Part 4 Where is the Church?
And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do [them]: Deuteronomy 28:13
The commandments of God, when properly applied to our life, bring about different conditions. If we do not adhere to those commandments, then a different set of events take place. The ultimate responsibility lies with us. This is why Christ told us to be concerned with the beam in our own eye.
For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. Jeremiah 10:21
The Church in the wilderness changed as they centralized their influence around a stone temple and central government. They began to use the ruling powers that had been created by the peoples apathy and lack of love and sacrifice. They began to brutishly exercise authority. The Hasmonians, Sadducees, and Pharisees were not the first nor the last.
Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Jeremiah 23:1
When the people do not exercise faith and patience, failing to bind themselves in charity and love, then, as they are scattered, others will bind them, judge them, and rule over them. If they call on those rulers to use their power as agents of the people to covet and take their neighbors rights and goods, then they will become subjects of tyrants and despots.
Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. Jeremiah 23:2
Jesus told his called out ministers, His Church, to feed His sheep, to minister to the congregation of the people. If those who are ministers leave that responsibility to others or cause the people to divide and become weak, then those ministers will become victims of their own division and decadence.
But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house [divided] against a house falleth. Luke 11:17
There is no division in His Church nor in His Kingdom. They are all one house with different duties, founded upon the same precepts. There is one God, one Will.
But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. John 10:12
The people have hired their own administrators to serve them. To serve in Christ’s Church requires dedication and commitment, faith and hope. Those ordained ministers of God must sell all their property and inheritance and become as servants. This was the way of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. This is the way of the Ministers of God’s Kingdom and is one of the hardest precepts to accept for the modern church.1
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Matthew 9:36
Christ was the good shepherd, but His Church must manifest the character and will of Christ, and not divide the people, but bring them together as one nation, one Kingdom under God, with liberty and justice for all.
And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. John 11:52
Christ came for the kingdom of Judea, for the lost sheep of Israel scattered abroad, and for the whole world, who will live by faith, rather than the might and power of men bound together for their own cause and purpose.
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. James 1:1
The “Church” is not created or established by any record that we may produce. It is an invisible body, chosen by God, that acts in accordance with His Will. What we can do is give visibility to the Church in ways that matter, not to the spirit alone, but also to the world. All of the vestments and the ornaments of Moses, down to their linen underwear2 ,made by the people for the priests, were outward symbols of the office or position of the priesthood in submission to God and in service to the people.
For centuries, the Kingdom prospered under the service of His Church, His ekklesia. Even though Christianity never amounted to more than five percent of the Roman Empire, it had a profound effect due to its union, discipline, and success. Each group of ten families met in homes with one ministering family to see to the needs of that congregation within the Kingdom, the rule of Christ. Each minister gathered with ten other ministers, choosing some good man to minister to them. This became known as a bishop. He had no authority over any of the hundreds of people whom he directly and indirectly served. He was an overseer of service. In our modern language, we call this position, “bishop”, in the Greek episkopos, but his office and duties were decidedly different from what modern Christians have established for themselves.
He gathered together in congregation with nine other bishops like himself and from amongst the thousand of bishops and ministers in that early Church they chose a bishop to serve them. This sometimes might be called a protos episkopos and became known as an archbishop. The word protos can mean “first in rank or chief”, but, again, this office held no exercising authority, but, like all bishops, was merely an overseer in the service of and for the people. In fact, every man in the Kingdom had a responsibility to watch out for each other, whether you were an episkopos, leitourgos3, huperetes4, diakonos5, poimen6 or any member of the congregation, sometimes called the laity, meaning the people7 as a nation.
1See The Clergy and the Laity published by His Church.
2And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach. Exodus 28:42
33011 leitourgos from a derivative of 2992 and 2041; n m AV-minister 4, he that ministers 1;5 1) a public minister, a servant of the state 2) a minister, servant 2a) so of military labourers 2b) of the temple 2c) of the servants of a king
45257 huperetes from 5259 and a derivative of eresso (to row); AV-officer 11, minister 5, servant 4; 20 1) .. 1b1) in the NT of the officers and attendants of magistrates as-- of the officer who executes penalties 1b2) of the attendants of a king, servants, retinue, the soldiers of a king, of the attendant of a synagogue
51249 diakonos probably from an obsolete diako (to run on errands, cf 1377); n m/f AV-minister 20, servant 8, deacon 3; 31 1) one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister 1a) the servant of a king
64166 poimen of uncertain affinity; n m AV-shepherd 15, Shepherd 2, pastor 1; 18 1) a herdsman, esp. a shepherd 2) metaph. 2a) the presiding officer, manager
7laos, a people as a group or nation; ochlos, people gathered without order; Also demos and ethnos.