In this presentation, I want to continue explaining in detail the work that the Holy Spirit does to bring people who have passed through the order of salvation into a local Church. Since I mentioned there are three kinds of local Churches last time, I am going to explain in more detail what healthy local churches (which I described previously as more pure churches) actually look like.
This time we are going to be looking at different aspects of Church Government within a healthy local Church setting.
Our first concern should be how the Church handles disputes and disagreements among Church members and Church ministers. God intends for the Church to live in peace and harmony among the people who the Holy Spirit has guided through the Order of Salvation.
We know this because in 1 Corinthians 6:1 (ESV) the Apostle Paul says “When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare to go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?” Paul continues on by saying “to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?” (1 Corinthians 6:7 ESV)
In Matthew 18:15-20 Jesus Christ gave us a plan we can follow to settle disagreements and disputes privately in order to protect the Church’s reputation in the eyes of an unbelieving world. We need the teachers in your area to help people understand how to live in agreement with Jesus’ strategy for resolving internal affairs as peacefully as possible.
The Ministers of the Church
In the Bible, there are 5 ministry positions. The names of these five ministry positions are Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. In each one of these presentations, I have been laying a foundation to explain each one of these five ministries in detail to you.
The first ministry I dealt with was the work of the Evangelist, which was contained in the Message of Christianity. The second ministry has been the Teacher, which I am still unpacking for you. It was the work of the Teacher that I began explaining in the Discipleship Orientation by mentioning the Seven Scholars and the Seven Tasks of the Teacher (of which we are currently looking at the sixth task).
The third ministry is going to be the work of the Pastor, and the insights I want to share about them will require us to begin exploring the Old Testament writings. While I am sharing information about the Pastor’s ministry, I will also be using the Old Testament to lay a foundation for the ministry of the Prophets.
As a final note of foreshadowing, the ministry of the Apostles will begin with the New Testament writings, and I will also share information about the Deacons when we get to the New Testament as well. My reason for doing this is because I want you to be able to see each one of the five ministries in their proper historical context outlined in the Bible.
When Jesus was here, he went around proclaiming “the good news of the Kingdom.” This is an important point for us today because we no longer have kingdoms in the English speaking world. While there are monarchies (mainly in England), the Kings and Queens we are most familiar with today are not a part of a government that would be recognized as a Kingdom by first century standards.
The concept of a Kingdom that was popular when Jesus was here is what we would refer to as a Dictatorship. Jesus Himself said “All authority in heaven and earth is given to me.” This means that in his last words, Jesus proclaimed himself to be a dictator.
In addition to that, the Bible tells us that Jesus does not keep all of the authority He has over our lives to Himself; he shared different aspects of it with some of the people who the Holy Spirit has brought into the Local Church.
His reason for sharing His authority is to nurture faith in our lives. I have mentioned before that “without faith it is impossible to please him” – that is, God (see Hebrews 11:6 ESV). But how exactly are we supposed to nurture faith in our lives?
The Means of Grace Within The Church
Let’s explain God’s strategy for nurturing faith in our lives. In the past, God’s methods for nurturing faith in the lives of those who are gathering around the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ were called the Means of Grace.
Here is a list of them for you: 1) Gospel preaching, 2) Bible Teaching, 3) Baptism, 4) The Lord’s Supper, 5) Prayer, 6) Worship, 7) Giving, 8) Church Discipline, 9) Fellowship, 10) Words of Encouragement, 11) Spiritual Gifts.
The Sixth Task of the Teacher is to help the people who have had the change of heart I mentioned in the Message of Christianity. The people that the Holy Spirit has led through the order of salvation will need the teachers in your area to help them become familiar with how and why participating in each one of these activities can improve the quality of our faith.
As the quality of our faith begins to grow, the wisdom and skill we have available for using the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has made available to the local Church will also increase.
Now that we are going to look at spiritual gifts, I think the best place to start would be to compile a list of them. Before I share the list of spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament, I thought it would be wise to share the Bible passages I am referring too.
The following list of spiritual gifts is based on 1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Ephesians 4:11, Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 7:7, and 1 Peter 4:11. With those passages in mind, here is a list of spiritual gifts in the New Testament:
Apostle(s) Prophet(s) Teacher(s) Miracles Kinds of Healing Helps Administration Tongues(Languages) Word of Wisdom Word of Knowledge Faith Discerning Spirits Interpreting Tongues Evangelist Pastor-Teacher Serving Encouraging Contributing Leadership Mercy Marriage Celibacy
These are all things that the Holy Spirit provides to the Local Church. There have been some disagreements on whether or not many of these spiritual gifts are still available today. In the English speaking world, there was a way of thinking that became popular several centuries ago which has convinced a lot of people that nothing supernatural ever happens in the world today.
As a result of that, there are a lot of Churches who deny that the Holy Spirit still uses some of the spiritual gifts that were available to the first generation of the Church. The more contact Christians from places like America and Europe have with the Church in other parts of the world, the more common stories of spiritual gifts and supernatural displays of power become.
God is still using all of the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament. However, we should also realize that Satan and his demons are still counterfeiting all of the spiritual gifts in the New Testament to destroy and discourage the Local Church from cooperating with the Holy Spirit.
The Simple reality is that God is using different methods in different parts of the world in response to whatever evil spirits are doing to slow the spread of the Gospel. Allow me to give you some examples.
In Communist countries, God’s main strategy is to promote worship. This was the main defense the Church had when Communism controlled the Russian and Ukrainian governments. Worship was a weapon that God used to discourage the spread of Communism.
In countries where Hinduism and Buddhism are being used by evil spirits to convince people that the natural world around us is a distraction that keeps people isolated from the spiritual realm, God is using the gifts of healing to fight back.
In Communist China today, they are saying that civil government is the only higher power in this world, and in response God is allowing His Church to oppose the influence of evil spirits supporting that way of thinking by bringing the dead back to life, which is something a civil government could never do.
My point here is that the Holy Spirit uses different spiritual gifts in direct response to whatever evil spirits are doing to prevent the spread of the Gospel within a certain part of the world among a specific group of people. We need the Teachers in your area to help new Christians include this way of thinking into our plans (and our prayers) for building healthy, well balanced Churches around the world.
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