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 9

The Elders – Oversight

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”

To take the oversight does not mean by force, but rather willingly accept responsibility as a qualified man should for the work sake!

The term “desires” from; 1 Timothy 3:1 conveys the same idea of accepting the work and the awesome responsibility of oversight of the Body of Christ.

These individuals are not to take this charge for gain sake, or for honor (which in turn actually brings them true esteem from brethren who know the true desire and difficulty in the service of the Lord), but as a faithful steward of God’s people.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.”

The meaning of oversight is to superintend every phase of the work of the Body of Christ; to literally consider the shepherd to sheep relationship. Here are some of the areas where this superintending is to be exerted:

  1. The scriptural worship comes under their oversight.
  2. To insure that those who are chosen to lead minds in worship are qualified by the word of God to do so.
  3. That the prayers offered to lead all in collective prayer are according to the Will of God (additionally songs, scripture readings, etc…).
  4. To evaluate the needs of the Body of Christ and to teach concerning giving to supply the needs (local Evangelist, preachers in the field, place to worship and any expense associated, care of truly needy saints, etc…).
  5. Seeing that qualified teachers and teacher training are available to the needs of the flock (2 Timothy 2:2).
  6. The selection of; but more importantly the continual training of, evangelists for the preaching of the truth to proper Christian living (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
  7. To make sure that the teaching is given in order to ensure that the Lord’s memorial is done orderly and with the proper respect for which it represents (1 Corinthians 11:17-34).
  8. That the spreading of the Gospel in the area around the Body of Christ is performed.
  9. To make sure that benevolence (collective) is done after a scriptural pattern (Acts 2:45; 4:34-37; 6:1-7; 11:27-30).
  10. To ensure that emphasis is put on training for future elders, evangelists, teachers, deacons, men to lead prayers, women to be examples to the younger, etc… is done (Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 2:2; Titus 2:1-8).
  11. To ensure that there is a place to conduct worship, within the guidelines of liberty.
  12. To teach parents concerning their duty to teach their children; not just in a Bible class setting, but every day!
  13. To provide home Bible classes or any other necessary Bible literacy instruction as need may be (Acts 5:42; 20:20).
  14. To exhort and admonish brethren to remain faithful to the Lord and the work of a local Body of Christ (to charge them to do their duties).
  15. To ensure that no one is allowed to teach the flock that may in any way lead the sheep from the Chief Shepherd and His will (Titus 1:10-11).
  16. To fervently and with love, seek out those who have strayed away from the flock of the Lord.
  17. The complete oversight of the Body of Christ by the doctrine of Christ locally resides with the eldership.

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.”

There are probably some other specific notations that could be added here, like praying over the sick, etc… but I wanted to save room for some other areas of instruction; so, suffice it that these will fall into the last catagory.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt; one can look at this list and conceive in their minds the daunting task before these spiritual men, and the vital need for them!

The Elders – Take Heed to the Flock 

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.”

We have already noted that these Spirit qualified men were to first “take heed to themselves”; but now we want to look at the fact that they must be on guard for the sake of the whole Body of Christ.

After setting the proper example and guarding themselves, their primary responsibility is to the members of the Body of Christ (which once again emphasizes servant leadership).

If we remember that sheep, which is the primary illustration for the Body of Christ, are primarily creatures that can easily be preyed upon and lost, if not carefully guarded. These shepherds are to always be on guard for signs of danger. This requires that the elders know the flock very well, to be acquainted with the needs of the Body of Christ and be ready and capable to help.

This is perhaps why the qualification, to rule their own house well, is additionally so important. All children are different, with different needs and they respond differently.

To watch for, means more than mere acquaintance.

  1. To watch for false teachers, divisions, and any spirit of contention – Romans 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 1:11; Titus 1:10-11.
  2. To correct or remove the matter before it becomes serious.
  3. To never allow any virus to the unity of truth to take a foothold among the brethren.
  4. This demands that they not only watch, or take heed, but that they have the courage to act in the interest of the Body’s spiritual welfare.

The Elders – Stop the Mouths of the Gainsayers

Titus 1:10-11For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.”

The elders must have the strength through the word to stop those who are unruly or are offering vain instruction, by sound doctrine.

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.”

They are never to use the Pharisee moniker of “do as I say, not as I do” Matthew 23:3. They cannot Lord over the Body of Christ; however, at the same time they cannot leave them alone because of fear of those who introduce error, intentionally or not.

Sometimes stopping these, if they are truly gainsayers, means discipline according to God’s word.

The Disorderly

2 Thessalonians 3:6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.”

2 Thessalonians 3:11For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.”

The Divisive

Romans 16:17-18Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.”

Titus 3:10Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition”

The Openly - Publically Immoral

1 Corinthians 5:1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!”

We will speak to proper discipline for the Body in future lessons; but these are some of the things that the elders of the Body of Christ must be in the fore-front of handling for the protection of the Body.

They must never shrink away from the truth, no matter who it is that leads any campaign against the Lord’s doctrine (evangelist, member, outsider, or anyone), in this fashion:

2 Thessalonians 3:14And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.”

This need to protect the local flock would also include intrusion from other congregations, other elderships, other evangelists, etc… Each eldership is to only shepherd those among them (autonomy) – 1 Peter 5:2. Remember, no matter the source:

1 Corinthians 5:6-7Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”

Next: “Feed the Flock Rule Well!”