Joshua and Judges: The doctrine of leadership part 1 - good and bad ambition. 1Ti 3:1-13

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: The doctrine of leadership part 1 - good and bad ambition. 1TI 3:1-13


Announcements / opening prayer:  



The doctrine of leadership.


1. Good and bad ambition.


1TI 3:1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.


"aspires" - ovre,gomai [oregomai] = to reach or stretch out. Always in the middle voice - the subject acts in relation to himself and with a vested interest.


Paul is not condemning ambition, but in fact states that it is a fine work that he is ambitious for.  


JER 45:5

'But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them;


Of course, we all know the great evil that can accompany ambition, so how do we balance Paul's and Jeremiah's words?


When Paul writes his encouragement, a pastor or a deacon faced great danger and worrisome responsibility. Phonies would have little heart for such a difficult assignment. In fact, at this time, with such foreseen pressure and hardship, men with gifts of leadership needed encouragement and incentive to lead.


The ambition to serve the Lord and others is good.

The ambition for wealth, power, fame, and pleasure is evil.


Any failings in any area must be accompanied by grace. 1JO 1:10

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. We cannot put undue pressure on ourselves and maintain the happiness of God. We must have grace orientation towards others as well as ourselves. We are all going to fail in our attempts at virtue from time to time. We must recover and move on as we saw Joshua do.


It is motivation that determines ambitions character. [Chambers]


We are each given a spiritual gift in which we are to excel and we are to determine within ourselves to excel even more.


1CO 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.


1CO 12:5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.


1CO 12:6 And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.


1CO 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.


God calls His leaders when they are prepared. Their proper ambition is to prepare themselves until God promotes them. They are not to promote themselves. Moses and Joshua were both called to their positions, yet there were some who attempted to appoint themselves which resulted in a lot of damage done to themselves as well as others. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram rose up against Moses along with 250 of the elite in Israel and demanded that they take over the high priesthood from Aaron. They and all their families were disciplined severely.


We must always look to excel even more in our spiritual lives and in the function of our gifts and to do so in grace. You belong to God and He causes the growth.


1TH 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more.


1TH 4:10 But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more,


1TH 4:11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you;


The Greek word translated "ambition" here gives us great insight into good motivation that produces virtuous ambition.


"ambition" - filotime,omai [philotimeomai] = philo: to love; time: honor - to love honor. To strive to bring something to pass, to be ambitious, to make it one's aim.


1TH 4:12 so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.


1CO 3:6

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.


So then, if we get back to Paul's encouragement of those who seek the office of overseer, we read on and understand his warnings as to what makes a good leader in the church who will do God's will.


1TI 3:1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.


1TI 3:2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,


"above reproach" - avnepi,lhptoj [anepileptos] = cannot be laid hold of. An overseer must be of such a spotless character that no one can lay hold upon anything in his life which would be of such a nature as to cast reproach upon the cause of the Lord Jesus.


He presents to the world at large such a Christian life that he furnishes no grounds for accusation. Expositors says: "It is not enough for him to be not criminal; he must be one against whom it is impossible to bring any charge of wrong doing such as could stand impartial examination. He must be without reproach."


Husband of one wife contains anarthrous nouns, i.e. no definite article, and so they emphasize the character of the man who is an overseer.


It's not just enough that he has one wife instead of two, but since character is emphasized by the Greek construction, the pastor should be a man who loves only one woman as his wife.


His devotion in love to his wife flows forth from his character as does his love and devotion for God’s church.


Temperate - self control

Prudent - of sober mind

Respectable - modest, orderly

Hospitable - agape strangers

Able to teach - skilled teacher


These should also be true of the politician or any other leader. He or she should be a skilled statesman. When people are elected because of popularity or because they promise a bunch of free stuff then we have elected people who are unqualified to lead.


1TI 3:3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious [brawler], but gentle, uncontentious [not eager and ready to fight], free from the love of money.


Intoxicating liquors are not forbidden, but temperance is in view. The Greek words refer to drunken violence or being quarrelsome over wine. Expositors states that the phrase refers to a violent temper.


Drinking is not forbidden, but drunkenness is. The line between moderation and intoxication has to be determined between the believer and the Lord. In arrogance or lust he may push that line too far and in the same arrogance one may judge another for drinking. None of us are ever given a commission to determine sin or a level of sin in another believer's life. It doesn't matter that you may be right about it. All believers are priests before the Lord and represent themselves before the Lord.  


Free from the love of money - eliminates the wrong motivation to get into the ministry.


The leader is to serve the congregation or organization. He cannot serve them while simultaneously serving money.


LUK 16:13

"No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."


1TI 3:4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity


1TI 3:5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?);


1TI 3:6 and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.


The new convert does not have the maturity to have the virtues mentioned and so his presence in front the congregation will only go to his head. The devil fell for this very reason - conceit.


The Greek word translated conceited means to be lifted up with pride or literally to emit smoke or to smolder. In other words there's lots of smoke but hardly any fire.


EZE 28:15

"You were blameless in your ways

From the day you were created,

Until unrighteousness was found in you.


EZE 28:17

"Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;

You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.


Conceit is obviously the wrong motivation. If a new convert is entrusted to teach the word of God then he will become arrogant and proud, which leads to terrible leadership.


1TI 3:7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.


The snare of the devil here likely refers to the belief that what is in the world is always wrong. There are always some fragments of truth in the world.


We may gather this from the phrase - "those outside the church."


This is the same as the zero tolerance agenda where a child makes the shape of a gun with his fingers and he is suspended from school. Everything must be looked at with wisdom and proper judgment.


As we have studied, even in paganism there are always some fragments of truth, as small as they may be. The same is true in the world system.