The Church as a Self-Edifying Body

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When we read through the New Testament, we find the church being described in several different ways. In the passage below, the church is depicted as a self-edifying body.

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16).

In these verses, Paul indicated that when the church functions according to God’s design, it causes itself to grow and be built up. What does this mean? How did God design the church to do this? How are we to act in order to help accomplish this?

Let us consider these questions as we learn how the church is a self-edifying body.Continue Reading

The Vanity of Our Efforts Without God

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Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep” (Psalm 127:1-2).

The psalm was written by Solomon – king of Israel and builder of the temple. He understood the need to rely upon God in building God’s house, in protecting the city, and in his labor.
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Elders in Every Church: Conclusion

Elders in Every Church

Our goal must be to “retain the standard of sound words” found in the New Testament (2 Timothy 1:13). Part of retaining the standard is having elders to oversee the local congregation. To have this, we must develop, identify, appoint, and then work with the elders in our respective local churches. May God bless us as we seek to follow His pattern in this regard.
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Elders in Every Church (Part 5): Appointing and Working with Elders

Elders in Every Church (Part 5): Appointing and Working with Elders

Once men have developed to the point that they are qualified to be elders, what comes next? Elders must be appointed. After this, the congregation must work under their oversight. How does this work? And what about a congregation without qualified men to serve as elders? Let us consider these questions in this final lesson.
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Elders in Every Church (Part 4): Other Qualifications for Elders

Elders in Every Church (Part 4): Other Qualifications for Elders

In addition to an elder being a mature man who exemplifies the life of a Christian, there are certain qualifications on top of the character qualifications we discussed in the previous two lessons. In this lesson, we will notice the qualifications that pertain to his family, his ability, as well as other miscellaneous qualifications.
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Elders in Every Church (Part 3): Character Qualifications for Elders #2

Elders in Every Church (Part 3): Character Qualifications for Elders #2

In the previous lesson we noticed several of the character qualifications for elders. This lesson will discuss those that remain which are found in the following passage in Paul’s letter to Titus:

For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self- controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:7-9).

There are several character qualifications given in these verses. A few of these were discussed in the previous lesson. Let us consider the ones that we have not discussed already.
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Elders in Every Church (Part 2): Character Qualifications for Elders #1

Elders in Every Church (Part 2): Character Qualifications for Elders #1

First, a word about the qualifications in general. Some have attempted to say that the qualifications for elders are not really qualifications, but are only meant to present a general description of those who can serve as elders. This argument is made to defend the appointment of a man who does not fit all of the qualifications. Those who argue this will often say that since the list of qualifications in 1 Timothy 3 does not match the list in Titus 1, then we cannot combine the passages and strictly follow them because Timothy and Titus were able to appoint elders without having the other list.

There are two problems with this argument. First, it assumes that Paul was writing to Timothy and Titus about something he had not discussed with them previously. This cannot be the case. Paul told Titus he was to appoint elders “as I directed you” (Titus 1:5). The things that Paul taught, he taught “everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:17). Therefore, he had given uniform instructions to both Timothy and Titus about the qualifications for elders. Second, it is difficult to imagine anyone who would qualify using one list but not the other. We must see these qualifications as exactly that – qualifications that must be met for one to serve as an elder.
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