Monday, December 18, 2006

How to be Baptized in the Holy Spirit (Part 2)

If you knew the gift of God (John 4:10)

The first prerequisite to receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is to know that such a baptism exists. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that there was a gift from God and it was available to her. So what is the gift of God that Jesus spoke of?

When Peter went to Cornelius house, as he was explaining the Gospel to them, those listening were suddenly baptized in the Holy Spirit. This surprised Peter and those who accompanied him. “All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.” (Acts 10:45) Later, after returning to Jerusalem, Peter was called into account to explain why he went to the gentiles and offered them salvation in Jesus Christ. Peter explained that it wasn’t his fault but God’s. “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?” (Acts 11:15-17) In these scriptures, and others in the book of Acts, Peter clearly equates the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the Gift of God.

One of the main reason many Christians today have not received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is because they do not know that it exists and that it is the “promise of the Father.” (Acts 1:4 NKJV) This was the case for the believers at Ephesus. The believers at Ephesus had been disciple by Apollos, but when Paul passed through, he noticed that something was missing in their experience with the Lord. “Paul said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said to him, ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.” (Acts 19:2, 6) They had not received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit because they did not even know that there was a Holy Spirit. Many Christians today are living an incomplete Christian life because of a simple lack of knowledge and understanding.

Knowing about something, however, is not the same as believing in something. Many Christians today know about the Holy Spirit but, because of fear, misunderstanding, or even bad teaching, they believe that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not for them. Many people have been taught that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was for a time past and not for today, but is this really the case? When Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost to address the gathered crowd, he said this about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.’” (Acts 2:38-39) Peter said that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was for everyone whom the Lord would call to Himself, and this includes both you and me. Peter also quoted the book of Joel, “It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29) The clear implication is that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on all believers, not just a select few in the first century. By the testimony of the scriptures we can believe that God wants to give us what He promised, He wants to baptize even us in His Holy Spirit.

More to come… David Robison

Sunday, December 17, 2006

How to be baptized in the Holy Spirit (Part 1)

“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’ She said to Him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?’ Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.’” (John 4:10-11, 13-14)

I’m sure when this Samaritan woman woke up that morning, she had no idea what was in store for her that day. A routine trip to the well to fetch some water was about to turn into the most important encounter of her life. As she was drawing water, a Jewish traveler spoke to her and engaged her in conversation; an encounter and conversation that should have never happened in their culture, given the hostility between the Samaritans and Jews. The Jewish traveler, Jesus, offered her something beyond her wildest imagination. He offered her living water; water that, once you drank from it, you would never thirst again. As the story goes on, she accepted His offer and that day she became a child of God.

So what was the “living water” Jesus spoke of? Jesus reveals the answer later on in the book of John. “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water,” but this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39) The living water that Jesus spoke of was the Holy Spirit that was to be poured out upon all mankind after His death and resurrection. Fifty days after His death, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon those waiting in the upper room. The out pouring of the Holy Spirit was accompanied with such signs that people from all of Jerusalem gathered to see what was happening. Peter stood up to explain what the people were witnessing. “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” (Acts 2:32-33)

This event is what is commonly referred to as the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit.” After Jesus’ resurrection, He gave this command to His followers. “Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” (Acts 1:4-5) The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is many things, but its result is a dynamic out flowing of the Holy Spirit through the lives of ordinary every day people. There is an interesting reference to “living water” in the book of Genesis. “And Isaac's servants dig in the valley, and find there a well of living water.” (Genesis 26:19 YLT) The water was “living” because it was bubbleing, flowing, and springing forth. The water was not just stagnant or placid, but it was alive, moving, and active. So it is with us when we experience the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit that is resident in us bursts forth and begins to flow in ways that gives witness to God, His word, and His will. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit opens up for us new dynamics in God, both in our relationship with Him and in His ministry through us. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is like when the children of Israel stood around and sang to a dry well. “From there they continued to Beer, that is the well where the Lord said to Moses, ‘Assemble the people, that I may give them water.’ Then Israel sang this song: ‘Spring up, O well! Sing to it! The well, which the leaders sank, which the nobles of the people dug, with the scepter and with their staffs.’” (Numbers 21:16-18) When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, our wells spring forth, watering both us and those around us.

I believe that this scripture in the book of John gives us the keys to receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Over the next few posts we will be looking at these keys.

More to come… David Robison

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Biblical Roles: The Brethren (Part 3)

Ambassador of Christ

“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

The Greek word translated here as “ambassadors” means “to be a senior” or “to act as a representative”. While some apply verse 20, “we are ambassadors”, to the apostles, I believe that Paul was referring to all believers, not just to himself and his fellow apostles. In context, we have all been reconciled to God through Christ and we have all received the word and ministry of reconciliation. Because of this, we have all been called as ambassadors of Christ.

As Christ’s ambassadors, it is important to remember that we are called to represent Christ rather than ourselves. Our lives should be a reflection of the one who sent us rather than a reflection of our own will and desires. If a king or president sent an ambassador to a distant country, he would expect that his representative would act in a way keeping with his own. But if that representative proceeded to live an unruly life or act in a way contrary to the nature of the one who sent him, then he would not be a faithful representation to those to whom he has been sent. This is why Paul encourages all believers to, “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.” (Ephesians 4:1) We are to walk worthy because we have been made worthy by Him who called us, and when we walk worthy, we are portraying a clear representation of Him who called us. When we walk worthy, we also give testimony to the truth that God has sent us to proclaim. Paul writes of those who chose to live a life contrary to the truth of God saying, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” (Romans 1:18-19) As believers, we have the truth within us, that we have been reconciled to God, but if we live as if we had never been reconciled, living in our old ways of sin, then we obscure the truth of God and suppress it with our unrighteousness.

Along with walking worthy, we must also remember that our message is His message, not our own. The message we have been given to deliver to the world is a message of reconciliation. I have meet some Christians who believe that they have been given a message of judgment for the world, but even Christ said “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” (John 12:47) This is not to say that we should not speak of sin or try to help people understand that they are sinners, but the message we have been given is not that people are sinners, but that their forgiveness has been purchased by Christ and that through His sacrifice on the cross they can be reconciled back to God. It’s not a message of condemnation, but a message of forgiveness and reconciliation. We are called to take this message to the world, to implore people everywhere to be reconciled to God; to let people know that, though they are sinners, in Christ they can find forgiveness and reconsolidation through His blood. “And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.’” (Luke 14:23)

David Robison

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Biblical Roles: The Brethren (Part 2)

The Work of Ministry

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV)

It is the role of the brethren to perform the “work of ministry.” Ministry is not to be relegated to a select few or to the “professional” clergy, but ministry is the responsibility of each and every member of the Body of Christ. All believers are to be “full-time ministers” regardless of whether they draw a salary from the church or not. There really is no such thing as a “bi-vocational” minister. Regardless of what we do to earn a living, we are all called to be ministers of the Gospel.

Unfortunately, many in the western church have grown complacent and have been content to leave the work of ministry to the paid ministers. We have become like those whom Paul referred to in the book of Hebrews. “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers , you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” (Hebrews 5:11-12) We have churches full of people who, by now, aught to be teaches, yet for all the teaching they have heard, they still have need to be taught. The reason we have become dull of hearing is because we have failed to practice the Word we have been taught. “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14) If we would get up and start doing the work of ministry, start practicing the Word we have heard, then we would begin to grow stronger and our ministry would begin to develop and grow. By practicing the Word of God we will progress from student to teacher, from one needing ministry to one who is a minister.

After departing Egypt, the children of Israel spent almost a year and a half on Mount Horeb being taught by the Lord. Their time there was pleasant. They were feed by the Lord, their possessions did not wear out, and the Lord was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. One day, the Lord came and spoke to the congregation saying, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and set your journey…” (Deuteronomy 1:6-7) The children of Israel had grown comfortable, they liked it at Mount Horeb and were content to stay, yet the promise land still awaited them. As long as they stayed on the mountain, they would never inherit what God had for them; they had to leave and journey to the land God had promised them. So it is for us today. Many of us have become comfortable in our churches. We like coming on Sunday, fellowshipping with our friends, and hearing the preaching by the pastor. We are content being spectators; watching the clergy minister in our midst. But God is speaking a new word to us. We have been on this mountain long enough. It is time to rise up and possess the promises of God. It is time to leave the comfortable place and journey to our promised land. It is time for us to start doing the work of ministry, not waiting on others to do it. This is our inheritance; this is our calling.

More to come… David Robison

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Blog Sightings

I was excited to see that my blog was mentioned this month by the Chrurch Report Online. You can check it out for yourself here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Biblical Roles: The Brethren (Part 1)

The role of the Brethren

“Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas -- Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, and they sent this letter by them, ‘The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings.’” (Acts 15:22-23)

I believe that in this verse, Paul outlines the governmental structure for the church: the Apostles, the Elders, and the Brethren. In this post (and those to come) we will look at some of the roles of the Brethren. This list is not exhaustive, but contains some of the role I believe to be important.


“But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:24-27)

It is the brethren who are to provide care to the body. It is not the responsibility of the pastor, the elders, or any paid staff; it is the sole responsibility of the brethren to care one for another. God has designed the Body so that each member should care for the other members of the body. Unfortunately, in the western church we have strayed away from this reality. We hire pastors and paid staff and expect them to care for the people. When we have a need, we look to the pastor for counseling, prayer, and comfort. When someone in our church is suffering, we direct them to someone else for ministry rather than ministering to them ourselves. We fail to see ourselves as ministers as much as we fail to see that all of God’s people are capable of ministering. There are two keys to making the transition from a staff/pastor led system of care to a becoming a body of caring believers.

First, we must accept that we are needed and that we need the other members of the Body. “If the foot says, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’” (1 Corinthians 12:15-16, 21) We are all part of the Body and we are all needed; we all have something to offer and we all have a part to play. In the Body, there are not suppliers and consumers; some members that supply care and other that consume it. Rather we are all to be supplies and consumers of what the Body has to offer. It is in the giving and receiving that we grow in the strength and stature of the Lord.

This leads us to the second key; we need to develop genuine relationships within the Body of Christ. “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16) A joint is the place where two parts meet. Joints represent relationships between two parts of the body. Notice that it is at the joint where each member gives and receives life from the other members. If we are to be a church where each member cares for one another, then we must become a church that is “fitted and held together” by the relationships formed between its members.

More to come… David Robison

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Biblical Roles: Elders (Part 3)


“The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17)

The Greek word used for “rule” means to “stand before” and to “preside over”. This is the same word Paul uses when listing the qualifications of an Elder. Paul stipulates that an elder, “must be one who manages [rules] his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?).” (1 Timothy 3:4-5) Elders are appointed to rule over the church, not boards, not the congregation, not a committee, or even “the pastor”. God’s church is ruled by His elders. Paul likens and elder’s rule as that of a father over his household. As such, some of the roles of an elder include,

Leadership: Elders give direction and leadership to the church. Without leadership, a church can often become adrift, uncertain about decisions to make, where to go, or what to do. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” (Zechariah 13:7 NIV) This is not to say that elders must make all the decisions, but when there is confusion or differing opinions, it often falls to the elders to make the final decision and to set the course for others to follow. Just like in a family, all the members are responsible to make wise decisions regarding their own lives, but when it comes to making decisions that affect the entire family, it is the father that has both the final say-so and responsibility for the decisions he makes.

Conflict Resolution: As in any family, conflicts will arise between family members. When these conflicts grow to the point where they cannot be resolved among those involved, then it is the role of the elders to step in and help the warring parties to resolve their conflicts. In writing to the church at Philippi, Paul urges the elders to help two such women to work together in harmony. “I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel.” (Philippians 4:2-3) For some reason, these two women had become “sidewise” in their relationship with one another. It is unclear exactly who the “true companion” is that Paul referrers to but it is reasonable to assume that it was one of the overseers to whom Paul addressed his letter. Elders do not need to be involved in every little dispute within the Body of Christ, but when two believers have tried and yet have failed to rebuild a broken relationship, the wisdom of the elders may be exactly what is needed to restore harmony and fellowship.

Discipline: One of the hardest things an elder has to do is to execute discipline on a member of the church. Jesus laid out the process for church discipline, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17) In telling it to the church, it is the elders that represent the church and preside over any disciplinary action taken by the church. Discipline is never fun, but there are times when it is necessary for the health of the church and for the redemption of the one disciplined. Some elders shy away from discipline, hoping that the problem will resolve itself or simply go away, but when we ignore discipline it only makes the problem worse. In the church at Corinth, there was a sinful situation that called for discipline, yet none of the elders were taking action. So Paul made the decision for them and wrote to them commanding that they carry out his decision, “For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 5:3-5) An elder must never cower away from the difficult task of discipline, if he does, it will only weaken the church, yet if he faces it courageously it will benefit the church greatly. “For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.” (2 Corinthians 7:11)

More to come… David Robison

Friday, December 08, 2006

Biblical Roles: Elders (Part 2)


“Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3:15)

Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, God prophesied of a time when he would give his people shepherds who would shepherd them after God’s own heart. They would shepherd God’s people just as God would shepherd them and they would feed then and tend them just as Christ would. There are three primary aspects to being a shepherd.

First, a shepherd is called to feed the flock. “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.” (John 21:15 NKJV) Paul said that an elder should be “apt to teach” (1 Timothy 3:2 KJV). An elder is to feed the people of God with the Word of God. They are to teach not only the milk of the word, but also the solid food found in His scriptures. Yet an elder is not to simply “spoon feed” the sheep, but a good shepherd leads his sheep to where the best food is to be found. An elder not only teaches the word of God but He points God’s people to the one who is the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. An elder’s teaching does not only educate, but leads the people into a more vibrant relationship with the one whom the scriptures speak about, they lead them to Jesus.

Secondly, a shepherd watches over the flock. “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17) Remember when the angels came to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus, they found them “keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). An elder is to watch over the people of God. He is to be on the guard against attacks from without and attacks from within. He is to watch for and defend the flock from the lion and the bear and also from the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Much of this watching is done through prayer. An elder should be watchful in prayer and sound the alarm to the flock when danger is near.

Thirdly, a shepherd is an example to the flock. “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.” (1 Peter 5:2-3) Someone once said that values are more caught than taught. It matters little what an elder teaches if their lifestyle does not line up with their teaching. Elders are to be an example to the flock. An elder should always be aware that people are watching; watching to see if the word of God is really true and can really be lived out in our lives. If we cannot live out the word of God, what hope do the people of God have? We need to live the truth we teach, we need to be examples of what is possible when the God of the universe, and His word, lives inside of us.

More to come… David Robison

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jay Adkins reviews "The Blog of Job"

I want to thank my friend and fellow blogger, Jay Adkins, for his recent review of my book, "The Blog of Job". Jay's blog is one of the few blogs I read on a regular basis and he always seems to have something interesting and worth while to say. If you are interested in getting your own copy of my book, "The Blog of Job", it is available directly from the publisher as well as from Oh, and remember it makes a great Christmas Gift too!

David Robison

Monday, December 04, 2006

Biblical Roles: Elders (Part 1)

The role of an Elder

“Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas -- Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, and they sent this letter by them, ‘The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings.’” (Acts 15:22-23)

I believe that in this verse, Paul outlines the governmental structure for the church: the Apostles, the Elders, and the Brethren. In this post (and those to come) we will look at some of the roles of the Elders. This list is not exhaustive, but contains some of the role I believe to be important.


“So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’” (Acts 6:2-4)

At its inception, the twelve apostles were also the elders of the new church. As the church grew and the needs of the believers grew, the elders found themselves squeezed for time. There was the always pressing need of the people and there was also their personal need to spend time with God. The elders of the early church understood that their chief calling was to labor in the word and in prayer. Their calling to pray for the people was greater than their calling to personally serve the people. Their solution was to ordain deacons to see to the ministry “tasks” while they gave themselves to prayer.

An elder is to pray for the people. Intersession is one of the primary roles of an elder. They are like the Old Testament priests that carried the names of the twelve tribes of Israel before God. “As a jeweler engraves a signet, you shall engrave the two stones according to the names of the sons of Israel; you shall set them in filigree settings of gold. You shall put the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of memorial for the sons of Israel, and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for a memorial.” (Exodus 28:11-12) Elders continually bring the people of God before God, they continually offer up their names as a memorial before Him.

When Paul was passing through Ephesus for the final time, he called together the elders and commanded them to “be on the alert.” (Acts 20:31) The Greek word for “alert” is literally “watch”. Paul commanded them to be on the watch. How do we watch in the Spirit? “And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’” (Matthew 26:40-41) The watching Jesus was referring to was prayer. We watch in prayer. When elders pray and intercede, they are standing watch over the flock. It is in the place of prayer that God can reveal His plans and purposes for the body. It is also in prayer that God can warn us of the plans and purposes of our enemy. Watching is praying.

It is the continual temptation of elders to become busy with the “work” of ministry, but an elder must never allow the needs of others to draw them away from their primary role as intercessor. The more there is to do, the greater the need for elders to pray. Without prayer, we lack the wisdom, guidance, and revelation from God that is needed to lead the people of God. Elders must pray!

More to come… David Robison

Friday, December 01, 2006

Biblical Roles: Apostles (Part 3)


“But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7)

Paul was not only a father to the churches, urging them on, but he was also a mother to them, tenderly caring for their condition. Paul’s care was not for the “church” but for the people of the “church”. Paul cared for them, not because it was his “job” but because he genuinely cared and loved them. Paul’s heart was bent towards them and he delighted when he was able to be with them. In his letter to the Romans he told them, “For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine.” (Romans 1:11-12) And in his letter to the Philippians he said, “For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:8) Paul’s care for them flowed out of the love and affection he had for them in Christ Jesus.

Apostles have a mother’s heart for the people of God. Their concern for the churches is constant, even when they are absent. Paul write of his daily concern for the churches, “Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?” (2 Corinthians 11:28-29) When absent, they bear the burden of concern. When present, they are gentle in their care.

Conflict Resolution

“I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.” (3 John 9-10)

There are times when, in the life of a church, things can go awry. Often this is the result of sin and pride, and most often it is sin and pride within the leadership of a church. Paul warned the elders of the church at Ephesus, “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30) Notice that Paul told them that the wolves would arise from amongst the elders. Many times, the problems that can destroy a church are problems within the eldership. In times such as these, apostolic ministry can be a lifesaver to a church. It is times like these that apostles can step in and, with their authority in Christ, set things right and restore order to the church. “For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.” (2 Corinthians 7:11)

David Robison