Chapter EIGHT CHRIST – ORDAINED THE Church
“Ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.” *** Psalm 135:2
The Psalmist proclaimed, “Ye that stand in the house of the Lord….” The house of the Lord is our bodies. The word stand is the Hebrew word AMAD and means “to remain, to endure and to take one’s stand”. If we have taken our stand to serve our God with our whole being, not only will we remain and endure, but we will stand in the courts of His presence in the house of our God.
We will receive the house of our God when our bodies are changed. Now we are tabernacle, a temporary dwelling place covered with skin. When we are changed, we will be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven (Spiritual Realm). *** II Corinthians 5:2
If we are to stand in the courts of His presence, we must be changed. No flesh will enter into His presence, *** I Corinthians 1:29. There is a day of change, and that is the third day which Jesus spoke of, when He will raise up His temple, His permanent dwelling place that He will inhabit forever. The courts of His presence is our promise. But we must come into His order so there may be order in His court. The question many are asking today is, “What is wrong with the church? There is no power, no love, no teaching and no life.” The answer should be obvious. These things are true in the church because there is no order, or there is the wrong order. As we study to see how God ordained the church to operate, and as we examine how the church operates, it is hard to realize it is the same institution God ordained on the day of Pentecost when the church began.
To look at some basic facts concerning the church:
# 1 The church is made up of homes: husband, wife and children.
If the home is not in order, there can never be order in the church. If the husband is not subject unto Christ as His head, and if the wife is not submitted unto her husband and the children are not in subjection to their parents, how can order be established in the church? Under these conditions, the church cannot come into order. This condition only leads to confusion, division and failure.
# 2 If the church is not founded and does not operate by the order that God has set, how can God bless what goes on in the church? He cannot.
# 3 If Christ is not the head of the church, how can His purpose be accomplished without His direction? His purpose cannot be accomplished.
Through His Word, God has revealed what He expects His church to be, how it is to operate and what His purpose for the church is. Then, and only then, can we come into that order. Then, and only then, can God bless and accomplish His purpose in the church.
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Saviour of the Body.” *** Ephesians 5:23
Christ is the head, KEPHALE, of the church, EKKLESIA, the assembly of the Called Out Ones. He is the Saviour (deliverer and preserver) of the Body; those who are called out of darkness into His marvellous light. *** I Peter 2:9
“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” *** Ephesians 5:24
The church is to be subject, HUPPOTASSO (to be ranked under), to Christ. How much of the church is to be subject unto Christ? The whole church, none missing, none lacking. We are to be subject to, or ranked under. This is God’s established order for the church to follow. The prophet Isaiah wrote of the coming Messiah,
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” *** Isaiah 9:6
“The government shall be upon His shoulder.” When God established His church, Christ became the head of it. He did not become the head and shoulders of it. Isaiah wrote that His government (or rulership) would be on His shoulder. Shoulders are the sign of strength. The shoulders are the closest part of the body to the head. The arms of service and the hands of ministry are attached to the shoulders. Isaiah was speaking of the establishment of the leadership that God would set in His Body.
“God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” *** I Corinthians 12:28
Government is a gift that God has set in His Body. God will raise up those into leadership whom He has given the gift of government. Isaiah went on to state,
“Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” *** Isaiah 9:7
There will be no end to the increase of His government. The word increase means “great number or multitude”. There will be no end to the government God establishes. God’s government was to be established upon the throne of David. The first scripture in the New Testament declares Jesus to be the son of David.
“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” *** Matthew 1:1
“Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” *** Romans 1:3
Jesus was of the seed of David according to the flesh. While Jesus was in the flesh, He would be called the Son of David. Mary was in the lineage of David. When the angel appeared to Mary, she was informed,
“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David.” *** Luke 1:32
Jesus would occupy the throne of His father, David. He would establish His kingdom upon the throne of David. And of the increase of this government, there would be no end. His government began in Jerusalem, then spread throughout all Judaea, then to Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth, *** Acts 1:8. Jesus declared this unto His disciples before He ascended off the earth. When the Pharisees demanded of Jesus when the kingdom of God should come, Jesus answered,
“The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” *** Luke 17:20-21
The kingdom is within us and it is coming into being without observation. Jesus had earlier stated to His disciples,
“But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.” *** Luke 9:27
It should be obvious to all that none of His original twelve disciples are around to see His kingdom age. When Jesus informed them that some standing there would not taste of death until they would see the kingdom of God, was Jesus confused? Did He not understand what He was saying? Or was He speaking a spiritual truth that they could only see with their spiritual eyes?
How could His disciples see the kingdom of God that comes within, without observation? His kingdom and the beginning of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy would become reality on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would begin to bring kingdom ideas, kingdom principles and kingdom order to light in them. It was the Holy Spirit who would lead them into all kingdom truths and order.
On the day of Pentecost, they that walked with Jesus and had been His disciples (learners, students), would become His Apostles (the ones who were sent). These became the head of God’s new government that He established on the earth. They were called “elders”. The word elder is PRESBUTEROS and has the meaning of being older than another person. In leadership, it means “rank or position”. When the Apostles became the head of the assembly in Jerusalem, they retained the title of Apostle.
“And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.” *** Acts 15:4
When Paul and Barnabas came to Jerusalem to get a decision on whether the new non-Jewish converts should be circumcised, they were received of the church as apostles and elders. Though the Apostles retained their apostleship, they were also called Elders. We must remember that the 12 Apostles knew nothing of church leadership. There was no “church” until the day of Pentecost. These were fishermen, tax collectors and young men who had no prior experience in leadership. On the day of Pentecost they were thrust into leadership. A multitude of people were being converted, and with them a multitude of problems.
The most natural thing for the Apostles to do was to establish a priesthood. This was the only religious system they had known. The Law of Moses had been taught to them all their lives as the only law of God. But, praise the Lord, these men, who had walked with Jesus and who had been endued with power from on high, knew only one avenue to take, and that was to seek the Holy Spirit’s direction in all things. When problems arose, they asked for His guidance.
The first major problem that arose in the newly established church concerned the Grecians who thought their widows were being neglected. They got very angry at the Hebrews. After seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance in prayer, the apostles began to set proper order in the church,
“The twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the Word of God, and serve tables.” *** Acts 6:2
The Elders were to be given totally to the Word of God. In addition to giving themselves totally to the Word of God, they were to,
“Give themselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word.” *** Acts 6:4
The Elders’ time was to be totally given to the Word of God and to be in continual prayer and ministry of the Word. What a different attitude than that of Moses, who, from sun up to sun down, sat hearing the people’s problems. Jethro, Moses’ father- in-law, counseled Moses,
“Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.” *** Exodus 18:18
This new government that God ordained in the earth was not to be a one-man show. The Elders told the multitude of disciples,
“Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.” *** Acts 6:3
The Holy Spirit directed the Elders as to how to solve this problem. They were to seek out seven men with these qualifications,
# 1 They must have an honest report
# 2 Be filled with the Holy Spirit
# 3 Must have wisdom; godly wisdom
These chosen men were to do the labour in the ministry. They would be defined later as deacons.
From the beginning, God established His order for leadership. He has never altered or changed that order. There are only three types of people in the church:
Leaders – Elders
Labourers – Deacons
Learners – Disciples
The leaders are to train the labourers to be leaders and the disciples to be labourers. We are informed in the Scriptures,
“No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” *** John 6:44
God never calls anyone without having a plan and purpose for his or her life to be used in His service. God has a design and purpose for everyone in the church; the assembly, the Body of believers. Today, many leaders have designated the Body to be pew-warmers, fit for nothing but to fill seats and collection plates.
In the beginning of the church, God laid out the basic design of what His church should be, how it was to operate and the purpose God had designed for it. The prophet Isaiah spoke that there would be no end to His government. *** Isaiah 9:7
Government is a gift of God and is also a calling of God. Many leaders in the church today have not been called of God, nor do they have the gift of government. So they run the church the only way they know how, by the system of government that rules over the land they live in. This is more evident in the United States than anywhere else in the world.
Many churches are run as democracies, where the pastor is voted in by the people. The elders, deacons, boards, committees, trustees and others are voted in by the people. Many churches have the custom of voting in their pastor every year to decide whether to keep him or not. The question arises, “Where in the Bible are they told to do this?” They are not. There is not one scripture that even suggests that this practice is of God. If the pastor they have was put there by God, what right do the people have to vote him out? If he was not put there by God, what is he doing there in the first place? All this has come to pass because we live in the times spoken of by Paul,
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” *** II Timothy 4:3
The people have itching ears and want their ears tickled. If the pastor will not tickle their ears, he will be voted out at the annual meeting. As was stated, many churches have boards, committees and trustees. No such offices existed in the New Testament church. These have been established to run the business of the church, of which God originally ordained the eldership to take care of. When asked about these ungodly offices, we are told, “It’s good business.” It may be good business, but it is out of order.
The church has become more fleshly than spiritual. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “…The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this,” *** Isaiah 9:7. God is zealous for His church. It is His desire that He perform what He wants to accomplish in His Body. But many are so desirous of doing a big work for God that they have forgotten the Head of the corner.
“And He beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?” *** Luke 20:17
The headstone is Christ Jesus; the Anointing. Peter spoke of the Head of the corner,
“Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the Word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” *** I Peter 2:7-8
Christ Jesus, the Anointing in the earth today, has become a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to those who are building their own kingdoms, and operating them as the denominational headquarters dictate, or as they please within themselves. The headship of Christ has become an offence to them. Because of this, they stumble at the Word and are in disobedience to God’s order. They become offended at God because He removes His hand of blessing from their work.
What did God ordain when He started the church on the day of Pentecost? He instituted a life- changing organism that would bring a people back into the image and likeness of God. Paul proclaimed the vision of what God intended the church to become,
“That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” *** Ephesians 5:27
God is desiring for His Body, the True Church, to become a glorious, Spirit-filled, changed Body, free of all spots and wrinkles, holy and without blemish. It goes without saying that the church system has failed to produce such a Body of believers. The church was commissioned to complete the ministry Jesus began when He walked the earth. Jesus proclaimed that ministry when He entered the temple and read from the book of Isaiah,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” *** Luke 4:18-19
When He finished reading this, He closed the book and sat down, *** Luke 4:20. Jesus proclaimed from the book of Isaiah the work the Father had given Him to do. When He had finished the work the Father had given Him to do, He sat down on the right hand of the Father. When Jesus read from the book of Isaiah, He stopped in the middle of a sentence. What Isaiah had written was,
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” *** Isaiah 61:1-2
Jesus stopped reading at “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” There was a job the end time church had to complete. And that is to proclaim the Day of Vengeance of our God and to comfort all that mourn. The completion of the job Jesus left for the church, the church system has failed to accomplish. Instead, the church has become a separated “Bless me” Club, who does not demand change. Paul spoke of this condition in the church at Corinth,
“We dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” *** II Corinthians 10:12
Paul emphatically stated that we are not to be joined to those who commend themselves or measure themselves by themselves. Paul stated that this is not wise. We are to compare ourselves to the image we see in the glass (mirror). We are to desire to change into that image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord, *** II Corinthians 3:18. We are only to compare ourselves to Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to change us, to bring us into the design that He has foreordained for our lives. When we closely examine what is wrong in the church system today, it becomes evident the problem lies in the fact that God’s order for the church has not been followed. Most of those who stand in the pulpits, and those who are in places of leadership, have been trained in denominational seminaries. The candidates for the seminaries are selected with no regard to sex or qualifications. In his letters to Timothy and Titus, Paul gave the qualifications for leadership. Paul wrote to Titus,
“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” *** Titus 1:5
Paul left Titus in Crete to set in order the things that were wanting. The word wanting means “lacking”. What was lacking in Crete and in every city was for the eldership to be established and the church brought into order. Eldership is the only way God intended the church to operate. Elders were always plural, never singular. When speaking of leadership in the church, leadership was never to be placed in the hands of one man.
Paul taught the qualifications for leadership. He listed them in I Timothy and Titus.
The list begins in I Timothy 3:
“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” *** I Timothy 3:1-7
These are added in *** Titus 1:6-9
“If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Holding fast the faithful Word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”
There are two Greek words used to describe leadership, PRESBUTEROS and EPHISKOPE. Presbuteros is translated “elder and presbytery”. EPHISKOPE is translated “bishop and overseer”. No distinction is made in the use of these two words. They both refer to leadership in the Body. Paul listed 26 qualifications for leadership:
1 Desire to be in the service of God
2 Must be a man
3 Must be married
4 Must be blameless (above reproach)
5 Must be vigilant (serious minded)
6 Good behavior (orderly, modest, honest)
7 Given to hospitality
8 Apt to teach (able to handle the Word of life)
9 Not given to wine (abstain from alcohol)
10 No striker (uncontrollable temper)
11 Not greedy of filthy lucre (gain of the world; ill-gotten gain)
12 Patience (gentle)
13 Not a brawler (not to tarry at wine)
14 Must rule his house well. His children must be in subjection. He cannot rule in the church if his home is out of order.
15 Not a novice (not a new convert)
16 Not covetous (not a lover of money)
17 Of good report of them from without (good reputation)
18 Not self willed (self-pleasing self centered, selfish, arrogant)
19 Not soon angry (not quick tempered)
20 A lover of good men (associated with those who love others) 21 Be sober (sound mind, self control)
22 Just (a right standing before God, righteous)
23 Holds fast the Word (knows and lives by the Word)
24 Grave (shows honour and respect)
25 Not double tongued (telling a different story)
26 Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience before God
The first qualification for an Elder is that he must have a desire to be in God’s service, and to become a servant to God’s people. The second qualification for an Elder is that he must be a man. Many churches have women in leadership. Does the Word allow for women in leadership?
As we check the list of qualifications, there are four qualifications that are impossible for women to meet. The first qualification listed: A man who desires the office of a bishop, *** I Timothy 3:1. The second qualification: The bishop is to be the husband of one wife, *** I Timothy 3:2. The fourteenth qualification is: One that ruleth his own house, having his children in subjection. For if a man knows not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God, *** I Timothy 3:4- 5.
Women are not to be the head of the household, nor are they to be the head of the church. The twentieth qualification is: He must be a lover of good men. A woman cannot meet this qualification. God’s order is that the woman is to have her own husband, and her regard is to be toward him. God has established His qualifications for leadership and His order for the Body. Some women choose to ignore God’s order, and go about trying to do the work of God by the order they have established.
The question could be asked, “Does a man have to have all these qualifications working in his life to be raised up into leadership?” The answer is No. But it should be his heartfelt desire to bring them forth in his life. There are some he must have before he can even qualify. The first and most important qualification he must have is the desire to be used in leadership, not to be lifted up in the eyes of man, but to be in service to God and His people. He must be a married man, and as the Apostles and Elders directed, he must have a good report and be filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom, without which it is impossible to rule in the lives of God’s people.
When Solomon was made king over Israel, God asked Solomon what he desired. Solomon’s answer was,
“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this Thy so great a people?” *** I Kings 3:9
All Solomon asked for was an understanding heart so he could judge God’s people. This request was pleasing in the sight of God. This was the promise that God made to Solomon.
“Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.” *** I Kings 3:11-13
Wisdom comes through the Holy Spirit anointing. Leaders must have an understanding heart to rule God’s people. Leaders are a gift of God to His church. Government is also a gift that God instills in His chosen; those who are called in leadership. When Paul wrote to the Romans, he gave an insight into eternity when he stated,
“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” *** Romans 11:29
God will never repent of the calling He has placed upon the lives of His chosen leaders, nor will He withdraw the gift as long as a man be found blameless in the administration of that office. Those who have been called into leadership have an eternal calling in their lives. Those whom God has chosen to be His leaders will reign with Him in the kingdom age to come.
God will never repent of His gifts and calling. Those who teach and learn kingdom principles, kingdom ideas and kingdom order in this time will enter into the courts of God’s presence to stand in the house of the Lord our God.
1. Explain the difference between tabernacle and house of God as it relates to our bodies.
2. If the ________________ is not in order, there can never be order in the ___________________.
3. What does the word “apostle” mean?
4. Where was God’s government to be established?
5. Who leads us into all kingdom truths and order?
6. What was the correct function of the Elders of the early church?
7. a. What are the qualifications for the office of Deacon?
b. What is their function?
8. What 3 types of people are in God’s order in His church?
9. What was and is God’s stated purpose for His true church?
a. As to character? Scripture?
b. As to ministry? Scripture?
10. What New Testament book outlines God’s qualifications for leadership in His church?
11. Does the Word allow for women in leadership?
12. What is the single most important qualification for leadership?