The Eldership: God's Will, Their Work, & Our Need
The Eldership: God’s Will, Their Work, And Our Need
Titus 1:5 – “For this reason I left you [behind] in Crete, that you might set right what was defective and finish what was left undone, and that you might appoint elders and set them over the churches (assemblies) in every city as I directed you.”
Why Are We Talking About The Eldership?
The issue of appointing elders, dissolving the eldership, the qualifications of the elders, the need for elders, and the work of the elders must be discussed because it is God’s will. In Paul’s letter to Titus, he left Titus in Crete for a specific purpose. The purpose was to set right all things defective, finish the work left undone, and appoint elders over the churches in the region (Titus 1:5). It is the will of God, every congregation has an eldership. It is understood many congregations do not have an eldership because of their state of collective and spiritual infancy. It is understood many congregations do not have an eldership because of their lack of qualified men. It is understood many congregations do not have an eldership because they have experienced bad elderships in the past. It is understood many congregations do have an eldership because they desire to keep things just the way they are. However, whatever the reason may be as to why these congregations do not have an eldership, it does not change the fact it is God’s will all congregations under the headship of Jesus have elders. If these congregations do not have elders, then they must make provisions starting today to develop men to become elders. If a congregation does have elders, then they must make provisions starting today to remain scripturally organize, for this is the Lord’s will.
What Is An Elder And What Is Their Work?
An Elder is a Bishop, a Pastor, and a Presbyter. An Elder is called an Elder because he is a man of advanced age. This does not mean he must be an elderly man only, but he cannot be a youth. He must be a man who has lived long enough to have raised faithful children and have met the qualifications outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-9 & Titus 1:5-11 beyond question.
An Elder is called a Bishop because he is a man who oversees and supervises the congregation (Acts 20:28). Elders oversee only the congregation they are members of (Acts 20:28). Elders oversee and supervise both the work and the members of the congregation. Elders oversee the work authorized by Christ and enforce the scripturalness of it. If it has to do with worshiping God, edifying the saved, evangelizing the lost, and benevolence to needy saints, then the elders must oversee and supervise it. Elders oversee each member of the congregation. Why? It is because they are commanded to watch for our souls and they are the ones who must give an account to God for our spiritual condition (Hebrews 13:17).
An Elder is called a Pastor because he is a man who leads and feeds the congregation (Acts 20:28 & 1 Peter 5:2). Elders lead by ruling and ruling well (1 Timothy 5:17, Hebrews 13:7 & 17). Elders make the decisions, which are best for the congregation spiritually and scripturally. The flock may not like it; the flock may divide over it; but if heaven backs the decision, then no matter how unpopular it may be, it is for our good. Elders lead by guiding the congregation away from dangerous waters to still waters (Psalms 23:2). Elders guide us from a state of lawlessness to a state of righteousness (Psalms 23:3). Under all elderships, there will be some rough and rocky days, but they are to guide us through the valley of the shadow of death and bring us to safety (Psalms 23:4). Elders lead by disciplining the congregation when some of us break rank, get out of line, and lose our minds. Elders discipline because they know the dangers of apostasy (Acts 20:29, 1 Corinthians 5:6, & 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). Elders feed spiritually with the word of Almighty God (1 Peter 5:2). Through their knowledge of the scriptures, we learn the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). Through their wisdom and character, we are encouraged to trust these godly men. Through their experience in life, we are motivated to study God’s word and better understand how to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
An Elder is called a Presbyter because he is a man who serves as a priest and an example to the congregation (1 Timothy 4:14, James 5:14-16, & 1 Peter 5:3). Elders are examples of what men should be. Elders are examples of what husbands should be. Elders are examples of what fathers should be. Elders are examples of what Christians should be. Their example is our picture of Christ right here on earth, for their example should personify and make real the scriptures for us. They are priests in the since the 1st century Christians went to the elders regarding spiritual and scriptural matters (Acts 15). They are priests in the sense we are to call for the elders when we are sick or have some physical and spiritual need, knowing if these men have met the scriptural qualifications, then surely God hears their prayers and the Lord will definitely show Himself strong in our lives as a result thereof (James 5:14-16).
Why Do We Need Elders?
We need elders because the Lord demands it (Titus 1:5). We need elders because Christians have needs and our resources must be distributed and received prudently (Acts 11:27-30). We need elders because we need to be reminded the path to the Kingdom is not easy, but it is worth it (Acts 14:22-23). We need elders because issues will arise among us and they have the knowledge, experience, authority, and ability to solve them all according to God’s good pleasure (Acts 15). We need elders because we need to be led and fed, and not bled and left for dead (1 Peter 5:2). We need elders because oversight, supervision, leadership, guidance, discipline, and teaching must be carried out. It is urgent we strive to make sure we endeavor to do these things God’s way and not according to our own human wisdom and logic.