Commentary on "Power Struggle"
Day 6: Thursday September 24, 2009
In Mark 10:42-44 Jesus teaches the principle that as you increase in responsibility in Christian ministry you become more and more of a servant to more and more believers.
In Acts 6:1-7 we see an example of spiritual gifting. There are the gift of teaching and the gift of service shown here. The disciples were called to teach the message of Christ and Stephen was recognized as having the gift of service. The disciples needed to spend their time teaching and those with other gifts were called to use their gifting appropriately.
We are asked to read Acts 15:6 and then verses 22-25. Reading the entire chapter is much more rewarding. In Acts 15 we read of ‘certain men’ who were teaching contrary to the disciples. The Apostle Peter in responding to Jewish converts to Christ who charged that Gentiles converts to Christ should have to follow the law of Moses says in verses 10 and 11: ”Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? " But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are." NLT
Scholar William Barclay sums this up well: “The attempt to obey the Law’s multifarious commands and so to earn salvation was a losing battle which left every man in default. There was only one way – the acceptance of the free gift of the grace of God in an act of self-surrendering faith.“ The Acts of the Apostles Revised Edition; The Westminster Press, Philadelphia; 1976, p.114.
The grace of God means the unmerited favor of God (you cannot earn God’s favor, salvation, or heaven). It is only His grace that saves us (Eph. 2:8-9); not by keeping the Law. Has someone tried to put the yoke of the Law of the Old Covenant around your neck? (It is called the Old Covenant for a reason) Have you had teachers or leaders do this? The Bible through the apostle Peter and others (verse 6 - apostles and church elders; including Paul, Barnabus and James) says this is dead wrong.
We work hard and suffer much in order that people will believe the truth, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and particularly of those who believe. Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecies spoken to you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 1 Timothy 4:14 NLT
The suggested passage to read was only verse 14 but a little more is needed for better context. The words spoken to Timothy by Paul are instruction for teaching and leading his congregation. Are your leaders and teachers a good example of teaching the Bible, living Christ-like, loving in a Christ-like manner, strong in the saving grace of God, and keep themselves pure? Do they use God’s Word when teaching, do they encourage you, and are they effective teachers? Verse 14 is explained well by renowned Greek scholar W.E. Vine, “The laying on of hands was an outward sign of the bestowment of a spiritual gift. In the act of the presbytery it was a token of their identification of the divinely-appointed custom in the Old Testament.” The Epistles to Timothy and Titus;, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI., 1965, p.747.
In James 5:14 we learn that elders (leaders) of the church are to be called to pray for the sick. This is something they should do from the heart and not for compulsion. They are to care for ‘the sheep’ like the Great Shepherd does. They should offer their prayers to the Lord for those that are sick like they would for those they hold dearest. Can you see this in your leadership?
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