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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : Just who IS responsible for this state of affairs?

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philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: The Messengers

Just who were these messengers and what can we gather about their role?

The Greek word is aggelos, which really means 'a sent one' from the Greek word meaning to send someone a with a message. There are other words which can be translated messenger but have their focus on the sending.

There is verse in 2 Cor 8:28 where is describes some as being 'messengers of the churches'. The English is the same as in the Revelation but the focus is slightly different. A messenger is this sense is someone sent with another's authority. In fact, it is the word 'apostle'!! The word apostle is used in more than one sense in the NT. So, in 2 Cor 8, who had sent these messengers and to whom were they sent? The 2 Cor 8 messengers were clearly representatives of the churches who were entrusted with the responsibility of collecting the funds which would be sent to Jerusalem. This gives us a valuable glimpse into life in the early church and their patterns of doing things.

But what of these Revelation 'messengers'. It seems they cmae from the churches in question. In Rev 2:1 the phrase is 'the Ephesian messenger'. the word translated 'Ephesus' in the KJV is actually an adjective, and so is the next 'town names'. So we have 'an Ephesian messenger', a Smyrnan messenger, From then on we have town names as nouns but I think we can make the point that the messenger belongs to the local church.

But what is their role? I have made the suggestion that the early churches were linked through itinerant ministries. Almost certainly these messengers were representatives of the seven local churches. They are not 'pastors' in the modern sense of that term but function a little like what in the US might be called the Secretary of State or in the UK the Foreign Secretary. They were the points of contact between one local church an another. A similar role developed in communist countries during the cold war; one person would be responsible for maintaining the contact with the outside world.

There is another interesting clue in Paul's letter to the Philippians. This letter was often used to describe a 'perfect church order' by some of the early brethren; the letter is addressed to both the elders and the deacons. But there is an interesting feature which emerges when Paul speaks about Euodia and Syntyche. Paul urges someone that he calls 'a true companion' to help these sisters to get along. In the middle of a letter to a local church there are specific words for individuals and one of these individuals is the anonymous person to whom Paul apparently sent this letter. Who was this and what was their role? The answer is 'we don't know' but it shows that Paul had an 'address' to which he could send his letter. Was this the 'foreign secretary' of the church at Philippi and a personal friend of Paul?

In one sense I am happy to have to remain a little vague on these 'messengers' in the Revelation. I know that they are held securely in the right hand of Christ; they are 'his men' in the situation and I am not being gender specific here. These were the 'routes' by which the ascended Christ would bring 'his message' to the local churches.

I'll pause to wait for comments on the Revelation 'messengers.


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Ron Bailey

 2008/12/23 6:53Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
MC's: There are times when my ambitious heart grows restless, and I begin to look outside the borders of my home, perhaps in pursuit of a business opportunity, or perhaps even in response to some flattery to take a more visible role in church...but then I see I have underestimated the task at home and an eternal pathos sobers my dreaming imagination. I am not a great man, but a small one entrusted with a great responsibility. If I cannot keep my eyes diligently on this one task for God until it is completed well, then I have not been faithful, and if I have not been faithful in the responsibility I have been given, then how can I rightfully move on to instruct others in their business for God?



I think that the task of rearing children is indeed an awesome one. I have 6 children with two left in school. One thing that I don't frequently hear brought up is the fact that John 3:3 still applies to a child no matter how much training they receive. In many ways I have tried to teach my children rising up and lying down. They have practically 'heard' a bible college education in the years I have spent teaching them the ways of God. I have tried to model it- though far from perfect. Indeed it [u]is[/u] because of God's mercies that we are not consumed.

But at the end of the day the rod of correction will have only driven foolishness far from the heart of a child. The heart is still corrupt. The heart must still be replaced. The child is unregenerate no matter how well we try to train them to say the right things, act the right way and to pray and read the scriptures, etc. We have to know this. You cannot train a child into regeneration. This one challenge is the most difficult to reckon with of all.

Children must be born of the Spirit. If they are not they will turn from their upbringing as sure as the sun rises in the east. They might not do it in front of the parents or those they wish to impress, but they will [i]be what they are[/i] when the prick of the consequences of behaving badly are gone or the sting of someone they respect correcting them no longer has an effect.

My kids known when to pray. They know the scriptures. They know what to say and when to say it. They are talented in many ways. They have heard the Lord by the hearing of the ear. The know what to watch and not to watch. The question is; "Have they begun in the Spirit?" Rules and training and preaching, etc., are wonderful, but only their willingness to respond to God in regeneration will cause them to be children of God. So we are the 'schoolmasters' that through the word of God seek to lead them to Christ. We cannot chose for them. One may chose rightly in the same home as the one that rebels and goes into the far country.

And this is a parallel issue to this thread. How can we have genuine church life with a people that have not been regenerated? How can anyone even relate to this thread that has not known the life of God? It is all surface and superficial until the reality is experienced.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/12/23 7:28Profile
dohzman
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Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132


 Re: oil bearers

I have long believed that revival comes through an individual, or through the assemby of saints, or by a soverien act or move on the Lord's part. Now what do you do with the local pastor who might say that he is bringing forth the very word of God in his/her ministry and that it's the pews responsibility to act on that message in faith (many scriptures come to mind here but I'll leave it at that for now)?


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D.Miller

 2008/12/23 7:29Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
I know that they are held securely in the right hand of Christ; they are 'his men' in the situation and I am not being gender specific here. These were the 'routes' by which the ascended Christ would bring 'his message' to the local churches.



Would this mean that these messengers were operating in [i]offices[/i] or would that be [i]functions[/i] within the local churches? Could the local church expect to hear the word of His grace from a certain person all the time or does God speak His word through the cumulative sharing of each person as they offer their oil?

I see James as that person in Acts 15; but could it be someone else next time?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/12/23 7:44Profile









 Re:

Hi Ron....you write...

"You could make a 'pretty good argument' for many things but there is no biblical evidence for this. The one lampstand which was threatened with removal was so threatened because it had abandond its first love."

I would simply say that if you cannot love the brother that you can see(lack of one accord) then it is a hard claim to make that you love the Lord..."abandoned its first love." We may be saying the same thing here.

Here are some facts that may be interesting to study. The phrase "The church," is used 70 times in the NT. 19 OF them talk about "The Church of God." The word "churches," is used 35 times. In those 35 times it makes reference to seven names. Judea, Galatia, Asia, Galilee, Samaria, Cililcia and Macedonia. Every one of these is either a province or a region. There is not one example of "churches," used in reference to a city. If we are to just use the Biblical source, then it seems clear.........brother Frank

 2008/12/23 11:21
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Hi Robert,

Quote:
We cannot chose for them. One may chose rightly in the same home as the one that rebels and goes into the far country.



So we are not in control of the outcome of events, nor responsible for the choices others make, even when it comes to our own children. Well noted brother. :-)

Blessings,

MC


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Mike Compton

 2008/12/23 12:24Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
Would this mean that these messengers were operating in offices or would that be functions within the local churches?


Either or both or neither. Now you can't say that isn't accommodating! ;-) In other words I don't think that God gives messages based on either but either might receive such a word.


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Ron Bailey

 2008/12/23 12:28Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
M.C: So we are not in control of the outcome of events, nor responsible for the choices others make, even when it comes to our own children. Well noted brother.



Well, I think I put so much pressure on myself and dreadful fears for my kids souls and for all that worry it added not a single cubit to my stature. I was not like Job, but I tried to do everything but decide for them. I just have to entrust them to God.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/12/23 12:43Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
In other words I don't think that God gives messages based on either but either might receive such a word.



So that means that anyone in the local church might potentially bring the message? Everyone is a candidate depending on who God choses to use?





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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/12/23 12:45Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
The phrase "The church," is used 70 times in the NT.


Some of these are technically mistranslations. For example in
1 Cor 11:18, 14:4,19,28,35; 1 Tim 3:5,15; Heb 2:12; 3John 1:6
the definite article is missing so they ought to be translated 'a church' or even better 'an assembly'. The references in the Pastoral epistles are particularly interesting showing that the 'bishop' (of the old KJV) referred to in these epistles function in 'an assembly' and not as a territorial/hierarchical bishopric.

Laodicea was much larger than Colosse and was a major city, but it seems that the church met in the home of Nymphas; Col 4:15. From the letter to Philemon it seems that the church at Colosse may have met in the home of Philemon.

In 1 Corinthians Paul speaks about a circumstance in which 'the whole church is gathered together'; this probably means the whole company of believers in Corinth. This would still be 'the church in Corinth' as a gatherable unit and hence accountable through its 'leaders'.


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Ron Bailey

 2008/12/23 13:25Profile





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