Elders' Conference—2014

Fred R. Coulter—May 24, 2014

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Since we're going to have the ordinations today, and as I mentioned there will be three: two here, one already having taken place because of circumstances and I'll tell you what that was: Gillebaldo Elizondo's wife gave birth last night to their fifth son. Since God reckons days from sunset, he was ordained on the Sabbath.

There are many, many different small groups that are using CBCG.org and churchathome.org regularly. Just last month alone we had 122,000 distinct visits—because we don't measure the hit and click and go—to CBCG.org and churchathome.org and the Spanish website and the videos on CBCG.org.

The average time for the visitor was five minutes. In the high-tech world of websites, that's a long time. If you reduce that down to the number of hours, there were 10,000 hours spent on our websites. In addition to it, in the same month they downloaded 786 gigabytes of material. Now that we're used to terabytes, that's really not much.

Speaking of high-tech things, we have a high-techie here and a high-techie there, and I hope they get together. We have a little contest during the sermonettes. Mark Reinhard had his iPad with a Bible in it and I had my Bible, so we had a race: who could get to the page in the Bible first? I only beat him once.

There are many people using the websites. A lot of them we get e-mails saying, 'I've been watching you for two years or three years.' Everything we have is up 24/7. Those who are really wanting the Truth are checking out all the Churches of God online. They go back and forth, back and forth and check it out.

I had one woman say, 'I checked every Church of God online. Please put me on your list.' What this means is this: We do not know how many people we are really serving! How many people are keeping church at home that there are too many hooks out there in different churches trying to get people in, because they want to merchandize them. So, they are checking everything. Those are the ones that I am sure that God is going to be dealing with. Now we are into our third year-and-a-half with churchathome.org and we have 360 segments on there.

As we discussed in the elders' meeting and as was brought by Ben Ambrose, this generation is getting close to the finish line. As a matter of fact, just the day before yesterday John Schultz died. So, pray for his wife.

That's all in God's plan. We need not look upon death in the same way that the world does, because if they are faithful to death—and this body is going to rot and decay anyway—then the resurrection is sure! Speaking of the Last Great Day and resurrection, according to the Calculated Hebrew Calendar, why is Pentecost called the last day? You start with

  • Trumpets
  • Atonement
  • Tabernacles
  • Last Great Day
  • First Day of Unleavened Bread
  • Last Day of Unleavened Bread
  • Pentecost

Also it's the 50th-day of a 7-week count, which then is the last day. It's not the Last Great Day. I actually got a book from someone saying it's the Last Great Day. Hello!

What this means is that we are asking God to provide the men who can serve as elders. And all who are elders deserve our highest respect because they serve and give of their time lovingly to help the brethren. We do not have a paid ministry, except me, and because of that I try and do as much as possible. You will see when we watch a video here that times will never be the same from this point forward. We do need elders, men who have dedicated themselves to God and proven faithful.

Let's pick it up here 1-Timothy 3:1: "Faithful is the saying, 'If any man aspires to be an overseer…'"—not an overlord. The reason is because every one of us individually have direct connection with God the Father and Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. There cannot be any man between that. But together we all work together.

"'…he desires a good work.' Now then, it is obligatory that the overseer be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, serious-minded, respectable, hospitable, skillful in teaching; not given to much wine, not a bully, not greedy for selfish gain; but kind, not a quarreler, not a love of money; one who rules his own house well, having his children in subjection with all respect; (for if a man does not know how to rule his own household, how will he take care of the Church of God)" (vs 1-5). Not rule!

As Jesus told the apostles, when they were wondering who was going to be the greatest in the Kingdom of God. Mama Zebedee came up and said, 'Lord'—a little political insight here—'I'm lobbying for my two sons: James and John. I'm not asking for much, Lord, but just one to be on the right hand and one to be on the left.'

You know what Jesus said. Jesus said, 'You are not to be as the lords, the rulers of the nation, ruling downward upon the people. You are not to be as the great ones (that is, the religious leaders) exercising authority upon them.' We are to build up! So, what Jesus showed was this: the one who is the greatest is the one who is serving and that He came to serve. Those of us who are elders understand that we are to serve.

Rather than being a promotion, it is a setting aside and sanctifying through the Holy Spirit to serve. In a sense, compared to a hierarchy, because that's what God does not want us to have, we need to serve. We have jokingly said it is a demotion.

As Ben was going through the generations, I was thinking, we have got to continue to do everything we can, individually, because it's not what I do, it's not what the elders do, we do what we do as God leads us. That doesn't elevate us at all, because if we do not—and as we covered in the conference here: To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required. I'm very thankful for all the high-tech things because we could much and multiply it and really get it out. We're going to do it.

Here are the qualifications, v 6: "Not a novice, lest he become conceited and fall into the same condemnation as the devil. It is mandatory that he also have a good report from those who are outside the church, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil" (vs 6-7). Guess who is after those? Did we see some fall? Yes, we did!

Titus 1:4: "To Titus, a true son according to our common faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. For this cause I left you in Crete, so that you might set in order the things that needed to be done, and might ordain elders in every city, as I commanded you" (vs 4-5). That would be great if we had elders in every city, but we will do as God provides.

Verse 6: "If any man be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of debauchery or rebellion. For it is obligatory… [mandatory] …that as God's steward…" A steward is someone who is given full control over increasing the owner's wealth! This means as stewards of God, God has given to the ministry and the eldership to use the control of the Holy Spirit from God to serve the brethren that they can grow in grace and knowledge.

God has set the pattern that He works through men. He doesn't send angels. He works through men. We are to help and train and educate and prepare for that divine nature as Ben brought out in his sermonette. So that at the resurrection God is going to have a great harvest. We have many, many opportunities ahead of us.

We don't know what God is going to do, but we are going to need more elders in the future. We're not going to run out and bring in 50 people and say, 'We need elders in every city—you and you and you.' That won't work.

  • God will give it to us in measure
  • God will give it to us as we yield to Him
  • God will open the doors
  • God will call the people
  • God will call the men
  • He will make their fruits evident so we know that they are qualified spiritually to be elders

Verse 7: "For it is obligatory that as God's steward an overseer be blameless, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not a bully, not greedy for material gain; but hospitable, a lover of good, sound-minded, just, Holy, self-controlled, holding steadfastly to the faithful word, according to the teachings of Jesus Christ, so that he may be able both to encourage with sound doctrine and to convict those who are gainsayers" (vs 7-9). That's quite a job description.

At this time, having also been selected by their fellowship groups, we will have two ordinations here: Ben Ambrose and Steve Durham. Then we will show you one by remote control to finish this first half. So, if Roger Kendall and Marlin Fannin, Ben Ambrose and Steve Durham all please come forward:

(ordinations)

Since we have a little time, let's go ahead and take a little break right after seeing the first ordination (of Gillebaldo Elizondo) and the baby.

(on video)

What happened was, he had his cell phone in his pocket. He kept checking because his sister was down there and sending messages. Just before we laid hands on him, they said 'the head is coming.' So, we laid hands on him, ordained him, and right after that there's the picture. That will be an ordination to never forget.

Scriptural References:

  • 1-Timothy 3:1-7
  • Titus 1:4-9

Also referenced: Sermon & Sermonette:

    • To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required
    • Working Toward Pentecost by Ben Ambrose

FRC:lp
Transcribed: 6-18-14
Formatted: bo—6-19-14

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