Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.
There is no perfect church though every authentic church is built upon a perfect Savior. He is the founder of it; the Head of it, and the owner of it. He is currently invisible and this has led to many errors in ministry. Because He is invisible, many suppose that He is also incapable or at least inattentive to the corruption that grips men who lust for power and prestige. The fact that He is invisible motivates us to discover why.dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.
Joh 20:21Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
From that moment forward the presence of God was manifested in the disciples of Jesus Christ by His in-dwelling presence. He was going away. In His absence they would be expected to learn from, and listen to, the one who lived within them. As they followed His commands they were to be empowered for service to Him. This Spirit-filled service to Him, multiplied by numerous individuals, was expected to bring salvation to multitudes as indeed it has over the last two thousand years. We do not need to go to a shrine, nor a holy place to get in touch with our God. He lives in each one of us who is born of the Spirit of God. This has been a blessing. No pilgrimage is necessary to be “spiritual.” We need not touch the garments of any living soul to get a blessing from our God.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all quote the familiar text: Mt 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. In the (physical) absence of the Savior we have the indwelling presence of The Holy Spirit, and the preserved Word of God. A church must recognize the workings of each of these elements, and persons, in order to maintain order in the church. A church that emphasizes one or the other of them without regard to the interaction they have one with another will inevitably wind up being led by corrupt men. Some men will do what they “feel”is right even when there is clear teaching to the contrary in the Bible. Sometimes they will say they are being “led by the Spirit” while they are doing things that are in direct violation of Biblical principles. We cannot help but be attracted to talented people with pleasing personalities. They always wind up in leadership among men. But we must look further than the surface pleasantries to find the men that God will use as leaders in His churches. Many pulpits are filled with vain men who are good in business and easy to get along with, but who rely upon their training, gifts and talents, more than they do the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit of God. The same principle is true when finding men who will use the office of a Deacon. Power corrupts men at every level. When a church is looking for leadership they often search for someone who is pleasant, talented, and good looking. This is normal, but apparently there has been gross negligence in many cases in evaluating the patterns of history that follow some alleged men of God. When they fail through moral corruption, cowardice, or deception, the church is devastated. Unfortunately in some cases there will be one or more opportunists who will seek to gain control of the church and its assets when confusion and disharmony rule the day. All this will be done to “save the church”. After all, Jesus is invisible, inaudible and He needs “help.” People who do not search the scriptures will be easily fooled and sometimes persuaded to violate their conscience during stressful circumstances.
1Co 14:33For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
Sometimes well meaning people make unwise choices in the heat of the battle. There needs to be leaders involved, who are not related, who will pray, and seek the Lord, and search His Word, and afflict themselves at the altar of prayer. I say afflict themselves as the people did in the time of Ezra:
Ezr 8:21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.
God wants His church to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He wants it to be a powerful tool in His hand. He wants it to be useful to HIM to accomplish His purposes in the lives of the people. This can only be accomplished when the leaders of the churches search the scriptures and submit themselves to the principles found in them. There must be Godly leadership if a church is to avoid the snares and pitfalls that are so common today. The fact that a man is called to preach does not make him spiritual. The fact that a man holds the office of a deacon does not make him spiritual. Men in leadership in the churches must be prayed for and encouraged to follow the Bible to resolve conflicts and seek new leadership. They must do this while speaking the truth in love. The church is not infallible. The Bible is. Men who must have their way or else have injured churches and hurt their own souls. There must be a plan of accountability for men in leadership in the churches. The congregation must be taught to hold their leadership accountable for the decisions they make in the church in the “absence” of the Founder and Head.
Next: Section III – The Plan: Accountability