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Discussion Forum : General Topics : The Elbows connected to the Forearm!

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Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2048
Joplin, Missouri


Alive-to-God: I remember a couple of good threads on this topic as well. It is worth research.


 2010/11/4 20:48Profile

Joined: 2009/12/4
Posts: 1860


Ah Travis you seem to point to what I hadn't quite realized, I was speaking from experience rather research and actuality. I apologize for this, I acknowledge your very valid point that not all are the same or curropt but I agree there are some very awesome ministries that use this type of model. I believe that maybe its important not to focus exclusively on a model because from my personal experience when we fuss over model we take our focus off of Christ though our intention maybe good we miss the point.

I believe if we keep our focus on Christ rather than a man or a system we may very well be on the greatest track of all and Christ will lead us according to His Glorious Will. I still feel that the Pastor is a gifting rather than an office. Though one has authority I agree with the point we are to submit ourselves to one another in humble service whether we are preaching or the guy that takes our trash :) 1 Corinthian 14 is my goal though and I know for sure I don't have all the answers yet nor the maturity level to be an elder. ;)

Matthew Guldner

 2010/11/4 21:17Profile

 Re: The Elbows connected to the Forearm!

Here is the thread
Who are pastors and what do they do?

There is another thread Are official pastors unbiblical?

 2010/11/7 16:14

Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2800
Phoenix, Arizona USA


I believe we have taken the offices of ministry and simply clumped them together I don't believe they ever had people specifically prescribed to preach or teach however the elders being overseers could see and identify people of the body who were gifted and if they saw fit appointed them. This however didn't give the pastor any kind of authority over the Elders.

Francis Schaeffer wrote the following...

Paul implies in 1 Timothy 5:17 that there were two kinds of elders: ”Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” Here, then, is an indication that in the early church some elders gave special attention to preaching and teaching. That is, there are elders who are especially committed to preaching and teaching the people, as it is expressed here, ”labour in the word and in doctrine.”

Also, in Acts 20:28 Paul said, ”Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Notice how the elders are given a double charge. They are to watch out for those who will bring in false doctrine. They are called upon to exert discipline, but they are not only to be like a court, as if this is their only or their chief function. They are also to feed the flock. They have a responsibility to see that the church is not anemic. The elders are not to forget either side: Both are necessary.

They must see that the Word of God is brought to the church so that, on the one hand, false doctrine and false life are kept out (or if they arise, that discipline is applied) but, on the other hand, that the church does not dry up and wither.

They are to feed the church by the Word of God. This surely has the concept of teaching, but the use of the word feed carries more with it; it implies that the church is to live. The officers have a responsibility for maintaining real life in the church.

In Christ,


Ron Halverson

 2010/11/7 19:03Profile

 Re: The Elbows connected to the Forearm!

Having been in housefellowships for some years, I would like to add some thoughts about body ministry.

Some of you will recognise a same old same old theme here, but I would remind you that it's biblcal, and that's important. This is not my opinion; this is God's inspired illumination to Paul, of how best to explain (and define), how the gathered assembly is to function. We all know there are three famous chapters - I Corinthians 12, 13 and 14.

As a baseline for understanding 'body', we know we are made in God's image. Our physical bodies tell us about God (thereby). If you've never thought about that, it's worth meditating upon.

Further along the line in this thought is that birth is modeled on God's image too. This means that natural birth is modeled on new birth, and not the other way round. So, if you want to understand 'new birth' which we cannot 'see', there is much in understanding the changes which take place in the baby's heart, brain and respiratory system when a he (she) is born.

Some things happen because we are alive full stop. Other things require thought, or planning, or training, co-operation (and so on). As we see in many churches today, it is possible to do these from a carnal perspective, constantly over-riding the Holy Spirit's leadership - which is not what Paul conveyed.

When I worked in obstetrics, in one month we had three babies born, all males, who had a part missing from their right arm. In one, it was the hand. Another had a stump below the elbow. The third had no elbow, just some skin tags in a little cluster. All of these children were otherwise sound. All of them would grow up with a natural left hand, developing dexterity with it, whether they would have been right-handed had become irrelevant. Their brains would develop the neural pathways required.

When they were old enough, they would be given artificial additions to replace what was missing, and now they would need to develop new neural pathways to make best use of these tools. Biblcally, this translates into being completed (usually translated 'perfected' in the New Testament) by Christ.

I've used this example, because it is an easy way to make a distinction between natural thinking, and spiritual thinking. When we are first born again, we bring all the instinctive movements and training of our former lives with us, and these have to be transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit and our co-operation with Him - to be changed - to be retrained to function by a new set of rules (and I do mean 'rules'), to keep healthy order.

The thought that I had about arms and legs, again, is quite easy to work out. If you are a foot, you can't do without any of the leg to which you are attached, but if you are the ankle on that side, theoretically - although you would be crippled without your foot - you can manage, while the other foot and ankle bear a disproportionate strain. If you have a healthy foot which you choose not to use, you are probably crazy. Yes?

I hope this is making sense.

Thinking about the arms, the similar is true. Most of us have two hands, and we would never think of asking someone else to help us tie our shoelaces with one of our hands and one of theirs, because we expect our hands to co-operate with each other to accomplish this task when needed. Likewise, why would we not use a hand if it exists? No good reason I can think of.

In the Spirit, the need for both hands to co-operate with each other is obvious, but when the hands are resting from their labours, they need not be near each other - except by choice. In other language, friendships may develop between members of the body because they serve the Lord together. But, it's not a sin if such friendship does not develop, as long as there is no stress in the separation.

Of course, not every 'hand' is just one person. Sometimes it's a large group who have a burden for a certain kind of service to the church, the local community, or evangelistic mission, for instance. (I'm trying to keep it simple but I know this is an over-simplification.)

Likewise, just because people are related (say by marriage), doesn't necessarily mean they have the same spiritual gifts, or serve in the same ministries (and so on). Quite a lot more could be said about the distinction between natural ministry between spouses in marriage, and the spiritual ministries to which as individuals one or both may have been called. I would like to generalise and say that if everything is good in their marriage, there is no hindrance to their spiritual service.

We all have to be careful not to get caught up in other people's ministries, even though the opportunity may be there. In this sense, we need to STAY within the area which God desires to become our comfort zone spiritually. If the Holy Spirit says 'don't do that', it's a good idea to obey Him, and give ourselves to everthing else we know we should be doing. (I don't mean this is 'easy'. It may be anything but.)

Sometimes, we are to be RESTING. We may be in a winter season, when we feel drained, isolated, tired, bored, attacked, or plain idle, and it would be naturally comforting to escape to where the action is; but if we seek God, He will strengthen us to wait, and grow, and put our roots down more deeply, and lead us safely to new pasture as well as to the next stage of our proper ministry, by which the other members of the body will be more gloriously edified.

This matter of growth is a bit of a mystery, but obviously, it happens best when the WHOLE body is able to function both in action, and in rest, according to the ministry God has given each part.

For instance, looking at the Head, we note that the ears never 'see' each other, and they may not even hear the same things. Further, the body picks up other signs of sound, such as vibrations, quite apart from the ears.

Likewise, the eyes have special ability to see in the dark, possibly helped by the hands and the feet when clarification is necessary about (eg) the solidity of a surface, or the measure of a doorway. And in many other ways we could make claims for the amazing way parts of the body can cover for those which are disclocated or sick. But this is not at all what God wants to see in His church.

It goes without saying that if we sit on our hands, we get uncomfortable in both places, as well as getting pins and needles and suffering temporary loss of function. This in itself should warn us away from cessationism, although I venture to say that many 'cessationists' are led by the Holy Spirit if they know the Lord.

The work of God in a saint is possible because of His relationship with the saint, and lack of change (growth) in a saint points either to a blockage between him (her) and God, or, a total lack of REAL relationship.

Again, it goes without saying that if churches are filled with people who are not part of the body, or don't even know they are valued and God has a use for them if they would agree to be joined to Him, those body members who are attempting to function will notice how sluggardly all movement feels. And, they are bound to be lacking in the nourishment the non-functioning parts would provide if they were moving.

(I realise there can be many different ways to arrive at this scenario, but my point is mainly that the LIBERTY to move is necessary before movement can happen. Sometimes there is a great deal of noise and overthrowing of tables, before change liberates those who are bound. Sometimes it is the bound people who are hugging their chains, even though the prison door is open. I know that too.)

When a small number of people begin to overcompensate for lack of function and flexibility, unhealthy imbalances set in. We all know what that looks like ... But ...

Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Isaiah 35:1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, [and] the excellency of our God. 3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. 4 Say to them [that are] of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come [with] vengeance, [even] God [with] a recompence; he will come and save you. {fearful: Heb. hasty} 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame [man] leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, [shall be] grass with reeds and rushes. {grass...: or, a court for reeds, etc} 8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it [shall be] for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err [therein]. {but...: or, for he shall be with them} 9 No lion shall be there, nor [any] ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk [there]: 10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

These things are all true of an assembly where Jesus Christ is magnified, where real worship is offered in the Spirit, and where the gifts of the Spirit are free to operate. If God truly is going to reign as Head in His body, then every member has the anointing to enable them to function in their part.

I John 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, [even] eternal life. 26 These [things] have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

These are the kind of things of which Paul reminded Timothy about his ministry in his place and time, which also apply to us. Simply not using our spiritual gifts will lead to the buried (unmultiplied) talent syndrome.

It is really necessary to be live in the Spirit, to be led by the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit and to keep moving forward in God as individuals, that when we are together we have bread for our brethren, and to understand that as we break that bread to one another, it will be multiplied, and, we may find we have received some new gift from on High, because of our faithfulness.

In all this

John 13:14 If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Let's not be deceived in our thinking. God knows if we have secret ambitions to be great, and we're just going through the motions of service because in our hearts we are hoping to be called to a higher seat.

Christ GENUINELY was the Elect servant who did every bit of His Father's will, and if we GENUINELY identify with Him in His lowliness, we will be like Him when we see Him. Never mind where we may sit at His table one day.

Thank you to those who read the whole post. Blessings.

 2010/12/4 15:06

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