The Hierarchy of the Local Church Lesson 6: The Congregation

Outline:

1. The Role of the Congregation
2. What is the Congregation
3. Responsibility of the Congregation. Hebrews 13:17
4. An Electronic Pastor?
5. Expression of Spiritual Gifts
6. Choosing a New Pastor
 

1. The Role of the Congregation

The congregation, likewise, has an important role in the local Church.  After all, the Church exists to lead each member of the congregation to spiritual maturity.  Spiritual growth provides the believer with the spiritual skills, namely the filling of the Spirit, to understood and believe doctrine circulating in the stream of consciousness, and the function of ten problem solving devices in their souls resulting in capacity, to fulfill their role in the angelic conflict.  Each individual has a role in the angelic conflict which involves the accomplishment of his or her tactical victory. So also, does each local congregation have a role, an argument to Satan in the prehistoric Angelic Conflict.  So the Church is for the congregation’s benefit as each member of the congregation seeks to fulfill the role to which God has delegated them.  When the believer fulfills God’s plan for them, that believer glorifies God.

2. What is the Congregation

Just what constitutes a congregation of a local Church?  A congregation is a group of believers, two or more, who gather together to hear the teaching of the Word of God from a specific pastor teacher.  Generally,  a congregation of believers is centered around a single pastor who is teaching the word of God accurately.  The individuals become a part of a given congregation by accepting the spiritual authority of the man behind the pulpit.  As I mentioned in our study of the pastor, he has no authority over those who do not accept his teaching as edifying to them.  So what differentiates one congregation from another is their acceptance of a given pastor’s spiritual authority.  Don’t accept a pastor’s spiritual authority over you unless he teaches the Word accurately and systematically, enabling you to grow up spiritually.  Your spiritual growth is the key.  You, as members of the congregation are responsible to the Lord for spiritual growth.

3. Responsibility of the Congregation. Hebrews 13:17

Now, why all this emphasis upon spiritual growth? As I mentioned earlier, you, as both individuals and collectively, as a congregation, have a role to play, a mission to accomplish in the angelic conflict.  You cannot fulfill this without progressing from spiritual childhood, to spiritual adulthood, through the various tests and finally reaching spiritual maturity.  And since our subject is the local Church, I need to mention the point that God cannot use us as a local congregation to the degree that He has planned without us becoming a congregation of mature believers!  What God has in store for us, I cannot say, any more than I can tell you what categories of prosperity God has in store for each of you as you mature either.  But I know that God has prepared wonderful things for those that love Him, so has He has prepared wonderful things for the maturing congregation.  So, the central issue to each member of the congregation is his or her responsibility to the Lord for his or her own spiritual growth. Let me reiterate that point: the congregation is not responsible to the pastor for spiritual growth, only to the Lord. However, there is a caveat to this responsibility delineated in Hebrews 13:17.
ü     Obey the ones leading you and be willing to do what they say. For their work is to watch over your souls, and God will judge them on how well they do this. Give them reason to report joyfully about you to the Lord and not with sorrow, for then you will suffer for it too. Hebrews 13:17 (TLB)
Let’s take a closer look at this verse.  This is one that made Chrysostum shake in his boots.  He was one of early Church Fathers who served as bishop in the 4th century Constantinople. He was deeply struck with these words, as he tells us [On the Priesthood, 6], “The fear of this threat continually agitates my soul.”
“Obey” is the present passive imperative of PEITHO. Peitho, in the present active indicative means “to persuade” or “to have confidence.”  In the passive voice and imperative mood, it takes on the meaning: “to be convinced,”  “to be persuaded” or “to believe.” When you add a dative of a person as a direct object, as it is here, then it really takes on a strong imperative mood, as in a command, a mandate: “Obey!”   This is obviously a divine mandate.   When our Lord mandates us for something, you can be sure that first: it is for you benefit and secondly: God has provided everything you need to fulfill it.  Your spiritual growth depends upon following this mandate. 
Whom are you to obey? The next phrase explains that: TOIS is a demonstrative pronoun meaning, “who.” The verb γουμένοις HEGOUMENOIS, the present, passive participle, dative, masculine, plural from HEGEOMIA follows.  It means, “to lead”.  This is that dative of person which combines with PEITHO which gives us that translation of “obey.” It is a substantival participle, meaning that it is a participle that takes on the form and function of a noun: “ones who are leading you.”  This is in the plural because over your lifetime, you will most likely have more than one pastor.  Those to whom Paul is writing here, most likely the Jews in Jerusalem, who are under James or Peter, will also be under the authority of other pastors. The context here, as we will see in a few minutes is spiritual leadership: the leadership of your pastor-teacher.  The spiritual gift of pastor-teacher also includes Holy Spirit given leadership, as does the gift of deacon which we have just discussed.  So, by the context of this verse, we can say dogmatically, that the “ones leading you” here are your spiritual leaders, your pastor-teachers.  One pastor-teacher at a time, of course.
The next word is HUMON, a pronoun, genitive, 2nd person, plural  meaning,“you” which is a genitive of direct object.
Paul continues with the present active imperative of HUPEKO, an old compound verb meaning “to yield under,” “to submit to one’s authority,” and “to be subject to.”  This is the only place this word is used in the New Testament. Why did Paul repeat himself here: first “obey” then “obey” again, using a different word?  To submit to one’s authority is tantamount to obeying that person!  Note, again, that this is an old word, used by Homer, 5th century BC.  So this is classical Greek!  Paul is waxing poetic, using an old, old word. He’s being oratorical, being really smooth, so that his listener-readers sit up and take note!  It’s a way of underlining and emphasizing what he is saying: “Obey!…No, really! Doeth what they saith!” Again, Paul is really emphasizing the fact that every believer has volition, has freedom of choice. 
Now, this brings up an issue herel.  Again, I’m harping on that issue of just who one’s right pastor is.   Did the Berean believers call Timothy, check out his teaching, then hire him?  Did the Philippian believers check out Epaphrodites’s teaching then call him to be their pastor?  No, Paul sent pastors to Churches, then told the congregations to listen to their teaching and obey (in classical language no less) the doctrines they were teaching!  Now, we live in Church culture that, for the most, uses the congregational form of government: that is, the congregation chooses it’s pastor.  I’m really not too sure just how Biblical that is.  Obviously, we don’t have wise apostles sending out pastors these days, since the Pre-Canon period of the Church Age is over.  Nor are we given guide lines as to what form of Church government we should operate under.  We just know that a pastor is not to be a dictator and that the congregation are sheep.  Since when do a flock of sheep possess the wisdom to choose a shepherd?!  A congregation, especially the board of deacons (most likely mature, whereas the congregation will vary widely in maturity) needs to be so aware of God’s leadership in this area. 
The norm and standard for selecting a pastor, whether it be a congregational matter, or an individual matter, is not a matter of personality or whether or not if he wears cowboy boots! (a possible issue if you’re a cowboy!).  The issue is: is he teaching accurate doctrine?  Is he locally available?  If there is no local pastor teaching doctrine, then sure, get on tapes or what not.  But if there is enough positive volition is a given area, God will provide a pastor teaching accurately!  God will do that! Support the pastor God provides. Obey the correct and accurate doctrine he is teaching.  The dynamics of your local Church depend upon your positive volition, your maturity, your spiritual gift functioning!  The community around that local Church needs a mature local Church from which to receive outreach and a true demonstration of virtue love that God has mandated us to.  We are ambassadors for Christ! How else can the world understand the tremendous virtue love that our Lord expressed upon the Cross when He died substitutionarily for each one of us, unless His living organism, the local Church, doesn’t live it, fulfilling the Church’s ambassadorial  charge! 
The issue here is submission to the authority of the pastor God provides for you, grow up spiritually and see how God can use you and your local Church!  God has designed the local Church to be the framework for the expression of your spiritual gifts.  Now, I am getting off of my topic now, we will talk about spiritual gifts another time!  So, we’ll translate that “submit!” in keeping with Paul’s use of the classical Greek.
The next word in the Greek is AUTOS, used in a reflexive sense, emphasizing the subject of the next phrase.  In the English, the next word is “for,” which is the post positive conjunction, GAR.  AUTOS is translated, “themselves,” as means to emphasizing and referring back to leaders. And now the verb which characterizes those leaders: AGRUPNEO, which is the present, active,indicative, 3rd person, plural meaning, sleeplessness, wakeful, taking care of, keeping zealous watch over, implying continuous and wakeful concern over those over whom he has spiritual charge.  This word is also used of every believer’s alertness regarding the resurrection of the Church, watchfulness for our joining the Lord.  The nextphrase is HUPER TON PSUCHE HUMON, literally, “concerning the soul of you,” or better, “concerning your soul.”  We mentioned this factor when we talked about the pastor’s responsibilities for you.  One of those was your protection.  I need to be concerned that you are receiving the right doctrine, I need to be aware of any false doctrine you may be receiving and correct it.  I also need to be aware of any false notion any member of this congregation is operating under. 
That last concern is why I am spending so much time on this doctrine of the local Church.  One application of vigilance is to ensure that the I teach the doctrines that you need to hear.  We developed this in some detail in the section about the pastor.  Again, only a local pastor can do this. So the pastor has responsibilities: to build you up in knowledge, faith, and holiness, to watch against every thing that may be hurtful to your souls, and to give you warning of dangerous errors, of the devices of Satan, of approaching judgments; and to watch for all opportunities of helping you toward your spiritual growth. I am responsible for the spiritual development of your souls.  That is why I am here.  How do I fulfill that responsibility? Preparing messages, doctrinally accurate messages which must be systematically taught.  I need to teach you as often as you will listen.  That is my responsibility.  That fact always raises a question in my mind: How much is enough.  How much doctrine do you need to garner from this pulpit to mature.  Like Crysostum, that question grieves me as well! 
Now, the next phrase:  “since they will give an account.” The word “account” is LOGOS, literally, translated, “word”  refering to a report or an account.  The next word is the future active participle of APODIDOMI, meaning “to give.” The context of this verse clearly implies that this account or report goes to God and the contents of that report deal with the relationship of the pastor to his congregation, that is regarding his service or ministry toward his congregation.  I assume that this report is made at the evaluation seat of our Lord, after the Church is resurrected.  A good translation is: “Since they will give an account.”
I will be asked about you and how well I have provided for you spiritually. Have I discharged my duty, and what has become of the souls committed to my trust.  Have I neglected you and so on… So this verse clearly states, that I, as your pastor have a great responsibility to the Lord in providing adequately for your spiritual growth.  And I need to do that aggressively!  Am I giving you teaching from which to grow?  Am I teaching accurately, systematically and with enough frequency?  On the frequency issue, I have certainly had some issues.  Ideally, I’d love to be teaching you with more frequency, but it just hasn’t worked out that way.  But I do have a second best solution.  I will provide you with the manuscript from which I teach the lessons.  This will be unpublishable because I haven’t annotated them or given credit for quotes which are in them.  Nor are they actual quotes of what I have said from the pulpit.  These are more like, what I had planned to say!  I think the combination of the audio, DVD and written lessons will help you fill in where we are unable to fit more live lessons in.  I would also encourage you to read at least a chapter of your Bible daily, if not more, if you don’t already do so.  Any questions you have, you may certainly e-mail me.
Now, this report also deals with your response to what I teach.  Let’s assume for a second that I am fulfilling my responsibility to the Lord regarding your spiritual growth, that I am providing the needed spiritual leadership to both the board of deacons and to the congregation at large.  This verse indicates that there are two options for how I give this report:  “That with joy they can make (this report) and not with a groan or a sigh,”  I can give this report with great joy or I can give it with a groan!  The verse further indicates that if I have to give this report with a groan, that there is no profit for you, as a congregation, if I do.  Being a fellow more interested in joy than groaning, let’s explore that first:  Obviously, if I see that you are growing (I can’t get into your head, but I can be fairly aware of your priorities!)  When I see that your priorities are focused upon this local Church, and the doctrine provided from this pulpit, I am over-joyed. I get excited to see this Church pull together, seeing every one pulling for everyone else’s spiritual growth, as always, keeping within the boundaries of priesthood privacy issues, using spiritual gifts, fulfilling their role, as the Lord leads them to. 
Regarding your priorities, let me be very clear: (now, I can’t take credit for this elucidation: it came from my pastor, Bob Thieme!) Whatever is your first priority in life, that is what you will schedule your life around!  If it is recreation, then you will schedule your life around that and squeeze in doctrine whenever you can.  You cannot grow with haphazard doctrinal intake!  Superbowl Sunday probably isn’t the best day to be teaching this, but for those whose life revolves around the pigskin to be here while that game is going on really indicates your priority: Bible doctrine!  This I will report with joy!  We all schedule our lives around certain things: our work, our school, and so on.  These things can’t be avoided, obviously.  Just remember that your capacity for these things come from your spiritual growth…not to mention that you will take your spiritual growth with you when you go face to face with the Lord!  As to the groan, if I see that you are not getting it, not responding, it means that you are not growing up spiritually and that would indeed be a disaster to your spiritual life. 
The congregation needs to bring respect to its own position in the Church, (attend class), to the office of pastor teacher (submit), to the position of deacon (respond to their leadership and be responsible to carry out your area of gifting) and to others who are responsible for Church administration (if you say you are going to do something, please do it.).  One way the congregation brings respect to these and to the mission of the Church is by attendance to Bible class.  Paul taught that we each should not forsake the gathering together with all the saints.  Without this assembly, the congregation will not grow up spiritually…this should be the ultimate goal, the first priority in the life, of each individual. 

4. An Electronic Pastor?

Granted, in this age of electronic communications, other options are available for one’s doctrinal intake.  But note, that this is only one mission of the local Church.  We also, by this assembly, demonstrate to both the community at large, and to our progeny, the importance of that function!  This gathering together for systematic teaching is the means of spiritual growth and therefore, should be our first priority in life.  God has ordained only the local Church as the place for doctrinal inculcation.  Now, I have mentioned that the dynamics of the relationship between local pastor and local congregation are absolutely mind boggling.  I have mentioned one result of the give and take above!

5. Expression of Spiritual Gifts

Another important role of the congregation and opportunity for individuals of the local Church is the expression of spiritual gifts.  A local Church whose primary purpose is the spiritual growth of its congregation should experience the benefits of such spiritual growth: the use of spiritual gifts.  Even in a congregation of this size, opportunities abound: teaching children for one.  This is often one which people shy away from because of the nature of the obligation.  It does take time to prepare and it can be difficult to get in front of a group of people, even kids.  But, there is no greater way of cycling doctrine through your thinking than through teaching it. It accelerates your spiritual growth. You will find deficits in your understanding and be challenged to fill those gaps by teaching!  I would encourage each member of this congregation to teach the children from time to time.  Teaching our children is an incredible responsibility and a great privilege as well. An incredible responsibility and privilege we as a local congregation have is corporate prayer: a weekly prayer meeting.  Well, you get the idea. Where, and in what capacity can I serve, you may ask?  Talk to one of the deacons! They often understand the day to day needs of the Church better than I!

6. Choosing a New Pastor

Now, there comes a time in the life of every local Church when the pastor must be replaced.  Pastors retire, pass away to be with the Lord or go on to other congregations.  It is the responsibility of the congregation, applying the doctrine each believer has been taught, to replace that pastor.  Remember that it is God who provides you with a pastor!  Some important principles apply here: first: make sure that the procedure used to replace a pastor is Biblical.  Approach to process with prayer, virtue and integrity learned from the previous pastor.  This is no time to go into reversionism!  Secondly: in choosing the next pastor, make sure that the pastor teaches the Word of God accurately and consistently.  His responsibility to each member of the congregation is to provide steady, accurate and consistent teaching of the Word. A pastor provides leadership to the local congregation in this manner. Once a congregation has chosen a pastor, it has the responsibility to support the new pastor prayerfully, and to the degree possible, monetarily.  Both areas of support undergird the pastor’s ability to study and teach, giving the congregation the opportunity to grow spiritually.  Now, of course, if a given congregation wants to send a pastor packing, well, there are two ways of doing this: a formal vote of no confidence or an informal vote of no confidence.  An informal vote of no confidence is not to attend!  In doing this you, as a congregation are voting, albeit informally, a vote of no confidence!

VIII Conclusion

So in conclusion: let me say this: The Church is our Lords chosen organism in this dispensation for the delegation of His  power: Power of the Spirit, and Power of the Word.  It is an incredible gift of power that we have each been given.  A local Church though, cannot function to it’s fullest without both the two categories of divine power along with the positive volition of every member of the congregation and one more thing: the proper function of every component of the local Church.  A Church cannot fulfill it’s potential dynamics with out all of these areas functioning properly.  Paul wrote this describing what God has prepared for the mature believer:
ü     Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 
What has He in store for the fully functioning Church?
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The Hierarchy of the Local Church Lesson 5: The Deacon in the Local Church

1.          Introduction:

Let’s talk about the deacons.  When I last taught this subject, I covered it in a matter of minutes, but I have learned a lot about deacons and their function over the last couple of weeks, so let me share this information with you.  First, a short introduction!  Deacons are an important part of the local Church.  Without them, just as without any other component of the local Church, it cannot function effectively as God designed it to.  Deacons are male believers with various spiritual gifts of administration and helps.  Collectively, they are the system over which the pastor has authority for the administration of the local Church.  They are to take responsibility for various areas of administration in the local Church.  These include  organization and running of a prep school to educate children, maintenance, finances, grounds, music, nursery, Church outreach and community relations as well as other areas.  A large Church is going to have more areas of responsibility than a small one, obviously! 
In terms of this responsibility, no one deacon has charge of all areas of local Church administration except the chairman of the board of deacons.  Each deacon has his own area of expertise and his authority is limited to that area of expertise.  Each deacon is directly responsible to the chairman of the board of deacons for the fulfillment of his area of delegated authority.  The chairman of the board is directly responsible to the pastor for the administration of the local Church.  He has direct authority over every deacon.  Though many pastors want to assume direct responsibility of administration, he must delegate that responsibility to the chairman of the board.  He must also ensure that as he delegates responsibility to his board of deacons that he also delegates the authority for the fulfillment of these responsibilities as well.  This is an important principle.  A pastor must let go of the details and let those with the expertise do their job.  So, the deacons are individually accountable to the chairman of the board, and collectively accountable to the pastor-teacher.

2.   Origin of the Office of Deacon

The office of deacon seems to have come about to resolve a conflict between the “Hebrews,” or Jews proper, who spoke Hebrew and the “Hellenists,” or Jews of the diaspora, who spoke various dialects of Greek, and read the Septuagint version of the Bible instead of the Hebrew. Evidently, jealousy and antagonism had developed early on between the two segments in the Christian community. The Hellenists alleged that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of alms. The apostles advised the disciples to find seven men of integrity, who were consistantly filled with the Spirit.  They needed to be men of practical wisdom knowing how to appply the doctrine they had learned.  These men were to take responsibility for the distribution of alms.  Good common sense was needed to resolve this conflict.  Application of Bible doctrine under the filling of the Spirit produces the highest quality common sense!  This would allow the disciples free to devote themselves entirely to the spiritual functions of their office, that is, praying, studying and teaching the Word of God. The Book of Acts 6:1-6 documents this:
ü     Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them. Acts 6:1-6
Seven men were chosen.  These men appear from their names to have been Greek believers. Now, the name “deacon” is not applied to them at all in the New Testament; they are simply called “the seven” in Acts 21:8. The  fact that these seven were chosen to deal with the immediate needs of the congregation indicates that the function of deacons is to be subordinate to the pastor,  freeing his time to study the Word and to teach the same to the congregation. The deacons were to care for the material needs of the congregation.  So the office and function of the deacon was to fulfill two purposes: first, to relieve the pressure on the pastor, secondly for proper execution of Church responsibilities.

3.  Vocabulary: 

-DIAKONOS:  It is a common word that means “minister” or “servant” and is used many times in the New Testament in a non-technical sense that is, not referring to those holding the office of deacon.
-KUBERNESIS: This word refers to an administration or governments, the governing of a local Church.
-PROISTEMI: This word means leadership, in the sense of presiding, guiding and caring for.
-DIAKONIA: The word refers to the concept of a ministry or service so it refers to the gift of helps, not the office of deacon.
 
4.Spiritual Gifting
Just as in the case of the pastor-teacher, the first qualification to be a deacon is spiritual.  A person to whom this office is given must have grown spiritually to the degree that his spiritual gift is recognizable. Then, the pastor of the local Church must identify, among members in his congregation, those who possess those gifts which function to administer a local Church. It is the responsibility of the pastor to identify men who have this gift and appoint them into the appropriate slot.  The pastor does this as a part of his leadership function which has been delegated to him, not any member of the local Church.  This, again, emphasizes the importance of local pastoral leadership. The pastor who fails to do this eventually loses in his spiritual life as well his pastorate because he finds himself trying to fulfill both his office and that of administration.  One man cannot do both.  The very existence of the spiritual gift and office of deacon emphasizes the fact that the primary responsibility of the pastor is not administration. Although the prevalent tradition is for the congregation to vote for deacons and Church officers, it is really the job of the pastor to identify these gifts among men in the congregation and to appoint them as Church officers.  I have never witnessed a congregation, through its vote, to reject the choice of a pastor. 
These men are responsible for the function and administration of a local Church.  No local Church can function without deacons.  The gifts of administrative leadership definitely carry authority because these men are delegated authority to fulfill their mission of administration.  Now in this section we are going to look at both this gift and another category of gifts, that of ministry and service, which is often confused with the office of deacon.  So first, we will look at the gift of administration and leadership, then at the gift of ministry and service. 
Gift of Administrative Leadership:  The gift of administration must be possessed by Church officers and some deacons, especially the chairmen of standing committees.  A standing committee would include members of the congregation with other spiritual gifts, to include the gift of helps.  Half of the responsibility of this spiritual gift is specified in 1 Corinthians 12:28 by the noun KUBERNESIS, which means administration or translated in the King James Version as governments.
ü     And God has appointed [for His own use] in the Church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.  1 Corinthians 12:28
In this paragraph, Paul points out that there is a “priority list” for the gifts, not that some gifts have more significance than others. Each gift is important and each individual believer is important. This appears to be a priority list in terms of importance or rank in terms of local Church function.  The first three gifts certainly are or were in the early Church in terms of authority.  The second list after “then” refers to support gifts.
An important fact that the pastor must understand when making his choice of deacons is this: The ability to administer in the local Church is not necessarily the same as the ability to administer in business, in the military, or in a bureaucracy.  This is a spiritual gift designed by God for local Church function.  The ability to run a company or to fill a position of management or of business leadership is not. Leadership in the secular world is motivated by profit, whereas those in Church leadership must be motivated by love for God and characterized by virtue love for people. It must not be dictatorial.  When you lead in a local Church, you must be aware that those whom you lead are also motivated by love for God.  There can be no lording it over people.  Of course, there are many other leadership and mangement styles used in the secular world other than dictatorial.  But the fact remains that this is a spiritual gift and not skill learned in business school!  I would suspect, however, that the man who applies his spiritual leadership to business would certainly be in a postion to succeed there, if it is God’s plan for his life.
The other half of the responsibility of this spiritual gift is found in Romans 12:7-8:
ü     …he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence, he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.  Romans 12:8
As we mentioned earlier, a big part of the deacon’s spiritual gifting is spiritual leadership.  A deacon often is in charge of a committee that fulfills a certain category of administration within the local Church.  This requires the function of leadership.  So we are concerned with the phrase: “he who leads” here.  “Leads” is the present middle participle, nominative masculine singular of the verb, προί̈στημι PROISTEMI.  In its purest sense, this verb refers to leadership, being placed in front of others.  However, we must take into consideration the context in which the verb is used.  In this passage, was well as in others, the context for leadership is love for both the Lord and for those who are being lead.  Virtue love toward people is the most basic expression spiritual growth,while personal love for God is the most basic motivation within the spiritual life.  It is by means of both these categories of love and gratitude that spiritual growth is expressed.  So, this spiritual gift requires that this leadership be exercised in virtue love. 
This leadership is to be carried out with “diligence.” This noun is dative, feminine, singular of σπουδη SPOUDE. The idea of proper motivation, efficiency and giving forth intense and honest effort are carried in this word. So, the two words KUBERNESIS and PROISTEMI together refer to administrative leadership. 
This spiritual gift is held by deacons, those who fulfill administrative responsibilities on missionary boards; leaders of Christian service organizations; those who lead and administer the training of children in the local Church; Church officers and chairmen of standing committees or other organizations within the local Church.  Apparently, this gift is given to men only.  The gift of administration, then, is linked to the function of the local Church.  One important distinction must be made.  A person can be great in administrating some business or organization, but that does not necessarily mean he has this spiritual gift.  The gift of administration calls for more than simply effective administrative function.  It is a spiritual gift which is sensitive to the needs of the local Church and how these needs are best administered. Men with this administrative leadership spiritual gift must chair the various committees in the local Church; such as the Church office committee, finance committee, membership committee, missionary committee, nursery committee, prep school committee, property committee, and ushers committee.  Each area is a specialty requiring special knowledge…Now, I mentioned that a person who is in a position of leadership in a secular business may not succeed in a leadership capacity in the Church.  This is Spirit empowered leadership.  However, I suspect that a deacon can be successful in the secular world, bringing to his business those principles of the Word of God and the filling of the Spirit.
Service Administrative Gift: This next spiritual gift which we will discuss does not belong here, but rightly in the study of the congregration.  I’m discussing it here because the vocabulary invovled often leads to confusion.  I am differentiating this spiritual gift of service administration from the spiritual gift of administration. This is called the gift of ministry or the gift of service. The gift of ministry or service is found in Romans 12:6-7.
ü     Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.  Romans 12:6-7
Now, this gift does not belong to a deacon, per se. But I am going to discuss it here because it is often confused with the office of deacon because of the Greek word that designates this gift.
The Greek noun DIAKONIA is translated “ministry” in the KJV; or “service” in better modern translations.  Some confusion arises because DIAKONIA resembles DIAKONOS.  DIAKONIA which though often transliterated “deacon,” actually refers to  a spiritual gift of service given to both men and women.  DIAKONOS, on the other hand, is an office in the local Church, held by a man serving on the deacon board. This gift (DIAKONIA) functions in the administration of the local Church.  It means ministry or service; it does not refer to the office of deacon in the local Church.  This gift is given to men and women. Those who have this spiritual gift should serve on committees and in specific administrative functions in the local Church, on mission boards, in Christian service organizations.  The deacon, who is the chairman of the committee, has the gift of administration.  Those who serve on the committee have the gift of ministry or service.  This makes for effective, administrative function in the local Church. This spiritual gift is strictly administrative without the leadership function provided by the Holy Spirit. They are the ones actually discharging the responisblilities of that office.  An interpretive translation of Romans 12:7 would be this: “If service, then serve within the framework of the gift of service.”  The spiritual gift of service or ministry is one of the more common spiritual gifts among men and women alike.  It is from this gift that so many things are done in the local Church.  This explains the feminine form, “deaconess,” in Timothy.  No woman has the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher, the spiritual gift of evangelism, or the spiritual gift of administration.  But this shouldn’t keep ladies from teaching children, from personal witnessing, or from functioning in the administration of the Church if they have the gift of service.  In this instance as well, a woman definitely has voice in a local Church within that context.  Can a woman function as a deacon without the spiritual gift?  We’ll note in a moment that when Paul lists the integrity factors for deacons he does include a couple for women.  My opinion is this: that a woman may certainly fill a position of administrative responsibility if she has no authority over a man.  A woman is not to have authority over men in the spiritual realm. 
5. Qualifications:
The qualifications or integrity factors of deacons are given in 1 Timothy 3:8–13. Deacons are to be typified by the following eight characteristics. Let’s look at the passage then look at a list of the qualifications that must charterize a deacon:
ü      Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.  These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.   Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.  Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.  For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus”. Timothy 3:8-13 NASB
a.       Worthy of Respect, Above Reproach: This includes being free from criminality and things whereby leadership would fail because of prejudice and other things.
b.      Not Hypocritical, Not Deceitful
c.       Not Addicted to Wine or Drugs
d.      Not Given to Dishonest Gain
e.       Holding to Doctrine with a Clear Conscience
f.       Having Been Tested: Denotes a Degree of Spiritual Maturity
g.       One Wife: No Polygamists Please
h.      Good Managers of Their Own Household
So with this in mind: here are a couple of policies I think we need all to follow.  The principle here is that the deacons, who are lead by the chairman of the board, is responsible for the day to day operation of the Church.  If a member or a group of members of the congregation want to change anything dealing with the Church, a procedure, meeting time, change of schedule, these things need to go before the board of deacons or the chairman of the deacons.  No one member of the board of deacons has the authority to change things without conferring with the chairman of the board who confers with the pastor.  The pastor, in the same way, confers with the board of deacons when considering a change for whatever reason.  When it comes to our function as a group of people getting together, it is a give and take thing between the congregation, board of deacons and pastor.  With a group this size, it is more a matter of formality than anything, but I believe that a procedure is always important to avoid confusion.   Because the board of deacons is in charge of the day to day operation of the Church, if we change any schedules, it should go through the chairman of the board.  Of course, he can delegate that to whom ever he wishes.
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The Hierarchy of the Local Church Lesson 4: The Pastor-Teacher

V. The Pastor-Teacher

1. Introduction

Let’s spend a few minutes talking about the office to which our Lord has delegated the responsibility of local Church leadership and education: that is the office of pastor-teacher of the local Church.  Eph 4:11-13 documents its existence and purpose:   

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastor-teachers…  Ephesians 4:11

           This is a listing of communication gifts given during the pre-canon period of the Church Age.  Only two are extent in this post cannon period: the pastor-teacher and the evangelist. This documents the pastor-teacher’s spiritual gifting. First, note the fact that He, our Lord has given this gift, the gift of pastor-teacher to the Church. “He gave some” referring to the fact that He has given the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher to some men.  The word “gave” here is our friend, again, “DIDOMI,” referring to a gift.

     

      2. Purpose of the Spiritual Gift

<!…for the equipping of the saints for the work of service… Ephesians 4:12a
     A saint, that is, a believer in this Church Age, must grow up spiritually.  This spiritual growth must precede any kind of Christian service.  A believer grows up spiritually by means of Bible doctrine taught (and often transcribed!) from the pulpit.  Both the pastor-teacher and the individual believer must be empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Note that one’s spiritual gift also is brought to bear with more effectiveness as spiritual growth increases. 
<!…to the building up [oikodome] of the body of Christ;  Ephesians 4:12b
     In a collective sense, this phrase refers to the formation of the royal family of God during the entire period of the Church Age; i.e., the building up of the body of Christ.  When the royal family is completed, God the Father will bring about the Rapture or Exit Ressurection of the Church.  Individually, however, it refers to the spiritual growth of  believer who expresses his desire to grow up spiritually by placing himself under the ministry of a doctrine teaching pastor.  A believer will experience momentum in the Christian way of life as a result.  Hence, the individual connotation refers to the believer fulfilling God’s personal plan for him or her.  God’s plan for this Church Age differs from His plan for believers in prior and future dispensations.  The believer who grows to spiritual maturity, fulfilling God’s plan becomes a witness for the prosecution in the Angelic Conflict and glorifies God.  When the collective connotation is used, OIKODOME should be translated “construction, building up,” or “building process.”  When the individual connotation is used, OIKODOME should be translated “edification” The collective connotation of OIKODOME is based upon our Lord’s third royal patent or title, King of kings and Lord of lords, the Bright and Morning Star, given to Him as a result of His strategic victory in the angelic conflict.
<!…until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.  Ephesians 4:13
     This is one verse, that, when talking about the gift of pastor-teacher, says it all.
 

      3. Pastor-Teacher

      Let’s first define pastor-teacher: The highest human authority in the local Church is that of the pastor teacher.  His authority is second only to that of the Lord’s as delegated through the Word. The term pastor-teacher came from this passage:
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,  (Ephesians 4:11, NASB95)
     In the Greek “pastor and teachers” is translated from ποιμήν  καίδιδάσκαλοςPOIMEN KAI DIDASKOLOS, literally, shepherds and teachers.  Both nouns are in the accusative plural masculine, connected by the conjunction, καίKAI.  The fact that they are both nouns, in the same case, connected by a conjunction fits the pattern of a hendiadys, meaning that two words combine to make one principle. The word, from the Greek, literally means, one by means of two. Two words are used, but only one thing, or one idea is intended. One of the two words expresses the thing, and the other (sometimes a synonym, or even a word denoting a different significance but not a second thing or idea) intensifies or gives greater meaning to the first word.
     POIMEN means shepherd, and it refers to the pastor’s authority over and spiritual care of one specific congregation.  It doesn’t imply that the pastor is smarter than his sheep however.  The fact of one congregation follows the pattern of one shepherd who takes care of one flock of sheep.  The shepherd-pastor establishes his authority by faithfully and consistently teaching the Word.  In the realm of sheep, the shepherd is responsible to take full care of his sheep.  This includes taking them to fields with enough grass to eat, seeing that they have access to clean water to drink.  It also includes protecting them from wolves and other predators.  The pastor has much the same responsibility to his congregation. 
Yet, I shouldn’t say that the pastor is responsible to his congregation for these things, because he is responsible to the Lord for his congregation just as the shepherd is responsible to one who owns the sheep for the sheep.  A shepherds is always responsible to the one who owns the sheep for the sheep.  The pastor is responsible to the Lord for his congregation.because He owns the Church and everyone in it. 
The pastor is responsible to see that his congregation is provided with spiritual food.  Just as the shepherd doesn’t lead his flock to fields of canned goods, so the pastor must teach the Word in a manner that his congregation can consume, to understand and apply. So a pastor must speak in a manner that the congregation can understand. he must teach systematically and logically: laying one principle upon another so that each individual can grow up spiritually.  A biology professor would be in error to teach about the skull one class then teach about the metatarsal the next.  Each lesson must be logically built upon another, promoting a logical development of doctrine in the soul of each believer. 
Furthermore, the shepherd must protect his flock: Protecting the believer from predators falls into two general categories: first, insuring that the environment in the assembly is one that is conducive to listening and concentrating upon the Word.  This involves protecting the individual’s privacy as well.  The second category involves the communication of doctrine…systematically as I just mentioned: this teaching, when believed, will protect the believer from temptations to sin and from believing false doctrine.
The second word in Ephesiians 4:11 is DIDASKALOS, this noun refers to one person teaching just one group of people.  As in any realm of education, the authority must lie in the teacher while the congregation assembles to learn doctrine as students under authority.  There is no effective teaching of the Word of God or any other subject for that matter, apart from authority. The DIDASKALOS is not just a teacher in general, but a man who teaches definite skills like reading, fighting or music, developing the aptitudes already present. A DIDASKALOS might impart technical ability, the art of strategy. The decisive point is that systematic instruction is given.  So, the more accurate translation of poimen kai didaskolos, taking both concepts together is “pastor-teacher.”  Fulfilling the responsibility always deals with the clear, concise teaching of the Word of God.

        4. Office Qualifications

Now, let’s look at the qualifications for this office.  The first category of qualification for this office is spiritual gifting.  God the Holy Spirit, in His sovereignty, bestows this spiritual gift of communication to men only.  And, as with other spiritual gifts, this is given to the believer by the Spirit at the moment of salvation. Now, this particular spiritual gift is only given to men, but to all kinds of men!  Often the men to whom this gift is given really shows God’s sense of humor!  Possessing this gift does not automatically qualify a man to stand behind the pulpit to teach a congregation. As with the other spiritual gifts of communication, evangelism and missionary, a man must prepare to function as a pastor.
Much formal preparation is necessary.  Two categories of preparation is necessary.  The first category should include time spent under strict authority in order to learn obedience.  Being under the authority of an unfair boss or military training fills this bill!  A pastor needs to be oriented to authority and know how to use it.  No man clearly understands authority or leadership without having been under a system of strict authority, fair or unfair.  Under strict authority, the only issue is obedience.  A slave must know how to obey without reaction, especially in obedience to the perfect master.  The issue in this category of preparation is obedience. The second category of necessary preparation is academic. Training in formal languages includes the  Biblical languages to include Hebrew, Aramaic and the different dialects of Greek.  Koine is the most important to master.  Latin and German can be real handy too, because many commentaries and linguistic texts are based upon German and Latin scholarship.  Other subjects, history and linguistics are also very important.  If a pastor is not trained in these areas, then he must rely upon a pastor who is proficient in these areas.  One of the most important areas of education is theological.  A pastor must have been thoroughly inculcated with the dispensational framework of theology so that he will have the structure of God’s revelation in his thinking from which to interpret the Scripture.
When a man accepts the office of pastor-teacher, he must understand that he has a very serious responsibility.  The office of pastor teacher is always greater than the man who fills it and because it is an office of the local Church, that is, part of the body of Christ, Bride of Christ, it demands respect from the man who fills it.  Because the demands of the office are greater than the man who fills it, he must constantly be aware of the necessity of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to empower him to fulfill the role that the office demands.  A pastor in that office brings respect to that office by preparing and delivering sound Bible teaching to the congregation, which give that congregation the ability to grow up spiritually.  This is a very weighty obligation because it often takes hours to prepare just a short message.  The pastor must ensure that the doctrines he is teaching are valid doctrines, not opinions.

5. Pastoral Function

The pastor-teachers function and authority are limited by the Word ofGgod.  First, as Paul wrote to Timothy, the pastor is to:
…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.  2 Timothy 4:2
This is what the pastor is to do.  All other pastoral functions are subcategorizes of this function.  A pastor leads by teaching and by his own application of the Word.  A pastor sets administrative policy by, again, teaching the Word!  To “preach” means that the pastor teacher is to proclaim the Word as a herald, announcing to the world a message from our highest authority.  To “be ready in season and out of season?”  At no time should the pastor be without a prepared message for any occasion.   A pastor does not know exactly when he may be called up to proclaim the Word.  This teaching will fulfill a number of principles which Paul lists:
Reprove- The pastor is to correct those who believe in errornious doctrines.
with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,  2 Timothy 2:25
Rebuke- Those is a state of sin, he is to rebuke.
Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.” 1 Timothy 5:20“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:16
This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, Titus 1:13
These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.  Titus 2:15
Exhort- To those who are learning and applying doctrine, therefore growing in grace, he is to encourage.
     These are the facets of the pastor-teachers ministry: proclamation, correction, rebuke, and encouragement.  He must do these things patiently and carefully, always emphasizing Scriptureal instruction.
Now as to the content of a pastor’s teaching: Bible doctrine, Bible doctrine, Bible doctrine! A pastor should never apologize for teaching the technical things, things difficult to understand.  A pastor cannot expect his congregation to grow without understanding every aspect of a given passage, understanding every derivative doctrine.  A pastor cannot build his ministry upon the titillating things like Bible stories and illustrations, though these things can be fun to teach!  Understanding the advanced things of the Word takes concentration on the part of the believer in the pew and becomes a real test of volition.  It often takes great effort to keep concentrating upon the teaching of the Word!  He has no other authority over a congregation.  And this authority is given to him by the congregation who accepts His pastoral authority.  He cannot force his authority. 
 

6. Authority

      There is another issue beyond the content of the pastor’s teaching which deals with those over whom he has been given authority. His authority is limited in scope.  Just as a shepherd is over one flock, so is the pastor-teacher over one congregation. He is guardian of only one congregation over which the Lord has given him charge. One pastor is be over one congregation.  Listen to Eph 4:16: this is Bob Thieme’s translation:
Because of whom [Lord Jesus Christ] the entire body, being joined together [baptism of the Spirit] and being inculcated by every joint of supply [pastor-teacher] on the basis of the operational power [Holy Spirit’s ministry of empowerment], in measure one [pastor-teacher] for each part [of the royal family of God]; he himself [pastor-teacher] causes growth in the body, resulting in its edification by means of virtue-love.   Ephesians 4:16 
     Note that this verse clearly teaches that one pastor is to be in charge of one congregation.  There are several reasons for this.  First, of course, it is a direct mandate from the Scripture.  One pastor for each part of the royal family.  Each part of royal family is a local Church.  Not a denomination, not a series of Churches.  Now, we live in a wonderful electronic age where a pastor may communicate with many people in different geographical locations using many different mediums.  I have personally benefited from these electronic forms of communication greatly.  I have a library of incredible resources, including commentaries, the Bible in the original languages, linguistic resources, and many journals; information at my fingertips from which I prepare my messages.  For several years, I lived in the mountains in Colorado where there were no doctrine teaching pastors.  I leaned upon a pastor who distributed tapes of his teaching.  I remember understanding, at some point in my spiritual growth, from that doctrinal teaching, the necessity of being a part of a local Church, being taught by the pastor I had chosen, locally. 
      But this dissemination of doctrine by other than local communication does not negate the principle of one shepherd and one flock.  A pastor needs to be physically present with his congregation to minister to them fully as the our Lord has mandated he do.  In this time of spiritual decline in this country there may not be a pastor who is accurately teaching the Word of God in your geographical periphery.  If not, then, by all means you should seek out a pastor who is communicating electronically and be spiritually fed in that manner.  However, if there is a pastor in your local area who is faithfully teaching the Word accurately, it is your responsibility to support that pastor so that the potential dynamics of that local Church can be fulfilled.  We will discuss those dynamics a bit later in this study.  But, you need to understand that you will continue to grow up spiritually if you listen faithfully, applying the principles of grace perception when listening to the teaching ministry of the local pastor God has provided.  Does God provide a local pastor to every area locally?  Not being omniscient, I can’t answer that question!  However, I have noted by my own observation that God has provided pastors to those local areas where believers are positive!
You may look at biblical examples of apostles who wrote letters to Churches as fulfilling the pastor absentia role.  By pastor absentia, I mean a pastor communicating via electronic media to a group of believers in another locale, in ancient times, an apostle writing letters to Churches.  When Paul wrote letters to Churches, those letters were sent to local Churches who had pastors. As a matter of fact, he sometimes sent those letter with the pastors he had appointed!  Why?  Why didn’t Paul function as a pastor absentia?  As an apostle, Paul did have authority over many congregations.  But he chose not to act as their pastor because he recognized the need for pastor to congregation communication.  Also, the benefits of congregation to pastor communication can be mind boggling! The letters from any of the apostles to the Churches had to be interpreted and taught to the congregations by someone who was qualified, i.e. a pastor teacher who understood the theological issues presented in the letters.  No untrained member of a congregation could pick up one of Paul’s, Peter’s or John’s letters and teach it thoroughly then any more then, than today.  It took theological training then, it takes theological training today!
     Secondly, a pastor must be sensitive to the needs of one specific congregation.  Generally, one congregation may be in a different stage of spiritual growth than another, therefore, it’s needs may differ from another congregation.  Generally, congregations are composed of believers in all stages of spiritual growth.  Also, the challenges of one congregation may certainly differ from that of another congregation.  Another deals with the issue of communication between the congregation and it’s pastor.  There is no reason a pastor cannot respond to actual requests to deal more closely with certain doctrinal issues.  For instance, my initial intent was to proceed quickly through our current study of dispensations and return to our study of Philippians, as quickly as possible!  I was asked to spend more time in dispensations, paying more attention to the important facets of each era as it applies to our Church Age.  As it stands, what I began as an hour and a half study has expanded to 10 hours and we haven’t even left the first dispensation!  The study has been very enriching to me, leading me into depths of the Word I did not expect to delve into.  So, it’s a two way street.  There are also dynamics that the local Church can have upon it’s local community which require local leadership to fulfill, recognizing, bringing together and leading those with certain spiritual gifts to minister to the community.  In this way, the Church can fulfill it’s role of reaching out to a lost and dying world the way Christ did when He walked this earth.  We are all mandated to be ambassadors for Christ.  Local Church outreach is one way of fulfilling that responsibility.
     The pastor is also guardian of a system of authority which is designed to protect the congregation and to ensure the stable flow of doctrinal teaching without interference.  This includes leadership, the delegation of authority and efficient administration.  There are many responsibilities in the local Church, which must be discharged to ensure that the Church runs smoothly.  The pastor cannot discharge these himself, yet he must be assured that they are discharged according to doctrinal principles.  The pastor-teacher is in charge of the system of administration and must understand how to effectively delegate authority.  Failure to master this concept leads to two different problems.  The pastor who insists on doing everything by himself doesn’t study as he should leading to a spiritually malnourished congregation and to his own burn out.  A do-it-all pastor doesn’t have the time to study!  The second problem deals with his relationship with the board of deacons.  A board of deacons and a congregation without local leadership is like a ship without a captain.  Every local congregation needs the spiritual leadership that only the divinely provided spiritual gift of pastor-teacher can bring to insure the proper function of the Church as per the Word of God.  
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The Hierarchy of the Local Church Lesson 3: Divine Authority is Delegated through the Word

IV. Divine Authority is Delegated through the Word

The next layer of the hierarchy is the Word of God, “the thinking or mind of our Lord.  This category, the Word, should probably be on the same level as the Lord, because the Word is His thinking, preserved for us in written form: The Bible calls itself the thinking of our Lord in 1 Corinthians 2:16:
ü     For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.  1 Corinthians 2:16
How seriously does He take His word? He puts it above His name or person:
ü     You [referring to human nature of Christ] have magnified Your Word above and beyond Your Person.  Psalm 138:2
          God has placed the highest possible value on the Scripture!  The Word of God is divine phenomenon: it is totally above and beyond what a mere human can even hope to understand.  So once again, God graciously provides us with power to both understand His word, which is power in itself, and power to apply His word.   That power is His provision of the Holy Spirit:
ü     For to us God revealed them (things from verse 9) through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God… 1 Corinthians 2:10-12

At this point let me bring up a diagram with which most of you are no doubt familiar. 

This graphically illustrates how God the Holy Spirit teaches us.  Now, let me give credit to who credit is due here.  I owe much to Bob Thieme.  I thank God for his ministry.

In this diagram, I want you to note the three issues here: first: for us to understand the Word, we need the power of God the Holy Spirit. Your pastor teaches the Word and you listen, under the ministry of the Spirit.  When you listen to the teaching of the Word of God under the ministry of the Spirit, He is teaching you.  For the Word to reach your human spirit three factors are necessary: first, the Word taught, second, the Spirit’s power, and thirdly, your volition.  Those same three factors that give the Church life also cause you to grow up spiritually.  I’m thinking that you all are familiar with the rest of this doctrine. God’s gifted power to us in the form of His Spirit Holy Spirit transfers the doctrine to your left lobe, your NOUS, where it resides as knowledge.  At this point, your volition is once again a key to the process.  You have to believe the doctrine that you understand. The Spirit takes you to the point of understanding, then you must believe it and once again, the Spirit transfers that doctrine that you believe into your heart or KARDIA. At this point, the Spirit circulates that doctrine through out your soul and you become supercharged, being able to apply the thinking of Jesus Christ to your life.  You are on the way to solving every problem you have.  You are on the way to being able to handle anything life can throw at you…and you can maintain you happiness the whole time.  This is a gift from God.
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The Hierarchy of the Local Church Lesson 2: The Head of the Church

Before you begin this or any study of the Word of God, because you are ultimately taught by God the Holy Spirit, make sure you are in fellowship with Him.  When you are in fellowship with Him, He empowers you to both learn and apply Bible Doctrine.  To regain His filling, apply 1 John 1:9, by naming your sins to God the Father.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

For more information on this, read this article.

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Before you begin this or any study of the Word of God, because you are ultimately taught by God the Holy Spirit, make sure you are in fellowship with Him.  When you are in fellowship with Him, He empowers you to both learn and apply Bible Doctrine.  To regain His filling, apply 1 John 1:9, by naming your sins to God the Father.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

For more information on this, read this article.

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II.            The Headship of Jesus Christ

At the top of the organizational chart is our Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the highest and maximum authority in the Church.  He is the head of the Church.  God the Father gave Him supreme authority over the Church when He gained the victory of the angelic conflict.  He gained this victory by paying the price for every sin of every human being in human history.  He died a substitutionary spiritual death for every person that has ever lived. For this, and for much more, obviously, He is absolutely worthy of all praise, glory and honor we give Him:
ü     Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created. Revelation 4:11
Paul taught His headship by means of the “head and body” analogy in a number of passages: One of these passages is Ephesians 1:22-23:
ü     And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.  Ephesians 1:22-23 NASB
As Head of the Church, Jesus Christ has supreme authority over the Church and all of its functions.
The word order in this verse is important because it underscores the fact of our Lord as our ultimate authority. A more literal translation from the Greek reads like this:
ü     Him He gave as Head over all things to the Church.
Our Lord is strongly emphasized here.
The word “gave” is δίδωμι DIDOMI, in the aorist, active, indicative, third person, singular meaning, “to give.” The Father gave Christ to us, not only as our Savior and Lord, but also as our Head, our supreme Ruler: individually and us collectively as a local Church. The word, “head,” κεφαλήKEPHALE in the Greek, means that in terms of rank He is far above all things.  He is the ultimate in superiority. Obviously, He is superior to us, He is God!
ü     The first implication that we can draw from His headship over us is His authority over us. After all, we are: His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
Paul further delineated His authority over us in Ephesians 1:20-21:
ü     …which [power] He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:20-21
The second implication of Headship is the fact of our union with Him.  We studied this in quite a bit of detail in our Sanctification study.  Because we are in union with Him, we share everything He is and does.  The implications of this are staggering! We share His eternal life, righteousness, son-ship, heir-ship, royalty, election, and destiny of Christ, and other factors as well.
The third implication of His headship is that we are always connected to Him.  This implies a certain intimacy, as does our union with Him. The Head and body are always connected with nothing coming between the two. Or else the body would cease to be the body, and the Head cease to be the Head.
The phrase “gave…to the Church” indicates in the Greek that our Lord’s rulership is for our special advantage. This is a dative of advantage. There is no greater advantage than being under the Lord’s authority.
Paul also wrote of our Lord’s authority to the Colossian Church.
ü     He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the Church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.  Colossians 1:17-18
The phrase, “before all things” in the Greek is πρόπςPRO PAS. Because the proposition, PRO is followed by PASin the ablative case, Paul’s meaning is made plain: Christ’s precedence deals with time, because He preceded everything, having existed in eternity past before anything was created.  This phrase also deals with His preeminence as Creator.  He is before all things in that He is superior to all things.  A better translation from the Greek is this:
ü     And He Himself (great emphasis on He) is (implying divine essential being) before all things.
Since He is before all things, He preexisted time.  So He is from eternity. His headship refers to two factors:  He is ruler over the Church and over each individual within the local Church.  As the Supreme Ruler of the Church, He has delegated authority to and given instruction in the Scripture, which He has designated as His very thinking: “mind or thinking of Christ.”  Now this makes a lot of sense to me. If I owned a business, I would put, in written form, exactly what I want done and how I want it done.  This is what our Lord has done, down through the ages.  He has delegated the authority to communicate this instruction, His Word in the local Church to the pastor-teacher, a man with the spiritual gift of doctrinal communication.
Earlier in the Church Age, apostles carried the highest authority in the local Church. Actually apostles were over many local Churches, but the spiritual gift of apostleship was withdrawn when the Cannon of Scripture was completed. It doesn’t exist anymore.    There, then, are no authorized layers of authority between the Lord and the pastor of the local Church.  Many denominations are plagued by layers of authority between His and the pastor which interferes with Biblical pastoral authority. Every Church is designed to be autonomous before the Lord, each pastor teacher responsible to the Lord for his congregation.
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The Hierarchy of the Local Church Lesson 1: Introduction

A Teaching Manuscript Delivered by Pastor Jim Oliver,

Teleios Bible Church, 2005
Link to PowerPoint PresentationBefore you begin this or any study of the Word of God, because you are ultimately taught by God the Holy Spirit, make sure you are in fellowship with Him.  When you are in fellowship with Him, He empowers you to both learn and apply Bible Doctrine.  To regain His filling, apply 1 John 1:9, by naming your sins to God the Father.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

For more information on this, read this article.

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Contents:

Lesson 1
     Pertinent Passages
I.            Introduction
II.            Importance of the Local Church
Lesson 2
III.            The Headship of Jesus Christ
Lesson 
IV.            Divine Authority is Delegated Thru the Word
Lesson 4   
V.            The Pastor-Teacher
1.                        Purpose
2.                        Shepherd-Teacher
3.                        Qualifications
4.                        Function
5.                        Authority
Lesson 5 
VI.            The Deacons
1.                        Introduction
2.                        Origin
3.                        Vocabulary
4.                        Spiritual Gifting
5.                        Qualifications
Lesson 6
VII.            The Congregation

Conclusion

Pertinent Passages

And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him, and He who fills all in all.  Ephesians 1:22-23 NASB
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastor-teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.  Ephesians 4:11 NASB
Because of whom, the entire body, being joined together, and being inculcated by every joint of supply on the basis of the operational power, in measure, one pastor-teacher for each part. Ephesians 4:16 RBT
Obey your spiritual leaders and be willing to do what they say, for their work is to watch over your souls, and God will judge them on how well they do this. Give them reason to report joyfully about you to the Lord and not with sorrow, for then you will suffer for it too.  Hebrews 13:17  (TLB)

       I.            Introduction

Because we are a new local Church, we need to understand exactly why our Lord formed the local Church, how God has designed it to function, how He means for it to work and the fantastic categories of power He has supplied for it. Now, many of the overall principles we are going to discuss relate to the entire Church, the Universal Church, but we’re not going to concentrate upon the Universal Church.  However we do need to understand that we are a part of the Church Universal because certain principles that apply to it apply to us as a local Church.

    II.            Importance of the Local Church

Forty days after our Lord ascended, He established the Church Age.  He did this because He was given a third royal patent or commission as Lord of lords and King of kings. He received this royal patent after accomplishing His first advent work and being seated at the right hand of the Father. He received this third royal commission because of the fantastic work He accomplished; achieving the strategic victory of the angelic conflict at the Cross by bearing the sins of the world then being resurrected and as a human being, ascending to the Third Heaven.  His accomplishment on the Cross was the pivotal point of eternal history.  It is the event upon which the dispensations are centered.  It was the most important event, not only in human history, but angelic history as well.  By this explanation I want to impart to you the importance of our existence as a Church.  Jesus Christ formed the Church because of His victory over Satan and his minions.  By the function of the Church and each of its members He extended that victory to us, a part of the universal Church.
In this Church Age, Our Lord delegated to the local Church certain functions previously delegated to theocracy Israel.  Some suggest that the local Church replaces Israel.  I think we all understand the special place Israel has in our Lord’s thinking! Certain functions now belong to the local Church, however, not to the Universal Church. Only to the local Church because the Universal Church includes those residing in heaven and on the earth, whereas the local Church remains on earth, as did Israel.
In that theocracy our Lord Jesus Christ ruled Israel while her king, if functioning correctly, simply took orders from Him.  As a theocracy, Israel functionally included a vast system of Temple worship, a specific priesthood; the Levitical Priesthood which taught doctrine through both ritual and the spoken Word, and prophets, who foretold the future and taught doctrine.  Israel was also the sole disseminator and guardian of God’s Word and plan for that dispensation.  He replaced all of those functions and responsibilities with two systems of divine power which, when combined with the believer’s volition, your volition, results in the greatest power that has ever been available on this planet to the everyday believer.  These two systems of power combine with the believer’s volition to give the local Church its life and impact.
When our Lord walked the earth during His first advent, He test drove the first system of power, establishing its limits. Having done so, He bequeathed it to believers in this Church Age.  This power is the filling and resultant empowerment of God the Holy Spirit, with whom He was immediately filled upon His birth.  This power was a gift from the Father to Him, designed to empower His humanity enabling Him to fulfill the unique plan the Father had prepared for Him.  It was by means of this power that He was able to lay aside certain attributes of His divinity, functioning as a human being filled with the Holy Spirit. Under this power He was able to maintain his perfection and integrity, fulfilling the Father’s plan; bearing the punishment of every sin committed throughout human history.  So this is an awesome power.
The second category of power was that of the Word of God: Bible Doctrine.  Our Lord, when He walked the earth, applied Bible doctrine while empowered with the Spirit giving Him the strength, the thought pattern to maintain His perfection and integrity.  Thus empowering Him to go to the Cross and bear the sins of the entire human race, breaking Satan’s back, gaining the strategic victory of the angelic conflict.  The thought pattern that Bible doctrine imparts to the believer is absolutely awesome.  We are not accustomed to thinking of thought in terms of power, but the very power of God is in His Word.
 These powers are unique to this Church Age and when combined with believer’s positive volition, become the power that runs the local Church.  Without these unique powers, the Church has neither meaning, impact, nor has it any power.  Furthermore, the local Church is the sole guardian and disseminator of both categories of power.  Though we think in terms of the local Church as being an organization, it is not.  It is a living organism powered by two categories of divine power, coupled with believer volition.  As such the local Church has an incredible responsibility toward God relating to the spiritual growth of individual believer, which results in individual tactical angelic conflict victories.  As such the local Church has a tremendous responsibility toward people in its periphery, its local community.  In our study over the next few classes, I want to look at the components of the local Church to gain a better understanding of it in terms of our privileges and responsibilities. Having been girded with this understanding, we will better understand that we, who have who have been given so much, much is expected.

We will be using the hierarchical structure of the local church as the basis of our study.  This diagram illustrates the components of the local Church.  We will be studying them in the form of a hierarchy.

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