THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE – 2-23-14

LESSON TITLE: “THE ORGANIZATION OF GOD’S CHURCH.”

WELCOME

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING, LET ME WELCOME YOU TO THE PROGRAM. THE LIVING WORD IS A WORK OF OUR LORD, DEDICATED TO DOING GOD'S WILL IN HIS WAY! AS ALWAYS, IT WILL BE OUR PRIVILEGE TODAY TO SING SONGS OF PRAISE AND TO STUDY FROM HIS WORD. IN THESE ACTS OF WORSHIP, MAY WE ALL BE ENCOURAGED, BUT ULTIMATELY MAY WE EACH PRAISE GOD ACCORDING TO THE SACRIFICES TO OFFER TOWARD HIS THRONE. IT WILL ALSO BE OUR HONOR THIS MORNING TO SPEAK WITH GOD THROUGH PRAYER. WILL YOU BOW WITH ME AS WE TALK TO OUR CREATOR?

PRAYER: OUR GOD AND FATHER IN HEAVEN, WE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS DAY AND THE MANY BLESSINGS OF LIFE AND THE PRIVILEGE THAT WE HAVE TO BE YOUR CHILDREN AND TO SERVE YOU. FATHER, WE KNOW THAT ALL GOOD THINGS COME FROM YOU, WHETHER THEY BE OF A PHYSICAL NATURE OR A SPIRITUAL NATURE, AND WE ARE THANKFUL. FATHER, WE ALSO THANK YOU FOR YOUR SON AND THE GREAT GIFT THAT HE GAVE ON THE CROSS, AS WELL AS HIS RESURRECTION, WHICH HELPS US THIS DAY TO STAND JUSTIFIED IN YOUR SIGHT KNOWING THAT IN THE END, BY YOUR GRACE, LOVE AND MERCY WE WILL RECEIVE THE GREAT REWARD OF HEAVEN. IN JESUS NAME WE PRAY, AMEN.

IT'S NOW TIME TO START OUR SONGS OF PRAISE. SO, WON'T YOU JOIN IN WITH THE CONGREGATION AT THIS TIME AS WE SING TOGETHER, "THERE IS SUNSHINE IN MY SOUL!"

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

HAVE YOU EVER HAD ONE OF THOSE NEIGHBORS THAT ARE HARD TO GET ALONG WITH? I GUESS WE ALL HAVE AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER. HOWEVER, HOW DO WE RESPOND TO THOSE WHO DON'T TREAT US LIKE THEY SHOULD?

I MIGHT ALSO ASK, WHY DO WE NOT LIKE THEM? I KNOW WE HAVE A GOOD REASON FOR WHY WE DON'T LIKE THEM. MAYBE THEIR KIDS PLAY NEXT TO OUR PROPERTY LINE AND THEY ACTUALLY GET ON OUR GRASS FROM TIME TO TIME. SOME MIGHT EVEN HAVE A PIECE OF TRASH THAT BLOWS OVER FROM THE NEIGHBORS AND MESSES UP OUR FLOWER BED. OR POSSIBLY IT IS SOMETHING AS UNBELIEVABLE AS A PERSON'S CULTURE, BACKGROUND OR RACE THAT MAKES YOU AUTOMATICALLY DISLIKE WHAT YOU SEE.

WELL, WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT ALL OF THIS THROUGH HIS INSPIRED WRITERS. READ WITH ME FROM PROVERBS 14:21, THERE IT SAYS, "HE WHO DESPISES HIS NEIGHBOR SINS; BUT HE WHO HAS MERCY ON THE POOR, HAPPY IS HE." DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE SINNING WHEN YOU THINK, ACT AND SAY THESE TYPES OF THINGS IN RELATIONSHIP TO YOUR NEIGHBOR.

OF COURSE, ALL OF THIS WOULD MAKE PERFECT SENSE IN CONSIDERATION OF WHAT JESUS SAID OF A SIMILAR NATURE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. THERE WE FIND VERSE AFTER VERSE THAT REMINDS US OF HOW WE SHOULD TREAT OUR NEIGHBOR. WASN'T IT CHRIST HIMSELF WHO SAID THAT THE SECOND AND GREATEST COMMAND WAS TO, "LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOUR SELF," MATTHEW 22:39? THIS SAME JESUS TOLD THE BEAUTIFUL STORY OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN, WHO WAS WILLING TO STEP OUTSIDE THE BARRIERS WHICH SOCIETY HAS SET UP AND TO SHOW THE TRUE SPIRIT OF CHRIST.

A FINAL FAMILIAR VERSE I WOULD LIKE TO MENTION IS FOUND IN MATTHEW 5:44, WHERE JESUS EVEN WENT SO FAR AS TO SAY THAT WE ARE TO, "LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, BLESS THOSE WHO CURSE YOU, DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO HATE YOU, AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO SPITEFULLY USE YOU AND PERSECUTE YOU." WELL, BY THIS TIME YOU MIGHT BE THINKING, BUT WHY, OR YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING. BUT THE QUESTION I WOULD LIKE TO ANSWER IS WHY!

LOOK AT THE SAME PASSAGE, MATTHEW 5, BUT NOW LOOK AT THE NEXT VERSE - 45, THERE WE READ, "THAT YOU MAY BE SONS OF YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN." DID YOU CATCH THAT? WE TREAT OTHERS AS WE WANT TO BE TREATED BECAUSE WHEN WE DO WE GLORIFY THE FATHER AND HOPEFULLY THEY WILL SEE HIS SON IN US.

SO, HOW DO YOU REACT TO YOUR NEIGHBORS IN LIFE. DO YOU SAY AND DO THOSE THINGS WHICH CAUSE THEM TO SEE CHRIST? ARE YOU WILLING TO "GO THE EXTRA MILE," AND "TURN THE OTHER CHEEK?" THE REAL QUESTION IS CAN THEY SEE JESUS IN YOU? IN JUST A FEW MINUTES IT WILL BE TIME TO BEGIN OUR MAIN STUDY OF THE DAY. THIS MORNING, WE WILL BE CONTINUING OUR STUDY ON JESUS STATEMENT, "UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH." OUR SPECIFIC LESSON OF THE MORNING WILL COVER, "THE ORGANIZATION OF GOD'S CHURCH." SO PLEASE STAY WITH US AND AFTER OUR NEXT SONG, BROTHER BRENT GREEN WILL AGAIN BE WITH US TO LEAD US IN THIS IMPORTANT STUDY FROM GOD'S WORD. WE THANK BROTHER GREEN FOR BEING WITH US AND LOOK FORWARD TO HIM GUIDING OUR THOUGHTS FROM GOD'S WORD AFTER OUR NEXT SONG. NOW LET'S JOIN IN THAT SONG TOGETHER. THE NAME OF THIS HYMN, "THERE IS POWER IN THE BLOOD."

LESSON

BY BRENT GREEN

WHAT A GREAT PRIVILEGE IT IS AS ALWAYS TO OPEN GOD'S WORD AND STUDY IT. IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 16 AND IN VERSE 18, WE AGAIN READ THE WORDS OF JESUS AS HE SAYS, “I ALSO SAY TO YOU THAT YOU ARE PETER, AND UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH AND THE GATES OF HADES SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT.” INDEED, AS WE THINK ABOUT THE CHURCH THAT IS THE CHURCH THAT JESUS CHRIST DIED FOR AND THE ONE THAT HE ESTABLISHED, THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT WE HAVE GOT TO LEARN ABOUT IT. THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT WE HAVE GOT TO UNDERSTAND SO WE CAN BE THE CHURCH THAT HE CALLS US TO BE. AS WE THINK ABOUT THAT I WANT US TO CONSIDER THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH. YOU MIGHT THINK JUST FOR A MOMENT AS YOU LOOK AROUND THE RELIGIOUS WORLD THAT THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT GROUPS THAT ARE ORGANIZED INTO A VARIETY OF WAYS. MANY HAVE EARTHLY LEADERS OF VARIOUS HIERARCHY WITH DIFFERENT HEADQUARTERS AROUND THE WORLD. BUT AS WE LOOK TO THE SCRIPTURE, DON'T WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT GOD'S WORD SAYS AND MATCH OURSELVES UP TO THAT WORD? WHEN WE THINK ABOUT ORGANIZATION, THAT ALL GOES BACK TO THE PRINCIPAL AS WE START THERE IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 16:18 WERE JESUS SAID THAT HE WILL BUILD HIS CHURCH. THIS IS THE CHURCH FOR WHICH HE DIED. THIS IS THE BODY THAT HE SHED HIS BLOOD FOR SO WE'VE GOT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HONOR WHAT HE GAVE US TO HONOR. THAT IS, WE UPHOLD THE STANDARD THAT HE SET FOR US AND WE FOLLOW HIS AUTHORITY.

THERE IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 28:18, JESUS SAID, “ALL AUTHORITY HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH.” WELL, WE'VE GOT TO FOLLOW THAT AUTHORITY AS IT PERTAINS TO ALL ASPECTS OF OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE, BUT ALSO AS IT PERTAINS TO THE ORGANIZATION OF CHRIST'S CHURCH. THERE IN COLOSSIANS CHAPTER 3:17 WE ARE COMMANDED TO DO EVERYTHING THAT WE DO IN THE NAME OF THE LORD THAT IS BY HIS AUTHORITY AS IT CONCERNS THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH WHICH ALSO HAS TO BE BY THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST. AS YOU LOOK AROUND THE RELIGIOUS WORLD, YOU MIGHT FIND MANY WHO HAVE SET THEMSELVES UP OR BEEN APPOINTED BY THE DIFFERENT GROUPS TO BE THE LEADERS OF THEIR RESPECTIVE GROUPS BUT AS WE THINK ABOUT THE BIBLE AND WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT THE CHURCH IN THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH, WHO IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH? IT'S THE ONE WHO BUILT THE CHURCH AND THE ONE WHO FOUNDED IT AND THAT IS JESUS CHRIST. IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE CHURCH IS ORGANIZED AND IT IS UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE HEAD OF JESUS CHRIST. WE CAN SEE THAT FROM THE SCRIPTURE IN EVERYTHING THAT WE TALK ABOUT CONCERNING ORGANIZATION. IT CAN BE FOUND CONFIRMED IN THE WORD OF GOD. JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY TRUE AND LIVING HEAD OF THIS CHURCH. IN EPHESIANS CHAPTER 1:22-23 IT SAYS THAT CHRIST IS HEAD OVER ALL THINGS IN THE CHURCH. WHO IS THE HEAD? JESUS CHRIST. ALSO PARALLELED THERE IN COLOSSIANS CHAPTER 1:18, THERE IT SAYS THAT CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE BODY, WHICH IS THE CHURCH. VERY CLEARLY AS IT PERTAINS TO ORGANIZATION, THERE IS BUT ONE HEAD, THE ONLY HEAD OF THE CHURCH, AND THAT IS JESUS CHRIST.

AS WE CONSIDER THAT JUST A LITTLE BIT FURTHER, WHERE IS THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE CHURCH? THE HEADQUARTERS GENERALLY SPEAKING IS WHERE THE HEAD IS AND SO WHERE IS THE HEAD, JESUS CHRIST? WE KNOW FROM VARIOUS SCRIPTURES LIKE ACTS CHAPTER 1 AND ACTS CHAPTER 2 THAT JESUS CHRIST, WHO IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH IS SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD. THAT IS THE PLACE FROM WHERE HE GOVERNS HIS CHURCH. IF THE HEAD IS IN HEAVEN THEN WHERE IS THE HEADQUARTERS? IT IS THERE IN HEAVEN ITSELF. THERE IS NO EARTHLY HEADQUARTERS AND THERE IS NO EARTHLY HEAD. ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURE THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH CONSISTS OF ONE HEAD AND THAT IS JESUS CHRIST. IT CONSISTS OF ONE HEADQUARTERS WHICH IS HEAVEN ITSELF. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE UNDERSTAND THIS COMES FROM THE SCRIPTURE, WHICH IS GOD'S WORD.

AS WE FURTHER CONSIDER THE WORD OF GOD AND WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH, THERE IS ANOTHER VERY IMPORTANT MATTER THAT WE'VE GOT TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT THAT ORGANIZATION. AGAIN, YOU LOOK AROUND THE RELIGIOUS WORLD AND YOU SEE MANY DIFFERENT BOOKS OUT THERE THAT ARE WRITTEN BY MAN, BOOKS THAT CLAIM TO BE AUTHORITATIVE, BOOKS THAT ARE CREEDS, AND BOOKS THAT WILL SO-CALLED "GOVERN" THOSE DIFFERENT RELIGIOUS BODIES. AS WE LOOK AGAIN TO GOD'S WORD, WHAT IS IT THAT THE BIBLE SHOWS US IS THE ONLY AUTHORITATIVE BOOK TO GOVERN THE CHURCH? AGAIN, AS IT PERTAINS TO ORGANIZATION IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE UNDERSTAND THIS POINT. THE CHURCH HAS A CONSTITUTION. IT HAS A BOOK THAT GOVERNS IT, AND WHAT IS THAT? IT'S NOT A CREED OF MAN, BUT IT IS THE BIBLE ITSELF. SPECIFICALLY, IT IS GOD'S WORD THAT GOVERNS THE ORGANIZATION AND THE ACTIONS AND THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO ARE PART OF THE CHURCH. LET US UNDERSTAND THAT THE WORD OF GOD IS GOD'S WORD. AROUND THE FIRST CENTURY THROUGH THE APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES AND THOSE WHO HAVE THE GIFT OF PROPHECY, THEY ALL SPOKE GOD'S WORD. JOHN CHAPTER 14:26 AND JOHN CHAPTER 16:13 BOTH REMIND US VERY CLEARLY THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDED THESE MEN UNTO ALL TRUTH. AS THEY DELIVERED THAT TO THE CHURCH IN THE FIRST CENTURY, AS THEY WROTE THOSE LETTERS AND PREACHED THOSE SERMONS, AND AS THEY WERE GUIDED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO DO SUCH, WHAT WERE WE LEFT WITH? THE WORD THAT CAME FROM GOD. IT IS VERY CLEAR THAT THAT MIRACULOUS AGE CAME TO AN END AND THAT REVELATION CEASED AT A CERTAIN POINT IN TIME AS THE MIRACULOUS AGE ITSELF CAME TO AN END.

ARE WE LEFT TO WONDER IS THERE SOMETHING ELSE? IS THERE ANOTHER REVELATION? DID WE MISS SOMETHING? DID GOD FORGET TO GIVE US ALL THAT WE NEED? THE ANSWER IS NO. GOD HAS GIVEN US EVERYTHING THAT WE NEED. IN SECOND TIMOTHY CHAPTER 3:16-17 IT SAYS, “ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD, AND IS PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE, FOR REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, FOR INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUS THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE COMPLETE, THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED FOR ALL GOOD WORKS.” GOD'S WORD, THE BIBLE, HAS GIVEN US EVERYTHING THAT WE NEED TO BE COMPLETE. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN THEN? WE ARE NOT LACKING ANYTHING. WE DON'T NEED THE OTHER WORDS OF MEN. WE DON'T NEED OTHER BOOKS. WE DON'T OTHER CREEDS BECAUSE WE HAVE ALL THAT WE NEED IN GOD'S WORD. EVEN THERE IN 2 PETER 1:3 IT SAYS, “AS HIS DIVINE POWER HAS GIVEN US ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN TO LIFE AND GODLINESS.” IT IS INDEED GOD OR GOD'S WORD ALONE THAT GOVERNS OUR LIVES AS CHRISTIANS.

EVEN MORE THAN THAT, IT GOVERNS THE CHURCH. THE ONE BOOK THAT SHOWS US NOT ONLY HOW WE NEED TO LIVE BUT HOW WE NEED TO REORGANIZE IS GOD'S BOOK, WHICH IS THE BIBLE AND SPECIFICALLY THE NEW TESTAMENT. YOU MIGHT AGAIN SAY WELL, I WONDER IF WE REALLY HAVE ANYTHING? JUDE 1:3REMINDS US VERY CLEARLY THAT THE FAITH HAS ONCE AND FOR ALL BEEN DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS. THE FAITH, THE SYSTEM OF FAITH AND GOD'S WORD WHICH IS WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW TO LIVE AS WE SHOULD AS HIS CHURCH, ONCE AND FOR ALL HAS BEEN DELIVERED. THERE IS NOTHING ELSE THAT WE ARE LACKING. NOTHING ELSE THAT WE ARE WAITING FOR. THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH, WE'VE GOT TO UNDERSTAND, HAS ONE HEAD AND THAT IS JESUS CHRIST. IT HAS ONE BOOK THAT GOVERNS IT AND THAT BOOK IS THE BIBLE, SPECIFICALLY THE NEW TESTAMENT. IF WE WOULD UNDERSTAND THOSE TWO BASIC PRINCIPLES THAN ANY OTHER QUESTION THAT WOULD ARISE CONCERNING THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH SHOULD BE EASILY ANSWERED. WE WOULD KNOW THAT WE'VE GOT TO LOOK TO THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST. WE WOULD KNOW THAT WE HAVE TO GO TO THE BIBLE, SPECIFICALLY THE NEW TESTAMENT, TO SEE WHAT IT SAYS. IF WE UNDERSTAND THOSE THINGS THEN ANY OTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH ARE CLEARLY EVIDENT AGAIN THERE IN THE SCRIPTURE.

AGAIN, AS IT PERTAINS TO THE CHURCH AND THE ORGANIZATION, I WANT US TO CONSIDER THE FACT THAT THE CHURCH HAS CONGREGATIONS. AGAIN, AS WE SEE IN THE SCRIPTURE, THESE CONGREGATIONS ARE AUTONOMOUS. AS YOU LOOK THRU THE SCRIPTURE, ALL THAT MEANS IS WE HAVE INDIVIDUAL CONGREGATIONS THAT ARE PART OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH THAT CHRIST SPOKE OF IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 16:18 - HIS CHURCH.....THAT UNIVERSAL CHURCH. AS WE LOOK AROUND THE WORLD, THERE ARE INDIVIDUAL CONGREGATIONS THAT ARE ALL A PART OF THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH. WE LOOK AGAIN IN THE SCRIPTURE AND WE SEE THAT PAUL WROTE A LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT CORINTH. WE CAN SEE THAT PAUL WROTE ANOTHER LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT THESSALONICA. PAUL WROTE LETTERS TO THE CHURCHES OF GALATIA. THOSE WERE CHURCHES THAT WERE INDIVIDUAL BODIES OF CHRIST THAT MET AT DIFFERENT LOCATIONS BUT THEY WERE ALL A PART OF THIS UNIVERSAL BODY, WHICH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST. WE SEE THAT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. EACH OF THESE CONGREGATIONS WAS INDEPENDENT AND SELF-GOVERNING. YOU MIGHT SAY WELL, HOLD UP JUST A SECOND. DOES THAT MEAN THAT THEY ARE ABLE TO DO WHAT THEY WANTED TO? THEY DON'T HAVE TO DO WHAT EACH OTHER IS DOING? THINK ABOUT IT..........EACH INDIVIDUAL CONGREGATION IS INDEPENDENT AND IS SELF-GOVERNING, BUT WHO IS THE HEAD OVER EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE CONGREGATIONS? JESUS CHRIST IS. WHAT IS THE BOOK AND THE LAW THAT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE CONGREGATIONS HAS TO FOLLOW? GOD'S WORD. ALTHOUGH THEY ARE INDEPENDENT OF ONE ANOTHER AND THEY MEET IN DIFFERENT CITIES ALL AROUND THE WORLD, THEY SHOULD ALL LOOK THE SAME. THEY SHOULD ALL WORSHIP THE SAME. THEY SHOULD ALL PREACH THE SAME GOSPEL. THEY SHOULD ALL BE DOING THE SAME THING BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL FOLLOWING THE BIBLE AND THEY'RE ALL SUBMITTING TO THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST.

NOW, JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE INDEPENDENT AND SELF-GOVERNING ACCORDING TO THE STANDARD THAT WE JUST STATED DOESN'T MEAN THAT THEY CAN'T WORK TOGETHER. WE ALSO SEE IN THE SCRIPTURES THAT THESE CONGREGATIONS CAN AND INDEED SHOULD WORK TOGETHER AS THE WORK WOULD COME UP AND ALLOW IT TO BE SUCH. WE CAN SEE IN CHAPTERS LIKE ACTS CHAPTER 11 THAT THE CHURCH OF ANTIOCH HELPED THOSE IN JUDEA IN THEIR TIME OF NEED. ONE CHURCH HELPING ANOTHER CHURCH. WE CAN ALSO SEE IN 2CORINTHIANS CHAPTERS 8 AND 9 THAT ACHAIA AND MACEDONIA WORKED TOGETHER TO HELP THE CHRISTIANS WHO WERE AT THE CHURCH IN JERUSALEM. YES, THEY MAINTAINED THEIR INDEPENDENCE AND THEIR SELF GOVERNANCE AS THEY SUBMITTED TO JESUS CHRIST AND AS THEY FOLLOWED GOD'S WORD. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? THEY COULD ALSO HELP EACH OTHER. THEY COULD WORK TOGETHER. THEY COULD DO THE WORK OF GOD HAND-IN-HAND AS THE WORK WOULD THEREFORE PERMIT. INDEED, THE CHURCH IS ORGANIZED AGAIN ACCORDING TO GOD'S STANDARD. IT DOES HAVE CONGREGATIONS BUT EACH OF THOSE CONGREGATIONS IS A PART OF THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH WHICH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST. AGAIN, AS IT PERTAINS TO ORGANIZATION, THERE'S SOMETHING THAT WE NEED TO CONSIDER AND THAT IS THE CHURCH ALSO HAS ELDERS. THESE MEN ARE OVERSEERS OF THE CHURCH. THEY ARE SHEPHERDS. THEY LEAD, THEY FEED, AND THEY GUIDE THE FLOCK. AS WE CONSIDER ORGANIZATION, EACH CONGREGATION CAN INDEED HAVE ELDERS. THOSE ARE MEN THAT WOULD BE AMONG THE CONGREGATION THERE AND WHO WOULD SHEPHERD OVER THAT INDIVIDUAL LOCAL CONGREGATION. 1PETER 5:2 SAYS TO SHEPHERD THE FLOCK THAT WAS AMONG THEM. THAT WAS TO SPECIFY THAT ELDERS AREN'T OVER MULTIPLE CONGREGATIONS, ELDERS ARE ONLY THOSE WHO RULE AND SHEPHERD THE FLOCK THAT THEY ARE AMONG. IT IS A LOCAL RULE. THE RULE THERE IS THE IDEA THAT AS THEY SUBMIT TO CHRIST AND AS THEY FOLLOW HIS BOOK AND TEACH AND LEAD PEOPLE IN THAT BOOK, PEOPLE SUBMIT TO THEM AND THEY ALSO SUBMIT TO JESUS CHRIST. AS WE CONSIDER THE JOB OF ELDERS, IT IS A VERY IMPORTANT ONE AS THEY ARE TO WATCH OVER THE SOULS OF THE CONGREGATION. THE ORGANIZATION IS ONE THAT WE SEE THROUGHOUT THE SCRIPTURE. ACTS 11:30 SAY THAT THE CHURCH IN JERUSALEM HAD ELDERS. IN ACTS 14:23 IT SAYS PAUL AND BARNABAS WERE SENT AROUND TO APPOINT ELDERS IN EVERY CHURCH. IN PHILIPPIANS 1:1 IT SAYS THE CHURCH AT PHILIPPI HAD ELDERS. DID YOU CATCH THAT THERE IS SOMETHING IMPORTANT THERE? NOT JUST THE FACT THAT EACH OF THESE CHURCHES HAD ELDERS BUT THEY HAD ELDERS, PLURAL. SOME MIGHT SAY THAT ONE MAN SHOULD BE OVER A CONGREGATION. ONE MAN SHOULD BE LIFTED UP AND HE SHOULD HAVE THAT POSITION SO THAT HE HIMSELF OR THE WOMAN HERSELF COULD BE THE SOLE LEADER OVER THAT CONGREGATION. THAT IS SIMPLY NOT THE CASE AS THE CHURCH IS ORGANIZED ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURE. YES, THERE CAN BE ELDERS AND IF THEY ARE THOSE MEN WHO ARE QUALIFIED THEN THEY SERVE IN A CONGREGATION THAT THEY ARE AMONG AND THERE HAS TO BE MORE THAN ONE OF THEM. THERE HAS TO BE A PLURALITY. THAT IS WHAT WE SEE IN THE SCRIPTURE.

AS WE THINK ABOUT ELDERS A LITTLE BIT FURTHER, WE HAVE NOT MENTIONED THE FACT OF THE QUALIFICATIONS. THESE MEN JUST AREN'T ANY MEN IN GENERAL, THESE MEN ARE VOTED UPON OR SELECTED AT RANDOM FROM THE CONGREGATION. WHO ARE THESE ELDERS? WHO ARE THESE SHEPHERDS? THEY ARE MEN THAT MEET THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE SCRIPTURE. THOSE QUALIFICATIONS ARE FOUND IN 1TIMOTHY 3:1-7 AND ALSO IN TITUS 1:5-9. AS A MAN WOULD MEET THE QUALIFICATIONS OF GOD AND HIS WORD TO SERVE IN THAT CAPACITY HE THEREFORE CAN DO THAT. IT IS A TREMENDOUS RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THAT ROLE TO WATCH OVER THE SOULS OF THE CONGREGATION, TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY FOLLOW GOD'S WORD, TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU CONTINUE TO WATCH OVER THEM. IT IS A TREMENDOUS RESPONSIBILITY AND ONE THAT SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY BUT ONE THAT CAN ONLY EXIST BECAUSE IT IS ORGANIZED ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE THAT WAY. WE HAVE AUTHORITY FROM JESUS CHRIST TO FULFILL THAT BY APPOINTING MEN TO SERVE AS SUCH AS THEY ARE SO QUALIFIED. ANOTHER PART OF THIS ORGANIZATION...IF A CHURCH INDEED HAS ELDERS NOW IF A CHURCH HAS MEN THAT ARE QUALIFIED THEY COULD EXIST WITHOUT ELDERS. THE MEN HAVE TO MEET THOSE QUALIFICATIONS, BUT IF A CONGREGATION DID HAVE ELDERS THEN THEY ALSO COULD HAVE DEACONS.

DEACONS ARE ALSO PART OF THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH. THESE ARE MEN AGAIN WHO SERVE AS SPECIAL SERVANTS. THEY ARE APPOINTED SPECIFIC JOBS TO DO BY THE ELDERS THAT THEY SERVE UNDER. THERE IN ACTS 6:1-7, IT SAYS THAT THE CHURCH IN JERUSALEM APPOINTED DEACONS TO DO A SPECIAL WORK. THOSE MEN MIGHT NOT BE EXACTLY AS WE HAVE DEACONS TODAY. THEY WERE APPOINTED BY APOSTLES TO DO A SPECIFIC JOB AT THAT TIME BUT THERE ARE SPECIFIC QUALIFICATIONS GIVEN AGAIN IN THE BOOK OF TIMOTHY CHAPTER 3:8-13. FOLLOWING IN A VERY SIMILAR LIGHT, IF THOSE MEN ARE SO QUALIFIED AND APPOINTED BY ELDERS, THEY ALSO WOULD SERVE IN A SPECIAL CAPACITY TO DO THE WORK THAT THEY HAVE BEEN APPOINTED TO DO. AS ELDERS APPOINT DEACONS, WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT DEACONS ARE JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER MEMBER. THEY HAVE BEEN GIVEN A SPECIAL TASK BY ELDERS TO DO BUT THEY ARE STILL OVERSEEN BY THE ELDERS OF THAT CONGREGATION THAT THEY ARE PART OF. THEY ARE GIVEN THEIR JOBS BY THE ELDERS, THEY ARE OVERSEEN BY THEM, AND THEY HAVE TO SUBMIT TO THE ELDERS. DEACONS ARE NOT IN A ROLE LIKE ELDERS ARE. THEY ARE NOT SHEPHERDS. THEY ARE NOT THOSE WHO ARE LEADING THE FLOCK IN THE SAME WAY. THEY'RE WORKING HAND-IN-HAND WITH THE OTHER MEMBERS. THEY ARE WORKING ALONGSIDE OF THEM AND DOING THE JOB THAT THE ELDERS HAVE CALLED THEM TO DO, BUT AS WE THINK ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH, THESE MEN CAN EXIST AND BE SO QUALIFIED TO SERVE IN THAT CAPACITY IF INDEED THEY MEET THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE SCRIPTURE.

ALL THESE THINGS BEING SAID, WE LOOK AT GOD'S WORD AND WE SEE VERY CLEARLY THAT THE CHURCH CAN AND SHOULD BE ORGANIZED ACCORDING TO THAT STANDARD. WHAT IS THAT STANDARD? JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF. HE IS THE ONLY HEAD, THE ONLY ONE WHO IS THE HEAD OF HIS CHURCH, AND HIS HEADQUARTERS ARE IN HEAVEN. WE CAN SEE FROM THE SCRIPTURE THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE CREED AND ONLY ONE BOOK THAT GOVERNS US. WHAT IS THAT? GOD'S WORD, THE BIBLE, AND SPECIFICALLY THE NEW TESTAMENT. WE CAN SEE THAT THE CHURCH HAS CONGREGATIONS THAT ARE ORGANIZED AGAIN BY THE SCRIPTURE. WE CAN SEE THAT THE CHURCH CAN AND MAY HAVE ELDERS IF THEY HAVE MEN WHO ARE QUALIFIED. LIKEWISE, A CONGREGATION CAN ALSO HAVE DEACONS IF THOSE MEN ARE ALSO QUALIFIED AND APPOINTED BY ELDERS TO SERVE IN SUCH A CAPACITY. ALL THESE THINGS AGAIN HAVE COME FROM WHAT? NOT FROM THE WORDS OF MEN, NOT FROM TEACHINGS AROUND THE WORLD, BUT FROM THE BIBLE. WE FOLLOW GOD'S AUTHORITY. WE HAVE TO BE ORGANIZED BY GOD'S STANDARDS NOT OUR OWN. TO BE THE CHURCH, THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE ONE THAT HE BUILT AND FOUNDED, WE HAVE TO SUBMIT TO HIS AUTHORITY. IN ALL THINGS, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE ORGANIZED BY HIS WORD AND LIVE ACCORDING TO THE STANDARD. IF WE DID OTHERWISE, WE WOULDN'T MATCH UP TO THAT STANDARD AND WE WOULD PUT OURSELVES IN A BAD POSITION. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE ALWAYS ORGANIZED BY GOD STANDARDS.

CLOSING COMMENTS

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR CHOOSING TO BE WITH US TODAY, IN GIVING THIS TIME TO GOD. I HOPE OUR TIME TOGETHER HAS BEEN AN ENCOURAGEMENT AND BLESSING TO ALL OF US. WE INVITE YOU BACK EVERY SUNDAY MORNING AT 7:30, AS WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO THIS SERVICE OF GOD!

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HOW BLESSED WE ARE TO HAVE A CLEAR PLAN FOR THE ORGANIZATION OF GOD'S CHURCH IN HIS WORD „ THE BIBLE! FOR GOD'S PLAN ALONE IS PERFECT! DO YOU ATTEND A RELIGION WHICH IS ORGANIZED AS GOD COMMANDS?