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The Call to Lead the Church: Elders

The Call to Lead  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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INTRODUCTION: What Does the Bible Say?

Since there are several who are new to this congregation, AND because folks come from varied backgrounds, AND because we have announced that we are in the process of nominating and selecting leaders, I felt it necessary to spend a few weeks addressing what the Scriptures say concerning, “The Call to Lead the Church!”
We begin with the ELDERS: Who are they and what do they do? What are they supposed to do? "WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REALLY SAY?" - Prayer
The term "elder" - from PRESBUTERION or PRESBUTERIOS - Used 70 times in N.T.
Refers to...someone who is old ...O.T. Patriarchs (Abraham, Issac, Jacob, etc.) ...Rulers of the nation of Israel ...the leaders of a city ...24 elders in Revelation.
"WHAT ABOUT IN THE CHURCH?" - 16 of the 70 refers to the Church Leaders!
This morning we will look at the PLACE of Elders in the Teaching of the NT; and the SERVICE of Elders—What Do They Do?
Next week we will consider their selection—Who Can Serve as an Elder? And finally, the issue of SUBMISSION—How does God expect the congregation to respond to them?
Two weeks from today we will address the Deacons & Deaconesses.

I. The PLACE of Elders in the TEACHING of the N.T.

A. PAUL - (, )
Oversight
Shepherd
Protect from False Teachers! - Rarely taught as a function of elders.
B. JAMES - ()
C. PETER - ()
All three refer to ELDERS (plural) of a Church (singular). Cf. ()
When people ask, "What is the main leadership structure of a local church?"
According to the Bible, it is the ELDERS, not the deacons.
· Deacons are mentioned, but NO WHERE are they put in the place of leadership that you find in the Bible for ELDERS.
· When a deacon is in the leadership position of an elder, you diminish the office of BOTH!

II. The Service of Elders – “What Do They Do?”

A. They are to SHEPHERD the Flock of God! ()
1. Provides spiritual nourishment – (vv.1-2)
2. Ministers restoration – (v.3a)
3. Models righteousness – (v.3b) – You can’t guide someone where you’ve never been!
4. Provides comfort & protection – (v.4)
5. Provides for assurance & maturity – (vv.5-6)
B. They are to DIRECT THE AFFAIRS (RULE) of the Church of God! ()
A good question at this point would be, “What does it mean to ‘direct the affairs of the Church?’”
This is the same word used in (3:4-5) – προί̈στημι, Lit. – ‘having taken the lead’
In classical Greek the word meant “to stand before or over,” and is used of those who “stood before” and army in order to lead or of those who “stood over” the affairs of government.
According to ()“…if it is leadership, let him govern diligently”, it is listed as a spiritual gift.
This word is used eight times; all in Paul’s letters—four times in 1 Timothy.
()“…who are over you in the Lord”
Interestingly, the Scriptures give more insight into what ruling is NOT!
()
“NOT because you must, but willing”
“NOT greedy for money, but eager to serve”
“NOT lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”
()
The Elders are to be SERVANT-LEADERS (just like JESUS)!
C. They are to LAY HANDS on GIFTED LEADERS! ()
They empower people for ministry! (cf. )
It is the responsibility of the eldership to recognize and empower spiritually gifted believers for ministry!
The reason I am in the preaching ministry today is that three different elder-boards (Church of Christ in Livingston, MT, First Church of Christ, Bluffton, IN, and Northwest Christian Church in Tampa, FL) both exhorted me and encouraged me to preach!
() = CAUTION!!
D. They are to ADMONISH/WARN believers! ()
Most difficult of all tasks of a Leader! The tendency is to ‘comfort the unruly’ “Whatever you want…just don’t be angry!”
() How often is this done? Again, the tendency is to pacify a divisive person.
E. PRAY FOR & ANOINT the SERIOUSLY ILL! ()
Whether you believe this or not - IT SHOULD BE DONE!!
F. The are to LEAD OTHERS BY THEIR EXAMPLE! ()
Continued next week…
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