The Beauty of God’s Organization

The Beauty of God’s Organization

A complete picture of God’s ideal congregation is given for us in Philippians 1:1. There Paul addresses his ‘sweetheart’ church in Philippi with these words, “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” It is a beautiful picture of the Lord’s church and organized exactly the way the rest of the New Testament clearly outlines. There are three beautiful components all who call on His name today must strive to emulate.

SAINTS – the sanctified ones in Christ Jesus. The idea of the word ‘saint’ is one that has been set apart or separated to God. It is closely related to the word ‘holy’ or ‘holiness.’ To the Christians in Thessalonia, Paul would write, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immortality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, nor in passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God…For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness,” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5,7). Through Jesus, God has made it possible for sinful men to be sanctified. All Christians are saints (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Notice that Paul makes it clear that those are sanctified are IN Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:27 tells us how it is possible for anyone to be found IN Christ – those who are baptized INTO Christ have put on Christ. So, in the first place, the beauty of the church is found in her members in Christ, saints.

BISHOPS – the saints in Philippi are said to be with bishops (note the plural of this word). The beauty of the Lord’s church is in the simplicity of her leadership. A bishop is one who serves as an overseer. These are men charged with making sure that all done within a congregation of the Lord’s church are done correctly, according to the will of God. The Lord has not left this task to just anyone, but demands these men be the best of the best. Qualifications for those who will serve the church in this capacity are given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. There are specific qualities about their personality, temperament, family-life, worklife, social-life, and certainly their spiritual-life that must all be found exemplary. These are men who love the Lord and His people and the word of God, and can easily lead others to heaven in the paths of righteousness.

DEACONS – the saints in Philippi are also said to be with deacons. A deacon is one who acts as a servant and carries out various duties assigned to him by the elders. The Lord has also provided qualifications for men who will serve in this capacity within a local congregation. They can be found in 1 Timothy 3:8- 13. These men do not serve in ‘name-only’ but truly help a congregation to be her best with so much of their work done behind the scenes. These men allow the bishops(elders, shepherds, pastors, overseers) to remain focused on prayer, Bible study, and attending to specific spiritual needs of the flock. Their tasks are great and the beauty of the Lord’s wisdom is seen in their most valuable work.

How we must strive for this beautiful picture in the congregations of which we are a part!

-Adam Orr


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