Any congregation of God’s people can only function at their fullest capability when they have GOOD QUALIFIED MEN SERVING AS THEIR ELDERS. That is the way the Lord designed the ORGANIZATION of the CHURCH. We have two good men serving as our OVERSEERS here at Wilsonville, so I was thinking in terms of PROMISES we as individual members could make to them.
1-I will RESPECT and ESTEEM YOU HIGHLY for your work. Qualified men who are appointed as ELDERS SHOULD have gone through considerable scrutiny by the members of the congregation before serving. If, after this process, men become OVERSEERS, they deserve our RESPECT, our THANKS, and our complete COOPERATION for being willing to accept to accept the RESPONSIBILITIES of the office. “And we urge you brethren, to RECOGNIZE those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to ESTEEM them very highly in love for their works sake. Be at peace among yourselves”. (I Thess 5:12-13).
2-I will promote PEACE and UNITY among the members here. God’s people are commanded to be at PEACE with one another and to dwell in UNITY with one another. These two terms are often linked together in Scripture. “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect BOND of UNITY. Let the PEACE of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed you were called in ONE body and be thankful”. (Col 3:14-15). Nothing causes more problems in a local church than a lack of UNITY. That is why God COMMANDED that ALL members work to “Keep the UNITY of thee SPIRIT in the BOND of PEACE”. (Eph 4:3)
3-I will OBEY you and SUBMIT to you. “OBEY those who RULE over you, and be SUBMISSIVE, for they watch out for your souls as those who must give account. Let them do so with JOY and not with GRIEF, for that would be UNPROFITABLE for you.” (I Pet 13:17).
4-I will CONTINUALLY thank you for WATCHING OUT FOR MY SOUL. (Heb 13:17). Speaking of Elders, Peter writes: “OBEY those who RULE OVER you, and BE SUBMISSIVE, for they WATCH OUT for YOUR SOULS. (Heb 13:17A). What a comforting blessing that is for each of us!
5-I will READILY ACCEPT ALL BIBLE TEACHING. We ought to have confidence in our Elders and Follow them; Not BLINDLY, BUT STUDYING THE THINGS THAT ARE SPOKEN AT WILSONVILLE and HOLDING THEM UP AGAINST SCRIPTURE TO SEE IF THE TEACHINGS ARE TRUE TO THE GOSPEL. Discussing the Brethren in Berea, Paul wrote: “Now these were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, they received the Word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so”. (Acts 17:11). Every member here has a responsibility to check the things taught against the REVEALED and INSPIRED WORD of GOD. If they are TRUTH, then we must OBEY them.
6-I will LISTEN ATTENTIVELY to your TEACHING. In the First Century, it is evident from Scripture that when a Spirit INSPIRED APOSTLE as not present, OVERSEERS did the majority of the teaching in a congregation. This is one reason their QUALIFICATIONS included “APT to TEACH. (I Tim 3:2). “HOLDING FAST the FAITHFUL WORD; “ABLE TO EXHORT IN SOUND DOCTRINE, and ABLE to REFUTE THOSE WHO CONTRADICT.” (Titus 1:7-9). In addition to all their other responsibilities ELDERS must TEACH (Publicly, Privately, etc.) We need to listen to their wisdom, learn from them, and thank them.
7-I will ALWAYS BE READY TO ASSIST YOU IN SPOTTING and STOPPING FALSE TEACHING AND FALSE TEACHERS ATTEMPTING TO INVADE the WILSONVILLE Congregation. We need to think about this one before we go charging up the hill with swords drawn by ourselves. What do each one of us need to be able to assist in these matters? First and Foremost, we need a VERY GOOD WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE. Peter warned of such an invasion in Acts Chapter 20 as he addressed the Elders from Ephesus: “Be ON GUARD for yourselves and for all the flock among which the HOLY SPIRIT has made you OVERSEERS, the SHEPHERD the CHURCH of GOD which He purchased WITH His own blood. I know after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock, and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. THEREFORE BE ON THE ALERT…” (Acts 20:28-30).
8- I will HELP YOU RESTORE THOSE WHO ARE UNFAITHFUL, and THOSE WHO HAVE LEFT THE LORD COMPLETELY. You have so many souls to watch over and care for, that some assistance might ease your burden (Under your guidance, of course). “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, YOU WHO ARE SPIRITUAL RESTORE SUCH A ONE IN A SPIRIT OF GENTLENESS, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. (Gal 6:1).
9-I Will PRAY REGULARLY FOR YOU. With the serious duties and responsibilities they have, It should be easy to PROMISE OUR ELDERS WE WILL PRAY REGULARLY FOR THEM, and KEEP THAT PROMISE. On their First Missionary Journey, Paul and Barnabas appointed ELDERS IN EVERY CHURCH, then immediately PRAYED FOR THEM AND WITH THEM. “So when they had appointed ELDERS in every church, and PRAYED with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in Whom they had believed”. (Acts 14:23).