It is well understood that God is much too complex to confine to a few words in a little chapter in this little book. My efforts here are restricted to setting simple markers concerning God’s nature. My hope is that it will be basic enough to prove secure through the attacks of religious and denominational confusion. God’s nature is seen in His Holiness, Love, and Power. These three streams of Christianity each have their own focus.
These three streams must eventually become the “River Of Life”.
Jesus the Christ Evangelical/Holiness
Almighty Father Liturgical/Orthodox
Holy Spirit Charismatic/Pentecostal
Grace of God
Logos of God
Rhema of God
Atonement Sovereignty of God Vision for salvation God is responsible Predestination
Traditions Militant Vision for legacy Man is responsible Free Will
Power Indwelling Spirit Vision for kingdom God/Man partnership Sanctification
Some churches with the above basic focus: (at least in the beginning)
Baptist Salvation Army Nazarene Congregational Grace Brethren Church of God
Roman Catholic Orthodox Lutheran Episcopal Methodist Presbyterian
Pentecostal Assembly of God Charismatic Four Square Calvary Chapel Vineyard Fellowship
and other denominations divided by Authority, Doctrine, Property or Finances.
Any fresh understanding of doctrine should be in unity with the balance of the apostolic doctrines of Love, Holiness and Power and the Biblical traditions of the Early Church.
And most important, any Biblical traditions
ALL SHOULD BE CONFIRMED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH SIGNS FOLLOWING
The Holy Spirit will always confirm any mature anointed gathering (2 Tim.3:1-5) Doctrine should always be on the altar of God’s grace and made alive by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Fellowship is always incomplete without the presence of the Holy Spirit in His love, holiness and power and the balance of God’s nature. Ministries need to learn from each other in order to come into a valid Biblical unity. There is but one and only one Church of Jesus Christ of which all believers, disciples and elders are members.
Each stream in the body of Christ has a precious truth. Each stream needs to lovingly come back together if we are to see the glory of Jesus Christ on earth as it is in Heaven. The Charismatic need to ask the Orthodox to come and teach on order and structure and the Orthodox need to ask the Baptist to come and teach on grace and the Baptist and Orthodox need to ask the Charismatic to come and share on how to minister in the power of God for the work of Christ. Buildings in a local area should be open to any elder who would share a clear gospel message about Jesus. The elders in the body of Christ should openly support and trust one another and trade pulpits in faith as easily as they go out to lunch with each other. Then, and only then, we will start to see Jesus in all of His glory. The stuff belongs to Jesus, it is not for the building of personal kingdoms of religious traditions. We must come to have the same care one for another as our Lord has for us. When the money flows together for the Glory of the Kingdom in a given area then we will be getting close to our Lord’s teachings on unity.
Warnings Concerning Religious Imbalances
If an unbalanced church matures it will tend to first lose God’s power, then holiness, and then God’s love to become indulgent, liberal, and finally to become only social and apostate.
Cult Rev. 17 & 18 Babylon church Dictatorship Rule by traditions Will is sublimated Powered by demons Cult is lifted up
Kingdom John 3:16, Isa 64 Church of Jesus Christ Servant elders Rule by Godly influence Holy Spirit controlled Powered by Holy Spirit Christ is lifted up
Cult Rev 3: 14-22 Laodicean church Voice of the people Rule by majority Self-willed Powered by soul Man is lifted up
Holy Spirit: Fruits, Gifts & Ministries
Fruits of the Holy Spirit
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another .
The gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit will always find a foundation in the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is produced by our love for our Lord Jesus Christ. In understanding His great love for us by the cost to Him of our salvation, we love Him. It is only when we completely trust Him with the very core of our being and come into the “Unity of theFaith” (Eph.4:13) that we will see the doors really open to the gifts and the ministries of the Holy Spirit. Gifts and ministries are given by the Holy Spirit for the purposes of God in building “His Church”. They are used (and sometimes abused), and sometimes totally forgotten. However, they do not certify a ministry in the Church without the confirmation of local servant elders in consensual unity as directed by the Holy Spirit. The organized church seems to have forgotten to read all of the directions for the construction of “His Church” (Eph. 4: 1-32). In the final analysis, all will be the vanity in any building for Jesus unless bathed at all times in the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26). Any effective ministry will grow only by loving influence in love, holiness, and power. If there is not true united prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, The ministry, in time, will become just an another of man’s well-meaning clubs or organizations and fall over.
Discipleship and Other Methods of Training by the Holy Spirit
Personal: Direct, by the Holy Spirit; (Paul in the desert).
Apprenticeship: Along side as mentor or teacher; as Paul with Timothy).
Forum: Interactive teaching; (Paul on Mars Hill).
Liturgical: Training by repetition, Hebrew-Christian traditions.
Prophetical: God speaks directly through the elders & disciples.
House Church: The Holy Spirit moves in community for vision, correction, evangelism or the Gifts of the Spirit in the gatherings.
(1 Cor. 12:6-11)
Please remember these are gifts and not ministries. The believer is to build their faith so that any one or more of these gifts may flow through them at any time by the power of the Holy Spirit for the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. These gifts are given through the believer at a point of faith and need, and then the gift is given and is gone until the next gift is needed and given. In this way the Holy Spirit encourages supernatural faith. The least of the gifts, tongues seem to help pave the way for the needed growth in the use of the other 8 gifts.
1. Wisdom: God’s direct wisdom to meet a specific need. Sometimes wisdom is used with knowledge received as another gift from someone else.
2. Word of knowledge: Knowledge may be God’s revelation of personal inside information about a matter. It always requires God’s wisdom as to what to do.
3. Faith: Supernatural gift of believing faith for power from the Holy Spirit to meet a specific need or emergency.
4. Healing: A supernatural gift to heal in a needed situation.
5. Miracles A supernatural gift of altering physical circumstances in an emergency situation for the glory of the Kingdom of God.
6.Prophecy The gift of allowing God to speak His special direct message through a yielded vessel for edification, exhortation or comfort.
7. Discerning of spirits The ability to know by the Holy Spirit of a demonic, counterfeit or false spirit as in contrast to the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this can even be the closest friend.
8. Tongues The ability to share God’s thoughts in an unlearned language or even an unknown language for personal prayer, singing, evangelism, or church growth. I have counted seven types of “tongues” noted in scripture.
9.Interpretation of tongues Ability to understand and share a message for God in the interpretation of tongues for building the Church
Body Life Ministries, Elders in training (Romans, 12:68).
Deacon/Minister: Gifting in helping with the physical support of the needy saints of a community under the direction of the council of elders. A deacon is a position of training for leadership as with Barnabas (Acts 4: 33-37). Gifted in having a surplus for helping others with needs. To minister by enabling, lifting or supporting others, a ministry of “helps”
Exhortation: Gifted to help people see the need to repent and be forgiven and restored into God’s blessing and comfort through anointed words.
Giving: Gifted in the stewardship of holding the Lord’s physical resources and to minister to the financial support of our Lord’s kingdom on earth.
Ruling: Gifted to help give support to the church and to help organize the affairs and needs of an apostolic company. This ministry help remove the administrative care of the Saints from the Elders that they may have more time to minister to the spiritual needs of the Saints.
Mercy: Gifted in extending God’s love and mercy in times of deep needs, also may help converts learn to receive grace and to forgive themselves. This gift is the ability to see sinners through the eyes of God.
Elders / Bishops: (overseers)
Council of Elders, (Eph. 4:11-16, Acts 15)
Apostles: (Defined as “first among equals” in the OrthodoxChurch)
Anointed as a wise master-builder sent of God for the starting of churches. He is a visionary. A C.E.O. or Chief Executive Officer. He will seek to maintain unity in the bond of peace. He will be the primary missionary, he will not be interested in building on the ministry of others nor include the divisions of the religious church systems. In modern-day ministries, he will seek to guide and bring order and establish leaders but only if requested. Seventeen apostles are listed in the New Testament. Some modern-day apostles are: Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel or the late John Wimber of Vinyard Christian Fellowship.
Anointed with a concern mainly for quality control in the Church. He is God’s building inspector and will try to speak God’s message without fear. He will be concerned about keeping any gathering on course with the Biblical teachings of the apostles and prophets. He will be unconcerned about rejection and will probably be an introvert. A Godly prophet will be the target for many rocks as he will seem to be meddling in the affairs of others as he does His work. God speaks through prophets to make changes and corrections in the Church. Derek Prince was a good example of a modern-day prophet.
Anointed with a God-given love for souls. He will be able to share visions of the Kingdom as he had been there. He will be able to share the great mysteries and the vision of life and death. He will be a spiritual salesman gifted in the winning of souls. An evangelist will have much power in the supernatural for healing and deliverance. Billy Graham is an excellent example of an evangelical evangelist but lacks the balance of the Biblical charismatic demonstration of power.
A pastor is anointed to shepherd a local flock. He is called to bind up the wounded. He is a counselor, a friend. He is responsible for bringing the parts together (manufacturing). He is commissioned by the Lord to bring a fellowship of disciples into maturity and reproduction. He is a builder of baskets to hold the fruit in a local area, usually a ministry of about 70 – 120 saints. He loves to mentor and encourages leadership. When His House Church gets crowded, he will look to the elders for someone the Lord has called to assume the care of a new House Church fellowship and a new ministry will be born.
Teachers are anointed to share the Word of God in great detail. He will love the study of Greek and Hebrew for the deeper understandings of doctrine. He will enjoy working closely with the Pastor to help supply needed parts. He likes to dig into the why of things. He will want to know how everything works in the Kingdom of God. He wants everyone to study and memorize scripture. A teacher is a real book worm, sometimes not very organized and usually highly independent.He will tend to supply and polish the needed parts for the Pastor.
Ministry of Elders
The Early Church sought a plural consensus in the authority of the eldership as per (Eph. 4:11). There was always one who was called by the Holy Spirit to be the “presiding elder” or “first among equals,” with the calling of an apostle, if possible: i.e., moderator. His office was to see that everyone had free access and voice on the issues under consideration and that the servant elders of the Lord moved with the heart consensus in true unity. It was important that all of the servant elders then present and those concerned by the matter were present. Spiritual Unity was always more important than any timing or action in the spiritual guidance of the House Church or local ministry. “Abidingin the vine,” (John 15:1)is imperative for any true spiritual direction.
Problem: Many elders have become afraid to allow the Holy Spirit to really be in control of the church. They feel that things may get out of hand. They feel they might be embarrassed or exposed as ineffective. Think about it: if God is not in control of His church do we really think we can, through fear, program it into order? Who then are we really protecting, God or ourselves? Are we so presumptuous as to think we can help Him by making sure we solve all of His problems so we won’t look bad? Our fears have basically put out the fire of the Holy Spirit in the church. Fear is faith going backwards. It is the glue that holds the kingdom of darkness together. In God there is no fear at all and He has not given us the spirit of fear, but love, power and a sound mind. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. Meetings must be free in the Holy Spirit or they will be dead and boring. We must take the fear lid off if we are to see Jesus. We must stop pushing Christian entertainment and programs at a theater church and go back to having fellowship with King Jesus and enjoy His wonderful love, Holy Kingdom and power in the Holy Spirit.
“Wagner – Hout’s Questionnaire”: A testing to help discern gifts and ministries that may help guide you into your future ministry. Available through Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. (Gospel Light Pub.)
“Foundations For Righteous Living”: This book by Dr. Derek Prince is excellent in helping insure a balanced Christian foundation in basic doctrine. Web access: Derek Prince, Florida (Creation House).
Church Authority for Kingdom Living
By Ken Smith, 6/1/13
Biblical Consensual Servant Eldership Council as per Eph.4:1-11. An effort to better understand the Divine order and structure of the Kingdom of Christ Jesus. And as we live in a time of the Laodicean Church, this is very difficult for us. Rev.3:14-22.
Genesis 3:16 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow, thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Esther 1:22 For he sent letters unto all the king’s provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people.
Joel 2:28 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. (It is encouraged that all should learn to prophesy or to allow for God to speak through them. This is not the same as the “Office” of a Prophet of Christ Jesus who is called to help purify HIS Church, Eph.4:1-16. )
Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: (Having to do with speaking for God under a specific anointing as a Prophet-is of God : Acts. 15:13-30, Eph.4:1-16.) As was Kathryn Kuhlman.
1 Corinthians 11:1 3, King James Version (KJV) 1 Be ye, followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
1 Corinthians 14:34 36 34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 2 Corinthians 11 King James Version (KJV) 11 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Wesley’s Notes on 1 Corinthians 14:34 14:34 Let your women be silent in the churches Unless they are under an extraordinary impulse of the Spirit. For, in other cases, it is not permitted them to speak By way of teaching in public assemblies. But to be in subjection To the man whose proper office it is to lead and to instruct the congregation. Gen 3:16.
1 Corinthians 15: 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
2 Corinthians 11:2 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him (Ignore).
2 Corinthians 11:2 5 Amplified Bible (AMP) 2 For I am [a]zealous for you with a godly eagerness and a divine jealousy, for I have betrothed you to one Husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But [now] I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For [you seem ready to endure it] if a man comes and preaches another Jesus than the One we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the [Spirit] you [once] received or a different gospel from the one you [then] received and welcomed; you tolerate [all that] well enough! 5 Yet I consider myself as in no way inferior to these [precious] [b]extra super [false] apostles.
Eph.5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Ephesians 5:22 33 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Galatians 3:27-28 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Note: This scriptural context is salvation, not church structure or authority.)
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
1 Timothy 2:11 14 11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Amplified: A women must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. I allow no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to remain in quietness and keep silence (in religious assemblies). For adam was first formed, then Eve; And it was not Adam who was deceived, but (the) woman who was deceived and deluded and fell into transgression.
1 Timothy 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Titus 2:3-5 The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Hebrews 13:17 17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
1 Peter 2:17-18 17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
1 Peter 3:1 20 1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving Honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
Revelation 2: 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star.
(Psalm 2:9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.)
Revelation 4:4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
Revelation 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
Revelation 19:14 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Rev.19:8) 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Authority Use & Abuse
by Ken Smith, 1982
Jesus Christ is in the process of building a kingdom. A kingdom is not like a republic, democracy or even a dictatorship. A kingdom is the epitome of the ideal governmental systems. If the king of the kingdom is perfect in love and judgement and has only positive attributes of character and love for his people then his rule will be the best possible form of government.
Unlike any other Kingdom the world has ever seen the kingdom of Jesus Christ will be totally built on the loving influence of friendship and brotherly love. No manipulation, fear, pride, threat, bribe or rejection will be allowed in the building of the structure. But in order to build a kingdom of this nature the living foundation stones must be carefully selected so that the structure will not fall down, ever. Peter was the first to be called a stone (Matt 16:18) (I Peter 2:4 ).
The faith for being included as a living stone in the kingdom of Jesus Christ is first a matter calling and of deep desire. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The Kingdom of Jesus Christ is being built upon love and faith. Its counterpart, the kingdom of darkness, is being built upon fear and unbelief. Fear is the glue that holds the kingdom of darkness together. Fear is faith going backwards. In perfect love and in God there is no fear at all. (1 John 4:16 18).
The Kingdom must be built on faith. Authority in the Kingdom is from the bottom up and not the top down. Faith in Godly servant authority comes from the disciple to the elder. A disciple who feels the need to be under authority in the Kingdom must not allow himself to be manipulated by any top heavy authority. Even Jesus could not do many mighty works in Nazareth because of their unbelief. Jesus has told us that His Kingdom is a servant authority kingdom, the reverse in design of all the world kingdoms. Authority in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is secured and maintained in loving faith. Love and faith are the results of being saved empowered, covered, blessed, enlightened and cared for. The Kingdom of Jesus Christ is not set up for the benefit of those in authority but for the benefit for those who have the need of faith, truth, love, growth and protection.
Abuse of authority has two great judgments in scripture for the religious counterfeits. Babylon in Rev.17 & 18, And Democracy in Rev. 3:14-22. There are also many shades of little kingdoms in between. One judgment for abuse is headed towards Babylon, the world’s religious system as it becomes at the departure of the Holy Spirit and the Saints of God. Babylon is a true dictatorship with the ultimate design of religious slavery through fear. The other judgement is set for Laodicea, the democratic religious system where, through lust, the religiously rebellious have come to rest at the opposite side of the swinging pendulum. Neither of these systems will produce good fruit as they have been built on the flaws of fear and pride. In Babylon, fear and pride is used as a club where you will lose salvation if you do not submit. In Laodicea lust and pride are used to protest coming under the authority of the dictator of Babylon. The religious pendulum is in full swing with perverted doctrine on both sides and there is no peace. Fear and pride rules in both directions for these blind. Denominational kingdoms are built in direct contradiction to the prayers of Jesus Christ in John 17. Babylon says, “Serve Me, I sit as a Queen.” Laodicea says, “It’s up to us, let’s vote.” The Holy Spirit waits for the church to begin to listen, trusting only in Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures. There the yoke is easy, the burden light. St. Paul writes that this “Form of Godliness, will not be empowered.” 2 Tim.3:5.
The anointed leadership under Jesus Christ is a consensual relationship of servant elders. These elders must be men, anointed of God, selected by the Holy Spirit and acknowledged by the Church as holding at least one of the five eldership positions in the Body of Christ as found in Eph. 4:1 16 (11).
Disciples who have faith for these leaders will draw these men into action. Remember, Jesus could not do many mighty works in Nazareth due to the unbelief. Disciples will freely, lovingly and with faith submit to a Christ centered mentor relationship with an elder for spiritual growth who is full of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirits calls and the disciple is drawn only by faith and love. NOTE: There is no conscription or manipulation on the part of any elder. The disciple is under no obligation to continue in the relationship without faith and growth. The mentor relationship must produce a spiritual maturing process in the students life. An elder must minister with open hands. Jesus was the master. He trained three men, then twelve, then seventy, and finally after three and one half years He began the Church with only one hundred and twenty disciples and a few personally trained elders. The Holy Spirit was then able to penetrate our world of darkness (Rev. 12:12) on the basis of this faith and basic discipleship.
This is also the reason that Ananais and Sapphira were quickly and severally judged in the book of Acts. The Holy Spirit would not allow the sanctity and power base of faith in the newly formed Church to be adulterated by their greed, fear and unbelief. Why do we allow it today? We have become religious and well organized but unable to do the first work that the Early Church did (Acts 5: 14 16).
We have yet to learn how to lovingly yield to Godly authority and understand how it builds in the Kingdom of God. Godly Authority comes from righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It comes from being of one mind and one spirit. God wants us to be His friends. He wants us to find great pleasure in exploring His love, His creation and serving Him. He wants to fill His creation with Himself in His forever family who have faith for Him and trust Him in every facet of their lives. He is making us into a kingdom of priests and kings unto His name. He will not allow further destruction or rebellion when this qualifying time of testing is completed. Only His friends will be with Him in the future. Only the unity of John 17 will remain.
Servant Elders need to acknowledge the five offices given to each other by the Holy Spirit. An elder in one church, gathering or fellowship must be received in His office and gifting by the other servant elders in the local community of Christ. Faith is required to release an eldership ministry in the Holy Spirit for building our Lord’s Kingdom. Matt.10:41 If there is no faith for the ministry then the ministry will be lost to the church and not function.
Servant Elders will have the same care for one for another in financial support. Great care should be given to any finances for absolute objectivity and uniformity in fairness. This is not true today. One elder is rich while another is poor. All elders who labor in the flock should receive double honor, (2 Tim. 5:17) if the foundations are correctly supported by scripture. It seems that being a working elder was not a problem for the Early Church as Paul in some situations was totally self supporting, (Acts 18:3).
The physical facilities (churches) in a given area should be totally open without restrictions to all of the Body of Christ as per the need to do the work of the Lord. Unity in God’s property is also part of unity in spirit. Many small meetings are full of the Holy Spirit and many big church buildings are dead. Facilities should be used according to the need. Property owned by the King of Kings should be administered by the Holy Spirit through the plurality and consensus of all the Elders
Any gifts to the ministry should be distributed through the consensual unity of the Servant Elders in a given area by the Deacons of the Church according to the specific directions of the Holy Spirit. Complete authority by scripture resides within the Council of Elders for the distribution of the gifts and offerings for the ministry of Christ Jesus basically to be used for the support of missionary work and to help the poor.
The elders should be free to work on any and all doctrine until they all come into the unity of the faith and the bond of peace. They will need to be given freedom to slaughter the denominational and religious sacred cows. Elders should in unity then share that common ground and eliminate the confusion and divisions among the brethren. To agree to disagree or to not fully understand a point of view will not bring unity nor be obedient, John 17. But to fast and pray until all local elders come into true spiritual unity is to release the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no other way than true unity for the building of the Body of Christ. To teach that which knowingly causes division among the sheep is destructive and prideful. Elders in true unity will bring unity to the flock of God.
The Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus cannot be built on the foundations of pride, fear, manipulation, threat, bribe or any other of the many negative carnal motivations. Elders must come into true unity to see God’s Kingdom. Elders must learn to only use only loving influence as the glue for His Kingdom. The Creator only uses faith and loving influence in creation. Should we not follow His example and learn to use this only and most effective means for the winning of souls and for building The Kingdom? At one time I asked the Holy Spirit for His definition of love. He said to me, “Love is the highest good for the other person, regardless of personal cost.”
Ultimately there will be the Twelve Apostolic Elders as the foundations and the Twelve Tribes as the gates to the City of God, of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12) Find a Servant Elder and ask him to be your teacher, mentor & guide. Learn all that he can share with you. If you get to a wall or a ceiling then go find another Elder who knows more and ask him to mentor you and be your teacher. If you help the Elder with His physical load then he may have more time to help you with your spiritual growth.
God is building a Kingdom of Priests, Ambassadors and Kings. It is a kingdom of Holy Servants in a Holy Relationship with Christ Jesus as the King of Kings. All are forgiven, cleansed and invited to be joint heirs in the Kingdom of God. A king is to rule and a priest is to bring correction and ambassador brings unity. We will need much training as to how to live in His holy and righteous Kingdom. God will not be asking for a show of hands or a vote concerning His efforts concerning us in the future. Nor will He be a tyrant trying to control. He is God, now in flesh, building a loving Eternal Kingdom. If you want in, today is better than tomorrow. The following prayer in sincerity has helped in this goal for many:
Heavenly Father, I would like to become a servant in your eternal Kingdom and the Kingdom of your dear Son. I know that I need holy changes in my life in order to enter and be used in your Kingdom. I ask you to forgive me of all my sins (which may be stated at this time) in the name of Your son and savior Jesus Christ. Through your help I repent (turn) from my old ways of life and cast myself on your mercy. I now accept your forgiveness and submit my life to you, Lord Jesus, as my King.
Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and reign over my life. Help me to seek, understand and do your will for my life and for those around me. Help me Lord to learn how to walk in Love and Faith in the foundations of your Kingdom. Please guide me into the paths of righteousness for your name’s sake. Holy Father I pray this prayer in Jesus name and for HIS eternal glory, Amen.
Women in Authority and Ministry.
This subject appears to have many sacred cows and has been used to cause a great deal of division in the Body of Christ. There is much in scripture concerning women in relationship to authority and sometimes brother Paul takes a real beating as misguided folks try to subvert His teachings’ concerning authority from the realm of Biblical validity.
First it is needful to find out what is God’s design plan is for men and women. Starting with God Himself it is very obvious that in Adam, God’s created His image and likeness and in God’s image and likeness were both male and female. Later Eve was taken from Adam so it is clear that God has all the feminine facets in His nature. As I look through the Scriptures, It seems that God’s feminine nature is mostly associated very closely with the Holy Spirit. At this writing, I am coming to the point of view that the Holy Spirit is the role model for women. I am open to further exploration of this position but from Genesis with, “The Holy Spirit of God moved (brooded) upon the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2) to the nature of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the New Testament. I see, Mother, Wife, Help Meet and Great Authority as very unique to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ ministered with the Holy Spirit in perfect power and unity.
Women in ministry are seen as Deaconess and Prophetess in the New Testament. However, there is no example of women having authority in the Church over men. We have no precedent where our Lord or the Holy Spirit placed women in authority over men in the Body of Christ as in the office of Eldership or the Early Church Council. In Church structure there is never a mention of men ever being subordinated in authority under women in ministry. This is not to say that women may not sometimes be stronger, wiser and more capable then men. This is only an observation as to calling and responsibility. We are looking for an acknowledgment of the Creator’s intent in the design factors. It appears to me that encouraging men to be responsible in authority in the Body of Christ is drastically compromised within a matriarchal structure. Any woman in authority would be perceived as a mother figure by a man. Most men would be strongly tempted to become lazy, indolent, immature and mommy’s little boy with female authority. A man would tend not to grow up in this atmosphere. Neither would he learn to pick up God’s calling nor to become accountable before the Lord in the Holy Spirit. Perhaps there is truth in the adage that if men won’t pick up their God given responsibilities then women will. God will use whoever is available for His vision and purposes at the time needed. But here I am only making a case for the ideal. It has been said, “Men typically like to conquer and women mostly like to decorate”. I think there is some truth to this interesting observation.
The example and servant authority in Scripture goes generally from the children to the mother to the father to the Elder to the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ and ultimately back to the Heavenly Father. In order for Godly authority to work in the Kingdom it is important for each of us to find our own way and not to try to become a law for someone else. I would suggest a personal study in this area prior to taking a hard position here. It would be a tremendous blessing to see women role model after the Holy Spirit as at the same time Christian men were learning to role model after our Lord Jesus. After all, Godly authority is based on learning to be a servant with only the use of loving influence. The unity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are certainly the most perfect of examples of God’s anointed use of authority, anywhere.
In Proverbs 31:10 there is a very interesting study concerning the potential of a woman’s ministry while living with an anointed husband. It appears that in her husband’s trust the wife has no boundaries. In Eph. 5:23 Paul flatly states that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the Church. In 1 Peter 3 is Peter’s suggestion for a wife to use her Godly example and prayer in the event that corrections are needed by her wayward husband. This counsel would preclude enduring violence or sin in the home. It is never God’s will for His people to remain involved in a painful situation of negative dependency or violence, 1 Cor. 6 makes room for a time out for spiritual resolutions.
Men will not know at first how to set at the head of the table. There is always a learning curve. It is not just being in authority that must be learned but also just how to submit to the authority in the Holy Spirit within that authority. But if the chair is not left empty by the woman then the man will not be able to learn to sit there. And further will probably go find something more interesting to do with his time. Godly authority is not the same as the world, Godly authority comes from a position of serving. In the Church, if the Elder positions are filled by women then the men will go watch football on TV or do something more interesting. Again, there is no precedent in the New Testament for a women to sit in an Eldership position of authority on a “Ministry Council” (Eph.4:11, unless as a married team under the covering of her husband who is the Elder as in Rom.16:7 concerning Andronicus and Junia whom I consider as a married team.” )
There is but one Church of Jesus Christ and all who LOVE & OBEY HIM are members.