One Ekklesia, can the Body be divided, No, but can your ministry unite over the prayer of Jesus?

Our mission demands our union and allows for our diversity, our cultures and even our personalities. We are in error when we allow our opinions and differences to divide us over those opinions built on our traditions, beliefs and biases.

What would it take to be one? We all agree we must be one? Right?

Do we all have the same map? Follow the ancient path? “The Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except by me” sez Jesus, “This is the Blood of the New covenant in my blood, poured out for the forgiveness of sins, For all!”

Do we all have the same GPS? Is our counsel with the “Wonderful Counselor” who will lead the humble into all Truth? or do we follow this “Pastor”, this best seller or the famous theologians of the reform or ? Jesus promised the Holy Spirit will lead us into all Truth. He can’t fill us with His Spirit what we won’t empty of self, our pride and ego take up room He needs to function and mature us. As John the immerser said; “He must increase I must decrease” The mature don’t pause at the doorway to play with toys when real Gifts are waiting from the Father as He chooses to give in His plans not ours.

Does my truck need baby moons and chrome mudflaps? To be like yours? Can I play my radio on my worship stations, my worship music? Must we be the same if we are on the same page? Eph 4:1-6, of like mind, reasoning together. If we offend our brother with our eating or any idol worship we are in the wrong way traffic. If we allow our bias to prevent our fellowship with other believers we are wrong. The stronger are to help the weaker, the older teach the younger, Sound Doctrine. Titus 2

John writes what he heard Jesus say, John knew Jesus on a very personal level, eye witness reports; “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Fatherkeep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12“While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perditionso that the Scripture would be fulfilled.” click underline for online Word search. John 17 see also 1 John 3:22-24 where John continues the “Power of the Name” the Name above all names. https://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/1-john/3.html

We are included in these Words of promise. Our difference in opinions should not stop us from Worshipping, caring for and sharing with one another. The idea of refusing to fellowship with another believer because their theology and yours don’t match is not in the plan. You think his understanding is lower than snail slime while yours is above reproach. Can you find this attitude in the gifts, or fruits? We think not. The most destructive attitude we have been guilty of is expecting others to meet our standards for worship, actions and beliefs. Like missionaries requiring natives in the tropics to build european style buildings, wear the heavier clothing, and change culture to replace native traditions that have nothing to do with salvation. We eventually will find the best of a “house church” gathering reduced to a copy of what the organizers left behind in the divided denominations. The attendees believing in rules and rituals that divide them from the group nearby. The issues are the same as what theologians have argued over for millina. Walk side by side, in the light, don’t walk in another’s shadow no matter how many others are comfortable following a human. Even in the shadow of good men and women we fail to see what is meant for us alone. Sharing as equals we can gain from our synergy. Seeking understanding instead of strife is profitable. Each one’s gifts will compliment the other in God’s master plan to build His Ekklesia. Paul wrote the messy gathering of the Corinthians;  “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree * and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Cor 1:10

Walking side by side we cast no shadow, even our differences in culture, ethnicity, and traditions do not shade our waking together in the Light. Sad those that would place others in their shadow or choose to walk behind in the darkness of their own bias. The “Yoke” that binds in our “One Another’s ” is universal without national borders or human government. We are all servants and royal priests of the Most High God. Gal 3:

https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/koinonia.html

Many good teachers have labored over these issues. We can find many nuggets of Truth in their teachings. Look for the heart of the author, look for new ways of seeing the Truth. Use someone’s else’s glasses & you might see what you have been missing. Always be open to the “Still small voice” of our Wonderful Counselor above all the voices thundering, shouting “This is the way.” Our God does not confuse. If the author is confusing or uses “proof texting” fly away. If the author shows bitterness or disparages persons known or unknown to you. Fly Away! Test the Spirits! With those warnings we suggest good readings to share.

One Ekklesia by Henry Hon is recommended reading for those considering a house church, organic church, homestyle meetings.

One Body Life https://www.onebody.life/about

Paul writes to the Galatians; Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christso that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.   For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with ChristThere is neither Jew Greekthere is neither*slave nor freemanthere is neither male nor female;for you are all one in  Christ Jesus.  And if you belong to Christthen you are Abraham’s descendantsheirs according to promise.

Frank Viola writes @ https://frankviola.org/ reading Pagan Christianity is almost required to prevent the mistakes of the past being reborn in the home style meetings, God forbid we drag dead altars in to the new life of Christ in our family style meetings. The very idea of “Clergy” is anathema to “Ekklesia” of the Body.

We have enjoyed reading and…………………………………………………………. the refreshing study both are fresh looks at the ways we Worship

Jon Zens writes; https://www.searchingtogether.org/articles.html

Copy of KJV, NASB, Click on underlined for Greek and more info online.

1 But the Spirit explicitlysays that in latertimessome will fallaway from the faithpayingattention to deceitfulspirits and doctrines of demons2 by means of the hypocrisy of liarsseared in their ownconscience as with a brandingiron3 men who forbidmarriage and advocate abstaining from foodswhichGod has created to bgratefully*shared in by those who believe and know the truth4 For everythingcreated by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

Especially pay attention to the Greek word in the verse. https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/eucharistia.html

Read the message in today’s language, the Truth remains in all translations. God is Good to His Children in all things we need; physical and more importantly Spiritual needs and power in His Name.

Our reading list in pictures. Working on hyperlinks.

https://www.biblestudytools.com/msg/1-timothy/4.html Click for online reference

1 The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars. 2 These liars have lied so well and for so long that they’ve lost their capacity for truth. 3 They will tell you not to get married. They’ll tell you not to eat this or that food – perfectly good food God created to be eaten heartily and with thanksgiving by Christians! 4 Everything God created is good, and to be received with thanks. Nothing is to be sneered at and thrown out. 5 God’s Word and our prayers make every item in creation holy. 6 You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the Christians there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. 7 Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. 

Worship

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.

Couple from Pompeii, on the wall click link for history of the painting

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_of_Terentius_Neo

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.

Love one another

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

Where did Priscilla and Aquila go to “vChurch” ? = visible church on the corner. https://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/1-corinthians/16-19.html

 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. (click on the words to find the Greek or more info)

The “Ekklesia” assembly met where they could and when they were able. Soon after the Jews heard Jesus is King and the temple is going to be mobile they kicked them out of synagogues and the temple.

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 most humble people follow Jesus; https://www.christian-history.org/waldensians.html

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.

https://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/1-corinthians/15.html

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 faith Abraham, when he was calledobeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where 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

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absencework out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.  Phil 2

Would you tell them the Truth of the Way and the Life?

Jesus sez “The flesh profits nothing” John 6:63

https://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/1-peter/1.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/

https://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/1-corinthians/16-19.html

 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. nasb

Tyndale Chapter Parallel

1 Corinthians 16:19 (TYN) The congregacions of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you moche in the Lorde and so doeth the congregacio that is in their housse.

Wycliffe Chapter Parallel

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].

Shepherds? Sheep are smelly….and you do wash their feet don’t you?

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

Resources for your study. https://www.e2elders.org/shop/free-resources

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

https://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/1-peter/5.html Can Peter be more clear on these imperatives for shepherds? “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealedshepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarilyaccording to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagernessnor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” 

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

We are powered for ministry to build up the Body. It took the Apostles many years to settle all of the New Covenant foundations, not to have two flocks, no temples needed, a simple Gospel with one law 1 John 3;23, one Love Feast, Breaking Bread House to house, Worship celebration meal and water immersion to unify . Those early incomplete as they seemed at times messages for different tribes and cultures was final, complete, the Apostles Doctrine is our guide awaiting the perfection we will see soon. The foundation these simple fishermen and disciples laid on the Rock of Ages, the Chief Cornerstone of the new temple built without hands of living stones, a royal priesthood of all believers who accept the invite to serve in the kingdom. Acts 2. Jude 1:23, Once and for All! To think or teach that God wanted His children in confusion until the “vChurch”, new era theologians, Roman elite, kings, divided warring denominations to decide policy is absurd and evil. Our God gives his children gifts not stones. If King Jesus’ message is not getting through, and you are confused, the fault is not God, you are listening to all the voices. stop be still, listen, God whispers when we cry to Him. Come together to pray, fast, pray that God selects humble men with faithful families to support him in the ministry God calls him to. To fit the body together as a master builder. Eph 4, One Faith with “Sound Doctrine” Titus 2:1-10, FYI: To fast means to give what you don’t want to give up to see if you are addicted. It is how you stay “clean” and not develop body or soul harming habits, Food is only one thing to fast on and is not for medical reasons best for all. God is not looking to trip us up or harm us body or soul in anyway, men do that! In his plans. Our worship is constant comm, Abiding it is called. Enjoy!

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 look for the “world Wise, Eloquent speaker, educated visionary to guide us in the darkness like only he can see? Does the Holy Spirit respect persons? Do we appoint him/her “pastor”, Latin for Shepherd/pasture feeder, when we don’t know what that word means any more than we do “Worship” in practice? click here for definition you may not believe, Could a dog teach you something?

Many believe this lie.

Excellent history lesson by Paul Pavo. https://www.christian-history.org/bishops-elders-pastors.html

How do we solve the “Gender” issues? https://renew.org/on-gender-and-the-bible-what-john-mark-hicks-and-scot-mcknight-get-right-and-wrong-part-1/

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

Acts 2, the new Covenant congregations took over the full duties of ‘Herod’s Temple” soon as they started, after a short while they were kicked out of the temple and harassed till today. The “Judaizers” were hateful and despised the neglect of the Torah and Temple. Acts 5;32

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.

Peter writes to “Fellow Shepherds” Click here for link to the Word; https://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/1-peter/5.html


We enjoy these videos and downloads Here is a recent one we posted on fb.           https://youtu.be/G_OlRWGLdnw
 Website: www.thebibleproject.com Explore our videos: https://thebibleproject.com/explore/ Download resources: https://thebibleproject.com/other-resources/

Click for reference in the Word; https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/poimaino.html

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 gathering of individuals in Acts are first called Christians at Antioch. Acts 11:20-21, 26. Peter reminds us of our Chief Shepherd and himself as our equal shepherd of the flock God has called us to shepherd. 1 Peter 5: The word for shepherd is used Click here for greek lexicon. John 10:12-14 has good examples of the proper use.

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.

What does worship mean to you? A word study of where it is used in the Greek. https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/proskuneo.html

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;

  1. Jesus our Lord God, King of Kings is head of the Ekklesia of God, Romans 16:5, Eph 5:23
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  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!
  6. 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!
  7. 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
  8. 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!
  9. 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.
Peter the man is just like us, nothing special on his writing would give any indication of “elite status”or Rank, we see no rise of popes until after 2nd cent and not before 400ad were they established and fighting for control. Thanks to the Bible Project for cool visuals and more! https://bibleproject.com/other-resources/

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?

We can study the word use in all 158 verses Click to link; https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/ergon.html

Without humble shepherds to guard the flock every wind of doctrine scatters the sheep. Pray for your shepherds!

My brother Paul Pavao writes on the use of Shepherds in light of the “5 Fold” ministry of Ephesians 4:11; click here https://ancient-faith.com/2012/09/18/the-five-fold-ministry/comment-page-1/#comment-5484 Click links for History of early Shepherds, bishops elders; https://www.christian-history.org/bishops-elders-pastors.htmlhttps://www.christian-history.org/bishops-elders-pastors.html

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)

Five terms describing the office of an elder
TermGreek wordDefinition:Emphasis
Elder or presbyterPresburerosAn older man a seniorExperience
Overseer or bishopEpiscoposA guardian or superintendentOversight
Shepherd or pastorPoimenMetaphoric term (tending flocks)Protection
StewardOikonomoMetaphoric term (treasurer)Trustworthy
EldershipPresbuterionGroup of older men/eldersPlurality & equality
Borrowed from; https://www.bible.ca/ntx-elders-pastors-bishops.htm
  1. 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.
  2. 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”
  3. 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:

Greek WordTrue translationMeaningless “gobbledy goop” words that have no use outside of religion.
PresburerosElderPresbyter
EpiscoposOverseerBishop
PoimenShepherdPastor
BaptizoImmersionBaptism
Borrowed from; https://www.bible.ca/ntx-elders-pastors-bishops.htm

B. Proof that all terms refer to same office because of their interchangeable usage:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

https://www.christian-history.org/bishops-elders-pastors.html History can be verified

  1. Elder indicates an older man with wisdom that can only come from age and experience.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. Minister indicates one who serves as a servant.
  2. Evangelist indicates one who spreads the good new of the seed of the Gospel everywhere.
  3. Preacher indicates one who proclaims the message of God.

II. Unscriptural terms used by denominations: Titus 2:1

single office
 Elder or Presbyter (Presbureros)Overseer or bishop (Episcopos)Shepherd or pastor (Poimen)Steward (Oikonomo)
Acts 20:17,28Click to ViewClick to ViewClick to View 
Tit 1:5,7Click to ViewClick to View Click to View
1 Pe 5:1,2Click to View Click to View 

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-bishopArchpriestHis All HolinessHis EminenceHis BeatitudeHis GraceVery ReverendRight ReverendReverend FatherReverendFather
Borrowed from; https://www.bible.ca/ntx-elders-pastors-bishops.htm

C: Various terms used by denominations today. Each of the four sets of terms refer to the same greek word.

  1. Overseer: Bishop, Episcopate, Bishopric, Diocese
  2. Elder: Presbyter, Presbyterate
  3. Shepherd: Pastor
  4. Servant: Deacon, Diaconate

III. Scriptural terms misused by denominations: Titus 2:1

  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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

  1. These qualifications are what all Christian’s should strive to meet.
  2. Most churches today will set human standards that ignore Bible directives

B. Six qualifications that many modern day pastors/shepherds don’t meet:

  1. Elders must be men.
  2. Elders must be married.
  3. Elders must have children who are old enough to be believing Christians
  4. 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!
  5. 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!
  6. 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.

  1. 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”
  2. Full time preachers in the New Testament were not always elders.
  3. 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.
  4. Peter on the other hand, was both a full time preacher and an shepherd. 1 Peter 5:1 “I [Peter] … your “FELLOW elder” There is no evidence he was anything more than our equal fellow saint. See Paul Pavao’s excellent work on the history of the early Roman empire and the development of the vChurch of today.

D. The Bible pattern for elders is absolutely foreign to most denominations as they rely heavily upon human creeds to set standards. How did these develop over the years?

V. The office of the paid Overseer/Elder/Shepherd:

A. Some believers go beyond the organization God provided for in the New Testament by making it more complex than it is. This is seen in the organization of the Roman Catholics and many protestant churches. What would happen if we only did what God said? Here is what one group has decided to do setting out in 2013 they have thrived in the chaos, they are praying, worshiping, and selecting humble shepherds to care for their flock as they spread in growth of “homestyle the kind Jesus visits” groups around the world now meeting on Zoom where distance interferes.

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:

The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon

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
NAS Verse CountLuke1Acts11 Timothy11 Peter1
  1. “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”
  2. “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
  3. ” 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.

  1. “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
  2. ” 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
  3. “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
  1. ” 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
  2. “”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
  3. “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.
  4. “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
  5. “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

For a fuller treatment of women see https://johnmarkhicks.com/2020/09/22/women-assemblies-and-churches-of-christ/ his latest book on Women in our ministry is out on Amz. Another view from another brother; https://authentictheology.com/2018/06/06/13-church-of-christ-cenis-authorizing-women-to-speak-in-the-worship-assembly-commands-examples-necessary-inferences/

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:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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”
  3. 1 Pet 5:1 “I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow-elder”
  4. Peter was an elder but he was not higher in rank that any other elder.
  5. All elders in the eldership are of equal authority. See for more on this;https://www.christian-history.org/bishops-elders-pastors. htmlhttps://www.christian-history.org/bishops-elders-pastors.html

B. Many churches today do not follow the Bible pattern for an elder’s authority:

  1. One bishop/elder is never over other bishop/elders in rank: all are equal.
  2. One bishop/elder is never over more than one local church churches
  3. 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:

  1. “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)
  2. “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)
  3. 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:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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:

  1. 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)
  2. EPHESUS: Acts 20:17,28 Paul “called to him the ELDERS OF THE CHURCH.”
  3. JUDEA: Acts 11:29,30 “sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul TO THE ELDERS”

D. Let us look at various other references:

  1. Jas 5:14 “Is anyone sick? Let him call the ELDERS OF THE CHURCH.”
  2. 1 Pe 5:1-3 “Therefore, I exhort the ELDERS among you
  3. 1 Ti 4:14 “the laying on of hands of the PRESBYTERY.” (assembly of aged men)
  4. 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. 1 Ti 3:1,2 “If any man aspires to the OFFICE OF OVERSEER
  2. Tit 1:7 “for the OVERSEER must be above reproach”
  3. 1 Ti 5:19 “Do not receive an accusation against an ELDER except…”
  4. 2 Jn 1 “The ELDER to the chosen lady and her children”
  5. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1. a church without elders because no one qualified: Acts 14:1-3,6,8,21-23
  2. 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

  1. They all refer to the same thing
  2. They are used interchangeably
  3. The terms are not titles but teach us about the role, function and work
  4. 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

  1. Each church is self governing and autonomous
  2. 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

  1. Churches can scripturally exist either with or without elders

 Further study:

  1. “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)
  2. “as also the high priest and all the Council [Presbuterion] of the elders can testify.” (Acts 22:5)
  3. “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.

What doe s the ‘Lord’s Supper ‘ mean to you?

Here is a very good study of the Lord’s Supper” http://www.zianet.com/maxey/reflx114.htm?fbclid=IwAR3WFMpqYMlP5_8QZEsWQyadyZ5roBZ-B8BLlAtVsa7ejLI5_sAbGcKJAwYhttp://www.zianet.com/maxey/reflx114.htm?fbclid=IwAR3WFMpqYMlP5_8QZEsWQyadyZ5roBZ-B8BLlAtVsa7ejLI5_sAbGcKJAwY

Click to ViewGraphical Mouse Rollover of gradual change of organization over time
Click to View4 Competing views of organization
Click to ViewOutline: 30-150 AD
Click to ViewOutline: 150-250 AD
Click to ViewOutline: 250-451 AD
Click to ViewOutline: 451-588 AD
Click to ViewOutline: 588-606 AD
Click to ViewOutline: 606 AD-Today
Click to ViewCatholic organization today
Click to ViewOrthodox organization today
Much of the above is borrowed from the CoC doctrine. we find the written scripture they use to be accurate and factual. As they see it, we often agree. We love the strict adherence to the original Greek interpretation and lack of latter day influences. we do disagree with the dogmatic attitude that seems to turn off many who refuse to look past the strict interpretations and see the facts of the truth.

the theology behind the resurrection of Christ

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

Philistine Cart of our own doing

Many houses of straw will fall to never rise. The Temple built of Living Stones will stand. We are the Royal Priesthood of the New Covenant 1 Peter 2:9

Undressed stones were used to build the altars in the old covenant. God uses our rough edges and broken places to fit us together in His “Temple” He is a “Wise Master Builder” 1Cor 3:10
Jesus loved to dine with people, real meals with all kinds of people. They were never the same and we should not be either after dining with Jesus. Invite Him to lunch today. “Breaking Bread” click for link to the Word

Come to the Table, share the blessings of fellowship one with another, share the Bread of Life, give the Cup of Forgiveness to your brothers and sisters, be reconciled to your King, feast with Him in the new Covenant of the Kingdom. Go down in the river to pray, wash all your sins away. “Breaking the Bread, their eyes were opened.

Our humble worship is measured by our submission. The problem is the definition of many “Church” words has changed as we changed. Church is Ekklesia, a mobile dynamic form of community that was relational to the actual people we see every day, Like Heb 10 talks about. Pastor is Shepherd, a humble servant, not an elevated office or rank of clergy or hired hand. no reverends! Worship =Proskuneo “to kiss the hand, as a dog licks the master’s hand. Not “Dancing with the stars” entertainment or “the sage on the stage” with man’s wisdom and eloquence lest the Cross be of no power. 1 Cor 1:17 When men take over the Cross has NO power. No wonder so many young preachers burn out trying to power up the cross with hot air

The Holy Spirit leads into all truth. All knowledge and wisdom. All is in the mind of God. We have to become one with Him. Many try to get to God listening to all the voices shouting. The simple gospel is so simple. We have one law or rule or tenet or doctrine and we can’t agree with a plain statement from Jesus; repeated by John, Paul and Peter. Here is the mystery revealed, the secrets are here now 1 John 3:23, Gal 5:14, 1 Peter 1:22-23 the rest is religion

The crowd responded in Acts 2 many already believed, they were heartbroken,v38 Pete told them what to do. v39 to all, v41 , v42 continued in the apostle’s doctrine, which will include Paul’s later. Acts 5:31-32 Cheers! That is true what Paul said but the taken out of context, He did not want people bragging and divided, Paul said “Some are for Luther, Some are for Calvin, some are for Wesley” well he did not say those names but you get it if you read it. “Is Christ Divided? ” 1 Corinthians 3, We read Acts 18 prayerfully, Acts 18:8 “The Corinthians hearing believed and were baptized” 1 Cor 12:13, “For by one Spirit” Eph 4:1-6, Acts 1:4, Acts 2 The Promise of the Father” to all that – Acts 5:32 Cheers!

A Promise of the Father https://youtu.be/GxsgmDdoDQ0

 WE consider the “reform” a philistine cart that moved away from idol worship, corruption and worse, they just did not go far enough or went to far, mainly they added and took away from God’s plans for His people. History is very easy to verify. Most could care less how far away from the real presence of God they are to know.

Some group’s theology of the Holy Spirit confuses the sign with the Gift of Salvation It is a promise not a command, Acts 1: Acts 2. Acts 5:32 is not Faith alone. The sign was and is given to point out something, God’s favor! on all nations Jews, then half jews, then gentiles, . When mature we drop the child’s toys. The former pagans in Corinth understood. Even in their “messy ” congregation assemblies they were Saints, having heard, believed and obeyed the Word, Acts 18:8, Amen! Jesus is the Light! Walk the Ancient Path to the Light Walking side by side we cast no shadow on each other. Walking behind even great men we are in shadow and do not see the Light in fullness. We feel sadness for our friends caught up in following in the shadow of Luther, Zwingli, Wesley, Calvin or St Auggie in error. Sad they see some light and believe but the divided denominational world has blinded them to the simple gospel of love for one another. They have quenched the Holy Spirit from their worship by following the doctrines of men. Turning to the eloquence ,skills and wisdom of mere men they have made a mockery of Worship. IMHO Acts 5:32

Mixing of the covenants is the habit of choice for the divided denominational world. By proof texting anyone can prove anything if the rules about testaments(covenants) is ignored to meet your agenda; killing a native population because they are heathen, enslave a people for same reasons, run a “Church” like an old covenant temple, run a new church like an old temple to control a ignorant people like the reform did. Even David Koresh can be a messiah people believe in. If you twist scripture enough. Acts 5:32, the only defence a sheep has is humble shepherds to care for them, lay down their life for the sheep. a hired hand pastor won’t do that.
Kids playing “church” calling out to “mom/dad” who of our bros & sis is being bad, while they are the “cookie thieves”, the messy ones. You can spot them, pointing to their mixed covenants in the translations they love, proof texting your demise in hell, gleefully laffing.. Wearing a shirt that reads; “Jesus loves you but He likes me better!”. John 8 Jesus reminds us to “Walk in the Light” 1 John 3:23-24 defines who we are to be, Not divided over something so unclear, so confusing no one is happy with the division in their heart, especially Jesus. This division stopped the only chance America had to “Restore the First Works” of Love for our neighbor and the stranger at the gate, Joy in knowing Jesus, Abiding, and the wonderful Peace of God in the midst of chaos. Walking in the shadow of even great men like Lipscomb, Campbell and Stone is still in some darkness and shadow until we “Walk in the Light” We miss Grace when we divide.

Many follow “Zwingli’s Error” and don’t even know who he was. The theology is so buried in seminary training that few understand how it all came about in the trainwreck of the reformation. At best a Philistine cart trying to carry the presence of God from a pagan temple. The reformers were so disgusted with the Romans they ran too far in the other direction. How do we find balance and harmony?

Calvin, Luther, later Wesley followed the error of Zwingli and this false doctrine theology has caused millions to miss being washed in the Blood. Know the history before the warring theologians took over the many divided denominations. When the divisive theology is so contradictory the teachers have to write volumes to justify all the proof texts, When the “Plowboy” of William Tyndale’s day- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tyndale

can not understand without special “knowledge”or latterday revelations that is wrong! The Holy Spirit reveals all Truth to those that empty themselves of self by death to the flesh. The Holy Spirit can’t fill a temple full of idols to self, or vain pride. The ego has to go in a clean sweep so the Wonderful Counselor can do His work. John 6 explains this in graphic detail. v 53 We must eat the Bread of Life and share the Flesh and Blood by consuming the body and blood or, Jesus also sez in v35 “never hungry and thirsty” as in John 4 when Jesus declares the Water of Life is free and that God is Spirit, Worship is everywhere for the followers, no holy location anymore. Jesus explains the Work of God! John 6:29, This is the “Flesh profits nothing” of v63, the ritual is not the point, the communion of believers as “One” body is the whole point. Later pagan priests adapted the simple “Love Feast’ of “Breaking Bread “with the family of followers into a ritual work, full of rules and time restraints among other glosses. The “anti Christ” denied the Cup to the sheep claiming superior sainthood and other honors not found in the Word. The simple Gospel was done before 100AD, not during the reformation or after Constantine or St Augustine of Hippo twisted doctrine around the Whore of Babylon’s finger. History can be verified. Know the truth.

Worship =Proskuneo “to kiss the hand, as a dog licks the master’s hand. Not “Dancing with the stars” entertainment or “the sage on the stage” with man’s wisdom and eloquence lest the Cross be of no power. 1 Cor 1:17 When men take over the Cross has NO power. No wonder so many young preachers burn out trying to power up the cross with hot air

Acts 5:32, Romans 6 Titus 3:4-5, Acts 1:4, Acts 2. Grace is a salvation gift. The “Thief” who was indisposed with dying, as was our Lord. The old covenant was in effect until “It is Finished”. The “Promise of the Father” was promised by Jesus in Luke and Acts 1:4, The disciple/apostles all spoke in Tongues a sign gift of the Holy Spirit during the delivery, Peter preached a Truth Gift in the use of the two Keys of the Kingdom, Calling on the Name of the Lord they obeyed, Confessing in Repentance, submitting in water immersion, nothing else was practiced until after 125 AD (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didache for what the early followers practiced in Ad 100-125) This is a historical document that shows the normative practice of some early followers of Jesus during the first part of the 2nd cent. In no way is this scripture or binding. It is a historical artifact and verifiable as such. The Corinthians heard the gospel, believed it and obeyed it Acts 18:8. Read God’s Word for yourself and ask the Holy Spirit for knowledge, ask the wonderful counselor. Read the Word without commentary, but much prayer. Test the Spirits!

Doing “Church”, as the divisions and mixed up messages trying to all say the same thing does not present a lovable Jesus no matter how nice the brochure or facility. Love the “Commands and Traditions”  Many of the traditions are expedient for that season or purpose but Hey! they are tools like using Pete’s boat to teach from, no more holy altars beside our knees. Too many traditions block our sight to see Him! Too many “Commands” are blocked by traditions.  See; https://youtu.be/Ro8T21FpJmk

Reason together, you can’t be right if God is confused or mistaken, cause He ain’t you are. If we are confused, unsure, not filled with assurance, what is missing? You have the Word in a 100 translations, a zillion books about God and One Holy Spirit who is the “Wonderful Counselor” ready to lead into all knowledge and wisdom, Don’t go to a bookstore, go to a prayer closet and close the door!

We feel the relationship model is the design going forward that will make a difference one soul at a time. As we, Jean and I enjoy our communion with our Lord together one day at a time during this season of uncertainty in the world. We have perfect peace knowing He has promised us to be together as One. Amen Come Lord Jesus.

https://www.wearechurchreading.com/

Acts 2, Peter gave the verification Acts 5:32, After the promise of the Holy Spirit is poured out, Only the arrogant will construct houses of straw to defend the right to be like the thief. The disciples of John’s immersion for repentance were all in the old covenant rules until the pouring out on Pentecost. Acts 17-18 is clear they were immersed into Christ. To refuse to obey a clear command of Jesus. or to meekly follow His example to obey all rightness. 1 Peter 3, Titus 3, Col 2, Romans 6, Acts 22:16 “Wash away your sins” We know the Grace of God saves us not anything we do as a follower changes that fact of Eph 2, yet the Faith of action described in Hebrews 11 shows that acts of faith are not works of the law. We could be saved by works of God’s law IF we could keep all the law perfectly. No one has done that. except for Jesus as the Messiah. A perfect Lamb of God, a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the World. We must have Grace! God’s great justice demands payment for sin, we can’t pay and God’s great love for us gives us the greatest gift ever given, everlasting life. Jesus becomes our “propitiation for sin”. We are redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb. We want to join Him in His death burial and resurrection to rise and walk in a new life of the Spirit. The sinner is on the other side of the law of God, Romans 3:23, The sinner has to submit to God in Faith, The idea that an unbelieving unrepentant person is baptized is not in the NT. The idea of a person refusing to be immersed and expecting for the forgiveness of sin is not found after the Cross. How does this faith come? By hearing the Gospel? How beautiful are the feet. Know how your divided denominations theology was developed before the rise of the Roman Empire’s religion. The “Faith only” have followed Calvin and Luther in Zwingli’s Error. It is history. The American institutional divided denominational “church” has had 200+ years to get right with God. Instead, the daughters of the whore of Babylon have argued and split over every new teaching the deceiver has twisted to meet their agendas of power and control since the Age of the Apostles. Millions have believed the “Hired hand” reverends, doctors, who should be our shepherds, yet failed to unite on the ancient Way, instead they make up new doctrines based on man’s wisdom and eloquence. Come be one Body, one Faith, one Baptism. Eph 4:1-6, Teach “Sound Doctrine” Titus 2: based on Acts of the apostles. Not some latterday theologian dancing to the devil’s tune. You do know the history of your faith back to the Apostles teaching, don’t you? History can be verified. Some just don’t know and some don’t care, in apathetic ignorance. Jesus sez” do the first works” Abraham Obeyed https://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/passage/?q=heb+5:9;heb+11:8 Note that Hebrews use “All who obey Him”

undefinedThese guys were rolling! they had God in a cart, music, dancing, and happy times. How does that work out? The fans love the religious action until the bad stuff happens and your faith in the little gods fails. 2 Samuel 6 a new Cart! King Josiah found the Word of God stored in the temple, lost to memory of the priests charged with the care. Jesus went around the synagogues casting out demons. Just because it is said to be a holy place does not mean God agrees. Men do not make “Holy places” God does.

When we read any news and we tend to use a global view of BBC, CNN, Fox and Drudge report. The others are interesting. How they all fit the news to their agenda. Much like we use the Word of God to fit our profile, tradition, or belief system. With out a common foundation to be One Faith* we are not in the Word but dragging our temple where we thought our god was, but he ain’t dealing like that! He is not a human or magical mythical Greek/Roman god. For some reason, only the Mind of God knows He loves His creation. Most Greek-Roman gods were oblivious to human needs or want that did not further their schemes. As Paul told the court of Athens, ” God loves you even if you don’t know His name” Acts 17 records the court of Aerogapahus as being the high court of Athens, evidence of history records this court with the power of a death sentence for teaching contrary views. Ref; Socrates, tried and sentenced * Eph 4:1-6

 

Grace is misunderstood by some because latter-day, after 120AD or so the theologians decided that the Word of Grace was too simple for their needs. During different eras and times, many empires have used choice tenets of local or foreign religions to control the people they wished to rule. The rulers of nations quickly discovered if they could control the religion they could control the people. History and many reliable verifiable sources now expose the raw truth of where we have been, how did we get so far away from the New Covenant message of Jesus as Messiah prophesied by Isiah to both the Jew and the Greek, The offer is to as many as he will call by His Gospel. That is everyone BTW, not just you or me. The Old Testament has many examples of how easy it is for the elect to be deceived into thinking they are Elect and nothing can happen to them even in open sinful rebellion as in the time of Josiah. We can be sure as Elijah was reassured there were those that never bowed a knee to Baal, but many do! God has compassion on them but must be Justified as our Mighty God is a jealous God. Here are three pieces of evidences of the use of the word “Again” (Gk Palin) to demonstrate that the elect can fall away. Luke 15:24; Romans 11:23; and Hebrews 6:6

Is our Wonderful Counselor leading us into all Truth, Wisdom, and Knowledge or into a bookstore for the latest message from God that somehow has been hidden forever until a guru, latter-day prophet or theologian reveals it for a fee. Or has listened to all the voices of people shouting “Over Here!” Jesus is here! Is there a fee? Is there secret knowledge? Is there a special set of verses that have to be “interpreted” or does a creed layout all the tenets of the upper councils. Is there a “Prophet” that claims apostle, superior, or reverend status by title and authority? Is there a “Sacred” temple, building, altar, Bible or physical object/thing that must be worshiped, prayed to, or respected because of? Is there an office or function outside the Acts and letters describing a servant other than elder, deacon,servant, teacher, shepherd/pastor/preacher, evangelist? If Jesus is our Chief Shepherd how many dirty feet does a common shepherd have to wash? We are a Royal Priesthood. How does one apply for a position in the Kingdom? Does the Holy Spirit lead into all Truth? Does the Holy Spirit give all power? Who is between you and these blessings. 1 Tim 2:5, When you cry “Abba, Father” who answers you? 1 Peter 1:22

WE sometimes have religious ideas from art and paintings.

Grace is “This is the meaning of faith in Ephesians 2.8: a faith that works. It involves a full surrender to Christ and this genuine faith will always be accompanied by the evidence of obedience, James 2.14-26. Abraham obeyed and believed in Hebrews 11. If a person claims to believe, but does not obey, Jesus sez don’t be a goat about it obey! Luke 6.46. Hey Church of ____________”Repent and do the first Works” sez, Jesus.

Grace means gift, Charis in Greek “We work from grace, not for salvation. Our obeying actions is the response to God’s work in us.”

As Jean and I traveled around these past 47 yrs as a couple serving God in the Way. We visited/served with many congregations, groups, ministries. We were overjoyed to discover followers of Jesus among the many fans of Jesus in many places. We always sought out the obedient ones that love without measure, walk in the Light, like good sheep, we don’t hang with goats. We believe that if we were in danger of fire our friends might warn us, our enemies will mock us, the pious self-righteous will walk the other way, ignoring us. Our brothers and sisters will reason with us and teach us until we are of “Like mind” saying the same things in Love. As Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos the Way more clearly we do likewise. “and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”Acts 18:26

Thanks to the bible project!

Free poster downloads the Bible Project Videos https://youtu.be/G_OlRWGLdnw


A prayer for “Homestyle” today,

“For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,  to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and everAmen.”
https://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/ephesians/3.html

simple gospel was once for all delivered, “A plowboy could read it and understand what he read” was said of the New Testement that was printed in the 1400s. we did not have to wait for a reformation of anything pagan when we only need to restore the first works, the love one anothers, do sheep stuff, not goat stuff. Acts stuff, not the first book of opinions. https://saltlightministry.com/

We could swap these all day and not change a Calvinist mind until the Holy Spirit removes the blinders that show they are following St Augustine. We follow Jesus the Mighty God and Wonderful Counselor is all we need. The rest is religion. John 15:6; Romans 11:19-22; 1 Corinthians 9:27; Galatians 5:4; Hebrews 3:12; 6:4-8; 2 Peter 2:20-21.

We taught public school in a vocational technical high school the surrounding county school would ship students in to our building for the various technical arts. We had a log hallway at the Tech High School and busses would drive up at one end and each class of 20-30 kids would fill the halls to get on the bus. At the end of the hall was a fire alarm and the students would sometimes pull it. Firemen would come and replace the glass and fuss out the principal and complain to the superintendent of the extra work of responding so often. The fire chief wanted a criminal charge brought on the student culprit. It is breaking the law and a felony, It is serious. One year after the third event with the trucks and all. The students got a kick out of the fire trucks and all the fuss. Our high population of special needs students and troubled kids made the alarm a challenge until it was pulled one time too many. We took a differential axle that had burned out apart in class. The black grease in the burnedout remains was very sticky and shiny black. I smeared a teaspoon into the trough of the fire alarm. The firemen left the glass out and we were instructed to call and rearm ourselves, after all we were the Tech High. We had to report every alarm but now the students did not get a break and fire trucks. One day the alarm went off and there at the end of the hall was a special needs young mans trying to remove a black stain on his fingers, he managed to smear it all over the wall, his clothes and his other hand. When he saw me coming he laughed and held up his hands. He knew he was guilty and caught with no way of removing the evidence. That is me and you, no matter when the bell rings on our life we are sinners with stained flesh that may not approach God and must be pardoned as the guilty are by the full payment for our crimes.

We have used the last few years of this season of our life to rediscover the Truth of our new birth and the Way as we had wandered off the path in our search for the Ekklesia of God or as St Augustine wrote a “City of God” or as Jesus said “A city on a hill”

When my sins, my filthy rags of my rightness seem to me to be a little cleaner than the bloody rags of your rightness, I have failed to love you as Jesus does. God never approves sin or allows us to bring sin into the Throne room. His great Love is equal to His Justice. The shame is trying to approach a Holy God with sin in our heart. Repent and do the first works, Have a clear conscience. All lust is sin as is eating to excess, lies, slander, hate, Matt 22:29

Calvin is said to be the daddy of Once Saved Always Saved. Read the Word as taught here,

http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVarticles/IsOnceSavedAlwaysSavedABibleDoctrine.html

As most denominations followed the error of Zwingli as did Calvin, Luther and Wesley, we often find some that refuse baptism in water by immersion because of this teaching that began with St Augustine. If any would like to debate this as reported in ignorance as #3 we would be happy to. First reject your denominational teaching and commentators to read without blinders the 12 or so conversions in Acts. Can we reason together? or are we divided? Eph 4:1-6 One. Romans 1:5 Read all the verses like this one that mentions Obedience, not works! or baptism regeneration but the simple gospel of obeying our King. Acts 2:37-38, Acts 5:32 Know the history of your traditions, rules and rituals. Are they New Wine or old stale beer?

God is Spirit, we must worship in Spirit and Truth, the flesh is nothing John 6:63, Jesus the Messiah and the Father are one, The Holy Spirit is poured out by the Father Acts 1:4, Promised delivered Acts 2, to those that hear the Gospel and believe, confess Jesus as Lord! Rom 1:5 obey as sinners to be immersed for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins. Simple Gospel One God Eph 4:1-6, The reason you or me can’t explain the 3 in 0ne to make human wisdom match God’s wisdom, Logos

http://www.wearechurch.com/ This group caught our attention a few years ago via Francis Chan and we followed them online.

Essay https://sway.office.com/bqjRYafQFmuhVazH?fbclid=IwAR1OK0bROljw6aen5huRUrQH49QJmKip_fGBPKA81V7i4n-m4HuVvOovKfQ

 

Our search led us far and wide into many camps and tribes. All claiming to be the people of God. Some were divided into camps of a tribe that favored fish, this tribe is big and takes up lots of space on the river keeping others from the bounty. The hungry clamor at the gate for fish to eat. The meat is important for life. The Thirsty are lined up and only see a dry land near the river where these camps are. The tribe’s leaders say that none but the little gods the big god has blessed can eat the fish not mere sinful humans. Some times the little people are told “go away we will select some more special people tomorrow” and the hungry leave very thirsty for the pure water of the river God promised them in His Word. Some camps of this tribe share fish scraps and some camps block access to the river of life as they squander the gifts the river gives. Some camps claim to have free water but upon looking at it in the light we see many dark things floating in their water. Some camps even say the river is dried up and the fish are gone. Some dig new canals to control the river and fail. Some tap underground sources for a look alike water that slowly deceives, divides, and kills the taste of the water. Some camps charge for looks at the water in the river and sell muddy cups in old containers of the water they say came out of the pure river of God. Many are content to sip this muddy liquid a long as it sez on the bottle it came from near the river. We trust our brands, our traditions and live by the rules we like. We want our bible to fit our theology and will change camps and tribes to find a comfort zone. This is what happened to those disciples that left when Jesus told them how hard the choices will be, how to give, how to forgive, how to live. “Count the Cost” Jesus sez. We want a flat tax on a free ride home and minimum effort for return on investments. We want our life without hassle and Jesus as King sounds like a deal! We hire a hand to tend us and feed us. We fort up and enjoy our selves in our self righteous worship of what we can do on our own power and grand ideas.

1 Peter 1:22-23King James Version

22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Water of Life flow through your servants as you promised. Titus 3:5-7 reads, “…he saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he

poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

Here we have an opinion http://www.bobrussell.org/ask-bob-what-about-infant-baptism/