Page 23 - November 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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who are to lead and speak in public. The   progress? You may privately, humbly and
        women are to be obedient to Scripture   graciously present your concerns before
        and remain silent (14:34; 1Ti 2:11-12). The   them. Having done so, you must leave
        whole company should be aware that the   the issue there. Never speak disrespect-
        men are not to exalt themselves but in   fully about your elders or make character
        true humility they are to exalt Christ. To   judgements on hearsay (1Ti 5:19). Keep in
        this the women give their heartfelt assent.   mind that you may not know the whole
        Submitting to the Leading of the Spirit   story. Experience has shown that often
        of God                                those who complain have considered only
          All of the activities of the local assembly   one side of a story; godly elders will have
        require preparation and are to be carried   a fuller knowledge and also will take into
        out with godly order. This follows prayer-  account the needs of the whole assembly.
        ful exercise, that God by His Spirit will   Conclusion
        lead and guide. Confusion and disorder in
        the assembly will dishonor the name of the   This brief series has attempted to
        Lord, as was happening in the assembly   highlight the importance of submission
        at Corinth in Paul’s time. The local assem-  to God’s authority and order, even in the
        bly is not a “free for all,” where any man   present day when the devil would seek
        can say what he likes whenever he likes.   to create disorder. His goal has always
        Neither is it to be a “one-man ministry,”   been to frustrate the purposes of God by
        where a single individual dominates the   instigating national rebellion, strikes in
        proceedings and seeks to bend everyone   the workplace, breakdown in marriages
        to his will.                          and families, and division in the church.
          Elders take the lead but are willing to   Submission, as we have seen, can easily
        share the burden of the various ministries   be misrepresented as forced subjugation
        in the assembly. They are responsible to   by oppressors. “Rise up and rebel!” cries
        ensure that other brethren who preach   the world; “Bow down and obey” say the
        and teach the Word do so profitably.   Scriptures.
        They also recognize and encourage the
        development of gift among those who     In the Bible, submission is supremely
        are younger.                          an act of love. Those who are consecrated
          Shepherding the flock is a heavy respon-  to God seek to please Him and delight to
        sibility, but to be united in this work with   obey Him. They find joy and fulfillment
        likeminded brethren is a great blessing.   in His will. To us all who are followers
        The burdens elders carry mean that at   of Christ, whatever our role is in life, we
        times there are sleepless nights, sadness   should be marked by a spirit of submis-
        and tears. The Holy Spirit is not only a   sion and humility in our dealings with
        guide; thank God He is also a Comforter   others: “Be subject one to another, and be
        who draws alongside in such a time of   clothed with humility” (1Pe 5:5); “Submit-
        need.                                 ting yourselves one to another in the fear
        “But what if …?”                      of God” (Eph 5:21). This does not mean
          What if the elders of your assembly,   compromising truth, but it does mean
        in your opinion, are not up to the mark?   gentleness and lowliness of spirit – in
        What if you feel that they are hindering   other words, being more like Christ.

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