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 20

The Elders – Selection

Acts 20:28Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

The selection of men to shepherd the Body of Christ is a difficult subject for many; as many consider it to be subjective. If we look carefully at what has been revealed and remember that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a teaching Gospel, especially when we are willing to learn from it, there is ample information concerning the selection process of shepherds.

As Paul reminds the elders from Ephesus, in the above text, we must first remember that the selection of men to oversee the Body of Christ is first and foremost a Divine order. Since we also know that the Spirit of God does not literally appear for the purpose of this selection, there is obviously a Divine revelation for it (the work of the Spirit of God).

Since we have just finished studying the Divine qualifications for men to be shepherds over the body (as revealed through Paul by the Holy Spirit), we can also understand then, that those who are selected according to the qualifications, are selected by the Spirit of God, or as He has revealed.

Acts 14:23So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”

There are about fifteen Greek words that are translated into our English word “Appoint” or “Appointed”.

Some, like the Greek, “Histemi” is used in Acts 17:31, to describe a day selected by God to judge the world in righteousness.

Another, like the Greek, “Tasso” is used in Acts 13:48, to describe those being “set in order” to eternal life.

Although there are similarities, there is also a distinctly different meaning to each. This is also true for the word chosen by Luke in the above text (Acts 14:23). This is the Greek word, “Cheirotoneo”, and was used in everyday Greek to speak of the election of certain legislative assemblymen. It is closely related to the Greek words “Histemi” and “Kathistemi”, which speak to the selection of men to a position; however, in the case of this word, it is a process of selection (we know the process to have to include the Divinely given qualifications, and the individual desire for the work – Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Peter 5:2). Note the word used in Paul’s writing to the Christians in Corinth concerning Titus:

2 Corinthians 8:19and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind” 

Here we see that this word that is used in Acts 14:23 as “Appointed”, is explained in this case as selected by the churches.  In Acts 14:23, as Paul was able to strengthen and exhort the brethren in these Bodies of Christ (Acts 14:22), as well as having shared with them spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7-11), which would have enabled some among them to have achieved the qualifications sooner rather than later, having set this in order, they would have been able to choose from among them those who had demonstrated qualifications and desired the work of elders. This entire thought would have completed the appointment process and been in harmony with the rest of the instructions we have looked into thus far.

In a similar way, Paul used the Greek word, “Diatasso” in writing to Titus (Titus 1:5), which is a strengthened version of “Tasso” (defined above), and is given to enforce the need to arrange, prescribe, or appoint to construct (like the instruction from God for Moses to build the Tabernacle – but with very specific parameters). Titus was not to pick and choose, but to set in order by the instruction of the Divine Will the need to construct this order in the Bodies of Christ on the Isle of Crete, to prevent them from lacking. This is exactly the same process by which he was also to instruct the need to create sound Bodies of Christ, by sound doctrine (setting them in order – Titus 2:1). In both cases, it was to be these specific Bodies of Christ responsible for selecting out from among them, these Divinely qualified men, and setting them over this work in each body.

Acts 6:3Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business”

Here in the sixth chapter of Acts, a problem arose in the daily distribution of care to the widows among the brethren (specifically the Hellenists – Greek speaking). As this information came to the attention of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, they perceived this as a distraction from the true purpose they were sent for (not wanting to leave the word of God – Vs. 2); thus gave instruction to set this situation in order. 

No, this is not the selecting out of elders! Nor even Deacons, for that matter; however, it is evident that this process culminates in an example of the “appointment” (Greek word, “Kathistemi”, the appointment of a person to a position) of individuals by a specific set of qualifications over a work!

This is only an example of the process, we described earlier, by which the members of the Body of Christ selected out by instruction and qualification, those whom would be appointed over something.

With this said, we also see in this example all the necessary properties:

  1. Selected out from among them.
  2. Specific qualifications – good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit, and wisdom.
  3. The brethren had to know the qualifications and those whom were qualified.
  4. This process removed any claims of bias, or unworthiness (see vs. 5, it pleased the whole multitude as is often the case when Divine wisdom is sought). 
  5. There is no evidence that these men did not desire the work and that is something that would have to be known before the Apostles laid their hands on them.

This example only serves to give an understanding of a Divinely approved process whereby the selection of men for this specific work can be found and used as a template (making sure that all the scriptural information concerning elders is used).

Summary –

Since it is the entire Body of Christ that is going to have to know who is qualified (1 Timothy 4:6), are going to have to be subject to them (Hebrews 13:17), and is going to have to recognize them and esteem them (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13), they must select out from among them, these who would shepherd them in this Divine order. This process, by the qualifications given by the Spirit of God, allows these men to be appointed by the Holy Spirit.

It was never to be by the rule of a single man to select these men; i.e.… the preacher, a visiting preacher, or even existing elders (although the elders should oversee by the process by the word). However, these who are charged with the teaching of the singular doctrine of Christ (1 Timothy 1:3; Titus 1:9), must teach the necessity for this God given order, and that would then demand that the Body set it in order!

The process that the Body of Christ uses to select out from among them men to shepherd them in this order must include the following:

This may seem simplistic in nature (as most all of God’s instruction truly is – 1 Corinthians 1:27-29; 2 Corinthians 11:3); however, this work requires the Body of Christ to demonstrate the utmost fidelity to the word and a unity that allows God’s wisdom to be supreme, in order to accomplish what may be lacking.

Next: “Deacons!”