IPC Messenger A W eekly P ublication of T he I ndependent P resbyterian C hurch O ffi c e 912-2 3 6 - 3 3 46 | E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org | Website www. ipcsav.org Volume 17 • No 37 SEPTEMBER 2017 The Apostles and the Church D o the Apostles demonstrate an awareness of the implications of Jesus’ seminal words regarding the church? (Which we examined in the August Messenger.) Indeed they do. They establish a structure for the church and a dynamic in the church. In both cases, what the Apostles teach reveals the vital role that the church is to play in the life of each believer. Structure “The Lord Jesus,” says the Westminster Confession of Faith, “hath appointed a government” for His church (xxx.1). The Apostles, having fulfilled their foundational ministry (Eph 3:7-10), see to it that elders are appointed for the ongoing life of the church. “When they had appointed elders for them in every church,” Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch are named, “they committed them to the Lord” (Acts 14:23). The Apostles were succeeded by councils of elders who were responsible for the continuing well- being of the church. On the one hand, the churches were “committed… to the Lord” for His safekeeping and care. On the other hand, a crucial step was taken to promote that safekeeping and care: elders were appointed. We find the Apostle Paul giving the same direction to Titus as he labors to establish order in the post-apostolic church: “appoint elders in every town as I directed you” (Titus 1:5). Lengthy lists of qualifications for church officers are given in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9. They must be men of high and tested character because they must “manage” and “care for God’s church” (1 Tim 3;5). They “rule” (1 Tim 5:17). They have God-given authority. Church members are meant to honor that authority. Listen to the writer to the Hebrews: Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Heb 13:17) “Obey,” he says. “Submit.” To whom? Leaders. The language of authority is unmistakable. They “lead” (Heb 13:7). They “have charge” over members (1 Thess 5:12, NASB). The reason for this structure, this authority, this government is clear enough: “They are keeping watch over your souls” (Heb 13:17). The spiritual health of each and every Christian is in view. Individual spiritual well-being is directly related to one’s place as a member in the church under the authority of elders. Godly men are to lead the church because this is the best (though not infallible) way to preserve the health of the church and its members. The church that Jesus intends stands as a rebuke to today’s hyper-individualism. Autonomous, unaccountable, free-floating believers are not envisioned. Detached, uncommitted believers indeed are aloof from the very Continued Page 2 IPC Messenger CONTENTS 2 Music Ministry 3 Children’s Ministry 4 Women’s Ministry 5 Student Ministries 6 Family Corner 7 Moral Concerns 10 Announcements and Events SUBSCRIBE!