Posts Tagged ‘ Leadership ’

Nothing New: The Church’s Foundation: Part 4: Legalists

I am currently the Youth Pastor for The Church Next Door in Prescott Valley, AZ. On Sunday, August 11, 2019, I took over teaching the adult Sunday School class (the foundation of why we learn from history) before the regular service. (If you find yourself in North Central Arizona, specifically the Prescott Valley area, come join in from 8:45 to 9:45 AM, and then stay for the singing and sermon at 10!)

The second and third lessons were combined in the post two weeks ago, with a look at when the Church was founded and the various forms of leadership Jesus dealt with. Previous was a look at how he rebuked those in leadership.

Again, here are my notes:

Nothing New: The Importance of Church History

Lesson 5: Christ and the Church’s Foundation – Modern Comparisons

The leadership in the time of Jesus included the entirely secular yet pagan Roman Empire, the hyper-religious Pharisees, the super-compromised Sadducees, the fastidious Essenes, and the rebellious Zealots.

Briefly, how do we see nothing new in our leadership?

Modern comparisons:

  • The Divided leadership (remember that there can be bleed-over from group to group):
    • Pharisees – Got a lot right, but added a lot.
      • Legalism – Follow our rules our way, or you are a heathen
        • Matthew 15:1-9 (quoting Isaiah 29:13)
        • Colossians 2:4-10
      • Expected a Messiah to come, but they were willing to work with the government.
        • Many expected two messiahs: conquering king and reforming high priest
          • Think Ezra and Nehemiah as precursors
      • Very similar to Post-millennial Christians and wanting the religious leadership in charge.
      • Modern equivalents: Roman Catholic, some Lutheran, believers in “Federal Vision” (the Church runs the government), New Apostolic Reformation and their 7 Hills/Mountains

Nothing New: The Church’s Foundation: Part 1 (-ish)

I am currently the Youth Pastor for The Church Next Door in Prescott Valley, AZ. On Sunday, August 11, 2019, I took over teaching the adult Sunday School class before the regular service. (If you find yourself in North Central Arizona, specifically the Prescott Valley area, come join in from 8:45 to 9:45 AM, and then stay for the singing and sermon at 10!)

The second lesson ended up being rather short, so I decided to combine last week with this past week on here. So, here is the second-ish lesson notes:

Nothing New: The Importance of Church History

Lesson 2(a and b): Christ and the Church’s Foundation

When was the Church founded?

“One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do riot mean the Church as we see her spread but through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes I our boldest tempters uneasy.”
-C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, Letter 2, pp. 5-6 (HarperCollins, 1996)

Founded in Eternity, but also in time:

  • Matthew 16:16-18 – Is this the start?
    • Ekklesia – from ek (think of our “ex” or “out of”) and kaleo (kah-leh-oh – “to call or invite”)
      • i.e. “The Called Out Ones” or “The Invited Ones”
      • Not to be confused with Apostle – Apostolos, “Sent one”
  • Acts 2 – Is this the start?
    • Vv. 1-4 – The Holy Spirit is given to the gather believers for the first time
    • Vv. 14-40 – The first sermon is given
    • Vv. 41-47 – The first post-resurrection converts, meeting together, and group worship with new converts.
  • The Church is apostolic:
    • Matthew 28:18-20
    • We have been called out of the world to be sent back into the world.
      • On Christ’s authority
      • 2 Corinthians 5 (especially v. 20)

What did the Church grow from?

  • Roman occupied Palestine
    • Jews wanted freedom from pagan rituals and deities.They expected the Messiah to militarily drive out the pagans.
  • Divided leadership
    • Pharisees (means “separated ones”) – Believed in the full Hebrew canon (our OT), spiritual beings, the resurrection, and strict adherence to the Law.
    • Sadducees – Believed in the Law of Moses, denied spiritual existence, denied a resurrection, were willing to compromise beliefs with the government to avoid confrontation (and stay in power).
    • Essenes – Believed much the same as the Pharisees, but focused more on relationships and community, setting themselves apart to live communally and to copy the Scriptures, fully expecting the Messiah to come soon.
    • Zealots – Much like Essenes, but instead of copying Scriptures sought to fight the occupying government, even by violent means.

Next Time:

Christ confronts each of these groups, and we still see their mirrors today.

Church and Singles

It has become clear to me that there is a need, yes even a longing within the church itself for a revolution. Not a political revolution, but a spiritual one.

Let us first define some terms and ideas so as not to confuse the issue. Most Christians are aware that the “church” in its Biblical definition simply refers to all of the people who believe in Jesus Christ and have trusted in His sacrificial atonement on the cross, and resurrection from the grave.

However, the word “church” is also used to refer to the hierarchical organizational structure, denominational or not. So for the sake of clarity of this post I will be using either the phrase “church organization” or “church hierarchy” to distinguish this from the Biblical usage mentioned above.

The church organization, in its zeal to follow Jesus, and also, to protect itself, has set up its own rules and regulations and thereby, have become a bureaucracy in a sense. There is more red tape and less ministry being done. The church needs to focus on people, not paper; on individuals, not bylaws.

Here is a perfect example of what I mean: The church organizations’ bias against singles in ministry. The apostle Paul, and even Jesus himself taught that, in respect to ministry, being single is at least as good as, if not better than being married because “…One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided…” 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 (see also Matt 19:10-12)

These passages make it clear that being single is not something that should disqualify one for ministry, especially since Jesus and Paul were single. On the contrary, singleness should be looked at with great respect within the church because of the commitment it shows to Christ and His church.

I know whereof I speak, for I myself have been turned down for many positions in ministry based solely on the fact that I am not married. However, this is the life to which the Lord has called me, and I must follow Him rather than please man.

My own pain aside, it is unfortunate that the church is missing so many wonderful, dedicated Christ-following ministers because they assume that verses such as 1 Tim 3:2 and Titus 1:6 mean that one must be married to be in ministry. This is the unfortunate consequence of reading between the lines of scripture…you end up trying to “strain out a gnat” and miss the camel you’ve just swallowed.

First, 1 Tim 3:2 and Titus 1:6 clearly apply only to those selected for the role of “elders.” This is also a bit messy to dissect, so for the sake of time, I will leave that for another post.

Second, these two verses must be reconciled with the aforementioned passages regarding singleness, and therefore should be taken to mean that a person should have no more than one wife. This would exclude anyone who is practicing polygamy, and may or may not apply to those who are divorced and remarried. Knowing the Lord and His Word, it is most likely that Paul is simply forbidding polygamists from holding the role of elder-ship.

Third, we must note also that the Bible does NOT say “an Elder must be married” or “an Elder can not be single,” because that would exclude both Jesus and the Apostle Paul (who, incidentally penned the verses in question), among others.

In conclusion, the church organization must reevaluate its stance on single people holding ministry positions. To deny singles from these positions is to deny the call of God that is on many hearts.

How do you view singleness? Does it actually line up with God’s Word?

About Jesse Walker

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Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 03/18/2012

Winning others for any cause takes good leadership. Usually, the best way is servant-leadership. Here is one idea of what leadership can look like:

What is leadership?

What is leadership?
First, let go and let God

Give up and let God in control

Second, grab hold and let God

Let God guide your life
Take control through Christ

Third, step up and let God

Find friends in Christ
Help each other move
Grow in God together

Fourth, step out and let God

Move out of your comfort zone
Take a friend with you
Reach out to those without
Talk with them about Christ

What is leadership?

Trusting God
Sharing His Word
Loving on others
Diving headfirst
Running towards God
Bringing others

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 47.