Elders in the Church

Elders:

  1. Plurality – Although it is true that a new or small congregation may actually be without an elder (Acts 16:40) or may only have a single individual with the gifts requisite to his being recognized as an elder, the Scriptures indicate that normally there should be a plurality of elders in the local church (Acts 20:17; Philippians 1:1; James 5:14). These men are called overseers because they have oversight of the assembly (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2; Hebrews 13:17). They are called pastor-teachers because they have been given to the church for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry by way of shepherding and teaching the flock (Ephesians 4:11-12; Acts 20:28). Though the elders shall be equal in authority they may be specialized in function as it is recognized that God gifts and burdens each man in different ways and measures.
  2. Qualifications – The qualifications for a man chosen to fill the office of elder are clearly set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and various other portions of Scripture. Any man called to the eldership must be able conscientiously to affirm his agreement with and support of the “Statement of Faith” and the constitution of our church. Should he at any time move from his positions, he is under the spiritual and moral obligation to make this fact known to the other elder(s) and/or church. In the event of irreconcilable differences he may be required to step down from his office.
  3. Responsibilities – All elders are pastors of the flock (Acts 20:28). They are responsible for the oversight and shepherding of the flock. They shall give account to God for the performance of their ministries (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:2-3). While every elder must be able to teach (1Timothy 3:2), some will be more engaged in formal and public teaching while others will be more engaged in private teaching, admonishing and governing (1 Timothy 5:17).
  4. Support – In view of the fact that the responsibilities of the eldership are numerous and great, the Scriptures make provision for the financial support of elders. 1 Timothy 5:17 encourages the support of elders that rule well (oversight) but especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. Thus a congregation may support more than one elder in the various duties of that office but should place priority on the teaching function.
  5. Election – The normal procedure in the New Testament for the selection of elders is the process of recognition (Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 3:1-13). For this reason, the congregation normally will look first among its own members for elders; however, the Lord may present the opportunity for the church to acquire elders from outside the congregation. In such a case, extreme caution should be used to avoid introducing an unqualified man into the leadership of the church. Consent must be secured from any individual being considered for the eldership before his name is presented to the congregation for consideration. The nominee and date of the vote will be announced on at least four consecutive weeks at regular meetings prior to a congregational vote. At least three-fourths or 75 percent majority will be required for approval of the nominee to take up the office.
  6. Ordination – In a regular or specially scheduled meeting of the church, the individual having received the confirmation of the congregation shall be ordained by the existing eldership of the church and/or elders from other churches. The hands of all participating elders shall be laid upon the new elder and prayer offered in his behalf (Acts 6:6; 13:3; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6).
  7. Length of Service – The Holy Spirit equips and places elders in the church (Acts 20:28). Therefore, the church will not arbitrarily fix either the number of elders or their term of service.

What is baptism with the Holy Spirit?

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1Cor 12:13, ESV)

The Holy Spirit baptize us into the body of Christ. Before rebirth we are outside of the body of Christ. We are strangers to God and His new life in Christ. We are not part of God and His people. We are not part of Christ. We are not united in His death and resurrection. We are not part of the flock who are shepherded by the good Shepherd. When we are born again, the Holy Spirit indwell is fully and baptize us spiritually into the body of Christ. The baptism of the Holy Spirit makes as children of God. We drink of the same Spirit that indwell us.

Baptism with the Holy Spirit is rebirth. It is when you become a child of God and the Holy Spirit indwell you and make you part of God’s people. It is not a separate event. There is NO command in the Bible to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. No human being can also give it to another person. It is Jesus who baptize with the Spirit when He save you. The only command about the Holy Spirit in the Bible is to be filled with the Spirit or be controlled by the Spirit. You become filled with the Spirit when you allow the Holy Spirit who is already in you to take control of the complete you. This is also a process and is part of the road of sanctification. How can you be filled with the Spirit when you are still selfish and practice certain sins. The self must be broken down and sin must be overcome. After you become a child of God, you must commit to a road of sanctification. A daily process of repentance and submit to the control of the Holy Spirit.

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, (Eph 5:18-19, ESV)

The idea of wine is used because of its controlling nature. When you drink to much wine, it take control of you and determine your behavior. In the same manner, be filled with the Holy Spirit and let the Spirit take control of you and fill you inner most being.

Gill Commentary:

be filled with the Spirit, as with wine, or instead of it, or in opposition to it, when the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts by the Spirit, which is compared to wine, for its antiquity, purity, and refreshing nature; and they are filled with it, who have a comfortable sense of it, and a firm persuasion of interest in it, and are delighted with the views of it, and are as it were inebriated with it; and they are filled with the Spirit, in whom his grace is a well of living water, and out of whose belly flow rivers of it; and who have a large measure of spiritual peace and joy, expressed in the following manner.

Is man free to choose God?

The human will is not free. It is bound in sin and he need God to free his will to choose God. That’s what happens at salvation. God liberate the sinful human will and gives him freedom to choose God. God give the irresistible desire burning in his heart to seek and serve God. Without this work of grace, the man continues to sin every day and has a lukewarm heart towards God and His Word. Remember passivity is also a choice. Many people say they do not reject Jesus, but they also show little to no spiritual life. The average person is caught in this passive will against Christ.

Reflect on the following verses:
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (Eph 2:1-5, NASB)

It’s clear that the unsaved person is spiritually dead. That he follow by NATURE the will of sin and the mind. He follow the spirit of disobedience and the desires of the flesh and mind. Now how does a person save himself from this state by his own will. The situation explained here is of someone who is injected by venom and paralyzed, without the will te help himself. He can sometimes reveal a form of morality by saying he wants a better life and even pick up his Bible and began to read. However, the flesh always win and after days, weeks and months he is back where he was. The deep desire to serve God continue lacking. The section also makes it clear that it is only God by devine grace and mercy that touch the sinner free his will. Without the life-giving work of the Holy Spirit, the average man on the street passively stand before God and think that he has nothing against God, but his heart is numb and without love for God.

What about Halloween?

Seeing that tomorrow is Halloween and it is a hot topic every year, I have decided to share my thoughts on the topic.

I will post a wiki link that explain the origins of Halloween so that you can see the origins of the day is pagan and became Christianize paganism.

My thoughts are that a Christian should not have anything to do with this practice. I am not a demon obsessed person because I believe that we as Christians are free and are not under any fear of possession or bondage of the devil.

When we are born again we are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. In the kingdom of light we are under Jesus’s control and nothing can touch us. Only our own sin can entice us en we can be led astray by the tricks of the devil, but we are free to repent as the Holy Spirit convicts us.

This is a matter of participating in practices that has its roots in darkness. Although it cannot do any harm to me anymore, we are not to share in the world and there ideas. We are free to enjoy ourselves apart from worldly feasts that has pagan origins.

Secondly, this does influence our witness and what people think of Christ. Our conduct in the world must be such that Christ is honored. These feasts add no honor to Christ as people dresses in a manner that represent darkness. We must not think of ourselves in matters like this. We must think of the body of Christ and unbelievers that must still come to Christ. How it will affect them when we participate in worldly practices and things of darkness.

Lastly, we are not driven by keeping days and feasts. Why then keep a day with a pagan history as an excuse to have a party. Every day is a feast for us as Christians.

Conclusion:
Do not make a fuss about it and be obsessed with demons, spirits and bondage that you can get from this. We are free and satan has no hold on us or has any power over us. But forget about it and enjoy your day as any other day. Give thanks to God for the day and ask Him to protect you like any other day.


Here is some verses where I got my thoughts from:

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.  (Col 1:13-14, NKJV)

We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.  (1John 5:18, NKJV)

Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.  (Col 2:18-19, NKJV)

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  (Gal 5:13, NASB)

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Pet 2:16

What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we? All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; FOR THE EARTH IS THE LORD’S, AND ALL IT CONTAINS. If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake. But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks?  (1Cor 10:19-30, NASB)

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.  (1Cor 10:31-33, NASB)

You can read more about the history of Halloween from this Wiki link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween

Discovering Your Spiritual Gift

And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly. (Romans 12:6)

The spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament, primarily in Romans 12 and in 1 Corinthians 12, fall into three categories: sign, speaking, and serving. Before the New Testament was written, men had no standard for judging the truthfulness of someone who preached, taught, or witnessed in the name of Christ. The sign gifts authenticated the teaching of the apostles—which was the measure of all other teaching—and therefore ceased after the apostles died, probably even earlier. “The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance,” Paul explained to the Corinthian church, “by signs and wonders and miracles” (2 Cor. 12:12). The writer of Hebrews gives further revelation about the purpose of these special gifts: “After [the gospel] was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will” (Heb. 2:3–4). Even during Jesus’ earthly ministry, the apostles “went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed” (Mark 16:20).

First Corinthians was written about a.d. 54 and Romans some four years later. It is important to note that none of the sign gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:9–10—namely, the gifts of healing, miracles, speaking in tongues, and interpreting tongues—is found in Romans 12. The other two New Testament passages that mention spiritual gifts (Eph. 4:7, 11; 1 Pet. 4:10–11) were written several years after Romans and, like that epistle, make no mention of sign gifts. Peter specifically mentions the categories of speaking and serving gifts (“whoever speaks” and “whoever serves,” v. 11) but neither the category nor an example of the sign gifts.
It seems evident, therefore, that Paul did not mention the sign gifts in Romans because their place in the church was already coming to an end. They belonged to a unique era in the church’s life and would have no permanent place in its ongoing ministry. It is significant, therefore, that the seven gifts mentioned in Romans 12:6–8 are all within the categories of speaking and serving.

It is also important to note that in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul uses the term pneumatikos (v. 1, lit., “spirituals”) to describe the specific divinely bestowed gifts mentioned in verses 8–10. He explains that “there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit” (v. 4), and that “the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills” (v. 11). But in Romans 12, the apostle uses the term charisma (gifts), which is from charis (grace). In First Corinthians, Paul emphasizes the nature and authority of the gifts—spiritual endowments empowered by the Holy Spirit. In Romans he simply emphasizes their source—the grace of God.

Paul introduces this list of gifts by referring back to the unity in diversity he has just pointed out in verses 4–5. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly. Differ relates to the diversity, and grace to the unity. Under God’s sovereign grace, which all believers share, we have gifts that differ according to the specific ways in which He individually endows us. Just as verse 3 does not refer to saving faith, verse 6 does not refer to saving grace. Paul is speaking to those who already have trusted in Christ and become children of God. To His children, the apostle explains, “God has allotted to each a measure of faith” (v. 3) and has bestowed on them gifts that differ according to the grace given to each one. Grace is God’s favor, unmerited kindness on His part, which is the only source of all spiritual enablements. They are not earned or deserved, or they would not be by grace. And the grace is sovereign, in that God alone makes the choice as to what gift each of His children receives. Each believer, therefore, is to exercise his gifts accordingly.

The prolific Puritan John Owen wrote that spiritual gifts are that without which the church cannot subsist in the world, nor can believers be useful to one another and the rest of mankind to the glory of Christ as they ought to be. They are the powers of the world to come, those effectual operations of the power of Christ whereby His kingdom was erected and is preserved (see The Holy Spirit [Grand Rapids: Kregel, n.d.]).
Although we obviously must pay attention to our gift, we can never faithfully exercise it by focusing on the gift itself. They can be used fully of the Lord only as “with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). We can serve Christ only as we become like Christ, and we can exercise the Spirit’s gifts only as we present ourselves as living sacrifices and submit to His continuing transformation and sanctification of our lives.