PRINCIPLES OF KINGDOM LIVING
LOCAL CHURCH GOVERNMENT
There are three areas of government that are clearly defined in the Word of God. They are the home, civil government, and Church government. Within the framework of this lesson, we will consider the government of the local church.
(1) WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR CHURCH GOVERNMENT?
A. Church government is necessary to provide order and maintain peace among brethren and to instill obedience to God’s will (I Corinthians 12:38); (Hebrews 13:17).
B. Christ is the head of the Church, both universal and local (Ephesians 5:23); (Colossians 1:18); (2:19).
C. Under Christ there are various ministries (I Corinthians 12:28); (Ephesians 4:11-12) that serve to perfect the body of Christ. But, there are only two ecclesiastical offices or authorities outlined in the New Testament: bishops and deacons.
1. Bishops and deacons are the ruling authorities in the local church (I Timothy 3:1-7) – bishops; (II Timothy 3:8-11) – deacons; (Philippians 1:1) – bishops and deacons).
2. These offices do not describe the operation of a ministry; they are positions of incumbency.
(2) WHAT IS THE OFFICE OF THE BISHOP?
A. The qualifications to meet the office of bishop are outlined in (I Timothy 3:1-7); (Titus 1:5-7).
B. A bishop must meet high standards of moral, civil, and spiritual qualities.
C. There are various terms synonymous with the word “bishop” in the New Testament:
1. Bishop – taken from the Greek “Episcopals”, means “overseer”. This is the actual office, the ruling position (Acts 20:17-38).
2. Elder – taken from the Greek “Presbyturos”, means “senior”. This refers to the personal status of the bishop (I Peter 5:1,5).
a. The elder’s function is to rule (I Timothy 5:1,17-21).
b. They have responsibility and accountability for the flock (Hebrews 13:17).
3. Pastor – taken from the Greek “Poimen”, means “shepherd”. This is one who feeds and protects and instructs (Ephesians 4:11).
(3) WHAT IS THE OFFICE OF A DEACON?
A. The qualifications to meet the office of deacon are outlined in (Acts 6:3) and (I Timothy 3:8-11).
B. The deacon, like the bishop, must meet the high standards of moral, civil, and spiritual qualities.
C. The word “deacon” is taken from the Greek “diakonos”, meaning “servant” or “helper”.
D. A deacon is one who serves in church government as an official to carry out various dutiful obligations. He is directly under the authority of the bishop (Acts 6:3).
(4) WHAT ABOUT LOCAL CHURCH DISCIPLESHIP?
A. There, must be attendance and participation in the local church assembly in order to aid in spiritual growth, both individually and corporately.
1. No person is a spiritual “loner” (Romans 14:7).
2. One must not forsake attending, in full participation, the local church assembly (Hebrews 10:25).
3. Christ often went to the synagogue (Mark 1:21); (Luke 4:16); (John 6:59).
B. All members of the body of Christ are required to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, not all are spiritual leaders in the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:14-31). Therefore, there must be obedience to God’s ordained leadership.
1. As a member or disciple of Christ, one must be willing to express one’s loyalty to Christ by demonstrating submission to God’s chosen ruling authorities in the local church (I Corinthians 16:16); (Hebrews 13:17); (I Timothy 5:17).
2. Lack of submission to ruling authorities in the local church is detrimental for individual spiritual growth (Hebrews 13:17).
3. The local church has the authority to excommunicate and to exhort (Matthew 18:15-17).
CHURCH GOVERNMENT: THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRIES
In the previous lessons, we have seen that God has established a pattern for government within the Church. God gave Christ to the Church to be its head, and in turn, Christ has given five ministries to the Church, as a gift, to foster its corporate life (Ephesians 4:11-13).
(1) WHAT ARE THE FIVE MINISTRIES?
“And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11 – RSV).
(2) WHAT IS AN APOSTLE?
A. Comes from the Greek word “APOSTOLOS” meaning “one sent forth”
B. They are chosen by God, not man (Galatians 1:1); (Romans 1:5-6).
C. Preaches the Gospel (Acts 2:38);(Romans 1:1).
D. Testify and exhort (Acts 2:40).
E. Establish doctrines (Acts 2:42).
F. Establish churches (Acts 14:22-23).
G. Bring forth and develop those called to the ministry, giving guidance and instruction until confirmed into their calling (Acts 14:23).
H. Establish believers in foundational truths (I Corinthians 3:10).
I. Seal of apostleship is the fruit he has brought forth (Corinthians 9:2I).
J. Has the ministry of “beginnings”
(3) WHAT IS A PROPHET?
A. Comes from the Greek “PROPHETES” meaning “one who speaks forth or openly a proclaimer of a divine message”.
B. Speaks the Word of the Lord (I Corinthians 14:29).
C. Brings forth revelation of the Scriptures (I Corinthians 14:30).
D. Predicts and warns of future events (Acts 11:27-28).
E. Provides direction in ministry, doctrine, and worship (Acts 13:12).
F. Confirm and impart spiritual gifts and blessings (Acts 15:32).
G. Has the ministry of confirming God’s motives and will.
(4) WHAT IS AN EVANGELIST?
A. Comes from the Greek “EVANGELISTES” meaning “a messenger of good”.
B. Exhorts men to repent, believe and obey the Gospel (II Timothy 4:2,5).
C. Extends the message of the Gospel to unreached areas (Acts 8:4);
D. Has the ministry of stirring.
(5) WHAT IS A PASTOR?
A. Comes from the Greek “POIMEN” meaning “a shepherd, one who tends herds or flocks (not merely one who feeds them)”.
B. Feeds the flock (I Peter 5:2-4); (John 21:16).
C. Protects the flock (Acts 20:28-31).
D. Guides the flock (John 10:3-4).
E. Watches for the souls of those in his flock (Hebrews 13:17).
F. Must be willing to lay down his life for his sheep (John 10:11-13).
G. Has the ministry of feeding.
(6) WHAT IS A TEACHER?
A. Comes from the Greek “DIDASKALOS” meaning “a master”.
B. Clarifies the application of truth in our lives to enable us to be obedient to the Word of God.
C. Builds on the foundations laid by the apostle and prophets to establish the saints (I Corinthians 3).
D. Must provide motivation for studying the Scriptures.
E. Communicates revealed truth to bring unity of the faith through understanding (I Corinthians 1:10).
F. Has the ministry of stabilizing and strengthening.
(7) WHY WERE THESE MINISTRIES GIVEN TO THE CHURCH?
A. For the perfecting of the saints (Ephesians 4:12).
B. For the equipping of the saints for the work of service (Ephesians 4:12).
C. For the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12).
(8) HOW LONG WILL THESE MINISTRIES EXIST?
Until WE ALL come into:
A. The unity of the faith.
B. The knowledge of the Son of God.
C. Maturity (“perfect” man).
D. The measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).
PRINCIPLES OF KINGDOM LIVING
LESSON 18—STUDY SHEET
LOCAL CHURCH GOVERNMENT
Answer these questions and be prepared to discuss this chapter in the next class.
1. Hebrews 13:17 ________________________________ them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they _________________________________, as they that must give _______________________________ that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
2. _____________________is the head of the church, both universal and local.
3. _____________________________ and ___________________________ are the ruling authorities in the local church.
4. A bishop must meet high standards of moral, civil, and spiritual qualities. List some of the standards that are listed in I Timothy 3:1-7. ____________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
5. There are various terms synonymous with the word “bishop” in the New Testament. What are three of them? _______________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
6. A ____________________________________ is one who serves in church government as an official to carry our various dutiful obligations. He is _______________ the authority of the ________________________________.
7. What scripture reference is used here to teach us we are not to be “loners” in the Body of Christ? ______________________________________________
8. Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to do what? ____________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ __________ _
9. As a member of disciples of Christ, one must be willing to express one’s loyalty to Christ by demonstration ________________________________ to God’s chosen ruling authorities in the local church.
10. What does the word “apostle” mean? ____________________________________
11. All of the five fold ministry is chosen by ________________________ not man.
12. List characteristics of an apostle. ________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________
13. List some characteristics of an prophet. ___________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________
14. What does the Greek word “evangelists” mean? _ ___ _ _________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________
15. What does a pastor do? _______________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________
16. Who clarifies the application of truth in our lives and builds on the foundations laid by the apostles and prophets? ______________________________ _ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________
17. Ephesians 4:12 tells us why the five-fold is given to the Body of Christ. Why?
___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ __________ ______