Today I am back in Portugal. I am with my usual Portuguese family connections, as well as some new ones. On the weekend I was with an Assembly of God church in the Lisbon area. We had a great time experiencing the word and the presence of Holy Spirit together. The body of Christ is one and it is great to cross-pollinate in the way of God’s kingdom. I am looking forward to a few weekends here in Portugal, as well as a week at G42 in Spain doing training on New Covenant Realities.
Today I want to continue with my subject of tough questionsin the church. Sometimes the rule of the church is set up in a way that it serves law and not the power of grace. We sometimes respond to failures with negative responses that bind the future instead of responding to failures with the power of God’s grace. God doesn’t want us to fail. He wants us all to be strong in the word in strong in the Spirit to be able to overcome in all things, but in order to overcome there must be a need for the power of God’s grace and the need for a victory to be made complete. The apostle Paul wrote that elders are to be the husband of one woman. I believe that is a one-woman man. So, a man could have been divorced but they can’t be a divorced man and qualify in the maturity and character that can fulfill the responsibilities of an elder. An elder is someone who leads God’s people into where God is leading. This includes leading others into the character of Christ.
A qualifying leader may have been married prior to being a believer. They were born again. They became new creations in Christ, and they are free from the Egyptian side of the Red Sea by a submersion into Christ. They have had to experience being submerged into the identity of Christ and have had to walk out a proven testimony of their new identity in Christ. That should be easy. If the qualifications for an elder is that a human being can have never been divorced, then we are saying a human could never have sinned. If you have ever sinned, you can’t be an elder. You say – No, it is just divorce.So, if you have ever been divorced you can’t be an elder. That would mean that God saved you to be an elder because you had the qualifying character, when the only one who gives you any kind of qualifying character is Jesus. This should be easy. Anything that happened before we were believers is under the blood. Mercy justifies us to live. What about us as believers? Have you ever made a mistake? I believe we have all made mistakes. If we are only qualified because we have not made mistakes, then our flesh is the qualifier. Grace should be the qualifier. I don’t believe that Paul was saying you can’t be an elder if you have ever been divorced. He was saying you have to be a single individual blessed with one-woman – a one-woman man. If you were married before you would have had to know how to deal with your situation to become a whole person in the ways that I have already described. Even if you were at fault. You have to get healed. You have to get rid of the spirit of divorce. You have to get whole by God. You have to become a testimony of God’s healing and then In marriage you cannot be repeating the mistakes of the past. You can’t be a two-woman man but a one-woman man. The criteria is, what are you now? We are leading people who come out of failed situations to find the redemption of God.
We have almost no expectations of those who come from the world. The only qualification for them coming is that God loves them. We don’t judge them by their divorces or their marriage. We don’t judge them for living together. We invite them into an environment where there is a family that can help them find the true life that is in Christ. It is a place where they become free from the spirit of divorce. A place where they become healed in their broken marriages. It is a place where we become freed from the spirit of adultery. Freed from mourning because of a death. Freed from the mistakes of the past. We are also a place that empowers them to find the grace of now. That their marriages would be a man and woman who are one flesh. That their marriages would be life-giving and not life-taking. That husbands would be giving life to their wives. They would be washing them and watering them with life-giving words. That they would be bringing their wives alongside of them, not seeing any spots, blemishes or wrinkles in their lives. But seeing them as one flesh with them. That wives would be receiving the life their husbands are giving. That wives would be seeing themselves one with their husbands. Believing the words that are being spoken. Becoming a life expression in the two of them as a woman. Coming alongside of him in everything.
Ted J. Hanson
Please help me reach the nations. With your help tickets can be purchased and a way can be made for us to fulfill our purpose for the generations.
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Thank You So Much – Ted J. Hanson