admin on November 1st, 2017

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

A spring cleaning effort would be organized in conjunction with the Bible Camp on the 1st of December (Friday) being a public holiday. We are grateful for opportunities to be of service to the Lord Jesus Christ. 

See you there. 

 

admin on March 3rd, 2017

We are glad to announce that the 59th Malacca Bible Camp would be organized from the 10th to the 16th of December 2017 in the will of the Lord. The Bible Camp is focused on encouraging the love and study of God’s Word. You can discover the Wonders of the Bible as well as see how the Bible is relevant to us in the 21st Century even though it was written many years ago. 

This year’s theme is “The Bible and I” Come and join us. 

Bible Camp Forms can be downloaded here. 

admin on November 11th, 2016

The 58th Annual Malacca Bible Camp would be held from the 11th to the 17th of December 2016.

Online forms are available below

ONLINE Registration for Malacca Bible Camp 2016

admin on November 6th, 2016

19 November 2016

The assembly will be having spring cleaning on Saturday 19 November in preparation for the Bible Camp.

Come and join us to prepare The Hall welcome the campers.

admin on January 10th, 2016

THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK

Chapter 7 of the letter to the Hebrews is a passage of the utmost importance.
Its imagery and its format of argument seems strange making it difficult for us to understand.
Our difficulty arises because of the character of Melchizedek.
Abraham and Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Elijah are well known figures in the Old Testament, but so little is known to us of Melchizedek.

The writer of Hebrews used Melchizedek as a type of Christ.
This type of typology was familiar to the early believers – most of who were converted from Judaism.

Hebrews 5:1-10 commences with Christ as being designated by God to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Heb 5:6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Heb 5:10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

Chapter 6 ends with this profound statement that Christ had been made FOREVER after the order of Melchisedek.
Heb 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

And now finally after a three fold introduction of Melchizedek, the writer devotes the whole of chapter 7 to deal in detail as a reminder to the early Hebrew Christians that now Christ has become THE High Priest FOREVER after the order of Melchizedek.
He does this to present the Hebrew Christians with the clear understanding of the SUPERIORITY of the priesthood of Christ in contrast to that of the Levitical priesthood of Aaron.

Let us examine how the concept – the order of Melchizedek develops:
The writer of Hebrews got this concept from 2 passages of the Old Testament:

Gen 14:17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale.
Gen 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
Gen 14:19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
Gen 14:20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Psa 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

In the Genesis account, the incident relates to Abraham when he returned victorious from a military encounter with the Canaanite kings. Fresh from the scene of victory and laden with all the battle spoils, Abraham is met by the King of Salem (Jerusalem) Melchizedek.
Melchizedek offered bread and wine to the victor – Abraham (This detail the writer of Hebrews did not mention despite its potential typological value).
Melchizedek pleaded God’s blessing on Abraham while also praising God for Abraham’s victory.
Abraham offered Melchizedek a tenth of the battle spoil and at this point Melchizedek disappears from the scene of ancient history for a long while.

Melchizedek’s second appearance is in Ps 110:4
To scholars of Old Testament and even Christian interpretation of Scripture there are 4 types of meanings.
The Jewish rabbis would give different names to the 4 meanings:

  1. Literal and factual meaning – Peshat
  2. Suggested meaning – Remaz
  3. Analytical and investigative meaning – Derush
  4. Allegorical or inner or spiritual meaning –Sod

The inner or spiritual meaning (Sod) was the most important to the early Hebrew Christians.
How does the priesthood of Melchizedek differ from the Levitical priesthood of Aaron?
The writer of Hebrews seeks to elaborate the Eternal and Unique aspect of Christ’s priestly work as he makes typological use of 4 related points:

1.The Status of Melchizedek 7:1

Heb 7:1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

Melchizedek was King of Salem.
And so was Christ. He is King of Kings and King of Peace.
The concept of a kingly priest may seem unfamiliar to us, however in the ancient world kings acted as priests and vice –versa.

The concept of Christ as Priest dominates the central theme of this letter to the Hebrews.
Although this title is confined only to this letter there are indications in the New Testament regarding the priestly work of the Lord Jesus.

Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
1Jo 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
1Jo 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

2.The name of Melchizedek – 7:2

Heb 7:2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

The name ‘Melchizedek’ signifies a priesthood of righteousness.
It is a royal priesthood of Peace (He was king of Salem).
It is a personal name and it is not inherited as it had no recorded genealogy.
It is Eternal as he had no recorded birth or death.
And so is the Priesthood of Christ which has no beginning or ending.

3. The uniqueness of Melchizedek – 7:3

Heb 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

The writer of Hebrews including the Jewish rabbis felt completely justified to interpret not only the utterances of scripture but also the silences of scripture.
Hence the writer based this passage on what scripture does not mention about Melchizedek.

Melchizedek has no recorded genealogy.
This is one of the arguments drawn from the silence of scripture which does not provide Melchizedek with any list of genealogy. He just arrives on the scene seemingly from nowhere.

He is in fact a reverse of the rules laid out in the Levitical priesthood which dictates that there MUST be an entirely dependable recorded descent.
Under Jewish law a man could not be a priest unless he produced a documented proof that he has descended from the lineage of Levi (Aaron).
When the Jews returned from exile from Babylon to Jerusalem certain priestly families could not produce their genealogy records and thus were barred from the priesthood (Ezra 2:61-63, Neh 7:63-65)

So the silence of scripture regarding the genealogy of Melchizedek is a fitting type of Christ.
This priest king in this sense is limitless and as such he resembles the Son of God who continues as priest forever.

Regarding Typology – it is not Jesus Christ that resembles Melchizedek but Melchizedek who resembles Christ. This Melchizedek is the exact copy of which Christ is the reality

4.The Superiority of Melchizedek 7:4-10

Heb 7:4 Now consider how great this man [was], unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
Heb 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
Heb 7:6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
Heb 7:7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
Heb 7:8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he [receiveth them], of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
Heb 7:9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
Heb 7:10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

How can we prove that the priesthood of Melchizedek is more superior to that of the Levitical priesthood of Aaron?
Abraham gave a tenth of all his spoils to Melchizedek.
Priest exact tithes but there is a difference here.
The Levitcal priests tithed their fellow Jews as a result of a legal enactment.
But here Abraham tithed to Melchizedek who had no racial connection with him.
He exacted tithes not because of law – as the law had not yet been given but because of His Personal Right as priest king.

Melchizedek blessed Abraham.
It is always the superior who blesses the inferior.
Melchizedek was superior to Abraham although Abraham was the founder of the Hebrew nation.

Then the writer to the Hebrews proceed to present Jesus Christ as the priest not from the Levitical line of Aaron but after the order of Melchizedek.
If the ministry of the Levitical priesthood had been spiritually effective it would not have been necessary for God to send another priest after the order of Melchizedek.

When the Lord was on earth, He was from the tribe of Judah, and Judah was not entitled to the Levitical priesthood which descended from Levi (Aaron).

However the old Levitical order of priesthood was set aside by God because of its inadequacy and its weakness and its imperfections – for the law made nothing perfect.
It is the SAVING WORK of Christ that has introduced to us a better hope.
It is by this hope that we can come into the presence of God.

PART 2

The priesthood of Christ presents a more excellent ministry than the Levitical priesthood.
Jesus Christ mediates a far better covenant which is far superior to that of the Levitical priests.
The priesthood of Christ is based on 3 factors as set out by the writer to the Hebrews in the following verses:

1.The Oath of God 7:20-21

Heb 7:20 And inasmuch as not without an oath [he was made priest]:
Heb 7:21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)

The writer here quotes Ps 110:4 because it contains GOD’S OATH..
This distinctive priesthood will be permanent and changeless.
The first part of the oath declared that “The Lord has SWORN …”
It must be remembered that in Jewish thought that when God had said something it was done – Gen 1:3.
It was not just mere words. Those words had the power to initiate or commence an event.

The second part of the oath declares its RELIABILITY.
It declares that God will not change His mind. He will not go back on His Word.
So when in past eternity God took upon Himself this priestly work on our behalf, the PERMANANCE of His Ministry was confirmed by GOD’S OATH..

2. The Lord Jesus is the Guarantor – 7:22

Heb 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the pledge/guarantor of a better Covenant/Testament because God took an oath that His priesthood would be an everlasting priesthood with the Lord Himself as Guarantor!
So the new priesthood (Christ’s) is better than the old priesthood of Aaron as the old priesthood had NO guarantor.

a) BETTER is the keyword in the letter.

At the beginning the writer declares that Christ has a better name than the angels (1:4), for He is the Son of God.
In Christ there is a better hope because it is based on a better Covenant with better promises.
The once and for all offering of Christ’s life is a better sacrifice.
So in times of persecutions and trials when some have lost their homes and properties they can rejoice in heaven for they have a better possession.
They set their hopes not on earthly materials but fix their eyes on a better country.

b) The Word ‘Covenant’ or Testimony appears many times

In chapters 8 and 9 this word is described in greater detail.
It signifies the Covenant of God with us.
In His merciful goodness God entered into a Covenant with us though the Work and Merit of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is a Better, New and Eternal Covenant.

c) Surety (Guarantor/Pledge)

This Word appears only here in the entire New Testament.
It is the assurance not only for the future but the present – though unseen.
The Guarantor – the Lord Jesus Christ knows all out needs having lived amongst us mortals.
Now HE sits in God’s presence as our Surety and Guarantor.

3. Jesus Christ is the Great High Priest 7:23-28

There are 3 portraits of Christ in this passage as:

  • Our Present Guarantor
  • Our Great High Priest
  • Our Effective Sacrifice

We shall direct our attention to the Superiority of Christ’s priestly office over the Levitical priesthood.
There are 5 aspects of His Person and Work:

1 – His Permanent Achievement 7:23-24

Heb 7:23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
Heb 7:24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

The priesthood of the Lord Jesus which is after the order of Melchizedek is therefore to make intercession for the believer forever.
Hence Christ is able to save us COMPLETELY, whereas the Levitical priests were compelled by death to transfer their ministry to the next priest in succession.
So by reason of Christ’s eternal ministry as High Priest He is able to save the believer in totality – in the believer’s spirit, soul and body.
This is based on Christ’s ONCE AND FOR ALL OFFERING OF HIMSELF AS A SACRIFICE.

2- His Limitless Power – 7:25 a.

Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
We are not saved by a ‘little believing’ plus a ‘little doing’.
Nothing is necessary to supplement or add to our salvation.
Christ achieved it ABSOLUTELY by His Victorious Work.

3. –His Present Ministry – 7:25 b:

Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him …
Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Christ Redemptive Work is based on the Cross. It is in the past, and it is a FINISHED WORK.
NOW Christ supports and sustains us through His Intercessory Ministry.

Jewish rabbis maintain that intercession on behalf of the Hebrew nation was entrusted to the angels – especially the arch angel Michael.
The Roman Catholics have supplemented the Virgin Mary as their intercessor.

Here in Hebrews 7: 25 we have clearly stated to us that Christ is the ONLY INTERCESSOR.
Christ the far more Superior than the angels of the Jewish tradition.
Christ intercedes for us meaningfully, for unlike the angels He has experienced our trials and temptations.
Christ intercedes for us compassionately, for unlike the angels He knows exactly what we need.
Christ intercedes for us effectively, for unlike the angels He has the power to meet our needs.

4.- His Sinless Character 7:26:

Heb 7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

The priests of the Old Testament were required to live holy lives, but as humans they were sinners like the rest of mankind.
Levitical priesthood stressed on outward cleansing and internal purity but Christ’s priesthood is effective because it is based on His inward purity and sinless perfection.

5.- His Perfect Offering – 7:27-28:

Heb 7:27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
Heb 7:28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Christ does not need to offer sacrifices everyday as the Old Testament high priests had to – first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people.
Christ’s Sacrifice was ONCE AND FOR ALL when He offered Himself.(Heb 9:28)
The Law appointed men as high priests who were weak, however the promise of the oath which came after the law appointed the Son who has been PERFECTED FOREVER.

Christ’s ONCE AND FOR ALL OFFERING OF HIMSELF on the cross as a sacrifice for sin is contrasted to the repetitive sacrifices that needed to be offered by the Levitical high priests.
The word ‘daily’ shows it belongs to Christ and not to the Levitical priesthood.
So the phrase would mean – “Who has need day by day to renew the sacrifice as the Levitical high priest did year by year”.
Christ does not need to renew the sacrifice day by day and year by year as did the Levitical high priests.
The Levitical priests had to offer repeated sacrifices because the blood of animals could not pay for sin.

Christ needed to offer just ONE SACRIFICE.
Furthermore, unlike the Levitical high priests He did not have to first offer a sacrifice for His own sins for He has NO SIN.
Christ as our High Priest is pure and spotless and hence efficacious (effective).

Under the Law, the Jews had to be content with the service of a weak priesthood who were frail and fallible as they were mere humans – imperfect and sinful.

Conclusion:
What are the practical implications which are derived from this Chapter?

Our eternal salvation does not depend on our changing feelings or our wavering experiences.
All our confidence is in God who will NOT GO BACK ON HIS WORD.
We may disappoint Him and fail Him from time to time, but He does not cast us off.
God is true to His Word for ALL TIME.

Christ is our Great High Priest whom we love and trust.
In times of uncertainty and doubt we are encouraged by this passage to take God at His Word as He has SWORN ON OATH that the Son of God is our Great High Priest forever.

Christ has dealt with man’s triple problem: – Sin, death and the devil and having dealt effectively with ALL THREE of them He is able to keep those who come to God through Christ secure in His love and grace.

We are saved by the FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST, but we should not neglect the continuing efficacy (effective work) of our Lord as our Great High Priest.
He rescues us not only at our initial commitment but also day by day and moment by moment by interceding for us.
We must constantly renew our trust in Him knowing that HE will never fail us, and in doing so we will grow in our faith and move closer and closer to Him regardless of our trials, temptations and sufferings.

admin on January 5th, 2016

The new Sunday School term for 2016 started on 3rd of January 2016. We had singing, a message then games followed by refreshments.

Our Sunday School would start at 11.30 a.m. every Sunday morning with singing followed by a Bible lesson and some craft activity. It would end at 12.30 p.m with light refreshments.

There would be Sunday School picnic, Sunday School Camp, Sports Day and Prize Giving Day spread throughout the year. The aim of the Sunday School is to provide a safe place for children to learn to make friends and learn Bible lessons about life. We have teachers to guide the children and help them along in life. Come and get to know the teacher and helpers.

The Sunday School program is provided free for the benefit of the children. We love to see the children grow up and become good citizens of the country. By God’s grace we have been running the Sunday School program for the last 70 years.

If you would like to join us for Sunday School, please contact Jen Sen at 016-6110138.

admin on December 22nd, 2015

There will be an annual Assembly Planning on 27 December 2015 at 11 a.m. This would be a combined session between the Chinese and the English section of the assembly that meets at the Malacca Gospel Hall.

admin on December 22nd, 2015

There will be a special gospel meeting on 24 December 2015 at the Malacca Gospel Hall.

The event would start at 7pm with a buffet dinner followed by singing. The Gospel will be preached at 8pm.

All are welcome.

admin on September 10th, 2015

For the online registration form for the 57th Malacca Bible Camp, Please go to http://goo.gl/forms/X0ulfeLvkh

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admin on September 7th, 2015

FUNCTION OF THE ASSEMBLY by Dr Higgins.

  1. Focus of the Assembly
  2. Foundation of the Assembly
  3. Figures of the Assembly
  4. Fragrance of the Assembly
  5. Fruitfulness of the Assembly
  6. Function of the Assembly
  7. Fellowship of the Assembly

Before us is the subject of Shepherds … Servants … Saints

1Ti 3:1 This [is] a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
1Ti 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
1Ti 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
1Ti 3:8 Likewise [must] the deacons [be] grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
1Ti 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
1Ti 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being [found] blameless.
1Ti 3:11 Even so [must their] wives [be] grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
1Ti 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
1Ti 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
1Ti 3:14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

As a young Christian reading this you may think this chapter has little relevance for you.
However the relevance of this Chapter is to communicate the tremendous responsibility borne by the leaders and it should get you to want to pray for them in seeking for God’s help and preservation of them.

We are considering here the authority and the functioning in the House of God.
We have already mentioned previously that one of the things that mark the house of God is – ORDER.
Order requires leadership.
And so Paul is giving Timothy instruction as to the character of leaders.
Verses 1-7 are for those who would lead or shepherd the assembly.
Deacon work is not just about counting money and arranging chairs.
Deacon work involves anyone who represents God publically for the assembly.
Deacon work is teaching the Word of God, Preaching the gospel, teaching Sunday school …
All this carries the idea of public service of God for His assembly.
So verses 1-8 describe deacon work.

Verses 14 and 15 broaden the topic: Paul speaks here on how one must behave or ought to behave in the house of God.
So consider verses 1-7 and consider the requirements of men who lead God’s assembly.
The first and the most important qualification is found in verse 1.
It is a man in whose heart God has put the care of His people in the assembly.
Unfortunately the Authorized Version has used the word ‘office.’
That word does not appear in the original.
It is not an office but a work that a man desires to do for God.
It is a hard work that he undertakes for God, and the Spirit of God says it is a good work to do.
It is going to be sacrifice; it is going to be criticism.
When all is going well the saint s will praise God for His blessings.
But when things get bad, it will all be the fault of the overseer.
It is not a popularity contest. It is a difficult work done for God and love for His people.

In verse 2 a bishop must be blameless.
Some young believers may sit back and say I am not going to recognize the overseer as he does not measure up to the standard as stated here.
This verse was not given to you to criticize the overseer.
This list was given to leaders as a standard that they should seek to keep.

Now there are times when there are men who want to care for the people of God and for one reason or another they may feel that they do not measure up in these areas.
So now we face the question – Does this disqualify them?
The word ‘MUST’ is used several times in this chapter.
It is used relative to the deacon and in verse 15 it is used relative to every believer.
So if you cannot lead because you are weak in one of these areas, then you cannot be a deacon, and then it also means that you cannot be in the assembly as you are weak in one of these areas as mentioned in the epistle.
I am NOT lowering God’s Standard.
What I am saying is that what we have in this epistle is for each believer and deacon to strive to be holy to THIS Standard.
We cannot each just sit back and say no one is perfect.
In which case then no one can be a leader and then you are left with a:
House with NO ORDER, a Flock with no Shepherd and a Company that has no leadership.
And this is NEVER God’s intention.

A bishop must be without reproach and all that follows is an explanation of what it means to be blameless.
There are many ways of dividing these qualifications.
There are traits of character.
There is the training you get in your home.
There is the test of time – he is not a novice.
There is the testimony that he bears before the world.

So taking just a few of these verses as there is not enough time …
A bishop must be the husband of one wife – literally a one woman man.
He must have a purity of affection for his wife.
Likewise he is to have a purity of affection for the Lord he serves.
He does not need to be married and if married he must have the purity of affection for his wife.
There is no teaching in Scripture that if his wife passes away he cannot remarry.
That would be going beyond the Word of God.

The bishop is given to hospitality. Hospitality marks the people of God.
The man who seeks to lead keeps his home open.
Hospitality never depends on the size of your home, but the size of your heart.
So opening your home and your heart to the people of God is what hospitality is all about.
Notice now that hospitality is linked with being apt to teach.
Much of the teaching done by leaders is not done formally like this but in their homes.
In their homes the Word of God is opened and it is discussed.
This ‘apt to teach’ does not mean he has the ability to stand and teach the Word of God publically, but it is speaking of a man who opens the Word of God with believers privately and individually.

Verse 4 reminds us of the need of order in his house:
1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

If he is unable to maintain order in his own house how can he maintain order in the house of God?
Also – it is NOT the thought that his children must be saved.
Titus 1:6 speaks of having faithful children – children faithful to their parents.
This is NOT in terms of being saved.
A person is never held responsible for saving their children.
However, by maintaining a house in order, parents make it possible for their children to see their need of Christ and to come to Christ.

Note verse 5
1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
Older brethren know that this expression ‘take care’ is found in only one other place.
And the place where it is found, it has tremendous meaning of what it means to be a shepherd among the people of God.
It is found in Luke chapter 10. It is in the story of the Samaritan.
When the Samaritan found the wounded man he cared for him, then took him to an inn and left him with the innkeeper giving him instructions to “take care of him’.
And so taking care of assembly is same as taking care of the man who was left half dead and taken to an inn to be taken care of.
It means meeting all the needs of the people of God.

Notice now verse 6 and the need for the test of time:
1Ti 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
The bishop is not a novice newly saved. He has been proved over time.

His testimony before the world is important:
1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
No one in society should be able to raise or substantiate a claim of wrong doing against him.

Now we look at requirements of overseers.
Think now of recognizing this issue of overseers:
First of all it is always in the plural.
The only time it appears in the singular is when it is talking of the requirements of an overseer.
Whenever we see an assembly functioning, there is always a plurality of elders.
When Paul went to Jerusalem, he went with the elders.
Paul called for the elders at the church at Ephesus.
Peter wrote to the elders who are among you.
This is the wisdom of God in giving the plurality of overseers.
It is for the purpose of balancing each other.
Some men are very hesitant and slow.
Some men are all heart and all feeling.
Some men are all brain and thinking.
(Many women now will be thinking … men don’t think.)
However there is a balance made here as many men seek to lead the assembly.
No one person can meet the needs and relate to all the believers in the assembly.
Scripture knows nothing of one elder. Not even of a leading elder.
And so we have elders in the plural.

Now for young believers … there are 5 words used for describing the SAME person.
We read of elder, overseer or bishop, shepherds, your guides, rulers or leaders.
Let me show you that they are all one and the SAME person.
In Acts 20, Paul called for the elders at the church at Ephesus.
And then he said – feed or shepherd the church of God whom the Holy Spirit has made you overseer.
So elders were shepherds or overseers.
Titus speaks of appointing elders in every city.
And an overseer must be blameless.
And Peter in chapter 5 speaks of the elders among you to feed or shepherds the flock of God taking the oversight.
So why does the Spirit use different words to describe the SAME man?

  • When you look at elder – you are looking at his worth.
  • When you look at overseer – you are looking at his work.
  • When you look at shepherd – you are looking at his watchfulness.
  • When you look at guide – you are looking at his walk.
  • When you are looking at leaders – you are looking at their wisdom.
  • When you think of elders – you think of their maturity of life.
  • When you think of overseers – you think of their manner in which they labor.
  • When you think of shepherds – you think of their motive and love for their sheep.
  • When you think of guides – you think of their method in which they lead the people of God.
  • When you think of leaders – you think of their wisdom, the means by which you learn from them.

Put all these together and you begin to see the guiding and care of the flock of God.

What are the responsibilities of these men?
This is not to give rise to criticize and say they are not measuring up.
This is for you to pray for them that they have the wisdom and the ability to discharge God’s requirements.
In 1 Peter chapter 5, Peter commands the elders to feed the flock of God.
So this is the first and most important responsibility of the leaders.
When the Lord Jesus took His disciples fishing, He fed them.

Being a leader is not being a detective to look for what is wrong.
Neither is it being a police man to punish everyone.
Nor is it being a General – ordering everyone around like in an army.

The first responsibility of a leader is to feed the flock.
When sheep are fed they are very content.
Remember Psalms 23?
Sheep are brought to pastures of tender grass.
And the shepherd leads them besides quiet waters.
Sheep do like troubled waters.
And when we allow trouble in the assembly, sheep begin to starve.
So it is very important that leaders feed the people of God.
It means I teach or I bring others to teach the Word of God.
So providing food is the first responsibility.

Next:
Paul writes of being vigilant for wolves that would come.
He tells of men coming in from without and he speaks of men rising up from within.
So leaders must be vigilant to protect the assembly and encourage fruit from individual believers.
They should maintain close relationships and know the needs of believers to help them.
They need perception to see their needs …to praise and encourage them as they take steps.
God is easily pleased but hard to satisfy.

An everyday illustration to explain this statement of fact:
When you have a child of close to a year of age, you are waiting for him to take his first steps.
You have your camera and recorder all ready for that moment.
And you are thrilled at those first steps that your child takes.
But this is NOT want you want for your child for the rest of his life. You have higher goals for him.
And then you have the mother all upset while the child is climbing and running around.
God is pleased with at the first steps in our Christian life.
But He is not satisfied if those first steps are our final goal.
And so it goes too for those who encourage the people of God that they should be pleased with the first steps a new Christian takes and then to encourage them to take the next steps toward maturity.
So leaders provide food, encourage fruit, and guide the flock.

How do overseers guide the flock?
They guide by example.
I have to ask myself an important question.
If every believer was as spiritual as I am, how spiritual would the assembly be?
Leaders set The Standard.
Thank God there are believers who rise above us.
But I have no right to expect people to rise above the level we set.
Another important responsibility of the bishop is to recover those who have fallen.
Shepherds do not wait for sheep to come back; they go out and look for the lost sheep.
Sheep by nature do not return on their own.
One of the greatest condemnations God has for leaders is found in Ezekiel chapter 34.
They did not recover that which was driven away.
God expects shepherds to seek those who have gone astray and bring them back.

Recall Luke chapter 15. We read of the Good Shepherd here.
He went after the lost sheep and returned only when He found it.

In Matthew chapter 18 too, we find a shepherd searching for a lost sheep.
But it does not say he searched till he found the sheep.
Matthew 18 is different from Luke chapter 15.
This is very telling and it is solemn.
Luke 15 – is seeking for the sinner.
Matthew 18 – is seeking a straying brother.
It suggests that it is easier to see a sinner saved than save one who has fallen restored.

There are many occasions when the Jews criticized the Lord Jesus for doing things on the Sabbath.
And He would answer them in a similar way.
In Luke chapter 14 He spoke of a man who owned a donkey and it fell into a pit.
And then He spoke of pulling out the donkey from the pit.
In Matthew 12 He speaks of a sheep fallen into a pit.
And here the sheep is LIFTED out of the pit.
Lifting the sheep out of the pit required the shepherd getting very close to the sheep.
The shepherd felt the weight of lifting the sheep out of the pit.
So God expects us to be interested in those who have fallen.

There is one other responsibility placed on me:
I am not just to provide for food and look out for wolves … encourage fruit, guide the flock and recover the lost … I am also to look to the future.
A leader who does not plan for his absence is not a good leader.
A leader is to look into the future for the care of the people of God after his absence.

Psalms 40 reminds us of the Perfect Shepherd.
He gathers His lambs in His arms.
And He gently leads those with young.
And so I must seek to emulate the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Relationship among shepherds:
First question – Who should shepherd the shepherds?
There is no leader that is above the Word of God.
And so each shepherd is accountable to the other.
Shepherds are not only accountable to each other but are to be also mutually respectful to each other appreciating each other’s strengths that need to come together to help the assembly.

There needs to be unity among the shepherds.
It is not a matter of majority rule – that evaluates by vote to get to do what you want to do.
You may say you have scripture for that as Acts 15 teaches that.
“It pleased everyone and the Holy Spirit and they made a decision”
A divided leadership will cause a divided assembly – So unity and harmony is critical to the well being of the assembly.
So when differences arise there need to be a time of pray and a waiting upon God.

Let me close by turning to 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 – The Reality of Leadership:
Look at verses 12-15 and know how difficult this can be, so you can pray for your leaders:

1Th 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
1Th 5:13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
1Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
1Th 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

Verses 12-13 are your responsibility to pray for the overseers.
1Th 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
1Th 5:13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

And verses 14-15 are their responsibility:
1Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
1Th 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

Notice the different kinds of problems among the people of God.
There are saints that are distressed.
Some are weak and faint hearted who give up easily and get discouraged.
Earlier in chapter 2 Paul was like a nursing mother to them.
There are believers who need long term nursing care needing support for most of their Christian life.
It is the responsibility of leaders and it is very difficult to care for these and not to get discouraged
yourself.
Then there are the difficult ones – unruly and always causing problems.
These have to be admonished.
In chapter 2 of this epistle Paul was not just a nursing mother but a father too.
So there is the need for wisdom.
If you are a stern father to the one who needs nursing care, you have destroyed that believer.
And if on the other hand you are a comforting mother to someone who is fighting, you can see where
that will lead to.
So there is a need for great wisdom and discernment on the part of the leader for there are some saints that have fallen and some who are weak and faint hearted, others who need much patience and yet others who will at times do evil.
So it is little wonder that at the beginning of this chapter the Spirit of God says that it is a GOOD WORK!
But if God has not put it in your heart – DON’T TRY IT, as you will be tested as to if you are doing it for yourself or for God.
But Peter reminds us that for all the grief and difficulty you have to undergo, there IS compensation.
To the shepherd is promised a crown of glory.
So the Lord help both – those who have this responsibility and those who aspire to have the responsibility.

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