Yesterday I began to write about the varying degrees or positions of leadership in the early church and continue to explore this issue today. We saw already that all of the elders were not at the same places of leadership and this is important as we will later discuss. The principle relates to Matthew 6: 10 which in which Jesus prayed that the will of God would be done in the earth realm after the order of heaven. In the realm of the heavens, there are angels at different levels of authority. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd or Bishop of His church and He has men at varying levels of authority and responsibility. Here are some further evidences of these levels of authority:

* 1 Peter 5: 1- 5 is an interesting scripture and reveals about 4 key points in relation to the topic.

a. Peter, compared the elders of the church to shepherds and exhorted them to feed the flock and not to behave as their lords. His words were,in verse 1, “the elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder…” Here presbuteros is the word used for elder in both instances. However, while Peter identifies himself as an elder, he is at a different degree of authority and leadership by virtue of his outstanding role as a pillar of the church. Like Paul in his letters, he uses his his position of greater authority to exhort the brethren to carry out the key elements of their role.

b. The elders were reminded that they were accountable to the Chief shepherd who would reward them when HE appeared (verse 4)

c. In 1 Pet 5: 5, there is a distinction made between those who are older in the faith versus those who are younger, with the younger ones being exhorted to submit to the elders.

d. We see a clear line of authority – Jesus as Chief Shepherd, elder Peter under the Lord acting in the role of shepherd of the flock and to the elders; the elders of the local churches being held responsible for shepherding the flock and the younger ones being held responsible for submitting to the teachings of the elders over them in the Lord.

Blessings and more to come. All dominion in heaven and in the earth belong to the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Holy Angels and saints in Christ.

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