Summary: On this day the church in Laurel has made a significant stride in the right direction. The Lord has blessed us with elders.
Preached at Laurel Church of Christ
On Sunday, November 10, 2002
I. The Laurel church is in the midst of a change of seasons.
A. Just as the four seasons pass from year to year. It is easy to miss the forest for the trees.
1. Today is a very significant day for the Lord’s church in Laurel.
2. On this day we proclaim to our community and neighbors that we are practicing biblical church leadership.
B. Joshua 1:1-5 "After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-- to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates-- all the Hittite country-- to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you."
1. Moses season as the leader of the Israelites had come to an end.
2. Joshua’s season as leader had entered.
C. We are ending a time without elders and beginning a time with shepherds over our souls.
II. Both the elders and the congregation have responsibility to each other.
A. Because of this new season, and the beginning of new era, we will look to God for instruction and direction.
B. Please follow me in your bibles with the following Scriptures.
I. God’s Challenge to the Congregation
A. 1 Thessalonians 5:12,13 "Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other"
1. We are called:
a. To respect them
b. Submit to them
c. Hold them in the highest regard
d. Live in pease with each other
a. They are over us in the Lord
b. They will admonish us
c. Because of their work
3. It has been brought to my attention on several occasions when the ministry is not running as smoothly as possible here at Laurel
4. We have two men who have chosen by your recommendation to work as shepherds among us.
a. I think people make that statement, because in times past the local church has taken one step forward and then immediately taken two backwards.
b. You are the church. Do you want progress? Do you really want growth?
5. If that is all the case do as Paul says, respect your shepherds.
B. Hebrews 13:17-18a "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us…"
1. We are called:
a. Obey our leaders
b. Submit to their authority
c. Make their work a joy
d. Pray for our leaders
a. They will give an account
b. It would not be an advantage to do otherwise
3. I challenge you to do these things, but not just I but Paul, the Hebrew writer and God challenge you also.
a. Choose this day what you will do.
b. You can make up your mind right now how you will treat these men, and if these men will have an enjoyable ministry of service.
4. "An Elder Is a Man" by Burton Coffman
a. An elder is a man, subject to errors of judgment. Yet he must go ahead with courage to make decisions, knowing he could be wrong. It is not possible to know 100% of all things before reaching a decision.
b. An elder is a man, enjoying the approval of those he leads. Yet, he must have the courage to make decisions based upon his spiritual and intellectual judgment, knowing it may cost him the favor of the church.
c. An elder is a husband, aware of the frailty of the human family. Yet, he must proceed with courage in leadership knowing his family will, by association, fall heir to some criticisms directed at him.
d. An elder is a man, a student of mankind and time. Yet, he cannot remain simply a student; he must be a teacher, knowing that the ultimate direction of the church and its growth in the future depends upon his reactions today.
e. An elder is a man conscious of his responsibility. Yet, he msut have the courage to trust others with responsibility – knowing they may fumble, they may quit, or they may ignore the assignment.