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The questions: how do I build a stronger faith or a more robust fear of God; how do I overcome consuming lust are the questions being considered in this series of posts.
Our fourth directive for doing this was to develop and sustain a strong faith or a robust fear of God you must not only hear and study God’s Word, but you must also meditate on it. On this post, I want to continue and conclude this series by mentioning some additional guidelines for accomplishing this.
At this point, since we are continuing the theme of the previous post, you may find it helpful to review the contents of that previous blog.
If you want to develop and sustain a robust fear of God “Be still and reflect on the mighty works of God.
The connection between doing this and developing godly fear is clearly illustrated in Exodus 14:31. In the earlier part of message 14 God’s people are between a rock and a hard place. They have just been released from cruel slavery to the Egyptians and are making their way toward the land of
They have come to the Red Sea only to discover that the Egyptians have changed their minds about letting them go and are now pursuing them with the determination of making them return. On the one side they face the Red Sea and on the other the powerful armies of Egypt with their chariots and horsemen. In marvelous ways God protected and delivered them. “And the angel of God, who had been going before the camp of
Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. And the sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and … went in after them into the midst of the sea. And it came about … that the Lord … brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion. And he caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty, so the Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from Israel, for the Lord is fighting for them …’ Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state …; then the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea …; not even one of them remained. … Thus the Lord saved
Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians …” (Exodus 14:19-30).
God did a mighty thing for His people that day; something that no man or group of men could have done. Well, what impact did this mighty act have on the Israelites? Scripture says that “when Israel saw the great power which the Lord had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord …” (Exodus 14:31) Miriam puts their God fearing response in words as she composes a song which is found in Exodus 15. In the middle of that song, Miriam says, “Who is like Thee, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11) As Miriam and other Israelites reflected on God’s mighty acts their fear of God was increased. When we look at the context of the verse about being still and knowing that He is God (Psalm 46:10), we find that it is surrounded by reminders of God’s great and mighty acts. In the context, the Psalmist talks about God providing a river whose streams make glad the city of
God. He mentions God being our refuge and strength, a very present help. He refers to His ability to melt the earth with His voice. He encourages us to, “Come, behold the works of the Lord”. He mentions God’s ability to bring desolation and make wars cease to the end of the earth. He informs us that God can overcome and destroy the mightiest of military weapons. He indicates that these weapons are no match for God. It’s easier for God to snap the mightiest weapons in two than it is for us to snap a toothpick in two. What is he saying but that we should be still and while being still we should think carefully about the mighty acts of God? Scripture says that “God made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of
Israel.” (Psalm 103:7).
From its beginning to its end, the Bible is filled with reminders of the great things God has done. This ought to cause us to ask, “Why does God do this? Why is He constantly reminding us of these mighty acts? Why are they recorded for us? Was God just filling space by doing this? Were these things recorded just for informational, historical purposes?” Obviously not! They were recorded for some very practical purposes, for motivational purposes. And without a doubt, one of chief motivational purposes for which these accounts are found in the Bible is to motivate us to a deeper and fuller fear of God.
So if you want to develop and sustain a robust fear of God, be still and reflect often on the mighty acts of God. Think much about the mighty acts of your God and you will have much fear; think little about the mighty acts of your God and you will have little fear; think not at all about the mighty acts and you will have no fear of God at all. (Deuteronomy 4:9; Joshua 4:20-24; I Samuel 12:24)
I wonder what Dad thinks about this style of counseling…
You might want to check out Dad’s newest book. I think it should be great!
I started thinking today about some of the men outside my family whom God has used to change me.
And you know what I realized, many if not most of them were pastors. My life is different because of the work of these pastors.
Then I started thinking about their churches.
In order for those men to have an impact on my life, their churches had to make a sacrifice. In each and every case you have a church…
This post contains my (Wayne) answers to a friend who raised some questions about church leadership. His questions are in lower case and my answers are in capital letters only for the purpose of distinguishing questions from answers. (In other words, I realize the capitals can be a bit much but for the sake of clarity bear with me…)
I HAVE LOOKED AT YOUR QUESTIONS AND FRANKLY DON‘T SEE ANY CONFLICT BETWEEN ELDER “RULE” (TIMOTHY 5:17) AND “HAVE CHARGE OVER YOU” (I THESSALONIANS 5:12,13) AND THE ISSUES YOU RAISED UNLESS SOMEONE MISTAKES ELDER RULE FOR ELDER STUPIDITY OR ELDER DICTATORSHIP.
BRIEFLY: 1. How do the principles of Elder Rule interact with the Doctrine of the Priesthood of the Believer? What are the full functions of the New Testament priest? Believers have both a wonderful privilege and a great responsibility.
I DON‘T SEE HOW ELDER SUPERVISION OR OVERSIGHT AFFECTS THE CLEARLY TAUGHT DOCTRINE OF THE PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS AT ALL. HOW WOULD IT AND WHY WOULD IT? I WILL WRITE MORE ABOUT THIS IN LATER ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS.
2. When Jesus says ‘… tell it to the church” in Mtt 18:17, is he asserting that the Church is the “court of final appeal” on this Earth? It is of particular note that Jesus does not say “tell it to the Elders,” or some church committee. Particularly in light of passages like 1 Cor. 6; if the church has been vested with the responsibility to judge angels, the world and each other – surely, a congregation who is properly informed and truly spiritual, should participate in the selection of their leaders in a determinative sense.
IT DOESN’T SAY TELL IT TO THE CHURCH FOR A VOTE – THE DECISION HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE THAT THE BROTHER IS IN SIN AND THE CHURCH IS ENLISTED TO PRAY AND PLEAD AND EXHORT (in keeping with 2 Thessalonians 3:14, 15).
IT DOESN’T SAY TELL IT TO THE CHURCH AND IF HE REFUSES THEN TAKE A VOTE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT HE SHOULD BE PUT OUT OF THE CHURCH. THE ISSUE IS WHO IS TAKING THE LEAD – WHO SHOULD KNOW MORE ABOUT SCRIPTURE – WHO SHOULD BE MOST MATURE IN SPIRITUAL MATTERS – WHO IS LEADING THE CHURCH TO MAKE ALL THIS KNOWN TO THE CHURCH – AFTER MATTHEW 18:15 AND 16 ARE FOLLOWED WHAT HAS OCCURRED IS COMMUNICATED TO THE ELDERS AS REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CHURCH AND THEY THEN PASS IT ON TO THE CONGREGATION WITH THE EXHORTATION TO THE CONGREGATION TO ADMONISH, PRAY FOR, EXHORT THE ERRING, UNREPENTANT, UNRECONCILED BROTHER. THIS TELLING IT TO THE CHURCH IS OBVIOUSLY A FORMAL KIND OF TELLING.
IT CERTAINLY ISN’T REFERRING TO INDIVIDUALS GOING AROUND AND INDISCRIMINATELY TELLING IT TO VARIOUS MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH. TO DO THIS WOULD BE GOSSIP WHICH THE BIBLE STRONGLY CONDEMNS. ITS OBVIOUS IN REFERENCE TO THIS TELLING IT TO THE CHURCH THAT SOMEONE HAS TO MAKE THE DECISION WHETHER WHAT THE ERRING PERSON HAS DONE WARRANTS A PUBLIC DISCLOSURE TO THE CONGREGATION AND A PUBLIC APPEAL TO THE CHURCH TO PRAY, PERSUADE, ADMONISH, EXHORT, REBUKE, ETC. THE ERRING PERSON. SOMEONE HAS TO DECIDE ABOUT WHETHER THE TELLING SHOULD GO PUBLIC AND THEN WHAT AND HOW THE CONGREGATION SHOULD PROCEED. TO INDICSRIMINATELY TELL IT TO THE CHURCH WITHOUT ELDERSSHIP LEADERSHIP AND SUPERVISION AND INSTRUCTION WOULD MERELY FEED THE GOSSIP MILL. THIS WOULD SERVE NOT CONSTRUCTIVE PURPOSE AND WOULD CLEARLY VIOLATE SCRIPTURE. 3. When Jesus says in Matthew 18:18 “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven;” what is He saying and what is He not saying?
I’M NOT SURE WHAT THIS HAS TO DO WITH THE ISSUE UNDER DISCUSSION IN THAT IT CERTAINLY DOESN’T MEAN (CAN’T MEAN) THAT EVERY PERSON IN THE CHURCH MUST BE IN TOTAL AGREEMENT BEFORE ANY ACTION MUST BE TAKEN.
THE QUESTION IS, DOES THE YOU IN THIS TEXT MEAN EVERY SINGLE PERSON OR DOES THE YOU MEAN THAT THE MATTHEW 18:15 – 17 PROCEDURE HAS BEEN FOLLOWED AND THERE STILL HAS BEEN NO REPENTANCE ON THE PART OF THE ERRING PERSON. IF THAT HAS BEEN DONE, THEN THE ERRING BROTHER WHO IS FUNCTIONING AS AN UNBELIEVER (I.E., HE IS UNWILLING TO LISTEN TO CHRIST ASD HE SPEAKS IN HIS WORD – HE IS UNWILLING TO DO WHAT CHRIST SAYS HE SHOULD DO, NAMELY REPENT AND BE RECONCILED - JOHN 10:28; MATTHEW 18:15 – 17) IS TO BE DISFELLOWSHIPPED FROM THE CHURCH WHICH ACCORDING TO PAUL IS THE SAME AS BEING TURNED OVER TO THE DEVIL (I TIMOTHY 1;20). TO BE PUT OUT OF THE CHURCH IS TO BE TURNED OVER TO SATAN. THE CHURCH IS WHERE CHRIST REIGNS. THE WORLD IS SATAN’S TERRITORY. ALL THIS TEXT MEANS IS THAT IF THE CHURCH FOLLOWS CHRIST’S ORDERS IN MATTHEW 18:15 – 17 IN REFERENCE TO AN ERRING, DISOBEDIENT PERSON ANDS DISFELLOWSHIPS THAT PERSON, THEY DO SO UNDER THE AUTHORITY AND WITH THE APPROVAL OF CHRIST. THE TEXT SAYS NOTHING ABOUT THE NECESSITY OF VOTING. NO VOTE IS NECESSARY IF THE PROCEDURE DESCRIBED IN MATTHEW 18:15 -17 HAS BEEN FOLLOWED. IT’S A DONE DEAL BECAUSE HE WON’T OBEY CHRIST. WHY WOULD ANYONE THINK YOU’D HAVE TO TAKE A VOTE WHEN CHRIST HAS ALREADY LAID OUT THE PROCEDURE AND THE PERSON WAS UNWILLING TO OBEY?
3 AND 4. What are the limits of Apostolic Authority with respect to the normative role of Elders today? “The church as a whole perpetuates the apostolic ministry though no individual has apostolic authority”. (Rodney Decker; Polity and the Elder Issue, Grace Theo. Journal, fall 1988) Elders are to train men for the work of the ministry… they are not the ministry.
What is the Role of the Holy Spirit in the Congregation as a corporate body? 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” How is a congregation to test the spirit and make their collective mind known? How do elders prevent people from ‘voting’ with their tithe or with their feet? What long term effect does that have on the maturity of a church?
AGAIN I DON‘T UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM. OBVIOUSLY THESE STATEMENTS ABOUT EQUIPPING THE CHURCH FOR MINISTRY ARE TRUE – I BELIEVE IT WHOLEHEARTEDLY. EVERY BELIEVER IS RESPONSIBLE TO DO THIS AND TO DO IT OUT OF LOVE FOR CHRIST NOT BECAUSE HE IS ABLE TO VOTE ON WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN.
CONCERNING THE LAST TWO QUESTIONS, UNLESS PEOPLE ARE MOTIVATED BY SELFISHNESS AND A DESIRE TO RUN THE SHOW RATHER THAN A REGARD FOR GOD’S GLORY AND A DESIRE TO SERVE AND GIVE OUT OF LOVE FOR CHRIST WHAT DOES VOTING HAVE TO DO WITH GIVING OR SERVING? I DON‘T THINK ELDER RULE CAN AND DOES HAVE A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON THE CHURCH OR THE INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER WHEN IT IS UNDERSTOOD AND UTILIZED PROPERLY. THE ONLY EFFECT IT WILL HAVE WILL BE A GOOD EFFECT BECAUSE PEOPLE WILL BE SERVING AND GIVING FOR THE RIGHT REASON – BECAUSE THEY LOVE CHRIST. RIGHT NOW, FOR EXAMPLE, I AM NOT AN ELDER IN ANY CHURCH AND I CAN PROMISE YOU THAT IT HAS NOT AFFECTED MY GIVING OR MY SERVICE OR MY MATURITY. IN FACT, IT PROBABLY HAS HELPED MY MATURITY AND MINISTRY – NO ONE CAN SAY OR THINK THAT I’M DEVOTED, ZEALOUS, PRAYERFUL, ALWAYS ABOUNDING IN THE WORK OF THE LORD, SACRIFICIAL BECAUSE I AM AN ELDER.
AND, BY THE WAY, SOME OF THE MOST MATURE AND ZEALOUS AND SACRIFICIAL AND EFFECTIVE CHRISTIANS I KNOW ARE MEMBERS OF CHURCHES WHERE ELDER RULE IS PROPERLY PRACTICED. PRESENTLY WE ARE IN LITTLE ROCK, AR AND ARE ATTENDING AND TEACHING IN A CHURCH THAT PRACTICES ELDER RULE. THIS IS A CHURCH FILLED WITH HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE SOME OF THE MOST KNOWLEDGABLE, LOVING, DEVOTED AND EAGER CHRISTIANS I HAVE EVER MET. MANY OF THESE PEOPLE ARE LEADERS IN THEIR OCCUPATIONALS ENDEAVORS AND EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE NOT ELDERS, THEY ARE READERS, THINKERS, GIVERS AND ZEALOUSLY SERVING CHRIST. THE SAME WAS TRUE OF
GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH IN CALIFORNIA WHERE WE WERE MEMBERS DURING THE TIME I TAUGHT AT THE MASTER’S COLLEGE AND SEMINARY. AMONG THE MEMBERS OF THIS CHURCH OF SEVERAL THOUSAND WHICH WAS ELDER RULED (SERVED) WERE SOME OF THE MOST VIBRANT, MATURE, ACTIVE, SACRIFICIAL, COURAGEOUS, GIFTED, ZEALOUS, JOYOUS, THEOLOGICALLY SOUND, CARING, COMPASSIONATE, EAGER TO SERVE, CHRIST LOVING CHRISTIANS I HAVE EVER MET.
IN REFERENCE TO THE IDEA THAT SERVANT ELDERSHIP RULE KILLS MOTIVATION, I SAY AS I’VE HEARD OTHERS SAY ABOUT OTHER STATEMENTS THAT HAVE NO SUBSTANCE OR VALIDITY TO THEM, “THAT DOG WON‘T HUNT”. IN PRACTICE, IT DOESN’T WORK OUT THAT WAY UNLESS THE ELDERS ARE MISUSING THEIR AUTHORITY OR THE PEOPLE ARE SPIRITUALLY IMMATURE AND MOTIVATED TO SERVE FOR THE WRONG REASONS. THERE ARE MANY CHURCHES THROUGHOUT THE USA THAT PRACTICE SERVANT ELDERSHIP RULE AND YET THE PEOPLE ARE FUNCTIONING WELL IN TERMS OF THE PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS. SERVANT ELDERSHIP RULE HAS NOT BEEN AND WILL NOT BE AN INHIBITING FACTOR WHEN RIGHTLY PRACTICED. AT THE SAME TIME, I DO WANT TO SAY THAT I KNOW (AND SO DO YOU) OF MANY CHURCHES WHERE CONGREGATIONAL RULE IS PRACTICED AND YET THE GIVING IS LAGGING AND THE PEOPLE ARE WOEFULLY LAX IN KNOWLEDGE AND ALSO IN SERVICE. THE IDEA THAT PRACTICING CONGREGATIONAL RULE WILL INSPIRE AND MOTIVATE PEOPLE TO GIVE IS OFTEN CONTRADICTED BY WHAT IS HAPPENING IN MANY CHURCHES WHERE THAT IS THE MODUS OPERANDI. MANY PEOPLE REACT AGAINST THIS TEACHING I’VE BEEN EXPLAINING BECAUSE THEY HAVE A WRONG UNDERSTANDING OF HOW IT PLAYS OUT IN THE REAL LIFE OF THE CHURCH. ELDERSHIP RULE DOESN’T MEAN THE PEOPLE DON‘T HAVE A VOICE – IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT THE ELDERS DON‘T SEEK COUNSEL OF THE CONGREGATION - IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT THE ELDERS DON‘T RESPECT AND VALUE THE PEOPLE AND THEIR PERSPECTIVES – IT SIMPLY MEANS THAT THEY ARE LOVING SERVANTS WHO CARE FOR THE SHEEP AND ENCOURAGE THE SHEEP AND WANT TO BE OBEDIENT TO CHRIST WHO SAYS THEY ARE TO MANAGERS, BE OVERSEERS, HAVE CHARGE AND LEAD. THEY LEAD AS SERVANTS WITH A HUMBLE ATTITUDE AND WILLINGNESS TO SACRIFICE. THEY AVOID BEING PUSHY OR DOMINEERING OR AUTHORITARIAN. SERVANT LEADERSHI[P (ELDERSHIP) HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ELDER BEING MORE IMPORTANT OR SUPERIOR; IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH FUNCTION AND THE WAY ELDERS SHOULD FUNCTION.AS A HUSBAND I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HAPPENS IN MY HOME, BUT I DON‘T MAKE DECISIONS UNILATERALLY; I WORK, BUT I DON‘T DO ALL THE WORK. MY WIFE IS MORE GIFTED THAN I IN MANY AREAS AND SO WISDOM AND LOVE MEANS I DELEGATE AND ENCOURAGE AND LISTEN AND ON MANY OCCASIONS UNLESS IT WOULD VIOLATE GOD’S REVEALED WILL I DO WHAT SHE WANTS RATHER THAN WHAT I WANT. THAT’S BIBLICCAL LEADERSHIP WHETHER IT BE IN THE HOME OR IN THE CHURCH. AN ELDER WILL DO THE SAME IN REFERENCE TO THE CHURCH. AND NOW FOR A COUPLE OF OTHER THINGS: AGAIN PLEASE CHECK THE OTHER THINGS I HAVE WRITTEN ON LEADERSHIP ON OUR BLOG SITE. I APPRECIATE YOUR CONCERN AND IN PART AGREE WITH YOU, BUT AFTER 45 YEARS OF READING AND RESEARCH AND EXPERIENCE IN PLANTING CHURCHES, PASTORING CHURCHES, WRITING BOOKS AND ARTICLES ABOUT THE CHURCH AND TEACHING HUNDREDS OF PASTORS ABOUT CHURCH RELATED ISSUES, I BELIEVE THE MEN YOU QUOTE ARE MAKING SOME ASSUMPTIONS AND MAKING SOME STATEMENTS THAT ARE NOT BIBLICALLY WARRANTED. I HAVE PROBABLY READ AND HEARD EVERY ARGUMENT ABOUT THE WAY CHURCHES SHOULD BE RUN THAT IS OUT THERE. FOR YEARS, I PASTORED CHURCHES THAT WERE CONGREGATIONAL IN THE WAY THEY WERE RUN. FRANKLY, FOR BIBLICAL REASONS AND FOR PRACTICAL REASONS I NEVER WANT TO GO BACK TO THAT. I HAVE SEEN AND EXPERIENCED THE DAMAGE THAT THAT KIND OF SET UP PRODUCES. OUR CHURCHES IN AMERICA ARE OFTEN IN A MESS; THEY ARE IN DISARRAY WITH A VERSION OF THE SITUATION IN JUDGES BEING PRODUCED ALL OVER AGAIN – EVERY MAN (AND WOMAN) DOING WHAT IS RIGHT IN HIS OWN EYES IN THE CHURCH. THERE IS A CRISIS OF LEADERSHIP IN THE HOME AND IN THE CHURCH. I THINK SOME OF THE STATEMENTS THAT ARE MADE IN YOUR QUOTES SUCH AS THAT PAUL AND OTHERS LIKE TIMOTHY WERE NOT ELDERS ARE UNWARRANTED. IN FACT, PETER WHO WAS AN APOSTLE SAYS HE WAS AN ELDER IN I PETER 5:1 AND PAUL HOLDS HIMSELF UP AS AN EXAMPLE TO ELDERS FROM EPHESUS IN ACTS 20. ACTS 1 IS SOMETHINES QUOTED AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW DECISIONS WERE MADE CONGREGATIONALLY. IT’S IMPORTANT IN THIS PASSAGE TO NOTICE WHO WAS DOING THE LEADING IN VERSES 2, 3 AND 13. IT’S TRUE IN THE PASSAGE THAT LATER THERE WERE OTHERS WHO ,JOINED THEM ACCORDING TO VERSE 15. BUT THEY CERTAINLY DIDN’T VOTE . THE PASSAGES SAYS THAT THEY ALL PRAYED WHICH IS A GOOD THING AND SHOULD BE DONE BY THE WHOLE CHURCH WHEN OFFICERS ARE BEING SELECTED, BUT VERSE 26 INDICATES THAT THE MAN THAT WAS CHOSEN WAS NOT CHOSEN BY A VOTE, BUT BY CASTING LOTS.
SIMILARLY, ACTS 13 CANNOT BE USED AS AN EXAMPLE OF CONGREGATIONAL RULE BECAUSE AGAIN IN THIS INSTANCE IT WAS NOT THE CONGREGATION THAT DECIDED WHO WOULD BE SET APART – THAT WAS DONE BY DIRECT REVELATION. AND THAT ISN’T HAPPENING ANYMORE. WE HAVE A COMPLETED SCRIPTURE. GOD HAS SAID ALL HE IS GOING TO SAY AND ALL THAT NEEDS TO BE SAID. AT THAT POINT IN CHURCH HISTORY, ALL THEY HAD WAS THE OLD TESTAMENT. SO GOD REVEALED HIMSELF AND HISWILL IN WAYS OTHER THAN WRITTEN SCRIPTURE. NOT SO ANY MORE. NOT NEEDED ANY MORE SINCE WE HAVE THE COMPLETED CANON. IN ACTS 13 THESE MEN WERE NOT SELECTED BY CONGREGATIONAL VOTE.
AND FURTHER – PEOPLE CAN DO ALL THE GYMNASTICS THEY WANT WITH WORDS IN TERMS OF TITUS 1:5 AND ACTS 14:23, BUT IT IS CLEAR FROM I TIMOTHY 5:17 THAT RULING WITH A SERVANT SPIRIT IS MORE THAN LABORING IN WORD AND DOCTRINE. YES, ELDERS RULE IN PART BY MEANS OF PREACHING AND TEACHING GOD’S WORD. CERTAINLY THAT’S AN IMPORTANT PART OF RULING, BUT THAT’S NOT ALL OF WHAT PAUL MEANT. THE WORD “ESPECIALLY” MAKES A DISTINCTION INDICATING THAT THE RULING AND LABORING IN WORD AND DOCTRINE ARE NOT IDENTICAL IN EVERY RESPECT. ALSO, IN REFERENCE TO THIS DISCUSSION, I DON‘T HEAR OR READ ANYONE ADDRESSING THE SPECIFICS OF THE “HAVE CHARGE OVER YOU” ISSUE OF I THESSALONIANS 5:12, 13. ALSO I HAVE NOT HEARD THE SPECIFICS OF THE “OBEY” AND “SUBMIT” COMMANDS OF HEBREWS 13:17 EXPLAINED. WHAT DO THESE WORDS MEAN? DO THEY MEAN SOMETHING OR NOTHING? PEOPLE CAN FOOL AROUND WITH SOME OF THE OTHER WORDS IF THEY WANT AS THEY OVERLOOK THE IMMEDIATE AND LARGER CONTEXT OF SCRIPTURE ON THE LEADERSHIP ISSUE. THE MEANING OF WORDS MUST NOT ONLY BE DETERMINED BY LOOKING AT A GREEK OR HEBREW DICTIONARY (LEXICON), BUT ALSO BY LOOKING AT THE IMMEDIATE AND LARGER CONTEXT OF SCRIPTURE – BY COMPARING SCRIPTURE WITH SCRIPTURE. PEOPLE MAY SAY THAT CERTAIN WORDS MEAN SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHAT THE WORDS APPOINT, ORDAIN AND SET IN ORDER USUALLY MEAN. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE WORDS “OBEY” AND “SUBMIT” AND “RULE” AND “HAVE CHARGE” AND “APPRECIATE” AND “”ESTEEM AND THAT THEY MAY DO THEIR WORK WITH JOY AND NOT WITH GRIEF” WHICH ARE FOUND IN I THESSALONIANS 5:12,13; HEBREWS 13:17; ACTS 14:23 AND I TIMOTHY 5:17? ANY WAY, THERE YOU HAVE SOME OF MY THOUGHTS – MY UNDERSTANDING OF SCRIPTURE ON CHURCH LEADERSHIP. OTHERS MAY DISAGREE – SOME BECAUSE THEY THINK OF ELDER RULE AS DICTATORSHIP; BECAUSE THEY MISUNDERSTAND THE WAY ELDER RULE SHOULD FUNCTION EVEN AS MANY MISUNDERSTAND THE WAY THE LEADERSHIP OF THE HUSBAND SHOULD FUNCTION IN THE HOME. IN ANY CHURCH THAT PRACTICED SERVANT ELDERSHIP RULE WHERE I SERVED WE ALWAYS INVOLVED PEOPLE. WE NEVER ACTED UNILATERALLY. SOME PEOPLE ARE SCARED OF WHAT MAY HAPPEN; THEY ARE IMAGINING THINGS THAT NEVER HAVE OR HOPEFULLY NEVER WILL HAPPEN WHEN GODLY ELDERS WHO ARE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT GOD’S GLORY AND THE GOOD OF GOD’S PEOPLE THAN THEY ARE ABOUT HAVING THEIR OWN WAY AND THROWING THEIR WEIGHT AROUND. WHERE SERVANT ELDER RULE IS PRACTICED BIBLICALLY, PEOPLE WILL BE CONSULTED; PEOPLE WILL BE LISTENED TO; IDEAS AND PERSPECTIVES OF PEOPLE WILL BE SOUGHT AFTER AND FACTORED IN. IT WOULD BE UNBIBLICAL NOT TO DO THIS AS WELL AS FOOLISH AND DISASTROUS. THE AFFIRMATION OF THE PEOPLE IS ESSENTIAL AND IT OUGHT TO BE SOUGHT.
WILL EVERY FINAL DECISION OR CONCLUSION THE ELDERS COME TO BE ACCEPTED AND APPROVED BY EVERYONE? PROBABLY NOT. BUT THAT SHOULDN’T SURPRISE US OR ALARM US BECAUSE EVEN IN CONGREGATIONAL RULE CHURCHES YOU HAVE PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE WITH THE VOTE OF THE MAJORITY. WHERE SERVANT LEADERSHIP (ELDER RULE) IS PROPERLY PRACTICED, THE CONSENSUS OF PRAYING, HUMBLE, SERIOUS PEOPLE WILL BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. AND IF THE CONSENSUS OF THE GODLY, PRAYING, DEVOTED, CHRIST LOVING AND HONORING PEOPLE SEES IT ONE WAY THEN THE LEADERSHIP OF THE CHURCH WHERE SERVANT ELDERSHIP LEADERSHIP IS APPROPRIATELY PRACTICED WILL MAKE THE PERSPECTIVES OF THE CONGREGATION A LARGE FACTOR IN WHAT THE CHURCH DOES AND HOW IT FUNCTIONS IN MATTERS THAT ARE NOT CLEARLY LAID OUT IN GOD’S WORD. IN FACT, APART FROM BIBLICAL QUALIFICATIONS AND PRINCIPLE, A MOST IMPORTANT PART OF MAKING A DECISION FOR GODLY, BIBLICAL ELDERS WILL BE THE CONSENSUS OF THE PRAYING, GODLY, HUMBLE, DEVOTED, CONGREGATION.
THE CONGREGATION WILL HAVE A VOTE EVEN IF THEY DON‘T HAVE A FORMAL, RAISE YOUR HAND, CAST A BALLOT, SAY “AYE” KIND OF PROCEDURE. PEOPLE NEED NEVER FEAR: WITH GODLY ELDERS THE PRAYERFUL PERSPECTIVES OF THE CONGREGATION ARE IMPORTANT AND WILL BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION.
The cutting edge of the church in the city is lordship evangelism – Jesus proclaimed by word and deed, Jesus our justification and our justice…
“When I started this book, my wife was concerned that I would become a Christian. That didn’t happen. But I have become a fan, not just of the music, but of Christians, and of Jesus himself. To me, the message of the Gospel is love one another, look out for the less fortunate, and try to walk gently on the earth. And I love that… To anyone struggling with Christianity, my advice is try to keep your eye on the big picture, not a verse here and there. Love God, if you are so inclined, and one another. Sort out the rest using those principles as a lens.”
–Andrew Beaujon, author of Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the phenomenon of Christian rock
I’m glad Andrew likes Christians.
I’m not surprised that he didn’t become one. Because unfortunately, it seems he missed the point of the gospel. The message of the gospel is not… (CLICK HERE FOR REST OF ARTICLE)
We can communicate without words.
Often a lack of words is a kind of communication. If I don’t tell my wife I love her, I’m saying something.
When our words and are actions contradict each other, we are communicating something. If I say I love you and then ignore you, I’m saying something.
Churches need to understand this. It’s not just individuals that can communicate without words… (CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF THE ARTICLE)
It’s amazing how many excuses you can come up with for disobedience.
The most dangerous excuses are the ones that sound the most plausible. I know a big one for me is the old… (CLICK HERE FOR REST OF ARTICLE)
I talked to someone recently who was willing to change.
It was refreshing. He had an opinion, a strong one, but he was willing to talk about it. And you know what, he was willing to at least examine whether or not he might be wrong.
I almost had a hard time believing it. I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond. I don’t think I was surprised as much that he was willing to change, as I was that he was willing to change.
Now I need to be sure I’m clear here.
I’m not talking about him specifically.
He’s a humble man and I should have known better. He’s always proved himself willing to listen.
I’m actually talking more about the male gender. I don’t know if this is true in every church, but one of the things I’ve seen church planting is that a new church often attracts men, especially middle aged men, who are just flat out arrogant.
From my perspective, the arrogance of younger men is a little different. It’s more cocky, but if you love them at least they’ll usually listen. And older men, at least the older men I know that are still coming to church, they have been refreshingly willing to listen.
But there is a certain kind of middle age man, (emphasis on certain kind, I’ve got a number of really godly middle aged men at my church)there is a certain kind of middle age man who typically is just not.
I call him the middle age drifter.
I don’t call them drifters because they have left one church for another. I call them drifters because they hardly ever stay at any one church for long. Typically we’re talking, months.
From the way they tell it, it is because there just aren’t any good churches out there.
I used to believe them.
It definitely made me feel good about what we were doing. But now, when someone says that to me, especially a middle aged drifter, I’m a little more doubtful.
I know there probably aren’t that many good churches out there. I know that there are alot of churches with problems out there. I know there are really good reasons to leave a church. I know that some places in America it is really hard to find a good church, but still where I’m at, this isn’t like Turkey or Uzbekistan or any place like that.
There are churches out there where you can hear the Word.
The tricky thing with most of the drifters I’ve met is that they usually know the Word. A little.
Spend some time with them though and you find out they think they know it alot. And they really want you to know that they think they know it alot. They’ll quote a reference and ask if you know it. Or they’ll thank you for the message because it reminded them of some truths they already learned along time ago.
It’s not just that they think they know alot, though. Some of them actually might. It’s not like that in is a sin. The real problem is an unwillingness to learn any more.
I think this is one of the things I love most about my dad, he’s been studying the Scripture for years and years, but when he comes to church and he listens to someone, he’s still taking notes. I can’t count how many times he’s come home from a church service excited about an insight.
I guess I’m rambling but I’m mostly writing this down as a note to self. I’m on my way to middle age and when I get there, I want to remember there is hardly anything uglier than a proud Christian middle age man. I mean, proud non-Christians aren’t that pretty either but at least they aren’t using the Scripture to justify their pride!
So Josh, remember no matter how much you might think you know you still don’t know that much. And what you do know, you usually forget. And what you do remember, you need to be challenged to apply. You haven’t arrived and you won’t until you get to heaven. You have nothing to prove.
Just sit down and listen. Oh yeah, and learn!