Sunday, 24 February 2013

Theme Number 16 : The Church at Jerusalem. It’s Leaders, It’s structure and it’s fellowship.

The Primitive or the First church expanded at such an amazing rate that soon they had filled all of Jerusalem with their teaching and preaching. This church in Acts was Pentecostal,  Evangelistic and spread throughout the city in the chapters 2 to 8. As Jesus had told them they were to be witnesses in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth. See acts 1:8

Now lets look at the Leadership of  Jerusalem Church.
1.  Peter seems to be the first spokesman on the day of Pentecost but he was closely supported by the  Apostles. Acts 2: 14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven and raised his voice.

2. The Apostles, Peter and John, were going up to the temple  at the hour of Prayer when they raised up the Cripple at the gate of the Temple called Beautiful. They seemed to be the oneswhom God was using.  Acts 3 Compare the healing in Acts 5 :12-16

3. They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship and the breaking of Bread and to prayers. Acts 2:42 So the Apostles were instructing them and ministering.

4. It was the apostles who were arrested  in Acts 5:17 but the Angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out saying, “ Go stand in the Temple and tell the people the full message of this new Life.”v.20

5. The first part of Acts concerns Peter the Apostle to the Jews and the second part ch 9-26 concerns Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles.

The Apostle Peter

The Apostle Paul

6. Philip is promoted from Deacon of the church in Jerusalem to being an evangelist to the Ethiopian Eunach , the Samaritans and then to Joppa by the Holy Spirit.

7. There is no room for Nepotism in the church. Paul and Barnabas had a falling out over John Mark who was Barnabas’ nephew. John Mark had gone along as a helper on the First Missionary journey but had deserted the team when the going was getting tough. Barnabas wanted to take him on the second missionary journey but Paul balked at the thought.  Paul and Barnbas split up after a very heated disagreement.  Nepotism: favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship.

8. James, Jesus natural half-brother, became the leader of the Church in Jerusalem.
James (Hebrew: יעקב Ya'akov; Greek Ἰάκωβος Iákōbos), first Bishop of Jerusalem, who died in 62 or 69, was an important figure in Early Christianity. He is distinguished from the Apostle James, son of Zebedee by various epithets; he is called James the brother of the Lord by Paul (Galatians 1:19), James the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just byHegesippus and others, "James the Righteous", "James of Jerusalem", "James Adelphotheos" (Ἰάκωβος ὁ ἀδελφόθεος), and so on.
9. James in “ Profiles of faith James - The half Brother of Jesus”

Throughout Jesus' ministry His half brother James, along with the other three brothers, didn't give Jesus the respect due Him (John 7:3-5.
). It appears they thought He was not thinking clearly, and perhaps they wanted Him gone from their home (Mark 3:21

, 31-35). James and Jesus' other brothers showed Him no honor, which saddened Jesus, who spoke from personal experience when He said, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor" (Mark 6:4
, New International Version, emphasis added throughout).
Even at His death Jesus entrusted the care of His mother, Mary, not to His half brothers but to His disciple and close friend John (John 19:26-27).

As The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia explains: "A bond of fellowship had . . . been established between John and Mary that was closer than her nearer blood relationship with her own sons, who up to this time had regarded the course of Jesus with disapproval, and had no sympathy with his mission. In the home of John she would find consolation for her loss, as the memories of the wonderful life of her son would be recalled . . ." (1979, "Brothers of the Lord").
However, after Jesus' resurrection James and his brothers joined the company of believers, now convinced Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah and Son of God (Acts 1:14
). A special appearance by Jesus to James, mentioned only in 1 Corinthians 15:7
, probably played a major part in James' change of heart.

When James wrote his epistle some 30 years later, his humility is evident by the way he saw himself: "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" (James 1:1). James identified himself as the servant of Jesus rather than as a close relative.

These are some random thoughts on the leadership of The Church in Jerusalem.

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