“…I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” ~ 1Timothy 3:15
THE CHURCH IS BEGGING FOR LEADERSHIP AND ORDER.
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NO ORDER WITHOUT GOVERNMENT
NOW that you have a plan of order in your home and you are not depending on anyone in “a church building” to raise your family spiritually you may be tempted to isolate. Come on, your house is running smooth; everyone knows their role and their responsibilities. Your house is in order: you have dumped that high mortgage payment in exchange for a home within your means. Your finances are in order: you don’t have to work like a slave to “stay-a-float” dodging bill collectors. Your relationships are in order: you have finally told your mother-in-law that her 50 year old daughter is actually your wife and you are not coming over for the “Fourth of July” Barbeque and watch everyone get drunk this year. Things are looking GREAT! Why would you want to get together with folks that are slaves to their house payment, can’t pay their bills and are abused by worldly relatives? Why? Because, Jesus told us to. It is the time and others will need your help.
All through the history of “House Churches” it seems that the greatest challenge always comes when families started assembling together. Why? Because it requires the next level of government. I know, I know the word GOVERNMENTmight just send chills down your neck; nevertheless we can’t assemble without it.
Please consider this; just as all dads are not abusers, all ministers are not corrupt. Remember, that as all dads are to be a blessing to the family as men under authority, so all ministers are to be a blessing to the Body of Christ as they too are under authority.
According to scripture, all dads are required to have the same moral and character qualifications, but each is given the freedom to lead his family in the personality and style he sees fit. In the same way, all ministers have the same moral and character qualifications, but each has the freedom and flexibility to mold the ministry he has been called to as he sees fit. Of course both parties use wisdom by asking for insight and counsel, but when the rubber meets the road that dad has to make some hard decisions for his family and answer to God for his choices. The minister also has to make tough decisions and answer to God for his choices.
The whole making – or breaking – point of a family or a church is based on this one factor of governmental authority. If we don’t understand the purpose of something, it could bring, (and has brought), great harm. The purpose of an airplane is not to dive 300 feet underwater. A heavy rock is not to be used as a parachute. Gasoline is not to be used as a health drink. Marriage is not to be used for slavery. The church is not to be used as a _______________. You fill in the blank. Authority is not to be used as a dictatorship that holds people in bondage. Yes, we have seen the abuse of authority, but God always has and always will give humans authority to lead His people on earth.
The responsibility of leadership is to protect and train people to grow up and have freedom to do what they are called to do. Leadership is to bring order into the house, which in turn produces peace in the house. Why do we need order in the house? Show me an eight-year old and a ten-year old home alone for more than hour and I will show you a great possibility of chaos, power struggles and confusion. When dad walks in the room, governmental order walks into the room. It is the same with the body of Christ, the church is begging for order! Let me show you two ways confusion can enter a house.
One way confusion comes into the house is when a person with no authority tries to lead. Human nature says I want to lead without going through the testing, training and proving. These people have no Godly authority, and are backed by no Godly power. Therefore, they rely on an illegal power that uses intimidation, manipulation and domination to rule by. The Bible refers to it as Witchcraft, I Samuel. 15:23. The Bible also likens these people as goats, Ezekiel. 34:17-21, Matthew. 25:31-46. If these goats are not confronted, an evil spirit called the “spirit of error,” I John. 4:6, is developed. If the “spirit of error” is not dealt with, it takes over and matures into a full-blown “Jezebel power” abusing “weak willed Ahabs” 1 Kings 18, 19, 21 & Revelation 2:20.
Another way confusion comes into the house is when people are given responsibility as leaders but given no authority to back their leadership. Or they are given authority but the boundaries or jurisdiction of their authority has not been defined for them and the people they lead. The “world,” uses this system of ambiguity to control employees to nations. If you don’t know what you are accountable for, who you are accountable to, and what the rules are, you will always lose. Therefore, you are subject to the whims of the “top leader.” Good, hardworking, “submissive to leadership people,” are fired and “power hungry people,” are promoted in this system.
In the world we expect that system to be working because the Bible tells us:
“…whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.” ~Philippians 3:19
If that system flourishes in the Body of Christ it brings in confusion. May I belabor this point just a little further so you can see the practical side of this deception? I really want you to see how this world system of ambiguity has already infiltrated the church.
EXCHANGING BIBLE WORDS WITH MODERN WORDS
In the “building” system, we exchanged Bible words with modern words, which allow confusion to enter, remain and even control. For example:
1 The Church means people, (the called out ones), but the “building,” system turned the meaning into a non-profit corporation that supported a building.
2 The position of Elder was turned into a Board of Elders who were politically chosen and usually, “yes”, men. These men made financial decisions concerning the corporation. In contrast, the Bible shows that the Eldership is a key position of the church; their qualifications are as spiritual leaders filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and able to pray the prayer of faith to save the sick…
“…anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.” ~ James 5:14-15
3 At one time, communion, or The Lord’s Supper, was a dinner that started with the breaking of bread in remembrance of Jesus, continued with a full meal, song, fellowship, prayer, the reading of scripture and ending with the drinking of the wine. The entire dinner was communion, (1 Corinthians 11:20-21). The “building” system condensed it into a five minute ritual with symbols of juice & crackers.
4 What do we do with a Deacon? No one knows, so the “building” system turned that position into an usher, or it lets him run the “ministry of helps, (like a thrift store business). The Bible defines what a Deacon was in the early church. A Deacon was usually the one who opened his house and prepared the dinner for communion. He also had qualifications for his position, (I Timothy 3:8).
5 Next is Bishop. (Isn’t he the man with the three foot hat and long hanging robes in the movie, “Princess Bride,” and starts a wedding ceremony with a stuttering word; “M-OU-WAGE’?) No wonder the world mocks religious people, they are funny! The world laughs because Biblical definitions have been influenced and redefined by the world itself! They should be influenced by us, do we agree?
6 Let’s go over the edge and just mention; Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (Ephesians 4:11). In America we usually call all of these gifts Pastors. One reason might be because of the way our tax laws are written. Pastors get a tax break on their housing allowance. You don’t see the word Prophets in our tax laws. The word Pastor has become like the brand name Kleenex, no matter what tissue we use we still call it a Kleenex. No matter which one of the five gifts that Jesus gave His church they have all been redefined with the title; Pastor. Have you ever met an Apostle? You might look at the word missionary. Not to say that all missionaries are Apostles but some are. Several Apostles today minister under the name of “Church Growth Experts” because in most areas, their true calling is not accepted, yet.
THE GOD OF PROCESS
Truly our God is the God of process and we must believe we are in His perfect time. You may think you are a man or woman before your time. The truth is that you were birthed, born again, Spirit baptized, trained, tested and retrained for such a time as this! Praise to the Living God!!
Few who look at a beautiful painting have an understanding of the painter’s process. You might be viewing a painting of the seashore at sunset and marvel at its beauty and comment about the unique color and texture of the waves in the water. The artist just smiles and says thank you as he remembers the day he was painting it and his dog knocked over the canvas and stepped on that exact spot giving it great texture.
You see it is more about process than the end product. Did you get that? Let me hit it once again, it is more about process than the end product. Why is it so hard to see what the church is supposed to look like in the Bible? It is difficult because what you are expecting might not be there.
So, if you are looking for a formula or a perfect, “paint by number picture,” of the church, this following section will be greatly frustrating for you. Or worse, you might try to take the following example and make it fit into your previous system, then yell at God if it doesn’t work, and tell me, “I told you so.” Oh well, mankind has been doing that for hundreds of years. Perhaps through our process we will get closer to the perfect will of our Lord and His original design for His Church.
What have we discovered in Chapter Nine?
41. Next level of assembling more than one family together takes a new level of organization and authority.
42. Not all dad’s are abusers not all ministers are corrupt.
43. How confusion may enter with illegal power.
45. Again the God of process!
Personal Journal Insert:
Teaching and training on raising children, raising leaders, raising dads and moms. So much of the non-Biblical way is promoted in every media and to balance this boat is really tough. “So what if that’s how your folks raised you, if it doesn’t lineup with scripture it is not acceptable.” Raising an old and new generation at the same time, taking off the old and putting on the new is truly about timing and I am not sure I’ve got the timing thing down yet. I feel like a very young father myself.