Loving our neighbors, forgiving our enemies, washing the feet of our brothers and sisters. We are self supported ministry devoted to being followers of Jesus Christ. We share the simple Gospel of Jesus the King.
They show up for your Worship service, What do you say to them?
Live your life among the pagans so that they marvel and ask “Who is your God?” Worship in your assemblies of the Body so that the unbeliever will declare God is with you. 1 Cor 14:24-25, If they don’t see the Love why bother?
The young lady and man in the painting are from the wall of a house uncovered in Pompeii. We can speculate that this couple or some like them would have been familiar to Priscilla and Aquila in the first century. The woman’s stylus and tablet are symbols that displayed her confidence in education and status. They are the up and comers, the beautiful people of the city. Clothed in purple and trimmed in gold. Today would she fit in? Could you see them in a 40 under 40 spread in your cities magazine? What would you show to them about your God that would motivate them to reject their gods? What can your God do that theirs can not? In all the world of religion only one event makes a difference. The Resurrection Of King Jesus the Anointed of God.
Who are these young people? Let’s imagine they are your new acquaintances. They are coming to your worship; your home, church, workplace. The picture is from a mural buried in the 79 AD destruction of Mt. Vesuvius to the Roman city of Pompeii. The painting was obviously commissioned by what would be considered wealthy owners to adorn the walls of their villa/bakery. Maybe they were the owners. Maybe they were young during that era of Roman Empire. Exciting times! Nero had been in power, Titus, Caligula, Domitian, many wars and rumors of war. We will assume the husband is wealthy and a player in fashion with his gold trim toga. He is holding a sealed document, He must be educated, important in his world. The Roman lady is standing in the fore of the painting, dressed in purple with much gold, a valuable asset to her husband, a woman of education and power, perhaps a royal dressed in purple? Women in the Roman World had much privilege and could do many things a Hebrew woman could not by Torah, and the many added Hebrew laws. Click on the link to learn the history from archaeology.
Your new acquaintances are owners of a bakery you frequent. They are Romans, the influence of Greek culture is the fashion of the day. Here are some of the assumptions one might assume They are Pagans believing in many gods, much as the people of Mars Hill in Athens or liberals today. Like the pagans around them the free citizens of Rome enjoyed a somewhat upper middle to rich classes. The lower classes were for the most part ; uneducated except for their tasks or skill. Slaves were a very high percentage of the population, most were bond slaves dues to poverty as war slaves were used in the mines and criminals in the galleys of the roman navy. Spartacus is a true story! Crucifixion was a common punishment for slaves. Invented by the Persians some say as a more evil death than the single stake sat upon as was the custom, read Esther.
As Rome conquered the known world they absorbed pagan religions as useful tools of the state. Later Rome would develop a city/state organization to rule all the gods, with one man via other men ruling all men so they can control kingdoms, empires. Every pagan religion was adapted to fit the lifestyle of the Roman, to meet the needs of the state/empire. The Jews were tolerated at times. If you did not follow the rules of worship of the emperor or whatever the favored god/temple was in that city, you were subject to shunning, fines, slavery, death. You could not buy or sell without the approval/seal of Rome. The pagan priests were officers of the state, by 450 ad this system of state run “Visible Church” “AKA vChurch” was the official state church, with none other allowed until new rulers got powerful enough to split off their own brands. Each calling the other heretic. These gods are no different than the pagan gods of the nations around God’s people all the time on earth via the power of the Satan, eater of dust. As we are dust in our flesh, that benefits us nothing when we try and save, preserve or embellish it. We are as these young people enjoying the smell of their bakery and the beautiful day. As pagans they will have vague beliefs depending on what is the latest pop religion or which temple has the best festivals/services/parties. The philosophers that influenced their daily lives as Greek/ Roman pagans are still being taught in our secular universities, colleges as words to live by. Many a good child of disciples of Christ are devastated when their educators tell them Christianity is all wrong, there is no truth. Many of our most educated citizens are the most in need of a real God. The money, power they control and influence keeps them so occupied with the things of the world, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, they have no time for God who wants adoration, constant communication, and dynamic love in the oneness of abiding in Christ the King.
What do you say to the couple? That stylus and sealed document would say they are educated, literate, and able to reason. What do they need from you if you walked into their bakery in the year 78 ad? What would you say today that would have been out of place in their day?
What can you offer them? The religious have will always have nicer temples, Grand services, super organized, state supported, their religions allow them to do anything they want in their lusts and excesses. Even warfare on their religious opponents, genocide on heathens, wars and more war. War, famine, pestilence, death is the fruit of these religions. The strife of divisions led to the bloody reworking a broken down philistine cart of the Reformation. The understanding the Greek/Romans have of the afterlife is vague and not reassuring, much like a Calvinist or Gnostics, never sure. They have little hope in the favor of their fickle gods. To the lost, pleasure and seeking same is the game of life, depends on luck and karma if you are superstitious at all. Having been exposed to God and even Jesus by Hollywierd, and the modern institutional machine of traditional “vChurch” the lens one sees Jesus by is often dark, cloudy and “Twisted by false religions” & confusion.
Imagine these two people come to your meetings, Will they be impressed with your parking? lobby services? Nursery or child care? The choreography of the service is predictable and follows the bulletin. The speaker is eloquent, professional and very educated in the scriptures, knows almost as much as google. Be sure to read Frank Viola’s books on what is wrong with our worship practices, models and methods. clicklink See reading list below.
Imagine that two married Jewish followers of Jesus, from Rome meet this couple what would they say to the couple? Would Priska speak to them the same message they gave Apollos? What would they say? What would you say different because of your traditions? Why would you change the message to one of confusion? The humble fellow workers of Paul, they worked with their hands, are mentioned in Acts 18 read about them here https://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/acts/18.html
What would the vChurch at Corinth look like? Corinth was a Roman Colony made up of retired soldiers and citizens of Greek and Roman cultures. What did they talk about in that first century? or the second? by the 4th we see dramatic changes to order of worship, the rise of a new preisthood, new buildings, priests officiating in rituals, prayers, rule making. The simple peasant, the women, join the least of these as humble “supplicant” and must follow the rules laid down by the vChurch of the state they are in. The “Laity” class is created by the elevation to higher office the priests in their pulpits “High and Lifted.” Even Martin Luther wanted to remove the class of lay people from the church with all being equal. see; https://www.christian-history.org/martin-luther.html thanks to P. Pavao!
What would give the pagans a reason to give up their pagan beliefs, renounce all, family, titles, names, their very life could forfeit for the simple gospel that God loves all His children? The volcano is rumbling, the couple sez “It always does that” “We will go to the temple to appease the gods” What can you tell them? Do young people today believe that the earth mother/nature controls the weather? Does Luck, chance, fate or do the laws God placed in the physical world for our health and comfort rule your walk/life?
Strange that the science and physics that govern our natural laws of the universe are hardly ever questioned and most often relied on by the very people that say there is no God.
The simple Gospel of 1 Corinthians 15 message involves no rules, rituals or need for special places, reverends, clergy, or temples, Read the words in any translation or the Greek the message is simple. God loves you so much He has bought you with a price beyond anything physical or on this earth. Free resources from
the Bible Project
It is very hard to sell Buicks while riding a bicycle. Your walk is your showcase for Christ. Do not wear His Name in vanity, or pride. Arrogance has a name and it is of the deceiver. 1 John 3:22-24 Know power of the Name! Don’t stay home without it!
The Jerusalem temple of Herod is long gone in a Roman wind of change and Jews are being expelled from Rome. What can you say to the baker and his wife? The Gospel is complete, no additional work or added sauce to make it better. Jesus finished God’s plan on the Cross. You might do more but who are you trying to please God or man? The world would wait 1400 years for the printing of the “Two Witnesses” and then the simple “Ploughboy”will have in his hands Tyndale’s’ copy of God’s Word. Why does any rational being think the world had to wait 1500 years for some theologian, reformer, king, or scholar to make sense of the very simple Gospel message? and they changed it so much, we are now divided 300+ ways. Acts 5:32 The Spirit is not the author of any confusion. We ask of God who grants wisdom and knowledge with great gifts He gives to all that ask, full measure, running over when we give our all to him. Look at the Corinthians, Ephesians and Colossians, read
In progress, more later…………………………..
If we can know what the history of a movement was we can see what they did, what they said and what happened. What was the first 125 yrs of the Church like? These are some of the writers that have presented some interesting facts. I would not agree with everything they propose but it is very interesting when you can verify when the first discussion of something like infant original sin is discussed, before St Augustine and Zwingli messed it up for children. Jesus sez they are innocent and we should be like them in faith and trusting Him. We are to be one.
What is the balance between the “Faith” and the “Baptism” of Eph 4:1-5, A study of Grace, an understanding of the Temple, Hint John measures the “Temple” in Revelations. That is the invisible Ekklesia . When we understand the Gospel message was final, “Once and for all delivered to the saints” We have no latter day message that contradicts or changes, alters the Gospel. Even angels can’t change it as they have tried. Men twist the message because it is too simple for controlling, anyone can be a temple of the Holy Spirit, The vessel has to be spotless and only one cleanser will work for my filthy rags. When my conscience is dirty, I want it scrubbed by God. When my heart is evil I want it replaced by the Great Physician. Like these poor Romans, we will stand before God, we will see Him High and lifted up. Our knee will bow and our heart will be laid bare before our creator. Did we believe as Abraham did? Hebrews reads; By faithAbraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a placewhich he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowingwhere he was going. https://www..com/nas/hebrews/11.html
Live your life among the pagans so that they marvel and ask “Who is your God?” Worship in your assemblies of the Body so that the unbeliever will declare God is with you. 1 Cor 14:24-25, If they don’t see the Love why bother?
Each has to walk in the Light they can see. Some are blinded by the traditions of family, many by the shadows of the great men they are following blocks the Light. We don’t need mediators (Clergy) or filters on God’s Word, spoken or written. We should walk side by side and allow the Holy Spirit to Abide, fill us with all knowledge and wisdom, as we need it and as we can handle the Truth. We must empty of self of ego, pride and arrogance of “rightness” The Holy Spirit can’t fill a full of self vessel. Yes, many are in darkness, because they refuse to obey their own beliefs. acts 5:32, they fail to be like those former pagans in Corinth, messy, divided, loud, disrespectful yet Paul called them Saints. Acts 18:8, 1 John 3:22-24 the rest is religion. Instead of pointing out errors could we explore things we can agree on for Harmony, balance and unity? We are supposed to be
Amen! We have observed many times a zealous group will start growing and soon a wolf, or wolves, shows up with his goats to “But” anyone who does different. With prayerful harmony and seeking God’s will from our “Wonderful Counselor” the local ekklesia has the Power, wisdom and knowledge to select humble men to shepherd the flock. Some from divided denominations who have regulated this awesome work to hired hands, clergy, reverends or boards, just don’t know any better. Without these key people in the humble positions plans will fail. Men in their wisdom and eloquence rob the cross of power. We see the imperative Paul displayed in his writing on the “Shepherds”, Elders, of the flock. Peter said this; “Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness” ;1 Peter 5:2 NAS The only way we will reach those outside is to show the love for one another that Jesus taught, this is best done by the family in the fellowship of the Body, By being the Ekklesia of God where you are. When they broke bread together “Their eyes were opened” John 13:35, The Holy Spirit does the work, we are the message. Acts 5:32, 1 John 3:22-24 the rest is religion. The most arrogant divided denomination we know of is very accurate on their bible interpretation, yet they fail at “Love 101” IMHO https://www.christian-history.org/communion-quotes.html
One of the first places we served in the early 70s , Jesus place is special to us. If you consider a donation we know that the followers at Jesus Place will use your gifts to the best use for the homeless and families they serve. http://jesusplace.info/current-needs/
1 Corinthians 16:19 (WYC)All the churches of Asia greet you well. Aquila and Priscilla, with their home-church, greet you much in the Lord, at the which also I am harboured [Aquila and Priscilla greet you much in the Lord, at whom I am harboured, with their home-church].
Our thoughts on Shepherds = humble men and women selected to care for and shepherd the sheep of God’s pasture. We have used the model of Priscilla and Aquila as “What can we do to worship our king?” the rest follows. Understand these thoughts are somewhat random. “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Peter a shepherd
Pastor has become a Noun and office of clergy, dividing the body. The original word meant shepherd of the fields, pasture, action word, yes! Amen! Not a “hired hand” or regal office of power and control, but humble men selected by the local body to care for the sheep. Just because some have misused the responisbility and abused the sheep please don’t give up on Shepherds for the flock. Humble shepherds will appear if the flock is in prayer and fasting for God’s plan to unfold, waiting for the early and latter rain the seeds will sprout soon as needed. Running after men’ knowledge, looking for power brokers or controllers to “run” the “vChurch” is business like as expected when men are in charge. Don’t follow that model. In your traditions having shepherds may not be in the plan, but you have no evidence not to have shepherds caring for the flock. Shepherd = poimen https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/poimen.html
Pastor was added by translators, Shepherd teachers is the original. Wycliffe and Tyndale got in trouble with the “church” over this and the words for “Church” Please be aware that the word “Pastor” does not appear as such in the early translations before the KJV. The word is in the original Greek Poimen and it means “Shepherd”. Only the divided denominations during the reformation of the broken down roman empire’s “church” could make a humble office into a paid position of man’s wisdom and man’s eloquence to the shame of many who wear the Name. If you wear the title”pastor” please use a more New covenant name. Be a humble shepherd without the titles and not that from a pagan priesthood.
Here are the original translations for your research; Tyndale defied the romans and refused to change the words to protect clergy. Ephesians 4:11 (TYN) And the very same made some Apostles some prophetes some Evangelistes some Sheperdes some Teachers: https://www.biblestudytools.com/lex…/greek/nas/poimen.html Ephesians 4:11 (WYC) And he gave some apostles, some prophets, others evangelists, others shepherds and teachers,Poimen Meaning in Bible – New Testament Greek Lexicon
How do you select shepherds for the flock that God has placed you in today? Do you allow the “man with vision”, the “pastor” to see who would be best for the service? or do we pray, fast, waiting on the Lord to reveal His plans for His flock you are located in or do we form an human minded search committee that never can look inside the secret things of the Heart, only the Holy Spirit can do that. Why not allow Him to select the shepherds? Is God too weak to manage your building up of the body? Does he know what we need or does the council decide? We build on the Apostles Doctrine we have no authority to dispose it. As the first congregations did in Acts, prayed that God would raise up shepherds, servants, foot washers in deed! from His Flock that knows His voice? Many of the problems we have seen in our service since 1974 in all sorts of groups has been caused by poor leaders, men of power and greed fighting for control, inefficient shepherds, misguided pastors, “hired hands” that should have stayed in business and support evangelists with all the money they make. Too Many, really good shepherds get burned out trying to feed all the spiritual orphans (no one mentors them or continues discipleship with them after hooking them) in the flock. It is a full time job for one or few to keep the goats from wrecking the fellowship, pray with the faithful, care for the flock when few help, almost none disciple others, (Do we fail to train or motivate?) Few “teachers” apply themselves to the Word, rely instead on “best sellers” or others sermons, to teach or just have feel good classes on morals and culture issues. Few pray, few rely on the Wonderful Counselor having been taught the perfect has come & we don’t need all that babble and rabble in our modern service or order of worship. His great and Holy Power of the Gospel is unused for fear we can’t control it, demons will fill the buildings or worse!! Someone may breakout in praise Many vChurch goers are just there taking up the time of the dedicated servant who dies spiritually and mentally, sometimes for real, because of overwork his vChurch “bosses” or “works”the vChurch expects out of staff or volunteers! After all we hired him to fix us, do our work and entertain our ride to glory”, say the Goats. When we mature past the toys of the Holy spirit and become mature in King Jesus we can share a power that is beyond the experience of some. Shepherds are to follow the Chief Shepherd not the latest best seller or mega pastor even if they are gifted they are not the Light! How the Spirit acts is not for us to decide or fake. Properly fed and watered with the pure water of life, rivers will flow from your flock, your Chief Shepherd will lead the sheep & shepherds to peace in chaos, still water to drink and share with your neighbors. Why drink the muddy water from the dead streams of thousands of years of men fighting over what they think God told them? When we see the Gospel Of Power in the Lord’s Supper, our Love Feast as a fellowship meal we will have His promised power in our midst to draw all to the table to celebrate the resurrection! Our feeble religious posturing has not worked. Restore the first works not reform or revive. Those efforts are confusing people when they teach doctrines of Men and man’s wisdom. Good teaching on shepherds or elders, https://youtu.be/bw0tF-1og64
What happens when you do man’s plan? In 50 yrs we have been in the center of vChurch, aka “visible churches, splits over race, divorces, lust among members, shepherds, the worship of pastor/preacher, $$$$, even the color of the carpet exposed many feuds in a small rural vChurch that had simmered for years in family closets. Stupid human ego problems allowed the deciever to drive away along with the Spirit of fellowship many good humble followers while the powerful controllers (wolves that look like sheep but are wolves or worse as supported by do nothing head butters, goats) These false ministers of light rule the “vChurch” they created. In each case the humble shepherds are out voted, out shouted by powerful men appointed in congregational votes that are led by the wisdom & elegance of men and not by the Spirit of unity. The value of humble shepherds selected by the local congregation in prayer and fasting can not be skipped. The selection of humble Elders is one of the imperatives of Acts and the Letters. God’s Holy plan and will is for His body, His Temple of living stones, His flock to have these family men that have proven a relationship with our King. It is His plan and His will we obey this model not pop culture in modern church style. Without the humble New Covenant shepherds, the flock is scattered.
Shepherds are pastors if you like to call them that we are fine as frog hair, happy to hear. But don’t call the mercenary “hired hands” Jesus warned about “Shepherds” when the person is; 1# not qualified, by clear instruction on shepherd/elders. 2# not performing the service the Flock needs, more so handling of business model affairs. Non Spiritual issues that come to business owners and corporations that deal with the government. 3# Giveing titles, power, control of the flock to people for greed, lust of the flesh, the eye. All temptations a humble shepherd will face. 4# Operating as a single “preacher” pastor, minister, with no Plurality of shepherds in sight of the local group. 5# Prior to being hired has no Spiritual relationship with any believers in the congregation. 6# Is qualified by the measures of men, more of the business model in selection. Hired as a “draw” because of eloquence of speaking, wissdom , knowledge from men.
Here is a story from that time. The “vChurch” had been there along with it’s own cemetery and land surrounding it for much growth just outside of Atlanta Georgia in the early 1970s.
Do we hire an outsider to revive us one more time? Do we expect his/her eloquence wisdom, ideas to fill the pews, pay the bills, fix our problems, take care of the (see list in Mt 25 and Titus 2) Eph 4 too! The body is built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets. Why do expect God to bless our efforts when we go off campus for talent? Ok! He or she can teach? Can anyone in the flock be filled with the Spirit today to be gifted to share God’s word? Is God’s arm to short? Can anyone Lead prayers, sing songs, deliver testimony, prayer for all and with all? The authority of Jesus is in the local Congregation cared for by humble shepherds building on the foundation of the Apostles, not the Bible as written now. 1 Tim 3:15,(Click on underline for what reformed hate and Romans love.) When we get back to the Apostles Doctrine we will discover the “Perfect Law of Liberty that covers all our thoughts and actions in word and deed. Rev 2:5 “Repent and do the first works” what could those be? 1 John 3:22-24
Hiring by supporting an “Evangelist like those in Acts, is good if your sheep need redirecting back to the Light, having gone astray for lack of humble shepherds. To restore the first works, the teaching of Sound doctrine that is good, to lead the flock to the Water of Life, teach them the simple Gospel in full, to teach, to immerse, and continue teaching. When the group grows in God’s seasons home grown shepherds will rise to the mature cream level of the group, as growth should be rising never static in God’s plan. The congregation should be growing in numbers dividing like amoeba into many missions local & far, ministries that benefit the community first before overhead, never self absorbed to fort up or become a club like an institution with membership rules/rituals Jesus did not authorize in place, Jesus loves groups, home style groups. Where everyone is in the family relationship. This gets problematic when numbers exceed space in limited areas. Overcome this issue by dividing and taking advantage of the already available free owned houses, campus and structures everyone can use where they are in their neighborhood. The concept of a pew sitter, taught each week for 20-40 years, is still on milk is absurd as many never have shared the Gospel or influenced anyone. Why? They have not been taught to. We all have a ministry of reconciliation. 2 Cor 5, If you have no one to reconcile then pray your pride is reduced to that level too! Our forgiveness is dependent on our forgiving others and being forgiven by our Brothers and Sisters. God forgives without measure but hears not the prayers of sinners. 1 John 5:, As we extend the beggar’s hand we must realize it is a nasty lepers hand and we need to be “Clean” to enter His presence. We can’t do that without the Blood of the Lamb, 1 John 1:7, If you or your brother/sister has any fault, slight against you, or you have ought against your brother, leave your sacrifice/prayer at the altar, (our altar is on our knees, all other altars are dead) run to be reconciled to your brother and be forgiven by all. Example if you are angry don’t sleep on it, forgive, if your spouse is upset with your unforgiveness attitude your prayers may not leave the house until resolved.
What do we look for in shepherds if we don’t use the only directions and practice of the “Apostles Doctrine”? Acts gives a situation of Apollos being a man mighty in the scriptures, as the the followers of John who both had some knowledge of the Torah, yet were not yet in on the Resurrection of the King, the Promise of the Father had not been poured out until Acts 2 when poured out on all, the rejected messiah now rules as Lord, King of Kings, and Most High God, the New Covenant by the Gift of the Spirit Acts 5:32, Acts 8-9-10 are not confusing when one looks at the overall picture, the Promise of the Father realized in the oneness of the people of God, Sheep of his pasture one flock! Here is another view from my friend and bro; https://www.christian-history.org/bishops-elders-deacons.html
Sheep are an excellent metaphor for humans and our “groups” we call churches, the New covenant calls the “Ekklesia” or Assembly of God, God’s people. By any name other than those in the “Apostles Doctrine” we use can be seen as tribal, nationalistic, religious, divisive, seldom uniting unless it is to make war (actual or just in thoughts, unloving deeds) on another tribe. Hebrews 12;15 warns us about our back stabbing, bickering ways. Are “christians” to be under all those slogans and creeds, men devise? or do we study for ourselves.
Read below a more textual accurate explanation that I have found of late I do not know. Please read to understand the facts of the new testament record and actual history of the Shepherd Elder Bishop etc controversy. We feel very strongly the problem with most groups is the lack of this important local leadership. We feel if the Apostles Doctrine were in full effect in every group, soon the “hired hands” would move on, or repent and mature, the flock would support as needed any humble shepherds that served worth double honor in any way needed to make the flock/shepherds blessed. The dedicated “pastors”(latin for pasture care of sheep, same in Greek as shepherd teacher) shepherds and teachers would be cared for as would all members sharing and caring the “one anothers”. In the deep relationships of the congregation there are no strangers or non family. You should not have to “commune” with people you don’t know in a few mins of station break between the sage on the stage and the entertainment. We deserve more, the goats don’t like the time or the messy service of family with different tastes yet common Faith. Why do we try and train Goats not to be Goats? “Fans vs Followers” When we present the pure simple Gospel the goats will wander off just as crowds of “seekers” believed a little and stayed for a while, abandoned Jesus because He refused to please them in the religion styles they want. Jesus is clear on who is His family., who listens to His Voice alone. Are we? There is power in the “Love Feast” and the water, not magic like a good luck charm, or religious ritual, but evidence of faith in the submission to our King for all to see. Acts 2;37-38, is our “Ebenezer” but not a line in the sand to divide over. Romans 6:17, not some new deal. The disciple is immersed by the teacher that discipled them, the shepherds are equals, as are all Saints! No clergy required for the “sacrament to be valid” That is a tradition in history, not in Acts. You share the Gospel with a neighbor, The Lord draws, they heard, believe the message as the first believers did, Acts 2; 5:32, former pagans in Acts 18:8 did and submit to obey the Gospel. Like the Centurion we pray in faith, believing there is a God, He will arrange the meet with the Spirit on His timeline! He only fills what we empty of self, ego, pride. The Gospel is the power not our eloquence or physical things we use to hook fans on game day. All we do to draw is foolish if not based on the simple gospel plan in the new covenant of the Apostles Doctrine. If you as a follower are not equipped to disciple by now after all these years of preaching and teaching exposure? When will you know how? or are you taught that is not for you? You are not trained? You are not gifted? This is why when we want to find the real followers we go to prayer meetings, food pantries, homeless shelters, see who is washing dishes, giving from a open heart not tight tithe, balancing God and Family as much as humans can, shining lights, not waiting on the sage on the stage or the polished offices of rank to be our witness. “Homestyle,the kind Jesus visits” Here is one good example we know of personally. http://www.wearechurch.com/church-intensive Good people of God walking in the light. Chan and Lisa is just a man & wife team, human of flesh, like you,me, Elijah.
What is the organization of the local congregation? We have a Chief Shepherd in Jesus our God and King. What do we need or must have past the 2 or more in his name? Why did Paul make such a point in acts to set apart shepherds?
The simple Gospel of the Kingdom replaced the priesthood and the temple of herod as the source of care for the poor, the place of prayer, and the source of God’s will and plan all found in His Ekklesia, His fellowship, His One Flock. The local assemblies are cared for by humble servants that meet the qualifications of the scriptures quoted in this essay. We see the direct instructions as imperative to the health of the Body, we see the inferences, and practices outlined in the letters and Acts as a model or guide of what the early followers did in their culture to meet the one law we must follow; 1 John 3:23, Mark 13:34 are you a doorkeeper?
In 50 yrs of service we have been in the center of splits over race, divorce, lust among members, $$, the color of the carpet exposed many feuds in a country church. Stupid human ego problems allowed to drive away with the Spirit many good followers while the powerful controllers rule the “church” they created. In each case the humble shepherds are out voted, out shouted by powerful men appointed in congregational votes that are led by men and not by the Spirit of unity. The value of humble shepherds selected by the local congregation in prayer and fasting can not be skipped. It is His plan and His will we obey not pop culture in modern church style. Without the shepherds, the flock is scattered.
Worship is ‘like a dog licking the master’s hand in submission, 4352 ‑ προσκυνέω (pros‑koo‑neh’‑o); The day, time and place are up to the local shepherds and congregations as in all matters of inference and worship practice models in the RM drawn only from the actions, of the Apostles and the Apostles Doctrine. We should reject pagan influence, world culture norms, but to turn away people on one issue? Is that love in action or a tribal attitude that they must be “circumcised” or not light a fire on the “holy day”? We are seperate people of God on His Grace and our love, not works. To make “religious” man taught rituals or rules a salvation issue is negative evangelism IMHO and as doorkeepers, we become judges instead of disciple-makers in the model of Jesus. There must be balance without compromise on the main thing to disciple with repentance doing the first works. Rev 2:5 What are they? No dancing with instruments, no singing with instruments, no worship with musical instruments. Or could the first works be those deeds of the sheep in Mt 25? Or the 50 or so love one anothers? If we filter every thought and action through the one perfect law of liberty will the result be the same? 1 John 3:23, Grace is not how good we are but how forgiven we are. We need a return to the covenant meal of the Acts 2 actions, we need the fellowship, relationship of the “Love Feast” meal. What we have in most is a rigid, solemn dead altar ceremony that is the same in many divided groups. most of the pattern is as far from a “Love Feast” celebration of the resurrection example as men can get for fast, eloquent, common sense, efficient service in order. The Saints in Corinth had few rules, Share, care, respect, love, don’t over eat or drink. be nice to! They were former pagans not knowing the Jewish celebrations, only pagan temples. 1 Cor 14, Come to the table break bread with your neighbors, strangers and the lost to your home for a meal, build the relationship. Restricting the Holy Spirit to a set time and place to show up for our convenience is a business practice, not worship. Acts 5;32, My mentors taught “it is all about relationships”
We refer to the patterns we see in the NT as “Eldership” as they were alway plural. The use of the Words; church, pastor, tithe, priest, religion, worship, and elder have become ambiguous in our conversations today. We have to have a guide book of terms in each divided denomination and cult. To return and restore the first century practices without the traditions of over 1900 years on doctrine of men will be a chore of constant teaching. When we speak of the visible church of divided denominations or built on the pagan bones of a lost empires, or scraped together from the gone with the roman wind temple, we will use this AKA vChurch. retaining the respect of a capital letter but with the add of it is physical. John 6 teaches this condition of the things we must have as humans and what is important in the Kingdom. Our Ekklesia is never speaking of a edifice or geocentric location as in Church, but the gathering of the Body in a place or space in time anywhere He is.
A few clear understandings before we continue;
Jesus our Lord God, King of Kings is head of the Ekklesia of God, Romans 16:5, Eph 5:23
The New Covenant as revealed in the Bible is our creed, we base all on the resurrection from the dead of our Savior messiah King Jesus. John 20:31,1 Corinthians 15: 14, the whole chapter is a lesson in the Gospel by definition, death burial and rez being of most importance. Without this why bother with a Faith that gets you stoned, drowned, burned?
Each local Assembly, Ekklesia, Congregation, “Church” is autonomous and self-governing. No outside interference from others needed if the “Apostles Doctrine” is followed. Acts 2:42, teaching “Sound Doctrine” Titus 2, the instructions in the letters is sufficient for “Sound Doctrine”, The “Sermon on the Mt” is summed up in 1 John 3:23, Gl 5:14, The teachings of Jesus fullied the old covenant and gave us a new agreement. To go back and drag forward a left over command is divisive at best and destructive in the long run of the body. These problems have been argued ad nauseum since John the Apostles passed. Read the results of the early teachings. You may be surprised to not find your group in those first centuries, Gnostics are alive and well today. Saying you must have this or that training, secret, or pay for teaching.
The early followers were of “like mind” reasoning together over issues that divide us today. We don’t need a “Denomination” to unite over we need to restore the “first Works” Rev 2:5
The Local Congregation is the “Pillar and Ground of Truth” 1 Timothy 3:15, When the Body is fitted together as a “Wise Master Builder” we have selected humble shepherds that are apt to teach, wash feet, lead the sheep to walk in the light. They must be ready to give up their life for the flock, John 10 is not suggestions for a mega vChurch. We must care for the Body. We have disciples that disciple other disciples on their own. We have the “Wonderful Counselor and our Abba gives wonderful Gifts to build up the Body as He wants it. Philippians 2:13, What more do we need? When the Body reflects the image of God that Jesus gives we will be one in King Jesus. John 13:1-16 We often forget how God views man’s ideas and eloquence. His “Church” is One body made of many “Living Stones” in many “Temples of the Holy Spirit” Eph 4:1-16. We will have our differences, our traditions, our relics of religion inherited or adopted. When we make these differences a Salvation issue we are divisive. The Corinthians had this problem, people are messy. Romans 14 sez tolerate, with respect, but no compromise on the Gospel of the risen King Jesus!
The Bible uses Elder, Presbyter, Overseer, Bishop, Shepherd, Pastor (one time from Latin, not Greek) interchangeably and they all refer to parts of the Body in use, some are interchangeable. all are abused when they divide one Saint from another. Peter sez we are a “Royal Priesthood”, Former pagans /gentiles are Saints Acts 5:32, Acts 18:8. When we add ranks, titles, reverends, etc we are using a “caste” system. We don’t see this in Jesus’ teaching. Mt 23:9, We see the opposite. The least are first!
Local congregations of disciples have the authority and the power to pray and fast, guided by the Holy Spirit encourage and select humble qualified men from among the faithful in the selection of Shepherds and servants for any part of the body. Of elders using 1 Timothy 3, and Titus 1 as guidelines for the qualifications. Sadly the practice of selecting a man on human measures and human ability gets more votes than God’s. If your local group is not discipling you may have to pay big $$ to get hired hands if you don’t grow your own. Pray for the work of Evangelist to teach the Gospel and pray for the harvester. If you don’t have the model of the New Covenant who are you pleasing? We don’t have or need a physical temple, we don’t need clergy if we rely on the Holy Spirit to teach us, we don’t need another mediator or go between for us only our “Family of God” 1 Tim 3:1
Elders have charge only over the disciples of the local congregation they have a living relationship with, not to neglect or shun those from outside congregations. New seekers are not treated different from fellow bros&sisters but are loved more as they are discipled by others of the flock. The response should be on meeting and visiting your meeting “oh how they love one another” not they sure are strict, or they are way too ______for me I just want the easy feel good stuff!
We walk in the Light, some can not see the light, we must not shadow those that see dimly with our pride. We all extend the ‘Beggar’s Hand” to be clean.
What is “Worship”? Does a dog know what it means to worship their master? Our pride is killing us in our flesh. Come out of the darkness and into the Light. Know what the Word sez in the orginal words, not in the commentary of men. especially those that believed the world was flat, bloodletting was good for the sick, surgeons did not wash hands and people were burned for teaching the Sun was going around the center of the flat earth. Many of these Greek Roman myths of philosophy are here today and they affected the theology of religion. Worship pure and undefiled is what God wants, what does that mean to you? https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/proskuneo.html
What are those “First Works”? Rev 2;5. Could they be simple instructions Jesus gave? Or must we wait on professors, doctors, reverends to explain the deep secrets of God? Or should we examine the “Reformation”?, looking at those fights still raging today, over doctrines, ideas, theology they invented. We must scoff as we wait for a “winner” among the divided denominated daughters of the whore of Babylon. No! Could the first works be something the wise among men miss? Could these deeds be the deeds of the Sheep in Mt 25? Could it be the most important law in the universe? 1 John 3:23, Gal 5:14., Could John 14:13 be the way to unity?
Homestyle, the kind Jesus likes to visit” is the new paradigm for many of the followers that are not conditioned to the geocentric location. The disruption of all of man’s activities worldwide has pushed us onto the “Roman Roads” of the internet, an evil world ruled by powers of the deceiver. Nowadays, We have worship with neighbors, family, friends without regard to the surroundings or day or time. We invite all to the “Pure Table” we provide for the stranger at the gate and the neighbor next door where ever we are. We have followed this model as we have the RM and consider these our brothers and sisters. Come to the table, leave the dead altars behind. We know the “meal” in Corinth was messy, but we reject the “Sip & chip” attitude of many groups as an insult to God. We pray for a return to the simple Gospel of the first cent. before all the theologians began fighting for control and power. Would you rather have a John 21, or how about a meal on the road to Emmaus “Break Bread” with our King experience? or sit on a pew between the entertainment and the sage on the stage? We celebrate today with followers around the world! A good model if the humble shepherds listen to the Chief Shepherd only! http://www.wearechurch.com/church-intensive one of many good models walking in the Light of the Kingdom.
//////////////////////////////////////// Five Terms That Describe an Elder, Shepherd, bishop, presbyter //////////////////////// begin shepherd study;
A. There are four main terms used to describe this position of authority: (elder, overseer, shepherd, steward)
Each term gives us a little more information about the function of the servant shepherd: Christians are described as: priests, saints, children, citizens, soldiers, etc. In the same way we have different descriptive terms for the eldership; “pastor” from the Latin to separate out the clergy, reverend, father, etc. All extra added to New Covenant guides.
These terms are not honorary titles but descriptions of work to be done: a. It would be wrong to call someone “Elder Smith”, or “Pastor Brown”
In the table below, you will notice four individual terms (elder, overseer, shepherd, steward) and one collective term (eldership: which is simply the plural of term elder).
C. Why do people confuse the one minstry, for many distinct offices:
Meaningless “gobbledy goop” words that have no use outside of religion.
B. Proof that all terms refer to same office because of their interchangeable usage:
People are taught false doctrine from their denominations, that the “office of Bishop” is a different office than the “office of Pastor” and the “office of Elder” and the “office of Steward”. They are falsely taught that these are three distinct offices, rather than three descriptive terms that describe the same ONE office.
A failure to be shown that in scripture, these terms are used interchangeably, as seen in the chart above. The fact remains, that if these four terms all refer to the same office, then most denominational organizations make mush of the inspired pattern and are utterly false and to be rejected.
A failure to recognize that the English terms “Elder and Presbyter come from the same Greek word “Presbureros”. That the English terms “Overseer and Bishop come from the same Greek word “Episcopos”. And that the English terms “Shepherd and Pastor come from the same Greek word “Poimen”. Part of the confusion is that one Bible translation will consistently translation the Greek word “Presbureros” as “Elder, while another translation will render the same Greek word “Presbureros” as Presbyter. We are find no fault with these translations, but people simply do not look closely enough to notice what is really going on between translations.
Each of the three Greek words are translated into two English words, where one of these English word is a true translation and the other is a meaningless man-made ecclesiastical, church term invented by various churches. To prove the point, when in everyday language do we ever use the words, Presbyter or Bishop or Pastor. They have no use or meaning outside of religion and their meaning is obscure. However meaning the words, Elder or Overseer or Shepherd are understood by all and are used in all areas of life. Another example of this is the word “Baptism”, which comes from the Greek word “Baptizo” and is translated “immersion”. If Bible translations only used the true translations of all these words, it would greatly reduce confusion as well as immediately prove that “Baptism” is immersion, not sprinkling.
D. Why did God use four different terms to describe the one humble shepherd? Simple! Each term gives us a distinct view of the various functions of that one office. If God had used only one word, it would not be nearly as clear as it is with the four terms.
Elder indicates an older man with wisdom that can only come from age and experience.
Overseer indicates a position of top authority, one who is the “leader’ not to use an exalted term for exalted power that is not NT. Prayerfully guides the flock to the will of the wonderful counselor for final decisions for the local congregation. One of the shepherds as an equal of the Saints. Gal 3:24-27
Shepherd is a metaphoric term that indicates the men are to show love, care, dedication and self sacrifice for the members as sheep. The men are not literally Shepherding sheep, but are doing so in a metaphoric sense that everyone immediately understands.
Steward indicates a man who can be trusted with great treasures. Of course the greatest of these treasures, are the souls of the local church members, over whom he is in charge. But it also indicates the fact that the men are also in charge of the churches financial assets, including church buildings and the weekly collection of money from the church on the first day of every week through freewill offerings. These are shepherds and servants, lots of debate on “deacons” All of us are the slaves of God, poor servants waiting at His pleasure, to be poured out in his service.
E. Although a different Gift of service, God did the same thing with “preacher” terms by using three distinct Greek words to describe that one office, never used “reverend” or “father” in any form:
Minister indicates one who serves as a servant.
Evangelist indicates one who spreads the good new of the seed of the Gospel everywhere.
Preacher indicates one who proclaims the message of God.
II. Unscriptural terms used by denominations: Titus 2:1
Elder or Presbyter (Presbureros)
Overseer or bishop (Episcopos)
Shepherd or pastor (Poimen)
1 Pe 5:1,2
A. Paul told us to “speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.” Tit 2:1 This means that we must use Bible terms to describe Bible things. Many denominations use terms that are not found in the Bible.
B. Unscriptural manmade terms, many of which are titles only God Himself would wear! In fact most of these terms are outright blasphemous for a man to wear!
PopeUniversal BishopEcumenical PatriarchPatriarchMetropolitan or ArchbishopProtopresbyterCardinalArch-bishopArchpriest
His All HolinessHis EminenceHis BeatitudeHis GraceVery ReverendRight ReverendReverend FatherReverendFather
C: Various terms used by denominations today. Each of the four sets of terms refer to the same greek word.
Overseer: Bishop, Episcopate, Bishopric, Diocese
Elder: Presbyter, Presbyterate
Servant: Deacon, Diaconate
III. Scriptural terms misused by denominations: Titus 2:1
Applying “pastor” as a synonym for the senor or pulpit preacher. All pastors/shepherd one who feeds, are preachers, but not all preachers are pastors. Some are teachers, evangelist.
Applying “pastor” “Elder” or “Bishop” to any women. Women are forbidden to be such: 1 Tim 2:12, While true this is the family model of God’s plan, women have a service greater in the New Body than found in most temples and tribes. Woman ar eable to teach Sound doctrine Titus 2:1-6, the restrictions of man are debatable and divisive. We ask for reason!
Applying “pastor” to any young man, any single man, or a married man who has no children, or a married man whose family is a spiritual trainwreck. The elder may have lived thru few trainwrecks or floods! That is why they are still here. God has a purpose it is the young’s shame that they listen to their peers, not the wise in years.
Applying “evangelist” exclusively to pastors, preachers who preach in different churches every Sunday, while refusing to call a “located preacher” an “evangelist” because he preaches in the same vChurch every Sunday. The terms, evangelist, preacher and minister are interchangeable terms and the Bible makes no distinction as to whether the minister is located or moving around from week to week.
Applying “elder” to any young man, as Mormon missionaries insist they be called as they go door to door. Such a term applied to a young man is a violation of common sense.
IV. Bible Qualifications For Pastors:
A. There are two passages that list qualifications: 1 Tim 3:1-7 & Tit 1:5-9
These qualifications are what all Christian’s should strive to meet.
Most churches today will set human standards that ignore Bible directives
B. Six qualifications that many modern day pastors/shepherds don’t meet:
Elders must be men.
Elders must be married.
Elders must have children who are old enough to be believing Christians
Elders must have PROVEN that they can keep their children under control WITHOUT REBELLION. [the big test is with teenagers], How does even the best judge this line item? Many battles are fought to win the victory!
Must be what “elder” implies: an older man of experience. Men under 40 years old are never called elderly. When 18 year old Mormon missionaries demand that a 70 year old man address them as “elder” when they knock on his door, it is as illogical as it is insulting! Calling anyone under 30 years of age and “elder” is a clear violation of what the word elder means!
Must have enough Bible knowledge to be able to refute false doctrine. Must be in the Spirit and Truth of God’s service as much as possible transforming each day to be like Him in all ways.
C. An evangelist/preacher/minister is different from an elder/teacher/overseer, but can flex as we do in our families we grow in time and Spirit. I have been a shepherd, a teacher, a preacher, an evangelist, and unworthy servant, prodigal son, lost sheep.
Elders in the New Testament were not always full time preachers: 1 Ti 5:17 “Let the ELDERS who rule (word is “tend” Care for) well be considered worthy of double honor especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.” Tent makers are mobile with God’s Skill set in their war chest. God gifted the hands of craftsmen with his Holy Spirit building the tabernacle with precision to His plan. How can we now pray for this power? The “Service Gift”
Full time preachers in the New Testament were not always elders.
Apostle Paul was not an elder: no where in the Bible is Paul referred to as an elder. Paul wasn’t married: 1 Cor 7:7, therefore was not even qualified: 1 Ti 3:2,4,5.
B. Some believers reject that there is a formal office of overseer. They view him as being on the same authority level as the rest of the Christians in the local church. This is debated often. Many will allow policy and vision to come to one person and this is “cultish” in action. Nowhere is this allowing the Holy Spirit to speak freely in the congregation. “Waco” is a good example, David Koresh convinced average vchurch burnouts and malcontents to believe he was messiah, he could quote more scripture than Joe Smith could write. He was no worse at twisting scripture to justify mixing up covenants than those in reformed and protestant vchurch systems today. Dave was more extreme and evil in his purposes. We in our reform, Running from the Roman systems the good people ran into state controlled war fighting groups of sincere people who wind up at war, in the 14-century up, still divided and fighting today. The reformation of the roman system of works and submission to man’s authority has been a bust and a train wreck that now no one inside can fix. The man’s wisdom band aid type patches, the famous book selling reverend doctors can’t fix it, the high paid celebrity pastors can’t fix it, Oprah won’t fix it. We the sheep of his pasture must fix it.
C. “Overseer”: The Bible not only calls them “overseers” The word is still “Shepherd” in meaning at the base. Here is the greek:
Strong’s Number: 1984Browse LexiconOriginal WordWord Originepiskopefrom (1980)Transliterated WordTDNT EntryEpiskope2:606,244Phonetic SpellingParts of Speechep-is-kop-ay’ Noun FeminineDefinitioninvestigation, inspection, visitationthat act by which God looks into and searches out the ways, deeds character, of men, in order to adjudge them their lot accordingly, whether joyous or sadoversightoverseership, office, charge, the office of an elder the overseer or presiding officers of a Christian churchNAS Word Usage – Total: 4office 1, office of overseer 1, visitation 2
“It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.” 1 Timothy 3:1 The word is “task”
“Be on guard for yourselves and for ALL THE FLOCK, AMONG WHICH the Holy Spirit has made you OVERSEERS, to SHEPHERD the church of God which he purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28
” The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”” 1 Timothy 5:17-18, Is this the iron hand of the man of the world who rules in government, military and corporations of power? or the humble foot washer who wants to wash the feet, teach the “Sound Doctrine” as directed in Titus 2;1-10?
D. “overseers” must be obeyed by the other members! as far as the understanding of God’s will and plan goes, We work out your own salvation, the shepherd is to disciple ,correct and guide as a good shepherd, not bruisin the reed that is broken or putting the least flame or smoke. Scared sheep run to any voice in the darkness of the world until the spirit dies of exhaustion. good shepherds calm the sheep, by leading with example, onward, walking in the light.
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17, our ego must be locked away for the kingdom, pride made into doormat and our self lost in the dying of the flesh day by day as our sin has been washed away forever. Acts 22:16
” But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction,” 1 Thessalonians 5:12
“Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.” 1 Corinthians 16:15-16
” The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”” 1 Timothy 5:17-18
“”Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.” Luke 10:7
“So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:14 This support can be in kind, in needs, sharing. not tithe supported but love support by commitment to the person not the office. Placing ads, needing educational degrees is above the requirements for shepherd. those are added by those that do not trust the Holy Spirit to provide as he has and will in His plans. All those do is attract “hired Hands” same with building a mega vChurh that requires multiple offices and ranks of pay and pomp.
“Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock? I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:6-14
“Nevertheless, you have done well to share with mein my affliction. You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:14-19
VI. The Limit of the Elder’s Authority
When God poured out the Holy Spirit on Pentecost it was not so you could speak in tongues or impress the ignorant. Confuse the “Sign Gift” with the “Salvation” or “Service” or “Truth Gift” and you will forever be confused. Watch the video from a Greek Professor we Trust; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxsgmDdoDQ0&t=1509s
A. Elders authority in the Bible was limited to within one local congregation:
Acts 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for ALL THE FLOCK, AMONG WHICH the Holy Spirit has made you OVERSEERS, to SHEPHERD the church of God which he purchased with His own blood.”
1 Pet 5:1-3 “Therefore, I exhort the elders AMONG YOU … shepherd the FLOCK OF GOD AMONG YOU … proving to be examples to the flock”
1 Pet 5:1 “I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow-elder”
Peter was an elder but he was not higher in rank that any other elder.
B. Many churches today do not follow the Bible pattern for an elder’s authority:
One bishop/elder is never over other bishop/elders in rank: all are equal.
One bishop/elder is never over more than one local church churches
The pyramid type organization is contrary to the Bible pattern and did not come to full development until 606 AD when pope Boniface III claimed to be the one man who ruled every local church world wide. This was 600 years too late to be the Bible pattern and represents a serious apostasy in organization.
C. The Baptist church, for example, admits in their official creed book (The Hiscox Standard Baptist Manual), that new offices not found in scripture have been added long after the Bible was written:
“CHURCH OFFICERS: In the New Testament we find that in apostolic times, and for many years after, pastors and deacons only were known as permanent church officers. Others have been added at later times, for a variety of reasons.” (The Hiscox Standard Baptist Manual)
“THE WIDER FELLOWSHIP OF BAPTISTS: Because churches are the only Christian organizations provided for in the New Testament, it may be said that they are the only ones really essential to the accomplishment of the purposes of Christ. Experience, however, has demonstrated that churches in fellowship with one another are able to fulfill the work of the gospel more effectively than churches alone.” (The Hiscox Standard Baptist Manual)
What we observe in these two quotes from the Hiscox Standard Baptist Manual, is the following: First, they admit that new offices were added to the church many years after the Bible was completed. Second, they admit that local churches with no organizational tie between them, was the Bible pattern, but because of human wisdom, an organization was invented to tie local churches together on a global basis.
VII. The Plurality Of Elders
A. There is a pattern in the Bible where two or more men serve as elders. Never do you find a church with only one elder appointed.
B. The divine directive:
Tit 1:5 “For this reason, I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and APPOINT ELDERS IN EVERY CITY as I directed you.”
Acts 14:23 “And when they had APPOINTED ELDERS IN EVERY CHURCH, having prayed and fasted, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”
C. Let’s examine the Bible pattern of plurality within specific local congregations:
JERUSALEM: Acts 15:4 “when they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the ELDERS” (Acts 15:2; 15:6; 15:22: 15:23; 16:4; 21:18)
EPHESUS: Acts 20:17,28 Paul “called to him the ELDERS OF THE CHURCH.”
JUDEA: Acts 11:29,30 “sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul TO THE ELDERS”
D. Let us look at various other references:
Jas 5:14 “Is anyone sick? Let him call the ELDERS OF THE CHURCH.”
1 Pe 5:1-3 “Therefore, I exhort the ELDERS among you
1 Ti 4:14 “the laying on of hands of the PRESBYTERY.” (assembly of aged men)
1 Ti 5:17 “Let the ELDERS who rule well be considered worthy of double honor
E. Singular usage here refers to each individual elder:
1 Ti 3:1,2 “If any man aspires to the OFFICE OF OVERSEER
Tit 1:7 “for the OVERSEER must be above reproach”
1 Ti 5:19 “Do not receive an accusation against an ELDER except…”
2 Jn 1 “The ELDER to the chosen lady and her children”
3 Jn 1 “The ELDER to the beloved Gaius whom I love in truth”
F. Presbytery: Plural use of “elder” [Gr. Presbureros, singlular] in the New Testament: “Presbuterion” [plural of Presbureros]. Three passages in total. The first two, refer to the leading group of Jewish elders. The last one refers to an eldership within a single local church.
VIII. Four Organizational Possibilities for Local Churches
A. Unscripturally organized:
E. “overseers” can be paid, just like evangelists: And the equal weight goes to the “tentmakers” that do the low jobs in quiet places. Many “Aquila and Priscilla” teams are gone out into the world, many Phillip the Evangelists with his wonderful daughters, many, like Apollos, eloquent in the scriptures are being taught the New Covenant, This model worked then to disciple, do we in our arrogance think the Holy Spirit is finished with these messages of power? Will he not direct an Ananias to a praying seeker? Will Cornelius have to join the vChurch and become a _____to be saved? or just listen to the Wonderful Counselor and the Apostles doctrine in acts? Will he stop sending Phillips to dirt roads to meet lost people? The good man had problems, he was reading the bible as he knew it, he was lost in the word, he listens to the evangelist to explain in light of the new deal. You can’t find the new covenant in the old one, just the shadow and promise to be delivered. When we see the kingdom outside the building, in those places where relationships are made, the public places, in the home at the family table we will see the power of the Gospel in the Bread and Cup. The meal that heals the world.
Pastor system (one man over church) We will see “Apostles” latter day gurus, and self styled “pastors” with out flocks looking to lead with out regard for the proper order.
Unqualified men (Position worse than having no elders at all) See this alot, ignorance of the congregation who depend on their denomination to be right.
any organization larger than local church (world headquarters etc.)
B. Unscripturally unorganized: church has qualified men who are not elders
C. Scripturally organized: a church which has a qualified eldership
D. Scripturally unorganized: The man or woman is in charge, the Holy Spirit is in their box of theology or absent.
a church without elders because no one qualified: Acts 14:1-3,6,8,21-23
a church with no elders, when qualified men could be appointed, “lacks”: Tit 1:5
Conclusion: Be sure to understand that we can find no basis for “latter day Apostles “, Yes, we see messengers, today ministers yes we know there are prophets and healers and teachers. If your position in the kingdom and the flock is not prominent enough to humbly use the word Evangelist for one who goes with the Gospel. If you have to claim a title of Reverend, Bishop, Apostle of any stripe we will question the authority, watch and discern the Truth in pray and fasting, inspect fruit, and source root. We have the Apostles Doctrine as did the first followers, to need more foundation is foolish, to use less is to deny the King did what he did. Adding our traditions,our rituals, our opinions is stupid and divisive. This marvelous simple plan was “once and for all delivered to the Saints” Jude said that! We got questions for Jude? Tell us about your brother and His Dad is a good one.
A. There are four terms: elder, overseer, shepherd & steward
They all refer to the same thing
They are used interchangeably
The terms are not titles but teach us about the role, function and work
4. It is wrong to view pastors elders and bishops as three different offices
B. The Bible gives clear qualifications for the office which most churches ignore. The modern day “pastor system” as employed by most denominations, where one man is over the church rather than a group of men is unscriptural.
C. An elder can only oversee one local congregation
Each church is self governing and autonomous
A bishop from one church can not oversee another church
D. Churches in the Bible began with no elders but in time elders were appointed
Churches can scripturally exist either with or without elders
“When it was day, the Council [Presbuterion] of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber” (Luke 22:66)
“as also the high priest and all the Council [Presbuterion] of the elders can testify.” (Acts 22:5)
“Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery [Presbuterion]. ” (1 Timothy 4:14)
more later….below line is not finished above line is up for edit
We see unity in any heart that loves the Lord. We see few open hearts for God, we pray for broken hearts open for God.
any understanding of the Resurrection has to be understandable at a very low level how are good father has to give his good children clear understanding or he’s not a good father
Note on Ravi Z How do we pour love on this a move on? These prophets and false prophets come and go,only the weak and ignorant expect them to be more than us, We are equals to Elijah. We can overcome these failures of men like us. When we see the sins of others as more smelly, nastier than our stench of sin, we fail to love the sinner as Jesus does. We all extend the begging leper’s hand to be “clean” before God. That is our prayer. Jude 1:22-23
Why does my back hurt? If we had known how long we would be here we could have paced ourselves better. I have run out of gas on this lap around the sun. Where were you in January/February 1969? Google sometimes reminds me of photos I scanned years ago. Are we in worse shape today? I am writing this so my children will understand why I am what I am. I pray for our reconciliation each day.
In 1968-1969 I was 18, on an adventure having chosen to be a warrior. I had been unsuccessful at public school, sports, and lived in teenage rebellion. I was young, dumb, and lost, prodigal. Much later I discovered my mom’s prayers had sustained me and God gave me many second chances. Today I am so thankful God never gives up. Parents pray for your children! This is written for my children in my efforts to reconcile I want them to know what made me who I was then, just as today I want them to know I am not that person anymore. Since 2021 began I have not been able to walk or live normal; You tube of exercise prior to November 2020,
As of August 2020, my back has been failing, I have not walked on my own since December. After last week’s 4th spine operation failed to stop gradual paralysis we need a neuro doctor as the spine surgeon sez the spine needs more repairs but that is not the source of paralysis. The operation was the first of three the surgeon needs to go in and fix. After four we say no more! Now Five! We had one more for a total of five as of July 2021. We are thankful for the reduced pain and use of arms that are back. We finally have cooperation somewhat from the VA. It took them a month to “Not! give me a needed MRI” We are blessed with great neighbors here to help us. God provides through those He gives us to bless. I deserve the body I have abused and misused all these years, picking up stuff and doing stupid stuff thinking I was 10 ft tall and bulletproof. Psalm 119:75 God has humbled me, showing me what is most important in the “leaves of Grass” fragile body of flesh and dust that we are. We, Jean and I are so thankful that today we are together. We are ready to be poured out in God’s plans and His will for this season of our life. I am comfortable as can be and only in need of your prayers for now. Jean needs your support and prayers as she is under a heavy load caring for me when she should be learning to fish, enjoying her well earned retirement. She does my phone calling to VA, doctors, etc and RN stuff every day. I could not make the day without her. I am thankful we have communications today we did not have in the 70s. We should all be closer not so far apart. We are thankful today I can look at these old pictures and feel relieved that they don’t affect me anymore with nightmares and flashbacks. Back in the day, I tried everything people suggested in our battle with PTSD, depression and effects of the war. When I gave up all my efforts to “Fix” myself, God took over the restoration of our relationship. When our relationship with our creator is restored we are healed beyond measure. When we humbly submitted to King Jesus every thought, action and presence of mind the Grace we are gifted is beyond price. Giving up the chemical solutions of prescription meds, the alcohol solutions that hide the problem and the “Workaholic” solution which worked to fool almost everyone, especially me until events let the snakes out of the box. I forgave myself and forgiveness is freedom. We can not out forgive God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 Reconciliation
More later……This is now updated to July 2021. updated to Oct 2021
Started pedalling my trike a few miles each day, real slow we go. Not able to walk, wanting to try kayak, more later. https://youtu.be/BvlCXe5miRk