FOUNDATIONS

Lessons designed to promote the integrity of scripture and church!

I Corinthians 3:11“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is    JESUS CHRIST  

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

 

THE BODY OF CHRIST

THE ORDER OF THE BODY OF CHRIST – PART 10

The Elders – Feed the Flock

Titus 1:9holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”

The shepherd is a figure of a guardian of sheep; to feed and protect! This means that the shepherd must guide the flock from place to place in order that they may have sufficient food and water for their safety and growth. In addition, the shepherd must always be concerned about the welfare of the sheep.

In spiritual matters, the elders are likewise responsible for the members of the flock of the Lord, feeding and seeing that they have sufficient diet to develop.

This food must be designed to reach the “babe” with milk; and the mature with “meat”.

1 Peter 2:2as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby”

Hebrews 5:12-14For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

To this end, teachers, teaching places, and times must be constantly reviewed to make sure the flock is properly fed. If the elders themselves are not the teachers, then qualified teachers must be provided for this work.

2 Timothy 2:2And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

We do not permit our children to eat out of the trash, as the contaminated food would poison them; likewise, the shepherds are to make sure that the spiritual diet is not contaminated by the doctrines of men!

1 Timothy 1:3As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine

2 John 9Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.”

Just as the Master Teacher instructed His chosen disciples concerning the importance of one sheep, so the elders of the Lord’s flock must see this work as vital for the purpose of rescue and maintenance; note:

Matthew 18:10-14“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

If one is missing from the flock, the elders must be alert to do all that is possible to return the member to the flock. But far more important, a regimented teaching program must exist in order to properly feed the flock before they reach this point!

Longsuffering is an example set forth by the Lord for all His children, but even more-so for those responsible for the work of feeding.

1 Timothy 1:16However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.”  

Which one of us graduated from kindergarten with a high school diploma? Why then would we think that individual members of the Body of Christ are going to learn and know everything immediately? Why is it that we understand the need to teach, but fail to recognize that the results of the power of the word require longsuffering for the proper results?

Ephesians 4:2with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love”

Colossians 1:11strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy”

Colossians 3:12-13Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

2 Timothy 4:2Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

This last passage demands that there is no compromise to the doctrine that is to be persistently fed to the Body of Christ; but instead, consistently and patiently repeated until tolerance for nothing else will satisfy the Body, the same way the farmer waits for the rain, knowing nothing else will help his crops (James 5:7-11)! If the Body of Christ will not tolerate anything but sound doctrine; the Bodies’ immune system will reject anything else! This will not occur unless the feeding of the sheep is first built on sound doctrine, and then patiently enforced without hypocrisy!

The Elders – Rule Well

1 Timothy 5:17Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.”

Authority is vital to any order; even in the Body of Christ. The Bodies’ order is first established through the Head, which is Christ Jesus, then to those whom He has appointed to shepherd His flock as servant leaders.

In Paul’s instruction to Timothy, we see that elders are to be rulers even if some don’t think they ought to be. They have already had to display that they are able to rule their own houses well (1 Timothy 3:5), for the purpose of showing their capabilities over the Body as well.  

We, the members of the Body of Christ are to “Obey” and “Submit” to those whom “Have the rule over us” Hebrews 13:17.

Elders are not just to rule, but rule well! This helps define that their rule is restricted!

  1. Not as Lord’s over the flock – 1 Peter 5:1-3.
  2. Not as legislators, as there is only One Lawgiver – Matthew 28:18; James 4:12.
  3. They must rule, not just by example, but by the will of God – Titus 1:9.
  4. They must lead with diligence – Romans 21:8.
  5. Ruling well includes the negative areas as well – Romans 16:17; Titus 1:10-11.

Ruling well demands much time, thought, effort, edification, building up, and admonishment (charging to do their duty)!

If the elders do not have the foresight to plan and lead, they hinder the entire Body of Christ from fulfilling all the purposes the Lord has given His Body (Ephesians 4:12). The destiny of the entire Body depends in a large degree on what and how the elders lead. It is unlikely that the Body of Christ will have the foresight and determination to complete the will of the Master, if the elders are not actively involved.

It is additionally unlikely that the Body will develop, unless the elders take the oversight and exercise their charge in each area assigned to them by the Lord.

Men, who accept this responsibility having achieved the qualifications, should do so prayerfully and with all gravity. They must realize that they are charged with the most precious commodity in the entire world, the souls (cells, muscles, bones, etc…) of the Body of Christ! 

Next: “The Qualifications!”