1.Last Wednesday evening we studied the instructions given in James 5:14-15 that involve "the elders of the church." 2.Perhaps this is a good time for us to be reminded of God's plan for "leadership in the church." 3.Let us begin by emphasizing the fact that . . .
A.This point is clearly stated in Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18. B.In addition,: 1.Jesus built His church (Matthew 16:18) 2.Jesus purchased the church with His blood (Acts 20:28).
A.According to vs.12, the Lord did this so His work would be carried out and so the church would be edified. B.In vs.11, five groups of leaders are listed that the Lord placed in His church. 1.The first two groups of leaders were temporary: "apostles" and "prophets." 2.The other groups of leaders are permanent ("evangelists, "pastors," and "teachers"). a."Evangelists" [also called preachers and ministers] proclaim God's Word. b."Pastors" [also called elders, shepherds, overseers, and bishops] are responsible for overseeing God's people. c."Teachers" are instructors of God's Word.
A.This plan is revealed in: 1.Acts 14:23 -- Paul and Barnabas ordained elders in every church. 2.Philippians 1:1 -- The church in Philippi had bishops as well as deacons. 3.Titus 1:5 -- Titus was to ordain elders in every city. B.Only qualified men may serve as elders (Titus 1:6-8; 1 Timothy 3:1-7). C.Elders have weighty responsibilities that are revealed in: 1.Acts 20:28 -- take heed to self and all the flock, feed the church 2.Titus 1:9 -- hold fast the faithful Word 3.Hebrews 13:17 -- watch for the souls of the congregation 4.James 5:14 -- visit and pray for the sick 5.1 Peter 5:1-3 -- feed the flock and take the oversight properly.
A.We can answer this question by considering how: 1.newly established congregations in the New Testament existed for a time before elders were appointed 2.a congregation may not have men who are qualified to be elders. B.Thankfully, the church in Jerusalem has provided an example for us to follow in Acts 6. 1.It seems from Acts 15:2 that this church eventually had elders. 2.However, in Acts 6:1-7, a matter was taken care of before elders are mentioned. a.(vs.1) A problem developed in the Jerusalem church. b.(vs.2-6) The apostles dealt with this matter before the church, and they got the members involved. c.(vs.7) The cooperation of everyone involved led to continued growth.
1.In His Word the Lord has given a plan for leadership in His church. 2.Let us follow His plan, and let us avoid any plan that is not found in the Bible.