A Teaching Manuscript Delivered by Pastor Jim Oliver to Teleios Bible Church, 2005
II. Importance of the Local Church
III. The Headship of Jesus Christ
IV. Divine Authority is Delegated Thru the Word
V. The Pastor-Teacher
VI. The Deacons
4. Spiritual Gifting
VII. The Congregation
And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him, and He who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:22-23 NASB
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastor-teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11 NASB
Because of whom, the entire body, being joined together, and being inculcated by every joint of supply on the basis of the operational power, in measure, one pastor-teacher for each part. Ephesians 4:16 RBT
Obey your spiritual leaders and be willing to do what they say, for their work is to watch over your souls, and God will judge them on how well they do this. Give them reason to report joyfully about you to the Lord and not with sorrow, for then you will suffer for it too. Hebrews 13:17 (TLB)
Because we are a new local Church, we need to understand exactly why our Lord formed the local Church, how God has designed it to function, how He means for it to work and the fantastic categories of power He has supplied for it. Now, many of the overall principles we are going to discuss relate to the entire Church, the Universal Church, but we’re not going to concentrate upon the Universal Church. However we do need to understand that we are a part of the Church Universal because certain principles that apply to it apply to us as a local Church.
Forty days after our Lord ascended, He established the Church Age. He did this because He was given a third royal patent or commission as Lord of lords and King of kings. He received this royal patent after accomplishing His first advent work and being seated at the right hand of the Father. He received this third royal commission because of the fantastic work He accomplished; achieving the strategic victory of the angelic conflict at the Cross by bearing the sins of the world then being resurrected and as a human being, ascending to the Third Heaven. His accomplishment on the Cross was the pivotal point of eternal history. It is the event upon which the dispensations are centered. It was the most important event, not only in human history, but angelic history as well. By this explanation I want to impart to you the importance of our existence as a Church. Jesus Christ formed the Church because of His victory over Satan and his minions. By the function of the Church and each of its members He extended that victory to us, a part of the universal Church.
In this Church Age, Our Lord delegated to the local Church certain functions previously delegated to theocracy Israel. Some suggest that the local Church replaces Israel. I think we all understand the special place Israel has in our Lord’s thinking! Certain functions now belong to the local Church, however, not to the Universal Church. Only to the local Church because the Universal Church includes those residing in heaven and on the earth, whereas the local Church remains on earth, as did Israel.
In that theocracy our Lord Jesus Christ ruled Israel while her king, if functioning correctly, simply took orders from Him. As a theocracy, Israel functionally included a vast system of Temple worship, a specific priesthood; the Levitical Priesthood which taught doctrine through both ritual and the spoken Word, and prophets, who foretold the future and taught doctrine. Israel was also the sole disseminator and guardian of God’s Word and plan for that dispensation. He replaced all of those functions and responsibilities with two systems of divine power which, when combined with the believer’s volition, your volition, results in the greatest power that has ever been available on this planet to the everyday believer. These two systems of power combine with the believer’s volition to give the local Church its life and impact.
When our Lord walked the earth during His first advent, He test drove the first system of power, establishing its limits. Having done so, He bequeathed it to believers in this Church Age. This power is the filling and resultant empowerment of God the Holy Spirit, with whom He was immediately filled upon His birth. This power was a gift from the Father to Him, designed to empower His humanity enabling Him to fulfill the unique plan the Father had prepared for Him. It was by means of this power that He was able to lay aside certain attributes of His divinity, functioning as a human being filled with the Holy Spirit. Under this power He was able to maintain his perfection and integrity, fulfilling the Father’s plan; bearing the punishment of every sin committed throughout human history. So this is an awesome power.
The second category of power was that of the Word of God: Bible Doctrine. Our Lord, when He walked the earth, applied Bible doctrine while empowered with the Spirit giving Him the strength, the thought pattern to maintain His perfection and integrity. Thus empowering Him to go to the Cross and bear the sins of the entire human race, breaking Satan’s back, gaining the strategic victory of the angelic conflict. The thought pattern that Bible doctrine imparts to the believer is absolutely awesome. We are not accustomed to thinking of thought in terms of power, but the very power of God is in His Word.
These powers are unique to this Church Age and when combined with believer’s positive volition, become the power that runs the local Church. Without these unique powers, the Church has neither meaning, impact, nor has it any power. Furthermore, the local Church is the sole guardian and disseminator of both categories of power. Though we think in terms of the local Church as being an organization, it is not. It is a living organism powered by two categories of divine power, coupled with believer volition. As such the local Church has an incredible responsibility toward God relating to the spiritual growth of individual believer, which results in individual tactical angelic conflict victories. As such the local Church has a tremendous responsibility toward people in its periphery, its local community. In our study over the next few classes, I want to look at the components of the local Church to gain a better understanding of it in terms of our privileges and responsibilities. Having been girded with this understanding, we will better understand that we, who have who have been given so much, much is expected.
We will be using the hierarchical structure of the local church as the basis of our study. This diagram illustrates the components of the local Church. We will be studying them in the form of a hierarchy.