Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Perhaps What We Know Should Not Be What We Know

Good morning my friends. It is starting to get a bit nippy outside. Some of you have said that you have already had snow. I guess there is no more avoiding it, the seasons have changed. We are continuing with Ephesians 4.

There is a definite order to God's creation. The more scientists look into it the more some of them admit there is an intelligent design. Few of them are willing to recognize the hand behind the design but many make comment to the order of things. So why should it be any different with this beautiful Bride called the Church? There is an order but perhaps not as we see it or understand it.

Most churches have a government that is set up somewhat like the American government. You have the pastor (president) who is over the church who brings in his team to help govern. You have the elders (the Senate), who the pastor appoints, who help with the care of the people. You also have the board of deacons (Congress) who are suppose to look after the physical aspect of things. In some churches a number of these people make up the church board which keeps the pastor accountable. That board often times has the power to hire and fire the pastor. Can I tell you, there is no biblical basis for this set up or any set up of its kind. I would love to take the time and go through all the Scriptures to show you what they say about the church governance but I only have time to look at one particular group this morning; the trainers.

We have set the pastor up in the church to be the everything person yet his role, his purpose, is specific and he is one of a team of people who are put in place as our trainers:

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service. vs 11-12 

Other than Jesus there is no other topic I teach on with as much passion as the Church and her governance. It is not that I think I have the answers but I know that we have it all wrong. It is currently based on man's design and not God's. We are all called, we are all part of the body, we all have our role in the body. Both Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 spell this out for us. Out of all these roles the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers have been given the role as trainers. They are to prepare God's people for works of service. They are not the controllers in the Body because there is only one head. The Spirit does the controlling when we are submitted to him. These trainers can act as councilors and guides, teachers and challengers, provokers and directors but never dictators or ones who force their will on others.

Here's the thing; we can't do it without them. There are those who decide to go it alone but when the Father drew us to the Son he also joined us to the Church. We cannot be formed outside of the Church. We need the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to help in our training to do works of service because this is the first step in the process of growing up spiritually. Without the trainers we cannot progress because the works of service we are trained in lead to:

so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God vs. 12-13

Operating in the works of service we were trained for, which is different than good deeds, builds up the Church both in faith and in knowledge of Jesus. Good deeds have to do with kindness and mercy but works of service is the spiritual work of the Church. That is what we are suppose to be doing, and that is what we need training in. It is true that love is seen in a cup of cold water but how much more in the power of God's healing? This work brings the Church together as one in our faith and knowledge, if we are being trained. This is important because this unity in faith and knowledge takes us to another step:

and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. vs. 13

This unity in faith and knowledge leads to our maturity which allows for the whole measure of the fullness of Christ to be found in us. I dare say there are not a lot of people who have reached this stage despite the number of years of following Jesus because most of the trainers do not understand their purpose. They are too busy building churches and ministries instead of building people. They themselves have received very little training and many have not been called as a trainer. They are great business people and would make wonderful deacons. Others are passionate about looking after people and would make great elders but not many are anointed as a trainer. Without our trainers we cannot know how to operate in the works of service.

We need our trainers to be trainers and not governors and church growers. Some people we call pastors are evangelists, some are prophets. Some who are called evangelists are apostles. We appear to be a very mixed up group. Each calling has a specific purpose and comes with its own anointing. I wish it was possible to get the whole Church to take a collective deep breath, to clear the table and start afresh with the guidance of the Spirit. The least we can do is pray that the Spirit will open our eyes to the Father's will and desire in this matter and then we need to align our desire and will with his. Are we prepared to see all that we have known completely flipped? I am, as long as it is God's design and not man's. I don't know about you but I want the full measure of the fullness of Christ.

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