul says that "For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain," The first negative Paul lists, is he must not be self-willed. It literally means, "self-pleasing." It refers to a man who obstinately maintains asserts his own rights and opinions, and does not care about the rights, feelings, and interests of others. The self-willed man often takes the contrary view because he loves to assert himself and wield his power over others. He never admits he was wrong. He is not a team player. If he acts in such self-willed ways in the church or with other elders, you can assume that he runs his family like a drill sergeant. The point is, do not make this man an elder! 
The second negative Paul mentions is that he must "not quick-tempered," because a quick-tempered man is always a spark away from blowing up. The quick-tempered man generally uses his anger to intimidate or control others, in order to get his own way. He is typically also a self-willed man. 
James tell us in chapter 1:19-20, "This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God."
The third negative is "not addicted to wine," which translates the Greek word "paroinon."  As a footnote, Paul also mention this requirement in I Timothy 3, in which he says "not being alongside wine." Wine by the way, includes all alcoholic beverages. To be clear, while Scripture does not prohibit drinking alcoholic beverages, it does however, warn us about the dangers of wine and strong drink, especially for leaders.
Proverbs 20:1, tells us that "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise."  Drunkenness is always a sin. I'd like to note, that church leaders must be especially careful, in order not to cause another believer to stumble. If another believer, has had issues with alcohol in the past,  and my example causes him to fall back into his former ways, then I am some ways, responsible. If an elder chooses to drink, which I strongly advise against it, he must always be aware of his example to the flock!
Now, I have had a number of people who say, "Well, Jesus drank wine! So if it's in the Bible than it's alright for me too." Now to first put that in perspective, you will need to understand that there was no refrigeration. Therefore, any kind of juice standing in the heat, would ferment. Even new wine, "gleukos," as the Greek word indicates, would ferment rather quickly. So, because of this, they took several precautions, the first of which, was to mix the wine with water, and as much as eight parts of water to one part of wine. The fermented wine, with it's disinfectant capability, would actually purify the water, making it more suitable for drinking. The second thing that they did was to boil it. They boiled down the wine, which evaporated the alcohol content, leaving a paste, which by the way, they would spread much the same way we do jam today. This thick paste could be stored in skins. Then, at some point, a thick syrup could be squeezed out and mixed with water. That wine, since is did not ferment, was non-alcoholic. There was another type of wine, which mixed so significantly with water, that you couldn't get drunk off of it. Simply because your stomach could hold enough of it to achieve a drunken state. It was not like the wine that we have today, which comes straight from the fruit and is intentionally fermented, which is the point, to make it intoxicating, at least to some extent.
The fourth negative that Paul mentions is "not pugnacious," this, by the way, is only used here and in I Timothy 3:3, which basically means someone that hits you. The Lexicon says a "striker," or "giver of blows." Paul mentions this because apparently in ancient times, that was a way often used to resolve conflict. While it is certainly still a way, even today, most of us are a bit more dignified than to resort to that kind of behavior!
In II Timothy 2:24-26, Paul says "The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."
The fifth negative that Paul mentions, is "not fond of sordid gain," In I timothy 3:3, Paul says "free from the love of money." While money itself is not evil, however, it is dangerous., because it is like a loaded gun. It can be quite useful, when used appropriately, it can certainly bring harm to others, if used unwisely. Greedy men are not godly men, therefore are not qualified to be elders. The point being, greed can cause them to take advantage of others financially, or embezzle church funds.
In verse 8, Paul then lists the positive characteristics necessary of those who are to be considered. "but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled." But hospitable, is the Greek word, "philoxenon." Which literally means "loving strangers." Again, allow to point out, this should be characteristic of every follower of Christ, however, it is especially important for elders. If an elder is not loving and warm toward others, the entire congregation of the church is likely to reflect that indifference. Hospitality, essentially means taking a genuine interest in others and making them feel welcomed.
The second positive is "loving what is good." Negatively, it means that he does not fill his mind with violence, pornography and the like. Positively, it means he fills his mind with the things Paul describes in Philippians 4:8, "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise."
The third positive Paul mentions, is he must be "sensible." which is the Greek word "sōphrona,"
it means to be of sound mind, self-controlled. In other words, he is not to be impulsive. The sensible man is not swayed to extremes by his emotions. He doesn’t give in to impulses that would be sinful or harmful to others. Rather, he is level headed, living in light of his priorities and commitments. 
The fourth positive is he must be "just," translated from the Greek word "dikaion." Meaning he is correct, or righteous. This is referring to a man who is not partial to those with status or wealth, but is fair and equitable in his dealings with others.
The fifth positive is he must be "devout," meaning practical holiness, being separated from sin and evil behavior. This does not, however, mean being separated from sinners. In fact, our Lord Jesus was a friend of sinners. In other words, a devout man takes the Word of God very seriously.
The sixth positive, is being "self-controlled," meaning he refrains from anything that would hinder him from his goal. It is important that an elder have control over harmful habits and desires, that would interfere with his knowing Christ more intimately. This is a man who is well disciplined in spending time in God's Word and in prayer.
In verse 9, Paul writes "holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict." Holding fast means to cling to or be devoted to. The pastor is to be disciplined not only in reading, studying and constantly learning the Word of God, but also have a zeal for pure doctrine, as never to depart from it. These strong convictions, ultimately flow out of the first quality. In other words, the more you read and study the great doctrines of the faith, the more you come to appreciate God’s grace as shown to you through Jesus Christ. This is especially important, because there are some doctrines that you must hold fast to and defend because if you deny them, you are no longer a Christian in the biblical sense of the word.allow me to mention these as an example, the trinitarian nature of God; the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, Christ's substitutionary atonement on the cross; salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and the bodily resurrection and ascension of Jesus into heaven. Allow me to clearly point out, this is in no way an exhaustive list. However, if you buy into error, this leads to a denial of fundamental truths. For example, "open theism" denies the sovereignty and omniscience of God, which has huge implications on your belief and view of God!
While we must contend for the truth, we need to contend for the truth in love. Therefore, we must refrain from the love of the feeling from winning a debate, but rather, we must love God and His truth above all. It would certainly be considered hypocrisy to exhort people to follow God’s Word, yet not the follow the instruction given in God's Word yourself.
One who is called, or who is considered for the pastorate must be able "to exhort in sound doctrine." The word sound means healthy, and doctrine means teaching. I have encountered a number of Christians who do not like the doctrinal portions of God's Word. They would rather be given what they "need to know," meaning the practical stuff and leaving the doctrine to the theologians. However, the Apostle Paul's typical pattern, used in his epistles, is to lay out the doctrine in the first half, before moving on to the practical in the second half.
Paul ends verse 9, with "to refute those who contradict." Paul is saying we must be able refute false teaching. I believe that a pastor is required to have essentially two voices, one to gather the flock, and the other to ward off the wolves, who would intend to bring harm to them. Fortunately, God's Word equips him with the capability of doing both. However, we need not be intentionally offensive, neither should we be so nice that we end up compromising the truth.
I am sure you recall that when Paul confronted the heresy in Galatia. He did not say, "You know we have a lot in common with these Judaizers, we agree on may things, but there's just some stuff that we disagree on. And that's O.K." 
Allow me to remind you of what Paul did say in Galatians 1:6-9, "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!"
In Closing...
The man of God must hold firmly to and boldly teach God’s Word in truth, never compromising, or sugar coating these vital truths. He must be himself strong in the Lord, he must preach messages that exhort in sound doctrine and refutes those who contradict it.Over the years, there has been terrible damage to Christ's church because of unqualified men, who have been placed in positions of leadership. 
Unbelievers mock God and the church and find justification to continue in their sins. Believers who are not built up, who are the least bit shaky in their faith, and can be easily harmed by such influences. Therefore, I strongly believe, that it is absolutely imperative that we, as Christ's church, only put into leadership men who are spiritually mature, as demonstrated in their home life and in their personal character.
May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Copyright © 2019-2021 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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      " Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2  and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. 3  But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one . 4  We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. 5  May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ." II Thessalonians 3:1-5     Good Morning my beloved,   Welcome to all of our beloved brothers and sisters, from all around the world, who have been prompted to join us today. We are glad to have you here!   I believe that peace, encouragement and good hope are present realities for any true believer. It stands in stark contrast to what the world offers. In the face of life's challenges, discouragements persecution, and shattered dreams, God brings encouragement to th