Body Ministry – BT7
The NT warns about church “leadership” interfering with Body-of-Christ ministry.
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We’ve already seen Paul’s warning to those who want to be “leaders” in the world’s sense in Romans 12:2-10: “Do not be conformed to this world . . . I say to everyone among you not in possibility to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” But then how? “Though many members, we are one Body in Christ, and so individually members belonging one of another. Having grace-gifts that differ down-from/according-to the unconditional-favor-of-grace given to us, let us use them: prophecy . . . teaching . . . proistemi leading . . . unconditionally-love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” This is completely different than the world’s definitions of “teaching” and “leading.” I bet if you look carefully at the Greek definitions of the other grace-gifts listed, these are completely different than the world’s meaning of these words that so many bibles carelessly translate! This is in keeping with the chadash/kainos completely different-in-kind “New” Covenant.
We’ve already seen that today’s so-called “leaders” or “ministers” should actually be called “coaches, trainers, and facilitators” according to Ephesians 4:8-12, because they are absolutely not in fact the “players” but the ones that are supposed to be simply preparing, training, and enabling them! “Christ gave grace-gifts to men . . . He gave [to the Church] these in fact: the apostles, moreover the prophets, moreover the evangelists, moreover the shepherds and/coupled teachers, for the katartismos coaching of the saints for [singular] work of [singular] ministry, for [singular] building up of the Body-of-Christ.” We also saw that being “followers of men” or having a “hierarchy of men” is the last thing any of the NT writers had in mind! We are supposed to be listening to Jesus speak to us directly by the Holy Spirit and be His disciples, His followers. Jesus would turn most church’s “leadership” chart upside down, saying that the “greatest” aren’t the ones on stage giving the orders, but the one who takes orders and serves even as slave. We also saw that the Greek terms for “leaders” have more to do with “managed care-giving” and “humbly esteeming others more significantly than yourselves.”
We’ve also seen that “people, positions, offices, and titles” are often confused with “grace-gifts of the Spirit” and that hierarchal ranking of grace-gifts or people is foreign to the New Covenant, but that hasn’t stopped the modern church, especially with its “clergy versus laity” mindset. We’ve also seen how misleading the term “teacher” can be, especially because of the world’s definition in comparison to NT use, where it doesn’t so much represent a person as it does a praxis functioning grace-gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has the final word for the Body-of-Christ: “There is only One Teacher, and the rest of you are brethren.”
Before Jesus taught even one person, it was Father God who “taught” them and drew them to Christ (a). While Jesus was on earth, it was right to call Him “Teacher and Lord, for so I am” (b), but once He left this planet to sit at the right hand of the Father, there is still only “One Teacher!” Jesus comforted His worrying disciples about His departure: “Sorrow has filled your heart (c). Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Parakletos (d) will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you . . . When the Spirit of The Truth comes, He will guide you into all The Truth, for . . . whatever He hears He will speak . . . He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is Mine; therefore I said that He will take what is Mine and declare it to you” (e). <Notes> a) John 6:44-45, b) John 13:13, c) about Christ’s predicted departure, d) Parakletos: ‘Close-beside’ caller, summoner, or inviter; helper, succorer, or assistant; encouraging teacher, counselor, comforter, or consoler; defense-attorney, judicial-advocate, or court-intercessor, e) John 16:6-15.
The Holy Spirit is clearly the Lord Jesus as “the One Teacher” here on earth NOW for us. In John 14:16-19 before Christ’s departure, He said: “I will ask the Father and/thus He will give you another (a) Parakletos (b) to be with you forever, that is, the Spirit of The Truth (c), whom the world cannot receive, because it neither interestingly-looks-at (d) Him nor actually, ongoingly, experientially, relationally knows (e) Him. You actually, ongoingly, experientially, relationally knows (e) Him, for He actually, ongoingly dwells beside-alongside you and/but/also shall actually, in the future, be in/by/with you. I will not leave you as orphans – I am actually ongoingly coming to you. Yet in a little while the world will see Me no more, but you are actually presently/ongoingly interestingly-looking-at (d) Me. Because I live, you also shall actually, in the future, live.” <Notes> a) Jesus was the 1st, b) ‘Close-beside’ caller, summoner, or inviter; helper, succorer, or assistant; encouraging teacher, counselor, comforter, or consoler; defense-attorney, judicial-advocate, or court-intercessor, c) Jesus, John 14:6, d) theoreo: as with carefully inspecting troops, e) ginosko.
The “One Teacher of The Truth” is the Spirit of Jesus Christ here NOW (a). “The Spirit of The Truth” (b) is “the Spirit of Jesus” (c), exactly because Jesus said He was “The Truth” (d), as “The Truth is in Jesus” (e). The “Spirit of The Truth has come and He does guide us into all The Truth” (f) and “He will teach you ALL things” (g). Is there anything left for any so-called “teacher” in the modern church to teach us? That’s why the apostle John confidently declared: “But you have been anointed by the Holy One (h), and/thus you [plural] ALL mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know (i) . . . But the anointing (j) that you have received from Him abides/lives in you, and/thus you have absolutely in fact no need that anyone should teach you. . . . His anointing actually, ongoingly teaches you about ALL things, and is trustworthy.” <Notes> a) 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 1 Corinthians 6:17; Revelations 22:6; Acts 5:9, 8:39, b) John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13; 1 John 4:6, c) Acts 16:7; Philippians 1:19, d) John 14:6, e) Ephesians 4:21, f) John 16:13, g) John 14:26, h) Jesus: Acts 3:14, i) eido, j) the Holy Spirit of the Holy One.
Therefore, we need to be very careful about the term “teacher” when it comes to mere human beings. I think we should instead consider ourselves “equipping coaches and facilitators” as Ephesians 4:12 describes “shepherds and/coupled teachers” (i.e., shepherds who are teaching), simply helping to make it easier for people to listen to Jesus be the “One Teacher” by the Holy Spirit to them!