I started to show the reason why elders are at different stages of leadership in the body of Christ. Some of the reasons included the following – elders are closer to God and different people are at different stages of spiritual development. Assignments are given by God based on spiritual maturity (no novices are assigned as elders). Elders have to be accountable to the Lord and others in leadership for the care of the flock. In the case of the elder who is at the head or the chief of a body of believers, we saw from Paul’s example that accountability was given through referrals with other elders at the same stage of leadership. Finally, elders are given the meanings of the mysteries of the faith. The degree of leadership is related to the degree of revelation, which is also commensurate with the degree of proximity to the Lord. Today I will show that elders are the foundation of the body of Christ as a means of explaining the topic further.

It sounds rather strange to say that the elders are the foundation of the body of Christ. Paul, in Eph 2: 19 – 20 said:

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone”

What does this really mean? The church began with the Lord Himself. No Jesus means no church. However, in order to establish His church on earth, teach His people His ways, His truth etc, Jesus needed key people who would do that work. Those were the apostles and prophets. I have examined the roles of the apostles and prophets in separate writings and will make them available as soon I am able to. The point is, however, that builders are needed in order for the house of the Lord to be built up thoroughly to carry out the work of the Lord on earth. This work started centuries ago, with the elders who were keepers of the mysteries.

Ephesians 4: 11-16 , says that the equippers are endowed with the gifts that enable them to carry out the work of the Lord. The work of the Lord is the “perfecting of the saints…the work of the ministry …the edifying of the body of Christ”. The elders need to know the instructional material and related practicals by heart and by example. I am not speaking of rote learning the instructional material. What I mean is that the elders who equip others cannot just teach material which they have in their heads. That is, you do not become an elder because you have a degree in Theology. You could be a child of the devil. The false teachers who taught the Gentiles that they had to be circumcised to be saved caused great conflict in te early church. For example, one cannot teach the topic “Strategies for maturing in the Lord”, unless one is mature in the Lord and has personally experienced the processes of spiritual maturity. Why? We are striving to transfer the spirit that would cause a believer to seek spiritual excellence and not just a head knowledge. The church is full of too many people who can quote the scriptures, do the dances, preach etc, but who are yet to demonstrate the living reality of the Lord in their daily lives. We still lie, steal, cheat, fornicate etc. We have a form of godliness, but not the power of God. The power of God is demonstrated in the charis and dunamis as I explained in yesterday’s post. Look at Moses’ example. He was overwhelmed by the burden of administration and passed on his anointing for administration onto 70 elders by the laying on of hands:

“And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that], when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.”

The question is, what kind of spirit are we passing on to the people in our care? Paul explained the difference between teaching from book knowledge and teaching for the purpose of impartation when he said to the Corinthians, “for though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Cor 4: 15).

Next time, examples of the lines of authority in the early church. All grace and glory to the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and praise be to God for His ministering spirits the Holy angels and to the saints, members of His body.