Roles in the Churches of God and Created Confusion

Author Frank Nic. Bazsika ©2012

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints”. (ICor.14:33)

There seems today to be a good deal of confusion in the Churches of God as to what roles there are for members as well as for pastoral offices. Most of this confusion stems from the top down in leadership because of abandoning plain Scriptural teachings on roles in the church. Exactly just what is the Church of God,-is it a building, and entity or organization? Again let the Bible itself explain what the church is; “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ :”( Eph.4:12). The church IS the body of Christ,-with many members,-constituting a spiritual composition in physical embryo stage prior to birth as spirit members, at Christ‟ return, in the Kingdom of God. Christ plainly stated “Marvel not that I said to you, you must be born again”. (John 3:7). In simple terms the church, though physical, is composed of spiritual parts that at Christ‟ return will be born as the Kingdom of God (by the way no one has been yet „born again‟ because they are still flesh).

Pastors are leaders in the church,-set over the flock, - “Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood”. (Acts20:28) Their number one priority as leaders in the church is to feed those that God has called and placed in the church making them members of His spiritual body. They are responsible for feeding the Word of God to His children even as a human parent is responsible in feeding and caring for their children. Are the leaders of the church supposed to lord it over the members as some type of demagogue and making burdens for the peoples? “But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you, but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant, and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant: even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."(Matt.20:25-28) The Bible always has taught a rather simple rule to help identify God‟s servants and that is “By their fruits you will know them”. (Matt.7:16) Is the „leader‟ making rules and regulations that have no Scriptural authority and therefore causing a burden? Is the „leader‟ applying title to himself and or claiming title to some Biblical personage? Remember “God is not the author of confusion” as quoted above,-and even if they have some semblance of Truth they will lead you into error. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”. (1Thess.5:21) The following from „Barnes Notes on the Bible‟ pertaining to “prove” all things;“Prove all things - ubject everything submitted to you to be believed to the proper test. The word here used ( dokimazete), is one that is properly applicable to metals, referring to the art of the assayer, by which the true nature and value of the metal is tested; see notes, 1 Corinthians 3:13. This trial was usually made by fire. The meaning here is, that they were carefully to examine everything proposed for their belief. They were not to receive it on trust; to take it on assertion; to believe it because it was urged with vehemence, zeal, or plausibility. In the various opinions and doctrines which were submitted to them for adoption, they were to apply the appropriate tests from reason and the word of God, and what they found to be true they were to embrace; what was false they were to reject”. Now is God overtly pleased with the leaders or shepherds of His flock? “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, “Thus says the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?” (Ezk.34:2) "Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!" declares the LORD. (Jer.23:1) Are God‟s „sheep‟ scattered in the End Times and who is to blame? “This is what the Sovereign

LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them”. (Ezek.34:10) “Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes (prophecies) for money. Yet they lean upon the LORD and say, "Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us”. (Mic.3:11) What constitutes the type of shepherd or minister that God wants for His people,His flock? “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding”. (Jer.3:15) “Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock”. (1Pet.5:2-3) Everything about God‟s servants stems from the Word of God and exemplifies His heart on all matters. The sheep of the flock, i.e., the church, must be careful not to become rebels; “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they watch on behalf of your souls, as those who will give account, that they may do this with joy, and not with groaning, for that would be unprofitable for you”. (Heb.13:17) There is no place in God‟s flock for rebel sheep that cannot accept authority,-but you are to prove where God is working and leading as stated above by „testing‟ and „fruits‟. Since true Christians are members in a spiritual body,-sheep of God‟s flock, - can they be solitary somewhere other than being members in a particular „church‟? Could they be in the desert or on top of a mountain perhaps scattered in diverse places on the earth? “My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, My flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them”. (Ezk.34:6) It is God that calls and knows His sheep; sometimes they are not able to attend „church services‟. And it is sometimes the ministers that are turning away one that God has called, - who was seeking fellowship with others of that same calling. Is it correct to tell one that God has called that in order to join the „church‟ you have to accept a previous minister as „God‟s apostle‟ before you can be baptized? Or to tell someone being led by God‟s spirit that you cannot attend Sabbath services and you should go out and bring forth fruits of repentance first? However tithes and offerings are welcome by non-members. There are such practices going on and they are not biblical. Some years ago I came upon an amazing story in the Bible and have never seen any study or comment by God‟s ministers on this portion of the Bible. The story has the answer about just whom God calls and how they become members of “His Church”! The story is contained in Acts 8:26-39;(Philip and the Ethiopian)

26”Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 o he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. 29The pirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” 30Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. 31“How can I,” he said, “Unless someone explains it to me?” o he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 33In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” 34The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the Good News about Jesus. 36As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent my being baptized?” 38And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing”. This is a very clear and concise example from the Bible on becoming a member of God‟s church,-His spiritual body of believers. Did Philip tell the Ethiopian that he wasn‟t ready for baptism? Did Philip lay upon him some fabricated requirements that he was first to acknowledge some man or that he should first go out and do some good works? No! We learn from this scriptural example; 1.That God calls the individual. 2. The servant of God explains the Word of God and the Good News of God‟s Kingdom to the individual. 3. The individual makes the choice for baptism. It is very simple and quite clear and is the requirement to follow for those God calls and His ministers. Let us look at the human body. The head which is the recipient of the brain calls the shots! But the head without arms, legs, hands, lungs, a heart, etc., cannot achieve anything. The different members of the body with direction from the brain can accomplish many things. The legs can walk and run. The arms can lift and move things. The hands with dexterity can manipulate things,-throw a baseball or type and write. The lungs can provide oxygen to the entire body. The blood being pumped by the heart keeps everything alive! As we saw earlier, the spiritual body of Christ,-the church,-has many members. Christ is the head of the body. He calls and adds these members which are to become when

He returns,-the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is a Government that will be composed of offices of rulership,-kings and priest,-to rule and teach the peoples God‟s Way. Now does God bless and grant some of these members of His spiritual body,-the church,-certain gifts or talents? Or does only the „head‟ have all the gifts and attributes of the pirit? Let us allow the Bible provide the answer from 1Cor.12:28;- “And God hath set some in the church (Body), first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healings, helps (helpers), governments (organizers), diversities of languages (speakers/translators)”. It is God that decides to whom and what gifts will be given out. No gift is for selfaggrandizement but all is for the edification of the saints (1Cor.chap.14). Let us come out from confusion and bask in the light of God‟s Word on all matters.

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