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March 5, 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
Every leader must realize who's church of this is not your church. It's is called the church of God which he purchased with his own blood, you didn't die for the church. So it's not yours is not mine to his church. He spilled his blood and he woke up to it was the division as we continue our series church who needs it. We learn just structurally you might recall back in 2012 menu scrutinizing executives of BP oil company was drilling rig exploded this year and began one of the worst environmental disasters in US history wanted answered said accountability you know what people truly want to say the church continue to explore leadership and structure of the church into a study was Skip hijacked but before we get started is what we have for you this month in the connect was Skip resource or only half of American adults who call themselves Christian identify God is the basis of truth.
That's what a recent study by the cultural research Center at Arizona Christian University found, and if that's the truth about truth among believers. It's more grim for unbelievers. What's your basis of truth here. Skip icing.
So the word equals the Scriptures equals doctrine equals truth truth, we are primarily people of the truth Daniel.
Chapter 10 calls the Scripture. The Scripture of true because the Scriptures tell us the truth about God, about God's about our condition about our need. We want to send you to truth affirming resources by pastor Skip to help you understand the nature of truth so you can pursue God's truth and apply in your own life. There Skip split bloodline in his booklet why truth matters.
Both resources are our gift you when you get $35 or more today to help reach more people with this Bible teaching ministry, Jesus said everyone was out the truth hears my voice 892 1888 the gift today and will send you Skip Heitzig's book, bloodline, plus his booklet why truth matters is our way of saying thanks for your support or does it connectwithskip.com/offer open your Bibles or Bible after the book of chapter 20 as you find your spot will join Skip hijacked today's message that Lincoln possessed church.
Did you know that Jesus said nothing at all about the organization of the church. He would build back what he focus 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 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 thought 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 at three of a group of elders making the decision and finally Episcopalian or Episcopal from the Greek word Pesca pasta 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 into chapter 20 is this church was spirit led was 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 Alice go to acts chapter 24 the second point this morning and that is that servants can be hurt all and whenever there are hurtful servants.
They are no longer servants. Acts chapter 20 is the leadership Summit called on his way to Jerusalem. He calls for the leaders of the church at Ephesus.
Verse 17 from elitists he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. Interestingly, the word is impressed with Terrence.
The Presbytery elders and he talks to them and I jump now down to verse 28, summing up, therefore, take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit made you what over certain overseers. That's the record Episcopal costs bishops, so he addresses the elders and calls them also bishops, but something else I want you to notice he says that you are to shepherd the Church of God sewer Shepherd that's pointing us as pastor pastor the Church of God, which he purchased with his own blocks of is what I want you to see he's addressing these people calling them by three different names all referring to the same person. In other words, an elder is a bishop is a pastor at this stage of church history at Paul and talking to them is looking to the future when he's gonna go and bad things are going to happen to the church he predicts two problems. Problem number one false prophets will come from the outside and number two faithless leaders will come from the inside.
Verse 29. I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock which you talk about talk about false prophets.
People break bad doctrine wrong teaching. It is always been the case throughout church history, that whenever truth is proclaimed, the devil will counteract it with false teaching.
It's the lightbulb principal you turn on the light in the front porch. The bugs will come and try to get inside the house, but that's only the first problem, look at the next verse, verse 30. It's even worse than the first problem faithless leaders from the inside will come.
Paul says also from among your selves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them selves. Was he speaking about about leaders gone bad leaders with an agenda ambitious leaders.
One commentator, and I agree with them said ambition is the mother of all heresies because ambitious leaders make it all about them, not God, not the people them is the Deacon possessed church notice what Paul says they will do to draw away the disciples after themselves means to tear away to drag away to isolate the person who says I know that the church teaches you this, but I'm starting a Bible study and Dominic tell you the truth. The balance of the truth.
They want to draw away disciples after themselves. No. Did you notice something it's it's almost so obvious, but if we don't really pay attention to what we might miss it.
Both the false prophets and the faithless leaders don't show up until Paul leaves after my departure, they'll come in and they'll rise up from among why is that why why would they wait.
Pretty simple, though be a leadership vacuum and Polly is right, we say when Paul leaves at the huge vacuum so as long as Paul was there. He had a stronger personality to keep any of these kind of characters at bay.
Once he leaves, they will seize the opportunity and they will show up?
Did it happen. As Paul left he predicted it would happen did happen, boy. You bet it happened because when Paul left he puts Timothy in charge of the church of Ephesus, and Paul writes how many letters to Timothy to and in first Timothy in second Timothy Paul brings up the fact that people have risen up among the leadership to draw away disciples after them with false stuff. Even so much that Paul names them in the Bible.
For those of you say we should never name names will go to let the Paul he does it three times in first Timothy chapter 1 verse 20 he says of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander whom I have delivered to Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. In second Timothy chapter 1 verse 15. As you know all the Christians who came here from the province of Asia have deserted me even five jealous and Hermogenes are gone. You know it when I read this I think can't doublecross Paul the apostle is if you do, he might write you up in the Bible so that generation after generation. No matter what era. No matter what language will read your name in the text bomber. Second Timothy chapter 2 verse 17, their message will spread like cancer. Interesting term Hymenaeus and full elitists are of this sort.
See, he's not talking about a spirit led group like acts chapter 6 this is the fleshly driven group. This is a Deacon possessed group and he aptly says their message will spread like cancer these people to the body of Christ are what cancer is to a human body. They proliferate selves they take the energy and the focus of the other vital organs and off the body's health. In general, and it's all about them and they're not serving anyone but themselves.
Now I will close this off. The most prominent example that I find somebody doing this and all of the New Testament is a guy by the name of diopter fees. Ever heard of the atrophy's there's a whole book in the New Testament written just about him.
Author John John the apostle writes about diopter fees and he says in third John nine and 10 I wrote to the church but diopter fees who loves to have the preeminence among them does not receive us because on essays making things up about us and saying this and that there is a deal, John the apostle sends a letter, diopter fees doesn't receive the letter, he rejects the letter because the atrophy's has rejected John's authority because the atrophy is love the spotlight and atrophy's hated for even John, the father and founder of that church to be loved more than diopter fees. He couldn't stand it. He loved to have the preeminence summary once at a man wrapped up in himself makes a very small pack diopter fees made a very small package and John wrote them up in the Bible as an example, and this can happen with the pastor, a pastor who get selfish and then want to delegate and once all the limelight that will anybody do any other thing of the church except him.
This can happen to a board member who goes rogue. This can happen to an elder or a deacon or a home leader or a school of ministry student. Anybody can do this in church history. As I said has been littered with what is the antidote for that. If servant should be helpful, but servants can be hurtful. The antidote is humility.
Servants must be humble. Look at verse 28 chapter 20 acts verse 20 therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to shepherd the church of God which he purchased with his own blood.
There's a few elements here that the tell us how to develop the kind of humility that will counteract this number one.
Every leader must realize who's church. It is not his church is not your church. It's his church. Notice called the church of God which he purchased with his own blood. I didn't die for the church, you didn't die for the church. So it's not yours, and it's not mine. It's is it's his church. He he spilled his blood and he owns it.
Second, realize who made you a leader, how did you get to be a leader.
Ultimately it's is the Holy Spirit again. Verse 28, which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, so you might be an overseer, you might be an important leader in the church you might have the gift of governments for ministration are teaching, but you can't even take credit for that one. Such a gifted person. So what God gave you the gift he gave you the gift you can't boast about the gift if it came from God and not you. Number three is to realize what your calling is. And if you are a pastor or Shepherd or a bishop or whatever term you desire to go by, you have a twofold calling calling number one to pastor the sheep calling number two to protect the sheep versus the pastor at a fee that said the appointment us in verse eight that you will shepherd the church of God feed them. This means there is absolutely no excuse for a lazy pastor to not study and prepare a great meal for the flock can't be too busy doing anything else for it was late in acts chapter 6. We must give ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.
But that's just the first part of the pastors calling is not just to nourish and to feed the sheep but also to protect from predators. I remember one of the first times I read Psalm 23. There was a phrase that just jumped out to me. You know the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want it cello phrase thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Now I understand how a staff can be a comfort to a sheep because the staff is what the shepherd uses to guide the sheep but then I study were rod was in order. Rod was used for was a club is hung on the belt of the shepherd had nails at the end of the club was used to beat up walls that if you are sheep and your shepherd just had a staff but no rod. You might be comforted sometimes, but you'd be scared. The rest of the time thinking what if the wolves come my shepherd will protect but if your shepherd has a staff and a rod beat us not to wolves who come and get you be very comforting if your sheet Martin Luther said if I preach correctly and shepherd the flock with sound doctrine. I neglect my duty if I do not warn the sheep against the wolves for what kind of builder would I be if I were to pile up masonry and then stand by while another tears it down, says Luther, a preacher must be both a soldier and a shepherd. He must nourish and teach, but he must have teeth in his mouth and be able to write and to fight and Paul was a good shepherd. I love you. I've shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God. He says in previous verses, but I also want to warn you is what's gonna happen is what's gonna happen is 1/4 step two humility that I want to show you from verse 28.
I just realize who's church. It is not just realize that God the Holy Spirit called you into it, not just realize we are calling is the fourth principle is to rally others to help you do the work.
You'll notice that he's speaking to a group plural elders plural overseers plural your selves plural. In verse 28 seat leadership and certainly leadership in a church can never be a one-man band ever seen a one-man band, a real one-man band if you traveled subways like in New York you'll see in the push their feet on the little symbol opens and closes I got a guitar there handle harmonic appearance for lease up on their head and they can flap their arms and make another Christmas.
It's a very novel, but really uncool.
It's like whatever but it was better than a one-man band and orchestra. You and orchestra leader. But you got all these instruments that play in harmony together. And when it works right in their tuned up right that's beautiful. That's how it ought to be. There's not one person that can possibly discern the will of God for in entire church, especially if it's a large church it takes plurality of leadership I was reading this week about peace and their flying information and down where I live. I get to see them do this a lot couple times you're going north and going south in the they fly in that V formation. So is reading a couple articles one done by two engineers who were asking the question, why do geese fly in a V formation and so they they duplicated the V formation in a wind tunnel and this is what they discovered each goose flapping its wings creates an uplift for the goose behind. In fact, the whole flock gains a 71% greater flying range than if they journeyed alone. The leader will fall back periodically to let another leader take the point even in the flock of geese says these authors leadership is a shared responsibility. I love this flock. I love teaching and shepherding this flock, but I also need help and I love the hundred plus leaders that were turning for home fellowships and I love those who do ushering in children's ministries and security and women's ministry in men's ministry and on and on. All of that help I love it, but if you to serve you better love the sheep to you better love the sheep because they're not your sheep and if you have a little home Bible study or your leader there not yours. They are his. And I love them. And if you're going to serve alongside you better love them to because they don't belong to anybody but him and we must never become deacon possessed but guillotine obsesses about him and his or get a few things are quite as precious as a healthy loving church we can all play a role in making that a reality matter which church you go to. Are you ready to do your part.
Well that's all the time we have for today but before I mention how you can get a copy of today's teaching is best to Skip with an invitation for you. Lenny and I are taking a group to Israel in 2022 and we want to invite you to join us will visit places like Nazareth, the Jordan River. The Dead Sea and Jerusalem including the Temple Mount and the garden tomb – just a flyby look at the itinerary.
Find out more about the firstname.lastname@example.org/see a BBQ thing. Skip it if you want to copy of today's broadcast, the deacon possessed church is available on CD for just four dollars plus shipping.
So, call 1-800-922-1888 four visit connect was we examine another role we should fulfill as part of the church.
The role of evangelism right here and connect was to division the presentation of the connection is connecting you guys that were changing and ever-changing time