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The Role Of Christians
July 04, 2010
The scriptures plainly tell us that we have one Father, God, and one Master (Teacher), Jesus Christ, and that the rest of us Christians are brothers and sisters. The role of the Christian is to do good works, preach the gospel, and bring others to the Lord. The church (ekklesia, or called out assembly) consists of the members, both universally and locally. The role of the church is for mutual edification (building up, strengthening, maturing) of the individual Christian and the collected assembly of Christians. Edification is performed by preachers, teachers, and leading elders. The role of preachers and teachers, who are not lords over the flock, is to remind the other members of what God has taught, through His son, Jesus. The role of leading elders is to teach, but also to lead by example. It is not the job of preachers, teachers, or elders to make up rules and laws.
The Role Of Christians
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Load church of Christ on 07-04-2010
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 07-11-2010
Overemphasis is often put on the church, over God and Christ, leaving many confused about the role of the church. Letís reexamine the roles of Christians, the church, and church leaders.
Christ is the head of the church.
Ephesians 1:20 "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
Colossians 1:16 "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;"
Colossians 2:6 "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:"
1 Corinthians 11:3 "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
These scriptures leave no doubt whatsoever that Jesus is the head of the church, and as the head, directs the movements and activities of the body. The church, or the called-out assembly, is the body of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the church does what the head directs. To do otherwise indicates an out-of-control body, out of touch with its head.
What is this body of Christ that we call the church, and that Jesus and His apostles referred to as the called-out assembly?
Acts 11:26 "And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."
All Christians, everywhere, are the church, or called-out assembly. We meet together for edification and encouragementóto learn of the Lordís teachings and expectations in order to grow and mature, and to comfort and encourage one another in overcoming obstacles and facing adversity. The people of God are the church. That is me and you, and every follower of Christ.
Where do we get the knowledge of Jesus and what He taught and what God expects of us? It is written in the book that we refer to as the Holy Bible, or holy book. Where did Jesus get His knowledge of Godís will and commandments?
John 8:28 "Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
30 As he spake these words, many believed on him."
Jesus brought us the words of God, the Father. God had this to say about His son, Jesus.
Mark 9:7 "And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him."
John 12:26 "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour."
We are to listen to Jesus. We are to study His words, try to understand them, and then do them. We are not to follow men, and what they teach. We are to follow Jesus, who teaches Godís word.
Colossians 2:16 "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh."
Men are forever more making up religious rules to follow. They claim that church membership depends upon following the rules that they make up. This is not true. Church membership is determined by whether or not we follow Jesus.
Our role as individual Christians is to grow in the knowledge and teaching of the Lord, and to do those things that we learn of Christ. We are to be as lights to the rest of the world, lights of righteousness cutting through the darkness of sin and ignorance.
Matthew 5:14 "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Ephesians 2:10 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
How do we learn the good works that we are to do? We learn of Jesus, and follow His teachings, and this is where the role of teachers is found.
1 Corinthians 12:27 "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28 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."
1 Corinthians 14:29 "Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted."
Ephesians 4:11 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
Like cells or organs in the body, we are individual Christians making up the earthly body of Jesus Christ. When other parts of the body do not listen to the brain, or the head, we say that the body is diseased. So it is with the body of Christ. Those individual cells of the body that get out of control we call cancer. When all functions well and works together, the body is healthy.
We must listen to our head, Jesus Christ. He tells us how we are to live our lives. It is the role of the preachers, teachers, and elders to proclaim the word of God, and to lead by example to unite and strengthen Christians. Preachers, teachers or elders are not to make up rules and laws.
Mark 9:34 "But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all."
Matthew 23:8 "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant."
We are brethren, and servants to each other. We are not masters and lords over one another.
1 Peter 5:1 "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:
2 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;
3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock."
So we see that the role of the churchóthe ekklesia, the body of Christóis to teach and edify the individual Christians, bringing them to spiritual maturity.
The role of the individual Christian is to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost, to set a good example before them, and to comfort and support one another.
Acts 8:1 "And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles."
Acts 8:4 "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word."
The role of preachers, teachers, and elders is to proclaim and instruct the teachings of God, given through Jesus Christ, His apostles, and the Holy Spirit, so that Christians might mature spiritually; and to set a good example for the membership, thereby providing leadership.