Angelic Conflict part 202: Human history (the Church) – 1Pe 5:1-3; Joh 21:15-22; Eph 4:11-13; Act 20:28; 1Co 12-13.
length: 61:24 - taught on Nov, 22 2013
As we briefly fast forward to the Church age to ask a vital question.
Does the Bible get its authority from the church or the church from the Bible?
The Church is not an organization but an organism comprised of the living and vital body of believers and designed to make known the manifold wisdom of God.
If pastors are humble and have no ulterior motives and trust in the guiding ministry of God the Holy Spirit they will come to the same conclusions about doctrines.
In doing their jobs they will lead believers to walk in the freedom and power that comes through Christ, with G/HS as their true teacher and leader, setting them free from the earthly to a new life in the spheres of the heavenly, resurrected life.
Like an excellent actor in whom only the character is seen and not the actor playing the character, so is the good pastor in whose ministry only Christ is seen while the man melts into the background.
This is not to say that they will all teach in the same method or way or that they will all do the same things in their churches, but God's message to man will be consistent. There will always be minor discrepancies for several reasons. Different personality, different experiences, different emphasis, different levels of Biblical knowledge or personal spiritual growth will cause divergences in method or in minor doctrines, but the majority of the interpretation of God's message will be compatible.
So if we are truly taught by God the Holy Spirit then what is the position or task or role of the pastor teacher and what is the relation of believers to those who have that spiritual gift, given sovereignly by God the HS?
This will be an integral part of our study of the ministries of God the Holy Spirit, specifically the teaching and leading ministries, when we return to Joh 16. A few passages at this point will suffice. The gift of the Spirit was not given to each member of the body of Christ so that they could isolate themselves from the rest of the body, not gathering together, and not being under a pastor teacher. The modern world's technology has changed the lifestyle of people. I would say the printing press, the voice recording, and the internet, though separated by centuries, have become the greatest influences on how believers may receive the word of God. I would also add that the instructions to the early church still stand, despite the technology.
1PE 5:1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,
"elders" - presbu,teroj[presbuteros] = old men [plural] in the sense of authority as being the eldest.
Some take the plurality of the word and believe each church should have a plurality of elders, while others see Peter as penning this letter to multiple churches, which he certainly did, and so the plural noun is used for all the pastors from the churches that the letter will go to.
This word was also used in the gospels for the leaders of the Sanhedrin.
1PE 5:2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;
"oversight" - evpiskope,w[episkopeo] = to look upon, to exercise oversight, to look carefully upon. The noun episkopos means overseer and has been transliterated over time into bishop.
Later on in the CA, the title bishop came to mean a person who oversaw many churches, yet the only title that came with such authority was apostle, which only applied to the 12 and are no longer existent.
This means that the pastor [a term meaning shepherd] overlooks his flock as a shepherd would, but not for butting into their personal lives, but for protection and he does this through his authority to maintain privacy and order in the local church and most importantly through his communication of BD.
1PE 5:3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
"allotted to your charge" - klh/roj[kleros] = to choose by lot, allotted portion. A group of believers allotted by God to a certain PT.
It is this, the title of pastor, that gives the PT his authority in the local church to teach Bible doctrine in the congregation and to set policy in the congregation. Without authority there is no freedom and chaos results.
Every believer must take the responsibility for his own decisions. He must select his own PT through the leading of G/HS and faithfully learn BD from him.
Therefore, the believer must make decisions with regard to his selection of his own pastor/teacher, and his faithfulness in learning Bible doctrine from that pastor/teacher.
The pastor teacher is a worker who does 99% of his work alone and unnoticed as he prepares messages for his allotted congregation. As was the case with the apostles and those they trained as PT's there is face-to-face communication as well as non face-to-face communication.
His authority does not extend beyond the local church and he is not given any right to be in the personal business of others. His authority revolves around the communication of doctrine and the local church's policies.
No church is the ministry of the pastor or anyone else. Each church is of the whole body of believers and it is God's ministry.
It is inevitable that a pastor will have to resist the temptation to think that a ministry is his. No ministry of God belongs to a believer. All ministries belong to God and every believer has the privilege of being used in the potter's hands for a particular personal ministry in their own spiritual gift as well as being a part of a ministry that is a local assembly. Believers put themselves on shaky ground when they take their local assembly for granted and forget that it is a wonderful gift from God.
you shall eat and be satisfied, then watch yourself, lest you forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
JOH 21:15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love [agapao] Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love [phileo] You." He said to him, "Tend My lambs."
JOH 21:16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love [agapao] Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love [phileo] You." He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep."
JOH 21:17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love [phileo] Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him," Lord, You know all things; You know that I love [phileo] You. "Jesus said to him," Tend My sheep.
Peter has stated three times that he has a tender and affectionate love for the Lord and it is certain that this love will be a great aid, benefit, comfort, and motivation to Peter in his ministry. Yet our Lord the first two times asked Peter if he has a virtue love for Him, known by the word agape. Agape is a self-sacrificial love that operates in virtue and sees the value in another. "Peter, do you see the value in Me and are willing to lay down your life for My sheep by teaching them, overseeing them, protecting their souls, and operating in virtue toward them?"
This is necessary because of what Peter is going to go through. Tender affection towards Christ has its place in comforting and motivating, but virtue love is needed for Christ if a believer is going to complete the course of predestination.
I liken this to be much the same as our relationship to the Father in which the Spirit witnesses to our spirit to cry out to Him, "Abba, Father." Abba being the tender and affectionate name for the Father and Father [pater] being the name of honor and obedience.
JOH 21:18 "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go."
JOH 21:19 Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me!"
Is everything in the ministry of the PT or any other ministry amongst believers with their various spiritual gifts going to be pleasant? This is where virtue love is absolutely vital. It operates in virtue and self-sacrifice towards those who don't deserve it because the one loving sees the value in the other and the value of operating in this greatest of all love.
JOH 21:20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His breast at the supper, and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?"
JOH 21:21 Peter therefore seeing him said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?"
JOH 21:22 Jesus said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!"
EPH 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
"pastors" - poimh,n [poimen] = a shepherd, one who tends and herds flocks, used metaphorically of pastors who oversee and feed God's flock.
"teachers" - dida,skaloj[didaskalos] = teachers, instructors, one who expounds the will of God from the scriptures.
These refer to the same gift. The pastor is the one who teaches.
EPH 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
EPH 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.