In my study this morning, I found it interesting that when God determined to “revitalize” his old covenant church, he first began with his minister. Then, in his initial instructions, he quickly instructed Moses to:
“go and gather the elders.” (Exodus 3:16)
Today, I believe the Lord still follows this procedure when he sovereignly chooses to revitalize a particular church. God begins by recalling and reforming his prophetic minister. He starts with his preacher. Then, based upon the minister’s faithful declaration of God’s Word and will, the Lord goes to work adjusting the faith and faithfulness of the minister’s fellow elders. And when God’s Spirit powerfully revives his minister and elders, it quite often results in the fantastic reformation and revitalization of his suffering and idolatrous flock.
Therefore, I have three quick admonitions for ministers, elders, and members.
First, a quick word for teaching elders. Fathers and brothers, are you spending adequate time on the mountain of God? Are you found in the place where he speaks — his Word? Have you now become thoroughly convinced and convicted of God’s words, his will, and his passion to revive his flock placed under your care? Oh minister, despite your weakness, you are the mouthpiece of God. Therefore, are you committed to fearlessly proclaiming God’s thoughts to God’s elders? Will you preach and lead? I do not think God will reform your church without first reforming you.
Secondly, some exhortation for ruling elders. Men, are you ready to hear from the Lord’s representative and respond rightly to the guidance he gives through the faithful exposition and preaching of the Word? Are you ready to listen, follow, repent, and figure out from the Lord how and where you are to lead God’s flock entrusted to your care? And then, upon hearing afresh God’s voice, will you actually lead? Fathers and brothers, your flock has followed you — for better or worse — and this is why they are found where they are. But take heart fellow leaders, as undershepherds of the Chief Shepherd, your flock will follow you wherever you lead. So ask yourselves, where are you leading; where are you going? Ask yourselves, where will your church family and their children be 12 months from now? Oh fellow elders — you are “leaders.” May you see this as both a noun and a verb. May you take the title and the responsibility. May you be a leader and also lead!
Thirdly, a word to the flock. As members who have taken vows to follow your leaders, are you praying for your session? Naturally, they are weak like Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites. Spiritually, they are even weaker in their own fleshly condition. They are not naturally fit for the task, and they are up against formidable opponents. However, if they will listen carefully to God’s Word, respond to his Spirited promptings, and lead, your church will be fantastically reformed, revived, renewed, and revitalized. Therefore, pray with greater fervency for your men, and then make it easy for them to lead you. By prayer and posture, set them up for greater success. Ask the Chief Shepherd that he might grant you more faithful ungdershepherds, that they might better lead you out of your bondage and into God’s glorious light.