The Polity of the Church – Titus 1:5

   Today is Thursday, April 9, 2020 and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection series # 20
   Welcome. I am so glad that you could join me.
   Hope that you are all doing well.
   Drive-in Worship Service – Resurrection Sunday! Drive in Church out at the Buffalo Ranch 564 Roberts Lane, Blanchard Idaho. Come join us. Bonner County Sheriff’s approval. All precautions will be taken to keep people safe. NO ONE will be allowed to leave their cars. If you cannot follow the rules – PLEASE don’t come.
   Mask Making Contest – Mask Making Contest – I want to create a contest beginning today for the creation of the most unique face covering. Design it, create it, wear it, post a picture of you wearing it at my email – I will find a prize for the most creative face covering! Presently we have two entries.
  Shout out to Women Uncensored Podcast. My wife, Debbie and my daughter, Meghan interview Jocelyn Stenstrom, a nurse in Perce County, Washington about the Covid-19 Coronavirus and what our response should be. It is a good listen. The link will be in the show notes today:

   Today in the News

   Good News and Bad News

   Even though Wednesday was another day that brought a record number of deaths reported from coronavirus in the United States, there was a glimmer of hope as models now have less dire forecasts for the total number of fatalities the country will see by the time the pandemic subsides.

   More than 431,000 people in the US have been infected, and more than 14,700 have died.

   A record 1,858 deaths were reported in just one day Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins. On Wednesday there were 1,922 more.

   On Tuesday, the IHME estimated about 82,000 people will die from coronavirus disease by August. On Wednesday, that estimate was lowered to 60,415. (IHME – Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation).

California Woman Arrested After Allegedly Licking, Contaminating Shop Items

   A 53-year-old California woman was arrested this week after being accused of contaminating a cart full of items worth around $2,000 while inside a South Lake Tahoe supermarket.
Jennifer Gloria Walker, a resident of the city, was detained by officers from the local police department on Tuesday afternoon after being accused of licking groceries in the Safeway on Johnson Lane. It comes as U.S. citizens are being urged to practice proper hygiene during the COVID-19 outbreak.

   A boy Scout Comes to the Rescue – Creates an Ear Guard for Medical Masks

  Quinn Callander developed a simple but effective “ear guard” that prevents the elastic bands on a mask from rubbing against the backs of people’s ears. He prototyped several designs with his 3D printer, landing on a wide plastic strap that goes around the back of the head. The strap has notches so the wearer can loop the mask’s elastic straps around whichever notches are most comfortable, allowing them to adjust the tension while keeping the mask firmly in place. Over 6700 straps have been made and provided to hospitals.

 Pause for Prayer – How are you responding to COVID-19

  1. Rebellion – Proverbs 4:23 – “Watch over your heart for out of it flows all the issues of life.”
  2. Fear – 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.”
  3. Faith – 2 Corinthians 5:7 – “For we walk by faith and not by sight.”

   Let’s pray together:

  • SLBC FamilyTyler is traveling home today from Oklahoma City.
  • Tom Spann & Bob Ahsmuhs – Cancer treatment
  • Praise – Diana Garrido son didn’t have to be sent to New York. He is a medical doctor in the military.
  • Hospital workers and first responders
  • Police – Kevin Ward and other officers
  • God to use COVID-19 to bring about REVIVAL and Spiritual awareness
  • Open the eyes of God’s people to love the lost
  • Pray for all those who lost loved ones to the Coronavirus.
  • That God’s people will stand “steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that you labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Our WORD from the Lord today comes from Titus 1:5,

   For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—

   Today I want to have a word with you about The Polity of the Church. The word “polity” means: a form or process of civil government or constitution. Today we are going to take a look at the administration of the local church.

   I. The polity of the church

   When I use the word “polity” I am talking about how we the church should be organized and lead. SLBC is a Congregational led Church.

   The fundamental responsibility under God for the maintenance of all aspects of public worship of God belong to the congregation.

  • Settling disputes a among Christians – Matthew 18:15-17; Acts 6:1-54
  • Establishing correct doctrine – Galatians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:3
  • Admitting and excluding members – 2 Corinthians 2:6-8; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
  • The responsibility in the duty and the obligation to promote the continuance of a faithful gospel witness.
   II. Leadership in the church
  • As a gathered body the church must be lead University and locally.
  • Christ is the head of the church – he is the chief Shepherd.
  • The church is established with a simple order of leadership.

Five Biblical Principles of Leadership

  1. Church leaders need to be spiritually qualified – Acts 20:17-38; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9, 1 Peter 5:14. Church leaders must reflect the character of Christ – care for the flock, a willingness to serve, a lack of greed for money, a refusal to lord over the flock, and exemplary life, blamelessness, being the husband of one wife, and the ability to manage a household well.
  2. Church leaders should be reputable with outsiders. What we are talking about here is respect, and that no one can bring charges that are truthful against church leaders.
  3. Church leaders should also possess a keen sense of accountability, knowing that they are also under authority themselves. Their lives as public leaders leave them open to public rebuke and correction – 1 Timothy 5:19-20
  4. Church leaders should exercise authority. While this observation may seem obvious, some just like using words like “leader” or “authority” – Hebrews 13:17,24
  5. Church leaders should edify the church. (Build people up). Make disciples who make disciples.

   Bring them in – Build them up – Train them for – Send them out

   III. Church officers?

   The Bible speaks of two specific offices in the local congregation: deacons and elders.

  • The Greek word translated for “Deacon” (diakonos) is usually translated “servant,” sometimes “minister,” and occasionally “deacon.”
  • Word refers to service in general – Acts 1:17,25; 19:22; Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:5; 16:15; Ephesians 4:12; Colossians 4:17; 2 Timothy 1:18; Philemon 13; Hebrews 6:10; 1 Peter 4:10-11; revelation 2:19
  • To rulers in particular – Romans 13:4
  • Women serve as deaconesses in the New Testament – Matthew 8:15, Mark 1:31; Luke 4:39; Matthew 15:41; Luke 8:3; Luke 10:40; John 12:2; Romans 16:1
  • Angels are also called servants – Matthew 4:11; Mark 1:13

What did Jesus teach about deacons?

  • John 12:26 – “Whoever deacons me must follow me; and where I am, my deacon also will be. My Father will honor the one who deacons me.”
  • Matthew 20:26 – “Whoever wants to become great among you, must be your deacon.”
  • Matthew 23:11 – “the greatest among you will be your deacon.”
  • Jesus is presented as a deacon – John 13
  • Christians are presented as deacons of Christ or his gospel –
  • Apostles are deacons – Acts 6:1-7

   Clearest office of the deacon is found in Acts 6:1-7

  • Deacons were set aside
  • They physically cared for the needs of people
  • They waited on tables

   It embodied God’s care – a Christlike love.

   Deacons must strive for the unity of the body

  • Caring for widows
  • Help make food distribution
  • Seek to stop further problems

   Deacons were appointed to support the ministry of the Apostles – Acts 6:3

  • Apostles must be given to the Word
  • Apostles must be given to prayer
   IV. The Role of Deacons in the New Testament Church
  • They had to meet qualifications – 1 Timothy 3:8-11 (Acts 6)
  • Full of the Holy Spirit
  • Minister to the physical needs of the people
  • Full of wisdom
  • Chosen by the congregation with full confidence
  • Worthy of respect
  • Sincere
  • Not be given to much wine
  • Not interested in dishonest gain
  • Steadfast in the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience
  • Manage their households well
   V. The office of the Pastor (Elder, Bishop, Shepherd, Pastor, Overseer)
  • Most fundamentally – They minister of the Word of God.
  • Elders of Ephesus – Called Elders in Acts 20:17; they were to keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseer [or bishops].
  • Acts 20:20 –
  • Ephesians 4:11-12 –
  • I Peter 5:1-2 –
  • I Peter 2:25 –
  • The root of the word translated “overseer” used here is (episkop) and it is used 11 times in the New Testament.
   VI. Qualifications of Pastors – 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9 (Read through the qualifications)

   Have you ever heard the statement, “What is good for the goose is good for the gander?” Do you see the qualifications of a pastor or applicable for all Christians, except for being new believers, and apt to teach.

   Anyone desire to be a pastor should have a good handle on the word of God. Should be able to talk about and teach the doctors found in the Scriptures.

   Plurality of elders – Is a local congregation to be governed by one elder, or multiple of elders?

   Do elders rule over church, or do they leave the church?
It seems that according to the New Testament church’s word led by a plurality of elders –
  • Call for the elders of the church – James 5:14
  • “to the elders among you” – 1 Peter 5:1-5
  • Paul greeted the elders “the overseer” (plural) in the church – Philippians 1:1
  • Elders laid their hands on Timothy – 1 Timothy 4:14
  • Elders (Plural) – 1 Timothy 5:17,19
  • Titus was instructed to ordain elders in every town – Titus 1:5
  • The church in Ephesus had a plurality of elders – Acts 20:17
  • On Paul and Barnabas’ missionary journey they appointed elders – Acts 14:23
   VII. The Teaching Pastor
  • Examples – Timothy and Titus
  • Financially supported – Philippians 4:15-18; 1 Timothy 5:17-18
  • Vocational pastors – worked a job and preached
  • We have Pastoral letters – written to two pastors – Timothy and Titus
  • Revelation addresses seven churches – Revelation 2-3

   Bring it home to SLBC – What is our Polity?

  • We are congregational lead church – the congregation sets the polity.
  • Presently we have one elder, pastor, bishop, overseer.
  • Our church has three deacons, who served as servants to the church. The only authority they have, is the authority give it to them by the congregation.
  • Together as a congregation, the pastor, and the deacons we seek to carry out all of the commands given to us by the chief Shepherd.