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«Notes THE SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY OF THE SENIOR PASTOR AND OTHERS ACCOUNTABLE TO HIM The Apostle Paul listed pastors among the five-fold ministry in A ...»

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The Apostle Paul listed pastors among the five-fold ministry in A Clarifying Note

Ephesians, Chapter 4. Among pastors, the Senior Pastor is gifted My intentions for

this study are not

by God to perform his tasks in a place of leadership, as he cares,

to engage in the

nurtures and protects the sheepfold God has assigned to him. He debate about is not better than any of the other sheep. He simply has a different whether women should be eligible call, a different anointing and a different responsibility than the for the position of other five-fold ministers or the people who are under his care. He Senior Pastor. For may be looked at as a sheep with a bell around his neck. It has clarity of intent, the use of “he” been delegated to him by God to lead and communicate as God within this directs. The Senior Pastor does so by delegated authority placed teaching may be assumed to be upon him from heaven. He has the same general purposes as all inclusive of both those God assigns to the five-fold ministry. He differs because of genders. Within these writings, I the specifics of his particular assignment.

make no judgments concerning this The Purposes of the Five-Fold Ministry: Two-Fold argument.

For the record, my Before we can understand why the Senior Pastor does things the personal position way he does, it would be good to understand the purposes is that both men motivating his actions. and women are called to this (Ephesians 4:11-12 NKJV) “And He Himself gave some to be position.

apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors Dr. Abramson and teachers, {12} for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” (King James Version) {12a} “for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry…” First Purpose - Equipping or Perfecting the Saints The word Paul uses for “equipping” or “perfecting” in verse 12 is the Greek word katartismos. It implies the broader meaning of, “providing what is necessary to bring the saints to a maturity in their gifts.”

–  –  –

As he finishes verse 12, Paul writes the Greek word “oikodome,” which means, “edifying.” The broader meaning, in the context of Paul’s writings implies, “constructing a firm, solid structure that will withstand the attacks of life, and from which the Kingdom of

1. The Mentoring Ministry of Dr. Bob Abramson Notes God can go forth.” Clearly, this broader meaning pertains to a Senior Pastor’s motives and casts light on his need for authority.

Intended Biblical Outcomes

(Ephesians 4:13-16 NKJV) “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; {14} that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, {15} but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head;

Christ; {16} from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”


1. Unity of the Faith (One Belief)

2. Knowledge of Christ that is Full and Complete

3. Fully Mature People of God

4. Unity of the Body (One in Relationship, with everyone doing what they are called and equipped by God to do)

5. Growth of the Body, so its people can encourage and build each other up through their expressions of love When a church is properly equipped and edified, then unity, stability, direction and an ability to learn and grow in the things of the Lord - all become dominant. The result is that the people grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. This happens in a church where spiritual position, responsibility and authority are understood and properly represented. The position of the Senior Pastor and the authority he carries enables this to happen - all in a place of safety and security as the church moves forward.

You can see how vital it is that the Senior Pastor walks in humility before God and his congregation. If he fails to do so, the intended Biblical outcomes will be spoiled. This same need for humility falls upon all others in authority and under authority in the church.

–  –  –

When God gives someone responsibility, He always gives them the authority to carry out their responsibility properly. Those He

2. The Mentoring Ministry of Dr. Bob Abramson Notes gives authority to are responsible to Him (and to those they care for, too). It is a “two-way street.” Everyone is accountable.

(Romans 13:1-7 NKJV) “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. {2} Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. {3} For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. {4} For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. {5} Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. {6} For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. {7} Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” The instructions are clear. They are specific. Since God has appointed all authority in the church, its people are to make themselves subject to these authorities. The Senior Pastor stands at the apex of this system of accountability, receiving his authority from God, and appointing others who will be responsible to him and ultimately to God. Paul teaches that if you resist this truth, which he calls an “ordinance,” you bring judgment upon yourself.

These are very strong words. They must be taken as biblically correct!

–  –  –

The church was established by God to be a theocracy. It is a kingdom with a King! Christ is at its head.

PRINCIPLE: All valid authority in the church is established by the will and decree of God.

1. All acts of God issue from His throne.

2. His throne itself is established on His authority and is the symbol of His authority.

3. The church is the body of Christ, with Christ being our Head.

4. Authority in the church is always God’s sovereign choice. It is never the result of man’s attainment, ambitions or opinions.

–  –  –

Understanding how God views the structure and order of leadership in a local church will help it become a place where spiritual position, responsibility and authority are properly represented and used effectively, with power. God calls, anoints and appoints people to specific positions. Let us look further into the position of Senior Pastor and those who are called to work alongside of him.

The Senior Pastor: a Person with Specific Responsibilities

As we saw in Ephesians 4, the Senior Pastor is appointed by God to equip and edify the saints. God charges him with responsibility to love, care for and correct the flock of God. In order to accomplish this, God places him in a position of authority.

(John 10:11 NKJV) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” Like Jesus, the Senior Pastor is a shepherd of the flock (sometimes referred to as an “undershepherd” in deference to Christ’s sole position of Chief Shepherd). God has placed the well-being of the lives of His people in the Senior Pastor’s hands.

He is equipped to care for them. He is given supernatural wisdom and has the counsel of God. God has gifted and empowered the Senior Pastor to be shepherd, teacher and spiritual father to the flock. God has charged him with their spiritual health. He is to lead and guide them in a walk that is fully pleasing to God.

(1 Thessalonians 4:1 NKJV) “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;” The Senior Pastor is called to, and chosen for his function. This is a cause for rejoicing. This is not cause for jealousy. It falls heavily on the Senior Pastor. His actions always carry eternal consequences for his flock (and for him). It is a serious, sobering

4. The Mentoring Ministry of Dr. Bob Abramson Notes responsibility to be a Senior Pastor. Those he leads ought to understand and appreciate this… and appreciate the willingness of the Senior Pastor to accept this responsibility.

–  –  –

(1 Timothy 5:17 NKJV) “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.” Elders may be called by a number of titles (pastors, co-workers, board members, etc.) depending upon the traditions of the particular local church they govern. They are co-laborers with the Senior Pastor and with each other. They are fellow bondservants, working closely alongside the Senior Pastor. They are to hold up his arms in every way. They are to use their gifts to assist the Senior Pastor in the work of the ministry.

The Glue of the Church

The elders have a key calling to be the Senior Pastor’s eyes, ears and hands, just as Joshua was to Moses. They are to provide leadership in the name of the Lord and on behalf of the Senior Pastor. They share in the joys of watching over the flock of God.

They are responsible, along with, and at the direction of the Senior Pastor, for the maturing and edifying of the saints.

• The elders are to maintain unity among the sheep. They are the glue that holds the church together. They are the watchmen and women on the walls who keep the house of God secure. The well-being of the sheep depends on the elders’ faithfulness and selflessness. They are to be bondservant-leaders who have no agenda other than to give of themselves. They must not allow pride to rise up among them.

• They are to perform the work of the ministry according to their gifts. They are to seek God for their purposes and then fulfill them. They are to function in support of and in deference to the Senior Pastor.

–  –  –

Spiritual Authority - The Divinely Designed Safety Net Spiritual authority is the divinely designed safety net for God’s people. It provides structure within the Kingdom of God. Scripture records great men of God who walked in God’s authority throughout recorded history. Men like Abraham, Moses, Aaron and many others accepted God’s call on their lives and walked in authority. God appointed judges and then ordained kings. When the temple was established God appointed high priests.

PRINCIPLE: When God establishes leaders, He imputes to them, (or places upon them) His authority.

Rebellion against spiritual authority is nothing less than the sin of rebellion against God.

Examples of Rebellion to Spiritual Authority - Strange Fire

1. Ham (Genesis 9:20-27):

Noah was the head of the family, and at that time, the head of the whole world. When Ham mocked his father, his sin was to mock the dignity of God’s delegated spiritual authority. He was cursed.

2. Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1, 2):

They demanded to serve in a position without being appointed by God, or His delegated authority to that position. Strange fire is assuming a position of authority and trying to fulfill that position without God appointing you to do so. Their sin was to do what God reserved for His delegated authorities, Moses and Aaron.

Strange fire may be defined as, “assuming a position of authority and trying to fulfill that position without God appointing you to do so. Strange fire is offered when people try to exercise the authority of a position God has bestowed on another. Strange fire is when people try to place themselves where God does not want them.” People who try to do what God ordained another to do are in danger of judgment for strange fire. Notice that the function or

6. The Mentoring Ministry of Dr. Bob Abramson Notes actions of these people can be identical with that of the person God appoints, but God will nevertheless, consider them an abomination. Do not take the office of Senior Pastor or elder lightly. They are each ordained by God. Each has its particular function.

3. Aaron and Miriam (Numbers 12):

Their sin was to revile God’s anointed (Moses). They never recognized and certainly did not honor the authority of God in His appointed and anointed representative.

• Never despise God’s anointed.

• Never speak evil against God’s anointed. Such behavior invites the wrath of God. People should be looking for ways to bless the Senior Pastor and his elders, both verbally and otherwise.

“Then He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house.”

–  –  –

Scripture records Saul, tormented with a jealous, murderous spirit, chasing after David, trying to kill him because he feared for his position as king.

• David never once responded in disrespect. He never attempted to do anything to touch Saul’s person or office.

He restrained himself from either physically harming Saul (though he had ample opportunity) or even speaking evil of him.

• David never tried to gain any measure of control over Saul as long as Saul was king. David would gladly have served Saul, even though the prophet Samuel had already anointed him to be king.

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