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February 26, 2022 2:00 am
Yes, this message's title is a play on the words demon-possessed. Deacons were among the church's earliest leaders and so were elders. Leadership is needed in every sphere of life from governing a nation, managing a business, growing a marriage, and superintending a church. Jesus called the church His church, so no single person or denomination can lay claim to it. But how is the church to operate as an organization? And how is it that some deacons and elders stop being helpful and humble and become downright hurtful?
This teaching is from the series Church? Who Needs It.Links:
This week's DevoMail: https://connnectwithskip.com/devomail
The church as we said before is basically a living organism is more than an organization is much more than an institution. It's a living organism were human beings forgiven, gathered together church life is an organism we must also state that has the organism grows, requires organization's overall and organism. The grows without organization is a blob that will you could skip, I think we can division as we pick back up our series church to have a message about the importance of organization of the church you watch kids play soccer. It's barely controlled chaos and mayhem.
A pack of kids running around a field chasing every ball will compare that with professional soccer like a match of the World Cup. Everyone understands their position, their role in how things are supposed to be organized as a church we need to be more like a pro soccer team that a Little League team if we want to grow and that means we need to get organized skip. Isaac will explain more today study. First, we have a great offer for you this email@example.com. Imagine the challenge Skip is taught over 3500 through the Bible messages we had to pick the top 10 for special resource offer you sample chips are we in the last days.
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The time between the first coming of Christ and the second coming of Christ falls under the designation, the last date. This tower packs of Skip stopped and teachings are messages you want to hear and share one of the things I love about God is he's not complicated. Most truth, you will discover his simple truth, not simplistic truth simple truth when you get $35 or more today will also include linear height six book reload love the history of ministry.
This been helping children victimized by terror on the front lines. Skip stopped in messages on CD plus your copy of reload love by Linda Isaac today. Call 892 1888, give or visit connectwithskip.com marketing. Disaster will be in the book of acts started in chapter 6, so let's join because everything starts this message with a little warning today for church leaders who were all at a conference together and one afternoon these four leaders who were all incidentally from the same town is each other were having a cup of coffee get real honest with each other.
They decided to talk about their personal failures in life.
So the first guy decided to open up, please let me just tell you guys something. I hit the bottle from time to time. I'm not proud of it. I know my congregation wouldn't approve. I even preach against drinking but from time to time. I just can't help it. I have a sip. Second leader said well I guess it's my turn. I have a gambling problem drinking is my problem whenever I travel out of town. I gamble in fact, I usually lose a lot of money. The third leader spoke up and he said neither of those have ever been.
My issue but I do have a problem with being honest in my income tax. See there's extra money I make on the side and I don't report it. It's just that I need the money and I know it's not right but I cheated my income tax while the fourth leader was just sitting there, arms folded, listening the whole time Denise finally spoke up said guys first of all I just want to thank you for being so honest. Second, I want to announce to you that I don't have a drinking problem and I don't have a gambling problem and I am honest with my income tax but he said I do have one vice said I love the gossip and I can't wait to leave here until everyone about you three guys will know leader is perfect just like no church is perfect. I know you've heard it before but if you ever find a perfect church don't join it because you ruin it.
And I also know that people will leave churches because of leadership abuses.
I've heard of it, and I've seen it before. It's also true, however, that pastors will leave churches as well.
In fact, 1600 ministers per month leave the ministry 1600 per month. Why, or can be anything from moral failure to personal burnout. But you might be interested to know that 85% in our recent poll said the greatest problem they face. They said is there sick and tired of dealing with problem people at disgruntled elders, deacons, worship leaders, board members and assistant pastor one confessed and said the trouble with being a leader is you can't be sure whether people are following you or chasing you the title of today's message is a very different titles called the deacon possessed church. I couldn't resist. I was having a conversation with a friend of mine a few years back and he came up with this. He was talking about his own church in the leadership problems.
He said I think I belong to a deacon possessed her and I laughed and I said whets, that's a great title for a book, it certainly could work for a message so that is the name of this message, a deacon possessed church. What I mean is that it is possible at any level of leadership any level pastor Elder deacon board member home leader whatever it is sure to get the focus off Christ and off of God's people and onto your self and your agenda and your little two or group, and church history has been littered with kindest that Jesus said he would build his church. In fact, it could be said the only organization that Jesus ever said that he himself would build would be the church I will build my church, and he wants to build it with servant leaders. Those who will serve one another.
The church as we said before is basically a living organism. It's more than an organization.
It's much more than an institution. It's in a living organism work human beings forgiven gathered together in church life begins. It's an organism, but we must also state that as the organism grows, it requires organization is after all an organism that grows without organization is a blob's organisms as they grow need organization but they must be organized with servant leaders otherwise people will be so turned off. They will leave in droves. Perhaps the saddest example that I can think of is that of Mark Twain raised in the church, raised by a godly mother even married a Christian wife, but he said that he had seen too many elders and too many deacons who were slaveowners and abused their slaves and were foul mouth and though they acted so pious. On Sundays they were so unscrupulous in business. The rest of the week that he said I got turned off, the God turned off to the Bible, turned off to the church and embittered. And if you've read many of his writing Samuel Clemens. Mark Twain you know that to be true turned up he would say church who needs it. So the church can be spirit led if the leaders are spirit led, but it can also become as the title suggests.
Deacon possessed now today I'm to take you to places, acts 20 about first acts chapter 6 ever get a look at three things that servants should be helpful, but servants can be hurtful and finally, servants must be humble. The first are two conditions in the third really is the antidote to the problem and that is humility. Let's begin with the first in acts chapter 6. Let's read the first few verses together now in those days when the number of the disciples was multiplied. Notice the organism is growing. There was a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution, then the 12 these of the apostles summoned the multitude of the disciples and said it's not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business, but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word in the same place the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, fill up progress deacon or Tim and pardon us in the class a proselyte from Antioch when they set before the apostles and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them and then the word of God spread in the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith we have an internal conflict spiritual problem in the first church of Jerusalem and the spiritual problem is met by spiritual people who keep spiritual priorities. One of the tests of leadership is to spot problems before they become full-blown emergency and the apostles did that. Now I believe that Luke who's the writer of this book.
One of the reasons. Luke includes this paragraph of information. In fact, I'll say one of the reasons the Holy Spirit. I believe chose to preserve it is to show why a leadership change was necessary in the early church in Jerusalem and it was indeed and it does change here now. The problem according to the tax developed in the women's ministry.
One group of gals pitted against another group and there was division. I think you know one of the devil's favorite and most predictable tools in ruining churches is dissension that brings division somebody once said there's four main bones of every organization is the wish bones they wish someone else would fix this problem. There's a good job bones. They just talk about the problem. Never do anything to help. Number three. The knuckle bones they just knock everything number for the backbones they carry the brunt of the load and they do the work.
I think we see that here. The problem is basically this there were Greek speaking Jewish women who felt that the Hebrew speaking Jewish women were getting preferential treatment after all this was Jerusalem.
There's a little background.
The Hebrews were a group of people born in Israel, they were native. They spoke Aramaic. They read the Hebrew Scriptures is sort of like those who would say we read the King James only was good enough for Paul it's good enough for us. That kind of mentality. The Hellenists were Greek speakers born outside of Israel and their version of the Bible was the Septuagint culturally miles apart and historically, there was an animosity between both of them. Now get this in their Jewish days. They met in separate synagogues in Jerusalem and in fellowship together. But now the Christians and now they are gathered together, but there still people and they bring all of their baggage and all of that history to bear, and it creates problems. It's not unlike years ago in this church. I remember having some Vietnam vets, and there were also some Vietnamese believers as a part of our church in those groups did not get along well or if you went back in our history to World War II and there were American soldiers, fellow shipping with German believers it be something to get past something to work out so the wish bones want someone to fix it here and the job bones are talking about and thus the backbones the apostles come to fix it. Know something I want you to notice in chapter 6. This is the very first time in the book of acts. The term disciples is used as she is 28 times as the first disciples are mentioned and apostles are mentioned at what I'd like you to see is that was the simple earliest division of the church. There were disciples, and there were apostles there were followers of Christ, and there were apostles of those 12, who walked and talked and lived with Jesus Christ and the followers. The disciples were led by the apostles, but that couldn't last long apostles would one day die and other leadership would have to arise so along with the 12 here come the seven the table servers those organ help in the daily distribution. So now the church can both passionately preach and compassionately care for the needs in the community.
A few lessons emerge immediately. Lesson number one. Everybody can't do everything, but everybody can do something in lesson number two God calls and equips different people to do different tasks. And it's all facilitated by leadership as we see here that one of the things I like you to see and access before we move on to the next point is acts chapter 6 is where the concept of deacons in a church come from the least that's what has been historically taught and that is because of the first to notice the last two words of verse two serve tables to the word serve DOP: nine decanting D'Arco nine there serving decanting tables is the word however don't make too much of that work because the term the official term deacon does not appear at all in the book of acts, not even once. It will be developed later on.
In fact, look at verse four, but we is the apostles now speaking, we will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word DR could need to low gout that decanting of the word. So, do you see that the word deacon is simply a word for general service of any kind of any kind, whether serving tables or serving in the word your table servant or your word serve and picture all servants all servants should be helpful if I can't tell you this, Romans chapter 13 how many of you are familiar with Romans chapter 13 so for five here we gotta do better than that. Romans 13 is all about how Christians relate to civil government civil authorities. The government of the state and it says in Romans 13 that the government magistrates police officers etc. are ministers of God say more deacon the equity. They are servants of God is the same term applied to elders or to official deacons or to leaders of any kind.
So the point I want to make is that church government at first is very flexible and morphed and grew and changed to meet the needs of a growing congregation. So in the very earliest days, there were disciples and apostles and now the seven in the seven are the servants who come to assist the needs of the flock. Now this brings up a question and it's a very common question I'm only going to touch on what is the proper form of church government which is the form that the church today to follow.
Well now we have a problem because though Jesus said that he would build his church. He never said exactly how he would build his church never left the policy manual.
He never left the book.
Here's how to build the church Jesus way. In fact, did you know that Jesus said nothing at all about the organization of the church you would build in fact what he focused on is the character in the attitude of the leadership, not how the leadership would be structured as an example, Matthew 20 Jesus that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.
But it shall not be so among you. For whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave, the organizational information at best. In the New Testament is very nebulous and that's why there are different views on church government may give you three main views.
There are four, five or even six others or six out about this give you the three main ones that are used today.
Number one Congregational church government.
That's where every congregation member votes. It's a democracy we vote on everything all the time.
Second form of church government. Presbyterian actually have a group of elders making the decision and finally Episcopalian or Episcopal from the Greek word Pesca past the bishops you have a leader or a few leaders in an area that call the shots well.
Each one of those groups will draw from and find scriptural support for each of those three views, so I simply appeal to the Nelson Bible dictionary that I read this week.
One sentence only sums it up.
Quote no single pattern of government in the early church can be discovered by reading the New Testament." Because Jesus left no rules and things seem to change as they went another source I want to quote you and that is from Philip Schaff and if your Bible student that rings a bell. Schaff's church history all eight volumes is the definitive source for most all Bible scholars so I pulled my eight volumes out and read volume 1. Not all of it were part of it. This week is what he says. Christ laid down no minute arrangements, but only the simple and necessary element of an organization wisely leaving the details to be shaped by the growing and changing wants of the church in different ages and in different countries. Nellis the matter which form of church government or church holds to if the focus of the people or the leadership is the same focus is that of Christ, having the heart of a servant.
Doesn't matter what the structure all the structures can be good and all of them can be bad. You can have good leaders and you can have carnal leaders dislike you can have good congregations and you can have carnal congregations. As CS Lewis used to say, no clever arrangement of bad eggs ever made a good omelette so at first it was apostles and disciples that was apostles. Plus the 7+ the congregation and eventually it will become elders and deacons in the pastoral epistles. One of the most important things before we jump in the chapter 20 is this church was spirit led is not fleshly driven was that deacon possessed was spirit led wasn't about Peter wasn't about genre wasn't about the deacons. It was about the Lord's glory and the people of God. It was it was DFT obsessed not deacon possessed Ellis good acts chapter 24 the second point this morning and that is the servants can be and whenever there are hurtful servants.
They are no longer servants was kids grow older they learn the importance of organization and structure something like the game of soccer can go from being mass confusion impressive display of skill and teamwork. So it is with the church.
Once we understand how to properly organize will look at that more next time. But as we close our time for today we want to share this invitation to investors. Going to Israel is a unique experience but by far the most life-changing part of it is the spiritual aspect. That's why I'm excited to announce our next trip there in 2022.
You'll have the opportunity to worship and study God's word in some of the most significant biblical sites in the country. Find out firstname.lastname@example.org/C a BQ will thanks be up and don't forget you can also order a copy of today's teaching the deacon possessed church for just four dollars plus shipping.
When you call us at 1-800-922-1888 or when you visit connect was for God and come back next time. This give Kaiser talks more about the organization of the church. When we resume the message that deacon possessed church here and correctly Skip weekend division presentation of connection so an ever-changing