A SUGGESTED “CHARGE” FOR AN “ELDER” INSTALLATION SERVICE
A General Eldership Charge - See 1 Timothy 3:1-11 and Titus 1:5-9
For a Specific Apostolic Eldership Charge - See the Following 12 Points
Note: The 5-fold Epbesian 4:11 Ministries - are All Elders.
See 1 Peter 5:11 (5:1-5) - Peter an Apostle, calls Himself a fellow-elder.
According to Acts 20, the following are all synonyms:
Overseer or bishop - ePISko-pos, Strong #1985, 5x
Elder - presBUte-ros, Strong #4245, 67x
Pastor or Shepherd - poiMEN, Strong #4166, 18x
(All 3 of these words are used in Acts 20 interchangeably)
Paul chose Timothy, mother a Jew, father Greek; had him circumcised, and set apart in a Presbytery service conducted by elders from 3 city churches. Paul then intended to train him as his successor for Ephesus. There were a number of areas in which Paul did train Timothy, and in these specific areas he exhorted Timothy to diligently walk in. I would like to apply these principles as a “charge” for an installation service.
1. 1 Timothy 1:18-19 (1:18-20) GOOD WARFARE: BASED ON A PRESBYTERY INSTALLATION. “This charge I commit to you, Timothy child, according to the prophecies which led the way to you, that by them you war the good warfare; 19having faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust away made shipwreck concerning the faith.” This is a most important concept, and was the firstthat God restored in the 1948 Visitation on February 11 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. In line with this is 1 Timothy 4:15 (4:11-16) PAUL'S CHIEF CHARGE TO TIMOTHY. “Be diligent (through vocal meditation) in these; give yourself whollyto these; that your :progressbe apparent to all. 16 Take heed to yourself, and to the teaching. Continuein it; for in doing this you shall save both yourself and your :hearers.” 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus deal with the ordering of “City Churches”, and the churches in the home within each city, which were the local churches of those early days. The word “Be diligent” could equally be translated, “Vocally meditate” on these concepts - and - give yourself whollyto them. The proof of obedience on Timothy's part was that leaders and people in Ephesus could see him progressing in all that Paul stood for. Centuries later, George Muller of Bristol, England, felt the same way about this.
2. Joshua 1:8 (1:1-9) VOCAL MEDITATION: GOD'S CHIEF CHARGE TO JOSHUA. “This book of the law (Torah: Teaching) shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate(vocally, because of Hebrew parallelism) day and night, that you may observe to doaccording to allthat is written in it: for thenyou shall make your way prosperous, and thenyou shall have good success.” With the death of Moses, God Himself takes charge in the final preparation for the ministry of Joshua to complete what Moses started. Just as Joshua represented Jehovah as Salvation in his day, Jesus, Jehovah the Savior, followed on from Joshua as a type, and led and founded the Church on Himself as the “One New Man,” and by the Holy Spirit brought in the Kingdom of God, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit in our hearts. His Second Coming will bring the Kingdom into open manifestation world-wide, starting with Jerusalem and Israel.
3. Psalm 1 (1:1-6) THE BLESSED MAN: A MEDITATION IN TORAH LIKE DAVID - a man after God's own heart, established 500 years after Joshua, the type of the Kingdom that our Lord Jesus would consummate. “But his delightis in the law of Jehovah; And on his law does he meditateday and night.” All of the NT that directly related to Jesus in the Gospels, and that He spoke through His apostles in the epistles, are the Teachingor Torah of Godjust as was the OT to Joshua, David and the Prophets. See Hebrews 8:6 8:1-13) THE NEW COVENANT: NOW CONSTITUTEDAS TORAH! “But now has he obtained a ministry the more superior, by so much as he is also mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted
(or better - constituted as Torah)upon better promises.” The New Covenant is now constituted as Torah(Teaching), just as the Old Covenant. Dr. David Stern correctly translates this verse in his translation of the Bible.
4. Romans 1:16 (1:15-17) THE GOSPEL OF PAUL: KEYED HERE IN PASSOVER, AND JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is God's power unto salvation to every believer; to Jew first, also to Greek.” Oswald Chambers, is a leading exponent of “The Redemption” - the Key Reason why Jesus came. Because of His great love on our behalf before we were born, and while we were yet unsaved, leads us to “Personal, passionate devotion to Jesus.”
5. Ephesians 3:3 (3:1-12) THE MYSTERYOF THE CHURCH, THE “ONE NEW MAN”, EMPOWERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT AT PENTECOST.“Howthat by revelationwas made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words.” This whole context deserves careful meditation upon! It is the key to this whole epistle of Paul to the Ephesian city church. We come into the church as converts through the light shed by the prepositions “eis” into, and “en” in - but at Pentecost the Holy Spirit comes upon - Epi- proving our obedience (Acts 5:32) - and demonstrating that now we are truly disciples!“Rees Howells, Intercessor” by Norman P. Grubb excels in making Pentecost a Reality. Note that Passover and Pentecost of the 4 Spring Feasts and Festivals are intimatelyrelated. In God's eyes, the 50 days between the two are notcompleted until Pentecost is realized on the basis of Passover. First the blood- and thenthe “oil.” The counting of the Omer with its 50 days is but another confirmation of the close linkage of these two.
6. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 (5:1-11) JESUS' SECOND COMING: AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT. “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that anythingbe written you. 2For yourselves know perfectly that theLord's day comes as a thief at night.” 1 & 2 Thessalonians deal in large measure with the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus - “The Feast of Tabernacles.” It is important to see the Kingdom of God in 2 aspects: Hidden during the church age of 2000 years; Openduring the Millennial Rule of our Lord Jesus now at hand. George Muller spent much timereading and studying the NT from beginning to end on this subject. He held a Pre-millennial, Post-tribulation position like Tregelles, H. A. Baker, Dr. James R. Graham and many others, by basing his conclusions on the NT alone and forsaking the traditions and teachings of men, movements, churches and denominations.
7. Matthew 24:14 (24:3-31) LAST DAY ORDER OF EVENTS. “And this :gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole inhabited earthfor a witness unto all the nations; and thenshall the end come.” The 4 gospels are unique. They represent the 4 faces of the cherubim in Ezekiel: Matthew the Lion; Mark the Ox; Luke the Man; and John the Eagle. Jesusis all 4 in perfect balance. We each represent but a portion of Him as our Head, but in His Body we complement and supplement one another. George Whitefield, evangelist, marvelously brought this Evangel forth in America. He strongly influenced Benjamin Franklin in his part in our Constitution, and was one of the great 3-fold influences in the life of George Muller. Paul wanted Timothy to understand Jesus in the Gospels. Note: It is the deathof Jesus in the 4 Gospels, comprising ¼ to 1/3 of each, Not His birth of but 4 Gospel chapters, that the Holy Spirit emphasizes.
8. Acts 1:8 (1:6-12) ONE GREAT PURPOSE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. “But you shall receive power (dunamis, dynamite), when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you shall be my witnesses bothin Jerusalem, and in all :Judea and Samaria, and unto theuttermost of the earth.” The book of Acts representing Pentecost is the 50 day fulfillment of Jesus in the Gospels for Passover. Smith Wigglesworth extraordinarily represented and demonstrated the potential of this truth. He averred: “The secret of why God uses me, is because I use my devotional prayer language 4-5 hours every day.” Paul had a similar testimony.
9. Jude 20-21 (17-23) A SPIRIT-FILLED EXHORTATION. “ But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy :faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in God's love, looking for the mercy of our :Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” James through Jude are like “High School”, if the Gospels are “Elementary”, and Acts “Junior High.” John Wesley is a potent example of this. His cell meetings composed of 70,000 consistent disciples- notjust believers - saved Great Britain from the tragedy of the French Revolution. The 7 letters between Acts and the 14 Pauline epistles, are especially directed to Jewish believers, who predominated in the early church. They were directed not just to Jewish believers in Israel - but to the “diaspora” also, Jews living in other countries, chiefly because of past persecutions. Because Gentiles are grafted into our Jewish Roots, we of course share equally in these blessings, without having recourse or obligation of walking in Jewish law. Acts 15 and the book of Galatians make this abundantly clear.
10. The 7 City Churches of Paul addressed in his first 9 epistles: Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossi and Thessalonica: express a maturity here, that Peter acknowledges some immature and undisciplined souls have perverted to their own destruction. See 2 Peter 3:16 (3:14-18) “as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some hard to be understood, which the unlearnedand unstedfastwrest, as also the other scriptures, unto their own :destruction.” But Paul nonetheless holds Timothy responsible to diligently meditatein these things too. Thisis like being in a College of a University. However - those who give themselves to read, study, pray over, and meditate, by the help of the Holy Spirit, can excel in understanding here also!
11. Hebrews 6:1-2 (5:11-6:8) THE HEART OF THIS EPISTLE! “Wherefore leaving the word of the beginning of the Christ, let us be borne on unto the perfection; not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, - 2the teaching of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of thedead, and of eternal judgment.” The book of Hebrews is like the book of Romans. Both letters deal with “Foundation Truths”: Romans especially for Gentile believers; Hebrews for Jewish believers. Because of Romans 11 truths, Gentiles can make use of all that pertains to Jews.
12. Revelation 1:1 (1:1-3) JESUS' REVELATION: THROUGH AN ANGEL TO JOHN. If the Pauline epistles are like University - then the Book of Revelation is like a Post-graduate course. Only the Holy Spirit can open this book. Dr. Daniel Juster received a key through Passover and the Book of Exodusthat in a seven fold manner opens up its secrets. H. A. Baker in his “Visions Beyond the Veil” - by what little Chinese beggars and orphans received in the home he and his wife provided - also opens its secrets.
CONCLUSION: But back to the beginning, 1 Timothy 4:15. For an apostolic-elder like Timothy, Paul's exhortation focuses on an elder's responsibility in a city church like “Ephesus, and in the churches in the home. I personally from a careful study of the 3 so-called pastoral epistles”, do not see a plurality of elders in the small home church, such as Aquila and Priscilla led in Rome, Corinth and Ephesus. It appears to me that in the beginning, plurality of Eldership was city-wide, not church in the home. But as Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 had the permission of the Lord to give his opinion on marital matters, I believe the Lord gives us permission to make adaptation in local churches, that in one instance has grown to 750,000 members! However, all large local churches such as that of Pastor David Yonggi Cho's of Seoul South Korea, should have many cell groups or churches in the home. There, but one leader, and in the case of Aquila and Priscilla, elder and his wife - should lead. And their leadership should conform to the Lord's directive through Paul in 1 Corinthians 14. George Muller successfully led in such a situation of some 1400 members in Bristol, England, but with many churches in the home. The elder of such churches did not dominate services, but brought discipleship and maturity to all members - yet all had freedom in the Spirit to share in the various functions as indicated in 1 Corinthians 14. They also had communion or “breaking of bread” each Sunday morning.
So though we have permission to adjust - I yet believe the Lord would have us keep to the beginning goal, and believe and seek to return to the simplicity and edifying of that which George Muller experienced as recorded in the New Testament.
One added point - the 5-fold ministries of Ephesians 4:11 are all elders. Peter an apostle, in 2 Peter 5:1 (5:1-5) - “The elderstherefore among you I exhort, the fellow-elder, and witness of the sufferings of the Christ, who ampartaker of theglory to be revealed.” - here calls himself a fellow-elderwith what I take to be the local elder-leader of each church in the home, who met regularly as a plurality of city elders to sit as it were the Eldership in the gate of the city. I acknowledge that some of the above concepts do not line up with present day practice. However, it is my personal conviction that current world conditions will be, even in our own country, causing us to relook at the concepts practiced in his day by George Muller. And I do believe that above insights do reflect an ideal charge to the installation of elders - either to a local church in the home, or an apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher - serving in a city church composed of many cooperating local churches - and also in a traveling ministry between city churches and nations - such as the apostle Paul performed. One elder of a church in the home, is there the shepherd or pastor. He may or may not have a strong teaching ministry. Where he lacks the latter, then the Spirit will use those with a teaching ministry to supplement his lack. - Jim Watt