Program Air Date - 11-3-02


WELCOME Here we are together again on a wondrous Lord’s Day Morning. Privileged to serve our God in songs of praise and through the study of His Word. We welcome you to this time of offering to God.

I hope each of you had a great week and I hope you are ready today to think on things above, and to give full attention to our Creator who has done so much for all of us. In fact, this morning we want to begin by talking to our God in prayer. Won’t you bow with me at this time before the throne of God.


At this time we want to get started by singing our first song of the morning. Won’t you all join in with the congregation at this time as we lift up our voices together, in the hymn, “Kneel At The Cross.”

(SONG # 1)


How many times have you gone to bed crying? Probably all of us have at one time or another. Maybe you lost a loved one, or possibly you lost your job. Maybe the problems of life were just closing in on all sides. Yes, often the things which get us down are major things in this life. However, sometimes we get upset and cry over smaller things. Maybe our girlfriend or boyfriend dropped us or maybe we had to eat something we really didn’t want to.

You see, no matter who we are or what the reason is, when we are the ones with the problem, it always seems to be the most important thing on this earth. I wanted to read a verse this morning that reminds us that we don’t have to let these things in life get us down. In Psalm 30:5, we read, “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Have you ever heard that old saying, “sleep on it, and things will look brighter in the morning.” Where do you think that came from? The great Psalmist David knew exactly what it was like to go to bed with problems or sins that cause us to cry. But he also realized that if we will always refocus on God, these things will seem a lot less important in the morning. But why? God is there for us and God forgives! The first part of the same verse which we just read says, “for his anger is but for a moment, his favor is for life.” God may not like what we do and may even be angered by it, but He is always there to accept us back and to forgive us if we are willing to do our part by repenting. Have you forgotten that things are always better in the morning with God?

Why not rely more on God? Commit to doing His will and you will find that things are easier in this life. Decide to “cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:7. We truly serve a great and mighty God. In our study this morning we will again focus on, “Authority In Religion.” Our specific topic today is entitled, “Bible Authority in the Organization of the Church!” So please continue with us and in a few minutes I will return with this study of the morning. Now, let’s join in our second hymn of the morning. The name of the song, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning!”

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

I hope you have your Bibles handy this morning and I hope you are ready now to study God’s Word as we look at our specific study of the morning. We’ve been having a great study together on Biblical authority and we’ve been trying to see specifically what God has to say to us. I think that now in our program this morning we are ready to look into that after singing some beautiful songs and being able to approach the throne of God in prayer. Now let’s look to His Word and see what He has to say to us in reference to this area.

We specifically want to look this morning as we have said at the area of organization in the church. A very, very important issue because as we look around the religious world, it is confusing to find so many different concepts, so many different types of heads and boards and groups that rule and run different churches. We find so many different headquarters to churches and how that one church will claim to be headquartered here and another there and have really men over these groups and making decisions in relationship to doctrine and in relationship to really all that they do in their different denominational groups. Well again, we need to go to God’s Word to find answers for all of these things. Since God the Father or the Son, the apostles or the Spirit are no longer actually just in front of us to give us all the answers, they have left us a book as we have said, the Bible that is, that is perfect and complete and will guide us and lead us into every good work, a book furthermore that will give us the answers to all things pertaining to life and godliness. So this morning we want to find those answers in relationship to church organization. If I wanted to organize myself, the church that I am a part of, the Lord’s church, in a way that is pleasing to Him, what should I do? I should go to His Word and do what He said. But you might say, “But Ray, can I improve on hat? Isn’t there some way that I can make it better?” Well, I don’t think there is anyway that we need to, nor should we be arrogant enough to say that we can improve on what the Lord has set into motion. There are reasons for everything that God did. In fact, He asked that things be done in a certain way generally in a very simplistic way and the purpose is so that we might give Him glory, none other, no man, no group of men, no church itself, but we might give God the glory, in fact in whom all things have been made possible by.

We might begin this morning in the book of Romans just to start introducing us to our topic in looking at the concepts or the different organization that really is set up inside of the church, that is what God really intended from the beginning as far as what His people would do in the body of Christ. Begin with me if you will in chapter 12 of Romans and verse 4. “For as many as we have members in one body, but all members do not have the same function. So we be many or one body in Christ and individual members of one another, having then gifts according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them if prophecy. If prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith. Or ministry, let us use it to our ministering. He who teaches in teaching, he who exhorts in exhortation, he who gives with liberality, he who leads with diligence, and he who shows mercy with cheerfulness.” Then he goes on to actually talk about that we might behave like a Christian, that we might live as we should to be perfected or complete in the eyes of God. Well then the church then as we consider that we all have specific parts. There are many members all making up the body. The Corinthian letter talks about that and how that although we are many members we all have special functions. There are different things that God has really set up that we might all partake in. But again, in relationship to what He has designed. In relationship to what He has set up. Not so that I might have authority or take authority. But so that I might give authority to where it is due and its found no other place but in God. Obviously God being the great, the creator giving His Son, has then designed a certain way that we must show proper authority in all things and has to be based in Him and what He has said and what He has asked.

I might also mention in relationship to the beginning of our lesson that we also have a word known as “autonomous.” If you investigate and look really through command and example, inferences made in the New Testament, every congregation was independent. Every congregation was autonomous. They were working independent one of another. Yet, we would find that they would come together at times and encourage one another. At times when there were famines, we would find that one church might send help to Jerusalem church and help those brethren to have the food that they needed or the money to assist them in a certain thing or a certain work. The church at Antioch, a mission church, would send out missionaries at times and then other churches along the way would actually also help and assist these men to do the great work of our Lord. But we never, not one time, in scripture find any clue, any inference, any example, any command, about a headquarters, about a group of men on this earth that really is to be over all churches and to guide and to lead all churches as we find in many religions today. In fact, we find just the opposite. Every congregation did its own work. Every congregation was required to do all that God had asked it. Not to say that it is their job or their responsibility or that’s what the headquarters is supposed to do, but that we all are to take the gospel to the whole world. We are all to worship God fully. We all are to live as God has asked us to. In everything, every congregation being completely what God has asked it to it’s fullness to be found pleasing in His sight.

But now as we look then to the church and we consider the headship of the church, who on this earth should be head? Well, the Bible tells us that there is only one who is head. In fact, it eludes to us that the one who was on the earth, who should be head, no longer is, therefore, our head is not of this earth or any longer on the earth. Christ in heaven was known and given to be head by the Father Himself and really this intention was made from the very beginning before the creation of the world. I want you to look with me in the book of Ephesians chapter 1. There in verse 22 notice what this inspired writer, the Holy Spirit guiding Paul said to the New Testament church there at Ephesus. He said, “And He, referring to God, put all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” You see, all is fulfilled and all is completed in what? That Jesus Christ according to the Will of the Father was made the head of the church to be all things over the church, to accomplish that. And why not? Who would be better? Did you die for the church? Did I? Did some group of men die? Certainly not. Christ is the Savior of the body. He gave His own life and gave Himself. Who better to be over the body of Christ? Who better to be the head of the church than the one who all fullness was brought about by again according to the Will of the Father that is in heaven.

I might also remind you in just a few chapters over in Ephesians 5, a very familiar verse in verse 23, that it reminds us there again that for “the husband is head of the wife, also Christ is head of the church.” Christ is the head of the church. There is no other. In fact, he goes on to say why in that verse again. He says, “He is the savior of the body.” Verse 25 goes on to say that “He was the one that was willing to give Himself for her.” That is the church. So again, as we talk about the head of the church and who should be over us, and who should lead the church, there is no other than Jesus Christ. “He is the head and no better head could be found than the one who gave His own blood and purchased the church with His own blood,” Acts 20 and verse 28.

I might also remind you as we look in these verses and as we look at what the Bible says, as Christ built His church and said that He would build the church, His body, the kingdom, that these things are confirmed to be that which is of Christ according to the Will of the father and again not of man. How could a man be over a church that is heavenly in nature? I believe it is an impossibility and therefore I think that we must organize ourselves and find our place in relationship to what God has said, not in relationship to what I think or to what you would think or to what another would think.

If we look there in Ephesians in chapter 4, we see that Paul continued to deal with this issue in showing that there are certain things that the Lord established in His church to fulfill the function, not to be head over the church, not to rule the church in a wrong way, but to be head or to help organize as those of this earth who are head, in some way to really help guide the things in relationship to what Jesus being the fullness of all really had said. I want you to notice with me what was said there in Ephesians 4 and verse 11. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, and teachers.” Notice in verse 12, “For the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Notice here that he has said that there were certain works given to all. All of us are different. All of us have different talents. There are certain works that we all can and should fulfill. Why? “To equip the saints, the body of Christ,” as he mentions here, “to accomplish that which needs to be done in the knowledge of Jesus Christ for all that are in the body of Jesus Christ.” In fact, in verse 13, he goes on to say and says this, “the knowledge of the Son of God may be made perfect in the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ.” There again, the concept that the knowledge be made known and that the fullness be brought forth about Christ, not about me, not about some man, not about some headquarters, not about some church, but about Jesus. You see, it is all again about God. It’s all again about Christ. And as we of this earth are under Him, He is the one head. Now at times, He might place us over things in the church as we see here the concept of pastors and elders. But yet, at the same time there is no time that these individuals would be taking the authority from Christ or somehow overruling Christ. It only would be in connection and conjunction again with that which has already been delivered from Him and that is from the scripture, the Word of God.

Now I might mention to you the office that we might say in the church that seems to have been at least from an earthly standpoint over the church and it is really not in a spiritual sense. It is not a headship type of sense of taking the place of Christ, but it is in a sense of really spiritual things, and that is the eldership, the area of what we refer to as being a pastor, the concept of being overseers, the concept of being shepherds. The Bible often talks about Jesus Christ being the chief shepherd, the head of His church. But it also talks about the church having spiritual shepherds of this earth. In other words, men. Spiritual. Older, as the word implies itself, eldership. Those who are mature in the faith who will help spiritually to guide in all things. Notice, not according to what they think or what they want or what they believe, but again according to what the chief shepherd has laid down already in His Word and through His Word.

I find it furthermore interesting that in 1 Timothy chapter 3 as well as Titus chapter 1 that it clearly is given to us there that there were qualifications that these men had to meet. It wasn’t good enough that they just be Christians. They were so to speak maybe the special priests, the higher priests, those who really were above reproach, those who have shown themselves in all ways to be worthy before God. But again, even the scripture tells us that there is only one high priest today, again Jesus Christ. But under Him, we find spiritual shepherds of this earth who are known as elders again, as pastors, as those who help guide us more in a spiritual sense so that we might know better and more perfectly the Will of God, not according to again their own beliefs or desires, but according to what they can find and prove again through that which God has delivered.

I might also refer you to look specifically at the book of Titus chapter 1 that we mentioned a moment ago where there Titus was encouraged in verse 5 to “go into Crete and that he should set in order the things of the church.” There Titus was told to go to some of these churches in Crete and help them set things in order. Notice what he told him to set in order though. He went on to say, “those things that were lacking such as the appointing of elders in every city as I command you.” There we have it a command. An example that was given to Titus and Timothy also, being instructed at times to go and to build up these churches and to give them elderships. And why? To set things in order according to what? Not what man thinks. But what God thinks. So that a church, an individual congregation might have men in it that would help them spiritually to know what they should do and how they should live and to guide them more perfectly as more mature people in the faith in the things that God had designed. And notice that he said, “Appoint elders in every church.” He didn’t say, “Appoint them in one church in Springfield and that all of those other churches can go to that same eldership and they are all under that eldership.” He says, “Every church, every body needs it’s own eldership.” Why? So that those members are always around those leaders and those helpers who will guide them spiritually in the things that they need to do. In fact, we find also that they as leaders, as spiritual shepherds are not lords, so to speak. We might in a sense say, “Well, they are heads of the church.” But really they are not because it goes on to say and really proves for us in for instance the book of 1 Peter. In 1 Peter chapter 5 and verses 1 through 4, they are warned that “as shepherds they are not to be lords over the flock.” Not to in some way dictate or to maybe impress things that were in some way their own concepts and ideas but to guide the flock, to be a part as servants, as Christ was a servant and to be a part of all those things again pertaining to what God says in things, again, not what you or I think or feel is best. Why? Because again, there in Peter he said, “Christ is the chief shepherd. He is the one that gives out the design. He is the one that lines us out as far as what we should do and how we should live.”

Another office we might call it. I don’t even know if office is a good word. But another work, another service under the fold of God besides the eldership is really the concept of being a deacon. A deacon in the church. In fact in Acts chapter 6, they were told “to look among themselves and to find deacons, special servants for special works.” So deacons again, not to be heads over the church or to take Jesus’ place, but to be servants for Christ, servants of the other members to accomplish certain works and to organize certain things. So again, deacons were there again in New Testament times. Not only that but we find their qualifications in 1 Timothy 3, verses 8 through 10.

So they had certain qualifications to meet. We’ve already read a verse back in Ephesians as well as we’ve looked now in several books now like Romans that have talked to us about other positions like evangelists, and teachers, and all members. We all have a work to do. We all need to organize ourselves truly in a way that is profitable and in a way that will bring glory and honor to God but ultimately it still has to be in the way that will do this because of what God has said. How can we bring glory and honor to God if it is not in His way?

I might remind you of another verse in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. You’ve no doubt heard it before in verse 12 reminding us about the same things in the body of Christ. “For as the body is one and has many members, being many, we are still one body for also is Christ.” So again, the concept of many members, all one body in Jesus Christ. Why again? Because He is the head of that body. And as He is the head, He is our Savior rightfully so because of all that He has done for us.

So as we look at ourselves and as we ask the question according to Bible authority, “How must we organize ourselves?” The simplest way even though it is the way that God gave to me would be the best way and to simply do what God has said and set up each congregation in a way that doesn’t really shun one another but works independently to accomplish the task of taking the gospel to the whole world and ultimately still helping one another and working together as best we can to encourage one another in the faith as all being one in Christ Jesus. But ultimately, doing these according to Biblical authority, according to what has been founded through Biblical statement and command and example and inference so that we know that what we are doing is not of man or of any individual or council or group, but is truly of God because the only way that we can be pleasing to our God is when we do it His way according to His Word.

(SONG # 3 - “O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee!”)


What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.

Now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today’s lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a free cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or free Bible correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:

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As we determine what God wants, from the Bible, may we organize ourselves in a way that is pleasing in His sight and according to His Will.

(Program End)