Sermon 007 Elders and Women in Leadership


From: Paul, the planter of the church, stayed for 2 years (Acts 18:19-21; Acts 19)

Was there briefly, came back, baptized disciples of John. After sending Timothy to Macedonia, he called him back to lead the church, as Paul went on.

To: Timothy, pastor of the church of Ephesus (Acts 19:22; 1 Timothy 1:3)

  • Timothy was Paul's constant companion in the 50's and 60's.
  • He helped plant the churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Corinth, and Ephesus.
  • He functioned as Paul's stand in at Corinth and Ephesus. He was sent to Thessalonica to strengthen and encourage; to Corinth to remind the church of what Paul had taught; to Macedonia to prepare the way for Paul's arrival, and to Philippi to gather news for Paul and to encourage the church.
  • He seemed to be young, easily intimidated, and readily discouraged (1 Tim 4:11-12; 5:23; 2 Tim 1:6-7; 2:22)


  • Major port town; population of around 500,000 at its height.
  • Home to the famed temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
    • Her statue was believed to have fallen from heaven, and Ephesus was to be its gatekeeper.
    • Artemis was the goddess of small animals&and hunting&virginity&and childbearing.
    • Their worship of her was extreme: a 2-hour chanting session of "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians" is recorded in Acts 19.
  • Main issue with the church: false teaching.
    • Focused on myths and endless genealogies
    • They prohibited marriage
    • They had enforced religious food restrictions
    • Paul characterizes their teaching as "godless," "chatter," "meaningless talk," "foolish and stupid," "foolish controversies," "old wives' tales."


"Whoever aspires to be an overseer aspires to a noble task.


2 Now the overseer is to be

  • above reproach, (speech or conduct that can stand up to criticism)
  • faithful to his wife, (literally "husband to one wife")
  • temperate, _(literally "not intoxicated;" sober minded) & _self-controlled, (live wisely; prudent, sensible)
  • respectable, (have a good reputation)
  • hospitable, (literally "a friend of strangers")
  • able to teach,
  • 3 not given to drunkenness, (literally "addicted to wine")
  • not violent but gentle, (fair-minded; yielding to those in authority; considerate)
  • not quarrelsome, (doesn't fight)
  • not a lover of money.


4 He must

  • guide his own household well (household includes slaves, parents, children, relatives and visitors)
  • treating submissive children with full respect.
  • 5 (If anyone does not know how to guide his own household, how can he take care (idea of a nurse) of God's church?)


6 He must not be

  • a recent convert,
    • or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.
  • 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders,
    • so that he will not fall into the disgrace and trap the devil experienced.

1 TIMOTHY 3:8-13


8 In the same way, deacons are to be

  • worthy of respect,
  • sincere, (literally "not two-tongued," that is, speaking out of both sides of one's mouth.
  • not indulging in much wine, (literally "not devoted to much wine")
  • and not pursuing dishonest gain.
  • 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.
  • 10 They must first be tested;
    • and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.


11 In the same way,

  • the women** **[deacons], (there was no word for female deacons in that day; see Romans 16:1 for Phoebe, a deacon in the church in Cenchrea)
  • are to be worthy of respect, (same as 3:8 qualification for men)
  • not malicious talkers (_or slanders, same idea as 3:8 "not two-tongued") _
  • but temperate (sober-minded)
  • and trustworthy in everything. (literally "faithful," particularly in lifestyle)


12 A deacon must

  • be faithful to his wife
  • and must guide his children and his household well.

13Those who have served well will be rewarded with respect from others and great confidence (or boldness) in their faith in Christ Jesus.


  1. We are all called to be leaders (servants).
  • The word deacon simply means "servant," "one who executes the commands of another," or - my favorite - "servant of the king."
  • Jesus said that if we want to become his followers, we ought to deny ourselves, "take of our cross" and follow him (Mark 8:34).
  • At the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples feet and served them food. When the disciples began to argue about who was the greatest, Jesus chastised them and said, "The kings and those in authority lord their power of their subjects. _But no so with you; _rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like on who serves. For who is great, the one who is at the table or the one who serves. Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves."
  • Ephesians 4 says that each of us was given grace to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds (pastors), and teachers.
  1. We affirm women in ministry and leadership. (Phoebe; Junia; Aquilla)
  • Genesis 1 shows us that both men and women were created in God's image, had a direct relationship with God, and shared jointly the responsibilities of bearing an rearing children and having dominion over the created order.
  • The Genesis 2 teaches that woman and man were created for full and equal partnership. The word "helper" (ezer) used to designate woman in Genesis 2:18 refers to God in most instances of O.T. usage. Consequently the word conveys no implication whatsoever of female subordination or inferiority.
  • The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ came to redeem women as well as men. Through faith in Christ we all become children of God, one in Christ, and heirs to the blessings of salvation without reference to racial, social, or gender distinctives. (Galatians 3:26-28)
  • The Bible teaches that at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came on women alike. Without distinction, the Holy Spirit indwells women and men, and sovereignly distributes gifts without preference as to gender (Acts 2:16-18).
  • The Bible teaches that both women and men are called to develop their spiritual gifts and to use them as stewards of the grace of God. Both men and women are divinely gifted and empowered to minister to the whole body of Christ, under His authority.
    • Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Suzanna "and many other women" were the financial backers of Jesus' itinerant ministry. (Luke 8)
    • Mary Magdalene was the first and primary witness to Jesus' resurrection (Mark 15)
    • Aquilla taught Apollos (Acts 18:26)
    • Philip's four daughters were all prophets (Acts 19:9)
    • Junia was an apostle (Romans 16:7)
    • Phoebe was a deacon (Romans 16:1)
    • Nympha led a house church (Colossians 4:15)
  1. God is calling you to something larger than yourself. What is it?
Anthony Parrott

Anthony Parrott

Washington, DC