CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 19

KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 14:23 ” And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”

Apostle Paul and Barnabas after ministering to the churches and strengthening them made sure that the church would remain running. They ordained elders to take care of the running of these churches.

An elder is not necessarily an older person but one called into a leadership role in the house of God. They were the main leaders who saw to the teaching of the brethren as well as other governing functions that keep the church together and sustained. In 1st Peter 5:1-4, apostle Peter elaborated on who these elders were and their functions. In 1st Peter 5:1 he said “the elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed.”

Apostle Peter says he is an elder. Peter was an apostle, that is a leading governing role in the body of Christ. This implies prophets, evangelist, Pastors, and teachers are all elders. The term elder is a very important role. In 1st Peter 5:2 he says “feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind”. One of their roles is to teach the flock of God. They must willingly do it. They should not use their role to extort money..

There is a great deal of sacrifice required from an elder, for he is an example to the brethren in every Christian discipline. (1st Peter 5:3). Acts 14:23 says they were ordained with prayer and fasting. This practice should be observed anywhere Christian leaders are being ordained. Any leader who cannot discipline himself to fast is not worthy of being a leader (except on medical grounds). Fasting is an act of sacrifice. Food is a primary necessity of every person. The urge for it is so strong. To abstain from food for the demands of the task ahead is very important. One main. demand for Christian leadership is sacrifice and self-discipline. No leader would amount to anything without sacrifice and self-discipline. One of Paul’s reason for employing such discipline is revealed in 1st Corinthians 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection lest that by any means, when I have preached to others I myself should be a cast away.

Fasting also have a great spiritual significance. It isolates us from all the carnal cravings and attention to give proper attention to God. This allows us to better communicate and receive from the Spirit of God.

  PRAYER

Oh, Lord raise leaders for your body who are selfless and committed to pleasing you in all they do. May they be examples to your flock through their discipline and sacrifice, exhibiting a great ability to teach the flock

FURTHER STUDIES

Matthew 9:15. “And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.”

1 Timothy 3:2 ” A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;”

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