Tag: moses

Biblical, Spiritual Elders

Elders

Biblical, Spiritual Elders

“Doing” church these days can be kind of confusing. Trying to understand terminologies, such as bishop, deacon, head deacon, minister, pastor, elder, and so on can really be overwhelming. Discussing such a topic as Kingdom Leadership can be as challenging as discussing the Holy Spirit’s ministry in a cross-denominational discussion forum. Wide variety of opinions, interpretation of scripture, and personal feelings sometimes find their way into the discussion.

Understanding that dynamic, let me say up front that, though I hold my opinions expressed in this article to be true, I do not, for a minute, believe I have full and complete revelation on the matter. I simply want to share truth as I see it, submit it to other Kingdom Leaders for review and dialog, and continue to grow in Kingdom Leadership effectiveness. And I wouldn’t be surprised to have people write and tell me I need to get a life, or something.

I do not want to “split hairs” with this subject. The Kingdom of God is not in word only, but in power. It’s not what we call ourselves that really matters. Yet we need to understand how Kingdom leadership works, how we submit to it and function in it.

Biblical, spiritual elders. Paul said, ‚ÄúTherefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:27 -28 NKJV) Overseers – elders. The term, Elder, is not just a New Testament term. It was used a lot in the Old Testament when referring to the leaders under Moses, those Joshua appointed, as well as other men and women of God.

Basically, a biblical, spiritual elder is someone ordained and anointed by God, and recognized by other leaders, to help equip, exhort, and encourage the Church. Theirs may not be a widely known ministry , or, they MAY be well known throughout the Body of Christ. They link with others, either on a local scale, such as a local fellowship of believers, or on a much broader scale, such as city-wide, regional, national or even global scale. Point is, they link together for the purpose of governing and directing the Church to enable it to fulfill its divine destiny. Whether their ministry is “small” or “large”, it is indispensible.

An elder can operate as an Apostle, Prophet, or any of the “5-fold” ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. However, in my opinion, they don’t have to be defined or confined by one of the 5 mentioned, to be an elder. They may preach, prophesy, pray, teach or lead worship. Or, they may not be used of God for any of those specific purposes. Or, the opposite may be true. True Apostles, Prophets, etc. are elders, but not all elders are apostles. Peter made a statement in 1 Peter 5:1, “now a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder…as a fellow elder I appeal to you.” (NLT)

It was explained to me, when I asked someone why the word “pastor” isn’t used much in the New Testament, that when the church was first formed the Apostles went around to different fellowships and appointed “elders” – those older, more experienced with life and how to deal with it, to help the younger ones. All were young in the faith. So, it was told me, God had a plan to help the Church grow until more people could be trained to lead.I believe most of that line of reasoning. What I’m not sure about is why the Church has, by and large, dropped “elder” from its lexicon. Now there are people in churches who wear the title of “Elder”, but that’s not what I’m referring to. An old mule could be called a kangaroo, but watch it long enough and you’ll know it’s not a kangaroo.

Biblical, spiritual elders, were established by God as far back as Adam. He was to rule, govern, under the authority of God Almighty. Things got messed up, but that didn’t take away Adam’s calling under God. God helped restore him and, I believe, poured into Adam truth that would affect generations to come. Study it out and you’ll find Adam living long enough to pour truth into many generations! When Adam died, though, people fell further and further from the Truth. Noah, Abraham and sons, Moses. These were all biblical, spiritual elders. They would help govern God’s people, and defend God’s righteous cause. They were people others could go to for counsel and support. People anointed and trusted to uphold truth in the spirit of love. The ones God anointed as judges, they also functioned as elders. The children of Israel did well as long as the judges were around, but when they died, each one did what was right in their own sight.

Reheboam, Solomon’s son, was asked a question pertaining to his new role of leader. He consulted his elders for advice. They told him to loosen the fist of leadership from around the people and they would follow him forever. That’s what the elders said. But he didn’t follow their advice. He followed the advice of his peers, his drinking buddies, who told him to tighten his fist around Israel. That advice split the Kingdom.

It’s good to have peers, partners, people who will agree with your every decision. But God has established elders in the Church. They are to help keep the Church from splitting and falling by the wayside. Even the great man of God, Moses, couldn’t fulfill his calling without the help of elders. Think about this. God used someone not “in the church” to help Moses see that truth!

The church has had elders for a long time. So why are there so many issues and divisions in the church today? Could it be that 1) the church hasn’t paid any attention to elders, not knowing those who labor among them, and 2) the church has paid TOO MUCH attention to them, idolizing them to the point of unsure footing? Unsure footing? Standing on man-made “truth” mixed with God’s Word. Shaky ground.

Use a concordance and look at the references for “Elder”. You’ll discover these truths about biblical, spiritual elders:

1. Elders have authority and responsibility to shepherd the church (see Isaiah 40:11)

2. Elders can carry on kingdom work even if the leader is absent

3. Elders are aware of “the times” and act appropriately.

4. Elders will follow the lead of spiritual authority, obey the placement (around the tabernacle), and receive the same spirit as their leader.

5. Elders witness transactions / deals made. They sit at the gate to rule, judge, and determine who enters, who trades and peddles, and see to it that justice and mercy work hand in hand.

6. Elders’ experience, as well as their spiritual insight, help them govern.

7. Elders have a direct bearing on the spiritual condition in the land.

8. Elders identify with the spiritual condition left them by previous generations and seek to rectify or build on the condition.

Whichever term you decide to use when referring to God given, God anointed, spiritual leadership, don’t forget their place in the Body of Christ. Remember James, “anyone sick…let him call for the ELDERS of the church…”? Elders. Might be a pastor, might be a prophet. Might be…but should be an elder.

I believe the Lord is saying He is “raising up people who will function in the Church, and in the world (Moses “communicating” with Pharaoh) as biblical, spiritual elders. Unknown by many, not wearing a particular title or badge, but walking in heaven’s authority. They will function as elder’s of old. Fire will fall from heaven as they speak heaven’s word. Miracles will multiply and Jesus will be magnified. Man’s “High Places” of idol worship will be distinguished between My place of True Worship. ”

“The end is close. The work is great. The Anointing of Jesus more than adequate! Be who you were made to be – recognize your place and others in the Body of Christ – and understand the Body functions as ONE.”

Elders. Not just a name.

“God Has Favorites” A Story – chapter one

A Story

I believe my parents had favorites!

I have two brothers and two sisters. Some of them could do no wrong. They got away with everything!

If you’ve had brothers or sisters, you probably know what I’m referring to. I’m not bitter nor am I casting stones. I’m not even saying I’m right in my belief. I’m only stating a fact, as perceived by me. Why do I believe they were favorites? Because they seemed to get away with more wrong doing than I.

Whether God has favorites or not, this fact remains; we perceive God has favorites because He seems to talk with others more, show more interest in what they’re doing, give them bigger allowances (allowing them to get by with more stuff), or He has them in a bigger, better, more lucrative ministry or job than us.

It isn’t fair, is it?

However, one doesn’t have to read very much scripture to understand even God’s “favorites” weren’t perfect, and were held accountable to doing things God’s way. Let’s look at a few of God’s “favorites” and see if there are some things we may identify with.

The first one, of course, is Adam.

Gen 1:26-28
26 Then God said,”Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them,”Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Gen 2:7
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Adam was created by the Triune God, after Their likeness (spirit, soul, and body – 1 Thes. 5:23). God’s best creation was given authority over all the earth as God’s representative. God blessed Adam and his wife with everything that pertained to life and godliness. All they had to do was walk in the instruction of the Lord God.
Imagine how proud Father God must have felt! Walking around the garden with Adam, hearing the angels say to Him, “my, Adam looks just like You!” “A chip off the ol’ block”. “I do believe Adam has his Father’s eyes.” You know, things you like to hear as a parent.

But Adam failed to obey completely. Genesis 3 states that Eve was tempted by the serpent and, giving in to the suggestions and insinuations the serpent made, took the fruit from the forbidden tree, took a bite, then gave the fruit to her husband who was standing right beside her. This may not mean much to you, but I believe that while Eve was tempted, Adam sinned willingly. He knew what God had said to him and disobeyed anyway. Ever done anything like that?

Anyway, their wrong doing started mankind on a course of destruction which has affected every human being since. Paul wrote that “death reigned from Adam…”(Rom 5:14), and so it is still today.

The next favorite of God’s we’ll look at is Moses. The great prophet of God, Moses. The leader of the children of Israel. The mighty deliverer, worker of miracles, signs, and wonders. The one whom the Lord spoke with face to face (Ex. 33:11). The one commissioned by the Lord Jehovah to bring the children out of bondage into a land flowing with milk and honey. Moses, who stood boldly before Pharaoh and said with Heaven’s authority, “Let My people go!”

It was this Moses who killed an Egyptian, hiding him in the sand. Wrong number one. And in order to keep from standing trial, Moses took off to the back side of the desert. Wrong number two. Later on, he did wrong number three and had to finish his ministry a little early.

Our third example of a favorite of God is Jonah, the prophet. The Lord had used Jonah as a prophet before his great Nineveh crusade (2 Kings 14:25). Jonah had grown to recognize the voice of God and the heart of God. As a matter of fact, because Jonah knew the heart and nature of God, he decided to not have any part of the Nineveh revival.

So Jonah did wrong. He ran.

The last favorite we’ll look at, for now, is Peter. One of the first disciples handpicked by the Lord Jesus. Peter was the one who gave his boat to Jesus’ ministry. He’s the one who stepped out of that boat and walked on the water to Jesus. Peter is known to many as the loud mouthed disciple; the one who always said more than he should. But Jesus didn’t see him that way. He saw Peter as someone who was beginning to understand who He was and how Jesus fit into his present world view. Peter is the one who said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus didn’t rebuke him for shooting off his mouth. No, He blessed him.

But Peter did wrong. He denied the Lord.

Each of God’s favorites had a time in their life when they failed Him. They did wrong. But wrong won’t necessarily keep you from God. Oh, I realize He is Holy and dwells in the light no man can approach, but read this again and mark it down.

Wrong won’t necessarily keep you from God.

Of course, none of the favorites can hold a candle to King Manasseh, where wrong doing is concerned. Neither can we. That should make us feel real good about ourselves since we’re not as bad as someone else. But just because there’s someone “worse” doesn’t guarantee us good standing with the Lord. God doesn’t grade on a curve.

There’s a phrase I’ll use throughout this book; a phrase to help us approach God with faith and humility. The phrase:

“there is no one too good to not need Him, and no one too bad to receive Him.”

Whether Manasseh, Peter, or your sweet, godly old grandmother; everyone needs God. Including you and I.

Have you ever stopped to consider that YOU are one of God’s favorites? If you are alive and living on planet earth, YOU are a favorite of God. How do I know? God showed us by the offering of His Son.

I understand that truth now. But for a good while I didn’t. I was frustrated, jealous, sometimes just plain mad. I felt others were getting a better deal from God than I was. I felt they were the favored ones. Guess what? Just like a kid acts up to get attention, I’ve had my times of acting up, though maybe unconsciously, to try and get Father’s attention or approval.

Bad thing. It feeds the flesh and sows seeds of doubt, bitterness, and discord. Trouble is inevitable.

Trouble is very much a part of my story, but not the whole story. My story includes me acting out my longing for attention, whether the attention of my parents or my God. It can be seen through the life of the younger prodigal, trying to make it big but living small. Trying to be everyone else’s favorite but not realizing I had a place in God’s heart all along.

I was well on my way to throwing away everything for the approval of a few, not understanding the offer God really had for me. Not realizing my value, my place in Him.

The story of the prodigal is next. I want each of us to know how the Father looks at each of His kids. The good ones and the bad ones. Take a good look at the One Who keeps looking at us. How does He see us. How far can He see us? Can we run too far for Him to see? How far can He reach? How do we treat those worse than us, when it appears God’s not seeing things correctly? How come others get the goodies, and we’re stuck with all the work?

A Story continues…

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