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Relationships: Elders

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Intro- So far we have discussed the relationships that God wants us to have with our parents, in our marriages, and with other christians (Fellowship.) Today we are going to talk about the relationship that God wants us to have with our elders.
Discussion: For those of you who have elders in your home congregation, How many do you have? Can you name them? What all do they do for the church that you know about?
What are elders?
It is important that we look at what the Bible teaches about elders so we understand what they are in God’s eyes
The Greek word for “elder” is translated in several different ways in the Bible that helps us understand what God had in mind for them.
“Elder” or “Bishop”- means one who is older in the faith
“Overseers” - One who is to oversee the work
“Shepherds”- One who is to lead and protect the flock
Elders have tremendous amounts of responsibility. In order to make sure the man is up to the task, God set forth qualifications for these men. Not just anyone can fulfill that task. He gives us a list of qualifications in as well as . The qualifications are as follows.
Desire the position
Above reproach
Husband of one wife
Able to teach
Not a drunkard
Not violent, but gentle
Not quarrelsome
Not a lover of money
Manage his own household well/ submissive and obedient children
Not a recent convert
Well thought of by outsiders
Must not be arrogant or quick tempered
Must not be greedy
Must be a lover of good
Must be disciplined
What should our relationship with our elders look like?
James A. Garfield, twentieth President of the United States, resigned as an elder of the church of Christ in 1881 to take office. It is reported on that occasion he said, “I resign the highest office in the land to become President of the United States.”
James A. Garfield, twentieth President of the United States, resigned as an elder of the church of Christ in 1881 to take office. It is reported on that occasion he said, “I resign the highest office in the land to become President of the United States.”
Don’t let that go in one ear and out of the other without a thought. An elder in the Lord’s church viewed becoming president as a demotion. He understood that there was not an office that was more important than shepherding souls of the church.
If you are wanting to take lessons on how to be a better athlete, musician, artist, mechanic… You would likely be more willing to listen to a professional in that field who has accomplished a great deal than you would listen to someone who has never done anything in that field.
When you examine the qualifications of an elder, one thing is clear, This man did not live this life on accident. He lived his live intentionally.
Men who have lived a life that qualifies them to shepherd God’s people, deserve our respect.
Just like a child has to learn to trust their parents (even if they really don’t want to) Christians, must trust and follow our elders.
One of the qualifications of an elder is that they are not a recent convert and that they are not a novice. This means that they have “been around the block” a few times and they know what they are talking about.
There are times that congregations have had tremendous heartache because an individual or a group of individuals decided to not listen to the elders. The last thing any child of God should want is to do harm to the church that Jesus died for.
This comes naturally when we realize the awesome responsibility that the elders have taken upon themselves… to shepherd our souls.
We live in a world that is constantly looking for “new” ways to do evil things, and yet we have men (Elders) who have volunteered to be responsible for our souls.
Most children after growing up and leaving home slowly begin to realize all that their parents have done for them throughout the years that they have simply taken for granted. It is usually at this point that love and respect grows even more for their parents. It is healthy for us as Christians to meditate on what our elders are doing for us.
Providing us with Bible class material and teachers
Making sure we have biblical classes and sermons
Caring for our sick
Visiting member who are fading away
Praying for the church
Sending us to church camp...
They do all these things and so much more because they care about our eternity.
Goal setting
For young children and young adults, sometimes it is hard to imagine ourselves as being “the leaders” one day, but the fact of the matter is, that day is coming.
For young men:
As you look at your elders, it should be your goal to live a life that qualifies you to take their place when you are needed.
One of the saddest things in the church is when a congregation does not have elders because there aren’t any qualified men in the congregation.
Resolve in your heart that you will not let the Lord down in this regard. If you attend a congregation in the future that does not have elders, you make sure that it is not because you aren’t qualified.
For young ladies:
As you think about a future husband, can you think of a better husband than one who meets the qualifications of an elder?
What could possibly bless your life more than marrying a man who cares about eternity, instills faith in your children, is faithful to you, is hospitable, a good teacher, self-controlled, well thought of by everyone… etc…
When we look at elders, we do a disservice if we only think about elders that are currently in place without thinking of how we can encourage the future eldership to be who God needs them to be.
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