The Camp of the Lord will
begin to take shape (I believe) around two realities. One will be genuine
love and nurturing among God's people similar to what family should be.
The other will be the unmistakable order and discipline needed to walk in the
midst of a conquering army. While what is said next will seem to be an
obvious statement, some never seem to make the connection.
That statement is simply
this: being a disciple of Jesus Christ requires discipline.
The Captain of the Host (Jesus) not only
requires this for your protection in the midst of the battle, but for the
victory of His sanctified army as well.
There are a number of
spiritual principles to consider as we begin to examine the camp of the
Lord especially as it relates to leaders within a congregation.
If we reflect upon the
Kohathites and their responsibility to carry the most holy things within the
tabernacle, (see Numbers 3:29-31) we begin to see a shadow of how five-fold
ministry teams should carry the responsibility for rightly dividing the Word of
God so that a foundation of sound doctrine comes forth to the Lord's people as
faith is imparted through the hearing of the word of God.
When the bible tells us in
Ephesians 6:10 to "... be strong in the Lord and in the
power of His might," I believe we get a reflection back to the sons of
Kohath as they carried on gold plated poles through the wilderness of Sinai -- the gold
covered items of the tabernacle. What an incredible anointing of
physical strength and zeal for God these men possessed in order to carry these
As we catch a glimpse of the
level of commitment to purity in order to carry these Holy furnishings we begin
to understand the responsibility of leadership in the body of Christ
today. We don't need the slick advertising campaigns of Madison Avenue, or
another church growth seminar. Instead what we need is an unwavering
commitment to Christ and the increase of His government in our midst.
As we begin to discern the
difference between leadership that is on a career path as religious hirelings
from those brothers and sisters whose lives have been broken and spilled out for
Christ; forsaking the former and giving honor to the latter; the Lord of
the Harvest will place in our hands every tool necessary to reap the final
harvest of the ages that is even now turning white in the fields of the world.
While much of what has been
written in this "Plea for Biblical Governance"
by default serves as an indictment of the
modern church; if you will permit me to place one admonishment in the midst of
what has been shared it would be this, and I do not share this to
personally rebuke you, but to make you aware of one aspect of the spiritual
battle you may have overlooked:
As one who has faced and will
continue to face increasing peril as a result of laying down my life for the
sake of the gospel and the glory of honor of Jesus Christ alone... I say this on
behalf of the many like minded brothers and sisters in Christ whom I would
consider it a great honor to be counted among the least of:
We did not abuse anyone, manipulate
lord over anyone, or steal anyone's tithe for the god of our personal lusts... the
hirelings of the harlot called religion did. Even then many of these did
not set themselves on this course with a purposeful intent, and are on some
levels even more of a victim of the religious politic than your average
As one voice in the midst of this
wilderness I understand that if we
are to be conformed to the image of Christ and not to the image of the world;
then part of our being conformed involves being despised and rejected of men and
being well acquainted with grief. I also believe each one of us who are
trying to walk with the mantle that Christ placed on us fully expected this type
treatment from today's Pharisees, but to be treated this way by "the Remnant"
being continually viewed with suspicion as one having an "agenda" because of
past abuses that you experienced from other leaders... this is often a sorrowful
response that only increases the burden and spiritual warfare we are already
In fact it is an injustice that the
Lord Himself will begin to weigh in His scales. He will watch over
those persecuted leaders who are truly walking with Him as they stand outside
the camp of organized religion and at the same time are being ostracized on the
other side of the divide by the remnant as well.
If you are a leader out there
and you pick up your cross daily; doing your best to honor Christ; then I pray
that what has been written here will bring comfort and encouragement to you, and
I pray to the Father asking in the blessed name of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ; that many will come along side of you in this hour;
supporting you in prayer, and if needed then financially as well... Amen
I want to remind you though
that those who come along side of you in this way have revealed the servant
heart of the Lord that is within them also. They will have demonstrated
through this willingness to serve that they are also called to lead others...
Remember to do all you can to help them attain to all that Christ has called them to
be as well.
Since we are inevitably drawn
into a discussion of the "five fold ministry"
let us first consider the dynamic of being
a minister from Paul's perspective as given to him by the Lord Jesus Himself.
In Acts 26:16 when the Lord appeared to Paul in jail; He told him in part:
"But rise and stand on your feet; for I have
appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a
minister and a witness both of the things which you
have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you..."
minister (in Greek -
defined as an under-oarsman. The word picture that the Lord painted for
Paul would have been seen easily by someone living at that time. Picture a
Phoenician sea vessel; where in the hold of the ship - close to the bilge line
there would have been a team of under-oarsmen. The don't steer the boat as
this is the task of the helmsman; who in this illustration would be Jesus.
They simply hear the beat of the drum and row accordingly.
The Lord wasn't commissioning
Paul for some kind of super APOSTOLIC MINISTRY; Jesus was simply appointing Paul to a
place of true servant hood where he moved at the pace of Christ's heartbeat.
As we look at the order in
the camp of ancient Israel; we see that there were
captains of thousands, of hundreds, and of fifties, which brings us to a first
general principle to put into practice. In Romans 12:8 the bible
encourages leaders to lead with diligence. The bible also tells us in 1
Corinthians 11:19 "For there
must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized
This is not to
be a 'holier than thou' club. It is simply a recognition of the fact that
as certain believers give themselves over to the purposes of the Lord and they have
matured as believers -- they will be "separated to the gospel of
as they have been "approved of God,"
and also have been "counted faithful." (see Romans 1:1,
Galatians 1:15, 2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Thessalonians 2:4, and 1 Timothy 1:12).
"separated to the gospel of
God" is not to be seen as a form of
spiritual elitism; instead it is simply recognizing that a process has occurred, or a season of
preparation has been completed. It is simply giving oneself
over to nothing but hearing the heartbeat of the Lord; so that you might by the
Spirit row in unison with others and together fulfill the call of Christ.
When we combine this example
of a minister
we can begin to see that this in itself is a shadow of
what five-fold ministry teams should look like today as God once again allows
the weight of His Glory to rest upon His people in these last days. Just
as the sons of Kohath were to carry the ark of the Testimony (see Exodus 25:22);
the five fold ministry mentioned in Ephesians 4:7-16 is to carry the Testimony
of Jesus Christ and to equip the saints to do the same.
This Testimony in
general consists of two areas: 1) sound doctrine, and 2) prophecy. In
1John 5:11-12 the bible says "And this is
the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have
life. These things I
have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know
that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of
the Son of God."
This is an example of sound doctrine
brought forth as the apostle John took in what the Holy Spirit taught
him through his personal experiences and through the Word of God.
This is part of the
testimony that is carried forth to the world as
we are rightly dividing the Word of Truth, building line upon line, precept upon
precept, comparing scripture to scripture. While all of us within the body
of Christ are responsible for this, there is a greater responsibility upon those
workers who are approved to God to rightly divide His word and teach the body of
Christ His truths, (see James 3:1 & 2 Timothy 2:15).
The second part of the
"Testimony" relates to the prophetic aspects of God's Word. Revelation 19:10b
of Jesus is the spirit of
prophecy.” When you think about it; everything written in the bible
concerning our future with the Lord and His future second coming
upon the earth; while it is sound doctrine, it is also essentially prophetic.
It is the carrying forth of
the "Testimony" into an unbelieving world that continually imparts faith as the bible say is Romans 10:17 that
"...faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word
Witness of the
While prophecy comes in many
forms, true prophetic words will always have the Word of God bearing
witness to this truth. In 1John 5:6-8 (NIV) the bible says
is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water
only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the
Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the
water (see note**)
and the blood; and the three are in
agreement." In other words what
the bible is saying here is that the Holy Spirit (as the Source of all true
prophecy) "testifies" and the
bearing witness also - will
always be in agreement with the
"blood of the New Covenant"
which was shed on our behalf.
What I have noticed in prophetic
meetings is that when I hear prophecy, the Holy Spirit will bring to my
remembrance different scriptures that either help to confirm, correct, or rebuke
what has been spoken --see 2 Timothy 3:16-17. (Of course I am in no way
implying that I personally must here scripture in order to validate prophetic
words, I am merely conveying a governing principle). So then while prophecy is
for today, the Holy Spirit will always bring us back to the plumb - line of His
(Note** According to
Strong's Hebrew / Greek dictionary a root word of Torah (or law) is reference #
H3384 yaw-raw' which as a primitive
root means (properly) to flow as water.
Scripture bears this out when we consider that Ephesians 5:26 says that Jesus
gave Himself for His bride - "that
He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washingofwater by
the word." In Titus 3:5b the bible
also says that "according
to His mercy He (Jesus)
saved us, through thewashing
of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,"
I believe then that it is a fair reading of God's word to conclude that the
mentioned in 1John 5:8 refers to Holy Scripture.
The Battlefield of Faith
Observing the spiritual landscape of the battlefield
before us; we must
take into account the words of Christ concerning faith in these last days.
In Luke 18 as the Lord was speaking about avenging His own elect; He says
"Nevertheless, when the
Son of Man comes, will He really find faith
on the earth?"
In fact faith is such an important aspect of our make-up as
believers that Hebrews 11:6 says "But without faith it
is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe
that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
Having expressed this; we will now begin to see that the
ministry of the Word given through the five fold ministry is critical for the
building up of our faith, not only individually, but
together as the local ecclesia so that we might stand as an example
"measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ"
The spiritual contrast
in our lives concerning the presence of faith or the lack thereof is
clearly discerned in these two verses:
"And He said: ‘I will hide My face
I will see what their end will be,
For they are a perverse generation,
Children in whom is no faith."
“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith."
As we acknowledge the biblical role of five fold ministers to proclaim the word
of God; we can begin to grasp their value on the battlefield of faith since
again we see that Romans 10 teaches us that "...faith comes by
hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
In teaching this spiritual
reality Paul first explains how the seeds of such faith are sown: "How then shall
they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in
Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
"How beautiful are the feet of
those who preach the gospel of peace
Who bring glad tidings
of good things!"
We also see in this next
versethat the impartation and nurturing
of these seeds of faith happens as believers receive from various aspects of the
five fold ministry: "Who then is Paul, and
who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave
to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
So then neither he who plants is anything,
nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own
reward according to his own labor." (1
As we acknowledge the truth
of the above scripture we can see the clear connection between the impartation
of faith and the preaching of the Word of God. Also take note of how
Paul completely de-emphasizes
position saying that neither he who plants or waters (a
function) is anything.
In this we can begin
to perceive the true role of five fold ministers as a whole since it is clearly
not the imparting of carnal skill sets
that God is concerned with, but the equipping of believers with prevailing faith
as we clearly know that
"the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but
mighty in God for pulling down strongholds..."
While I do not feel at all
led to question what someone's motives may be in this discussion on equipping; I
simply want to convey that instructing someone on how to become a minister has almost
no value at all compared to the impartation of faith through the anointed
preaching of the Word of God.
Whether it was Peter
preaching on the day of Pentecost - Paul preaching on Mar's Hill - Phillip in
the chariot of the Ethiopian eunuch or Apollos who through his preaching
"...greatly helped those who had believed through grace"
the spiritual fruit of faith that is
produced through the preaching of God's word is undeniable.
In Hebrews 11 the great
chapter on faith we see the prevailing faith of the saints
"who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness,
obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire,
escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant
in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received
their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting
deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection."
As the verse continues; we
should reflect upon the fact that the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ in
the first century had little to do with the outcomes that our brothers and
sisters in Christ experienced individually; instead the knowledge of Christ and
His redemption of mankind spread as a result of the prevailing faith that these
saints held in common.
FIVE FOLD MINISTERS
For the LORD is our
Moving this discussion forward; we should
reiterate briefly the qualifications for five fold ministry in light of the
scripture in Galatians 3:28 - "There is neither
Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor
female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
As was stated in the last section as well:
Without making a hard threshold that would hinder growth; we should remember
that Jesus Himself was 30 years of age before he began to "equip" the
apostles for what they were called to do.
These then are the minimum standards that
Paul communicated to Timothy as a younger five fold minister; it is I
believe a framework for recognizing that a brother or sister in Christ has
been "separated to the gospel of
God" for the work of equipping others
for the work of ministry.
1. They would be counted faithful by the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 1:12).
2. They have been diligent to present themselves
"approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing
the word of truth."
(2 Timothy 2:15).
3. They have been separated by the Holy Spirit for five fold ministry and
this calling has in turn been affirm or verified by the "presbuterion"
(1 Timothy 4:14)
Looking again at the
framework for biblical governance; Hebrews 13:17 speaks clearly of the motive
that all who are called to lead should operate from:
"Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive,
for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do
so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you."
A paraphrase of this scripture that the Father
showed me goes something like this (and this is a partial quote from memory and
<a few words from
what the Father has shown me>)
: "Allow yourselves to be persuaded by those
who stand before you as examples to the flock; <for
if they are truly elders; then they have crucified the flesh along with the wrong
motives that live in the flesh. They have lived long enough and walked with the
Lord long enough to understand that the counsel they give you and your grace to
yield to this counsel has eternal consequences>,
and they give counsel as ones who have a hope that when the eternal accounting
for their words and your response is reckoned; their hope is that this will be a
moment of great joy and not grief"
As we have discussed in the
last section; some five fold ministers who continue in this role over the
greater part of their lifetime should also be seen as elders / bishops in the
midst of a localized ecclesia. This is I believe the correct context for
speaking of those who are worthy of double honor.
For a more in-depth
discussion on this including a discussion on what I believe are biblically
sound financial priorities in the body of
A final thought before we look
The Spirit of God drew His
people from all over the world to the Brownsville Assembly in Pensacola Florida
as several five-fold ministers endeavored
"to keep the unity of the
Spirit in the bond of peace."
Unfortunately however the old wineskin of institutional church government cannot hold the new wine for very long.
Take note of this fact though
as it is clearly part of what the Father is molding together: The five-fold ministry team that the Lord
brought together in Pensacola was both Jewish & Gentile. While there
further discussion on this point in the Messianic section of this vision; for
now we should simply understand a basic thought that Paul brought forth in
Ephesians 2 which was that Christ through the work of the cross
"create in Himself one new
manfrom the two (Jew and
Gentile), thus making peace...
Understanding this core
biblical truth will aid us in realizing both the fullness of our biblical faith
as Christians and also the fulfillment of the Messianic hope of our Jewish
brothers and sisters worldwide.
As we continue to look
further at the equipping
function of the five fold ministry, (which consists of apostles, prophets,
evangelists, pastors, and teachers), it is important to see that
together these ministers are to walk in covenant relationship; holding forth
the Testimony of Jesus both to the body of Christ and also to a lost and dying
world In much the same way, the sons of Kohath carried the Ark of the
Covenant as a team.
Earlier I shared that
five-fold ministry teams should carry the responsibility for rightly dividing
the Word of God so that a foundation of sound doctrine comes forth to the Lord's
people. While we will further discuss in another section the pattern of
house to house and public fellowship utilized by the apostles (see Acts
20:18-21); for now it would be useful to take a snapshot look at what I am
trying to convey: CLICK HERE
For those ministers who think
you can carry this end time return to genuine biblical governance by yourself, or above others as a 'senior pastor' or
'senior apostle' -- it would serve you well to remember the lesson of the breach
against Uzzah recorded in 2 Samuel 6:3-8. The day has come upon the body
of Christ when we can no longer put the weight of this responsibility on a cart!
This is why so many good and
honest leaders have over the last number of years left their calling as ministers behind. You were never
called to accomplish this task alone.
When we think we can hold a
'senior' position above other five-fold ministers, then we put aside the order
mandated by God's word (and the protection that goes with it).
Ask yourself this
question: Why did the apostle Paul beseech us in Ephesians 4:1b-3 - "to
walkworthy of the calling with which you were called with all
lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with
one another in love,
endeavoring to keep the unity of the
Spirit in the bond of peace."
It is very interesting to me that
right on the heels of this scripture, Paul introduces the doctrinal teaching
supporting the existence of the five-fold ministry. Let me then encourage
the fellow ministers reading this; allow other ministers of God to walk
with you sharing equally the mandate and authority of this high calling.
I know this doesn't make
sense, and I understand given the nature of man, that this seems impossible as
the typical response is that there has to be a singular leader, and you know
what? You're right!
Let me remind you, that Jesus
Christ in the midst of His people effectually working through the Holy Spirit
was perfectly capable of leading the 1st century church, and clearly He is
capable of doing so today.
Permit me to share though
that if you attempt to walk worthy of this calling simply by announcing that you
are going to operate your ministry through a plurality governing by consensus; -
you will be driven to your knees by the impossibility of it; as only with God is
this vision truly possible.
The Apostolic Age
There clearly are whole
denominations who obviously welcome the ministry of five fold pastors, teachers,
and evangelists; yet these same groups doubt the modern day existence of
apostles and prophets. While I do not agree with their assessment; I must
address this briefly out of respect to my brothers and sisters who are persuaded
otherwise; because in a sense they are correct.
This is what I mean:
In 1 Peter 5:1 we read
"The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow
elder and a
witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will
The term for
elder used here
(Strong's G4850) is sumpresbuteros
and is only used this one time in the entire
bible. Again the word is a combination of
(Strong's G4245 )
meaning "Comparative of presbus (elderly); older; as
noun, a senior" preceded by the
Greek word "soom" (Strong's G4862 ) denotes "union with or
together... including completeness"
Peter was in a very small class: Elders
who were in union with or had witnessed first hand
the sufferings of Jesus Christ. This age
passed into the history of the first century;
since no one
but the original apostles and prophets saw along
with others in their time; the sufferings of Christ.
In this sense the apostolic age has passed away
in that not one flesh and blood believer is alive today who witnessed the
sufferings of Christ on the cross.
On the other hand Ephesians 4:11-13 says 11And He
Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and
some pastors and teachers, 12for
the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the
body of Christ, 13till
we all come to the unity of the faith and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of
the fullness of Christ..."
I need not go any further
than to the plain meaning of the
textual evidence and ask this question: Has the church ever experienced the
unity of the Spirit? How can anyone assert that apostles and
prophets are not
for this age when clearly they were given "till we
all come to the unity of the faith."
How unified according to the
word of God is the body of Christ where you live? The lack of biblical
unity demonstrates the need for ALL
of the five fold ministry to be in operation at this time.
To understand a little more
about what this might look like: CLICK HERE
This equipping function of
the five fold minister is aided by a plurality of elders and deacons serving in
roles that offer advice and consent. As all aspects of biblical governance
work together we will begin to see the anointing of the "Good Shepherd" overtake
and bless the body of Christ; molding us into the overcomers we are called to be
in these last days.
The Priesthood of
The expression of Christ's
ministry of reconciliation working through
you and the vision for this ministry
is a direct result of your personal
relationship with Jesus Christ through ongoing communion with the Holy Spirit.
When we seek to fulfill
the command to "love your neighbor as yourself" the
Lord will orchestrate divine appointments and "add to the
(ecclesia) those who are being saved"
(The reasons I don't use the word "church"- for ecclesia is 1) "church was not
in the original Greek and 2) "church" carries the connotation of man-made
organized effort while ecclesia speaks of a living -breathing community of
"called out ones").
This being said, the role then of
leaders can only be taken from the example of Christ Himself. Jesus said
in Matthew 20:27-28 - "And
whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son
of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,
and to give His life a ransom for many.”
This should be the heart cry
of every one aspiring to lead.
Instead of continually looking for people who
can serve in their program based church, leaders should be asking -
"What ministry visions are in the hearts of the people and
how can I be a bond servant of Christ and help this brother or sister bring
their God-given vision forth and walk in their priestly anointing?"
Again; the proper intent and context for
ministers as the call of God increases in their life is to
allow yourselves to be persuadedby those whom the Lord has
appointed to counsel or guide you as your ministry is brought forth.
Often this is critical in
helping ministers deal with challenges in their life as they mature.
Remember though that elders are there to offer counsel concerning the narrow
path you are obediently walking down. They are
not there to give you permission to walk down the path.
Another way of saying this
which has been touched on briefly is that we each are being sanctified and
cleansed "with the washingofwater by
the word" and that this in fact
of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit..."
As we look at this a little
closer we can see the agreement of the Holy Spirit to the Word of God that
washes us. Jesus as He was with his disciples in the upper room said we
“are already clean because of the word which I have
(He has) spoken to you..."
He also told them earlier in the same setting
that "He who is bathed needs only to wash his
feet, but is completely clean..."As we are to wash one another's feet; we
should see the advice and consent of elders and bishops in this light.
This is not about blind submission, rather it is recognizing the wisdom of
Proverbs 11:14 which says - "Where there is no counsel,
the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety."
Let me caution
you here - do not be an isolated ministry without accountability in your life.
The devil wants to kill you - destroy your vision - and in the process destroy
everyone God has intended for your ministry to touch. So then - surround yourself with a
of counselors" as the bible instructs you
The vision that I hope is
beginning to take shape in your spirit as you continue to read is simply this:
Untold multitudes of
on-fire believers being led by the Holy Spirit into anointed active ministries
being offered up as spiritual sacrifices or acts of worship to our Glorious
For those leaders who may be unsure of the coming paradigm shift, let me ask you
a question: If you stood before the Lord this day, and were called to "give
account" concerning the
"the flock, among which the
Holy Spirit has made you overseers," would you do so
joy" or "with grief?" My prayer is
that every leader reading this would someday watch believers they have
shepherded receive a full reward as overcomers in Christ.
right now In Jesus' Name that as you read this the Lord would begin a work of
cleansing any impure motive, and would impart a singular vision of, and
passion for standing before the Lord Jesus giving account of the flock with JOY
UNSPEAKABLE AND FULL OF GLORY.
This is your eternal destiny -
" Not that I (you)
attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that
for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself
to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are
behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the
goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
The Hope of Your Calling
While there is more to share
concerning the framework for governance; the full weight of biblical evidence
and the doctrine that has been put forth has been written to say to all who
Jesus Christ has given you
the ministry of
He has committed to you
the word of
You are an ambassador
You are called to go and make
You do not need man's permission...
"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and
appointed you (past tense)
that you should go and bear
fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the
Father in My name He may give you." - Jesus Christ
Your separation into a five fold calling
depends on your faithfulness to Christ alone...
If you are able to be baptized with
the baptism that Christ went through...
If you are willing to pick up your
Then let no man hinder you...
Only in this do I charge you in the
name of Christ...
Allow yourself to be persuaded by the presbytery of bishops
Permit them to impart to you and
release you in the right hour...
It is not a contradiction to the
liberty of Christ...
It is simply a truth that must be spiritually
Till the Lord comes... "give attention
to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift
that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy
with the laying on of the hands of the
eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them,
that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and
to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself
and those who hear you."
These things are required amidst the holiness of the
It will be a terror to you
to walk disorderly in the midst of the Lord's anointed army for
"the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of
the land of Egypt."
Building with Living Stones
laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as
newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if
indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to
Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God
and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual
house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God
through Jesus Christ."
Since this portion concerns
foundational principles, it would be best to first share a couple guiding
As an 'equipping team' - the
five-fold ministry has one and only one leader -- Jesus Christ. The
functional authority shifts according to governing doctrine within the bible and
the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says
everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven."
This is certainly true concerning the countless seasons of life faced in each
There are apostolic times needed
so that foundational doctrine can be put in place and so that biblical
order begins to take shape. Times for prophetic vision to be
imparted, helping to guide the corporate vision as individual members begin to
grasp the "hope of His calling." Times for evangelists to impart anointing to the body for evangelism.
Times for teachers to instruct God's children how to live a blameless life in
this present age, and times when a congregation is under spiritual attack and
needs the comforting assurances pastoral ministers.
These seasons come and go. and
since we "as living stones, are being built up
(as) a spiritual house"
soundness, it essential that the location and the foundation are correct.
Obviously Jesus is the correct location to build the house for those who hear
and do what He says (Matthew 7:24-25). Jesus Christ Himself is also the
Because the principles that
guided the early church have been lost over the centuries God is restoring ALL
the five-fold ministry in these last days. I know that the history of this
'restoration' has been both flawed, and even short lived; the need for this
restoration having only been discerned in the last 200 years or so; yet this
does not invalidate what God is doing.
Even with all of its flaws
and all the posturing of false apostles, this restoration in its purest form is
from the Lord and even though this 'move' lacks deep historical roots; this fact
does not make it less substantial any more than the age of flight only being
around 100 plus years somehow invalidates the jet airplane.
When we are unwilling to consider
the validity and importance of the apostolic and prophetic equipping gifts in
these last hours, we ignore a functional pattern brought forth in scripture.
In Acts 7 Stephen recounted how "Our fathers
had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed; instructing
Moses to make it according to the patternthat he had seen..."
As we approach the end of this age, how much more should we reverently consider
the pattern that was outlined for us in the Bible.
Ephesians 2:19-22 says
therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with
the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the
foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Jesus Christ Himself being the
chief cornerstone, in whom the
whole building, being fitted together,
grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together
for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."
To recount what was said earlier,
Jesus is the only Rock to build upon, He is also the chief cornerstone.
What then is this "foundation
of the apostles and prophets?"
The bible says in 1 Corinthians
12:28 "And God has appointed
these in the church:
teachers, after that miracles,
then gifts of healings, helps, administrations,
varieties of tongues."
It is absolutely essential to
understand that this scripture speaks of chronological order only, a careful
study of the words first -
second and third
reveals that in no
Strong's Hebrew / Greek
dictionary makes this clear:
- (G4412)- proôton -
time, place, order, or importance):—before, at the beginning,
chiefly, (at, at the) first (of all).
Examples of this:
Matthew 5:24 –
“…leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way.
First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Matthew 6:33 –
seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all
these things shall be added to you.”
Matthew 7:5 –
First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly
to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Other scriptures showing this example include:
8:21, 12:29, 13:30, 17:10-11, 23:26, Mark 3:27, 4:28, 7:27, 9:11-12,
- Secondarily - (G1208)- deuteros -
As the compound of G1417; (ordinal) second (in time, place or
rank; also adverbially):—afterward, again, second (-arily, time).
Examples of this:
Matthew 21:30 –
he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I
go, sir,’ but he did not go.”
Matthew 22:26 –
the second also, and the third, even to the seventh.
Matthew 22:39 –
thesecondis like it:
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 26:42 –
Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if
this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.
John 3:4 –
said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a
time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
Other scriptures showing this example include:
12:1, 12:31,14:72, Luke 12:38, 19:18, 20:30, Titus 3:10,
Hebrews 8:7, 9:3, 9:7, 9:28, 10:9, 2Peter 3:1
Thirdly - G5154 - tritos -
neuter (as noun) a thirdpart, or (as adverb) a (or the) thirdtime,thirdly:—third (-ly).
Matthew 16:21 –
“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that
He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief
priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the
Matthew 20:3 –
“…And he went out about the
third hour and saw
others standing idle in the marketplace,
Matthew 26:44 –
He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same
Clearly there is overwhelming
evidence indicating chronological order within five-fold leadership, not
pecking order of authority. What this looks like then is similar to what
Jesus described to Nicodemus. In John 3:8 Jesus says
"The wind blows where it
wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell
where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Another way of illustrating this is to ask what is clearly a
rhetorical question: Did Jesus the apostle have more authority than Jesus the
prophet? ...or Jesus the pastor. Since our Lord as the incorruptible Son
was the only one to carry all five equipping gifts and since Christ is not
divided; the clear answer is NO!
Taking this thought a step
further either moves us away from the individualistic flavor of today's
ministries or leaves us facing the indictment that believers in Corinth
contended with as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:12-13 -
"Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or
"I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ." Is Christ divided?
Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
A couple of chapters later Paul again
reprimands the Corinthians... For when one says, "I
am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not
Down further he makes his
point even clearer: "For we are God’s fellow
workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building."
There it is; plain and simple: No fanfare
or exaltation about Paul being this great apostle to the Gentiles and Apollos
being some second hand teacher included as an afterthought. NO! It
is made clear that both of their equipping ministries were purposeful and
deliberate. They were both simply 'God's
fellow workers' laboring in the vineyard
of the Lord for the sake of the harvest and the glory of Christ alone.
This then will be a foremost
characteristic of genuine five-fold ministry teams. They typically may
have no clue in their natural thought processes from one meeting to the next
what the Spirit of God may impart through one or more of them. (in a five-fold
oriented meeting*). Yet the Spirit of the Lord will have produced a strong
consensus between them concerning what season a congregation may be in.
more on this see the section of the vision called
"House to House and Public Fellowship."
In other words they will walk
as one in Christ where the Lord Himself walks as the Chief Shepherd among His
At the inception of a new
congregation, chronologically the order will be apostolic / prophetic.
Then their ministry must decrease so that the voice of the Bridegroom that is in
the teacher, or evangelist, or pastor may increase and be heard. It doesn't mean
that the apostolic/ prophetic goes away, they simply blend into the plurality of
a growing Spirit Led equipping team.
A caution and this cannot be
stressed enough -- When the anointing of the Lord increases making this
possible, men and women with a self seeking spirit will be stricken by the LORD
of HOSTS in the midst of the congregation of the LORD. If you have not "crucified
the flesh with its passions and desires,"the Spirit of God will expose
this. If even your desire to minister has not been crucified, satan will
use this to sew "discord among brethren."
The Prophetic Time of Judges
Before sharing some final
observations on this section of the vision, I felt impressed to share
prophetically what season I believe we are in.
The time of Judges - that led to
Saul - that led to King David is I believe a prophetic compass for the time we
King David is a type or picture
of our Blessed Lord and King - Jesus. The return or second coming of our
Lord is what many believe is a rapidly approaching event.
Saul is a type of antichrist
(both Saul and satan rebelled against the Authority of the LORD). In much
the same way that the children of Israel asked the prophet Samuel saying
us a king to judge us..."
So shall the whole world ask for the rule of the
antichrist in the not too distant future.
So then, what time is it now?
Before Saul was the time of the judges of Israel.
I believe we are entering
into a 'time of judges' season before the appearing of the antichrist.
What is the purpose of the
To deliver the Lord's people (Jew & Gentile) from their
enemies and from the enemies of the Lord.
Cloud of Glory
In the final analysis, what I am
trying to express is that a "new wineskin" will remain flexible in order to
accommodate the changing characteristics of Spirit-led life in the body of
Christ or the "new wine". The
picture of this in the camp of the Lord is a framework that can be torn down in
order to move with the anointing of the Holy Spirit represented by the pillar of
Any structure that cannot aid the
corporate body to 'follow the cloud' as the children of Israel did, will always
lead to corporate and individual idolatry, as the "there" you are in becomes
more important than the "there" God is taking you to.
This is why God gave the five-fold ministry to carry
together the anointing if you will, that the Ark of the Testimony represents.
If for example there is true
brokenness and humility in a five-fold team, when an evangelist (or prophet,
etc.) sees in His Spirit that the cloud is beginning to move, rather than being
accused of having an agenda, the rest of the five-fold team reverently takes
hold of the 'golden poles' and lifts the testimony of Christ as one unit.
How desperately we need the grace of God to help us walk worthy of our calling
in this way, as we endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
Observations Concerning the Old Wineskin
Whenever the spiritual needs in
the local ecclesia (called-out ones) are consistently unmet, it is an indicator of the need to
multiply 'bond-servant' leadership
Any gathering that
consistently orients around one aspect
of the five-fold ministry or even one aspect of biblical governance will
eventually move away from a biblical pattern of government.
Wherever the five-fold ministry is limited
to one expression, the leadership & ministry of an assembly of believers will
flow from the personality of a man instead of the personality of Jesus (or
Left to their own devises, (no genuine
accountability), a pastor (or any other five-fold minister) will feed
themselves and not the flock. This is a reality of the sin nature. The
corruptible will always gravitate towards corruption unless yoked with others of
like spiritual authority and/or maturity who have a God given mandate to submit
to one another.
These are only a few potential pitfalls that
exist within the current religious structures of the modern church.
Answering an Indictment
In Matthew 23:23 the Lord Jesus as the advocate
of fallen man issued an indictment against the institution that became a fence
between the Lord and those who were seeking His redemption. He said:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For
you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier
matters of the law: justice
and mercy and
faith. These you ought to
have done, without leaving the others undone."
Rather than going down a path that continually
criticizes present day Christendom; let us ask whether the Lord's indictment of
the institution framework surrounding temple worship applies to the modern
If it does apply; then we should also ask
ourselves if the response of the Lord's first disciples answered this
indictment. Keep in mind that if they did adequately answer this
indictment; then we can through the grace that Christ supplies restore the eternal truths
found in their response, but we cannot repeat history.
Herein I believe is the restoration of the
mentioned in Acts 2:42. I believe it answers the indictment that Jesus
spoke, it encourages us to establish Kingdom oriented communities, and it offers
necessary safeguards against institutional religion.
The pattern in Isaiah 33:22 established by the 1st century
ecclesia I believe answers this indictment.
For the LORD is our Judge
As we build
according to the pattern then the Lord
will give us Elders and Bishops to establish His
Courts of Justiceto help mediate between brothers when grievances
The LORD is our Lawgiver -
As we build
according to the pattern welcoming and
encourage the flourishing of five fold
ministry teams; we will then see the word of God increase and the prevailing
Faith of Christ grows in our hearts
through the hearing of His Word.
The LORD is our King -
As we build
according to the pattern allowing
those who have shown stewardship over their own lives to serve as Deacons in the
court of the King; we will see the Mercy
of the Father established as the fatherless, widows, and strangers in the gate
take refuge under the shadow of His wings.
A Kingdom Mission
One other point concerning Kingdom oriented communities...
Paul wrote in Philippians 4:15-16
"Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of
the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning
giving and receiving but you only."
Paul also communicated to the
saints in Philippi some of the more mature thoughts He wrote; outlining what
might be viewed as personal loss for the sake of the Kingdom of God...
Thoughts like how Christ "became obedient to the
point of death, even the death of the cross,"
or how Paul counted
"all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that
I may gain Christ."
Unlike some of his other
letters to churches documenting their carnality and strife; this epistle to the
Philippians stands out in its revelation of the cost involved in the mission of
the Kingdom of God.
They were the only
congregation who seemed to grasp their role in helping Paul through lean times
in his ministry.
Of great interest to me in
this is what seems like a small detail; at least until you see this detail in
light of what has been written in this release. And that is Paul's greeting to
the church: "Paul and Timothy, bondservants
of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi,
with the bishops and deacons..."
It makes me ponder again concerning their depth
of maturity and their consistent commitment as a
Kingdom oriented community...
THE COMMANDED BLESSING
Maybe as we come to the close of this
"Plea for Biblical Governance"
we can finally confess that we have grieved the
Holy Spirit over the centuries as we have continually resisted the
"Increase of His Government."
There is coming a day when this
'Increase' will no
longer be a choice given to a wayward heart as "at
the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on
earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
If we will now turn from our wicked ways and
bring forth fruits of true repentance; then who can tell... perhaps the Lord
will be merciful even in this late hour and grant that grace might be given unto
us; that we might keep His command to persevere. Herein will we be kept
"...from the hour of trial which shall come upon
the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth."
In the coming battle at the end of the age the
enemies of Christ "...will make war with the Lamb,
and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and
those who are with Him are called,
chosen, and faithful"
I earnestly pray thatall who read this are among
"those who are with Him."
For if we are found in Christ as He prayed in
John 17 that we all may be one..."
if we are
"endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace..."
then we will overcome with Him, and the
anointing of this 'unity of the Spirit'
will be upon us.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing—
This is what the ecclesia of the first century
While we cannot repeat the history of those
moments we read of in the book of Acts; we can even in the midst of the coming
trials see the victory of the ages unfold before us as we walk in the commanded
blessing of the Lord — "Life forevermore."
Finally to the leaders among the flock
and the body of Christ at large, I conclude this section of the vision
covering biblical governance with the words of Peter
elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the
sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:
Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by
compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being
lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the
Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade
away. Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders.
Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with
“God resists the proud,
gives grace to the humble."