So, Who Has the Final Say Here?

A STUDY IN COLOSSIANS – (Colossians 1:10-20)

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In preparing for this week’s blog, I came upon this story that illustrated my blog-title.

In August 1994, a Korean Air Jet skidded across a rain-soaked runway, running into a safety barricade while landing in Cheju, Korea.  All 160 passengers escaped safely moments before the plane exploded into flames.  What could cause such an accident?  According to news reports, the PILOT and the CO-PILOT had got into a fist fight…over who was in charge of the landing controls.  I don’t know about you, but I would have thought it would have been covered in the Flight Manual!!!

The main thing I wanted to point out in this story is that NOBODY knew who was in charge…and the CONFUSION that arose, resulted in absolute CHAOS & DESTRUCTION.

So, Who IS In Charge Here?

This question is important to answer in almost every situation.  When we don’t know who has the final say…who’s is ultimately IN CHARGE, we become left with confusion and frustration.

For example…who should be in charge in the CHURCH?

The Bible is very clear with the answer:

Colossians 1:16-18 (Amplified Bible – AMP):

[16]For is was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen; whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; ALL THINGS were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.  [17] And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).  [18] He also is the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent].

Now that could sum up the answer to “Who Is In Charge Here?” in just THREE VERSES!  But I want to expound my thought process even further.

Every Church Has Structure –

No matter what the church denomination might be, a CHURCH has structure to it. And every local assembly has people who are so designated to run the day to day affairs.

In Scripture, we can find that the FIRST CHURCH had…

  • Elders–also called Shepherds of Pastors.
  • Preachers or evangelists.
  • Deacons.
  • Teachers (like me).
  • And all kinds of ministries within the church setting.

QUESTIONS:  “That’s all very informative…but who’s IN CHARGE?”

That would be JESUS.

“No…I mean, who has the AUTHORITY in the church?”

That would be JESUS.

“No, no  no…who has the FINAL SAY in the church?”

That again, would be JESUS!!!

Now if you are asking, Who makes the day to day decisions in the local congregation…that would be the ELDERS/DEACONS and…they are to get input from the Lead Pastor, his associates and everyone else within the body of Christ–the Church.

God has given the Elders a very important responsibility –

Their job is to take care of the Bride of Christ (the church)…to protect her from heresy and false doctrine and immorality.

These are the PROTECTORS of God’s family here on earth.  This is why God wanted His Elders to be good fathers and husbands (1 Timothy 3:1-5).  In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he refers to the term “elder,” “bishop,” “superintendent overseer.”  Paul also refers to the Elders at Ephesus as “overseer”, likewise in Titus 1:7.  

So, it seems to be a synonym for the term “ELDER”:  A GOOD FATHER and HUSBAND; one who will have experience protecting their own family.  They should know how to LOVE God’s children.

Since the Church Belongs to Jesus…

The Elders must ALWAYS make their decision based upon what they think JESUS would want–because the church doesn’t belong to the ELDERS.

And the Elders (along with preachers and teachers and other leaders in the church) will be accountable at the day of judgment on how they treated the Bride of Christ.

I am at fault here, by not continually lifting up our Elders in prayer and to encourage them wherever and whenever possible.  I am going to start doing this today!

JESUS IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH!!!

I have given you the importance of how the Elders and our church leaders’ needs of keeping JESUS as the head.

BUT, How About the Rest of Us?

How can we know, whether WE have allowed JESUS to be the Head of His Church ?

One ANSWER…JESUS earned the Right!

As Colossians 1:16-18 tells us,  “…in Him (Jesus) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; ALL THINGS were created and exist through Him…and in and for Him.”

JESUS IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH, because that’s His RIGHT!

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But there’s another answer to the question of  “Who Shall Have the Final Say” in the Church?  Who’s in charge?

The ANSWER is, that Jesus being the head of the Church, should always have the final say because that’s the way God DESIGNED the Church to function.

I was reading an article in The New York TimesAltering Your Engine With New Chips, by Jim Motavalli.  It was about a man who owned a Porsche 944 Turbo and wanted to increase the horsepower.  He decided to install himself, a business-card size electronic part–a so-called “performance chip” designed to reprogram the car’s engine control module and giving the Porsche a “power boost”.  And it appeared to do the job–he gained 40 HP at first, but by taking charge of and installing the power boost himself…it all blew up in his face; $7000.00 damage and voided the auto’s warranty.

I saw a poignant parallel between this story and what occurs when we try to alter the performance of the local church, forgetting Who IS really in charge!

It is only when JESUS is the “HEAD OF THE CHURCH” that the church will ever run right.

Just before the apostle Paul introduces the idea of Jesus as the HEAD of the Church, he says this:

That you may walk, (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God…that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory… (Colossians 1:10-11; AMP bible).

When Jesus is the One Who Is In Charge of The Church…this is what you get:

#1.  You are EMPOWERED to live a life worthy of your LORD.

#2.  You can PLEASE HIM in every way.

#3.  You can BEAR FRUIT in every good work.

#4.  You can GROW IN KNOWLEDGE of God.

#5.  And be STRENGTHENED with ALL POWER of God.

How often have I tried to FIX things over my life–in the workplace, in the family, and yes, the church as well.  And when I can’t…like the owner of the Porsche, it eventually ‘BLEW UP” in my face; effecting not only my own spiritual life, but those close around me; from my frustration and anger, I was disrupting their spiritual lives.

When we don’t allow JESUS to be the Head of our lives, the Head of the Church, that is UNHEALTHY!

In Galatians 5, we’re told what constitutes SPIRITUAL HEALTH –

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious…hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy… (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV).

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law”  (Galatians 5:22-23).

Notice the difference between the “acts of the sinful nature” and the Fruit of the Spirit.”  SINFUL NATURE is filled with ANGER and FRUSTRATION.  But the Fruit of the Spirit has no anger and no strife…there is no contention.

WHY?

Because when we [“I”] bear the Fruit of the Spirit, JESUS is in charge.  He’s our head!

When He is in charge we trust Him to control the situation we are personally dealing with.

Refreshment Is Always A Good Thing!

This week in my study and mediation of Colossians 1, I had to relearn some things about myself– I needed some refreshing.  Okay, not “some”, but a lot of refreshment.

When JESUS is IN a Church–people change.  When He is in charge of my life, your life, we become different…we are transformed by His presence and His power 

Who has the final say in your church and in your life today?  I HOPE it is JESUS!

 


Credits:

Photos:  Google Image Search.

Bible Concordance:  The NIV Complete Concordance by Edward W. Goodrick & John R. Kohlenberger 111.

Bible Translation:  Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.

 

 

 

 

The Results of Poor Teaching and Bad Leadership

THE SOURCE OF WISDOM BEYOND OUR UNDERSTANDING:

HOSEA 4:1-6 AMPLIFIED BIBLE:

[1]  HEAR THE word of the Lord, you children of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy (a pleading contention) with the inhabitants of the land”

“You Children of Israel” and the Children of Today–the Connection.

“BECAUSE…there is no faithfulness, love, pity and mercy, or knowledge of God [from personal experience with Him] in the land.”

Many reading my blogs over the past years, have grown accustomed to my writing style; its emphasis on God’s Word.  You might even think you know me from social networking or we’ve met in person.  But do you really know me, my character?  Do you know my tastes in music, foods, personal interests?  In most cases, the answer would probably be “NO” because…without an INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP, “from personal experience”, there isn’t a connection.

Priests, Clergy and Church Leadership–

Hosea was called to PROPHESY to the nation of Israel because of the quality of life was lacking.  The sins of the nation came from the absence of it…the people had been destroyed because they rejected what they were hearing.

The people of God today are no different.  Look at the church today and you have the lack of knowledge of God causing wavering spirituality…inconsistency of the walk and the talk of believers…ineffectiveness in prayer…even social righteousness, the way we act toward others, those outside our “group.”

LIVING with the KNOWLEDGE of God–Intimacy in Relationship.

One difference between the priests of Israel and the pagan priests of the day, was that the roles of Israel’s priests wasn’t just to offer sacrifices.  They were also to instruct the people with the ways of God.

The priests weren’t the guardians of hidden knowledge, revealed only to the “select”.  No, for God’s people, the LAW was given to make wise the simple.

Before I came to Christ in 1972, I thought I was wise in the ways of the Lord.  After all, I had been taught the FACTS, then later found I had some information [right and wrong], but in reality…I was the ‘simple one.’  I knew the “shalt not’s” of the Law, and the “conscience” that goes along with it.  My mother would often remind me, “Mel, when your dad and I aren’t around, to tell you what’s right and wrong, you always will have your conscience!” That logic to a child sounded like, “Blah, blah, blah, blah…’conscience’.”  But I would shake my head “yes”, pretending that I understood the parental wisdom.

God has revealed Himself to the world through His Word and through His Law in the Old Testament; which was meant to be taught to children from the earliest age.

The REASON the Nation Had Gone Astray–

There was NO KNOWLEDGE of God in the land; the priests had failed in leadership of the people; the priests and the prophets [in current vernacular…the clergy, pastors, teachers, elders and deacons] had FAILED to properly teach the Word of God!

When the people brought their sacrifices and offerings, the priests decided that they would use the surplus for their own means–even selling it for a profit.  They began to encourage sin, camouflaging it in any way they could, and the people followed their leaders/teachers examples.  And the “slippery slope” continued.

So, what happened?

Verse 5:  “And you shall stumble in the daytime, and the [false] prophet also shall stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother  [the priestly nation].”

What happened was, they were going to STUMBLE!  Jesus describes the Pharisees as “blind guides” [they made it up as they went].  You know the phrase, “We’ll fake it until we make it!” approach to leadership.  After all, “We are in charge!”

Here in Hosea 4:5, it says the people are “stumble in the daytime.”  Now I can understand “stumbling” in the dark, but in the “daytime”?  So God is going to take away their ability to see the way clearly by taking away their mother: the nation that gave them birth.

Finally, He’s’ going to REJECT them and their children of being His priests.  Why?  Because the more they’re increased… the more they sinned.   All because they’ve exchanged the TRUE WORSHIP of God to get fat; they’ve turned the glory of God into shame.

The Ordinary, Church-going People…

God’s point made, through the mouth of Hosea was to illustrate the ordinary, church attending people are suffering and will in fact…suffer more.  And, so too the priests, the designated spiritual leaders of the day would share in that suffering.  They may see themselves as the spiritual pillars of the community, but when they’re found guilty of leading God’s people astray, their godly privileges are revoked.  In the end, the ones who are responsible, the teachers of the people, are the ones who’ll be held to account.

God Accused the Religious Leaders.

Making an accusation of the uninformed, seemingly ordinary people in the world is often deemed OK.  BUT, God accused the religious leaders from keeping the people from knowing Him:

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you  [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge.  I will also reject you that you shall be no priest to Me; seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children”  (Hosea 4:6 AMP).

The LEADERS, the designated teachers of the land had a God-given responsibility to TEACH THE WORD OF GOD; but they became leaders in wrong doing.  The congregation may have said to one another,  “It must be OK what we’re doing if the clergy do it.”

Loosing the Knowledge.

If you’ve lost the KNOWLEDGE of the Word of God…if you’ve forgotten how God said He wants to be worshiped, what do you do?  Well, you do what all other religions do.  You come up with something that feels “spiritual”; you create a god or gods to worship.

A spiritual vacuum–

In the 70s, 80s and 90s, what happened in our Western culture?

People still had that God shaped hole inside of them, but rejected Christianity.

What did they do?

They came up with an alternative:  Rediscovered meditation; sought eastern groups; turned to new age religion, then bought crystals and Ouija boards. They explored Buddhism, Islam or Zoroastrianism that promised to give them the religious experience they were longing for to fill the void in their lives. But they never asked whether these were the way that God wants His people to approach Him, nor were they open to strong Bible teaching.

The False Hope of Ephraim and Judah–

The people thought they’d be all right keeping up all the outward appearances of worshiping God.  But they were mistaken.  This was a FALSE HOPE!

Look at the ironically prophetic words of the people’s call to one another to WORSHIP God once more:  HOSEA 6:1-3 Amplified Bible. 

“COME AND let us return to the Lord, for He has torn so that He may heal us; He has stricken so that He may bind us up.  [2] After two days He will revive us (quicken us, give us life): on the third day He will raise us up that we may live before Him.  [3] Yes, let us know (recognize, be acquainted with, and understand) Him; let us be zealous to KNOW the Lord  [to appreciate, give heed to, and cherish Him].  His going for is prepared and certain as the dawn, and He will come to us as the [heavy] rain, as the latter rain that waters the earth.”

If they’d only understood the TRUTH!

If they had understood the reality of what they foretold, of Jesus Christ who would die and in three days rise again!  BUT, they were far from understanding the things of God and these cheery thoughts were mere wind (Hosea 8:7).  It was a case of ‘too little to late’.

GOD gives His reply in verses 4-6:

(Hosea 6:6 ) “For I desire and delight in dutiful steadfast love and goodness,  not sacrifice,  and the KNOWLEDGE of and ACQUAINTANCE with God more than burnt offerings.” 

Being a Leader and Teacher and Leading People to God–

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”

Teaching knowledge of God from the Word
Teaching knowledge of God from the Word

When God’s people are destroyed and waste away, not because God has lost either His love or strength.  It’s because His people lack knowledge.

It isn’t that God says His people are completely ignorant.  They do have some knowledge but not enough.  They may have just enough to make them think they know it all.  I love that verse in Romans, where the apostle Paul warn us:

“…not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought  [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgement, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him”  (Romans 12:3 AMP).

It shouldn’t surprise us that there is a connection between KNOWING GOD and KNOWING HIS WORD! 

Some people think that Bible knowledge is boring and brainy; not necessary for the real walk with God.  But God and His Word are vitally connected!

Psalm 138: 2 says,  “You have exalted above all else Your name and Your word and You have magnified Your word above all Your name!”

When God sought out a term to express His nature,  He calls Himself  “The Word” (John 1:1).

TEACHERS, CHURCH LEADERS, CLERGY…TAKE NOTE!

SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP IS A HEAVY RESPONSIBILITY!

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Whether you TEACH a church school class, hold a church office, or lead a Bible study in your home…DON’T take your leadership responsibility lightly.

The Letter of James in your Bible makes it clear:

“…we [teachers] will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity [than other people; thus we assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation]”  (James 3:1 AMP).

Today our problem is not lack of INFORMATION given…but lack of knowing Him as He revealed Himself to us through the Holy spirit.  Our knowledge…our relationship with God all begins with Jesus.  If we’re not conveying the Christ centered relationship to the church body, the results of poor teaching and bad leadership will fall on us and we will be destroyed in the ministry!

“For we are not, like so many, [like hucksters making a trade of] peddling  God’s Word  [short-changing and adulterating the divine message]; but like [men] of sincerity and the purest motive, as  [commissioned and sent] by God, we speak  [His message] in Christ (the Messiah), in the [very] sight and presence of God”  (II Corinthians 2:17 AMP).

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RESULTS Seen

Teaching and Leading with the WHOLE TRUTH:

Start speaking the WHOLE TRUTH and nothing else but the TRUTH of Jesus Christ; in the Word and POWER of His name.  No more LIES!

Paul tells Timothy,  “Hold fast and follow the pattern of wholesome and sound teaching which you have heard from me, in [all] the faith and love which are [for us] in Christ Jesus.   Guard and keep [with the greatest care] the precious and excellently adapted [Truth] which has been entrusted [to you], by the [help of the] Holy Spirit Who makes His home in us”  (II Timothy 1:13-14 AMP).