All the members have been given gifts, a call, and authority to exercise those gifts. But they must be under someone’s control; otherwise there will be chaos. Thus, as the Church, the Body of Christ, is growing up and maturing into what she has been called to be and do, all the functions of ministry must be under the rule, the government which the Lord has set in place. Sometimes, there are restraints prematurely put upon the flow of ministry. But we have to remember that everyone in the church was a rebel, and that characteristic has not been totally removed. We still want things “our way”, to “do our own thing”. We haven’t put way childish things. But both forms of authority are given, that we might all come to maturity. So Paul tells Timothy that a man must manage or RULE his own household well and get obedience and respect from his own children. At home or in the church, ministry and rulership both must be established. A very simple principle evolves within this distribution of authority: “The more effective the MINISTRY is exercised, the less GOVERNMENT is needed. So, top priority should be given in ministry.
During the days of the establishment of the churches in the New Testament, there was very little written instruction. Today, we have the Word of God in complete form. Thus, if we are taught how to live in the directives of Scripture, then we should not need to have so much legal impartation from the elders of the church. Just as at home, when a man functions within his own family with both forms of authority, the “governmental” lessens, and the ministerial grows – IF he is doing a good job in the latter. And IF this condition is applied, the children will react more favorably as they get older.
Governmental authority cannot and should not be forced within the Body of Christ. Each one of the members has the privilege and right to hear directly from God. No one can deny us that privilege. Unfortunately, both in the civil form and in the church, government often becomes domination. This is not God’s plan. Usually, it is Man’s pushing himself into the realm of Lordship, and that’s a dangerous place for a man to be. Our God is a jealous God!
Learning to live a DISCIPLINED life by our relationships at home, especially with [the] father, is the training ground for our placement in the Body of Christ. And so it was when the Lord gave Moses both the LAW and the authority to set the boundaries for all the Israelites as they were ready to come out of Egypt. But Moses, being a gentle type of leader, led them through the wilderness through the use of a new DISCIPLINE. In this way, he was training them to exercise the ministry to which their own WILL by which they could make choices. Our own ministry is most effective when we are functioning in a DISCIPLINED and WELL-ORDERED lifestyle. Out of such a pattern, OUR WILL will be more effectively influenced in the fulfillment of God’s call, and we will be enabled to serve Him much more fruitfully!
REMEMBER THIS: “BE FAITHFUL IN LITTLE THINGS [DISCIPLINE], AND I WILL MAKE YOU MASTER [AUTHORITY] OVER GREATER THINGS” (emphasis mine). That’s God’s promise.
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 35, January 1984.