C H U R C H R E F O R M S E R I E S
By Biblicism Institute
God in His wisdom has not given anyone in the Church any title whatsoever.
“But you are not to be called ‘Teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘Father,’ [like today when a catholic priest is called ‘Father’] for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called Leaders (or Masters), for you have one Leader (or Master), the Messiah.” Matthew 23:8-10
We are only servants.
“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35
As servants we have duties to perform. It’s just that we do not call a person doing his duty by the duty he does. Whatever a Christian does, he does it as an extension of Christ. Therefore, Christ is the One who needs to be recognized, not the duty.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
God simplifies the duties thus:
“And he gave the apostles; and the prophets; and the evangelists; and the shepherds and teachers.” Ephesians 4: 11
And the reasons He did are:
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12
Let’s delve into each function or duty, and see how they all apply within the body of Christ.
There were twelve Apostles, personally chosen by Christ Himself. One of them betrayed Him, and eleven remained. Jesus then appeared personally to Paul, and chose him to replace Judas Iscariot.
But some will say that the Apostles voted to replace Judas with Matthias (Acts 1: 12-26). Yes, they did, but they shouldn’t have. At that time they still had not received the Holy Spirit. They were acting very Old-Testament-like. They cast lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. That’s how the prophet Jonah was discovered to be the one God was mad at when he hid on the ship. The lot fell on him.
Unfortunately, God no longer was working that way. The eleven had not yet figured that out. It is no wonder that after Matthias was chosen there is absolutely no mention of him again in the bible. However, Paul is a different story.
An Apostle must have seen Jesus, and Jesus must have personally chosen him.
“Am I not an Apostle?… Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” 1 Corinthians 8:9
Signs, wonders, and miracles followed an Apostle.
“I am not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am nothing. I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.” 2 Corinthians 12: 11,12
“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people…” Acts 5: 12
However, if the Apostles had chosen certain individuals and had laid hands on them, those individuals could perform signs and wonders. But said individuals could not in turn do the same for others. The buck stopped with the Apostles.
“They chose… Stephen a man full of God’s grace and power, (who) performed great wonders and signs among the people.” Acts 6: 5, 8
Today there are no more Apostles and therefore no more signs, wonders, and supernatural miracles.
Only these signs follow all true believers:
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall raise their voices against the serpents (or malicious ones); and if they imbibe any poison (or poisonous doctrine), it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:17,18
Nonetheless, no prayer of ours will produce instantaneous miracles. The power source of supernatural wonders and miracles was reserved for Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone of the church, and for the 12 Apostles, the foundation of the Church.
“You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone…” Ephesians 2:20
“And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Revelation 21:14
“And when he had called unto [him] his twelve disciples, he gave them power [against] unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” Matthew 10:1
Furthermore, whatever perks did apply to the Apostles don’t apply to anyone else in ministry today – perks such as concentration on prayer and ministry of the word, and preaching to believers without applying biblical gathering commands.
“It’s not appropriate for us to forsake the word of God and serve tables… we apostles will continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:1,4
“Paul spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” Acts 20:7
The Apostles were also the only ones who could receive financial help, but the Apostle Paul chose not to use that perk because he knew no one else in ministry could. Therefore, he wanted to be an example to future servants. See Ministry Money and the Tithe Lie.
“Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was.” Acts 18:3
“…nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. This we commanded you: that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3: 8-10
In like manner, they were the only ones to whom Christ gave the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (with no successor assigned), and that if anyone were to lie to them one could end up dead.
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16: 19
“Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.’ And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last…” Acts 5: 3-5
And finally, the Apostles were the only ones who could withhold forgiveness.
“If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:23
If anyone today calls himself an Apostle or says he is performing the duties of an Apostle, run quickly away from that person.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:13
The Apostles were personally chosen by Jesus to change the world through the gospel and their God-given powers. And they did.
“These that have turned the world upside down…” Acts 17:6
The ministry of Prophets have a much different scope under the New Covenant than under the Old.
With the Old Covenant there were very few Prophets. The reason they were Prophets in the first place was because God would speak to them. But originally God did not want it that way. He did not want intermediaries between Him and His people. It was the Ancient Hebrews who chose it thus – they were afraid of hearing God’s voice.
“All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.’ ” Exodus 20: 18, 19
Therefore, these Old Testament prophets were singled out as being able to hear from God, and the Word they heard was either a Word of Remembrance of God’s promises and commandments from the past, a Word of Instruction or Commandment for the present, or a Word of Foresight for the future.
But with the New Covenant and the advent of the Holy Spirit who is given as a gift to all, such distinction between Prophets and believers is no more.
“And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…” Joel 2: 28
Now every true Christian is a prophet because every true Christian possesses the Holy Spirit who’s constantly at work changing his life as a testimony to the glory of Jesus Christ.
“For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10
That’s exactly what we Christians do. We testify through various spiritual gifts of the reality and of the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives.
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another mighty works, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of languages, and to still another the interpretation of languages. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11
The Holy Spirit is hard at work transforming us into the perfect image of Christ. That is why the Apostle Paul said the following:
“For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” 1 Corinthians 14:31
Therefore, it makes sense that immediately after the Apostles are mentioned, God singles out the Prophets in Ephesians 4:11. The Prophets are all of us Christians. No one else can be above us except Christ Himself.
“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3
Even when the Apostles were alive they couldn’t lord it over their fellow Christians.
“Not that we have dominion over your faith…” 2 Corinthians 1: 24
All of us Christians are the Prophets standing on the Foundation of the Apostles and of Jesus the Cornerstone.
“But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” 2 Timothy 4: 5
Don’t you just love the way Paul phrased that? He didn’t tell Timothy to be an Evangelist. He told him to do the work of an Evangelist. He was avoiding dolling out titles as mentioned earlier.
The work of an Evangelist is to take the Gospel to the unbelievers and teach them the doctrine of Christ. Here’s how Jesus sent them out.
“…the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place…” Luke 10: 1
God is a stickler when it comes to follow procedures. No Evangelist should go out on his own.
“In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” 2 Corinthians 13: 1
Here are the qualifications to do the work of an Evangelist:
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity… Watch your life and doctrine closely; continue in them: for in doing this you will both save yourself, and them that hear you.” 1 Timothy 4: 12, 16
Evangelists can either serve in their community, or they can travel the world. It all depends where the Holy Spirit leads them. Whether they travel locally or in far-flung provinces or countries, here’s the Lord’s command:
“Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you…” Luke 10: 5-8
The wages in ministry are the food that is set before you and/or the lodging that is freely given you. God purposefully made ministry hard in order to ferret out the bad apples, so only those who truly believe in their calling would stick around and would not betray Him for money.
“For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, ‘For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.’ As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.” John 6: 65-66
Evangelists can also work to pay for their long distance trips, much like the Apostle Paul did as a tent maker in order to earn a living. It’s either that or go out there and have faith that someone will take you in and feed you.
Are you ready now to do the work of an Evangelist?
If so, here’s a great evangelistic tool: How to become a Christian.
Also make sure you are well versed in the Word, with a particular emphasis on the Books of Acts, 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy. Furthermore, after your converts accept Christ and are baptized (water and Holy Spirit), part of your job is to also educate them in the doctrine of Christ. This includes teaching them:
a) to understand the seriousness of their God-appointed Guardianship/Fatherhood over their families, and to put into practice a Biblical Gathering of Believers; see The Family is God’s Plan and Church Services Are NOT Biblical
c) to grasp the Duties of Ministry (herein prepared for you);
d) to practice the Everyday Life Ministry; see The Heart Adjustment
e) to fathom the nature of God the Father and God the Son and that of the Holy Spirit; see The Trinity Doctrine is NOT in the Bible
f) to sin no more. see The Consequences of Sin
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4: 2
When all of us Prophets (i.e., believers) gather as a church or assembly or congregation, God has made room for an Overseer or Bishop to oversee these meetings and ensure proper order. See Church Services Are NOT Biblical.
“To the elders among you…shepherd the flock of God, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock….” 1 Peter 5: 2-4
As emphasized above, the Bishop or Overseer/Pastor or Shepherd/Elder is all one and the same. He is an older man (i.e., elder) who’s not a recent convert and who possesses godly wisdom and an impeccable reputation. Nowhere in the bible is such a man asked to be an expert theologian or a seminary graduate. Even most of the Apostles were not learned men. (See Addendum 1 for Overseer qualifications)
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled…” Acts 4:13
An Overseer is a regular man who volunteers his service, not for sordid gain (i.e., he does it without valuable consideration or without receiving valuable compensation), but out of eagerness to please God who wants him to be a model that the congregation can relate to.
“…overseeing them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind…” 1 Peter 5:2
In other words, he’s a meeting overseer that God can use as an example to all. What kind of archetype would he be if he were working for God because of a paycheck? That’s why the Apostle Paul refrained from taking financial help so as to be the example he wanted us to follow in ministry; even though Apostles could exercise that right, but he knew others couldn’t.
“On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. This we commanded you: that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3: 8-10
However, there are mammonists who will use the following passage to try to prove Shepherds/Overseers/Elders can get paid:
“The elders who oversee the affairs of the assembly well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’ ” 1 Timothy 5: 17,18
Again, here’s how Christ defined such wages.
“Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages… eat what is set before you…” Luke 10: 7,8
Wages = Food and/or free Lodging. So much so that the Apostle Paul said this:
“…nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it.” 2 Thessalonians 3:8
When an ox is treading out the grain, it’s eating the very grain that is set before it to tread while it’s working. In like manner, these wages or meals are given to God’s servant to sustain the body while doing God’s work. Biblical wages are not physical money. They are rewards for particular deeds.
“For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6: 23
Basically, because an Overseer is a regular man with a regular job, one of the ways he is compensated when he goes to a home to oversee a meeting – especially after a hard day’s work – is by the congregation preparing a great meal for him in order to thank him and show their gratitude. It is a form of what used to be famously known as Christian hospitality. See Church Services Are NOT Biblical.
“To the assembly in your house.” Philippians 1:1
The Overseer makes sure the gathering of the faithful runs smoothly according to the God-given guidelines (1 Cor. 14: 26-39), steps in with his wisdom and knowledge whenever the situation calls for it, and of course participates as much as the others whether in teaching or singing or whatever else he’s led to do. See Church Services Are NOT Biblical.
Another aspect of the Shepherd duty is the Diaconate. It is the other side of the coin as both Overseer and Deacon require almost the same qualifications. Said qualifications were stipulated by the Apostle Paul in the same breath. (See Addendum 1 & 2)
“The elders who oversee the affairs of the assembly well… especially those whose work is preaching and teaching…” 1 Timothy 5:7
Therefore, there were elders who were overseeing things that had nothing to do with preaching or teaching.
“The Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘..Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them…’” Acts 6: 1-4
These men or elders who were chosen to serve the community of believers would become known as Deacons.
Here’s the difference: the Overseer is a Shepherd who oversees and guides an orderly gathering of Christians in a private house, whereas the Deacon is a Shepherd who oversees and attends to the needs of Christians in the community.
Women can be Deaconesses, but not Bishops/Overseers. See Addendum 2.
“Women likewise must be serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things” 1 Timothy 3:11
Just like the Apostles, neither the Overseers nor the Deacons have dominion over our faith and cannot lord it over anyone. Their service is to the Body of Christ, thus they are servants to the Prophets and by implication to the Almighty Himself.
Just like God made us all Prophets, He also wants us all to be teachers. Why? Because all of us at some point in our lives will be asked to explain the hope that is in us.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3: 15
Here’s how Webster Dictionary defines To Teach: to cause to know. Therefore, we Christians must be ready to cause others to know the reason for the hope that is in us.
The foundational ministry of every Christian is that of a Prophet.
A prophet is someone who handles the word of God (i.e., the bible), whether that word is applicable to the past, present, or future. Thus he must be able to communicate and to cause to know the word that he’s been assigned to handle. All he has to do is be ready for when God creates an opportunity.
“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2: 21
The idea is to have all of us teach, so the vast multitudes throughout the world can come to know Christ. It is a tremendous task that requires a lot of help.
How do you think the Apostles turned the world upside down? They were the first multi-level marketers, or should we say the first multi-level teachers. They expected every believer to teach others about Christ.
“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2
The Apostle Paul takes being a teacher one step further.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5: 12-14
Unless we can master God’s teachings, we will always be babes in need of milk and thus unskilled in the word. It is only when we mature, or when we are skilled in the word, that we will have powers of discernment.
And why do we need powers of discernment that only come from studying and applying the word? To distinguish good from evil. Something no one can do for us. It is only when we spend time studying and living our lives by constantly practicing what we’re studying that we’ll be able to achieve such discernment.
That is why when we gather as a Church Assembly, we are given the following assignment or commandment (See Church Services Are NOT Biblical):
“When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction (or teaching), a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.” 1 Corinthians 14: 26
All of the above are in one form or another a teaching tool. And the reason we are to become teachers is because in teaching we end up learning more.
We become firsthand witnesses of what the word of God can actually do. When we release the word through teaching, something happens that releases the Joy of the Lord not only in our hearts but also in the hearts of those who receive it.
“We are fellow workers for your joy.” 2 Corinthians 1: 24
We end up as teachers in these manners:
1) We teach ourselves to allow and permit the Holy Spirit to teach us all things.
“The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26
2) We cause non-believers to know Christ. Imagine someone asks you during a conversation to explain Salvation in Christ. What would you say? “Ugh… Ugh…”
“After he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.” Acts 16: 30-32
3) We teach when we’re in family.
“Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6: 4
“You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” Deuteronomy 11:19
Fathers, you are God’s designated “Youth Pastors” to your children, and your wives are your assigned helpmates. This means you are the ones to dedicate your newborns to the Lord, to lead them to Christ, to baptize them – water and Holy Spirit – upon the Holy Spirit prompting you of their readiness, to teach them God’s word, to partake of the Lord’s supper with them, and finally to marry them when the time comes. See The Biblical Marriage Blueprint.
God’s directive is for you to do what He’s commanded, and unless you’re dead no one else can fill your shoes. See The Family is God’s Plan.
4) We teach one another during church gathering or assembly. And one of the reasons we do so is to learn to submit to one another, because none of us is above the other. See Church Services Are NOT Biblical
“Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” 1 Cor 14: 29-31
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Ephesians 5: 21
Revelations will rarely come unless we are well versed in the word (i.e., the bible), because the Holy Spirit will mostly teach by reminding us of what Jesus taught (i.e., by reminding us of the word of God).
“...the Holy Spirit .. will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26
The Holy Spirit enlightens the word of God for us, making it go beyond intellectual assent and causing it to coalesce deep inside our spirit man (i.e., He teaches us). Then, He reminds us of it, warning us when we’re about to do something that God forbids, or egging us on when God wants us to step into whatever service He has prepared for us.
The Holy Spirit mostly reminds us of God’s written word because God doesn’t want the unscrupulous to attribute to Him things He never said. For example, if someone dares say that following the lead of the Holy Spirit, they have come to realize that God no longer considers fornication to be a sin; then we would immediately know that they are lying, because according to God’s law fornication IS a sin. Consequently, the Holy Spirit and God’s written word form a system of checks and balances.
The more we study the word, the more the Holy Spirit helps us cleave to the truth. The more we live out God’s commandments, the more sensitive we become to His guidance, the more cleansed our mind, the more attuned our soul, and the more fruitful our work.
Therefore, maturity can only come by studying to show ourselves approved.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2: 15
However, there’s a caveat to being teachers. We must not be hypocrites like the Pharisees of old whom Jesus was constantly rebuking.
“Some of you should not become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly… Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” James 3:1, 10
Obviously, these folks James was talking about did not have the discernment to distinguish between good and evil, and so they blurted and acted both out. In so doing, they became hypocrites by teaching one thing and acting another way.
James noticed said absence of maturity, and told them that they should not be teachers. He was not saying that these folks should NEVER become teachers. He was mostly pointing out their immaturity which disqualified them at that point in time from becoming teachers.
Immaturity needs to be overcome, so it doesn’t become an excuse to negate and forsake such a basic duty as teaching. We have been given much, and therefore much is required.
“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:48
Many will feel a greater pull towards one particular duty over the others, but that doesn’t mean they are going to stay there.
These pulls are dolled out in various strength to various individuals by the Holy Spirit as He sees fit, and they cause those who pay heed to them to become more fruitful in those areas. But one merry day, the Holy Spirit might just decide to divert the same individuals toward other duties.
In other words, all dedicated Christians, at various points in their lives, will likely perform duties in all 4 areas – Apostleship obviously not included. Because, in reality, all 4 have one thing in common: the testimony of Jesus Christ in our lives. They are so intertwined that at times an individual could just move from one to the other and the other without even realizing it.
However, one thing is certain and constant with no variables.
The work of these 4 duties of ministry is to be performed only by volunteers on a part time basis while plying a trade or working a job, or on a full-time basis for a season, except for those who are retired or are well-off financially who can perform them full-time if they wish or until they decide to stop.
No one should get paid for doing ministry work, as Jesus never meant for his church assembly to be a 501c3 corporation nor for it to run on money – though ministries that cater to the needy can 1) incorporate to help raise money and legally protect themselves, and 2) hire employees or contractors, if Christian volunteers cannot be found.
Still, no Christian minister or head of ministry should get paid. The moment someone is compensated he’s no longer doing it for God. He’s doing it for a paycheck. No need to try to spin it otherwise. The bottom line is no one can serve two masters. See Ministry Money and the Tithe Lie.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24
Money in ministry is always reserved for the poor and needy: Christians first, others second. It is to provide food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, bible, etc. Even then, look how careful the Apostle Paul was with handling it.
“Each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper… When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem…” 1 Corinthians 16: 2-4
The Apostle Paul didn’t even want to touch the money, let alone hold the purse. He wanted it to go immediately to the poor Christians in Jerusalem accompanied by more than one courier.
He knew very well what money is capable of. Either rumors will start or one’s heart will eventually be ensnared. Judas Iscariot has been left to us as a perennial reminder of what happens when someone in ministry holds the purse. That’s how dangerous money can become.
“Since Judas had charge of the money…” John 13:29
” ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.” Matthew 26:15
Imagine all the suffering that would be alleviated today if all ministries on earth were to use the totality of the money they received, along with the totality of their holdings, towards only helping one another.
“For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they were distributed to each as any had need.” Acts 4:35
We’ll let Paul tell us the reasons why these precious gifts of ministry, that are not supposed to be spoiled with money, have been given to us.
“They are for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4: 11-15
Qualifications For Overseers/Bishops
THESE QUALIFICATIONS MUST ALL BE FULFILLED WITH NONE IGNORED
1 Timothy 3
¹ The saying is sure: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task. 2 Now a bishop must be above reproach, husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way— 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s assembly? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.
Qualifications For Deacons And Deaconesses
THESE QUALIFICATIONS MUST ALL BE FULFILLED WITH NONE IGNORED
1 Timothy 3
8 Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money; 9 they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them first be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them serve as deacons. 11 Women likewise must be serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be husbands of one wife, and let them manage their children and their households well; 13 for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
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