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Oh to be Governed II…

Published on

September 30, 2022

Blast from the not-so-distant Past

Last week, we looked at governance — spiritual governance with a focus on the Lordship of Christ. We painted a quick picture of a believer’s submission to God as Lord and Saviour predicated on their perception of His Love and Power towards them. In addition, we went through scriptures to reaffirm our beliefs about His love for us, His power towards us, and our position in Him. He is a Good Father; He is The Good Shepherd.

Two key things to highlight from last week’s article will remain significant in this week’s piece. The first key highlight is the importance of the word “and” — it is not enough to believe that God loves us (i.e. “all-good/ all-loving”), but we also rest assured in His ability and skill to rightly govern and direct our lives (i.e. “all-knowing/all-powerful”). He is both, not either. Believing one without the other would not result in absolute trust in His Lordship; both are needful.

The second highlight would be the impact of His Lordship, as seen in the overriding of our wills. Under His Lordship, we take our ideologies and reference from His Word, and these (not our thoughts or opinions) form the basis from which we think, speak and act. This submission of our wills, as you can imagine, may be easier said than done and is the warfare we wage (2 Cor 10:3–5); the pulling down of strongholds, pulling down of thoughts, ideas, and interpretation of experiences that exalts itself above the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

In essence, any contrary view or opinion we have outside of God’s position on a matter as seen in Scripture needs to be pulled down and brought into subjection — whether we understand said position or not, whether we like said position or not. This submission of wills is the impact of being under the governance of a kingdom or Lord; His word is yea and amen — not “I don’t understand, so I disagree, or “my experience alludes to a contrary opinion, so I disagree”.

With this understanding, we would proceed. Last week, we looked at spiritual governance, focusing on the Lordship of Christ. This week, we will take a look at spiritual governance with a focus on the place of leadership in local churches or discipleship.

Lone Wolf Ideologies…

There appears to be an emerging apathy for active participation/belonging in a local church and an avoidance of discipleship structures within these communities — for both “seemingly valid” and outrightly invalid reasons.

One of said “seemingly valid” reasons is that Christ’s sacrifice eliminates the need for a “middle-man”; the temple curtain was torn so that all may come boldly to the throne of Grace. Hebrews 1:1–2 is sometimes used to bolster the argument for “direct communication” with God as a replacement for God speaking and guiding us through men. Other reasons include experiences or tales of excesses or abuses of power with discipleship structures or communal churches, sometimes bordering on hero worship.

To quickly address this, I would say do not throw the baby with the bathwater but grow in stature to discern the will of God, rightly dividing the word of truth. I would also admonish that we are not hasty to generalize using an analogy Pastor Dami has shared severally; a person who searches a tree at night without any source of light may leave the tree with a wrong impression about the tree owing to a “few bad apples”.

Regardless of whatever reasons one may have, I would not mince words in clearly stating that the evolving trend (i.e., the apathy for active belonging in a local church and avoidance of discipleship within these communities) is not God’s design for the believer. As such, these opinions, thoughts and ideas need to be pulled down, captured and brought into subjection to His will. How do I know this? I take my position from the Bible.

  1. The growth of the early church was via Active Belonging and Gathering.

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. — Acts 2:46–47

2. It was clearly stated in the Bible.

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do [the Bible already figured that some people would think this way], but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. — Hebrews 10:25

3. The equipping of the saints for the work of ministry is via gifts found in communities, growth by that which every joint supplies.

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ. — Ephesians 4:11–12

The Bible is littered with multiple verses that establish this position. Regarding the system of discipleship, this is a clear command from none other than Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age. — Matthew 28:18–20

We can glean two things out of this verse. Firstly, the Great Commission, given to all believers, goes beyond merely “converting” unbelievers. To put it simply, the Great Commission is to make disciples. Interestingly enough, scholars say the original text of the Great Commission was just that, i.e., “go and make disciples”, and everything else that followed was to give context or further explain the command.

Secondly would be that the system of discipleship is the system Christ chose to train the first set of disciples and for the propagation of the gospel across the earth. Why Christ chose this system of discipleship over alternatives is of lesser importance to the fact that He chose this system, and as followers of Christ, we are to submit to His Lordship and His Will on the matter.

Like a Team Sport…

To paint a more complete picture, Christ’s sacrifice made it possible for everyone to have a personal relationship with God, and we should. However, in addition to this (not as a replacement), He chose to institute and keep the discipleship and communal church models in place — this is where the word “and” appears again. His design is that we are to adhere to both, not either, not or i.e., we ought to maintain rich personal relationships with God and vibrant communal fellowships with discipleship structures.

It’s like a Team Sport. A player needs to practice personally and with the team, and their coach — doing one without the other (regardless of which one) would lead to undesirable results for both the player and the team. Similarly, we are stronger together and grow by that which every joint supplies to the Body as obtained from personal study and encounters — it’s and, not either, not or.

In Closing

In closing, I would admonish three categories of persons. The first category would be persons who are wholly aligned with Christ’s will for governance. This article is a simple reminder to further establish you in the things you believe. I admonish that you remain faithful to the things you have learned and been assured of.

The second category would be persons partially aligned in one aspect but not the whole counsel. I admonish that you give yourselves wholly to these things, and your profiting would appear unto all — press in a little more this week.

The third category would be persons/believers who, for one reason or the other, disagree with these things or some of these things. I would ask that you do a source check and ask yourself, “who told you?”; what forms the basis for your opinion? To these persons, I would say do not presume an understanding of these things (especially if said understanding stems from personal experience or tales by moonlight and is not backed by Scripture). Be careful to speak or share your views authoritatively/conclusively on the matter, especially if condemning, despising, maligning or insulting persons in these structures or the structures themselves (2 Peter 2:9–11).

As you go into the week, do keep in mind that under Christ’s Lordship, though we are many, we are One Body, and we grow by that which every joint supplies — 1 Cor 12:12–28

Itoro Nehemiah


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