Monday, May 22, 2017

UPCOMING EVENTS: This Week's Announcements (5/21/17)

Upcoming Events / Announcements 

May 24 - Congregational Meeting at 7:00pm
May 29 - Memorial Day Picnic at Heritage 11am-2pm
June 3 - Spring Church Workday
June 26-28 - Vacation Bible School: Bible Boot Camp
July 6-13 - Teen Summer Camp in Kalispell, MT
Last Updated 5/21/2017
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MEMORY WORK: This Week's Catechism Questions (5/21/17)

This Week's Memory Work:

First Catechism Questions:
FCQ. 12 – Does God know all things? Yes – nothing can be hid from God. 
FCQ. 13 – Can God do all things? Yes – God can do all his holy will.

Shorter Catechism Questions: 
SCQ. 16 – Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression? The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Gifts from God - Pastor Tito Lyro - Ephesians 4:11-16

AUDIO LINK -- If you find these lessons helpful, or if you have questions please write to us at or visit us at We would love to hear from you and learn how we can serve you. 

#OBPC #OlympiaBP #BiblePresbyterian #Sermon #Bible #TitoLyro #Ephesians #ChurchGovernment #ChurchOfficers #deacons #elders #offices
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Friday, May 19, 2017

Gifts from God - Eph. 4:11-16

Rush Limbaugh often refers to himself as "a talent on loan from God."  I assume he thinks that he is pretty good at what he does.  We sometimes use the expression, "he thinks he is God's gift to humanity," when somebody thinks of himself too highly.  Claiming that one is a gift from God is quite the presumptuous thing to do.  There is an air of arrogance to it.  It tends to rub us the wrong way.

Yet, there are times when it is appropriate to talk about people, or at least a function that people exercise, as a gift from God.  In our passage this morning, Paul tells us that the offices established by God for the well being of his church are a gift from the risen Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are in a very important season in the life of our church when we are considering two men to serve in the offices of elder and deacon.  Thus, it will do us good to consider today and on next Lord's Day the source of the offices and the offices themselves.

Today I want us to consider the source of the offices in the church and I want us to see that they come from the good hand of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul teaches that in Ephesians 4:11-16.

I.             A Brief Overview of Paul's Argument.

A.   As Christians, we have been called by Jesus to follow him and we must walk (live) according to that call, 1.

B.   We live out our calling in Jesus Christ in humility, love, and unity because we have one God and one head, 2-6, 15.

C.   In this unity there is a diversity of gifts given to each by Christ to be used for his glory and the good of his church, 7-10.

1.   The risen and ascended Christ is giving gifts to his church, 8 – Ps. 68:18a

2.   This is the same Christ who became man and gave himself for his church, 9.

3.   Now he lives and reigns and pours out every good and perfect gift upon his church, 10.

D.   These gifts are primarily manifested through people, not stuff, 7.

II.          One of These Gifts Christ Gave Was the Offices of the Church, 11.

A.  Notice first the emphasis Paul puts on the fact that the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor/teachers are a direct gift from Christ.

1.   The word himself is not at all necessary for the understanding of the sentence.

2.   But Paul adds it in order to highlight the origin of these gifts.

B.   Let me hasten to say that this does not mean that every pastor or elder is a gift from God.

1.   Frankly some seem to be a gift from the other side.

2.   But the office of the pastor, the office of the elder are good gifts from Christ to his Church.

C.  If Christ gave them to the church, where are the apostles, prophets, and evangelists?

1.   Christ gave these offices to his church so that each one could fulfill its function in the life of the church.

a.    Life as in the entire life from Christ's first coming to his second coming.

b.   Not just a particular cross-section of the life of the church.

2.   The apostles and the prophets are of the utmost importance for the church.

a.    Paul says that they are at the foundation of the church – prophets being NT prophets.

Eph. 2:19-21Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord

b.   The foundation being built and being eternally strong, there doesn't need to be any new foundational material provided.

1)   The foundation that was built was the NT itself that will minister to the church till the coming of Jesus Christ.

2)   Therefore, there are no new apostles or prophets besides the ones we read about in the NT.

3)   Some of their functions, however, continue to be exercised by the elders such as the ministry of Word and prayer.

3.   The office of the evangelist seems to have been conflated with the office of elder.

2 Tim. 4:5But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

D.  That leaves with what our translation calls pastors and teachers.

1.   Some have differentiated pastors from teachers – Calvin.

2.   But grammatically, these are two words that refer to the same group of people – pastor/teachers.

3.   Now I want us to think about this word pastor more broadly than we are used to.

a.    We tend to think of this word as describing the guy who is paid to work at the church, the guy who went to seminary, the guy who wears the suit and preaches on Sundays and then doesn't do anything for the rest of the week.

b.   But the NT uses this word to describe one function of all elders, not just the one who does the bulk of the teaching – two passages that will help us see that.

Eph. 20:17, 28 – From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

1 Pt. 5:1-2 – The elderswho are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherdthe flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly

1)   The word pastor simply means shepherd.

2)   And these passages help us see the three functions of an elder: exercise wisdom (elder), oversight (bishop), care and leadership (shepherd).

c.    So, not only the office we call the pastor today, but the office of the elder as a whole is a gracious gift from God.

E.   Before we go any further, I want you to notice that Paul says that Christ gave some to be pastors/teachers, which implies two things.

1.   Not every man is called to be an elder.

a.    This is important to remember in case you are never chosen to be one.

b.   There are other ways to serve Christ and his church if you are not called to be an elder.

2.   Some are called to elders/pastors.

a.    I think that Christ gives pastors/elders to every segment of his church.

b.    If there is an established local church with a number of men in it, you should be able to find men who are willing and able to be elders.

c.    If you can't, that church might have some serious spiritual problems.

III.       What about Deacons?

A.  The office of elder is not the only perpetual office in the church of Jesus Christ.

B.  Christ has also established the diaconate, which is of the utmost importance.

C.  The diaconate was created so that the apostles and later the elders could focus on their calling.

Acts 6:1-6Now in those days, when the number ofthe disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.  Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.  Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.

D.  This is a serious office with a serious call, not just a stepping-stone to the office of elder.

1 Tim. 3:8-13Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.  But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.  Likewise, theirwives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.  Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.  For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

1.   At our church the deacons are in charge of all physical aspects of ministry including finances.

2.   When the deacons are doing their job well, the elders are freed to do their job.

IV.        How Many Do We Really Need of Each?

A.  For me, the more qualified men, the merrier!

B.  The Scriptures don't give us a set number for either office (unless you consider the seven deacons of Acts a mandatory pattern).

C.  But they do say that each local church should have a plurality of elders to govern its affairs.

Acts 20:17From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.

Acts 14:21-23 – When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Titus 1:5For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you

1 Tim. 5:17-18Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.  For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer isworthy of his wages."

1.   This last passage gives us the opportunity to consider some distinctions in the office of elder.

2.   The Bible teaches that there are two perpetual offices in the church: deacon and elder.

3.   But this passage indicates that within the one office of elder there is at least one distinction.

a.    There are elders who rule well.

b.   And there are elders who rule well and labor in the word and doctrine.

c.    That second function is what we today call the pastor.

1)   When he is laboring the word and doctrine, he is exercising a different function.

2)   Because this elder or elders labor in word and doctrine in a way that the other elders don't, he also is the one who administer the sacraments since the sacraments are the visible word of God (sacraments cannot be separated from preaching).

D.  In our context, I would love for our session to consist of at least five men including myself, and our diaconate to have 6-7 men.

V.           Why Did Christ Give These Offices to the Church? Eph. 4:12.

A.  In our passage the primary function of the elders is to equip the saints.

1.   To equip is to provide what is necessary to accomplish a particular task.

2.   To equip is to restore someone to a place where he/she can do what God has called him/her to do.

B.  Paul says that the leaders in the church must equip the people for two tasks: the work of ministry and the edification of the body.

1.   The first for in our version translates a different word than the next two for.

2.   It should read, "toward the equipping of the saints unto the work of ministry, unto the edifying of the body of Christ…"

a.    Elders are at their best when they are equipping the people in the church to serve each other and to build up the body of Christ, that is, the Church.

b.   Deacons are at their best when they exemplify in practice what serving is – the word ministry is the verb from which we get the noun deacon.

C.  This is church leadership at its best: training people to serve each other, to build up the Church, and to love their Lord.

VI.        How Do I Go about Figuring out Whether I Should Be an Officer in the Church?

A.  If you are a man, you should be asking yourself this question.

B.  Look at 1 Tim. 3:1-13 and see where you are regarding those qualifications – more on this next week.

1.   Keep in mind that those are minimal characteristics of godly manhood.

2.   If they don't describe us as men of the church, we must repent and do whatever it takes to be that man.

C.  If you are married, talk with your wife and see what she thinks.

D.  Ask yourself, "Do I want to be an elder/deacon? Why?"

1.   It is a good thing to desire to be an officer in the church.

2.   But that desire has to be based on the right reasons and not on pride and arrogance.

E.   Ask the current elders what they think of the idea of your becoming an officer and humbly take to heart what they say.

F.   At this church there are three other things that we require of men who want to be considered for an office (assuming they are members).

1.   Conviction that the system of doctrine in our constitution is a reflection of the teaching of the Bible – three broad areas.

a.    Belief in the Reformed Faith

b.   Belief in a Presbyterian form of government.

c.    Belief in Covenant Theology (the most obvious manifestation of it being infant baptism).

2.   Genuine interest in ministering – you don't magically start ministering at the moment you are ordained.

3.   Faithful attendance at all weekly services of the church.

a.    It is obvious that some times work, vacation, health issues, etc. prevent a man from being in church.

b.   However, an elder or deacon faithfully attends the services of the church because he knows how important worshiping God and being with His people is.

G.  We would like to invite all the men of the church to take a class in preparation for becoming an officer of the church.

1.   Taking the class doesn't mean that you will become an elder or deacon.

2.   But it might be a step in figuring out if you desire to be one.

VII.     The Blessing of Godly Leadership, 4:13-16.

A.   Look at the fruit that comes from godly men exercising their gifts in the church of Jesus Christ.

1.   Growth in Jesus Christ, 13.

2.   Protection against the fiery darts of the enemy, 14.

3.   Truth and love governing relationships, 15

4.   Every member of the church faithfully exercising the gift Christ gave him/her for the edification of the body and the glory of the Savior, 16.

B.   That is a gift beyond all measure.


God is so good to us!  He has given us men who are equipped by the Spirit to lead us.  They lead us in humility as they seek to glorify their Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Together we grow into the fullness of Christ.
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