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Follow the Leader

We Are The Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Slide #1
Slide #2-4
Ephesians 4:11–14 ESV
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
The church was growing. Over three thousand people were added to the Body of Christ on Pentecost. Daily the members would meet in the temple courts and then Luke tells in Acts that they were meeting in homes and sharing a meal together and growing in Christ. Daily God would add people to their numbers. God was doing amazing things in Jerusalem.

This is God’s Word for God’s People, Hear it and Believe

Pray

The Early Leadership

Simple Beginnings

Slide #5
The church was growing. Over three thousand people were added to the Body of Christ on Pentecost. Daily the members would meet in the temple courts and then Luke tells in Acts that they were meeting in homes and sharing a meal together and growing in Christ. Daily God would add people to their numbers. God was doing amazing things in Jerusalem.
The leadership structure of this group was pretty simple. The apostles were still around and so Peter was leader of the this group. I am sure that the apostles would meet together on a regular basis to share the stories of what God was doing among the people and to seek the Holy Spirit.

An Issue Arises

Slide #6
Fast forward a few chapters in Acts chapter 5 and we find a major issue arising in the church. People were selling their possessions and giving it to this growing group of believers. Two people, Ananias and his wife Sapphira, wanted to also do so, but instead of giving all the money to the church they lied and kept a portion. When confronted by Peter they lied and the Holy Spirit dealt with their lying, by taking their life. This event increased the esteem of the Apostles, even though it was the Holy Spirit that dealt with the issue.

Problems Again Surface

Slide #7
In Chapter 6 of Acts we find another issue arising amongst this group of disciples. There were some that felt that certain widows were not being taken care of. So the Apostles gathered everyone together and instructed them to choose seven men to help take care of the daily issues of the group while the Apostles spent their time teaching and praying. Here we see the first separation of duties among the leadership of the group in Jerusalem.
Slide #8
God’s word continued to increase, so much so that many of the Jewish priests became obedient to the faith. ()
But this group of Jesus followers was not fulfilling what Jesus had told them to do. Jesus had told them to “make disciples of all nations.” And while some of those saved at Pentecost returned to their home cities and began small gatherings, the Great Commission was not progressing.
But this group of Jesus followers was not fulfilling what Jesus had told them to do. Jesus had told them to “make disciples of all nations.” And while some of those saved at Pentecost returned to their home cities and began small gatherings, the Great Commission was not progressing. So God in His wisdom sent persecution to disperse the church among the nations.
Slide #9
So God in His wisdom allowed persecution to disperse the church among the nations.
So now we have groups springing up all over Middle East. At some time Peter steps down from his leadership role in Jerusalem and Jesus’ half-brother James takes over as leader. Peter begins to travel and it is also during this time that Saul is confronted by Jesus on the Damascus road and becomes Paul.
But as awesome as this time was they were not fulfilling what Jesus had told them to do.

Church at Antioch

Slide #10
A group of believes began to gather in Antioch, which today is in Turkey. This group was growing and in , the leaders in Jerusalem send Barnabas to investigate.
Slide #11
He finds that God is moving in Antioch, and goes and find Paul to Tarsus to help him teach this growing body of believers. It is here where we first see the term Christian applied to believers in Christ.
There was a famine in the land during this time and the different body of believers send financial assistance to the brothers in Judea. They do this by the and of Barnabas and Saul and they take this help to the elders in Jerusalem.
tells us that there were prophets and teachers in Antioch. We see the first sign of an autonomous leadership group with some ties to the leadership in Jerusalem. After a few years, Paul and Barnabas are sent by these leaders in Antioch to begin their missionary journeys to plant churches.
After a few years, Paul and Barnabas begin their missionary journeys to plant churches. When the church was mainly in Jerusalem the leadership structure was simple, but as the church expanded it became impossible to lead a widespread, constantly expanding group of believers in an effect way. While Paul was planting and guiding the Gentile churches, He was acting as their leader. But this could only go on for so long. Ultimately a different leadership structure was needed and Paul borrows from the Jewish structure of leadership, since of course he was Jewish. And in
When the church was mainly in Jerusalem the leadership structure was simple, but as the church expanded it became impossible to lead a widespread, constantly expanding group of believers in an effect way.
So at this point we have the following structure in the church:
Slide #12
Apostles - Spiritually led the church through prayer and teaching
Slide #13
Elders - Assisted the Apostles in spiritually leading the church
Slide #14
Deacons - nurtured church unity through by caring for the logistic, administrative, and physical needs of the church.
Slide #15
Galatians
Galatians 1:11–12 ESV
For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
As the church grew and the Apostles were either martyred or died,
As the church grew and the Apostles were either martyred or died, we find the elders taking on a more prominent role in the leadership of the church.
Slide #16
we find the elders taking on a more prominent role in the leadership of the church.
Slide #17
Paul was imprisoned, but he continues to guide the churches through trustworthy men that he has placed in positions of leadership. Timothy is one of these men. In Paul’s writings we have the greatest handbook on what it means to lead the church. We do not have time today to cover every detail of Paul’s instructions on elders and deacons, but I suggest you prayerfully read 1 Timothy and Titus. You will get a good picture of what the leadership of the church should look like and how the church itself should be acting.

How Should the Church be Structured?

No matter what structure is chosen for a church, Jesus must be the head of the church.
There are many ways that the leadership of a church can be structured, but not all of them are Biblical.
There are many ways that the leadership of a church can be structured, but not all of them are Biblical.
Slide #18
There are some who believe that the Senior Pastor should be the last word and is the “man in charge.” These churches are usually staff led. While this might look like the early church with Peter in charge, this is not a Biblical form of church leadership.
Slide #19
Some have gone the other direction by having the congregation be in charge of running the church. While this may solve the problem of a heavy handed Senior Pastor, it too is not a Biblical form of church leadership structure.
Some have gone the other direction by having the congregation be in charge of running the church. While this may solve the problem of a heavy handed Senior Pastor, it too is not a Biblical form of church leadership structure.
Slide #20
As the church grew in prominence in society, especially in the western world, more and more people with experience in the corporate world began to be involved in the church. They brought with them the secular idea of how an organization is structured. People are elected to a position of leadership on a committee or board and they make all the decisions for the church. This too is not a biblical structure.
Slide #21
What we find in the Bible is a structure of elders and deacons.
Acts 14:23 ESV
And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Acts
In Titus we find Paul appointed Titus to appoint elders:
Slide #22
Titus 1:5 ESV
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—
Titus
After much prayer and discussion on this subject of church leadership, we have begun the process of appointing elders. This has been a process that has taken us 2 years to get to this point. And while we do not have elders in place, we do have what we are calling Elders-in-training.
We have two men and their spouses who have agreed to spend the next 8 months growing spiritually in their walk with Jesus and to submit to a close examination of their walk and their life. They are Seth Turrin and Jeff Klitz.
My charge to you as the Body of Christ is to pray for them and their families often. We also want to give you a chance to speak into the lives of these men and their families. If after prayerfully reading 1 Timothy you believe either one of these men do not qualify for eldership, we would ask that you approach myself or one of the deacons and we will go with you to discuss with either Jeff or Seth what you see as a disqualification for eldership.

What Do the Elders Do?

Slide #25

What Do the Elders Do?

This is a question that many church members may have about those who are leading the church.
An overarching answer comes from the verses I started with today.
Slide #26
Ephesians 4:12–13 ESV
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

Why does God give us leaders?

Ephesians 4:11–14 ESV
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Ephesians 4:11-

Why does God give us leaders?

To build up the body of Christ until we are fully mature in Christ. There is a lot more here, but for now this short answer will suffice for our question of what elders do.
Remember that elders moved into the leadership position of the Apostles, so looking at we can see that the Apostles were praying and ministering the Word. This is the main responsibility of the Elders
Slide #27
Elders teach, pray, and serve so that their brothers and sisters might know Jesus more intimately, obey him more faithfully, and reflect His character more clearly, both individually and as a church family.
Remember that elders moved into the leadership position of the Apostles, so looking at we can see that the Apostles were praying and ministering the Word. Elders are to be praying and teaching.
Healthy mature believers reproduce themselves spiritually as they share the Gospel with others and help others grow in Christ.
Slide #28
Maturity in Christ is the goal.
I want to share with you what Paul shares with Timothy.
Slide #29
Teach what? The elders are to teach what it means to walk in Christ. I want to share with you what Paul tells Timothy.
2 Timothy 2:14–26 ESV
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
And he also shares similar instructions with Titus
2 Timothy 2:14-26
Slide #30
Titus 3:1–11 ESV
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
Titus 3:
That is what the Elders should be and set the example for the whole church to follow.
Slide #31
As Paul said , follow me as I follow Christ.
Let’s pray
Let’s pray
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