Local Church and Leadership
Introduction: Looked at High view of God/ Sufficiency of Scripture for Local Church. He has spoken, He has designed what a Biblical local church is. We are stewards of His house.
-Talking about: Skeletal support of a Biblical church, leading to external workings
- Focus: Importance of the leadership. Biblical leadership/ Biblical call/ Biblical gospel/ establish a Biblical church/ who train Biblical men.
- The church will never grow beyond its leadership. Take on the characteristics- if he errors, or is stuck on an error, the church will too (Examples).
- Life of church depends on its leadership.
- I stand in the most dangerous place on earth. The most dangerous thing is preach.
- Held accountable for every word (Matt. 12:36)
- Position calls for a greater condemnation (Matt. 23:14)
2 Timothy 4:1-2: Listen to Paul, when giving this command to preach the Word
- “I solemnly charge you”: This demands undivided attention. The wording carries with it a forceful seriousness. Weight. Paul is bring Timothy (his beloved Son) to the courtroom.
- “in the presence of God, and Jesus Christ”: equivalent= Moses calling heaven and earth against the people. Stronger statement. God: Creator of heaven and earth- Christ: Lord of heaven and earth. Head of the church, Husband to bride. “the Living God” who sees all.
- “who is judge of the living and dead” interesting. At the charge to preach the Word, he reminds Timothy of Christ’s judgment. There is a temptation to try and be liked- I feel it.
- Paul reminds him of the gravity of preaching. We are not dealing with small issues.
- There are consequences. James could say: James 3:1 “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.”.
- Judgment starts in the household of God/ in the house, it starts w/ the pulpit.
- It is a terrifying/ fearful position to be in. The leadership of the church must understand this. It has caused the greatest of preachers to weep for a week before preaching.
- Today men approach the pulpit with jokes, causal attitude. They feel no pressure, no fear.
- If we are going to look at a Biblical leadership, it starts with the CALL: He must be a man called by God! Needless to say- he must be converted. (feel the weight of sin. No hope but X)
- There seems to be much confusion in India about this about a person’s call. In my experience, I have discovered that many pastors point to a piece of paper on the wall.
- They go to school, they are near the top of the class, they make good grades, they must be a pastor- they get their certificate and go out and plant a church.
- There is nothing wrong with going to school- but it does not mean that you are qualified. We look at the Scriptures to see what the qualifications are- and they are all character qualifications: something a school cannot teach. Integrity- taught by the HS.
- This is important: India does not need more preachers/ churches, it needs men who are called. Feel the weight of that call- who recognize that they will give an account to the Living God for how they fulfill that call.
-How do we know if a man is called to the position of Elder?
1) An internal call: There is a desire for this position/ there is a burden to preach the gospel. There is a love for God’s people.
- We must not confuse ourselves here. Every Christian should have the desire to speak of the gospel- and every Christian should desire to see souls saved- and have love for God’s people. But the internal call for the elder is different.
- 1 Tim. 3:1: Notice the two words in this verse: Aspires and Desires. These are two different words in the original. Helps us understand the internal call, and to separate it from the general call to all of His people.
- The second word, DESIRES: Translated “lust” in other verses. It is a strong inward desire. Longing for, FIXING a desire upon something. It is fixed. It cannot be shaken. It drives you.
- The first word, ASPIRES: literally means to stretch one’s hand out towards. To “reach after.” This involves action. More than just an internal feeling- but rather it is a life that is moving in that direct.
- Moving toward the Lord, away from self- and moving towards fulfilling the fixed desire in your heart.
- This is more than just preaching. – Brother: “I just want to preach to 1,000 people and watch the Lord save many” Me: “Would you be satisfied seeing one person grow in Christ?”
- Do you want to be there to see a grandmother pass from this life to the next and aid the family? Get your hands dirty, to hopeful see Christ formed in them?
- To Shepherd? Rescue sheep/ Lead sheep/ Guard sheep/ Protect/ Comfort/ Serve the Sheep like the Chief Shepherd. Not a glorious position. Hard/ responsibility.
- The work of a farmer- no glory in this life.
- Not sure why anyone would choose this life- besides being called.
2) Meeting the Qualifications: 1 Tim. 3:1. Paul follows this statement with qualifications. Internal calling is not enough.
- You must meet the qualifications.
- You must be above reproach: Really describes all the over qualifications.
- Qualifications listed: should be found in every Christian (teaching)- what is Paul getting at? Mature believer, Christ-like character. They have to be an example- without reproach
- Example: house not in order, love his wife and take care of his family, money spent unwisely, not gentle = he is disqualified!
- Example of giving money for something: Integrity.
- He cannot be a new convert: must be mature/ walked with the Lord for years- sit under a Biblical church leader.
- Man cannot declare himself a pastor- must be qualified. Schooling does not do this alone. Men take time to develop character. The very word “elder” means “aged” or “bearded.” The character of a man qualifies him.
- Why? Because only a man filled with the Spirit can have these qualifications. It is easy to stand in the pulpit and deliver a message- to treat the ministry as any other job is easy- but it is impossible to go home and give yourself to your family like Christ gave himself for us- without the Spirit of God. This shows a mature faith-
- To be used of God- you must be a man of righteous character- if not, you are not qualified.
- I went to lunch w/ a pastor one time- and he went to an expensive steakhouse. “We have to spend the people money someway” – That man has no right to be leading God’s people.
3) Gifted in teaching. Heart of Christian maturity- teach effectively that which you know.
- This is a God given gift- the man is gifted with this qualification.
- How can a pastor lead and raise other men up without this ability? Called to train.
- Teaching is the primary task of the Pastor. How he shepherds mostly.
- What does this gift of teaching mean? 1) Means that he is teachable himself. Men cannot teach others with being teachable and learning the lessons that God has taught him. He must also be able to apply the Scriptures to his life first. 2)Able to handle the Scriptures/ knows correct theology/ know how to apply them properly.
- God is present in His Preaching: It is clear/ Spirit Anointed/ and applicable.
- People are feed by his preaching- He moves the heart/ mind/ and conscience.
- This means he has a correct doctrine. He is a man of the Book. One Book. Gifted in protecting the truth, pointing out error, applying the truth- and he does this with a gentle spirit to the sheep- and a Spirit born sharpness to the hypocrite.
- Christ is our great example. The self-righteous, Christ is sharp- with the exceedingly sinful, he is gentle. How we have switched those around today!
4) Recognized by the congregation: The Spirit of God raises them up before the people. They are an extension of them. They are his proving ground. The church is where he is trained and his desires are expressed. His heart of shepherding is developed here. The people see it, he helps them spiritually.
- The people naturally entrust their spiritual lives to them. This is one of the marks I look for. People seek counsel from them. They help with what they teach.
- When God calls a man, he calls them through the local church. The same spirit that calls, is the same that is in the members.
- UNDERSTAND: God calls a church to missions- not just a man.
- The people recognize the call. They entrust their souls to the person. They are united with them. They understand his call and release him to service, w/ promise of accountability/ and support.
The congregations role: 1 Tim 5:17-22-
1) They are to support the elder. Prayer/ monetary because of his teaching & preaching. It is hard work to care for the souls of men/ and takes its toil. OT Illustration (the OX was allowed to eat while working). View of the elder comes back to view of God (call).
2) They are not to receive an accusation- unless it is confirmed by several. There is an enemy that desires a man to fail, will lie, and accuse the brethren. It must be confirmed.
3) If there is sin, they are to rebuke in the presence of all- He is in a public position, thus his rebuke is to be public.
4) Verse 21-Again we see the solemn call- in front of God and Christ- to maintain these principles without showing partiality.
5) Verse 22- Do not lay hands on anyone to hastily. Several things we see: Other men are involved in the call. Other men recognize and affirm the Lord’s hand.
- These men are submissive to their elders- wait until they are ready. Not-self appointed.
- Timothy is warned: make sure they are ready (stakes are to high)- To approve a man who is not ready is to partake in his sins.
- Acts 13:3- They fasted and prayed, then laid hands on Paul and Barnabas.
- Acts 14:23: Fasting and prayer- before appointing Elders from among them. Understood what was at stake. Seriousness of the call.
- To put the wrong man in office is devastating. You will be held accountable.
- He is not called by man, he is not self-appointed- he is called by God. India needs men who are called of God.
- He is a man of character. Integrity. 1 Tim. 4:16- Pay close attention to yourself and your doctrine. It starts with the Pastor’s life. Not only a qualification for leadership/ it is commanded by God (1 Pet. 1:15), but it is needed to be useful (2 Tim. 2:21).
- Man of holy character-
- He is the living example to the people. 1 Tim. 4:12: Timothy was to be an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.
- Paul could tell the church in Philippi to follow his example. Christ told his disciples in the upper room that his service to them is an example they should follow (John 13:15).
- 1 Peter 5:3: Peter says that Elder must shepherd with eagerness, and not for personal gain. Not to lord over the flock, but to lead by example.
- He is a man that is given to the Word of God and Prayer. Acts 6:4- They understood the importance of giving themselves to the Lord, and the role they were called to.
- They lived in secret prayer, they searched the Scriptures. They were dependent on the Lord (reflected in prayer). Understood this was not there message.
- He has a correct doctrine. 1 Tim. 4:16. Pay close attention to your life, and doctrine.
- He holds doctrine tight. 2 Tim. 2:2- he is called to entrust this correct doctrine to faithful men. To give it to the next generation.
- If you are going to be a healthy church you must hold a health doctrine. Must have an understanding of the gospel- truth. Must be able to give an account of the hope in you.
- A healthy church must have clear, and powerful preaching. There is a great plague in the US/ India. Pastor gets up- and reads a Scripture, tells jokes, adds a story, makes you cry, speaks things that sound right- and steps down. The crowd’s emotions were moved- “it was a great service”- the pastor gets the attention.
- That is not preaching. Preaching is opening up the Scriptures and walking through them. It is making sure you say what the Bible is saying.
- Understanding that the Scriptures reveal God- He is the main character (not you). Christ is means in which we can know Him. The Gospel message is the truth that changes lives.
- His preaching is: clear, bold, compassionate, pleading with men to hear: it rebukes, exhorts, teaches, and moves the heart/ intellect/ and conscience.
- Missionary Friend: A man with a bow and arrow. Shooting at the people’s heart. Exalting Christ.
- The Word of God is pictured in the Scriptures as a sharp sword, a hammer, and a fire that is in the bones. It pierces, breaks down men, and builds them up- it ignites. Most pulpits have a pillow they swing- smoke without fire.
- The reason we have such craziness in the pulpit- because there is a lack of power. There is a lack of God presence- it starts with the pastor. They have to drum up excitement, because God is not there.
- A healthy local church must have a healthy leadership. Must have a man that is called by God. He is Qualified. Men recognize this call on his life. He understands the fearful position he is in, and therefore is a man of prayer.
- He has holy character/ an example to follow/ gives himself to the Word of God and prayer.
- His doctrine is correct- His preaching is fire.
- A man who relies on the Sufficiency of the Scriptures. Establishes the church on them, not on what other churches are doing. On prayer/ preaching/ reading of Word/ Biblical worship.
- It starts here. Church is only as strong as its pulpit. There must be a leadership in place that is Biblical- if you are going to do a work that will last past one generation.
- Study the life of the apostle Paul, look at his example: Acts 20, 1 Thess. 2, Col. 1:24-29.