The Advent Part 29
Acts 1:21-22, “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to the day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
You can only entrust certain mysteries, values and duties to one whom you know, with whom you have spent a considerable amount of time, and who has been consistent in their friendship once that friendship was cemented. As the Apostles began to seek out Judas’s replacement there were certain standards that one had to meet even to be considered for the position. First, they had to have accompanied the Apostles all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out from among them, and second it had to have been for an extended period of time, going back to the beginning, from the baptism of John to the day Jesus was taken up into heaven.
God is not a God of disorder. First He established a plan, then He began His work, and each step was meticulously planned out. God leaves nothing to chance, He leaves nothing to whim, and so when it came to choosing a new Apostle to be numbered among the eleven, He established guidelines by which this man would be chosen.
Every setback, tragedy and impediment in Christianity, took place and came about because that which was being done was being done different than how God commanded it to be done. In this instance however, the Apostles were obedient to the voice of God and went about choosing the person who was to become a witness with them of Christ’s resurrection as He had commanded.
This was to be a great responsibility, one that could not be taken lightly, and as such the person chosen to fill the position of Apostle of Christ could not be taken lightly either.
We live in an age wherein we have accelerated the pace by which individuals can come to be leaders within the household of faith, and it’s not always a good thing. For the man that they would choose to replace Judas to even be considered he had to have walked with Christ for the three years of His ministry, as well as been present during the time of John when he baptized with the baptism of repentance. The man needed to be seasoned and mature in the faith, he needed to have proven himself, as well as having understood the fundamentals of the faith. They didn’t just pick someone off the street, they didn’t have the ‘he’ll make do’ attitude, they weren’t concerned whether he was photogenic or had a nice smile, or if the older ladies in the congregation thought he looked like their grandson, all that they were concerned with is that he be mature in the faith, because they knew what being a disciple and an Apostle of Christ meant.
The work of God is the work of life. God help us if we take it lightly, or go about it without the requisite proving of those whom we would have to lead us.
The work of God is likewise holy, and as such God demands holiness of those who would be His ambassadors here on earth. He will not overlook sin, He will not accept sin, and He will not allow sin among His servants. If the past few years have proven anything it is that the Word of God is true, and men’s sins do find them out eventually, the closet doors burst open and all the shame that they attempted to hide for so long pours out like so much sludge.
What’s troubling to me is the laissez-faire attitude that many church leaders have taken toward sin when it comes to other church leaders. We see the most despicable of things, things most of those in the world dare not practice being passed off as minor indiscretions, equated to not paying for parking or jumping the turnstile in the subway.
1 Timothy 3:2-6, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.”
This is the standard of those who desire to serve within the household of faith; this is the standard for those who desire to become bishops. I did not establish it; God did by inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the hand of Paul the Apostle, and it is a standard one must live up to in order to be considered for a position of leadership within the house of God.
We have adopted this ‘we protect our own’ mentality, and if sin is found within leadership we do our best to sweep it under the rug, to make it go away, going as far as paying large amounts of money to the victims of these wolves just to keep quiet and not rock the boat. Now the money that goes to pay these individuals, whose trust was betrayed by men they considered their spiritual elders does not come from the pocket of said elder, but rather from the ‘storehouse of God’ wherein people have sown believing that their sacrificial giving would go to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to bring comfort to the hurting.
As my grandfather used to say, if the head of the fish smells iffy, be certain the rest of the body is likewise given to putrefaction. We are living in the age of blind guides, and this among many others is all the more reason to desire the guidance and leadership of the Holy Spirit. Take heart, the Spirit of which Jesus spoke has come, and He is leading those willing to follow into all truth.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.