A Solid Foundation (Part 7)

Discerning the Truth: Trusting the Officers

Please Read 1 Timothy 3:1-7 & 4:1-16 & 6:2b-10

“These things command and teach. Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Tim 4:11-12)

The necessity of active discerning should not lead you into yourself but rather deepen your connection with the local church. In the OPC each member has promised “to participate faithfully in this church’s worship and service, to submit in the Lord to its government, and to heed its discipline, even in case you should be found delinquent in doctrine or life,” (DPW IV Various). Fulfilling this promise is not possible without an open, active, and ongoing dialogue with the church about matters of faith and practice. The local church is the primary context for your growth in grace as a Christian. The teaching of the church, primarily the Word preached, is the main method which the Lord uses for your growth in knowledge and understanding of His Word. You are not called to a ‘me and my bible only’ faith, but rather a faith where you are built up, encouraged, and challenged by the local church. You should seek to discuss matters of faith and practice with your fellow believers with the expectation that you will grow from these conversations. 

This process should happen at every level, but particularly with the officers of the church. When a teaching confuses you, go to one of your elders and ask him to explain it to you from the scriptures. When a teaching fills you with joy, bring that to your elders and encourage them with your joy! A faithful undershepherd will delight to come alongside you in the process of learning and growth in grace. The Lord cares deeply about His church and so He has commanded extensive character requirements for the elders of the church. This does not mean they are perfect but it means that, in Christ, you can and should trust them because they have not taken this charge upon themselves but have been set aside to the task according to the will of God and the people. They have been given, by Christ and by your mutual consent, oversight of your soul and so you should look upon your elders as those who have been sent by Christ for the good of your soul. Talk with them! Ask them questions!