Friday, August 31, 2012

Church Governance (24)

New Testament churches are led by elders.

Elders as apostles
Some elders are apostles. The apostle John saw himself as an elder (2 John 1; 3 John 1). The apostle Peter also called himself an elder (1 Pet 1:1; 5:1).

Elders are prophets
Some elders are prophets. Judas and elders were elders in the church in Jerusalem, they were also prophets.

Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers (Acts 15:22,32).
One of the elders who prayed for Timothy was quite likely a prophet.
Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you (1 Tim 4:14).
There were prophets among the elders of the church in Antioch.
In the church at Antioch, there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul (Acts 13:1)
Elders as pastor-teachers
Most elders will be pastors-teachers. There were teachers among the elders at Antioch. Paul referred to elders who work at teaching.
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is... teaching (1 Tim 5:17).
He also said that elders must be able to teach.
Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach (1 Tim 3:2).
Peter described elders who are also pastors (shepherds).
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers. (1 Pet 1:1,2).
Paul challenged the elders at Ephesus to shepherd the church of God.
From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church… Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood (Acts 20:17,28).
Elders as evangelists
Some elders are evangelists. Paul spoke about elders who specialise in preaching.
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is
... (1 Tim 5:17).

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