Duties Of Congregation To Elders

  1. INTRODUCTION:
    1. SCRIPTURE READING:
      I Tim. 5:17-22 = "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure."
    2. EVERY RELATIONSHIP WE HAVE IN LIFE THERE ARE MUTUAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
      1. Between parents and children.
      2. Between husband and wife.
      3. Between employer and employee.
      4. Between brother and sister.
    3. THE MUTUAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES ARE ALSO PRESENT BETWEEN THE ELDERS AND THE CONGREGATION.
      1. Usually we will study about the duties of the elders to the congregation.
      2. However, for today we want to study the duties of the congregation to the elders.
    4. STUDY WITH ME FOR A FEW MINUTES THESE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CONGREGATION TO THE ELDERS --
  2. DISCUSSION:
    1. HONOR THEM --
      I Tim. 5:17-18 = " Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."
      1. The honor due them is dependent on two things:
        1. That they "rule well" -- That is faithfully and wisely.
          1. They rule well in faithfully seeing that what is done is as God would have it done.
          2. They rule well in making the wisest decisions possible following the principles laid down
          3. in the Scriptures.
        2. That they "labor in the word and doctrine" -- That is devoting their full time to this work.
          1. That they devote their time in the teaching of God's Word.
          2. That they devote their time in watching the flock (congregation) to see that each one is following the doctrine from the heavenly Father.
      2. The double respect due the elders consists of:
        1. Respectfully following them in their leadership and oversight of the congregation.
        2. Respectfully supporting them in the doing of their work, if devoting full time, with compensation for those who -- "labour in the word and doctrine
    2. SHIELD THEM --
      I Tim. 5:19 = "Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses."
      1. The reason for this should be understandable, consider this --
        1. It is a known fact that a public servant fills a most difficult position.
        2. It is also a known fact that elders doing their duty fill a difficult position -- and we might add that a minister also fill a difficult position.
      2. But why should we shield them?
        1. In doing their duty and seeing to it that others are doing their duty -- there will be those who will seek to undermine their work and hinder them from carrying out their duties.
        2. The reputation of these Godly servants is of great value not only to themselves, but to the whole church congregation as well
        3. Their names, reputations, and faithfully carrying out God's Will needs the protection (shielding) from false accusation.
    3. REBUKE THEM --
      I Tim. 5:20-21 = "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality."
      1. There will be times when even elders, as well as, any other member of the Church needs to be rebuked.
      2. Those who persist in sin, or sin habitually, should be rebuked right along with any other sinful member of the Church.
        1. How should this be done? -- Publicly "before all"
        2. Why should this be done? -- "That others also may fear". This is an object lesson for all, that none is exempt from sinning and there is no place in the Lord's Church for sin.
        3. When is this to be done? -- Only when the quilt is established by witnesses and the guilty one, or ones, are not repentant.
        4. This should not be done with any prejudice, or selfish reason.
    4. CAUTIOUSLY SELECT THEM --
      I Tim. 5:22 = "Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure."
      1. The only way to guard against scandals in the eldership is to exercise extreme caution as to the character of those being consider as possible elders before appointing them as elders.
      2. If we appoint sinful men as elders, then we have become partakers with them in their sinfulness by appointing unqualified men --- "Neither be partaker of other men's sins"
      3. We are to "keep thyself pure" -- free for guilt in appointing sinful men.
      4. It is a known fact that it is easier to place a man in the position of an elder than it is to remove one that is unfaithful.
    5. OBEY THEM --
      Heb. 13:17 = "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."
      1. They should be obeyed as they obey Christ -- Paul said this well in regards to himself in I Cor. 11:1 -- "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ."
      2. They are God's watchmen carrying out their duty as:
        1. "They watch for your souls".
        2. "They that must give account".
      3. This means that the members are going to have to know whether the elders are ruling obedient to the Will of God -- that is -- They are going to have to search "…the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" = Acts 17:11.
      4. The members should obey:
        1. That the work of the elders may be done "with joy".
        2. That the work of the elders may not be done "with grief".
        3. If the members are disobedient then the disobedience will be "unprofitable for you".
  3. CONCLUSION:
    1. IF IT BE GOD'S WILL -- AND IT IS -- THAT ELDERS ARE TO RULE; THEN IT IS GOD'S WILL THAT THE MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION SUBMIT TO THEM.
    2. IF IT BE GOD'S WILL -- AND IT IS -- THAT ELDERS ARE TO LEAD; THEN IT IS GOD'S WILL THAT THE MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION ARE TO FOLLOW THEM.

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