Were to install elders today, may be week late--not only to and for elders, but for all. Rethink. We become trite in our study. Do not know, study, think. Who is an elder?
John 10; Hebrews 13; l Peter 5; Acts 20; l Timothy 3; Titus 1; 1 Corinthians 11
Timothy appointed elders, evangelist appointed elders, we do not by and large. Why? Misunderstand scripture. Black churches--high evangelistic authority. If preacher is involved in appointment, does he then have authority over? No. You are involved in appointment. Elders' authority is intact, but we have hierarchical model of leadership. Read again Luke 22.
Will need more elders in the future. Young men, how can you be pointing toward spiritual leadership? Women, how be help to mate?
Lots of practical questions about this matter the Bible does not directly address. How appoint, not discuss at length, congregational involvement, not political (tells us more about us than them), but is way to identify the shepherds. Does this man know me, I know him, how would you do it to insure that God is active. Only Bible examples were for inclusion of entire body of believers, OT, Acts 1, Acts 7, etc.
Much is in matter of practical wisdom and application. Maintain that a man capable of serving in one location ought not necessarily to serve in another location.
Opinion: Not all who minimally meet the "qualifications" ought to be designated. The Jewish elders were not every old man, but those who exercised a certain kind of outstanding, mature, leadership based on wisdom and experience. Perhaps is only practical--church should decide how many. If appt every person in the way some suggest, why pray and fast (Acts 14:23)? You are going to get the same ones either way!
I. Who is an elder?
1. Qualities, not qualifications A. Blameless, world looks at those we designate our leaders. How do they live their spiritual lives? Are they present? Obviously spiritual? Good reputation with outsiders B. Approachable C. Teachable D. Hospitable, lit. friend to strangers E. Appoint no man an elder who wants to be, Luke 22, consider parallel of 1 Corinthians 9. 1 Timothy 3:1ff. Woe to those who should serve but refuse. 2. Age. What ages are appropriate? inappropriate? why? 3. Men with a certain kind of heart. Therefore, install those who are already pastoring.
II. What do elders do?
1. Spiritual leadership >>proistemi, stand before you, show the way, 1 Thess. 5:12 >>proistemi, 1 Timothy 3:4,5 >>they lead, go before, Hebrews 13:7,17 >>l Corinthians 11:1, l Peter 5:3, example to flock. All can see-watch-imitate >>Hebrews 13:7, consider outcome of way of life, imitate their faith--daily prayer/walk/Bible reading? >>faithfulness, attendance, spiritual life priorities, self-controlled (Tim & Tit) loves the good (Titus 1:8) present to meet the needs support activities of church--mission report (1 x in 3 yrs), Acts 14:27-28 (1 Cor. 11:31) not focused on money [most churches could quintuple their total budget if every member gave the way most elders give. You may not have access to this information, but is known in observing a way of life, and elder should be example in all things. Generous, elders carry the work financially, depend upon God.] [How help others if not set example first? You need to give, attend, study, etc....] 2. Teaches >>keep the wolves away, Acts 20:28ff, responsible for the message proclaimed in the pulpit, feed the flock directly and indirectly, tend, shepherd >>firmly holds the trustworthy message, Titus 1:9 >>convince the gainsayer, refute those who oppose the message, Titus 1:9 >>encourage others by healthy teaching, Titus 1:9 3. An overseer is entrusted with God's work, Titus 1:7. If you were entrusted with God's work, how would it be going? Overseers are stewards. 4. Give account, thus must know me, fill out the ledger, suggests a part of their task is to lead us to heaven 5. Exercise authority, Hebrews 13:17, but not as lords, 1 Peter 5:1-5 6. Elder, presbuteros Make decisions, spiritual values 7. Overseer, one who "visits," epi-skopos, James 1. If any aspires to visitation, he desires a noble work. Task, function, activity. "Office" miscommunicates. Not superintendent, CEO model protector, Acts 20:28, recognize teaching acc to Jesus, flock which is "among you." they watch on behalf of your souls, Hebrews 13:17 8. Shepherd, pastor. Flock is under their care, collectively, indiv. Shepherd knows the sheep, prays for every member, knows every member
III. How do they do it?
Silently, behind the scenes Thank God for elders--may their tribe increase. Pray for ours. Pray for those who will serve in the future.
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