Elders' Conference—2013

Fred Coulter—May 11, 2013

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I want you think about this. We've covered concerning John 21 and 1-Peter 5. Think about how Jesus started. He gave up all of His glory, was reduced down to a pinprick of life and became a human being; He was born into the world as a human being, with human nature just like you and me. He was taught every morning by God the Father. He wasn't taught by the lying rabbis, Pharisees and Sadducees. After He began His ministry He began teaching the disciples. Isn't that something?

The One Who created heaven and earth and everything that there is gave up all that glory, was born of the virgin Mary, grew up to be a man to fight Satan the devil, as a man—not as God nor as an angel, but as man. The very first thing He had to do, after He was baptized, was a confrontation with Satan the devil.

The very first thing that Satan appealed to was 'let's see if You've got any vanity.' After fasting 40 days and 40 nights, did Christ have the power to change rocks into bread? Yes, He could have created a whole bakery with people working in it if He needed to!

What did He say? Man—because He was applying the Scriptures that God has given to mankind to Himself—shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God! Then the greatest temptation came: 'I'm going to make You ruler of the world now.' So, Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. Then he told Jesus—and we'll add in a few things—that if He would have done what he said, then all the scribes and Pharisees and all the world would have accepted Him.

Satan said, 'If you worship me as God, I will give you the power and authority and the glory of all the kingdoms, because it has been delivered to me, and I give to whomsoever I will. I'll give it to you ahead of time, Jesus.' Jesus was tempted with those things. After that Jesus came back, He announced His mission, and He chose 12 apostles. The One Who created heaven and earth and all human beings chose 12 men who were fishermen: sweaty, grubby, smelling, dirty. Have you ever handled fish?

I don't know how long that God was preparing for them to be called through circumstances in their lives, but I know that God works in circumstances in our lives before He calls us—doesn't He?

God has a promise for every human being on earth. If you seek Him, you'll find Him, even though He's in heaven. Jesus took these 12 apostles and taught them many things leading up to Matt. 10. Remember, they weren't yet converted. But nevertheless:

Matthew 10:1: "And when He had called His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every kind of sickness."

We're entering into a time also where we need to pray that God will grant us the faith—those elders, those servants—in carrying out this. This is a promise that Jesus gave. And at every prayer of anointing, I claim the promise of this and claim the promise that He gave in Luke 9 of having power and authority over every sickness, every disease, and the power of the enemy.

Then He sent them out; He said, 'Go, you do this—a special mission—don't take anything with you, except when you get into the village preach the Gospel.'

Let's fast-forward this until after the time that Jesus was resurrected. They were very disappointed that He died. They ran down to the tomb—Peter an John—in the morning after Mary Magdalene came and said, 'They've stolen the body away; I don't know where they've laid the Lord.'

Peter and John came running down there; John was a faster runner and he ran ahead. He stopped, but Peter went in and looked around. If you consider this: If someone would steal the body, they would pick Him up and throw Him over their shoulder and He would have all the grave clothes on Him.

What Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea did was to wrap His legs. They had wide linen and they would put in the ointment and the spices and wrap His whole body then put on a covering called a napkin. You reassure every Catholic friend you have that 'the shroud' is not true.

Then you know what happened when Mary Magdalene was looking for Him. She was standing there weeping and Jesus said, 'Woman, why are you weeping?' They've taken my Lord and I don't know where they've placed Him. He said, 'Mary!' She said, 'Oh! Adonai!' He said, 'Don't touch Me, I haven't ascended to My Father, yet; but go tell My brethren that I'm ascending to My God and your God.'

He ascended and was accepted of God the Father, returned to the earth and the first thing He did was meet two disciples going to Emmaus.

As a spirit being He had a lot of flexibility in how He appeared, so they didn't recognize Him. You know the situation that was there. They were telling Him what happened, and they thought that everything was going to be fine and the Kingdom would be here. Then He corrected them and said to them:

Luke 24:25: "…'O foolish and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things, and to enter into His glory?' And beginning with Moses, and from all the prophets, He interpreted to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures" (vs 25-27). Then they went into an inn as if He was going to stay with them and eat. As soon as He asked the blessing on the food, He disappeared. They ran back as fast as they could to the eleven and came in and said, 'We've seen Him!'

Verse 36: "Now, as they were telling these things, Jesus Himself stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be to you.'" Have you ever had an experience so fantastic that you remember it, and can almost relive it in your mind? I believe that this was one of them with all the disciples who were there—especially the 12 apostles. Again, He didn't have some deacon run over and open the door and say, 'Here, Lord.' No! He walked through the wall!

Let's notice what happened, v 37: "But they were terrified and filled with fear, thinking that they beheld a spirit. Then He said to them, 'Why are you troubled? And why do doubts come up in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I. Touch Me and see for yourselves; for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see Me having'" (vs 37-39). He didn't say flesh and blood. Apparently, a spirit being can appear to have flesh.

This leaves us with a sidebar question: Everything that we are is stored on this spirit of man. That goes back to God; He puts it into a new spirit body. I wonder how much that even the DNA that we have had becomes spiritually part of what our future body is going to be? It's all there. I don't know!

After still disbelieving, after showing His hands and feet, v 41: "…He said to them, 'Do you have anything here to eat?' Then they gave Him part of a broiled fish and a piece of honeycomb…. [I don't know how that would taste] …And He took these and ate in their presence" (vs 41-43). They were all standing there and I imagine their eyes were as big as saucers. They saw Him crucified and die!

Verse 44: "And He said to them, 'These are the words that I spoke to you when I was yet with you, that all the things which were written concerning Me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.'…. [Here is a great spiritual key]: …Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures" (vs 44-45). The understanding we have, brethren, of the Bible is because God made it possible.

  • Think of everything that God has done to preserve His Word.
  • Think of everything that the apostles have done
    • all of those down through time
    • all of those who were in the Church scriptorium copying down the New Testament
  • Think of that down through history, down through every war, empire, everything that has taken place to bring us to the end-time

Here we are; the same principle applies. We understand the Word of God because He opens our mind. That is a Divine miracle and directly from God. "…He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures."

Verse 46: "And said to them, 'According as it is written, it was necessary for the Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day. And in His name, repentance and remission of sins should be preached to all nations…'" (vs 46-47). There's one little thing He forgot to tell them here, and that it will take over 2,000 years. We have to operate by faith!

Sidebar: When Abraham is resurrected and he sees all the spiritual children—those resurrected standing on the Sea of Glass; Abraham standing right alongside Jesus Christ—I think they're going to go over to the edge of the Sea of Glass and He's going to say, 'Abraham, you see all of these here on the Sea of Glass, those are your spiritual children that I promised you. I want you to look down here on the earth. You see those down there fighting and warring, those are also your offspring by Ishmael and by Isaac's Esau. For the present time they have not been called, but I want to assure you that after the Millennium, we'll deal with them and call them. Look at all that you have contributed to the Kingdom of God.'

When we look at things this way, it helps us put everything in proper perspective—doesn't it? What God is doing is so much greater than we have ever anticipated.

So, He told them, "'…beginning at Jerusalem" (v 47). You go there and wait until you receive the Holy Spirit. He did this for 40 days. Sometimes you'd like to have some of the details. Well, I believe that John wrote that if everything He did were written in books, the world couldn't contain them all.

Acts 1:1: "The first account I indeed have written, O Theophilus…" That's an interesting name—isn't it? It literally means God lover or lover of God! Isn't that interesting that that word was used and was probably the literal name that he sent this to, yet, it applies to everyone who reads it and loves God? That's an amazing thing concerning the Bible. The more you know about the Bible the smaller you become. It's just the way it works.

"…concerning all things that Jesus began both to do and to teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after giving command by the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen" (vs 1-2)—those 12—they went out and came back and said, 'Lord the spirits are subject to us through Your name.'

Verse 3: "To whom also, by many infallible proofs, He presented Himself alive after He had suffered, being seen by them for forty days, and speaking the things concerning the Kingdom of God. And while they were assembled with Him, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem but to 'await the promise of the Father, which,' He said, 'you have heard of Me. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit after not many days.' So then, when they were assembled together, they asked Him, saying, 'Lord, will You restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?' And He said to them, 'It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has placed in His own authority'" (vs 3-7). We know times and seasons. They tell us so much, but we don't know when Christ is literally going to return, yet—do we? No!

Verse 8 is a command that reaches clear down to our day: "But you yourselves shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth." That comes down to our day.

I'll talk a little bit about how the Gospel can be preached in this day and age. But you know what happened on Pentecost. Remember, God gave the Law to Israel on Pentecost; now He gave the Holy Spirit to His apostles. After all of the work that Jesus did, there were only 120 who were there.

Then on Pentecost the Holy Spirit came, filled the house where they were sitting. They began to speak in other languages, and they were right there at the temple. This had to be at the temple because the Jews would not have believed it if it had been in any other location than the temple of God, because that's where God placed His presence called the Shekinah.

Then they preached Jesus, and the fantastic sermon that the Apostle Peter gave. There may have been those there who were in the crowd, saying, 'Crucify Him!' Imagine how you would have felt if you would have been in the crowd with your carnal, angry, Satan-inspired, shaking your fist, saying, 'Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!' Now you're here at Pentecost and you hear this sermon by Peter and he says, 'YOU have killed Him!' Then God pricks your heart! Talk abut repentance!

Acts 2:37: "…they said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' Then Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you yourselves shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'" (vs 37-38).

Now then, the Church started out with great power and in Acts 3 they healed a man at the Gate Beautiful.

Acts 3:12: "And when Peter saw it… [all the people coming and running and pass by him as they were going into the temple area] …he answered to the people, 'Men, Israelites, why are you wondering at this? And why are you looking upon us so intently as if by our own power or Godliness we have made him to walk? The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Son Jesus, Whom you delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, after he had judged to release Him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and requested that a man who was a murderer be granted to you; and you killed the Author of life Whom God has raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses. And through faith in His name, this man whom you see and know was made strong in His name; and the faith that is through Him gave this complete soundness to him in the presence of you all'" (vs 12-16). Then Peter said that he knew that they did it in ignorance. He called them to repentance.

Then what happened? We haven't had this happen, yet. The authorities came and arrested them, put them in the hold until the morning to bring them before the Sanhedrin. Guess who was leading the Sanhedrin at that time?

Acts 4:5: "Now it came to pass in the morning that their rulers and elders and scribes were assembled together in Jerusalem, and Annas… [on of those who questioned Jesus] …the high priest, and Caiaphas… [the one who prophesied that Jesus would die] …and John and Alexander, and as many as were of the high priest's lineage. And after placing them in the midst, they inquired…" (vs 5-7).

Isn't it interesting that those who thought that they were in authority were left out, because they didn't repent. It's kind of like 'there's trouble in River City'—that's what they were thinking here.

"…'By what power or in what name did you do this?' Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, 'Rulers of the people and elders of Israel, if we are examined this day as to a good work done to the infirm man, by what power he has been cured, be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean, Whom you crucified, but Whom God has raised from the dead, by Him this man stands before you whole. This is the Stone that was set at naught by you, the builders, which has become the Head of the corner. And there is no salvation in any other, for neither is there another name under heaven which has been given among men, by which we must be saved'" (vs 7-12).

They were startled when they heard this. Just picture them in all their official robes. The Sanhedrin had a place where they could all sit. They're all there, around on every side. Here are the apostles out there in the middle. They were astonished at this!

Verse 13: "Now, when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlettered and uninstructed men, they were amazed; and they took note of them, that they had been with Jesus. Yet, seeing the man who had been healed standing with them… [always bring the evidence] …they said nothing to oppose them. But after commanding them to go outside the Sanhedrin, they conferred with one another" (vs 13-15).

Sidebar: The Jews always have to have councils and confer with one another. Remember this: In a multitude of wise counselors, there is wisdom. If they are not wise, there is no wisdom. If you have councils and you vote and do all these things, and you're really not connecting with God, it's not going to work.

Verse 16: "Saying, 'What shall we do to these men? For a remarkable miracle has indeed come to pass through them and is manifest to all those living in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them with a severe threat not to speak any more to anyone in this name.' And after summoning them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus" (vs 16-18).

This is for us today, as well. This is how God separates the wheat from the tares.

Verse 19: "But Peter and John answered and said to them, 'Whether it is right before God to listen to you rather than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak what we have seen and heard.' And after further threatening them, they let them go…" (vs 19-21).

Acts 5—it got even worse. Remember, Jesus said, 'If you believe in Me, you will do the works that I do. And greater works than I've done, you will do.' That's exactly what happened here. This set Jerusalem completely, spiritually on fire! There was such a tumult! They didn't need SmartPhones or iPads or anything. They all had tongues and they were running to and fro saying all about this. Here's what happened:

Acts 5:11—after the death of Ananias and Sapphira: "Then great fear came upon the whole Church, and upon all who heard these things. And many signs and wonders… [doesn't tell us how many—maybe hundreds or thousands of them] …were done among the people by the hands of the apostles; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch" (vs 11-12). Right there at the temple. I wonder what would happen if something like this happened at St. Peter's Basilica? I wonder if that's a fair comparison? Don't know!

Verse 13: "And none of the others dared to join them, but the people magnified them; and believers were added all the more to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women), insomuch that the people were bringing out the sick into the streets and putting them on beds and stretchers, so that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. And a multitude from the cities round about also came together to Jerusalem, bringing sick ones and those beset by unclean spirits; and they were all healed. Then the high priest rose up, and all those with him, being of the sect of the Sadducees; and they were filled with anger" (vs 13-17). Put them all in jail intending to bring them in, in the morning. But at night and angel came along, opened them up, sent them out and said, 'You go preach in the temple area.

So, in the morning when they all gathered together with their robes and phylacteries, they sent the captain of the guard out to bring them in. The apostles were gone! Then while the captain was telling what was going on, someone came in and said, 'They're teaching out there at the temple.'

Verse 27: "And they brought them in and set them before the Sanhedrin. And the high priest asked them, saying, 'Did we not order you by a direct command not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, with the purpose of bringing this man's blood upon us.' But Peter and the apostles answered and said, 'We are obligated to obey God rather than men'" (vs 27-29). And they had really quite a fantastic thing.

I'm going through some of these things in the book of Acts so that we can bring us up to date where we are now. The Church grew and grew; the apostles were not able to handle the mundane things, so in Acts 6 they selected deacons. These were really deacons, indeed!

Later on we see that the Apostle Paul raised up elders, as God added to the Church, for the purpose of teaching the brethren. Let's look at the purpose of the Church:

Ephesians 4—this is a good place to always refresh your memory. If the Church is conducted spiritually in the way that God wants, then we can all grow in grace and knowledge. Here's the purpose of the ministry—elders, teachers. I don't think anyone should be called an apostle today. I think that anyone who assumes that title really is opening himself up for a great deal of trouble.

Ephesians 4:11—this is actually the order that they were placed in church, in time sequence, not in a hierarchy: "And He gave some asapostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers…. [here's the reason): …For the perfecting of the saints… [that's called growing in grace and knowledge; teaching, helping, praying, serving] …for the work of the ministry… [there is a work to be done, but it's not something that someone presumes to take upon himself] …for the edifying of the body of Christ" (vs 11-12).

Let's stop here and look at this word edify. This is the same word that is used for building. What occupation did Jesus have when He was in the flesh? He was a builder, not just a carpenter!

The Church of God is His Church. He wants it built upon Himself. What we all collectively build, spiritually in our lives, on that foundation of Jesus Christ, is either 'gold, silver and precious stones or wood, hay or stubble.' Let's hope that all of us are building gold silver ands stone.

As Paul said, 'The fire is going to determine of what quality building you have.' That fire is trial! With every trial you are developing the character of gold, silver and precious stones, you improve! You are made better! If you're wood, hay or stubble, you are burned up! Paul says that through God's mercy you'll be saved. That's why we are to edify the Church. We are to build it through teaching, through God giving His Spirit. It's a mutual thing that works.

Verse 13: "Until we all come into the unity of the faith…" Constantly growing in knowledge and faith; those things are what we need today:

  • We need faith, hope and love!
  • We need to stand in the grace!
  • We need to walk in the faith!
  • We need to believe in the hope!
  • We need to live in love!

We need to ask God to:

  • guide us
  • lead us
  • help us
  • direct us

in everything that we do so that we can do the things that are pleasing to Him.

Verse 13: "Until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man…" God is perfecting us! A lot of us are getting close to the finish line.

I had a lovely picture of Ethel McMullen. Every time I would go back and visit in Roger's area, she would be there. Last time I was there she was 101-years-old. We stood together and sang the hymns while services were opening. She had a nice little poem that she herself wrote. It goes something like this:

Life is like a flower
That opens everyday
The fragrance comes out every day
And closes every evening.
Then one day the flower gets old
And it drops off.

So, that is what life is like.

Then one day the flower will be revived
When Jesus returns and we will all bud forth in glory.

She just passed on. When you get old and decrepit, which many of us are going to face, and do. God knows it and He's not going to give up on you. You may have to suffer some things, because the body goes through whatever it does, in whose ever case. when you come to the end of life.

Remember this: God loves you and you will be in the Kingdom of God! You have run the course and you have finished the race and every other Christian who has ever been called has died in the faith. You're going to God's army in the grave.

The whole purpose is not for aggrandizement. The whole purpose is to serve the brethren. All the elders and deacons that you have here have been serving you faithfully and with prayers and tears to help you attain to the Kingdom of God.

  • We don't want anything for you.
  • We don't want you have.
  • We don't want to rule over you.
  • We want to teach you how Christ can rule in your heart!

We're going to have some ordinations here in just a few minutes. We're going to ordain two men as elders, and two men as deacons. We know that God is behind it; God will cause it to prosper.

1-Timothy 3:1: "Faithful is the saying, 'If any man aspires to be an overseer, he desires a good work.' Now then, it is obligatory that the overseer be blameless… [not an overlord; an overseer] …the husband of one wife, vigilant, serious-minded, respectable, hospitable, skillful in teaching" (vs 1-2).

2-Timothy 2:2[transcriber's correction]: "…these things commit to faithful men…" As I listened to the messages that were given this morning; these were given by faithful men:

  • faithful to God
  • faithful to the Word of God

They didn't have to look over at me for any approval of anything. They pray, study, grow, apply themselves to serve you.

1-Timothy 3:3: "Not given to much wine, not a bully, not greedy for selfish gain; but kind, not a quarreler, not a lover of money; one who rules his own house well, having his children in subjection with all respect" (vs 3-4). I think you will see that with one of the ordinations here.

Verse 5: "(for if a man does not know how to rule his own household, how will he take care of the Church of God?) Not a novice… [You don't bring him in and a few weeks later make him an elder and send him out] …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 5-7).

Verse 8: "In the same way also, the deacons who serve must be serious-minded, not hypocritical, not given to much wine, not greedy for selfish gain; holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. And let those who meet the qualifications also be proved first; then let them be appointed to serve, if they are found to be blameless. In the same way also, their wives must be serious-minded, not slanderers, sober and faithful in all things. Let the deacons be husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own households well" (vs 8-12).

These are the qualifications that we have looked to. These men have been recommended by those in the congregation, and if Roger Kendall and Marlin Fannin will join me and we'll have Roy Assanti and Roger Tointon come forth to be ordained as elders.

(prayers of ordination)

Now if we can have Dave Lineberger and Tom Fannin come forward to be ordained as deacons.

(prayers of ordination)

I might mention one thing. We're very happy to have Tom Fannin be helping out with. We now have a fledgling website called: CBCG Youth {cbcgyouth.com} and he has been giving Friday night Bible studies live. I'm sure he'll do some live and recorded. Randy Vild from California is also giving some Bible studies, too.

We know that you'll be able to help the brethren; you've been a fine father, and since you're younger amongst us older ones. I think you can relate to them very well. We thank you for that very much.

Scriptural References

  • Matthew 10:1
  • Luke 24:25-27, 36-39, 41-47
  • Acts 1:1-8
  • Acts 2:37-38
  • Acts 3:12-16
  • Acts 4:5-21
  • Acts 5:11-17, 27
  • Ephesians 4:11-13
  • 1 Timothy 3:1-2
  • 2 Timothy 2:2
  • 1 Timothy 3:3-12

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • John 21
  • 1 Peter 5
  • Luke 9

Transcribed: 6-10-13

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