Tuesday, October 22, 2013

“…praying for us as well…”

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been preaching through the small pastoral letter of Paul to Titus. The reason I’ve been so doing is that our church is actively putting together a new constitution that will put in place the biblical pattern of elder-led leadership. Our church has historically held to the pastor-deacon model, electing new deacons each year and having the pastor and deacons function as the elder board in the church.
As I’ve had the privilege of studying this passage, as well as others, on the serious topic of eldership, the Lord has reminded me once again of the weightiness of the call to lead a church as an elder. Consider Paul’s words to the Ephesians elders in Acts 20:28, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Note the statement about God’s sacrifice for His church…the church “…He purchased with His own blood.” What a huge, sobering statement about God’s attitude toward His church and, consequently, the elder’s responsibility to shepherd the church wisely and with seriousness. Also, give consideration to Peter’s words in 1 Peter 5:1-4, “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” These are serious, weighty charges to those who lead the church and any man who doesn’t tremble a bit at this charge doesn’t really understand God’s attitude toward His church. His church is a treasure that needs to be honored and cared for with diligence and intensity. This is no light calling!

In light of such weightiness, do you actively pray for those who are leading your church? This is so vital. Your leaders need your support and you are directed by God to give it to them. Listen to Paul speaking to the Thessalonians in his first letter to them, “But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction,  and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.” (1 Thess. 5:12-13). There are any number of ways that you can “appreciate” and “esteem” your elders and be encouraged to thing up some ways to do so. But perhaps the simplest and most effective would be to commit yourself to consistent, diligent prayer for those who lead your church. Paul specifically directs us to this in Colossians 4:2-4, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.” Note the call to general, consistent prayer…we are to be devoted to it and alert in it. But also note the specific call to pray for those who are called to the proclamation of the gospel. As we go about our general prayer life, “at the same time” pray for those who are leading the church and given the task of formal proclamation. There are worse things you could do than consistently and fervently pray for your elders. Will you do so now and continue on?

Sola Deo Gloria

Listen to more

No comments:

Post a Comment