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 6

The Elders - Introduction

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.”

To those whom it has been given to shepherd the Body of Christ, the duties and responsibilities are so grave, that it is necessary for men who accept this duty to be of the strongest conviction and dedication to the cause of Christ.

No one who fills this portion of the order of the Body of Christ can excuse themselves because of ignorance; their duties are clearly stated and easily understood. Neither can they complain and excuse themselves from these duties and remain pleasing bishops (elders) in the sight of God.

The elders responsibilities are before them daily and they cannot let another do this work for them (being individually qualified and responsible). Oversight and tending the flock can only be done by elders, because God arranged it in that manner (established order!).

The Body of Christ is hindered in its growth, spiritually and numerically when men accept the duties and not the responsibilities that God places on them.

There are several ways that we can look at the vital nature of this role in the order of the Body of Christ. In this first of many lessons concerning the elders; just looking at the various titles can reveal much. After this, we will look at the following - <1> Duties to self, <2> Duties to God, <3> Duties to the Body of Christ.

Elder –

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.”

The meaning is one that is older in years, mature, one with experience and dignity, such as age would confer. The areas of judgment which elders function require men with experience and sound judgment.

We will always see them in existence within the Body of Christ in plurality (2 or more!).

Philippians 1:1Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons”

Shepherds – ‘pastor’ –

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.”

1 Peter 5:2Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly”

This term is defined by the very occupation it describes, the complete care of the flock (feeding, protecting, tending, etc…). All the tools and supplies necessary for the complete provision for the flock have been provided through the word of God (Titus 1:9).

Special Note: The term ‘pastor’ is a Latin derivative of the Greek word that translates as shepherd. In today’s world, the term pastor is used of those who speak the word during worship. Although elders can be evangelists (one who speaks well the good news – more on this when we get to them); however, only the elders (once again – in plurality) can shepherd the flock of God, being appointed specifically predicated on the qualifications given via the Spirit of God.

Overseer – Bishop –

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.”

1 Timothy 3:1This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.”

These terms describe the means to superintend, and convey the idea to rule as being part of the duties of elders. The rule, of course is limited in scope; as they do not make law (this can only be done by the Head – Christ Jesus; Ephesians 1:22-23); but simply enforces, teaches, protects, and leads by example through the existing laws or doctrine of Christ.

Their authority is also confined to the flock that is among them, or the local Body of Christ 1 Peter 5:2 (Shepherd the flock of God which is among you”).

Steward –

Hebrews 13:17Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

This term describes the care of something that belongs to another; in this case, to care for the Body of Christ which belongs to our Lord and is entrusted to these servants (Hebrews 3:6). This insists that the shepherds of the Body of Christ always keep before them that they can never act as if the Body or flock belongs to them.

Summary –

These different titles are referring to the same order or men and give us some insight into the duties and responsibilities of this role in the Body of Christ. This is just the surface of many lessons to come where we will discuss this vital piece in the order of local Bodies of Christ.

In future lessons we will develop their role in the order of the Body of Christ, we will look at the qualifications they must have before beginning this work, and finally we will look at the selection and appointment of these men – all according to what the Lord has revealed in His word!

Next: “Duties to Self!”