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The Purpose of Elders in Christ’s Body [podcast]

There is no more important work transpiring in the earth today than the work of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 9:35-38; 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-15; 1 Peter 5:1-6, etc.).

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21

In short, the authentic under-shepherd ordained of Jesus Himself (John 15:16), will give up his life in this fleeting world for the sheep of Christ – just as the Great Shepherd of the sheep did on the cross. Such a divinely called-out man, will teach only God’s pure Word and watch for the souls of the LORD’s people (Hebrews 13:7, 17). He will take up the cross – live the crucified life – and therefore ministry will not be about them but rather about Jesus and His beloved sheep for whom He shed His blood and is soon returning (Philippians 3:17-21).

Also in Hebrews 13 …. The true elder of Christ will, according to Hebrews 13, do two things:

  1. Speak the pure Word of God to you and get you into it:

“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation (their way of life).” Hebrews 13:7

2. Will in the fear of God pray for and “watch for your soul.”

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17

In review, just WHAT are the earmark fruits of true under-shepherds as opposed to the many wolves among us?

  1. True under shepherds relentlessly teach God’s Word – who have spoken unto you the word of God.” (Hebrews 13:7)
  2. They are there for you! – they watch for your souls.(Hebrews 13:7)

IF they aren’t preaching God’s pure Word to you, fearing God, not you…. and watching for your eternal soul, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Repent and run to Jesus beloved.

Let me add that if they are using a fake “bible” instead of the King James Bible, that should be a clue to the darkness they walk in (Matthew 7:16, 20).

The apostle Paul kept a close watch on those he oversaw.

“For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.” 1 Thessalonians 3:5

Having a physical “church” building makes no mere man, no supposed elder, an official representative of Heaven. Feeding the sheep of Christ with His pure Word and equipping them “for the work of the ministry” is the mark of a true under-shepherd of Christ (John 21:15-17; Ephesians 4:11-12, etc.). Discern. Beware. Inspect the fruit. Jesus nor any of His holy apostles collected a penny to build a building called “church.” No, they went to the people – to serve them instead of having the people come to them.

Let’s test that…. How many people do you personally know who are good church members, Sunday morning church attenders, and ALSO true, daily disciples whom God is using everywhere they go? Think about that…. How many true disciples of Jesus do you know who are involved in a Sunday morning church program? If you personally know even one true disciple, that’s a miracle and in spite of his attendance at the Sunday morning circus called “church.”

Unlike Christ’s apostle Paul, most in leadership today foster in their prey a dependence on THEM and their church business instead of prayerfully, biblically exhorting people to depend on Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:29-2:5).

Like Christ’s apostle Paul, the true elder labors relentlessly to see you grounded in Christ – not in him or his ministry or church, but in CHRIST! Listen closely:

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7 

It simply doesn’t matter what else he’s doing, if any minister is not prayerfully, biblically, perpetually rooting and grounding you in Christ, he’s a fraud. Run.

Like Jesus and His holy apostle Paul, part of grounding you ever more deeper in Christ, is warning you to “beware” of the “many false prophets.” (Matthew 24:11)

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” Colossians 2:8-10

SO, he’s not exhorting and admonishing you to seek and know the LORD in an ever deepening fashion? He’s not equipping, maturing you “for the work of the ministry” and yet you still consider him one of the LORD’s under-shepherds? He’s not getting YOU into the Word (2 Timothy 2:15) for yourself? That’s a false leader who is entertaining the goats instead of feeding and equipping the saints! Run! (See Ephesians 4:11-15; 1 Peter 5:1-6, etc.)

False leaders divert the attention, the heart affections, the resources, and the energy of God’s people away from Christ and simple obedience to His Great Commission mandate. YOU are personally responsible! Waste is rampant! If you support, “bid God speed” (2 John 7-11) to a false leader, false ministry, then you will perish with them!

The divine purpose for elders is not to dominate nor entertain the LORD’s sheep but rather to help their joy in Christ! Get to know this verse saints:

“Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.” 2 Corinthians 1:24

There is the citing of elders in the Word and their divine purpose – to humbly serve God by helping His sheep grow in the knowledge and grace of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-15; 1 Peter 5:1-6).

Christ’s apostle Paul desired the “perfection” (maturity in Christ) of the people of God (Ephesians 4:11-15).
“For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.” 2 Corinthians 13:9 

Like Apollos, Elders among God’s people must remain teachable to God’s Word and simply and only teach and preach his word (Proverbs 9:9; Acts 18:26). Elders true to the LORD act on his behalf and never out of a personal agenda for self gain (2 Corinthians 3:5; 4:5, etc.). They live the crucified life (Galatians 2:20).

We are to humble ourselves like Apollos did and learn the way of our God more perfectly from each other, via God’s Word – as Apollos learned it more fully from Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:24-28).

Beloved Apollos was a very effective, anointed communicator of God’s Word and yet, was in need of maturing, of being perfected. So, God sent to him an elder and his wife, Aquila and Priscilla. Apollos humbly received the LORD’s elders and His grace to grow in Christ:

“And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.” Acts 18:24-26 

The vast majority of “churches” that meet in “church buildings” are simply and merely conducting “church services” where they entertain their prey. They are not equipping the saints for the work of the ministry and therefore discerned as being counterfeit (Ephesians 4:11-13). If they were, there would be salty disciples in their midst who go forth to minister Christ’s kingdom blessings wherever they go. Not even a trace of this transpiring in the apostate modern church world. Run. Run. Run.

The Purpose of Kingdom Elders:

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting (equipping, maturing) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” Ephesians 4:11-12

Philip Lye writes: “Paul says in Ephesians 4, that he gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. He expressly says these people are given to mature the saints, to equip them for their ministry and growth in Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24 that many false prophets and messiahs will arise deceiving many. They are simply functions that God has given and not titles which the proud use to strut about like a peacock. Most of these people that I have met (and I have seen a lot of famous ones) are false, proud and arrogant and not servants of the the Lord Jesus Christ. I have seen humble genuine ones who move mightily in truth, calling people to repentance and right relationship with Jesus and a demonstration of genuine miracles and wonders. They are to be genuine servants to God’s people.”

VIEW this following verse from Solomon’s day in light of our calling and work till Christ returns:

“Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD, and until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was perfected.” 2 Chronicles 8:16 

Let’s read a larger portion of this important passage in Ephesians 4. God fearing under-shepherds must prayerfully labor for and be intent upon seeing God’s people grow in the grace of Christ to the full stature of maturity He has ordained!

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” Ephesians 4:11-15

The Error of Using Titles in the Modern Church World

God sovereignly and exclusively ordained MEN to feed, lead, and equip His saints (Ephesians 4:8-11). Women are called to and seen doing many ministry functions in the New Testament but never as a leader in a position specifically designated in Scripture for men.

Repent. The American “church” is a catastrophe of spineless moral-coward Ahabs who’ve allowed, suffered women to lead, and the fall out is incalculable (Revelation 2:20-24).

GOD’s men must never allow women to lead where they (men) are called to lead (1 Timothy 2:12; 3:2; Revelation 2:20-24).

To put yourself under the ministry of a woman who is acting as an elder among God’s people, is to defy Christ, and to agree with Christ’s arch enemy and his Jezebels and to bring severe destruction on the people of God (1 Timothy 2:12; 3:2; Revelation 2:20-24).

JUST because a woman can run her mouth and even genuinely have a gift of the Spirit DOES NOT mean she’s an elder in the body of Christ – which is divinely reserved non-negotiably for men, male elders (1 Timothy 2:11-12; 3:2). | Beware of Scripture-Twisting Jezebels

We must humbly confess before our LORD and God that we have nothing and are nothing without Him!

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5

God can use us in spite of having a seminary or Bible college background…. If we will truly denounce it, lay it all down, and truly submit to Him – just like Paul did (Philippians 3). Otherwise we will join the epidemic of false prophets who build their own kingdoms in this fleeting life and spend eternity in hell (2 Peter 2:1-3). Paul counted his “higher education” as “dung” to know and serve Christ (Philippians 3). 


In part, we can be transformed in our thinking/perspective of what leaders are seen to be in the apostate modern church vs the biblical definition of an elder which is a humble servant with sound doctrine and a godly life (1 Timothy 3; 2 Timothy 3:10; Titus 1-2, etc.).

Christ’s kingdom ordination is not like the ordinations of many denominations….. To ordain seems to mean to recognize the work of GOD in a man’s life and to set him forth into ministry as by the leading of the Spirit of God.

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” John 15:16






A prolonged form of a primary word θέω theō (which is used only as an alternate in certain tenses); to place (in the widest application, literally and figuratively; properly in a passive or horizontal posture, and thus different from G2476, which properly denotes an upright and active position, while G2749 is properly reflexive and utterly prostrate): – + advise, appoint, bow, commit, conceive, give, X kneel down, lay (aside, down, up), make, ordain, purpose, put, set (forth), settle, sink down.

Total KJV occurrences: 96

“Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” Acts 13:1-3

Denominations of mere men set their elders forth to do THEIR bidding, to perpetuate their own cause and existence, to build their false church businesse$. God fearing assemblies of the saints simply recognize Christ’s work in a man and prayerfully send him forth to do GOD’s work. They worship and exalt Christ whole heartedly!

MINISTRY is about feeding sheep, not entertaining goats (John 21:15-17). So, when you see a “minister” entertaining, you know he himself is a goat (1 Corinthians 1:29-2:5).

What True Elders Teach

“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:5

THERE is nothing good in us except Christ. We are not featured but JESUS is. “We preach CHRIST crucified” (1 Cor 1:23). All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags and HE is the One and only righteous Redeemer whom we communicate to others (1 Cor 9:16; Rom 7:18 etc.).

Jesus’ true disciples are crucified vessels who preach with His authority, unlike the lame leaders we have today (Matthew 7:28-29). True Gospel preaching rocks the world of those who hear it – it never coddles people in their sin. That’s the work of wolves! Beware!

Godly Elders Teach God’s People to Discern

“And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” Ezekiel 44:23

Why don’t some leaders teach discernment?

“Anyone that profits off of you being blind, will never teach you or inspire you to see.” unknown

Any man in leadership who doesn’t warn you of false prophets as did Christ and His apostles, is a wolf who does not want you to see who he truly is.

God’s people are to continue to learn to discern – to test, to weigh all things against Holy Scripture. Ungodly elders have the “I said it so it’s true” notion. Or the “We’ve always taught that” or “That’s what we believe” philosophy. Not. What saith the Scriptures is what every true follower of Jesus asks, as he searches God’s Word to ascertain truth. Every student of Christ should become extremely familiar with Acts 17:10-11.


“I am curious as to how one man is considered the other’s elder? Do they attend the same church gathering thus, he is a church elder or is it through willful submission of the younger as an understudy or simply due to the fact that one man is older?”


Great question brother. Elder, biblically seems to mean older and more seasoned in God’s Word, having walked with the LORD longer. Two views come to mind: 1. The organic body of Christ, the kingdom relationships we have, where there appear men in our lives who are seasoned and there’s an automatic elder/young relationship (that’s how it is here)… and 2. Where a person attends a church group and they have their elder in a more organized fashion as you mentioned…. that help?

Nothing brings definition to this like God’s Word as you know…. and notice how it begins with “The elders which are AMONG you”….

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” 1 Peter 5:1-6

True Ministers of Christ 

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