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November 16, 2023
Session 3: The Measure of a Man
Pastor Philip De Courcy
1 Timothy 3

Purchase the CD of this sermon.


Entrust 2023, The War on Men: Building Biblical Masculinity within the Church, sheds light on the crucial, God-given, biblically defined role men play in society, the home, and the church. We see the detrimental effects of the absence of men retreating within society and abandoning the home. Explore the cultural and general impact of dismissing masculine traits, understand the importance of confident, courageous, and clear-headed men, and delve into the biblical teaching of masculinity.

More From This Series


Thank you, Tom. Thank you, team. We are blessed each Lord’s day to have this crew lead us and worship and call us to exalt God’s name together. Thank you for remaining. There’s always a little bit of a tail off after lunch. We understand that. Fight the freeways. But we’re glad you stayed. I hope that we have served you well. I hope that the conference has scratched where you itch. Our goal has been to just call you as men of God to be men of God. And given the godlessness of the culture, given the egalitarianism that’s infecting the church, we trust that you will return to your churches and call the men to lead the people of God and their own families for the glory of God.

I am before you as a grateful man. This ministry of Know The Truth is a joy to me. It’s not something I necessarily sought, but it fitted, I believe, my passions and giftedness and there are men sitting among you that were the visionaries of this. The board members of KTT are a blessing to me. They are generous. They are faithful, and they have indeed just moved our ministry forward. I’m greatly thankful to a kind KTT listener, a benefactor who’s with us today, who has underwritten this whole conference so that you can enjoy it and it can come to you free of charge.

KTT simply exists to proclaim the word of God to be hopefully a benchmark for exposition that you and I would seek indeed to glorify God through. I hope you’re encouraged. We all need encouragement. I was reading the other day about a trucker who was out on the road and had been on the road for some days bordering on a few weeks, and he was missing home. He was missing his own bed, he was missing his wife’s home cooking.

And as he pulled over into a diner, he noticed on the menu that there was some meatloaf which reminded him of his home and his wife. And so the waitress came up. She’s a little gruff and a little rough. And he said, “You know what?” He says, “I’m feeling a little lonely tonight and a little downcast. I’d love you to give me some of your meatloaf and a kind word because I miss my wife and I miss my family.” And so she goes away and a couple of minutes later she comes back and plops the meatloaf on the table and she’s about to turn and he said, “What about a kind word?” And she said, “If I was you, I wouldn’t eat the meatloaf.”

Well, we all need a kind word and I hope that you’ve been encouraged to be the man of God. In fact, talking about God, I invite you to take your Bible and turn to 1 Timothy chapter three where we have a description of the man of God. I’ve entitled my message The Measure of A man. Originally I was to go first, but we changed the order up. We wanted Owen to help us understand where we’re at. To give us our bearings and where we’re at as a culture. The day in which you and I are living. And the culture’s going in the wrong direction. But as men of God, as fathers, as pastors, we are not to be conformed to the world, but we’re to be transformed and renewed in our mind.

And so while we can’t necessarily control the culture, we hope we consult it and we pray for reformation and revival. Let’s not give up on the idea because [inaudible 00:04:14] used to say the lowest point of the tide is the turning of the tide, and maybe our culture will get to such a dark place people will awaken to the destruction, the mayhem, and the sadness that it has produced.

But while we cannot control the culture, we can shape our homes and we can give direction to the church. So Owen gave us our bearings in the culture. Mike called us to be men of God at home where we father our children and we disciple them and we send the next generation in the right direction. I want to come and look at the man of God in the church. I want to make an argument that the elder, the pastor, the overseer, all those are interchangeable terms. That man among God’s men is the measure of a man. So that’s my message, The Measure of A man. 1 Timothy 3:1 to seven. We’re simply going to work through the character and the characteristics of an elder who himself is an exemplary man.

I just did an interview with Living Waters and we were talking about how can the church promote biblical masculinity. And I would make an argument one of the best ways a church can promote biblical masculinity is to be led by godly masculine men. That’s the biblical model. Men only are to be elders. Deacons and leaders within the church. And when they are what they ought to be, they are a force for good in terms of the promotion of biblical manhood. So let’s come and look at the elder, the pastor, the overseer as the measure of a man. Let’s read the text together. I’m reading from the New King James translation of holy scripture.

“This is a faithful saying. If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop man must be blameless. The husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach, not given the wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous. One who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence.

For if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God? Not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he falls into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover, he must have a good testimony among those who are outside. Lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

So reads God’s word and we trust his spirit will attend the exposition of the scripture and open our minds and move our hearts to obedience. I like the story of the farmer who asked the Methodist District Superintendent to assign a pastor to his community. The superintendent asked the farmer, “How big a man do you want?” “Well,” the farmer replied, “we’re not overly particular, but when he is on his knees, we would sure like him to reach heaven.”

I guess that’s one way to measure a man. When he’s on his knees, does he touch the throne of God? But this story raises a wider question being asked in our culture or being asked because of our culture. What is the true measure of a man? What is the trademarks of manhood? What are the marks of a man that distinguishes him from a woman? Now by way of introduction, on the one hand when measuring a man, there is a growing sense, especially in the culture, there is no measure. Manhood and masculinity we’re being told are not fixed realities. They are malleable, they are transferable, they are fluid. That’s why today we have the paradox and the oxymoron of a masculine woman and a feminine man. Today Harry not only meets Sally. Harry can become Sally. Today, men can have babies.

The sad fact is that the culture’s talk and the culture’s trends point to gender fluidity. That manhood and womanhood, masculinity and femininity are performative. And Owen talks about that in his book. That’s why you have a Supreme Court judge appointee and candidate, Ketanji Jackson, unable to define what a woman is. That’s where we’re at.

My father just turned 90. He still lives in Belfast, in Northern Ireland. And for his 90th birthday, our family went down to Dublin to watch a rugby game between Ulster and Leinster, and I decided not to be left out and so I flew to Dublin, met with my family, went to the rugby game. Then we took my dad to dinner. And that night over dinner we said, “Dad, you’re 90. You’ve seen a lot of things come and go. Well, what have been some of the surprises?” You know what he said? “I never thought I’d see the day when women could become men and men could become women. It’s a strange day.”

And the fixed mornings and the fixed norms of a generation ago regarding masculinity, courage, work ethic, stoicism, competitiveness, strong leadership, marriage bearing children, answering the call to protect and provide, that’s now seen as oppressive. We’re being told that that kind of profile of a man is to be abandoned in the name of social justice. Manhood as it has been traditionally defined, is now opposed, deconstructed and reformed.

On the other hand, when measuring a man by any measurement, men are failing to measure up. Men are not only in transition, they’re in trouble. According to Owen, and he outlined this morning and he details it in his book, men are in trouble and failing educationally and economically, socially and spiritually, physically and parentally. Brothers, men are drowning and our culture has no intention of throwing them a lifeline. Men are not leading, men are not even leading from behind. Men are just behind, failing on any scale of measurement.

Michael Ian Black lamented the fact that men are not what they should be or could be. He says this: “To be a girl today is to be the beneficiary of decades of conversation about the complexities of womanhood. It’s many forms and expressions. Boys though have been left behind. No commensurate movement has emerged to help them navigate towards a full expression of their gender. It’s no longer enough to be a man. We no longer even know what that means.”

Most universities in America have a women’s department. Almost none have a men’s department. The conversation today is one-sided. How do we enhance the health of a woman? How do we develop her potential? How do we help her become all that she should be? But on the other side of the argument, crickets. So given these realities as we seek to measure a man, some tell us there is no measurement, and as we look at men, they’re certainly not measuring up to past measurements.

I’m going to take you to 1 Timothy 3:1 to seven which is a description of the man of God. That term will be used in chapter 6:11. It’s a technical term of man called and commissioned by God to lead the people of God. And so what we have here is a description and a profile of the man of God. And it comes from the sufficient, authoritative, eternal and inherent word of God. Here we have the true measure of a man from the true measure of all things, the word of God itself.

Contextually, Paul is identifying highly qualified man for church leadership. A man either called an elder, bishop or pastor. And the thing I want us to remember as we move forward through this text is that that man, that man of God over the people of God, it’s the measure of a man. He’s to be an exemplary man. Hebrews 13:7 we’re told this. “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow considering the outcome of their conduct.” In fact, I should have done this verse first. 1st Timothy 4:12. “Let no one despise your youth, Timothy, but be an example to the believers in word.”

If you go 1 Peter 5. “The elder overseer pastor is to be an example to the flock.” Here we have a template. Here we have a benchmark against which every man in the congregation should measure himself. Not all men are called to be elders, but we’re all called to be like elders. To mirror their character and their characteristics. You’ll see from the opening verse, this is a faithful saying that Paul is underlining something important. That free is faithful. Saying typically speaks to something of essential importance, something of abiding relevance.

In this case the abiding relevance and that which is important is the discovery and appointment of highly qualified exemplary male church leaders that become a benchmark for the people of God. So as we look through the text, I’m going to work my way through it. I might drill down on particular parts as I feel they might resonate as to where men are struggling most or a word that men need to hear. But if you’re beginning to take notes, here’s my first thought. As we measure a man, I want you to notice his wants. His wants, his desires, his longings.

Verse one. “This is a faithful saying. If a man desires,” notice that, “the position of a bishop he desires,” notice that, “a good work.” The Christian leader and the godly man who measures himself against the Christian leader is marked by intense longing. Deep desire formed around the idea of perceiving and achieving God’s will for them.” That’s what’s being discussed in verse one. The Christian leader is a man called, equipped and appointed by God. The Christian leader, the Christian elder is a man who answers a heavenly summons. He senses God is doing something in him. There are these desires, these irresistible desires to take the mantle of leadership. The word of God is burning in his bones, to use the words of Jeremiah. You’ll notice that he is stirred by a godly vision of things and stretches toward what he perceives to be God’s will. His life is driven. God has planted desires in his heart that he seeks to achieve and he seeks to achieve them by being the best he can be for God’s glory.

I love Acts 13:36. I quoted it I think earlier today in my prayer where it says that David served his generation by the will of God. David woke up to the reality of who he was, what God wanted him to become and he became it and he served the generation. Let me unpack these two words here. They’re the same in the English text, but they are two different Greek words. The first Greek word for desire is to set one’s heart on. It’s a word that means to stretch after and it’s to exert oneself in a certain direction. And that’s what a man of God does. Certainly in the case of an elder, he has a sense that God is calling him to that and he exerts himself in that direction. His whole life now bends toward that goal.

The second word in the Greek text in desire means a passionate compulsion. It speaks of inward feelings. And so what we have got here is that the man of God is driven by an inner compulsion to serve his generation by the will of God, which in his case means local church leadership. Given that discovery, he now takes all the faculties of mind and heart and body and talent and time and he bends his life toward that. That’s my point.

So here’s the takeaway. As we look at the measure of a man, his wants, did you notice there’s no passivity here? There’s no floundering here. There’s no muddling. There’s no meandering. This is a man driven. This is a man desirous of a God-ward direction in his life. When it comes to life, lived for God’s glory, the godly man gets after it and the godly man goes after it. Do we not need to hear that? God is calling you to be aspirational. To have a set, desired direction for your life, rooted in your understanding of God’s will for you in general and God’s will for you in particular. And once you begin to discover that, the whole end of your existence is to achieve that stuff.

But today men are adrift. Men are bored. Men are going around in circles. In fact, there was a headline in the United Kingdom paper just recently that a young man between 16 to 29 years of age, nine in 10 believe that their life lacks purpose. What a waste of something so precious. Passivity is an issue. You realize passivity was Adam’s first sin as he watched his wife’s sin? As reread Genesis 3:6 to seven the other day, “When the woman saw the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate it.”

That’s striking, isn’t it? When the garden was faced with a threat, Adam did nothing. When Eve was under spiritual attack, Adam just stood there like a bozo. When Eve offered him fruit, Adam took the path of least resistance. When God came into the garden to speak to him, Adam hid. When God confronted him with what he did, Adam made up excuses and blamed Eve. Talk about passivity. And like Adam, many men today just stand there staring at life without being stirred, without engaging. They watch life go by. They watch the devil meddle in their life and family. They watch opportunity fade and they watch life defining moments happen without their input.

That’s tragedy. That’s tragic and tragedy in and off itself. I want to tell you something, guys. The issue today is not domineering men. You hear this all the time. Well, the issue is domineering, demanding men who are out of control. There are a few, but the majority of men are not domineering, they’re passive. The issue today isn’t that men are too strong. The issue today is men are too weak. The issue today is not that men are doing too much. The issue today is that men are doing too little.

Adam passively took the forbidden fruit from Eve’s hand and Noah, fresh off the ark and fresh into the sunlight of salvation, planted a vineyard, made wine and passed out drunk and naked in his tent. Abraham acquiesced to Sarah’s plan for Hagar. Isaac became known for his gullibility of character. Jacob led into deception by his mother. Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of stew. Barrack turned plain at the thought of battle. Jonah set seal for Tarshish to avoid Nineveh. David lounged on the roof while the other kings went out to war. Israel settled for a fraction of its land. Talk about passivity, indifference, lack of focus and force. It’s part of too many stories and you and I have got to make sure it’s not part of ours.

If you want to read about a life on fire and a life marked by purpose and passion, read the life of George Whitfield, the New England revivalist. What a life. He was famous for saying, “I’d rather burn out than rust out.” Whitfield preached from 40 to 60 hours a week. In a lifetime he preached 18,000 sermons across 34 years. He crossed the Atlantic between the UK and the US 13 times and it wasn’t a 787 Dreamliner. His ministry among the American colonies was extensive. He preached thousands in Great Britain. He made three trips to Ireland and 14 to Scotland.

When you consider what he did, and the volume of his work, and the vigor he brought to it’s striking because he wasn’t a man of great robust health. He had severe spells of vomiting, but he arose every morning at four o’clock and his record of ministry is amazing. So amazing that he caught the eye and the imagination of Spurgeon who said this about George Whitfield: “Often as I have read his life, I am conscious of a distinct quickening whenever I turned to it,” love this phrase guys. “He lived. Other men seemed of only half alive, but Whitfield was all life, fire, wing, force. My own model, if I may have such a thing in due subordination to my Lord is George Whitfield, but with unequal footsteps must I follow in his glorious track.”

In fact, George Whitfield said of himself, “I am never better than when I am on a full stretch for God.” There’s our word to stretch after. Men get on and go on and get after what God has for them. Guys, are you spinning your wheels? Are you in neutral park by the side of the road? Is life passing you by? Are defining moments now outside your reach because of passivity?

The first swing we see about a man of God, the leader of the church who is the measure of manhood within the church, I want you to see his wants. Secondly, look at his work. His wants, his work. We’re still in verse one. “This is a faithful saying. If a man desires the position of a bishop he desires,” notice this, “a good work.” That could be translated in your version a noble work or an excellent work. The Christian leader and the godly man are marked by good work, noble endeavor.

In the case of the elder, his primary work which he should seek to excel in is the teaching of scripture. Chapter 3:2. “A bishop then must be blameless. The husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach.” We’ll see in a moment the emphasis of this text is not on what the man does but what the man is.

But in noticing what he does primarily he is a disseminator of truth. He is an expositor of scripture. In fact, when you get to chapter five and verse 17, “Let the elders who rule well be counted of double honor, especially those,” notice, “who labor in word and doctrine.” If you go to 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul writes a second time to this young man and every church leader alongside him and he calls him to be approved of God. “Workmen in the word who need not be ashamed.” It’s a shameful thing for a man to do shameful work. You see his wants. You see his work. In the work of exposition and pastoral counseling, this leader will be an unashamed workman in the word.

I remember my first week at the Master Seminary, Dr. Dick Mayhew addressed us as the incoming class and he said this to us. “The greatest blasphemy is to take an inherent Bible about a sinless Christ and mishandle it.” We were off to the races. I knew what I was in for the next four years. They were going to challenge us, stretch us, cut no corner as we sought to handle God’s word. I love that about the Master Seminary. It’s old school. The standards are still high in Biblical languages, historical theology, systematic theology, leadership, church history. Because God’s church deserves the best of man, amen? Who do good work, who see it as noble and seek to be noble in the doing of it.

Now, let’s again be a little bit practical here. Remember the elder, the pastor is the benchmark for biblical manhood and while we’re not all called to excel in the work of exposition, the elder is. As a measure of a man, he at least challenges all men to be noble in their pursuit of work and to underscore the nobility of work. We know that the creation mandate in Genesis 1:25 to 28 was, and in chapter 2:15 was that man would exercise dominion on the earth. Made in the image of the Creator, he himself would create. He would develop skills. He would take what God had made and make something of it and bring dominion to the earth with the building of cities and the searing of families and the development of community.

Adam was told to stay in the garden and to tend it and to guard it. Guys, this is some elementary stuff but I just want to underscore it. Men are not to be lazy. If you’re a man and you’re lazy, hang your head in shame because God created you in the image of his working self. Remember what Jesus said? “My father works and I work.” We were created in the image of a working God. I don’t know about you, but as I’ve looked at God’s handwork, it seems pretty darn good. There’s something beautiful about it. The heavens declare his glory.


In fact, even when our Lord Jesus Christ was enfleshed for a period of his time, we assume he’s a carpenter’s son and he worked as a carpenter alongside Joseph. We need to think about that and give some consideration to that. Men are not to be underemployed. Men are to exercise dominion within and over the creation. Men are to create, farm, build govern. Proverbs 14:23. “There is profit in all work.” I don’t care if you brush the streets clean or you take a brush and you paint a masterpiece. It’s all profit. It all has its own nobility. It has its own place, it has its own good. You and I are priests and we are to do excellent work.

Read sometime a little book by Tim Challies, who’s coming to our church by the way next year, God-willing. Run to Win. He said this: “Not only are we given new life, but with new life comes new purpose. Let go of the ridiculous notion that your life is about you. Let go of all the selfish purposes you once held onto. Let go of the cultural wave of apathy and self-indulgence that is plaguing so many. And once you have let go of all that might hinder you, grab onto a long life pursuit of Jesus. Embrace your purpose. Align every area of your life with it. You are here to glorify God by abounding in good works.”

Guys, I don’t know what you do, but I got a question according to the Bible .whatever you do, do you do it with all your might? Do you do it as unto the Lord? Are you a man pleaser? You work when the boss is looking. Do you work when it matters? You do what you need to do when it’s to your best advantage. See, the true measure of a man is what he does when no one’s looking and when no one’s looking, he understands He’s still under the omniscient eye of God. Men must see the honor and nobility of work and do their work with excellence.

“God has created us and redeemed us to be a people zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14. I love that part in the Nehemiah story. You know they’re on the planes of Ono and those who have been plaguing Nehemiah plague him once more and they hatch this plan of intrigue and deception. And so they invite him to come down and to meet them on the planes. And as Charles [inaudible 00:34:16] says, “Nehemiah said, ‘Oh no’ to Ono.'” And what does he say in Nehemiah 6:3? “I will not come down because I’m doing a great work.”

I love that perspective. Don’t you? You need to see whatever you do small or great, that it is great in the eyes of God when it’s dedicated to him and when it provides for your family and when it advances the good of society. Excellence is what ought to mark you and me. Whatever we do, do it with all our might. Let me remind you of something very important. Excellence is not being the best. Excellence is doing your best. That’s what excellence is. And the elder is called to an excellent work, a noble work, and he does it with excellence as a workman that need not be ashamed and he trusts that that will be true of you and me. Men produce, men provide and men progress as it relates to work.

I was thinking about Joseph and his work in Egypt and in chapter 41 in verse 38, here’s what we read. This is Pharaoh’s take on Joseph and his work. “Pretty impressed, Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find such a one as this? A man in whom the spirit of God is.'” That’s a good job report right there. There’s a man standing out for God in Egypt amidst paganism and Pharaoh himself is struck. Man, this guy’s a cut above the rest in the way he acts, handles himself and works.

Similar thing is said of Daniel. If you go to Daniel chapter six and verse four, here’s what we read. Again, king Darius says this about Daniel. “Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and the sand traps because an excellent spirit was in him and the king gave thought to set him over the whole realm.”

Daniel did noble work and nobles took note of it. Guys, don’t need to say anything more other than I trust you see the nobility of work and that you give yourself to do noble work. That’s what men do. They work hard, they work well and they distinguish themselves above others in terms of punctuality, product, commitment, team play.

I just finished a really good book called Called to Create and in it the story is told that we’re in the mid 1990s. Chick-fil-A is facing its first real threat from another quick service chicken company. It was a startup called Boston Chicken that ultimately became known as Boston Market. It was growing gangbusters. It was founded in 1995. It grew so fast that they had plans to grow even faster to reach $1 billion in seals sales the year 2000. Sales numbers that Chick-fil-A had never seen or reached.

And so it threw some of the executives in Chick-fil-A into a bit of a tailspin and they started thinking through, “How we match this? How do we become bigger? How do we grow faster?” And that dominated the conversation in the boardroom and some plans were drawn up and eventually it was at a place where they called in Cathy Truett and they were going to have this discussion and they went on about the competition and the accelerated growth they were seeing. And if they don’t do something about this, “We’ll be overtaken and lost market share.”

And in the middle of all of this Truett Cathy had enough and he stops the conversation. Here’s what he says, quote. “I’m sick and tired of hearing you talk about us getting bigger. What we need to be talking about is getting better. If we get better, our customers will demand that we get bigger.”

Isn’t that a good little insight in life? Not quantity, quality. It’s quality that produces quantity. Get better and the customer will demand you get bigger. Guys, get better at what you do for the glory of God. His want, his work, his walk. This is verses two to three. “The Christian leader and the godly man are marked by Christian character and godliness of life.” Listen, desire and aspiration is not enough as important as it is. Excellence in work is not enough, as important as it is. Genuineness of life is of first importance because behind and beneath all that this man desires and does, there must be a sterling character, a quality life.

And that’s where we’re at in verses two to three. You’ll notice in verses two to three that the emphasis on the tax is on what he is, not what he does. The only thing we’re told he must do is he must be able to teach. But the emphasis on this is what he must be because what you are flavors everything you do. So what you are is far more important than what you do and when what you are is right, what you do will be right.

The emphasis on the text is not on methods, but man. Not on competence, but character in God’s book character trumps charisma and charismata. The emphasis of this text is on spiritual graces, not spiritual gifts. [inaudible 00:41:05] said this: “Conduct is what we do. Character is what we are. Conduct is the outward life. Character is the life unseen, hidden within, yet evidenced by that which will be seen. Conduct is external, seen from without. Character is internal, operating within. In the economy of grace, conduct is the offspring of character. Character is the state of the heart. Conduct is the outward expression. Character is the root of the tree. Conduct is the fruit of the root.”

I remember some years ago when I was pastoring in Ohio, I was struggling a little. I wasn’t in a good place mentally and about the ministry. I was wondering if God had something else for me and I called up my mentor in Belfast, pastor Freddy McLaughlin, and I began to share this and I expected him to lend me a shoulder to cry on. But by the end of the conversation, Freddy had sized it and he challenged me with these words. He says, “Philip, I don’t know what God has for you next. Maybe he has something for you beyond where you’re at. But I want to tell you this. God is far more interested in what you’re becoming than in where you’re going.”

That was really challenging. God’s very interested, guys, in what you’re becoming. Are you becoming like Christ? Are you becoming a spiritual man, not a fleshly man? Are you becoming filled by the spirit? Are you becoming man of the word? Are you becoming leaders? Time won’t allow us to go through all of these traits. “Temperate,” verse two. “Not clouded with wine.” It’s tied to, “not given with wine,” in verse three. It was used figuratively of someone sober-minded and clearheaded. In fact, in chapter four of the second letter verse five, Paul will tell Timothy that he needs to be the kind of person who keeps his head in all situations.

So that’s our word, temperate, levelheaded, clear thinking. The Christian leader and the man of God is not found in a panic. He’s not rash, he’s not excitable, he’s not flippant. He keeps the main things the plain things. He’s also sober-minded, you’ll notice next in verse two, which means disciplined, self-controlled. He stays on target, he stays on task. He properly orders his priorities.

Robert Yarborough in a commentary on the pastoral epistle says that, “Pastoral leaders should know their own minds and not be flighty or unstable.” He’s of good behavior. This is the Greek word cosmos. It’s tied into God’s created order. The beauty of his handiwork. It speaks about the beauty and the balance of nature. The fact it’s used in 1 Timothy 2:8 to speak of the modest dress that’s expected of a godly woman. So it speaks of orderly behavior, decorum, dignity. That’s what marks a man of God. He has behavior suited to the occasion. He doesn’t come to a funeral dressed in a Hawaiian shirt. I just needed to get that off my chest. Orderly and organized. There’s decorum, there’s dignity.

Maybe I’m old school, but I was trained by old school men and I’m thankful for it. When I was at the Irish Baptist College in Belfast, Dr. Iver Oakley, an educated PhD from Oxford said to us, “Men, never come to the door in your slippers.” I’m not sure where he got that in the pastoral epistles, but the simple point was be men of dignity. As men of God, understand the highness of your calling and let that be reflected in just how you handle yourself.

Hospitable. Hospitable. That would mean that he certainly doesn’t live in a monastery and he doesn’t live the life of a hermit. He lives on Main Street and more than likely he’s married and therefore his home is an outpost of the kingdom and the door is open. This word means love of stranger. It means the man of God has got good people skills.

The man of God hasn’t found a person he won’t seek to love and like. He’s interesting, he’s engaging, he’s other centered. Not given the wine literally means doesn’t sit alongside wine. It’s certainly a prohibition against drunkenness. It’s not a prohibition against drinking wine, but it may be a prohibition against sitting in bars and sitting among people who linger long at wine, because nothing good eventually comes of that. Remember, literally he doesn’t sit alongside wine.

He’s not someone known for his love of alcohol or his drinking habits and if he enjoys that liberty, which I think he may well, he doesn’t flaunt it. And he exercises that liberty with great, judicious application. Not violent. We could add that to the former thought and say the pastor’s never to be an angry drunk. In fact, this word means to blow, to strike a blow. Simply; I haven’t encountered this ever. Maybe you have, but this is a prohibition. A pastor never comes to blows with anybody in a disagreement or a conflict. The pastor never says, “I’ll see you out in the car park after the prayer meeting.” All right? Senators can do that, but pastors can’t do that.

Okay, not greedy for money or covetous. Not greedy for money or covetous. Watching my time here. It’s flying. He’s not in the ministry for financial gain. You read about that in 1 Peter 5. His reason for serving is God’s glory, not money. He’s not a harling. You can’t buy him. You can’t buy his favor and you can’t buy his silence by what you’re willing to give him. And he doesn’t favor the rich. If necessary like Paul, he’ll even work with his own hands because he won’t want to covet another man’s silver. Gentle, not quarrelsome. Those are two other boots I’ve put together. They’re the two sides of the coin. Sweet reasonableness is a good way to understand that. In his conduct and in his conversation, an elder is a reasonable man. He’s patient, forbearing. He makes allowances. He’s armed with the truth for sure, but he doesn’t go gunning for a fight. His reproves are measured, his arguments are not cognatious and he’s not defined by a bickering spirit.

I love this story John MacArthur told us at [inaudible 00:49:02] one day. John’s known to be somewhat of a controversial figure. He writes books that are on the cutting edge of controversy and disagreements within the church. He was unafraid when he dealt with the issue of the charismatic movement and he’s not unafraid in dealing with the role of men and women and so on and so forth. And believe it or not, given all of that, he had a friendship for a time with Jack Hayford who was just around the corner for him. And there’s John the Cessationist and Jack Hayford the Pentecostal.

One year they were at the NRB, the National Radio Broadcasters Convention and he’s walking with Jack Hayford and a bunch of foursquare pastors are coming up the middle aisle and they can see Jack Hayford with John MacArthur and Jack Hayford can see it’s going to be awkward because it’s MacArthur, the charismatics’ nemesis. And they bump into each other and Jack Hayford says this. He took all the tension out of the moment. He said, “This is John MacArthur, my friend, who’s much nicer in person than he is in his books.”

That’s good. And if any of you know John, and I do, he’s a gentleman. Interesting. He’s not quarrelsome by nature. He’s armed with the truth. He’s unbending in his commitment to it, but there’s a nice spirit and demeanor about him.

Now, I should move on, but I want to just come back and double down on those early attributes for a moment and touch on an area I think men are certainly misfiring in and haven’t got into gear. You’ll notice those first attributes of temperate and sober-minded, unclouded, self-controlled, dignified. Guys, my point is this. Man of God, the pastor, and he’s the measure of a man within the congregation. Those kind of men are serious, steadfast, self-controlled. They are responsible men.

See, the measure of a man is he takes his responsibilities seriously, whether that’s work, home, play, friends, church. But most men are not serious. Most men are flippant, indifferent. We’ve got perpetual adolescence among our young men. Most men are coming late to life, leet to sanctification, late to marriage, late to church. Too many Peters or Peter Pans. They have never grown up and taken responsibility. Too many men want life on the cheap. What a shame. There’s a frightening weightlessness to God, to the things of God, to the issues of death and eternity with too many men.

They are more silly than they’re serious. Believe me, I love having a good time. I can laugh as hard as the next guy, but there comes a point guys in our conversation when we hang out with each other that passes and we get on to life and the kingdom of God and the state of our country and what we need to do to make things better because men take responsibility for what’s going on in them and around them and beyond them. But too many men are silly, not serious. Too many men are playful, not prudent.

I hope you’ll be challenged by that. Matthew Henry, the Puritan, tells the story of a great statesman in the administration of Queen Elizabeth I who retired from public life in his latter days and gave himself to serious thought and serious study. His former married companions visited him and they scolded him and they chastised them for becoming somber and sober. He said, “I don’t think I’m somber, but I do think I’m sober.”

Because there is a translation in one Timothy three that the elder is sober, serious-minded. And he wanted to say this to his friends. “I am serious, for everyone around me is serious. God is serious in observing us. Christ is serious in interceding for us. The spirit is serious in striving with us. The truths of God are serious. Our spiritual enemies are serious in their endeavors to ruin us. Poor, lost sinners are serious in hell. And why then should I not be serious too?” That’s a good word.

Let’s move on. I’m going to start collapsing some things here given where we’re at in terms of time. I want you to see his wife, his wants, his work, his walk, his wife. I won’t spend a ton of time here. Mike covered some of this on the call for you and I to disciple our children, but you’ll notice that the Christian leader and the godly man are marked by a vibrant and virtuous home life. Look at verse two. “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife.” Look at verses four and five. “He is one who rules his own house well having his children in submission with all reverence. For if a man does not know how to rule his own house well, how will he take care of the church of God?”

The Christian leader and the godly man are marked by vibrant, virtuous home lives. Let me say that. The pastor and the men that look to the pastor as the measure of a man, their lives are marked by vibrant, virtuous home lives. Things aren’t crumbling on the home front. The marriage hasn’t seen better days and the children aren’t running crazy out on the streets bringing shame and disgrace to the family name. No, the man of God is a devoted husband and he’s a diligent father. Now, marriage is not a qualification for ministry, but the married minister must meet certain qualifications. Although, I would say this. Marriage is preferred in terms of the pastor or the church leader because of the creation mandate. Leave your mother and father and cleave to your wife and be fruitful and exercise dominion.

What about the value of the help of a godly wife in ministry and life? What about protection from sexual sin within marriage? What about the producing of disciples, your own children? What about building trust in the eyes of the congregation as they look at you and see that you run your home well? Your wife is in submission and your children respect you. And that gives them a sense that this is a good man and a good leader with a tried and trusted record.

Paul here argues that the man of God should take care of his own house because that will be an index on the high. He’s going to take care of the household of God. I’m not going to get into this. He will love his wife intently and faithfully. He will lead and manage his home well. He will wear the pants in the home. He will not be a stay-at-home dad. He will lead, he will provide, he will protect. He will set the tone for the family. He will set the direction. He will be the cultural Sherpa for his wife and his children. He’ll lead in family devotions. He will pray for them and over them and as a parent, he’ll be a effective.

I’ve never been convinced that an elder must have believing children, but I’ve always been convinced that an elder, a church leader, ought to have children that respect him. That the children know that dad loves and that when he’s tough, it’s tough love. And he’s measured and he’s consistent. He’s humble when he’s done wrong and apologize. He works hard and provides. He helps him them transition through the different hoops in life. And any child that grows up in that kind of environment for the most part will respect that.

Before I leave this thought, the one I would just touch on is this one in verse two. He’s the husband of one wife. Certainly a prohibition against polygamy. It may be a prohibition against a man who’s been divorced and remarried. But I think more than that, the literal Greek is a one woman man. The pastor and the man who measure themselves against him are men who are sexually pure and committed to heterosexual marriage. They see marriage as a protection against sexual sin and therefore they protect their marriage and the sweetness of intimacy with their wife. They want their bed to be undefiled. Hebrews 13:4.

And that’s a challenge in today’s pornographic culture. I wrote down a few things last night to myself. I don’t have time to develop these, but here they are. If you want to be a one woman man, guard your eyes. Make a covenant with your eyes like Job, not to look on the young women. Monitor your social interactions with the opposite sex. Words, environments.

Prioritize and protect your own sex life. Let your own wife’s breasts satisfy you. 1 Corinthians 7:1 to five tells us that it ought to be meaningful and a regular part of life. Treasure your wife’s godliness because as we enjoy our wife physically and we’re attracted and aroused by her physically, there’ll come a point where indeed age will take its toll on both you and her. And according to Proverbs 31, you know what? “Beauty is fading and charm is fleeting, but a woman that fears the Lord is to be treasured.”

And as you get older in life, guys, both you and your wife lose some of that physical fervor and beauty and all of that. Appreciate your wife for her godliness, her faithfulness, her lifetime of service to you. Why in the world would you take a dagger and stick it in her heart? And love and fear God most.

A little white ermine is an animal in middle Europe known for its spotless white coat. It’s hunted. It’s been hunted for many, many centuries. It was beloved of kings and queens for its pure white fur. The interesting thing about it is it didn’t like to get its coat soiled and hunters knew this. They were well-acquainted with this fact. And so what they would do is they find out its nest or its lair, its hole, and they would dob it with filth and dirt around the entrance to its home and then they would go out looking for the ermine. They would set the dogs loose and the little ermine would chase home for safety.

But when it got to the hole, it never went into it. It did not want to get its white fur soiled or spoiled, and it literally turned around and faced the blood thirsty being dogs. It would rather die than stain its white fur. Oh, that God would give you and me that kind of commitment to purity.


His words; I’m not going to get into this too much because I want to camp on one other idea here and wrap it up. His words, “The Christian leader and the godly man are marked by a knowledge of the word and a passion to share it with others.” See, the elder is a man who’s able to teach. He’s a swordsman. He’s a scholar. He handles the word of God well.

To use the words of Spurgeon regarding John Bunion, “His blood is bibline. If you cut him, he bleeds the Bible.” Now, that’s true of an elder. Able to teach. Speaks of competency and theology, speaks of skill in communicating the Christian faith, an adeptness to indeed touch people’s lives by that. “He will excel in that, labor in that,” according to 1 Timothy 5:17. But what’s true of him in particular still got to be true of all men. Guys, I hope that you will receive God’s word like the Thessalonians. In 1 Thessalonians 2:13 it says that, “They receive the word of God, not as the word of man, but as it truly is the word of God.”

Hope you’ve got a clear and compelling bibliology. This is the inherent, inspired, authoritative, sufficient, eternal word of God for all time and all cultures, all men, all women. And you know what? It’s the final rule on all matters of faith and practice. That’s how you understand the Bible. You receive God’s word like the Thessalonians, you feed on God’s word like Job where he esteemed and treasured the word of God more than his necessary food. Job 23:8 to 12.

You obey God’s word fully like Caleb, Numbers 14:24. “But my servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered and his descendants shall take possession of it.” And we need to honor God’s word like Ezra’s flock. Nehemiah 8:4 to six. “When the word of God was brought, the people of God stood.” We have made that a tradition here at Kindred on a sunny morning. When we get to the point where I’m going to read the text of scripture I’m about to preach most Sundays, we ask people to stand. Not because we worship the Bible, but we worship the God who wrote it and we honor the treasure that it is in the life that it gives and the wisdom that [inaudible 01:04:12].


All right, I’m just going to fit in one more then we’re done. His witness. His witness. Look at verse seven. “Moreover, he must have a good testimony among those who are outside lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. The Christian leader and the godly man are marked by an impeachable life and a sterling reputation inside,” notice,” and outside the church. Write down Ecclesiastes 7:1. “A good name is better than ointment.”

A nice cologne or perfume. You smell it. It’s enjoyable, it’s attractive, but then it’s gone. When the person moves beyond your presence or you move out of their location, it’s gone. But a good name is lasting, enduring, abiding. The word blameless here, verse two doesn’t mean without sin. It means that no shame or scandal is attached to the leader’s life. No flagrant sin. In fact, literally it means not able to be held. That means that scandal, accusation, sin can’t be attached to that man. It’s not that he’s sinless, but in the general scheme of things, there’s no flagrant sin. There’s no black mark that can be attached to him.

Alistair Begg calls him the Teflon man. Nothing sticks. It’s a good insight and in a good testimony with those who are outside. The word testimony here gives us our English word, martyr. Means witness. Pays witness to our testimony. Two, speaks to the fact that people in the community will witness the leader’s life up close and personal. They may even be the recipient of his hospitality or they see his children or they encounter his wife and they see as he lives among the people. He’s not in a monastery, he’s on Main Street. He’s got a zip code. And you know what? His marriage is strong. His wife seems happy, his children are fun, but very obedient, very respectful. And when you’re in his home, you get treated like royalty. And if he’s bi-vocational, which could be the case in a New Testament elder, he’s got a good reputation at work. People are impressed by his moral integrity, love of neighbor, general goodness, selflessness. He’s a shining example.

Guys, as we close, what’s your testimony like in the community? If I was to go to the factory floor, to the office or go to your neighbor out the door. “Hey, tell me about Joe. Tell me about John.” Would I get a ringing response? Would it be easy for them to talk about your goodness and your generosity and your grace? A good name is important guys because remember to our name is attached his name. And we’ve got to have a good reputation so that he may be glorified.

My mother used to say to me, even when I was unsafe. I lived in a pretty tough neighborhood in North Belfast. My mom was aware of that. She wasn’t sure what I was [inaudible 01:07:46] into. And as I went out the door, she’d always say to me as I left the home, “Either saved or unsaved, you remember what house you come from and whose name you bear.”

My father was a Baptist deacon and a respected man in his community. He’ll be here in a couple of weeks. He’s lived in the same house for 60 years. He left school when he was 14, worked in a factory his whole life. Hardly took a day off, brought the bacon home. Played soccer with me and the boys on a Saturday night. Man’s man. Left school at 14. A few years ago, his borough of a 100,000 people made him the Lord Mayor. And when he retired, there wasn’t anybody on either side of the political aisle that didn’t respect Billy De Courcy.

I was home a few years ago taking a bus into Belfast down into the bus stop, engaged a conversatious woman. Told her my story. “I’m home seeing my mom and dad. I live in America, come from California.” “Oh, very interesting.” Said, “Yeah, I’m staying with mom and dad up in Linford Green there, Billy and Betty De Courcy.” “Oh, you’re Billy’s son. Your dad’s a good man.” That’s what she said. That’s not a bad [inaudible 01:09:14] to have, guys. Billy De Courcy. Good man. He loved God and he loved his neighbor.

Father, we thank you for our time in the word. We have imbibed much truth today from the scripture. We pray that it might be as sweet as honey, to our taste and as precious as silver to our estimation. Lord, we live in a day when we’re told that there is no measure of manhood. It’s fluid, it’s transferable, it’s however you define it or however you identify it. Lord, we reject that. Your word is forever settled in heaven. You’ve made us in your image, male and female, and you have a certain plan and purpose for us as men.

Lord, we repent and ask for your grace in the fact that we’re not measuring up as men. We’re failing. Failing our wives, our daughters, our sons, our communities. Lord, help us to measure up.

Pray for every elder and pastor here today. May they lift the mantle of church leadership ever so slowly and feel its weight because as the man of God, they are the measure for every man of God. Lord, make us aspirational. Help us to pursue your will and bend in that direction. Help us to do noble work and see work as noble. Help us to be men of character where what we are on the inside is better and bigger than what we are on the outside.

Help us to love our wives. Be faithful sexually. Be generous to them, kind to them. Estimate their worth properly. Help us to love our children in the home and outside the home and realize our greatest joy in life will be that our children walk in the truth. Make us men of the word and help our neighbors and our workmates to love Jesus more because they see him greatly in us. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.