How do we know if we’re allowing Jesus to be the ultimate authority in our church? 1. We hold to Scripture, the 66 books from Genesis to Revelation, as having ultimate authority over the church because Scripture is the Word of God. We study, pray, and meditate over the Scriptures seeking for God to reveal to us His truth. 2. By prayer and supplication, we remain sensitive to the leading and voice of the Holy Spirit. Jesus sent believers His Spirit after He ascended to heaven. In fact, Jesus said that it is better that He goes away so that the Spirit would come and 1) Convict us of sin 2) Draw us to repentance 3) and empower us to follow Jesus which brings glory to God forever.
Jesus lived, died, and rose to reconcile sinners to God as believers and to each other as the church (Eph 5:25). Jesus is the ultimate authority and head over the church (Eph 1:9. 19-23, 4:15-16, 5:23). Jesus is the Apostle who plants a church (Heb 3:1). Jesus is the Leader who builds the church (Matt 16:18). Jesus is the senior Overseer and Chief Shepherd who rules the church (2 Peter 5:4). It is ultimately Jesus who closes churches down when they have become faithless or fruitless (Rev 2:5). It is extremely vital that we as a church, and all churches for that matter, love Jesus, obey Jesus, imitate Jesus, and follow Jesus at all times and in all ways, according to the teaching of the Scriptures. Everything, including church leadership, is about Jesus.
Human leadership in local churches is little more than qualified believers who are following Jesus and encouraging other people to follow them as they follow Jesus. Because of this, church leaders must be good sheep who follow their Chief Shepherd Jesus well before they are fit to be shepherds leading his sheep. This is in large part what Paul meant as he said “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Serving under Jesus in formal church offices are Overseers, Deacons, and church Members, all of whom are ministers of God’s reconciliation; i.e. the gospel (2 Cor 5:11-21). Philippians 1:1 illustrates church leadership well – “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints (church members) in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons.” Jam packed into one verse we discover the three kinds of leaders who take responsibility for the health and progress of the local church. Overseers, Deacons, and Members.