By: Bro. Sunday Eyanrin (Evangelist)
Brethren, for the past three Sundays, we have been dealing on lessons on the selection process of Elders/Deacons in the local Congregation. We have established that they are part of God’s pattern for the organization of the Church, (Phil. 1:1). We have also noted the wisdom of God in this form of Government within the local Church. We have also said much about their qualifications and work. We also looked at the authority of the Elders in the local congregation. Today, we are going to address the responsibilities of the local congregation toward the Elders.
THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE LOCAL CONGREGATION TOWARD THE ELDERS
A comprehensive study of the New Testament revealed that there are about eight ongoing responsibilities members of a local Congregation should perform to their Elders.
- TO RECOGNIZE THEM: 1 Thess. 5:12–13.
And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labour among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. NKJV
The word means – “to appreciate or respect” the Thessalonians believers were to appreciate those that diligently laboured among them, thanking the Lord for their willingness to expend themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally for the benefit of the flock.
- TO ESTEEM THEM: 1 Thess. 5:12 – 13.
The local Church members are also responsible to esteem their leaders highly. The word esteem means – “to hold in high regard” because of their work sake.
- TO OBEY THEM: 13:17.
17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
Obey means – to be persuaded, or to listen to. It speaks of an obedience that is the result of confidence.
- TO SUBMIT TO THEM – 13:17
Submission and obedience go hand in hand. Full requires submission of the heart. Submit means – to yield under or surrender. Christians are called to cheerfully humble themselves under their leaders because of the serious responsibility to watch over their souls.
To keep watch means – to keep oneself awake. It implies that leaders are watching and guarding at all times. In Acts 20:28, when Apostle Paul call for the Elders from Ephesus, he declared.
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. NKJV
- TO SUPPORT THEM – 1 Tim. 5:17 – 18.
Apostle Paul makes it crystal clear, let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain, “ and, “the labourer is worthy of his wages.” NKJV.
Elders/Shepherds are worthy of double honour, includes (respect and financial support) In 1 Cor. 9:14, Apostle Paul further declared: Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. Nevertheless, we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. NKJV
- TO REMEMBER THEM IN PRAYER:
The Church members must remember their leaders. The word means – to call to mind, to recollect, or to be mindful. Brethren, this is a command the Church is to constantly fulfil. The church should constantly have their leaders in mind. One of the best ways to fulfil this command is through Prayer. Apostle Paul pleaded with the Brethren at Thessalonica, in 1Thess. 5:25. “Pray for us”.
There is no greater way for the Church to love their leaders than to commit their leaders to God constantly in prayers. Brethren, Satan’s greatest target are Church leaders, If he can track down the leaders of the Church, then he can successfully scatter the flock. How can he do that? It is simply by committing them to secret Sin, which will eventually become open in on distant time. And the deed is done.
- TO CALL ON THE ELDERS WHEN NECESSARY.
It is the primary responsibility for Brethren to call for the Elders of the local Congregation, when necessary to do so. In Jam. 5:14 – 15, the Scripture declare. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. NKJV.
Brethren, they are your Shepherds, therefore, take this God given advantage for all your Spiritual needs, they will be glad to attend to you.
- They will pray for you
- They will give you Spiritual advice, as the case may be.
- TO FOLLOW THEIR EXAMPLE – In 1 Pet. 5:3, Apostle Peter declared: nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; NKJV.
The responsibility of the flock is to follow the example of their leaders. But in place of the word example, I will love to use the word “MIMIC” to drive home the point I want to make.
“MIMIC” – Means to “imitate”. God has given Scripturally qualified leaders the appropriate qualifications to enable them be in such office, in other to be role models. In 1 Cor. 11:1. Apostle Paul declared. (Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.) When God’s people imitate the lives of godly leaders, they become imitators of the gospel and its power is manifested before a watching world. (1 Thess.1:2 – 7) declared.
1 Thess 1:2-7 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. 6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. NKJV
Brethren, let us appreciate, esteem, obey, submit and to imitate our Church leaders, so that the glory of God may be manifested in our local Congregation in Jesus Name.
TO BE GENEROUS AND DO GOOD: Gal. 6:6.
Brethren, this is one special responsibility of the local Congregation that goes with a blessing, that has been ignored by several congregations. It is specially from individual members of a local congregation to the “M.O.G’S” (Men of God) Elders and Ministers of God’s word. The text – Gal. 6:6.
Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.
Those who are taught are under obligations to support the teachers of the word, by sharing with them all good things, as a way to appreciate them in imparting the word to them. I will give examples of such Generosity by Brethren in some congregation and a Sister here with us.
41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” NKJV
Brethren, as we conclude this series of our preparatory lessons on the Elders/Deacons selection process in the local congregation, we must not forget all the procedures we have put in place. By the special grace of God, the Congregation will be informed of when the exercise will kick off as soon as possible. May God help us to achieve the purpose in Jesus name.