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Title Page
Lesson Four
Acts 151-2
Acts 151-2 1 And certain men which came down
from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except
ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye
cannot be saved. 2 When therefore Paul and
Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation
with them, they determined that Paul and
Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up
to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about
this question.
Acts 153-5
Acts 153-5 3 And being brought on their way by
the church, they passed through Phenice and
Samaria, declaring the conversion of the
Gentiles and they caused great joy unto all the
brethren. 4 And when they were come to Jerusalem,
they were received of the church, and of the
apostles and elders, and they declared all things
that God had done with them. 5 But there rose up
certain of the sect of the Pharisees which
believed, saying, That it was needful to
circumcise them, and to command them to keep the
law of Moses.
Acts 156-8
Acts 156-8 6 And the apostles and elders came
together for to consider of this matter. 7 And
when there had been much disputing, Peter rose
up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know
how that a good while ago God made choice among
us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the
word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which
knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving
them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us
Acts 159-10
Acts 159-10 9 And put no difference between us
and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now
therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon
the neck of the disciples, which neither our
fathers nor we were able to bear?
Acts 1518-20
Acts 1518-20 18 Known unto God are all his works
from the beginning of the world. 19 Wherefore my
sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from
among the Gentiles are turned to God 20 But that
we write unto them, that they abstain from
pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and
from things strangled, and from blood.
Focus Verse
Hebrews 1317 Obey them that have the rule over
you, and submit yourselves for they watch for
your souls, as they that must give account, that
they may do it with joy, and not with grief for
that is unprofitable for you.
Focus Thought
The Lord God gave government to the church to
bring order and growth to the body of Christ.
Many writers of the Bible often compared the
church to a woman. One of those who did so was
the apostle Paul, and his letter to the church at
Ephesus is only one of numerous examples.
Ephesians 524-27
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ,
so let the wives be to their own husbands in
every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as
Christ also loved the church, and gave himself
for it that he might sanctify and cleanse it
with the washing of water by the word, that he
might present it to himself a glorious church,
not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing
but that it should be holy and without blemish
(Ephesians 524-27).
The principles for our contemporary government
and authority had their birth in the Garden of
Eden with Adam and Eve. After Eve listened to the
serpent rather than the command of God, part of
Eves penalty for her transgression was
enumerated in Genesis 316 And thy desire shall
be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
The principle of Adams authority over Eve has
never changed.
Ephesians 524
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ,
so let the wives be to their own husbands in
every thing (Ephesians 524).
However, a husband does not have the right to
force his wife to be in subjection to him. It is
a matter of choice both on her part and on his as
well. If a husband chooses to treat his wife with
the same love, care, and concern as Jesus gives
the church, she will be enticed to choose to
submit to his leadership. Consequently, both will
be edified and blessed in their relationship
together with the Lord.
The apostle Paul compared this relationship of
mutual submissionthe husbands submitting
himself to follow the model of Christs example
of love, and the wifes submitting herself to
follow her husbands loving leadershipto the
relationships of authority within the church.
Following the biblical model, church leaders
should never try to force people to live for God
or to live righteously.
Rather, they are to lead with tender love like a
loving husband shows toward his wife.
Consequently, believers who have been genuinely
born again of water and of the Spirit willingly
submit themselves to God and to godly leadership
within the church.
Jesus Christ is our supreme example in all
things, and He never forced people to follow Him
or to live for Him. He simply invited them to
follow Him, and they did so of their own free
will and volition. If they later chose to walk
away and not to continue to follow Him, He did
not attempt to stop them. Following Christ is a
personal decision that each individual must make
for himself. However, Christs closest followers
continued subjecting themselves to His leadership
because He demonstrated His great love and
concern for them.
I. The Gift of Government
The Gift of Government
Government is a gift from the Lord, but some
people speak disparagingly of persons in high
places of authority. We may not always agree with
decisions made by governmental authoritiesboth
secular and religiousbut our world would be in
extreme chaos without the structure provided by
I. The Gift of Government
God understood that we needed regimented
guidelines to protect us. Anarchy has never been
profitable or edifying for the citizens of this
world. Even though human governments are not
perfect, they are unquestionably a gift from our
I. The Gift of Government
Individuals may have the right of free speech,
but that does not justify them when they vilify,
criticize, and condemn personalities of
government and authority. It is common to read
such expressions of vilification in the various
news media outlets however, godly people should
never be guilty of such.
II Peter 39-10
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of
temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the
day of judgment to be punished but chiefly them
that walk after the flesh in the lust of
uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous
are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to
speak evil of dignities (II Peter 29-10).
I. The Gift of Government
Government is God-ordained, and we should thank
the Lord for those who govern well. Moreover, we
should consistently pray for them.
I Timothy 21-4
I exhort therefore, that, first of all,
supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving
of thanks, be made for all men for kings, and
for all that are in authority that we may lead a
quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and
honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the
sight of God our Saviour who will have all men
to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of
the truth (I Timothy 21-4).
II. Overseers
It is interesting that many people today do not
want anyone overseeing them and their work, and
it is possible for this same attitude to creep
into churches. Lucifer generated this same
attitude and spirit among the angels toward God,
which caused God to expel him and his followers
from heaven. On the other hand, people who have
learned to submit to their overseers are
excellent candidates for heaven.
II. Overseers
Many people desire to be in leadership, but they
cannot submit themselves to proper authority.
They want to rule, but they do not want to be
ruled. Without question, a person who cannot
submit himself to proper authority has no
business seeking to be a leader. He first should
learn to follow leadership with a submissive
spirit before he is qualified to lead.
II. Overseers (A)
  1. Ministries Identified

Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, stated in his
candid and anointed writing to the Corinthian
church, Now ye are the body of Christ, and
members in particular. And God hath set some in
the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets,
thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts
of healings, helps, governments, diversities of
tongues (I Corinthians 1227-28).
II. Overseers (A)
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul further set
forth various other ministries in the church
apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and
teachers (Ephesians 411). He further stated that
God had given these offices to the church for its
II. Overseers (A)
1. Apostles. After an all-night prayer meeting,
Jesus called His disciples together. Out of that
group, He picked twelve men and called them
apostles. (See Luke 612-19.) One of them, Judas,
fell to temptation and betrayed the Lord.
Consequently, the remaining eleven apostles chose
another to take the place of JudasMatthias or
Justus. (See Acts 115-26.)
II. Overseers (A)
Thus, he became the thirteenth apostle, a man
qualified to be among the original handpicked
disciples. Further, the apostle Paul later
referred to himself as one born out of due time
(I Corinthians 158). In his epistle to the
Romans, Paul wrote, For I speak to you Gentiles,
inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I
magnify mine office (Romans 1113).
II. Overseers (A)
All of these were men whom God sent to carry the
gospel and to begin new works for His cause.
Peter trekked into new territory when he took the
gospel to the home of Cornelius, the Roman
centurion. Moreover, in the strictest definition
of the word, there still are apostles in the
church todayindividuals who have been sent forth
to establish new churches in new territories for
the name of the Lord.
II. Overseers (A)
2. Prophets. Agabus was a prophet of God,
mightily used of the Holy Ghost to foretell
events that soon would occur in Pauls life. (See
Acts 2110-14.) By the Spirit, he predicted the
future. Judas and Silas were also prophets of God
as they exhorted the brethren and confirmed them
with many words. (See Acts 1532.)
II. Overseers (A)
Moreover, prophecy still occurs in the church
today when prophetic words are given through
either foretelling or forthtelling, which is
exhortation. When apostolic believers make
prophetic proclamations that later occureither
in preaching or through prophecytheir
declarations give evidence to their prophetic
II. Overseers (A)
Furthermore, we are currently witnessing Bible
prophecies more than two thousand years old that
are happening in these end times. Daniel was a
statesman-prophet. Jesus was a prophet. Paul was
a prophet, writing of many end-time signs that
are currently unfolding before our eyes. Peter
was also a prophet, as was Jude and John the
Beloved, who penned the Book of Revelation.
II. Overseers (A)
3. Evangelists. The work of an evangelist
involves more than only the ingathering of souls
into a local assembly. It is misguided to measure
an evangelists success only by how many people
receive the Holy Ghost through his or her
ministry. The Bible expressly states that the
work of an evangelist is for the perfecting of
the saintsfor the work of the ministry and the
edifying of the body of Christ. (See Ephesians
II. Overseers (A)
Some pastors may even hinder the evangelist from
fulfilling his ministry by placing restrictions
on him. By refusing to allow the evangelist to
preach certain things, they may unwittingly
hinder the work that the Lord would like to
accomplish in that assembly.
II. Overseers (A)
A God-called evangelist comes to an assembly
without knowing anything about certain
situations, but as he preaches under the Spirits
anointing, God changes hearts and situations in
that local church and brings new victory to that
assembly. All of the ministries are complementary
and not competitive or combative.
II. Overseers (A)
4. Pastors. What a beautiful thing when a
God-called pastor has a true shepherds heart! We
can observe a great example of a shepherds heart
in the story of the relationship between Jacob
and Esau upon Jacobs return with his wives,
children, and flocks. (See Genesis 3313-14.)
II. Overseers (A)
The pastor should exercise great care not to
drive the sheep but to softly lead them. He
should not frustrate new converts, especially in
these times of pressure due to the abounding
iniquity and horrible lifestyles that surround
II. Overseers (A)
Neither should he compromise the gospel message
or succumb to the spirit of this age of
tolerance, but he should consistently seek the
Lord for his congregation. The true pastor should
understand the gravity of his position to lead
the sheep into areas of righteousness and
holiness before the Lord.
Jeremiah 315
And I will give you pastors according to mine
heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and
understanding (Jeremiah 315).
II. Overseers (A)
5. Teachers. God has placed teachers in the
church also. A good teacher takes the necessary
time to study so that he may prepare a good,
solid Bible lesson that will instruct and edify
the congregation and minister to their needs.
Although some pastors may not feel they possess
the gift of teaching, Paul instructed Timothy
that each one should be apt to teach. (See I
Timothy 32 II Timothy 224.)
II. Overseers (A)
While their forte may be evangelistic in nature,
they should also develop the skill of teaching.
However, God also will place good Bible teachers
in a church to help the pastor to fulfill that
II. Overseers (A)
Some congregations may be emotionally geared to
services that are evangelistic and not conducive
to sitting down and ingesting the Word of God
through teaching. However, Jesus instructed the
eleven apostles, Go ye therefore, and teach all
nations (Matthew 2819). Indeed, teaching is as
important and vital as the work of an evangelist
or the ministry of the pastor.
II. Overseers (A)
6. Bishops. Paul clearly set forth the
qualifications and credentials for the office of
bishop in his first letter to Timothy (I Timothy
31-7). Anyone who desires to become a minister
should study these guidelines closely. Regardless
of what others do or the trends that constantly
change, we should adhere to the biblical
guidelines concerning spiritual leadership in the
II. Overseers (A)
7. Presbyters. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy,
Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was
given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the
hands of the presbytery (I Timothy 414). It is
good when a body of believers seeks out a person
to serve in an elected office, but it is
inappropriate for a person to seek the office for
his own personal aggrandizement and
II. Overseers (A)
During Pauls day, presbyters were considered
elders or senior leaders, as was the case with
the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin. They were
seasoned men of conviction and couragenot
novices. Today, some individuals may have the
position of presbyter by virtue of their
ministerial gifts and age, while others may be
elected into this position.
II. Overseers (A)
8. Elders. Peters exhortation to the elders of
his day also applies to elders today The elders
which are among you I exhort, who am also an
elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ,
and also a partaker of the glory that shall be
revealed feed the flock of God which is among
you, taking the oversight thereof, not by
constraint, but willingly not for filthy lucre,
but of a ready mind neither as being lords over
Gods heritage, but being ensamples to the flock
(I Peter 51-3).
II. Overseers (A)
Paul invited the Ephesian elders to meet with
him, and he admonished and warned them (Acts
2017-38). The elder who walks with the Lord
righteously, leading an exemplary Christian life
of godly example, has wisdom and counsel that the
church desperately needs. Most young men have not
yet acquired such gifts that come through years
of experience.
II. Overseers (A)
9. Deacons. When the church of the Book of Acts
faced its first major problem regarding care for
the Grecian women, the solution came from the
apostles. They instructed the fledging church to
select seven honest men who were full of the Holy
Ghost and wisdom whom they could appoint over
this business. After selecting them according to
the prescribed qualifications, the ministry
prayed over them that they might handle this task
by the will of God. These seven men became known
as deacons.
II. Overseers (A)
Certainly, the pastor should not be mowing the
church lawn or taking care of church maintenance.
A team of leaders should tend to these secular
matters in order that the pastor can give himself
to the spiritual needs of the congregation. These
leaders, or deacons, enable the pastor to remain
focused on his spiritual calling and vision for
the church in the local community.
II. Overseers (B)
  1. Biblical Guidelines Given

Practically all companies and corporations have
written job descriptions and qualifications for
the people they employ. Certainly, this is the
proper manner in which to operate a company
because it allows each employee to understand
what his employer expects of him. In seeking job
replacements, the company endeavors to find
individuals with qualifications and experience
that would benefit its cause. Likewise, the Bible
is our how-to manualnot only for salvation but
also for matters pertaining to ministerial
II. Overseers (B)
1. Qualifications and Duties. Many passages of
Scripture relate to the matter of ministerial
qualifications and duties. Paul wrote to the
Corinthians, Let a man so account of us, as of
the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the
mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in
stewards, that a man be found faithful (I
Corinthians 41-2).
II. Overseers (B)
He also identified the qualifications for the
offices of a bishop and a deacon in his first
letter to Timothy. (See I Timothy 31-13.)
Furthermore, throughout Pauls epistles to
Timothy and Titus, we discover excellent
instructions for the ministry. (See Titus
15-16.) Peter also added a dimension to this
matter in his first epistle. (See I Peter 51-6.)
II. Overseers (B)
2. Honored and Recognized. Paul gave his son in
the faith, Timothy, the following instructions
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy
of double honour, especially they who labour in
the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith,
Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out
the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his
II. Overseers (B)
Against an elder receive not an accusation, but
before two or three witnesses. Them that sin
rebuke before all, that others also may fear (I
Timothy 517-20). Certainly, a congregation never
goes wrong by honoring the ministers who
faithfully shepherd them and consistently execute
their responsibilities and duties.
III. Church Authority (A)
Church AuthorityDelegated by God
Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzars dream and
told him that God wanted him to understand that
the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and
giveth it to whomsoever he will (Daniel 432).
Jesus reiterated the fact by saying, All power
is given unto me in heaven and in earth (Matthew
III. Church Authority (A)
Possessing all power and authority, Jesus also
invested spiritual authority in the ministry to
lead and oversee the church on earth. Therefore,
the ministry should deal with the issues and
doctrinal matters that arise within the church.
III. Church Authority (A)
  1. Understanding Delegated Authority

Although some people find it difficult to submit
to pastoral authority, God has ordained and
delegated this authority to pastors. Various
things may cause a person to struggle with
insubordination, but he should realize that
coming under proper spiritual authority provides
protection for him.
III. Church Authority (A)
Luke wrote of a centurions servant who was
seriously ill and near death. The centurion, who
had built the Jews a synagogue out of his great
love for them, sent the elders of the Jews to
Jesus, and they pleaded with Him to come and heal
the centurions servant.
III. Church Authority (A)
Upon Jesus arrival, the centurion sent friends
to Him who said that the centurion was not worthy
for the Master to come into his home.
Furthermore, he felt unworthy even to come to
Jesus. Then he illustrated his tremendous
understanding of authority as he said to Jesus,
Say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
For I also am a man set under authority, having
under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he
goeth and to another, Come, and he cometh and
to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it (Luke
III. Church Authority (A)
Indeed, this centurion knew what it was to submit
to proper authority over him. Jesus turned to the
people and stated that He had not seen so great
faith in all of Israel.
III. Church Authority (B)
  1. Godthe Ultimate Sourceof All Authority

One of the most phenomenal confessions ever
uttered relative to the sovereignty of God came
from the lips of a world-renowned monarch who had
endured Gods hand of judgment because of his
pride and arroganceNebuchadnezzar, king of
Babylon. These are his own words after the Lord
had restored his sanity
Daniel 434
And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar
lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine
understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the
most High, and I praised and honoured him that
liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting
dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to
Daniel 435-36
And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed
as nothing and he doeth according to his will in
the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of
the earth and none can stay his hand, or say
unto him, What doest thou? At the same time my
reason returned unto me and for the glory of my
kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto
me and my counsellors and my lords sought unto
me and I was established in my kingdom, and
excellent majesty was added unto me.
Daniel 437
Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour
the King of heaven, all whose works are truth,
and his ways judgment and those that walk in
pride he is able to abase (Daniel 434-37).
III. Church Authority (B)
Unquestionably and unequivocally, God is the
chief executive officer of the universe.
Furthermore, He has never abdicated His position
of power. The text of Romans 13 further augments
the truth of the sovereignty of the Almighty.
Indeed, He is the source of all authority.
I Timothy 614-16
That thou keep this commandment without spot,
unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord
Jesus Christ which in his times he shall shew,
who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King
of kings, and Lord of lords who only hath
immortality, dwelling in the light which no man
can approach unto whom no man hath seen, nor can
see to whom be honour and power everlasting.
Amen (I Timothy 614-16).
III. Church Authority (C)
  1. Authority by Submission

When Moses submitted to Gods will, word, and
authority, the Lord licensed him to have
authority over the nation of Israel to lead them
out of their Egyptian incarceration. Thus, Moses
became the pastor-prophet of the church in the
wilderness. (See Acts 737-38.) Therefore, Moses
walked in submission to his heavenly authority,
which gave him confidence to expect the
Israelites to walk in submission to his
III. Church Authority (C)
When the Lords ministers today walk in
submission to heavenly authorityincluding
submission to earthly authorityit generates
confidence within people to follow them.
Moreover, submission to the authority of God
through His ministers brings His great blessings
upon those who faithfully follow.
Many people within our modern culture exhibit a
paramount spirit of rebellion toward any kind of
authority. Within this evil atmosphere, however,
believers should continue to recognize that God
has called them to be submissive and subordinate
to the godly leadership within the church.
The ministry is Gods gift to the world, but
especially to the church. Through the ministry,
God provides divine leadership for His people.
Further, the ministry works to bring about
perfection and development within the body of
Christ that every believer might achieve his full
potential and maturity in Christ Jesus.
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