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Scripture Memory: Looking Unto Jesus.

VERSE: Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

7 May 2017

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Charles Seet (The Vision of the Ram and the Goat, Dan 8:1-27)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Mr Lim Chien Chong (The Voice of the Lord, Psalm 29)

14 May 2017

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Quek Keng Khwang (The Wise Woman Builds Her House, Proverbs 14:1)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Eld Khoo Peng Kiat (Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me, Psalm 23)

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WHAT IS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH GOVERNMENT?

 

The word “Presbyterian” in the name of our church shows that we entrust the governing of the church to a group of elected elders. This means that there is plurality of leadership. Proverbs 11:14 – “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” This distinguishes it from the Episcopal form of government, where the leadership takes the form of an hierarchical structure, and from the Congregational form of government, where authority is vested in all the members of the church.

 

We believe that the Presbyterian form of church government is the closest to the pattern given in the Scriptures. This can be seen in the apostolic Church, where the apostles were the governing body of the whole church. Peter was not above the rest of the apostles, but was also accountable to them (Acts 11:1-4). In some churches today, pastors are also called teaching elders because they are theologically trained. In terms of rank however, pastors are on the same level as the rest of the elders who are called ruling elders.

 

In Titus 1:5, Paul instructed Titus to “ordain elders in every city” (Titus 1:5) – This would ensure that each congregation in Crete would have its own governing body of elders. This was not the first time in Scripture that this was done. Paul had already done this much earlier for the Galatian churches – “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (Acts 14:23)

 

Elders are Overseers

This is found in the alternative designation for elders given in Titus 1:7. Here, those who were called elders in v.5 are called bishops. The switch shows that the two terms are interchangeable, yet with a different connotation. The term ‘elder’ implies the maturity and dignity of the man, while ‘bishop’ implies his responsibility, since it means ‘overseer.’

 

In fact, that is how the same word is translated in Acts 20:28“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers [bishops], to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with His own blood.” The context of this passage (v.17) shows that the ones who were being addressed here were elders. And so the elders of the church are responsible to oversee the church, and that involves ruling, leading, directing, and managing all the affairs and ministries of the church.

 

This function is also reflected in Titus 1:7 where elders are called stewards of God. A steward was the manager of a household or estate, appointed by and accountable to the owner. In the case of elders, they are the appointed stewards of the Church and are directly accountable to God who owns the church (Hebrews 13:17).

 

More specifically, God holds elders accountable for feeding His flock: “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:1-3)

 

Pastors are Specialised Elders

Ephesians 4:11 lists pastors among the spiritual gifts that God has given to the church. The term ‘pastor’ actually means ‘shepherd’ and so the spiritual nurture of the flock is their primary responsibility. Just as a shepherd leads his sheep to green pastures and still waters, church pastors are responsible to feed their members with nutritious spiritual food, freshly and diligently prepared from God’s Holy Word. Just as a shepherd protects his sheep from being devoured by predators, church pastors are responsible to protect their members from being deceived by false teachers.

 

In the early church, apostles and elders are mentioned together about six times, e.g. Acts 15:6 – “And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.” Since Peter called himself an elder in the church in 1 Peter 5:1, all the apostles must also have been considered as elders. The difference is that the apostles were elders who focused on the ministry of the Word of God and of prayer (Acts 6:4).

 

Although there are no apostles in the church today, the ministry of the Word of God and of prayer is now undertaken by specialised elders called pastors. And so, the role of the apostles in the church is now taken over by pastors. The difference is that the apostles were used by God to write His Inspired Word, while pastors today can claim no such authority, but are used by God to preach and to teach that Inspired Word.

 

Form is Not Everything

Our present church government is not an exact replica of the government of the New Testament church in the apostolic era. There are certain details not furnished by the Scriptures, and while the principles are abundantly sufficient for all the practical necessities of men or communities, “there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.” (The Westminster Confession of Faith I.6). These would include details like how many elders and deacons a church should have, and how long they should serve.

 

Strictly speaking, our present form of church government does not fully conform to Presbyterianism, since that would require us to belong to a larger group known as a Presbytery or Synod. While we maintain close fraternal relations with many other like-minded Bible-Presbyterian Churches, we are an independent church. The advantage of having a Presbytery is that when the church takes disciplinary action or faces a doctrinal controversy, there is recourse for appeal to a higher body if there are legitimate grounds for it. The disadvantage is that it requires much precious time, energy and resources to maintain a Presbytery for long.

 

While having the right form of church government is desirable, it is important for us to understand that this alone does not guarantee that everything that is done through it will always be done right. Church history bears ample testimony to this. The truth is, no matter what form of government a church uses, effectiveness depends on how much everyone in the system submits to the Lord Jesus Christ, and recognises Him to be the ultimate Head of the church. Any form of church government will fail if those who are in it love to have the pre-eminence (3 John 9) or make themselves lords over God’s heritage (1 Peter 5:3).

 

May the Lord enable all our elected pastors, elders and deacons to be humble, Christ-like and Christ-led servant-leaders, and bless Life B-P Church through them.         

                                        – Pastor 

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1)        Life B-P Church Camp, 12-15 Jun 2017 at Holiday Inn Resort, Batam. Camp Registration Office will be opened from next Sunday (14 May) over 3 Sundays for camp fee payment between 0930-1030hrs and for one hour after second service. Location will be at Church Office Level 3 Beulah Centre. Love gifts to defray the cost are welcome.

2)        Test Run of Downtown Line 3. The Newton MRT station will open later than usual at about 7.30 am for 16 Sundays, from 14 May till 27 August. The station no. is 6718 7500.

3)        Catechism Class for Anniversary Baptism on 15 Oct 2017 commences on 9 Jul 2017 at Beulah Centre Rm 2-1, 9.40am. Please pre-register by emailing to Doris Chik or filling up the form available at the front counter. Those seeking baptism, reaffirmation of faith and transfer of membership must attend the catechism class. Closing date: 2 Jul 2017.

4)        We, the family of the late Magdalene Chan wish to express our heartfelt thanks to Pastors, Session and members of Life BP Church for your prayers, comfort and help during our recent bereavement. Your consistent support in terms of visits and practical gifts during her time of illness are truly appreciated. God certainly refreshed her soul through all your love, care and concern. To God be the Glory!

Preaching appointments: Rev Seet at Thai Grace BPC, 2.30 pm. Rev Quek at Batam. Rev Khoo at Chinese BSF, 7.00 pm.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

July 16 & 23 - Expectant Living

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13