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The Church

 Leadership Empowerment School of Ministry

 

Empowering Those who Empower Others with a Knowledge of God and His Ways

 

What is the Church?

 

Class Discussion:

-       What is the Church?

-       What is the purpose of the Church?

 

1. Biblical Definition of the Church

A. The Church is not: Building, event, organization

 

B. The Church is: eklesia - "called out ones."

1. The ongoing community of believers

2. sharing together life in Jesus

3. learning to worship and serve God.

 

2. Five Pictures of the Church

A. The Church as the Bride of Jesus (Eph 5:21-33)

1. God's Love for the Church (5:25)

Love of groom for bride on wedding day - church is important to Him

 

2. Jesus is the Head of the Church (5:23)

a. Jesus is the One who begins this work; "I will build my church" (Mat 16:18;  Ps 127:1-2)

 

b. Do not look to tradition -- look to him, He will direct his church

 

3. Goal: Purity (5:25-27)

Jesus wants his Church to love him, obey him and be faithful to Him

 

B. The Church as the Family of God (Eph 5:1)             

1. This picture is used throughout the New Testament

Christians are called brothers and sisters, God is father, etc. – Rom 8:14-17; 12:9-16, 21

 

 

2. The Basis of Our Family Relationship:

a. New birth.  When a Christian is born again he is born into the family of faith (see John 3).

 

b. Adoption. It is not a coincidence when one is born into the family of faith -- he is chosen (Rom 8:23; Gal 4:5).

 

C. The Church as God's Temple (1 Cor 3:10-16; Eph 2:20-21; 1 Pet 2:5)             

1. The church is described as a temple built of living stones with Christ as the cornerstone

Please note that this picture does not describe a church building, but the people of God.

 

2. The Old Testament Temple existed for three purposes:

a. a place where sacrifices were offered to God

b. a place where praise was given to God (1 Chron 25)

c. a place where God's presence is manifested in the world (2 Chron 5:13-14; 6:32-33)

 

3. The Church is similar to this:

a. a people who bring holy sacrifices

1). life of holiness and purity (Rom 12: 1-2)

2). praise and good deeds (Heb 13: 15-16)             

 

b. a people set apart to praise God (Eph 1, 1 Pet 2)

 

c. a people through whom God manifests his presence to the world

 

D. The Church as Christ's Body (Rom 12:4-5, 1 Cor 12:12-13, Eph 4:16)

1. This picture describes the church as a living organism

 

2. Emphasis: Unity of the Church

a. The Church can only function if there is unity (Eph 4:11-13)

 

b. Each member is dependant on the others (1 Cor 12:21)

Do not over-emphasize the importance of the leader.

 

c. What happens to one affects all (1 Cor 12:26)

 

3. Emphasis: Diversity in the Church

a. A healthy body requires diversity

 

b. "If whole body were an eye. . ."  (1 Cor 12:27-31)

 

c. The body is built up as each member fulfills its God-given function (Eph. 4:11-14)

 

E. The Church as an Army

1. This idea is drawn from the idea in the Old Testament

a. God (Yahweh) is Lord Sabaoth (Lord of Hosts) (Josh 5:13-15; 2 Sam 7:26; Ps 24:10)

 

b. Israel waged "holy war" for God (Deut 2:33-35; Josh 6:15-21)

 

2. The Christian life is described as warfare against:

a. Satan (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11-12)

 

b. Flesh (Romans 7:23; Galatians 5:17)

 

c. The World (John 16:33; 1 John 5:4-5)

 

d. Death (1 Corinthians 15:26; Hebrews 2:14-15)

 

3. Christians are encouraged to:

a. Put on the armor of God (Eph 6:14-18)

 

b. Be watchful (1 Pet 5:8)

 

c. Be sober (1 Thess 5:6)

 

 

Purposes of the Church

 

The Great Commandment:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.       --  Matt 22:37-40

 

The Great Commission:

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.           --  Matt 28:19-20

 

1. Introduction

A. Need to know our purpose

It is important for church leaders to know why they do the things they do.  There are many programs and causes that churches can be involved with.  How are we to know where to devote our resources?  When we begin to understand the purpose of the Church in general, and ours in particular, we can decide whether or not certain activities fit into what we are supposed to be doing.

 

B. Serving God's purpose in our generation (Acts 13:36)

1. "David served God's purpose"

God has a purpose to fulfill in this world, and He uses His people to do it.  He is determined to build His Church, and to bring lost people into His family.

 

2. "…In His Generation."

In His time and place, David fulfilled God's purpose.  God is calling us to do the same.  We are not expected to do things the way they have always been done, or the way they are done somewhere else.  God has put you where you are in this time to fulfill His purposes (Acts 17:26).  Our methods will be different, but the message is the same always. 

 

2. Four Purposes

Based on the above two Scriptures, we can discover four purposes God has for His people, the Church.

 

A. Worship – "Love the Lord your God with all your heart."

1. When we express our love to God, we are worshipping Him

 

2. Includes expressing our love to God in all we do – Col 3:17

 

3. Is a sacrifice – Rom 12:1-2

 

4. Worship services in the church

 

a. You do not need a church building to worship God

 

b. There is no correct 'style' of worship

 

c. Only believers can truly worship God

 

d. Unbelievers can feel God's presence when they watch believers worship.  This can lead them to desire Christ.

 

e. Be sensitive to unbelievers during your worship service, so that they will want to come back

 

f. Teach believers to worship God with their entire life – Col 3:17

 

 

Assignment:

- Study Rom 12:1-2 in detail.  What does it teach you about worship?  How can this change the way you worship God in your church?  Write down some ideas:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- How can your worship service better attract non-believers to Christ?  Write down some ideas:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B. Fellowship – "Love your neighbor as yourself."

1. Demonstrating God's love to people by meeting their needs in the Name of Jesus – Matt 10:42

 

2. Many churches are too busy with programs, services, and meetings to actually serve people.

Unfortunately, sometimes faithfulness is defined by attendance rather than by service.

 

3. We are called to belong, not only believe – Eph 2:19

 

4. Belonging includes stewardship  (Acts 2:44-46)

a. Definition -- A steward is a person put in charge of the affairs of a large household or estate, whose duties include supervision and management of the home.

 

b. Biblical definition -- someone with whom God has entrusted various resources for both personal and kingdom use.  In other words, every blessing we have actually belongs to God; we are simply given use of it.

 

5. Fellowship involves ministering to one another in Christ's body

 

6. Your church can lead people into ministry involvement

a. Teach that every member is a minister

 

b. Teach that every ministry is important

 

c. Teach that we need each other

 

d. Help everyone to find a ministry that fits them – consider their spiritual gifts, experience, and desire

 

e. Develop a process that people can go through to be trained and appointed as ministers

 

f. Do not begin a ministry without a minister – begin with the people you have, and the ministries they are called to.  God will provide all you need.

 

g. Delegate responsibility to ministers

 

Assignment:

What can your church do to better fulfill the purpose of fellowship?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C. Evangelism – "Go and make disciples."

1. Every believer is responsible to share the Gospel

"As you go, preach…"  (Matt 10:7-8)

 

2. Evangelism is also a great privilege

God allows us to be His co-workers in the greatest work in the world – bringing lost people to Jesus.

 

3. How your church can fulfill the purpose of evangelism

a. Plan Sunday services that unbelievers would want to come to

 

b. Meet needs:  What do we have in common with unbelievers?  Not the Bible.  Believers love the Bible, but non-believers do not understand it.  The thing we have in common is needs.  When we show an interest in meeting their needs, we can attract them to Christ.   In your preaching, get people's interest by speaking about things which are issues in the lives of believers and unbelievers.

 

c. Train members to be living witnesses in their daily lives.

 

d. Have well-planned evangelistic outreaches from time to time

 

Assignment:

What can your church do to better fulfill the purpose of evangelism?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

D. Discipleship – "Teaching them to obey"

1. Discipleship is the process of helping people to become more like Jesus in their thoughts, feelings, words, and actions – Col 1:28;  Eph 4:12-13

 

2. The church is not called simply to make converts, but disciples.

 

3. Truths about spiritual growth (discipleship)

a. Spiritual growth does not happen just because someone is born again and attends church

 

b. Every believer can grow in maturity

 

c. Spiritual growth takes time.  There is no instant spiritual maturity, just as there is no instant physical maturity.

 

d. Discipleship is a process.  Laying hands on someone does not produce maturity.  It can bring healing or deliverance or blessing, but not maturity.

 

e. Spiritual growth does not simply mean knowing more.  It involves applying what you know in daily life

4. Develop a plan for church members to grow in discipleship

a. Challenge believers to deeper levels of commitment

 

b. Help believers to develop spiritual disciplines – these include things like personal prayer and Bible study, fasting, worship, giving, serving, etc.

 

c. Bible teaching – have a good program of Bible teaching every week, and seminars from time to time.  Teach the whole Bible, not just a few topics that you like.

 

d. Encourage regular members to be part of a small discipleship group

 

e. Be available to provide counseling and prayer for people

 

Assignment:

What can your church do to better fulfill the purpose of discipleship?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer Time

Spend some time praying about the four purposes of the Church.  Go back and look at what you wrote down in the assignments.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you more about how your church can fulfill the purposes.  Make a commitment before Him to follow through.

 

Vision: What the Church Can Accomplish

 

1. Three Types of Churches

A. Ingrown Church

1. The main focus of this type of church is meeting the needs of its members

a. This by itself is not bad             

 

b. This can be a "good church" -- a comfortable church

 

c. The problem arises when the church becomes preoccupied with itself.

 

2. This church does not grow well

 

B. Activity Church

1. Main focus is on evangelism and reaching the lost

a. This is also not bad

 

b. Wins people to Christ

 

c. Problem arises when church neglects the growth and care of members already there

 

2. The church wins people, but becomes shallow and has difficulty keeping them

 


C. Healthy Church

1. Focuses both on reaching out to the world and caring for its members

a. Hopes to make a difference in its city, nation, and world

 

b. Strongly desires to see people come to Jesus and be discipled

 

c. The church is constantly winning people to Jesus, building them up in the faith, and sending them out

 

d. A strong bond of mutual fellowship and support exists

 

 

e. This results in growth  -- both in numbers and in maturity (although not always fast, the growth is consistent).  This church is not content to stay the same

 

2. This is what Jesus wants for every Church.

See Acts 1:8 and 2:42-47

 

3. Focusing on the four purposes can help to assure that you are growing a healthy church

 

2. The Task of the Church (Acts 1:8)

 

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth."       Acts 1:8

 

Jesus spoke to the first church and commanded them to reach:

A. Their City (Jerusalem). family & friends

 

B. Their People (Judea). people you see occasionally

 

C. Their Nation (Samaria). people you only see rarely

 

D. The World (ends of the earth). only reached if you go to them

 

Different methods must be used for each of the above. 

 

Jesus wants his church to be an outreaching church.

To fail to reach out is to be disobedient.

 

As you lead a church, ask yourself, "What kind of church do I envision?"  What will my church look like in 5 years? 10 years?

 

How will this church change our city, nation, world????

 

 

Church Government and Discipline

 

1. Pattern for the New Testament Church Structure

A. Explanation of local church structure

The New Testament church was a living organism and its structure was ever changing.  The NT does not specify every detail in local church structure. Positions and offices were created as the need arose.  At first the church was led by the apostles, later by 'elders,' and eventually by pastors and bishops.  The Holy Spirit gave wisdom and direction.  Often times in churches now, we insist on having certain positions whether or not they are needed, and whether or not the Holy Spirit has prepared someone to fill them.

 

It would be better for us to lay aside the traditions, go back to the Word to see how God would have us to function, and then by prayer and fasting seek "men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business" (Acts 6:3). Or, perhaps we would hear the Holy Spirit say, "Separate [Saul] and [Barnabus] for the work unto which I have called them" (Acts 13:2). How beautiful to see the Lord directing the church through the Spirit of Truth, who will guide you. . . (John 16:13).

 

This is the pattern in the Scripture for the NT church. The NT does reveal certain basic guidelines of government which should be followed by the church in every age. Since 2,000 years separate the first century church from the current church, local congregations now must adapt the NT structure to their own unique needs through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

 

B. Some types of Church structure / government

1. Bishop-led  (example:  Anglican)

Bishops oversee many churches in an area.  Pastors have authority in local churches, but are under the authority of their bishop.  In some cases decisions in the church are made by a church board together with the pastor.  the Bishops can appoint or remove pastors from churches, or move a pastor to a different church.

 

2. Congregational  (example:  some Baptists)

Church decisions are made by the congregation through committees and meetings where the whole congregation comes together to decide and vote on issues.  Pastors are chosen by a vote of the congregation, and can be removed the same way. 

 

3. Elder-led  (example:  Presbyterian)

Churches are led by a board of elders.  Pastors are considered elders, and take part in decision making as one of the them.  Some of these are chosen to be part of a regional board of elders.  This board is made up of elders from a number of churches in the area.  All churches are under the authority of this board.  Regional elder boards also can join together to form national bards to oversee churches in the entire nation.

 

4. Apostolic

a. Church pastored by the one who founded it

In this case the founding pastor usually has complete authority in the church, and is not responsible to any other person.

 

b. Church planted by minister with apostolic ministry who continues to have oversight over the church (and other churches)

The apostle appoints someone to be pastor of the church.  Within the church, the pastor has authority to make decisions, sometimes together with a board of elders.  The apostle who began the church has authority over the pastor, and can remove him and appoint another one.

 

Class Discussion:

¨    What are the benefits and problems with each structure?

¨    What do you think is the best structure, and why?

 

C. Universal and Local Church

1 Cor 12:27 -- "Now you are the Body of Christ and individually members of it."

 

1. Universal -- Eph 5:30

"For we are members of His Body. . ." speaks of the church as one body. (1 Cor 12; Eph 4:4-6)

 

a. Definition -- The whole body of true believers in Christ of all times on earth and in heaven.

 

b. One becomes a member of the universal Body of Christ upon confession of faith in Jesus Christ, and by one Spirit is baptized (put into) that one body (1 Cor 12:13).

c. Jesus is the Head of the church universal and provides ministry gifts for the church.

 

d. The church universal unites all believers under the Headship of Christ and is invisible to the world. The church is visible only as it is represented by a local body of believers, and then can be seen, identified, known, felt and participated in.

 

2. Local -- Eph 4:25

". . .for we are members one of another" speaks of local identity with other flesh and blood members "fitly joined together."

 

a. The church in a given area makes up the local church.

 

b. Christ is also the Head of the local church and has placed ministry gifts and members together locally, that the Body might be complete in Him.

 

c. In the NT one finds the church at Jerusalem, the church at Corinth, the church at Ephesus, the church at Philippi, the church at Philemon's house, the churches of Galatia… Always the church is local and visible.

 

D. Fivefold Ministry Gifts (Ephesians 4:11)

1. The fivefold ministry gifts of Ephesians 4:11 are given by Christ to the church to perfect the saints.

 

2. These gifts are given in the form of God-called people.

Some of these people are resident in the local church – often the pastor and teacher are.  The apostle, prophet and evangelist tend to be more mobile gifts to the church at large, traveling to different churches. But they must always relate to the local church.

 

3. Notice the great missionary apostle Paul related to the local church.

a. He worked with the local elders at Jerusalem (Acts 15:2; 21:17-26).

 

b. At Antioch, Paul and Barnabas were resident prophets and teachers in the local church.

1). they ministered in the local church (Acts 13:1)

2). they were commissioned (sent out) by the church (Acts 13:2-3)

3). they reported back to the church (Acts 14:26, 27)

4). they remained with the church when not traveling in other ministry (Acts 14:28)

 

2. Church Discipline

A. When someone in the church sins

1. Teach the people to follow the directions given by Jesus in Mat 18:15-20

a. Go to him just between the two of you

 

b. If he does not repent, go with one or two others of the brethren

 

c. Tell it to the Church – the leaders in the church

 

2. When church leaders need to confront someone

a. The goal is always to restore them – 2 Cor 2:7, Col 3:13, Gal 6:1-3

 

b. Sometimes this confrontation can be done quietly, so as to not embarrass the person too much.  The Holy Spirit will give wisdom to the pastor.

 

c. If they refuse to repent, you must not allow them the benefits of membership in the church – Mat 18:17;  1 Cor 5:1-13

This is for the benefit of the sinning brother and the church itself.  We pray that the brother will repent of his sin when he is expelled.  If he is allowed to stay, he may affect others in the church so that the sin spreads.  He also gives the church and Christ a bad reputation, and can spoil their witness if he stays.

 

B. If a leader sins – 1 Tim 5:17-22

1. Leaders in the church are to be given honor when they live godly lives (v 17)

 

2. Do not take action against a leader until you know the facts for sure.  Do not listen t every accusation that comes against them. (v 19)

 

3. When guilty, a leader is to be publicly rebuked (v 20)

 

4. Sometimes a leader will have to be removed from his position.  If he refuses to submit and repent, he will have to be expelled from the church.

 

5. Because of the higher standard leaders must meet, be careful when you choose them (v 22).

Note that 'Laying on of hands' in this verse means to appoint someone to a leadership position.  It is not referring to praying for someone in need.

 

The Ordinances of the Church

 

Communion (The Lord's Supper)

(Acts 2:42, Luke 22:14-20)

 

Discussion Groups: Answer the following questions concerning the participation in Communion in your church:

- What is communion?

- What does communion symbolize?

- The Bread

- The Cup

- Who can take communion?

- Who can lead in giving communion?

- How is communion celebrated?

- How often do you celebrate communion?

 

1 Corinthians 11:17-34

A. It is a memory -- "Do this in remembrance of me" (1 Cor 11:25-26; Jn 6:54-55)

 

B. It is a proclamation -- (1 Cor 11:26)

By doing this ordinance we show others and ourselves that the death of Christ is the foundation of our salvation. 

 

C. It is an anticipation -- It points us to Christ in the

1. Past -- Calvary, the Lord's death

 

2. Present -- "As often as you do this" --  there is a continual spiritual meaning of the feast

 

3. Future -- "Until he comes"

 

D. It is an identification

It is a seal to the believer's privileges in Christ -- a sign of man's admission to the fellowship of the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  It reveals God's assurances to man and man's obligations to God – Jn 6:54-55

 

E. It is a participation

It describes the union between Christ and all members of His body (1 Cor 10:16-17). It is fellowship in His blood and body.

 

1. Unworthy participation is condemned (1 Cor 11:29)

2. It is not to be taken by non-Christians

3. or believers with unjudged sin 

4. or Christians with enmity in their hearts toward others around the table

5. or those showing carelessness in respect to the Lord's table

 

When these things happen, the supper will communicate

condemnation rather than blessing.

 

 

Water Baptism

 

 

Class Discussion: Answer the following questions concerning water baptism in your church.

- What is water baptism?

- What does water baptism symbolize?

- Who should be baptized?

- Who should baptize?

- When should someone be baptized?

- How is baptism to be done?

 

 

1. Why Water Baptism?

A. Because Jesus was baptized -- Mat 3:13-17

 

B. Because it fulfills all righteousness -- Mat 3:15

 

C. Because Jesus commanded it -- Mat 28:19-20; Mrk 16:16

 

D. Because Jesus' disciples practiced it -- John 4:1-2

 

E. Because Peter taught it on the Day of Pentecost -- Acts 2:38

 

F. Because it was practiced by the early Christian Church -- Acts 2:41, 8:12, 8:35-39, 10:47-48, 16:33

 

2. Who Should be Baptized?

A. Every true disciples of Jesus

 

B. There is no mention in the New Testament of someone being baptized before being converted

 

C. "Believe and be baptized" was the norm -- Acts 2:38

 

 

3. How Should a Believer be Baptized?

A. By immersion.

1. "Baptize" means to immerse.  Immersion represents:

a. Death -- Rom 6:3-4

b. Burial -- Col 2:12-13

c. Resurrection to newness of life -- Col 3:1-3

 

2. Jesus "came up out of the water" -- Mat 3:16

 

3. The Ethiopian eunuch and Philip "went down both into the water" -- Acts 8:38-39

 

4. John the Baptist ministered in a place "because there was much water there" for baptizing -- John 3:23

 

B. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- Mat 28:19-20

 

4. When Should a Believer be Baptized?

As soon as possible after confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

 

1. Acts 2:41 (about 3000 were baptized immediately)

2. Ethiopian eunuch -- Acts 8:36-39

3. Philippian jailer and household -- Acts 16:29-34

4. Cornelius and household -- Acts 10:47-48

 

5. What is the Purpose of Water Baptism?

A. Public confession of personal faith in and surrender to Jesus

 

B. To show that the old life is finished and one intends to live in "newness of life."

 

C. A public act of consecration to God

 

D. A public commitment of one's entire life to the Lord Jesus

 

E. A covenant before God and man

 

6. What Happens at Baptism – read and discuss Rom 6:3-13

Every believer in Jesus Christ should be baptized. Please read and study these scriptures prior to following the Lord in water baptism:

 

Matthew 3:13-17. Acts 18:8

Matthew 28:19. Acts 19:5

John 3:22. Acts 22:16

John 4:1-2. Romans 6:3-4

Acts 2:38-42. 1 Corinthians 1:13-17

Acts 8: 12-13, 16. 1 Corinthians 10: 1-2

Acts 8:35-39. 1 Corinthians 15:29

Acts 9. . Galatians 3:27

Acts 10:46-48. Colossians 2:12

Acts 16:14-15.. 1 Peter 3:18-21

Acts 16:33

 

Roles in the Church

 

The Office of Elder

1. Names for the office

A. Acts 20:17 -- Overseer (emphasizes the position of leadership)

 

B. Acts 20:28 -- Elder (emphasizes the maturity required for this office)

 

C. Acts 20:28 -- Shepherd or pastor (emphasizes the care given to believers)

 

2. New Testament churches had more than one elder (Titus 1:5, Philippians 1:1, etc.)

 


3. Qualifications for Elders

 

1 Timothy 3

Titus 1

Personal

1  Above reproach (blameless)

3:2

1:6

2  Temperate

3:2

 

3  Self-controlled

3:2

1:8

4  Good behavior

3:2

1:8

5  Hospitable

3:2

1:8

6  Not a drunkard

3:3

1:7

7  Gentle (not violent)

3:3

1:7

8  Not quarrelsome

3:3

1:7

9  Patient

 

1:7

10 Not self-willed

 

1:7

11 Not a lover of money

3:3

1:7

12 Lover of goodness

 

1:7

13 Holy

 

1:8

Family

 

 

14 Husband of one wife

3:2

1:6

15 Good leader of home

3:4

1:6

16 Children believers

 

1:6

Ministry

 

 

17 Able to teach

3:2

1:9

18 Not a recent convert

3:6

 

19 Respected by those outside

3:7

 

 

4. The Responsibility of Elders

The responsibility of the "overseer shepherd" is a great one. He must not only "shepherd" each sheep, but also tend the whole flock.             

 

A. Feed

1. John 21:15-17

 

2. 1 Peter 5:2   "Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers…" (NKJV)

The word "shepherd" includes to feed, protect, and care for in any way needed.

 

B. Lead

1. Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24 -- "Never forget your leaders, who first spoke to you the Word of God. Remember, how they lived, and imitate their faith. Obey your rulers and recognize their authority. They are like men standing guard over your spiritual good, and they have great responsibility. Try to make their work a pleasure and not a burden - by so doing you will help not only them but yourselves. Greetings to all your leaders and all your church members."

 

2. 1 Timothy 5:17 -- "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine."

 

3. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 -- "But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work."

 

4. Romans 12:6, 8 -- "And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us each exercise them accordingly . . . he who leads, with diligence."

 

C. Be Examples

1. 1 Peter 5:3 – "Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock"  (NRSV)

 

2. The word of God maintains the balance of truth. In our last point we saw the elders "ruling." Taken by itself, this might encourage arrogant, dictatorial and overbearing leadership. Our present Scripture, however, forbids this sort of thing. There must be authority, but it must be exercised properly.

 

D. Care

1. 1 Timothy 3:5 --"For if a man does not know how to manage his own household well, how can he care for God's church?"

 

2. Acts 20:28 -- "Take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God. . ."

 

3. Caring for the church is looking out for its general well-being.  It includes protecting from bad influences, praying for the sick, helping those in need, feeding good spiritual food, etc..

 

The Office of Deacon             

1. What is a Deacon?

Literally, the word deacon means servant.  The beginning of this office can be read about in Acts 6:1-7

 

2. The Need for Deacons

A. Rapid church growth increased the needs which had to be met by the church leaders.

 

B. The office was created to serve the practical needs of widows

 

C. This freed the elders to devote full time to prayer and the Word.

 

3. The Qualifications of a Deacon (Acts 6:3; 1 Timothy 3:8-13)

A. Relationship to Character and Spiritual Matters

1. Good reputation as a Christian  -- Acts 6:3

 

2. Spiritual -- full of the Holy Spirit --  Acts 6:3

 

3. Sound spiritual judgment -- full of wisdom  --  Acts 6:3

 

4. Full of faith  --  Acts 6:5

 

B. Relationship to the Church

1. Acceptable to the church  --  Acts 6:5

 

2. Acceptable to the elders  --  Acts 6:6

 

3. Set apart by prayer and laying on of hands --  Acts 6:6

 

C   Relationship to Personal Life

1. Serious  --  1 Timothy 3:8

 

2. Not double-tongued  --  1 Timothy 3:8

 

3. Not given to drink  --  1 Timothy 3:8

 

4. Not greedy for gain  --  1 Timothy 3:8

 

D   Relationship to the Ministry

1. Loyal to the word and conscience  --  1 Timothy 3:9

 

2. Proven men  --  1 Timothy 3:10

 

3. Blameless  --  1 Timothy 3:10

 

4. Faithful in all things  --  1 Timothy 3:11

 

E   Relationship to the Family

1. Wife should be responsible  --  1 Timothy 3:11

 

2. Husband of one wife  --  1 Timothy 3:12

 

3. Must manage children and household well  --  1 Timothy 3:12

 

F. Conclusion: Blessings of a deacon's ministry:             

 

 

". . . for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith which is in Christ Jesus."      --   1 Timothy 3:13

 

 

Principles of Church Finances

 

1. Many people have a false concept that it is not spiritual to talk about money

A. Jesus never hesitated to talk about money

 

B. The Bible says more about finances than almost any other subject

1. There are more warnings against the misuse of money than any other topic

 

2. In Matthew, Luke, and Mark money is mentioned in one out of every four verses

 

3. Money is mentioned in one out of every six verses in the entire New Testament

 

4. Money is a key element in almost ½ of the parables of Jesus

 

C. Jesus viewed men's attitude toward money as a key indicator of their spiritual condition

 

D. The Bible says much about collecting money and paying God's workers

 

E. The early church viewed giving as an act of worship (they brought money and laid it at the apostles' feet)

 

2. Biblical teaching about giving

A. The Importance of Giving

1. Giving is part of the character of God (John 3:16 -- God is a giver)

 

2. Giving is an act of worship (an expression of thanksgiving)

 

 

3. Giving is an act of obedience

4. Giving is needed for God's purposes to be accomplished

 

5. Giving is a key to God's blessings -- Malachi 8:8-12, Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (to fail to teach our people to give is to cheat them out of God's blessing!)

 

6. Giving is the means by which God has chosen to work through his people

 

B. How much should we give?

1. The tithe (the first 10% of our earnings)

 

2. Offerings (thank offerings, in response to a need, as an act of obedience)

 

Can God's people afford to give?

If the promises of God are true,

they cannot afford not to give!

 

3. How the Church Should Use its Money

A. The church should tithe what God provides (evangelism, beginning other churches, giving to the poor…)

 

B. The church should pay its minister (or ministers)

1. 1 Corinthians 9:7-12

 

2. 1 Corinthians 9:14 -- It is a command of God. If a church is able to support a pastor and does not do it, it is disobeying God.

 

3. 1 Timothy 5:17-18

 

C. The church should meet the needs of poor and widows (1 Timothy 5:3-16)

 

D. The church should provide the facilities and materials needed to further God's work.

 

Whether we like it or not, money is a major part of life.  If you have not taught about giving, or if your church is disobeying God in the use of funds, we encourage you to search the Scriptures and be obedient.

 

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Discussion Groups:

- How does what we have studied about roles in the church compare with your church?  Are there things you feel you will need to change based on this teaching?

- How does what we have studied about church finance compare with your church?  Are there things you feel you will need to change based on this teaching?