February 2019

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TruthTalks: Anointed Leadership – The Church Jesus would Attend Series

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When Christians exercise the apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, and teaching roles under the anointing and guidance of the Holy Spirit, then we are likely to encounter Jesus.

When the Old Testament roles of King, Prophet, and Priest are applied with grace, power, and a focus on Jesus, then surely He is pleased to be in our midst and we are blessed to be in His presence.

If you want to find out more about this, or would like an expanded version of last weeks post on the same topic then click on the play button below:

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Anointed Leadership: The Church Jesus would Attend Series

Top ImageGod anoints men and woman to lead; this fact is indisputably taught and demonstrated in both the Old and New Testaments. Unsurprisingly then, anointed leadership is one of the evidences and criteria for the presence of God in a Sunday church service.

In this series, I am considering only what happens in a corporate gathering of the church, such as the Sunday service.

Individual Anointing in the Bible

In the Old Testament there were three special classes of people who the Holy Spirit anointed to lead the people of Israel; Kings, Prophets, and Priests (Exodus 28:41, 1 Kings 19:15, 1 Samuel 10:1). The kings lead the people in national affairs under the anointing power of the Holy Spirit; The Prophets spoke on behalf of Almighty God; and the Priests represented the people to God.

Then came Jesus and fulfilled the prophecy of the coming anointed Messiah (Psalm 2:2, Luke 4:18) to embody all three sacred offices; the perfect King, Prophet, and Priest.

‘God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him’ (Acts 10:38).
Although Jesus perfectly modeled and fulfilled these three anointed offices, when He ascended back into heaven, He passed on these functions to His church. Ephesians 4:8-13 records how Jesus appointed Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers to equip and build up the church in order for His people to ‘become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.’ Although not explicitly stated, these five categories of anointed ministry equate to the three Old Testament (OT) offices. The Apostles establish, govern and lead the church (OT Kings). The Prophets speak out the Word of God to the church and the Evangelists proclaim the Gospel to the world (OT Prophets). The Pastors and Teachers are to represent the people of God before His throne and to instruct them in His Word (OT Priests).

Unfortunately, in much of today’s church, these roles and ascriptions have become blurred and confused. Pastors attempt to fulfill the apostolic function, Apostles call themselves ‘Senior Pastor’, Evangelist think they are Teachers, Priests govern, and everyone thinks he is a Prophet.

The Anointed Leaders in a Church Service

Three designated people play dominant roles in most Sunday church gatherings. In the church I attend:

  1. One of the Elders co-ordinates the service (OT King). He greets the people, tells them what is likely to happen during the service, and orchestrates the various activities that follow.
  2. The worship leader helps the people to worship God and to enter as much as they can into His presence (OT Priest).
  3. The preacher speaks the Word of God to the People (OT Prophet).

It matters little who these people are, man, woman, or adolescent, but it matters a lot that they are anointed by the Holy Spirit with grace and power to do what they are supposed to do. And their task is to direct the people, be an example to the people, and point the people to Jesus. Helping the church to focus on Jesus and encounter his presence is paramount. This is what the Holy Spirit does and so this is what His anointing leaders are to do. Jesus said, “the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).

Pointing to Jesus

Leaders do not represent Jesus so much as point people to Him. So, perhaps it would be useful to give some examples of what this does and does not mean in practice.
  • When a preacher makes what he thinks is a great point and immediately calls on the congregation to “give the Lord an applause offering”, he is pointing at himself, not Jesus.
  • When a worship leader takes center stage, sings songs nobody but he and his group can sing and cavorts about in front of the church with great showmanship, then he is pointing to himself and not Jesus.
  • When the person co-ordinating the service controls everything tightly, dominates and personally performs almost everything except singing and preaching, then he is pointing to himself and not to Jesus.

By the way, I am using the words ‘he’ and ‘him’ simply for convenience. I can’t see valid reasons why women should not lead worship, co-ordinate services, or preach.

So how then should a person co-ordinate a service, lead worship, and preach? By consistently pointing the people to Jesus.  They do this by honouring Him with their words and actions, helping the people to encounter Him, and faithfully speaking His words to them. Preaching is a form of prophecy in that it proclaims the Living Word (Jesus) from the Written Word of God (Bible) under the unction of the Holy Spirit. Worship leading is essentially a priestly duty because it helps the congregation to encounter The Lord and to respond to Him in song and in prayer. Leading a service is part of an apostolic ministry in that it lays out the structure of the service, co-ordinates it, and guides the people in responding to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

And in Conclusion

When the apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, and teaching roles are exercised under the anointing and guidance of the Holy Spirit, then we encounter Jesus. When the OT roles of King, Prophet, and Priest are applied with grace, power, and a focus on Jesus, then surely He is pleased to be in our midst and we are blessed to be in His presence.

Anointed Leadership: The Church Jesus would Attend Series Read More »

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TruthTalks: Ministering in the Power of the Holy Spirit – The Church Jesus would Attend series

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Why are gifts of the Spirit, signs of the presence of the Lord Jesus among us?

What do we do when we are prompted by the Holy Spirit during a church service?

In this podcast, I clarify and expand on last weeks post which can be found HERE. This is part of “The Church Jesus would Attend” series and if you’ve missed it you can catch the first one HERE. Then click “Next Post” to hear the rest, or otherwise listen to the audio of last weeks post by clicking on the button below.

 

TruthTalks: Ministering in the Power of the Holy Spirit – The Church Jesus would Attend series Read More »

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Ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit: The church Jesus would attend series

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Pentecostal and charismatic Christians are familiar with the term ‘ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit’, but for the benefit of others, let me explain what I think it means.

The Holy Spirit empowers believers to minister to others in the Body of Christ in order to build them up and point them to Jesus, and thisempowermentforms part of the ‘gifts of the Holy Spirit’.
This series is about the things that make a church service welcoming to the Lord Jesus and the indicators of His presence in the corporate gathering. Ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit is one such qualification and sign. Let me explain.

Kings give presents to their guests

In ancient times, kings, or other important people, customarily gave gifts to the guests attending their functions. Today, the practice lives on in the form of ‘party favours’ and more especially the gifts placed at each person’s place at the wedding reception table.

There are hints of this practice in Old Testament passages such as Ester 2:18, which records that ‘the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials. He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality’. In the New Testament, there are also allusions to this practice. For instance, Matthew 22 records Jesus’ story about a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son (God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son) and ended up inviting people off the street (you and me). The custom was that if someone arrived at a function such as this without the required fine attire then the host would ‘gift’ them with suitable robes. Obviously, in the story, the invited guests were unprepared for such an occasion and so they would have all been offered complimentary clothing when they arrived at the venue. It makes perfect sense therefore that the host, the king, was deeply offended by any guest who refused this gift. So, we would not wish to offend our divine host when He invites us to attend his special function, an occasion which we call the Sunday church service.

Gifts of the Spirit

There is a strong biblical thread connecting the idea of divine gifts with the gathered church. The Romans 12 passage outlining ministries and gifts starts with the words; ‘We have different gifts, according to the grace given us’ (verse 6). Similarly, the primary New Testament passage on spiritual gifts introduces the topic with; ‘There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men’ (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). In addition, the other key passage that outlines aspects of spiritual gifts, Ephesians 4, starts with; ‘grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift’ (Verse 7 per ESV).

I know that charismatic Christians customarily understand ‘Gifts’ as semi-permanent abilities given by the Holy Spirit to believers.

However, I think that there is sufficient evidence in 1 Corinthians 12  to indicate that they are rather special spiritual endowments given through believers to other believers as the Holy Spirit directs on any given occasion or circumstance.
To return to the analogy of the wedding garment, it is better to think of them as something given for the occasion rather than something worn routinely from then on.

Gifts in action

So, see the scene: We all arrive with everyone else at the Sunday Church service expecting to meet with the King of Kings. We also expect to be given something suitable to the occasion that will allow us to participate in the celebration of His presence. As the worship service progresses, you become aware of people there who desperately need to receive something tangible from their Lord. A compelling thought coalesces with your awareness and in it you sense the Holy Spirit saying, “Go to that person over there and minister my gift to them”. You don’t know just what to do or how to do it, but you trust the goodness of God and you appreciate His involving you as a ‘gift giver’, so you approach the person and ask if you may pray for them. As you start to pray, thanking God for His goodness and asking Him to meet the particular need, something wonderful happens. You just know what the root issue is and what to do about it. You don’t know how you know, but you just do. This ‘knowing’ is, as far as I can discern, the gift of Knowledge and the ability to prescribe a solution is a Word of Wisdom. Or perhaps, you might just ‘know’ that the person needs to be healed of a specific physical or emotional condition, so you ‘minister’ this to them with respect, gentleness, humility, and joy; this is a Gift of Healing. Then again, perhaps the Holy Spirit wants to say something to this person, so you speak out as best you can what it is you think The Lord wants to convey, and this would be a form of the gift of Prophecy.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive or complete description of what might take place as the Holy Spirit distributes His gifts among the gathered church members. The principles that emerge are however applicable to all circumstances. (1) The Holy Spirit gives the gifts, which are in fact manifestations of His power and grace, (2) Our role is to be alert to His voice, obedient to His prompting, and joyfully willing to be the ones who ‘carry’ the gifts to their intended recipients.

Signs of the presence of Jesus

Why are gifts of the Spirit signs of the presence of Jesus among us? Because they indicate that the divine host is present and is blessing those He has invited! Because He is tangibly among us to direct the distribution of these gifts of His grace. Because He has invited us into His presence as a group of believers to edify, build up, equip and us fill with sense of wonder at who He is, and the gifts demonstrate this reality.

If you have ever been the recipient of such a gift of grace, then you know without explanation just how it affected you. Someone who has received a genuine gift of healing will always be grateful to The Lord Jesus. To receive words of prophecy that personally encourage and give hope is memorable and when the hope is fulfilled, then it is impossible not to praise God and treasure the gift forever.
Gifts of the Spirit are signs of the presence of God and evidences of His love for His people. They are to be received with joy and not argued over, and they certainly are not to be faked or manipulated. To return one last time to Jesus’ story of the wedding banquet, they are to be ‘worn’ with grateful honour and shared generously with all in need.

I believe that the Lord Jesus is delighted to be present in a gathering where His followers are delivering His gifts to those in need.

Subscribe by emailMy next article covers a possibly surprising indicator of the Lord’s presence in His gathered body – anointed leadership. If you are a leader in the church then you don’t want to miss this, so if you haven’t done so already, why don’t you subscribe and get the articles directly by email (click on the little subscribe icon right at the top left of this post, second from last, or click HERE).

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.