God's people need to understand how God's authority operates in the church
Essentially, the subject of authority is not seriously considered until people perceive that the will of one person is being placed over their own. Knowing who is in charge and to what scope such authority functions is necessary when it comes to making decisions, facing crises or maintaining order and peace in day-to-day life. Ministry life demands a clear understanding of how God's authority works. It was clear that the Pharisees did not understand Jesus' authority.
Clarifying some important distinctions on how God's authority operates in the local church
The Church is ruled by Jesus Christ through the Word of God
There is no question that Jesus Christ exercises absolute rule and reign over His church (Ephesians 2:20; Colossians 1:16-20). As we have witnessed in the last two posts, Jesus Christ exercises His sovereignty by way of the scriptures - which are His voice in written form. Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 4:2 "For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus." The Sovereign authority of the Lord Jesus Christ as exercised through His word renders the Bible as the final authority to which all secondary authorities make their appeal.
As stated above: Jesus Christ rules over His church. Jesus' authority and the scripture's authority are absolute. Any other remaining authority is derived from Him and thus is secondary or delegated authority. The secondary authorities that are under the authority of Christ and the scripture are the pastor, the church and the Deacon body. Jesus has so-chosen to delegate His authority to each in different ways.
The church is led by pastors who are faithful to the Word of God
The church is governed by congregations submitted under the Word of God
In the same token, the congregation is under the obligation to follow the pastor's lead insofar as He does so with a chaste example and Biblical fidelity (Hebrews 13:7,17). The congregation's governing authority extends to it's ability to receive members, exercise discipline when needed and function as the governing administrator of the ordinances of the Lord's table and Baptism.
The pastor undoubtedly is the Elder who performs and leads the church in the observance of such ordinances, however he does so not on his own merit, but in relationship to the church he serves. Afterall, Jesus gave the ordinances to the church, not to individuals.
The church is served by Deacons who exemplify the Word of God
1. Jesus Christ rules over the church by the Word of God
2. Pastors lead the church as they are faithful to the Word of God
3. Congregations govern the church as they are submitted to the Word of God
4. Deacons serve the church by exemplifying the Word of God
2. Some church bodies will often have other elders aiding the pastor in the over-seeing of the congregation's spiritual and pastoral needs. The concept of multiple elders working with the pastor has merit in scripture (compare Acts 14:23; Acts 20:25-38; 1 Timothy 4:11,13-14; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1) and historic Baptist belief (compare 1689 London Baptist Confession; 1742 Philadelphia Baptist Confession; 1833 New Hampshire Confession and the 1925 Baptist Faith and Message.)