Doing church meetings properly.
JULY 19, 2022
Doing church meetings properly. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He’s an author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life, a program all about God’s radical grace. We’re committed to bringing you Bible teaching that’s honest, straight-forward, and street-smart. Keep listening to hear truth, that’ll make you free.
Thank you Matthew. Okay. I spent a good deal of time yesterday, looking at that text and reading most of it and commenting on what was going on in Jerusalem at the first major, universal meeting of Christians in the history of the world. And what happened here, changed everything. We saw the decision that was made, the comments that were sent to the Gentiles who had come to know Christ, the changes that were taking place in the church, the radical nature of what was decided, but it was decided at a church meeting. Now, we talked some about that last week. We saw that if you’re gonna have a church meeting, if you’re gonna have proper church government, there is the importance of everybody being heard. You know, Luke spends time in this 15th chapter, talking a lot about what the different sides were saying and why they were saying it. And frankly, Luke is pretty fair in reporting what went in the church meeting. The truth is that Christians are gonna disagree. And if you haven’t found that out and it isn’t happening in your church, then your church is dead. As a matter of fact, Christians disagree. It’s built into the framework and the church ought to be the one place where nobody’s canceled. You know, we’ve already been canceled.
I’m crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live yet not I, but Christ live within me.
And because that’s true, because we’ve been canceled, because we know who we are and who God is. We can disagree with one another. I think I told you, my pastor said one Sunday, you know, we were getting into political arguments and all kinds of divisions. And he said, listen to me, whatever your political views, 175 million people disagree with you. You ought to think about that before you shout too loud. And I’ve thought about it ever since he said it, but nobody should be canceled in the church. Everybody who’s a part of the church, who wants to say something, should say something because that’s the nature of the church. It’s a place where you’re valued, where you’re heard, where your views are considered. That doesn’t mean that the church is going to do what you say or become what you want it to become or change because of you, but maybe. And that includes everybody. If you’ve got a pastor who speaks from Sinai, and expects everybody to do every, listen, go to another church. Now, we’re going to say something about leaders. Leaders have got to lead, but everybody’s got to be valued and everybody’s got to be heard. And as you read through this 15th chapter of Acts, you see that in fact taking place. Then, the necessity of arbitration, you know, you’ve got to have wise people in the church who sit down, listen to the sides and then make some compromises and some comments and something is decided. Fighting is not good for the church. Fighting is a way to get to a decision. Disagreement is a way to get to a decision. And if the church continues to fight, nothing is going to be settled. I one time pastored a church. Well, let me see how I can put this without hurting anybody. But I pastored a church that was founded over an argument in the church over a quilt at a church fair. You’re saying, Brown, you’re making that up. No, I’m not. I’m really not. It happened a hundred years before I got there. So, it wasn’t my fault, but these two churches, the one I served and the other church from which the one I served came, a hundred years, well almost a hundred years before, they had a church fight over a quilt. That’s true. And two churches were formed and they hardly spoke to each other. Now, when I was there, the pastor of that other church and I decided we are gonna get together regularly and pray together and we did. And a lot of things were fixed and reconciled, and we had made a good witness in our community and we had two strong churches, but there had to be some arbitration. And that was us. There had to be some times when you sat down and said, look, everybody who belongs to Jesus belongs to everybody who belongs to Jesus. So, let’s talk. And then we saw also the necessity of a Biblical norm. And, you know, the norm is not Robert’s Rules of Order, it’s the Bible. And time and time again, I’ve seen people in the church end the division by saying, I just read this in my Bible, listen to what it says, it sure speaks to me. And so, they’ve read a passage from the Bible and all kinds of things begin to happen because you don’t vote on truth. Truth is revealed. And revealed propositional truth is what Christians are all about. So, if somebody in your church meeting and they should be heard, said let’s form a gang of robbers and rob the local bank to build a church building, what should people do? They should go to The Ten Commandments and say, we can’t do that. It would be fun. And we probably have a mind that could plan something and not get caught, but there’s some things you can’t do and we can’t do that. Well, you get the point and then this is brand new. I haven’t even mentioned this before. It is important to have a strong leader. Please note that James was the leader of the church in Jerusalem. And Peter was the clerk of the elders. I mean, he was the big guy and these guys spoke, listened and led. And when they spoke, listened and led, the church followed them. There’s an old saying, I don’t even know where he comes from. He who knows not and thinks that he knows not is a fool, shun him. He who knows and doesn’t know that he knows is asleep, wake him up. He who knows and knows that he knows his wise, follow him. One of the things that God has done throughout the history of the church is to ordain and anoint and bring leaders. And some of that has been really surprising. I don’t know, and this is quite arrogant to even say, but if I had been Jesus, I wouldn’t have picked those disciples. I would’ve gotten somebody a little bit more educated, somebody who had been around a little bit longer, somebody who had some experience in leading other people. Jesus picked this bunch of ragamuffins. And then he gave him his Spirit. And then he gave him his command. And they changed the world. God very rarely leads by committee. Now, he leads by leading a bunch of people at one time, but generally he anoints a leader. And that leader is not a dictator. It’s not somebody who says to the congregation, I’m the leader, follow me. It’s somebody that people begin to see, he’s the one, she’s the one. We need to listen and we need to follow. I served, on the board of Christianity Today for a hundred years and the executive committee. That magazine still is, but in its founding and I was around very close to that, was a magazine that became the most successful Christian magazine in history. Not only that, there were piles of other publications and books. I mean, the things that happened there were plain amazing. When I got there, we were $6 million in debt, we didn’t agree on hardly anything. And Mr. Graham became and had been the chairman of the board of directors, the president of Key Life. And do you know what we agreed on in those days, we said, look, we can fight all we want, but if Mr. Graham, after praying about something, thinks we ought to move in this way, then we’re all going to move in this way. And we did, and God honored it. He does that in a church too. He sets aside leaders and they’re sometimes surprising leaders. And God says, this is my man. This is my woman. I’ve anointed them. Follow them. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. What a timely reminder that it is okay for Christians to disagree and that everybody deserves to be heard and valued. More good stuff from Acts 15 tomorrow. Make sure you join us for that. Well, speaking of meetings, any good meeting has an agenda. It’s a list of important things that need to be considered. We have agendas too, but sometimes we have hidden agendas, the desires and hurts that we don’t want anybody to see. What if it was okay to drop our masks, to discover how God’s love and grace propel us into the real relationships, we thought we’d never have. Well, Steve talks about this in a special booklet called Hidden Agendas based on his book of the same name. Get your free copy of that booklet right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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