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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Who's in Charge (Part 6)

First of all, remind me to NEVER do a series of blog posts again, okay??!!  Almost every time I thought I would be able to do something, it didn't work out, and I had to change something!  It just was a good reminder that I'm really not in charge of my own life....God is!

We left off with looking at "Who's in Charge?" of the local church. We learned extensively about elders - appointed men (plural) who are to shepherd the flock - the church of Jesus Christ.

So, what about others?  What about preachers?  What about deacons?  As with everything, let's go to The Word. They are 'in charge' of the local church, but all Christians have work to do in the church for God.

Various works for children of God:

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 
Ephesians 4:11-13

Preachers proclaim the Good News:

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Romans 10:14-15

Timothy's instructions for preachers (inspired by God): 

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:  Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:1-3

Deacons are servants of God:

Early on in the New Testament church,  the "Twelve" (meaning the 12 apostles) realized that they could not do all of the Lord's work by themselves.  The widows were being neglected, so they gathered all of the disciples (followers of God - still what Christians are today...followers of God) and chose seven men from among them who would take care of this responsibility.  

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.  Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them  and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:1-4

Deacons must meet the following requirements:

In the same way, deacons  are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 3:8-1-10, 12-13

The New Testament church:

As scriptures have pointed out, the organization of the church patterned after the New Testament church is very clear. Christ is the head.  Men who serve as elders are the shepherds of the flock and are responsible for the "sheep" and the "Who's in Charge?" of the local church - the followers of Christ that meet together.  There is no one elder that is above the other, rather all are equal and unified.  Deacons are selected to help with the work of the church.  In the Bible, all of these different roles are listed only for men - not women.  God loves women.  Jesus loves women.  But women are not to be in those positions in the church.

What about Phoebe?

In Romans 16:1, Phoebe is called a deacon in some versions and a servant in others.  As Christians, we are ALL servants of God.  However, it is obvious that only men were selected to fill the specific duties of a deacon because of the scriptures I've listed above.  I did a lot of study about the Phoebe verse, but I'll let you research that yourself.  I don't need to repeat what they have gathered and gleaned! :)  

As a woman, I can be and am a servant of God, a teacher of His Word.  I do what I can to share the Good News.  But, as a woman, there are limitations on my role in the church according to God's Word and His Will.  That's fine with me!  In fact, as I said before in an earlier post - I'm thankful to be a woman!!  My responsibilities as homemaker, wife and mother - plus the every-important Bible teacher and spreader of the Good News is more than enough to keep me fulfilled spiritually and emotionally and physically.  

All followers of God/Jesus have a job to do!

Not everyone is cut out to teach a Bible class, but we all must teach.  It's a commandment of God.  You may not feel like you can teach a classroom full of little babies (YES!!  Baby class is awesome! Don't neglect to teach the babies!!!), but maybe you can teach a 10 year old one on one about Noah.  Maybe you wouldn't be able to teach Bible class to 2 & 3's almost 47 years like my mother-in-law (at the same place!!! And she's taught even more counting the other places.) has, but maybe you could teach VBS for a day or three or five.  You can teach!  You can teach your children, your neighbors, your grandchildren, someone at the grocery store.  And you know what, God NEEDS you to teach!  He commands you and I, as followers of Jesus, to "go and tell".  (Matthew 28:19-20

I hope you've enjoyed this study of "Who's in Charge?".  I've enjoyed writing, though as I mentioned, these kinds of posts are a lot harder and require more of my time and study (a good thing, but a time-consuming thing).  If you have any questions, comments, or thoughts about any of the subjects I've addressed, please let me know. 

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