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The Church and the churches need to to be properly organized. When members of the body of Christ see this, they come with power they never had before.

  1. Authority and Submission

    Authority and Submission

    God’s Throne Established on Authority


    The acts of God issue from His throne, and His throne is established on His authority. All things are created through God’s authority and all physical laws of the universe are maintained by His authority. Hence the Bible expresses it as “upholding all things by the word of His power, which means upholding all things by the word of the power of His authority. For God’s authority represents God himself whereas His power stands only for His act. Sin against power is more easily forgiven than sin against authority, because the latter is a sin against God himself. God alone is authority in all things; all the authorities of the earth are instituted by God. Authority is a tremendous thing in the universe—nothing overshadows it. It is therefore imperative for us who desire to serve God to know the authority of God. . . .

    Authority, the Controversy of the Universe

    The controversy of the universe is centered on who shall have the authority, and our conflict with Satan is the direct result of our attributing authority to God. To maintain God’s authority we must be subject to it with all our hearts. It is absolutely necessary for us to meet God’s authority and to possess a basic knowledge of what it is.

    Before he knew authority Paul tried to wipe out the church; after he had met the Lord on the Damascus road he saw that it was hard for the feet (human power) to kick against the goads (God’s authority). He immediately fell to the ground and acknowledged Jesus as Lord. After that, he was able to submit to the directions given him by Ananias in the city of Damascus, for Paul had met God’s authority. At the moment he was saved he knew God’s authority as well as God’s salvation.

    How could Paul, being a clever and capable person, listen to the words of Ananias—an unknown little brother mentioned only once in the Bible—if he had not met the authority of God? Had he not encountered authority on the road to Damascus he could never have been subject to that obscure little brother in the city. This shows us that whoever has met authority deals purely with authority and not with man. Let us not see the man but only the authority vested in him. We do not obey man but God’s authority in that man. Otherwise, how can we ever learn what authority is? We are on the wrong road if we meet man first before we obey authority. The opposite is the ...
  2. The Head Gives Authority, Members Have Fellowship

    Head Gives Authority, Members Have Fellowship

    The use of the body lies in fellowship. The first body principle is that of authority, the second principle is that of fellowship. The supply of coordination is based on the supply of authority and the supply of fellowship. What comes from the Head is authority, what comes from the body members is fellowship. The Head gives authority that we may have order in the body—that is to say, order in the church. Further, though, within the members there is mutual fellowship. These are the two fundamental principles of body life.
    —CW, 111: 17-18, 56-7, 59-60, 148

    The ground of the Church is quite an important matter. For the Lord has truly shown in the Scriptures that the Church has a definite ground. I would suppose all the brethren know that the blessing of God is in the Church, that God’s Spirit is in the Church, that God’s light is in the Church, and that especially the life of our Lord Jesus is in the Church. Though we usually pay attention to the Lord’s life being in us individuals, His life is in fact in the Church. Since God has deposited so many spiritual things in the Church, it is evident that she becomes an important issue. . . . Whether the place I am in is a church forms a most serious personal challenge for each one of us to consider.

    We must see clearly before God that many spiritual things are in the Church, not upon individuals. The word of the Lord is plain yet wonderful: “upon this rock I will build my church.” And the outcome will be, added the Lord, that “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16.18b). In other words, this promise is given to the Church, it is not given to individuals. How often in the Christian life it is hard individually to resist, but when the Church arises, Satan is defeated. I surmise that in these years there has not been a lack of personal blessings, but such are nonetheless rather limited. Only in the Church are the blessings unlimited and abundant. Hence, as a person walks outside of the Church the presence of God as well as the blessings he receives become circumscribed. He will not be able to touch many things in God. Pardon me for speaking frankly, but within the last ten years I have noticed that the people who do not know the Church are unable to keep that which they had had before but gradually lose out; whereas those who know the Church keep on growing and find the riches of the Head as their richness. ...
  3. Responsibility of Elders

    Their Responsibilities

    It is the responsibility of every saved man to serve the Lord according to his capacity and in his own sphere. God did not appoint elders to do the work on behalf of their brethren; after the appointment of elders, as before, it is still the brethren’s duty and privilege to serve the Lord. Elders are also called “bishops” (Acts 20.28; Titus 1.5,7). The term “elder” relates to their person; the term “bishop” to their work. “Bishop” means “overseer,” and an overseer is not one who works instead of others, but one who supervises others as they work. God intended that every Christian should be a “Christian worker,” and He appointed some to take the oversight of the work so that it might be carried on efficiently. It was never His thought that the majority of the believers should devote themselves exclusively to secular affairs and leave the church matters to a group of spiritual specialists. This point cannot be overemphasized. Elders are not a group of men who contract to do the church work on behalf of its members; they are only the head-men who superintend affairs. It is their business to encourage the backward and restrain the forward ones, never doing the work instead of them, but simply directing them in the doing of it.

    The responsibility of an elder relates to matters temporal and spiritual. They are appointed to “rule,” and also to “instruct” and “shepherd.” “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in the word and in teaching” (1 Tim. 5.17). “Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according unto God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock” (1 Pet. 5.2,3).

    The Word of God uses the term “rule” in connection with the responsibilities of an elder. The ordering of church government, the management of business affairs and the care of material things, are all under their control. But we must remember that a scriptural church does not consist of an active and a passive group of brethren, the former controlling the latter, and the latter simply submitting to their control, or the former bearing all the burden whilst the latter settle down in ease to enjoy the ...