KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 15:2. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
After Paul and Barnabas had disputed over the legalistic teaching brought in by the Jewish brethren, they finally decided to take the case to the Apostles in Jerusalem who would finally decide on what to be done.
Paul had had an encounter with the resurrected Christ who taught him all that he was teaching. The people. (Galatians 1:11). The Lord had used him to do so many miracles which could have caused him to feel proud yet he acknowledged the Apostles in Jerusalem were superiors who were the ultimate authority of the church on the earth. God always have human authorities that he has set on the earth. Romans 13:1 “let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God, the powers that be are ordained by God”. No matter how powerful you may be, or how much you may be lifted in life, you need to give honour to the authorities that are over you.
In Jerusalem there were apostles and elders. We would remember that Peter speaking in his letter to the Jewish believers scattered in the gentle region in 1st Peter 5::1, acknowledged that he was an elder. This implied there were elders who held special ministerial offices and those who had no specific office. A ministerial office includes Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. An elder hold governing roles as well as teaching.
In our churches we may have certain elders who may also operate in a ministerial office and others who don’t.
Please understand that governing does not mean dominance. It is service unto God and His people. The Lord said in Mark 9:5 as follows: And he sat down and called the twelve and said unto them, if any man desire to be first the same shall be last of all, and servant of all”. This word servant has the idea of waiter, one who runs errands. He is at the command of his master. From our Lord’s teaching every leader, elder is a servant. It is a big error for any elder to Lord it over the members. If you have been gifted in any way then you must open up to bless the brethren with the gifts. Many gifted men of God allow the praises of men to inflame their pride. They want every other member to bow to them. They declare that miracles are their own doings. This is wrong. Whatever you are and have comes from God and must be used to glorify His name and to bless men. Do not attract attention to yourself.
Father, in these; last days pending your coming, may the church be committed to walking humbly towards one another.
Proverbs 29:23. A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
Proverbs 16:19 “Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”