Becoming A Mature Christian: Fundamental Principles and Necessary Leadership


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His religion is challenging, it is transforming, and it is costly.

This book explores some of the fundamental principles that Christ laid down for His disciples. These include the Christian life as Christ defined it, the significance of His Christian community, and the worship He expects of His disciples. In addition, this book explores the leadership that Christ ordained for His Christian community. Christ clearly defines the leaders of His community, and He calls this community His "church. Lastly, Christ had much to say about how we should manage our money.

From these, Christians can learn fundamental financial management principles that are pleasing to God and very beneficial to us. Chapter 1: Christ's mandate that we become mature Christians. Chapter 2: Christian living as defined by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. Chapter 3: How we are saved and become a member of Christ's church. Virtues to possess and vices to avoid. The greatest virtue is love for both God and mankind. Chapter 4: Worship in Christ's church. We must approach God in reverence and awe. Worship must characterize the whole of our lives.

Acceptable and unacceptable worship. The New Testament pattern for worship.

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Chapter 5: Servant leadership as described by Christ and His apostles. Chapter 6: Church leadership as described by Christ and His apostles. Chapter 7: Biblical principles for money management. Chapter 8: Epilogue. Victor Vadney is a retired medical doctor who has had a deep interest in the Bible since he was a child. And his Master is not his reputation or his ministry constituency; it is God. A Christlike leader is a bondservant of Christ Ephesians , and demonstrates over time that Christ — not public approval, position, or financial security — has his primary loyalty.

The Qualities of an Effective Christian Leader - John Stevens

This does not conflict with seeking the glory of his Master. What did this mean for him? It meant sometimes he abstained from certain foods and drinks, or refused financial support from those he served, or worked with his own hands to provide for himself, or went hungry, or dressed poorly, or was beaten, or was homeless, or endured disrespect inside and outside the church 1 Corinthians —13; —7. And he decided not to marry 1 Corinthians This all before he was martyred.

All leaders serve only for a season. Some seasons are long, some short; some are abundant, some lean; some are recorded and recalled, most are not. But all seasons end. No earthly Christian leader is the perfect incarnation of these five fundamental marks of servanthood. Jesus alone bears that distinction. The vast majority of our leaders are imperfect servants trying to be faithful. From the fullness of His wisdom and His teaching gifts, He has distributed gifts to the church and thereby makes some people into subordinate or assistant teachers Ephesians , Christ is our Shepherd in a unique sense John He also imparts gifts to human beings who then become undershepherds 1 Peter God the Father and Christ are the ultimate models we ought to imitate 1 Peter ; Romans But in a subordinate sense we are supposed to imitate the good examples set by more mature believers 1 Corinthians ; Philippians ; 1 Timothy ; Titus , 7.

The First Principles Series Overview

Paul repeatedly invokes the analogy of a family in order to enable Timothy better to understand the appropriate order and responsibilities within the Christian church. If a widow has children or grandchildren, they should look after her 1 Timothy But if the immediate family is lacking, the larger Christian family should care for her 1 Timothy , Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to much wine, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.

Finally, the Apostle Paul explicitly indicates the prominent role of the family theme in 1 Timothy In fact, these verses summarize the thrust of the whole letter. In some contexts within the Bible, the idea of God dwelling among His people as in a temple is emphasized 1 Corinthians But in the context of 1 Timothy, the idea of household order and arrangements is obviously the most prominent.

The order of the church is analogous to the order of a human household. Members of the church are to treat one another as they would members of their own family 1 Timothy They are to care for one another in need 1 Timothy , The overseers are to be men skillful at managing the household of God, as demonstrated by their earlier skill with their own immediate families 1 Timothy In 1 Timothy the fundamental household analogy is not merely confined to one or two incidental illustrations or colorful flourishes of rhetoric.

Rather, it used as a basis for arguments and inferences concerning Christian responsibilities. Indirectly, Timothy is presumably even being invited to use the same argument himself, if someone else should have doubts about the matter. Similarly, in 1 Timothy we can see the beginnings of an argument. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. But all the illustrations are of exactly the same type, in that they all use the analogy between church and family.

We can perceive the obligatory nature of the inferences. Conduct toward any other member of the household must take into account not merely sweepingly general obligations to love but the concrete distinctions introduced by differences in status within the household: treating some like fathers, others like brothers, others like mothers, others like sisters.

Hence, 1 Timothy presupposes the structure of an argument. The church is like a family. Therefore you must treat fellow church members like fellow family members. In fact, it might easily be one means by which the Holy Spirit led Paul himself to grasp the teaching that he presents in the pastoral letters Timothy and Titus.

Of course, we do not know for certain. Paul received spectacular special revelations from the Lord Acts ; Galatians ; 2 Corinthians Through the wisdom and insight that the Holy Spirit had given to Paul, he understood the basic principles of Christianity in tremendous depth.


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Under the gentle superintendence of the Spirit, he was able to give inspired teaching in his letters even on matters that his spectacular experiences had not directly addressed. The Corinthians are rebuked for being carnal, not having the mind of Christ as he does 1 Corinthians How, then, do we know what sort of order is appropriate for Christian communal life?

We know, in part, because Paul tells us in his letters.

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But how did Paul himself know? And how does he expect us to apply his teachings in circumstances slightly different from the ones he addressed in his letters? In fact, almost the whole of 1 Timothy may be seen as a catalog of types of behavior and organization needed in a harmonious family. True doctrine is necessary because the family needs to know its own rules 1 Timothy , Doctrine is therefore foundational for all the more specific kinds of organization and mutual relations within the family.

Mercy and forgiveness bind the family together 1 Timothy The men in the family must not generate strife among themselves but be united in petitions The women must devote themselves to family service and not to frivolities or to usurping authority over men The family must have wise, competent overseers It must have wise care for family needs In every respect it must conform to divine order Proper rules and examples from the leaders are most important Family members must all treat one another with the respect and honor and sensitivity appropriate to their mutual status Those in need must be cared for, preferably by those closest to them Use of money must support family goals , The central use of the household analogy naturally points toward inferences regarding authoritative leadership in the church.

The leadership within a family is vested in the husband and father Ephesians That leadership is to be sought among men who have already shown their abilities in the context of their immediate families 1 Timothy Women, by contrast, are not to be placed in authority in the church, because such a role would not harmonize with the general relations between men and women in marriage, as established at creation 1 Timothy Such a set of inferences is natural, once we have noticed the decisive connection between the natural family and the church as our spiritual family.

But do these inferences really hold up? Let us look at the distinct steps more closely. First, do families have a God-ordained structure of leadership and authority?

How Pastoral Care Stunts the Growth of Most Churches

Do husbands have a unique responsibility for leadership within the family? Ephesians and Colossians indicate that they do. Second, are there irreversible relations of leadership and submission within the church? Clearly there are. They are worthy of honor, especially when they discharge their responsibilities of leadership well 1 Timothy They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.

Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. In fact, principles of submission should operate more broadly in the relations between older people and younger. Humility should characterize everyone 1 Peter b But the younger men are particularly called on to be submissive to the older men 1 Peter Clearly, different people are to be treated differently, in accordance with the kind of people they are.

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. In fundamental matters pertaining to our relation to the Lord, all of us enjoy the same privileges. We have all become a kingdom of priests and share in a heavenly inheritance 1 Peter ; Ephesians We have all put on Christ and are children of Abraham Galatians But these fundamental privileges enhance rather than eliminate the distinctiveness of our gifts 1 Corinthians Our privileges should stimulate rather than destroy our concern to treat each person in the church with the sensitivity and respect due to that person by reason of his or her gifts, age, sex, leadership status, and personality.

Timothy is not exhorted to treat each person in a manner mechanically identical with every other person, but to take into account the full range of personal factors that go into an intimate family relationship. But could not this expression be incidental?

A woman, however capable and gifted she may be, can never become a father of a family.

Becoming A Mature Christian: Fundamental Principles and Necessary Leadership
Becoming A Mature Christian: Fundamental Principles and Necessary Leadership
Becoming A Mature Christian: Fundamental Principles and Necessary Leadership
Becoming A Mature Christian: Fundamental Principles and Necessary Leadership
Becoming A Mature Christian: Fundamental Principles and Necessary Leadership
Becoming A Mature Christian: Fundamental Principles and Necessary Leadership
Becoming A Mature Christian: Fundamental Principles and Necessary Leadership

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