August 20, 2017
Current church government needs to be:
1.Things decently and in order – forming a legal organisation
- Ephesians 4 Ministries
- Recognised leadership
- Oversight of leadership given to elders
Believers should be redeemed and a functioning part of the church. Local congregation is not a democracy or a leadership of a few.
In Acts 6, its the congregation who have a say in who become deacons. Sometimes the leadership has to catch up with what God is doing. A lot of ministries come out, not just through the leaders, but through the vision and initiatives of people in the church. Sometimes it might be prophets, or sometimes Apostles and Elders working together (eg circumcision in Acts 15).
Acts 20: 28-31 “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. “
1 Timothy 3: 1-7 “Here is a trustworthy saying: whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care 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 disgrace and into the devil’s trap. “
1 Peter 5: 1-4 “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. “
Local church – led and overseen by Elders.
Elders should have some measure of maturity. Should be Overseers and Shepherds. Men were appointed in each church. Headship of Jesus Christ, and under Him Elders have headship – caring and nurturing, nourishing and honouring the sheep.
Should be men qualified by their example, character, reputation, hospitality, maturity in God’s word, example in their own discipleship, ability to manage their own family. They need to make sure they are healthy sheep. The Bible never says that Elders were perfect. We are not looking for a finished product.
Need to be able to teach the truth. Not all Elders will be full time teachers, but should know enough of God’s Word to keep people in truth and avoid them going into error. Other gifts do not matter as much. The character and integrity and understanding of God’s Word are of most importance.
Appointment of Elders
Apostles and apostolic delegates need to be part of the process. Potential Elders need to be received and recognised by other church members – there needs to be an element of trust. Leaders commend people to the church, giving an opportunity for feedback and response.
Role and Function of an Elder
They direct and bring ruling to the church. Someone who brings security and accountability in line with God’s Word. Some sheep will go astray and some will get injured. Elders are primarily people who care for people. They are amongst the people. They have to give account for their oversight and they are to be accountable to the church for their example (1 Timothy 5).
They carry responsibility for the preaching and the teaching in the church – not just from the front on Sunday, but throughout the church. Responsibility to be team players – plurality of eldership. Open to input from church members and from Ephesians 4 ministries. Elders have autonomy within each local church. They can decide to leave Commission. But Bible teaches that none of the early churches worked in independence.
Purpose of Eldership
Elders are a means to an end of bringing the Kingdom of God to your life and to the lives of those around you.