Monday, October 26, 2009

A Church in Action II

We continue our study on the church. We have seen that our Lord began the church with His disciples. We have studied some promises our Lord made to the church, and we left off examining in Acts 2, a New Testament church in action. A model, in many ways, for our churches today. We read how that the church should be
1. A Place where the Gospel is Preached (vs. 22-36)
2. A Place of Holy Ghost Conviction (vs. 37)
3. A Place with proper leadership (vs. 37-38)

At this point we began to look at proper leadership, a place I believe many of our churches lack in today. We saw our Lord's qualifications for a pastor, and left off with qualification number 16 from 1 Timothy 3
16. One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (vs. 4) Realizing the principles and severity of our Lord's qualifications, we must take this one serious. Thus far, we have covered 15 qualifications in 3 verses. This one qualification itself takes two verses to administer. God takes this serious. I know there are arguments from all sides, but isn't it sad that we can just take the previous 15 qualifications without discussion or argument, but this one cause so much division? I realize that my children are young and I have already been 'warned' that I may eat my words, but I like to think I can stand on God's promises. Here are the facts about this qualification:
a. Need to rule our own house well. We ought to be able to be a Biblical father, husband, laborer, steward, financier, home repair man...take care of the house and home.
b. Have our children in subjection with all gravity. A pastor's children should be in subjection (obedience) with all gravity (the word gravity is defined as 1) the characteristic of a thing or person which entitles to reverence and respect, dignity, majesty, sanctity
2) honour, purity)
A pastor's child, while not perfect, should be one that has learned obedience and subjection to our Lord and His Word and is saved, reverent, respectful to the things of God. Lives a life of honour and purity to our Lord Jesus Christ. Titus 1:6 states it this way, "having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly." This indeed is a great responsibility. People will cry, "That's a high standard!" Shouldn't a pastor hold just that? The reality, I believe, is taught in the very next verse (vs. 5). If we as pastors cannot take care of our home, can not raise our own children whom we live with every day to serve can we take care of the church and train others to do so? Then comes the arguments:
"Children have a free will!"Yes, and so does everyone in our churches. That is God's point. If we can't influence our own children who we live with to do right, how can we expect to influence others?
Eli "restrained not" his sons.I guess the argument is, if he would have tried to restrain them that God would not have removed Eli? Really? Is that the best we can do? The word restrain there means "to grow weak or to grow faint." Had Eli done his job as a father, he would have broken their sinful will. He would have weakened their rebellious spirit. In other words, Eli was removed because He didn't train them right. And, can we really use a Temple priest as a model for a New Testament pastor? Can we use the Temple as a model for a New Testament church? While I am sure there are principles, they are completely different entities."God was a Father to Adam and Eve and they didn't do right!" Really? The excuse we will use is justifying our self by a 'failure of God?' Doesn't it just seem wrong? For those who love justifying that, then lets be technical: Adam and Eve were grown adults and not children. Theirs was not a matter of a life of disobedience, but rather an act of it. No child, even a pastor's child will be perfect, it is the act of subjection and obedience and reverence to the Word of God that is expected. It is sad we even have to 'defend God' so that pastor's can justify their wrong. I just think that an honest examination of this passage in 1 Timothy reveals that pastors should be above reproach and an example in all areas to the church. Greater and wiser men than I will argue many points, and I believe we all should just stop and read the verse and follow it.
17. Not a Novice (vs.6) A pastor should be one who has matured in the things of God and not a babe in Christ. The danger, as our Lord puts it here, is that a novice will be lifted up with pride thinking himself to be something, and it is then the Devil has his way.
18. Must have a good report of them which are without. (vs. 7) The pastor should have a good testimony with the lost. Not that he is going to be loved and never offensive, but that he is known for being honest, have character, and a good man. The Word of God, which he should preach, is offensive and is sure to make the world upset at times, but the person is one that has lived a life demanding respect for the Lord.
Titus 1 gives us a few more qualifications which we will quickly list:
19. Steward of God.
20. Not self willed (vs. 7)
21. Not soon angry (vs. 7)
22. Holding fast the Word as he hath been taught...sound doctrine...convincing the gainsayers. (vs. 9) When a pastor leaves sound doctrine, he disqualifies himself from being a pastor. Every pastor should be able to use the Word of God effectively. Our Churches suffer from a lack of proper leadership!

The church in Acts 2 was also:
4. A Place for Families to be strengthened. (vs. 39) A church should be a harbor for the home. A place where each can be taught their Biblical role, exercise their Biblical duties, and build their faith. The Word taught in our churches should be promises and principles that are true for dad and mom, brother and sister, grandchildren, and generations to come. It is sad how many of our young people are lost to the world right from a church pew. It was not so with this church.
5. A place of Godly living (vs. 40) The world then and now was indeed an 'untoward' generation. The word there means 'crooked, perverse.' The church ought to be a place that saves people from that kind of life. Holiness seems today to be viewed as what is keeping folks from church; in Acts 2 it was seen as the reason to come to church. We've come along way?.....

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