Systematic Theology II - Lesson 21

The Doctrine of the Church (Part 3)

An additional New Testament metaphor for the Church is a "Building," which is made up of the "Cornerstone," "Foundation" and the "Living Stones." "Christ's Flock" is also a metaphor for the Church and relates to Jesus as the "Good Shepherd." There are also passages in the New Testament that give us insight into local congregations by referring to elders as the leaders.

Bruce Ware
Systematic Theology II
Lesson 21
Watching Now
The Doctrine of the Church (Part 3)

The Doctrine of the Church (part 3)

3. Church as a building

a. Christ as the cornerstone of the foundation

b. Apostles and prophets establish the foundation

c. Living stones built upon this foundation

4. Church as the flock of Christ

a. Christ as the good shepherd (Old Testament background)

     1) Calls the sheep

     2) Lays down his life for the sheep

     3) Searches for the lost sheep

b. Sheep are called to follow the Shepherd

c. Some are called to be under shepherds

D. The local church

1. Offices of the local church

a. Introduction: hierarchy vs. democracy

     1) Pastor-teacher responsible to lead and protect

     2) But must give ministry away: equip every member to minister

b. Elder

     1) Biblical words used

          a. Presbuteros: elder or presbyter

          b. Episkopos: bishop or overseers

  • Both the Old and New Testaments teach that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully human. The Old Testament contains specific references to His pre-incarnate existence. The New Testament teaches that the incarnation is an historical event that was prophesied in the Old Testament. Christ fulfills the roles of prophet, priest and king. His deity is emphasized by the names of God that are ascribed to Him.

  • The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ had attributes belonging solely to God, and did works that were done by God alone. Christ was worshipped and accepted worship. He Himself claimed to be God.

  • Christ was fully human, as well as fully God. The Old Testament prophesied it and His historical life demonstrated it. Philippians 2: 6-8 uses the word kenosis to explain the relationship between Christ's human and divine natures.

  • The "impeccability" of Christ deals with the question of whether or not Christ could have sinned. The answer to this question has implications for both His life and ministry. (At the 51 minute mark, the reference to "John the Baptist," Dr. Ware meant to say, "John the Apostle.")

  • Delegates at the Council of Chalcedon tried to explain the hypostatic union of Christ's natures. The theological bases for the work of Christ on the cross focus on the sin of humanity and God's holiness and mercy. The atonement is God's self-satisfaction through self-substitution

  • Christ's atoning sacrifice was comprehensive. The different aspects of the atonement may be compared to light refracting through a diamond – you can see different colors, but they are all light. Three aspects of the atonement are sacrifice, substitution and redemption.

  • Three more aspects of the atonement are propitiation, expiation, and reconciliation. Christ's resurrection is a ratification of the efficacy of the atonement.

  • The most significant aspect of the past work of Christ is the atonement. Some people teach that the extent of the atonement is limited, while others teach that it is unlimited. Christ's present work is mediator and Lord. His future work is coming judge and reigning king.

  • Throughout Scripture, the Holy Spirit is referred to as having the attributes and performing the actions of a person. He is also shown to have the attributes of God, and is declared to be God. Both the Old and New Testaments cite examples of the work of the Holy Spirit in empowering people.

  • The work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is characterized by the empowerment of selective individuals for a temporary period of time, for the purpose accomplishing a specific task. The Old Testament prophets record a vision of the role of the Holy Spirit in the latter days.

  • The Holy Spirit had a central role in the life and ministry of Jesus. Many Old Testament passages prophesied the coming of a Spirit empowered Messiah. The New Testament records specific examples of the involvement of the Spirit in Jesus' life and ministry. Jesus also promises the future coming of the Holy Spirit and describes what he will do.

  • At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came into the world and filled the lives of every believer. The first great work of the Holy Spirit is bringing people to Christ. He also empowers believers for service in the Church where we are remade and conformed to the image of Christ. The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is for us to serve one another.

  • The Holy Spirit has come to glorify Christ and bring attention to Jesus. He does this by empowering believers in the areas of evangelism and discipleship. There are specific gifts of the Spirit and He gives specific gifts to each believer. There is a question about whether all the gifts are still active today. There is also a distinction between people having a certain gift and God performing mighty acts.

  • The Holy Spirit accomplishes the work of regeneration in a person by bringing them new life. The Spirit also indwells and fills a believer, produces fruit and gives us the freedom to become what God created us to be. The Holy Spirit is also the guarantee of the hope of our eternal future in God's presence.

  • Rob Lister, a Garret Fellow, introduces concepts that are basic to the Biblical doctrine of salvation. Salvation is both physical and spiritual, includes all of creation, it is "already, but not yet," and the goal is the glory of God. Election is a key concept in Scripture. Some people think that there is a conditional aspect to election.

  • Rob Lister continues by reviewing the Arminian position (conditional election), then explains the Calvinist view. The Calvinist position is based on God's sovereign rulership over everything, salvation by grace alone, and God's love and justice. There are major differences between the ideas of conditional and unconditional election.

  • Among those who hold to the view of unconditional election, there are those who believe in single predestination, and those who believe in double predestination. There is also a difference between a "general call," and a "special" or "effectual call."

  • Continuing in the logical order of salvation, Rob Lister examines regeneration, conversion, justification, adoption and sanctification.

  • Christ is Lord of the Church and it is formed by the Spirit. As a community, we testify to what God has done in our lives through the ordinances, the proclamation of the word and the testimony of our lives. We worship God together, and Jews and Gentiles are united in one community, testifying to the preeminence of our identity in Christ.

  • The "mystery" of the Church refers to the truth that was formerly concealed, but now revealed. Another aspect of the "mystery" is the inclusion of Jews and Gentiles in one community of faith. There is some debate about whether or not Israel and the Church are the same. The "Body of Christ" and "Bride of Christ" are two metaphors used in the New Testament that refer to the Church.

  • An additional New Testament metaphor for the Church is a "Building," which is made up of the "Cornerstone," "Foundation" and the "Living Stones." "Christ's Flock" is also a metaphor for the Church and relates to Jesus as the "Good Shepherd." There are also passages in the New Testament that give us insight into local congregations by referring to elders as the leaders.

  • New Testament passages give specific instructions about the functions of elders in local congregations. There are also lists qualifications for elders that emphasize character qualities. The roles and qualifications for deacons are also given.

  • The question of the role of men and women in ministry is a significant issue. The main question is, "According to Scripture, is gender particularly and uniquely relevant in assessing whether or not a person is qualified for a given ministry in a church or home?"

    You can download the Roles Handout by right-clicking on the link and selecting the "Save Link As" option. 

  • Different denominations have chosen different models of hierarchy and leadership based on their understanding of Scripture. The two ordinances of the Church are Baptism and the Lord's Supper. They are ordained by Christ, point to the Cross, and are to be done in remembrance of what He has done for us.

  • There is value in studying eschatology besides curiosity about what will happen in the future. The three most common views of the millennium that can be supported by Scripture are postmillennialism, amillennialism and premillennialism. Also related to eschatology is the Scriptural teaching regarding physical death and the intermediate state.

  • Within the premillennial position, there is a difference of opinion on whether the rapture will be pretrib, midtrib or posttrib. Regardless of your position on the millennium, there is clear teaching in Scripture about the final judgment and our eternal state. There will be a final judgment and everyone will spend eternity either in heaven or hell.

The second of a two semester class on Systematic Theology.

Dr. Bruce Ware

Systematic Theology II


The Doctrine of the Church (Part 3)

Lesson Transcript


Okay. We've looked so far to metaphors for the church, the first being the body of Christ. The second, the church is the Bride of Christ. And the third one is the building. The church is a building. This is a rich, rich metaphor because it builds a course on the temple concept from the from the Old Testament. It never ceases to amaze me when you think of the implications of Paul's saying in the New Testament, Do you not know that you are a temple of the Holy Spirit? Wow, what a huge statement this is. Because when you think of what the temple was in the Old Testament, this is the special residence, as it were, of God, where God dwelt among his people. And and it was in that temple that the glory of God was manifest. It was at that temple where God's own character was manifest to the people. And and now, you know, we are to think, both of us as individuals. That's first Corinthians six year old bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. And we collectively, as Christian people, as First Corinthians three, two usages of temple, one is plural and one is singular. In those passages that we and our very bodies are now those places where God resides and His own character and glory is manifest. Well, if that do something to your self-image, I don't know what can. Wow. To think of yourself consciously as. One in whom God resides, so that his own character and presence may be manifest to others. Incredible, incredible, unspeakably wonderful privilege. This is who we are as Christian people.


And that's true individually and that's true corporately. Think of a local church being a place where God resides and his character is manifest. Incredible thing. Okay. So the church as this building, which of course, as we see in the New Testament, is is a temple, two passages in particular stress the metaphor of the church as a building. What is Ephesians two, 19 to 22, Ephesians two, 19 to 22, and first Peter to 4 to 7. I think we'll just take a minute and read both of those before we look at some of the characteristics about this metaphor. First, the Ephesians two passage reads So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and are of God's household. By the way, this is to Gentiles, right? I mean, if you went back in the passage a bit, you remember it. He says in this chapter, Remember you Gentiles in the flesh called the UN circumcision. You are separate from Christ, excluded from the Commonwealth of Israel. So now in verse 19, So then you Gentiles are no longer strangers in aliens, but you are fellow citizens, fellow citizens with Jews. You know, here we have this concept of being brought together in one new entity. In this case, it's a building fellow citizens with the saints in or of God's household. Verse 20 Having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone in whom the whole building being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. Now, this matches, by the way, what Paul says in First Corinthians three and six, where he talks about Do not know that you are a temple of the Holy Spirit in three plural you and in chapter six, your body is a temple.


So it's singular. What's true in both those passages is God's presence in us is by the Spirit. I think this argues for understanding the beginning of church as Pentecost. Remember Jesus said, I will future tense, I will build my church. And of course he ascended back to heaven, poured out the spirit. And I think we ought to think of Pentecost as the beginning of church, in the sense, as I've called out, people who are called in the name of Christ to be united with Christ as Jew and Gentile being brought together in one new man, one new building, one new household, one new entity in Christ, and what unites us? Is the presence of God by his spirit within us, as we see in verse 22. Your build together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. I'll come back to this text, but let me read the other one also so we can have them both in mind. First, Peter, Chapter two. Versus four through seven. Peter does something different with this metaphor. That's very intriguing and wonderful. First, Peter to four. And coming to him as to a living stone. So here we have, you know, a metaphor of what you might think is sort of cold and dead. I mean, goodness, have you ever walked into a cathedral? You know, you the Stones don't feel very alive, do they? So here we are to think of this particular building as having a living stone rather than the dead cold stones coming to him as a living stone, which was rejected by man. But his choice and precious in the sight of God, you also as living stones. So as Christ has been raised from the dead. So we walk in newness of life.


I mean, here's the idea that Christ don't think of the stone as this dead, cold, lifeless entity, but a stone that makes up this building is alive, vibrant, and we united with him are likewise alive and vibrant living stones. We are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Christ Jesus, which of course was the purpose of the temple, Right? This place where worship of God would take place, sacrifices would be offered. And so here we offer spiritual sacrifices. We don't bring bulls and goats. We bring instead spiritual sacrifices to God. Verse six for this is contained in Scripture. Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious cornerstone, and he who believes in him will not be disappointed. This precious value then, is for those who believe, but for those who do not believe. The stone which the builders rejected. This became the very cornerstone, a stone of stumbling and a rock of a fence. They stumble because they are disobedient to the word and to this doom. They were also appointed. But you, as opposed to those who look at this stone that the builders reject, that becomes the cornerstone as opposed to those who look at this stone and reject it, stumble over this and are doomed because of it. You, on the other hand, believe on him. You are united to him. So you are instead, verse nine, a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellences of him, who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. For once, you were not a people. But now you are the people of God.


You had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Let me just make a comment on this text. It's very clear, is it not, that Peter understands the current church as having continuity with Old Testament Saints? How is that evident from this passage? Okay, Look at his quotations. They're all they're all picking up on. Old Testament concepts and terms that are used of the community of faith in Israel. So you are in verse nine, a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession. So it's very clear that there's a line of continuity that comes forward. I'm thinking of our discussion we had last class period. But isn't it also clear there is discontinuity? Or to put the question differently, that Peter understands church here as something different from Old Testament Saints? How do you see that? Well, what is or I'll give you another minute. What? How do you see that? The analogy of the building itself. Okay. All the new to the wholly new area. So here we are, the temple. And before that was the temple. I mean, that's a clue right there, isn't it? We're talking about some kind of reality of which that temple was the type. And now we have the anti type or the fulfillment of it. What else? Even just the different types of sacrifices and spiritual. Yes. That's right. Previously, it was a different kind of sacrifice where literal animal sacrifices. Now these are spiritual sacrifices. What else? There's one more that is key to this part of the temple. In relation to what is in relation to the porters, in relation to the core. And this cornerstone was prophesied. So he quotes someone 18 and sees it as now being fulfilled as the stone which the builders rejected.


This has become the cornerstone, but it is now. So it is in Christ. It is our connection to this cornerstone that has now come. So continuity? Yes. Were they the people of God? Yes. Are we the people of God? Yes. Were they a holy nation? Yes. Are we a holy nation? Yes. So there is this continuity. But is there not a sense in which we are defined as a holy nation, as the people of God, as a chosen race? Differently, our identity is wrapped up in this cornerstone or in this living stone. Christ who has come. He hadn't come before. He's come now. He rejected by some, but for you you've accepted him and so your identity is with him. So continuity, but discontinue. There's something distinctive about church. Now, as you can see here. Okay, let me show you just a couple of the aspects of this metaphor that we are to notice. Peter speaks of the cornerstone in verse five, where he says, Lay in Zion, a precious cornerstone who believes in him, will not be disappointed. And so he understands Christ as being the cornerstone of the church and in Ephesians. The way Paul puts it in Ephesians two. Is we are built upon the foundation. This is verse 20, having built on having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. So both Peter and Paul stress Christ not only as the foundation of the building, but the cornerstone of the foundation. Now, what's significant about this? Well, simply that the cornerstone was the most important stone of a building, because the cornerstone would set the dimensions for the rest of the building. It needed to be a perfect stone with 90 degree angles.


It needed to be laid with a plumb line so that it went up vertically straight because the other stones would be like, So if it's tilted a bit, if it's set like this, well, the other stones are in the you could have a wall that tips over, right? Or if the angle is either too narrow or too wide, then as the walls go out, they're not going to be able to sit 90 degree angles at the other end. So the cornerstone set the dimensions for the rest of the building. So here, all the rest of the building takes its shape by the cornerstone. And so using that as the metaphor, Christ is the cornerstone. He's the one who sets the shape for the rest of the building. Everything else is built on the dimensions of the cornerstone. And both Peter and Paul stress that. But in Ephesians in particular, the stresses not just on the cornerstone, but on the foundation of which the cornerstone is a part. He says the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. So here we have in Ephesians 220, along with Christ, you have, as it were, those to whom Christ entrusted his revelation. About. What the church wants to believe. So the apostolic teaching of the church and I take it prophets would be in this context, not Old Testament prophets. I know some people interpret it that way. That is having been built upon the foundation of the Apostles, New Testament and Prophets, Old Testament. Some have interpreted it that way. But I think in the book of Ephesians there is strong reason to understand these as New Testament apostles and prophets for support for that. Look, for example, in the very next chapter, Chapter three, where he says in verse four By referring to this, you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, verse five, which in other generations was not made known as it has now been revealed to his Holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit.


I mean, that is so clear that that reference in chapter three, just a few verses later is New Testament apostles and prophets, not Old Testament prophets. So here you have then the foundation of the church being, as it were, the revelation of Christ. Through the apostolic teaching and the gift of prophecy that functioned, you know, I believe, until the canon was completed, although it's not absolutely clear cut that that is the case. But what is the case is you have apostles and prophets linked, which argues, as we talked about in another class several weeks back, which argues for the gift of prophecy ending when apostle ends. So we don't have contemporary apostles, we don't have contemporary prophets, as we would read about in the in the book of First Corinthians, for example. Why? Because this is the foundation and what's true of both apostle and prophet is these are revelatory offices, revelatory gifts to the church in establishing the truth that must be known and believed for the church to be the church in the New Testament. And then third, so we have Christ as the cornerstone. We have the foundation which obviously includes Christ, but extends beyond Christ to the apostles and prophets. And then we have the stones built upon that foundation, which is, you know, 2000 years later us is just imagine that here we are on this built upon this, this one foundation of the apostles and prophets as living stones so connected to the life, as it were, of the cornerstone, a living stone Christ is. And we are connected with his life. So we we share in that life of his. And I think the other thing that I think is communicated by the living stones is not only the connection with Christ, but that these are these are stones which are meant to be active and involved rather than static.


I mean, you know, we normally think of a stone just sitting there, but these stones are active and involved in the growth and well-being and equipping and strengthening of the church. They don't function in static ways. So sharing in the life of Christ and being actively involved in the life of the church is, I think, conveyed in this metaphor of living stones. Yes, sir. Hello. Give the whole presentation. No. And it was interesting because one of the verses that half of their presentation built on was business 2.0 in that you had to have possums. Uh huh. Inform the church someone to give you new revelation and so forth, and to serve as that foundation. Thus new apostles. Oh, I see. Right. Which, of course, defies the point of this text. I mean, when you build a building, you don't keep building the foundation. The foundation. I don't think that that's possible. How about the need to go back to the one foundation that has been set? You know, the faith once we're all given to the Saints. Yeah, that it's a a misuse of that. That metaphor and of that passage for sure. Yes, that's. Well, as I mentioned before, it does insofar as it picks up both in the theme of a temple now being brought forward and the theme of Peter uses these Old Testament motifs and brings these forward as a chosen people in a holy race and so on to indicate what this is. So again, as we've talked about, I would argue this indicates both continuity, but discontinuity. Some people chafe at continuity of if you're a strong dispensation list. Oh, no, no. Church is real. Keep them. No, no. Obviously, Peter intends for them to us to understand continuity between the people of God, Old Testament and us.


Look at the words He uses. But. But it's not just continuity. And some people chafe at this. There's discontinuity. There's something unique about church that has everything to do with Christ. I mean, the mystery indicates that we're up first on dispossession. Yeah, it's the Old Testament. Do they use it or do they have the mindset of saying, well, the thing we need now is a new test? Well, there are ultra or hyper dispensation lists have known of some people who have been in there, almost like sexts would refer, for example, to the writings of Paul only as being legitimate. So nothing before Paul is is relevant for the church. But those are really I mean, that is not. Dallas Seminary dispensation, autism, traditional dispensation, autism. No, they would refer to the Old Testament, preach from the Old Testament. Teach from the Old Testament. Good is one of the leading dispensation or scholars. I mean, classic traditional dispensation of scholars was Charles Feinberg, who was a converted Jew who taught at Dallas Seminary, and then he became the dean of Talbot Seminary in Southern California. His two sons, John and Paul Feinberg, teach theology at Trinity Divinity School. Charles Feinberg was a superb Old Testament scholar, and how he would teach the Old Testament would be impart principles that are just as true for us now as they were for Israel then that would carry forward, but also truths, promises that God gave to Israel that will be fulfilled in a future day. Okay. Any other question or comment on this metaphor? The last one I'm going to take time to talk with you about is the metaphor of the church as the flock of Christ. We are the sheep and Christ is the shepherd. May New Testament passages are obviously two main ones in the Gospels anyway, that speak of Christ as a shepherd who comes for his sheep takes care of his sheep.


John Chapter ten. And we'll look at part of that in a moment. John Chapter ten. Also, Luke 15 is the parable of the shepherd who leaves the 1990 and goes after the one lost sheep. Beautiful parable that's told there, but there are other references to Christ as the Good Shepherd. I'll give you those in a few moments. But before I do that, let me give you just a little bit of Old Testament background to this. Obviously, the 23rd Psalm is in the background in the use of this metaphor. The Lord is my shepherd. Now we have Jesus as the good Shepherd. So if when you read Psalm 23. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lay down in green pastures, leads me beside quiet waters. He leads me to the paths of righteousness for his namesake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Your rod, your staff, your comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. I mean, all these things that are in some 23 just ring with greater resonance in light of Christ as the Good Shepherd. You realize he's the one who leads his sheep into green pastures. Cool waters. He's the one who protects the sheep from the wolves who would want to devour them. He's the one who guides his sheep through the valley of the shadow of death. But we need not fear evil because he is with us, guiding us. His rod and his staff comfort as I take it. Those metaphors in some 23 indicate what the shepherd would use to ward off wolves that would come and threaten the sheep. Some have taken it as a rod to strike. I doubt that's the case.


I think it's meant in that context. Your rod and or your staff comfort me. Doesn't sound disciplinary. The shepherd uses his rod to scare off threats from the wolves that may be around. If you've ever visited Israel, have some of you been to Israel, by any chance? Only only one person in here. Two. If you have a chance sometime, if the Lord gives you that opportunity, it's really worth it. Because you see the backdrop for so much of the Bible, which is narrative, so much of the Bible that takes place in places with events happening and all of a sudden you it's kind of like the difference between reading a Shakespeare play and going to a Shakespeare play. I love Shakespeare as an English major in college and loved reading it. I still remember the first Shakespeare play I attended. Wow. Wow. How cool to see the whole backdrop in the staging and the costumes. Really wonderful. Well, in Israel. I'm thinking that phrase in some 23 that you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, that the best grazing in Israel is dry, is in the valleys, because that's where the water, the little bit of water that does come runs down. And so you're likely to have the moisture in the valleys. And so that's where. The green grass is mostly going to be right. And so So you take your sheep sort of from valley to valley in search of green pasture. Well, when you're down in the valley as sheep, you can't run fast. Sheep have no defenses. They don't even have brains to speak of. I mean, they just they can't fight. They don't have horns. They get you know, they they just are defenseless animals.


And when you're down in a valley and you've got fast, sharp teeth, the wolves. Up around the tops of those hillsides. Who can race down that hill so fast and grab a limb unsuspecting? Well, you know, take take that metaphor. He prepares a table before me. You know, this pasture land of grass in the presence of my enemies. So here are these wolves up there around the hillsides, licking their chops, waiting for an opportunity. But. But the Good Shepherd. Is there. And keeps the sheep away. Okay, so think of some 23 as a backdrop to John ten. It is very fitting to think in those terms. Here's another. I'll give you two other passages that I won't take time to look at with you, but it would be well worth your time to read both of these. Jeremiah 23. I believe it's verses one through nine, Jeremiah 23, one through nine, and the whole chapter of Ezekiel 34. Ezekiel 34. Both of these chapters describe the shepherds of Israel. In fact, if any of you and I'm sure it's true of several of you in here are intending to serve as pastors one day, it would be well worth your time to meditate long and hard on both of these chapters because they are God's indictment against the shepherds of Israel. Four. Yes. Their negligence. They should have been feeding the flock and instead they were feeding themselves. But more than that, they're outright selfish. Self-serving. Exploitation of the sheep in order to serve their ends. And my God's judgment and his. DNA testing. Of this behavior is so strongly stated in these chapters. I mean, any pastor. Who would take the responsibility of being shepherd under Shepherd for these sheep would do well to think long and hard about what the Office of Shepherd is meant to be.


On the basis of what is described in those chapters, Jeremiah 23 and Ezekiel 34 in Ezekiel 34. The good news is in that particular chapter, and this connects then with John ten, in that chapter, God says, Even though the shepherds of Israel have failed you horribly, right around verse 12 or so, God says, I will be your shepherd, I will come after you, I will gather you back together, I will feed you, I will care for you, I will bandage you. So here is God, a shepherd of his people. But then in closer to the end of the chapter, he makes it even clearer how he's going to do this. I will send my servant, David, who will be shepherd of my people. So now we realize, Oh, the way God will do this ultimately is as He provides. A different shepherd then the shepherds of Israel who have been such failures. He will provide his servant, David, which of course we know must be Ezekiel's written hundreds of years after David died. So this can't be literally David. Obviously one in the line of David who will be like David was shepherd boy who became king. Isn't that interesting? God picked the shepherd boy and made him king of Israel. And the symbolism of that. So David will come as shepherd of the people of Israel. But it says in Ezekiel 34, he will reign as prince over them. So shepherd King. So this David will be over his people. Okay. All that I think is in the backdrop when you come to the New Testament and Jesus announces in John ten, I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd, which is such a wonderful statement. Not a shepherd who is exploiting you or just plain neglecting you, but a shepherd who is intensely interested in your well-being.


Listen, verse 11 and John ten I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep, the one who is a hired hand, not a shepherd who is not the owner of the sheep, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, you know, takes care of himself first, gets out of harm's way, and the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them. He flees because he's a hired hand. He is not concerned about the sheep. But I am the good Shepherd, he says. And I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me even as the father knows me and I know the father. I lay down my life for the sheep. Okay, let me unpack some of the qualities. First of all, Jesus as the Good Shepherd, which of course is stated in the verses I just read to you, John ten, verse 11, and again in verse 14, John ten, verse 11 and verse 14. He's called the Good Shepherd. But this theme is carried forward in other books in the New Testament. So let me give you some other references. Hebrews 1320. Hebrews 1320 refers to Jesus as the great shepherd of the sheep. First, Peter. 225. First. Peter 225 Jesus is the shepherd and guardian of your souls. And first Peter. Five four. First. Peter. Five four. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd. When the chief Shepherd appears, Peter says, Well, what is his role as a good shepherd? Well, in John ten, it's very clear it involves, first of all, calling his sheep to himself. So they will follow him. My sheep hear my voice and they follow me, he says. My sheep hear my voice and they follow me. Verse four. And then verse five, he says, A stranger.


They simply will not follow, but they will flee for them because they do not know the voice of strangers. I saw in Israel one of the most incredible visual aids of this very thing, one of the most memorable experiences. I had several memorable experience. I spent a summer in Israel when I was in seminary. It was a very, very hot day, as most days in the summer in Israel are very hot day. And so we had pulled the bus to the side of the road under a couple of trees to eat lunch under the shade of this tree. It was sort of on a hillside. And so there was a valley below. And all of us noticed, of course, when we first stopped there that there were just hundreds of sheep in the valley and kind of on the hillsides, the two hillsides below us. But, you know, we didn't pay much attention to them. I did notice, though, that of all the sheep out there, that all of them had some kind of colored marking on the knap of their necks, either a sort of blue greenish color or a reddish color, just a stain on the wall on the back of their necks. And all of them had one of those true colors. And but they were all interspersed, you know, all the time. After I'd finished eating, I was just sitting there looking at them, you know, just looking at this the scene of all these sheep down there. And I had not seen until I now paid attention that there were two shepherds down at the bottom of this hill, way down, you know, maybe 101 hundred plus yards away from where I was sitting. And so I couldn't see them well, but I could tell they were Shepherd sitting on this rock just after I noticed them.


They both stood up and began walking in opposite directions and they both at the same time, but they both made a sound that was very similar. The two sounds were very similar, but they were not identical. And as this happened, here's one shepherd going this way, and here's the other shepherd going that way. All of the greenish bluish sheep all separated out and followed this shepherd and all of the ones with the red stain or dye on their neck of their neck separated out and follow that shepherd. I sat there in amazement looking at this. If all these sheep were intertwined, grazing together, and all of a sudden they just separated out and all went this way and the other group went that way and I thought, Oh. My sheep hear my voice and they follow me. The voice of a stranger they will not follow. Just incredible. So first thing. Obviously of the Good Shepherd is the sheep. Follow him. Secondly, the Good Shepherd is the one who provides and protects for his sheep. The statement in John ten of I lay down my life for the sheep as opposed to the hireling who sees the wolf coming and flees. The Good Shepherd instead will actually die in order to save the life of his sheep. That's the point of it. I am the good Shepherd and lay down my life for the sheep. You remember we talked about this very verse when we talked about the substitution, very atonement. And in the in the use of Hooper, You remember that? And sometimes for I lay down my life for my sheep. Is it merely for their benefit? Well, it is for their benefit. Is it merely that. Well, no, clearly. To lay down your life for the sheep is to lay down your life in the place of.


That is to give your life in the place of the sheep having their lives taken. Right. That's the point of it. So the Good Shepherd goes to the point of actually sacrificing his own life for the well-being of a sheep, which Jesus did, quite literally. And the third thing that you see in Luke 15 that's not here, but in the parable in Luke 15, is that the Good Shepherd goes after the straying sheep. The Good Shepherd goes after the straying sheep who will leave the 99 and go after the one until he finds it and carries it back, takes care of it and watches over it. Most of you have probably seen the picture of Jesus with the sheep around his neck, and I have had that picture for years. I mean, just a little print of it that I've had that has meant so much to me over the years because, you know, you picture that, that this is Jesus with you and me lost, but now we are found. Well, how did this happen? Well, he goes after us and provides for us what we couldn't do. And that's safety and security. And knowing our way back, knowing that being healed and cured. So the shepherd provides that. Okay, so the good Shepherd then calls a sheep, lays down his life for a sheep, goes after the lost sheep. What's the primary responsibility of sheep in relation to a shepherd? It's pretty simple. It's pretty simple. The one thing sheep ought to do need to do is listen to their shepherd and follow him. Because the shepherd knows where green pastures are. They don't. The shepherd knows where cool waters are. They don't. The shepherd knows where the wolves are. They don't really know.


The Christian life in certain ways is awfully basic, isn't it? It's an acknowledgment before Christ. You know what? I don't. My responsibility is to follow your leading. Obey your word. I mean, one question here is, does this apply? To us. Now, I may have shared this with you. In fact, I think I have John. 1016. Is a very significant verse as it relates to. Those who were beyond the immediate sheep, as it were, of Jesus, his own disciples, those who followed him right then, he says in John 1016, I have other sheep. Which are not of this fold. I must bring them also and they will hear my voice and they will become one flock with one shepherd to when he says I have other sheep. That means there are, you know, sheep out there that are grazing in other pastures or out lost in the hillsides. Who are his and how will they come when they hear his voice? They will come and they then will become one flock with one shepherds. This verse was one of the verses that played a prominent role in William Carey, choosing to become a missionary. He meditated on this verse and he realized its implications. I have other sheep. There are elect people out there in India where Kerry went in these foreign lands. There are elect people. I have other sheep. And so then the question becomes, well, how is it they will become one flock with one shepherd? How will they join the flock? How will they become Christians? They must hear my voice. Well, how is that going to happen? Well, you will be my witnesses as I put my spirit upon you. You will bear witness to me. So William Carey realized this is the whole point of missions is for.


Christian people to speak the gospel so that through that witness those who are given ears to hear. We'll hear the voice of the shepherd through their voice, and they will come and become one flock with one shepherd. When you think of witnessing and evangelism and missions that way, it takes the weight of the burden off of us. Because the only responsibility we have is to voice the shepherd's voice, to voice the message of the Good Shepherd. The gospel. And through that, the Spirit will bring the voice of Christ by which people will hear and come and be saved. We don't have to save people. We have to be faithful in one thing and that's bearing witness to it. I think of this many, many times when I'm with unbelievers. I've done so much traveling recently and I try as opportunities, a veil on airplanes, you know, with people. I mean, you've got a pretty much a confined audience, you know, and they they can't do much about it generally. And so I think, boy, here is just a privilege to be the voice of the shepherd so people can hear the gospel and those whom God calls, I just don't even think about or worry about the question of whether or not they get saved. That's God's doing. You'll accomplish that saving work in those whom he has chosen. My responsibility. Your responsibility is being faithful voices of the shepherd that people can hear it. And then God will save those whom he wills to save. It was such a freeing thing to be able to to share the gospel with that mindset, with that understanding that it's simply announcing, as it were, what the shepherd would want them to hear so they can hear.


If they have ears to hear, they can hear the voice of the shepherd and come. It's a great privilege. Okay, so the following of the sheep. That's one thing we're called to do. I think that's why in the end, I'm sure you all know this, but I just will preach at you one more minute here before we shift gears. In the end, when we stand before the Lord on the day of Judgment. He will not look at any one of us. He will not look at me and say, Bruce, where? Why weren't you John Piper? Why weren't you, Billy Graham? Why weren't you, Carl? Henry? There will be no. Horizontal comparisons. So guess what? There shouldn't be now either. I mean, it just really has no place whatsoever for Christian people who think correctly about who they are, who God is, how life is to be lived. There ought to be no horizontal comparison. I think I can preach better than that guy. Well, I don't know if I can breathe better him, though. That bothers me. Mm. Just knock it off. Just knock it off. The one question he will ask every one of us is who could ask in in different ways? How about this? Were you faithful in following my voice? That's it. Not. Did you do what so-and-so did? Did you live your life as Carl Henry? Did you live your life as Bill? I mean. No, no, no. That's. That's not it. Bruce, where with what gifts were given to you and the calling given to you, Were you faithful in following the voice of the shepherd? It is required of a steward. This is first Corinthians four. Verse two is required of a steward that he be found faithful.


Faithfulness may bring tremendous results. You know, lots of people saved, church growing and sort of on worldly standards. A lot to show for it. Or you may end up like Jesus. I mean, this is what always gets me with these sort of mindsets that indicate numerical success as the basis for evaluating whether or not anything is being done that's worthwhile. Well, look at Jesus. You know, goodness, he had quite a following for a while. But look at how things ended up. This is just not very heartening, is it? What is Jesus evaluated by? Well, Philippians two, he was obedient to the point of death. Even death on a cross. Therefore, God highly exalted him. It is a matter of obedience following the shepherd and obeying his voice, being faithful to what he's called. That's what you'll be accountable for in the end. So may God help us. Okay. Any questions or comments on these metaphors? We looked at these for that we have looked at together. Anything. Are to. That's a good sign. Well, yeah, and we should look into that too deeply. Now, do that. That is easier for. It probably could fit several categories of people. Essentially, it's anyone who does not have a genuine, heartfelt care and concern for the sheep manifest in laying down his life for the sheep. And his point is only the Good Shepherd is going to want to do that. Any other thing. Question comment may be worth just a moment to look at first. Peter five to see how this is applied to under Shepherd's Pastors. We'll just take a minute here. But boy, it's interesting. First, Peter, chapter five. Peter writes, Therefore, I exhort the elders among you as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ and partake of the glory that is to be revealed.


Shepherd the flock of God among you exercising oversight. By the way, don't let I hear this so often. It just really bugs me because it is so misleading. Don't let people convince you that exercising authority and being a servant are mutually exclusive. Think of God. For goodness sake, God, is he authority over? Does he serve? Think of Christ. He's Lord of the church. Does he serve? The fact is, people in positions of authority can serve in ways no one else can for greater benefit for their people than anyone else can. Because they have the authority. No, the problem comes in the misuse or abuse of authority that is self-serving rather than other serving. So don't pit servitude against authority. Pit servant hood against self-serving selfishness. That's fine. You can be self-serving, selfish, with authority or without. But here. Goodness. So here are these Shepherds Shepherd, the flock of God. Among you exercising oversight. You have authority. So do it, though not under compulsion, but voluntarily. Not because you know somebody is making you do it, but because it's your desire to do it. And according to the will of God and not for sordid gain. Don't be a pastor for the paycheck. Which some of you might laugh at, but wow, the pastor at any longer is tempting as a vocation for making money. If you've got gifting and ability, there is money to be made in the past year nowadays. Didn't used to be this way but boy, there are six figure incomes you know, quite common. Six figure incomes in large churches and sometimes high think high six figure incomes. It's amazing how much pastors of big churches get paid. Don't do it for the money. That's what he's saying. But do it with eagerness that that is, you know, we wake up in the morning, this is my love, This is my life.


This is my calling. This is my joy. NOOR Years three as lording it over those who are a lot of terror charge. So again, here's this question of authority. You have authority. Don't abuse it. You have authority. Don't use it as exploiting people. But prove yourself to be examples of the shot of the flock. And when the chief shepherd appears, you will receive the unfailing crown of glory. What a great thing that will be. Okay, so crises, the Good Shepherd. And there are those called to be under shepherds of his sheep in the church. Let's move ahead then. And we're going to shift gears just in the last 10 minutes or so to Roman numeral three. Two local church. All this time we've been looking at the broader question of the church, Capital C, Universal Church, and now we want to ask the question what does the New Testament teach us about local churches and the kinds of things that need to be considered in the proper functioning of a local church? First thing we'll look at of a number of things that we'll examine is the question of offices. In the local church offices. While the New Testament is clear that the well-being and growth of the church. Is a concern of every member. Passages that indicate that our what every member needs to be concerned with the growth and the well-being of the church. First Corinthians 12 is prominent, isn't it? I mean, every member gifted, every gift given. For what purpose? For the common good for the edification of the body. While that's clear. It's also clear. Goodness. We can we can air on one of two sides an over democracy model where all you emphasize is the equality of each member and the giftedness or an over hierarchical model.


Where? Minister. The Minister. This is where it shows up. You mean even the language we use is the pastor. That's not biblical. I hope you know that. It's not biblical to call the pastor of the church the minister, because we're all called to be ministers. Everybody is a minister. What are pastors there to equip the saints for the work of ministry? So call one another minister. You know, in your local church. So they get they get the point. Isn't this the point in Ephesians four, notice notice how Ephesians four balances hierarchy and democracy hierarchy. So there's leadership and every member ministry. Ephesians four, let me remind you. Paul says Christ has ascended to heaven and has given gifts to men. Verse ten, verse 11, He says, He has given some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as pastors and teachers. I take it pastor teacher is sort of hyphenated. In all likelihood, that's the meaning of that. Why has he given these gifted people for the church? Apostles. Prophets. Evangelists. Pastor. Teachers. Why? For the equipping of the saints. So here you have people in authority with a job description, with responsibility. They'll give an account of before the Lord. These past year teachers. To equip the Saints for the work of service. So who actually does ministry? According to this verse. Who does it. All the believers do. The believers do the ministry. The pastor equips pastor teacher equips for ministry in the church until we all attain to the unity, the faith, the knowledge of the Son of God to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ, which I think means you never run out of work to do in a church, because until you have your whole congregation grown up like Christ, you're not done.


I think we've got a ways to go. As a result, we're no longer to be children tossed by waves, carried away by everyone of doctrine, by the trickery of men, craftiness of deceitful scheming, but speaking the truth in love. Where to grow up in all aspects, into our head. Even Christ from in the whole body is being fitted together by what every joint supplies according to the proper working of each individual part. Here's the emphasis again on the democracy side of it. That is the every member ministry. Each individual part which causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. So verse 16 also emphasizes every member ministry for the growth of the body. But the verses that precede that indicate the dangers that are there with false teaching faults start. Well, who's responsible for guarding? The people against false teaching and false doctrine and every word of doctrine that will carry them away and destroy them. Who's responsible for that? Pastor. Teacher So the balance in this is that we've got to be very, very careful that we underscore, not undermine, underscore, undergird the importance of leadership in a church. But on the other hand, we don't do that in a way that indicates leadership somehow is where the ministry of the church take place. And everybody else are just passive spectators, passive recipients. No, everyone else is active recipient, receiving, teaching, receiving structure and being built up so that every member ministry takes place in the church. Both of these have to be true. And boy, don't churches have such a tendency to go wrong by an imbalance in one of those two ways. And over democratized church. So there is a real disdain toward leadership, distrust, mistrust of leadership.


Or, you know, leadership is elevated. And so there is a class system that is really put in place. The Roman Catholic Church, the high mainline churches, I suppose, are probably more guilty of this overtly with its structure of bishops and and archbishops and even pope, you know, I mean, so you have that problem of a view of ministry, which all revolves around. Pastors, professional clergy, as it were. And so the two mistakes. The biblical balance, the biblical view is where. Both are held together with equal value. Equal value. Leadership Doing what leadership is supposed to do. Equipping the Saints. The Saints. Embracing their God given mandate to Minister. Or there you have a church that's really actively involved when that's happening. Well, so here we are on this section of offices. So clearly the the church involves a certain kind of authority or a certain kind of responsibility that is located, first of all, in the office of elders, elders in the church. We'll just get a start on this and that will pick up next time. But let's get a start on it, first of all. Elders understand, are expressed in the New Testament with two terms that is, two Greek terms actually translated by four different English terms. It can get quite confusing for different English terms, but two Greek terms that I will argue mean the same thing in the New Testament. The two terms are pressed beautifully. Press, BUETER, Roy and Episcopo. We've got two denominations out of these two terms, don't we? We've got Presbyterians and Episcopalians. I mean, and they just take these terms. For whatever reason, that's how that happened. But these are translated in English by four different terms. Press Beauty. Roy generally translated as Elder. At least most translations will translate that way.


But also presbyter. Obviously, and Episcopacy is usually translated as either bishop or overseer. What I'm arguing here is that these two terms press Butte, Roy and Episcopo actually refer to one office in the church. We don't have two offices, an office of presbytery and an office of Episcopal. We have one office. And those two terms are essentially synonymous in terms of what to what they refer. There's a nuance of difference in the terms, but the terms refer to the same office. Let me give you evidence for that. And this will probably be all we can do today, but I'll give you some passages that support this x 20. In 2017, Paul summons the Presbyters Presbytery of Ephesus to assemble. But when they come, guess what he says to them. He refers to them as Episcopacy. It's the Episcopal who show up. So here are the two options. Either. Paul called the press beautiful Roy to come, but instead the wrong group showed up. The Episcopal voice showed up. But Paul didn't seem to notice this was a problem. He just went ahead and did what he. So either that's the case or the press beat or he called for are the same as the episcopacy who showed up. And obviously the latter is the more likely interpretation of that second passage. Philippians one one. Philippians one one, which begins a formal address to this church in Philippi. And he says, Paul and Timothy Bond, servants of Christ Jesus to all the saints in Christ Jesus, who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons. Now, just think, if in Paul's mind, there are two groups of leaders, overseers and elders. There, there's the Episcopal and the presbytery. Boy, what an oversight. Ignore. Dismiss this one group of leaders in the church.


But more likely is that when he says, including the overseers in the deacons, he means overseers. Or I could have said elders, same thing. So in all likelihood, referring to the same group, he didn't leave one out. Third evidence. In first Timothy three. First Timothy three. Paul gives qualifications for. Bishops, episcopacy and deacons. And there's no reference to Presbyters or elders. If anyone desires the office of an overseer, he desires a good thing. So that that's first Timothy three. But then in first Timothy 517, first Timothy 517. He says the double honor should be paid to press beauty Roy Presbyters who rule well. So again, either you've got two different groups of people or these are synonyms. These are different ways of talking about the same group. Last passage, and I'll close with this for the day in Titus one versus five through seven. Titus one five through seven. Paul speaks interchangeably of these two groups as one group, but uses both terms interchangeably. Let me read it for you. Titus one verse five. For this reason I left you in Crete that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders. So here, here we have the press, buta Roy term elders in every city, as I directed you, namely for matters above reproach husband of one wife having children believe not his wife for the overseer must be above reproach. Now it's Episcopacy. So wait a minute, Paul. Did you change subjects? I thought you were talking about the press, Roy. No, you're talking about the episcopacy. And obviously he's using them interchangeably because he's continuing the discussion right out of the previous verse. It's very clear he is. So those are reasons for thinking We've got one office here. Let's call it the Office of Elder.


That seems to be the one most commonly used today. Do you want to talk about Bishop? You can, but boy, that gets confusing with Roman Catholic bishops out there in Pisco and Methodist bishops and so on. And so probably the term elder is as good as any to use. And when we come back next week, we'll talk about what elders are supposed to be and do.