These are-- 1. Bishops or Elders (Philippians 1:1 ; Acts 20:28 ), whose office is to feed the flock (Acts 20:17 ; Jeremiah 3:15 ), to rule well and labour in word and doctrine (1 Timothy 5:17 ). 2. Deacons, who have care of the secular affairs of the Church (Acts 6:1-15 .) 3. With respect to its worship. A particular Church is the seat of all ordinances, and when it is furnished with proper officers it is in due order for the celebration of them. Churches ought to join in the ordinances of general communion, whether they have a pastor or not (Acts 12:5 ; Matthew 18:19- 20 ). But preaching, blessing in the name of the Lord, and the administration of the sacraments are a proper province of the pastor, with the agreement of the Church as to time and place. As ministers are not to be lords over God’s heritage (1 Peter 5:3 ; 2 Corinthians 1:24 ), so neither they nor the people are to call any man master (Matthew 23:8-10 ). 4. As to its discipline (Matthew 18:17 ; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8 ). As any society has the right of including and excluding members, so has the Church. And as for government, Acts 15:1-41 . shows that even when apostles were presiding the Church had a right of being consulted. 5. With respect to the purity of its manners, and the behaviour of its members towards one another and their pastor. They are saints and should be holy; they are brethren and should be kind and helpful; they are under their pastors (Hebrews 13:17 ) and should encourage, strengthen, and submit to them. II. The steadfastness of their faith in Christ,
1. Christ is the object of their faith. 2. Faith is the doctrine (Galatians 1:23 ; Philippians 1:27 ; Jude 1:3 ) and the grace of faith. Both are probably meant here (see verses 7, 8, and verse 6). 3. Steadfastness signifies-- III. The joy that attends the beholding of these. 1. On the part of pastor, people, and other Churches. 2. Because thereby Christ is honoured, the Church edified, religion recommended, the faith confirmed, and other believers encouraged. ( J. Guyse, D. D. ) The value of steadfast faith Faith is the standard-bearer in every spiritual conflict; and if the standard- bearer fall, then it is an evil day. If faith fails, everything fails: courage fails, patience fails, hope fails, love fails, joy fails. Faith is the root-grace; and if this be not in order, then the leafage of the soul, which shows itself in the form of other graces, will soon begin to wither. ( C. H. Spurgeon. ) Verse 6-7 Colossians 2:6-7 As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord so walk ye in Him. Christian activity the safeguard of the Church This letter was written under opposite feelings--feelings that never seem absent from the apostle--the most intense faith in the gospel and the most intense fear for it. No shadow of doubt crossed his mind that it was God’s gospel, and that the whole power of God went with it; and yet he was filled with fear for it and its success in the world. This seems a strange contradiction, but it was no difficulty of St. Paul’s day, it is the difficulty of all times. We believe in the gospel, and yet we are constantly seeking to preserve it. Why? We are afraid for the gospel not
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