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Affirming Elders

Pastor Eugene explains what we are asked to do at the upcoming election of elders on 17 February.

The church exists by the grace of God. He has purchased us with the precious blood of His beloved Son. As God’s treasured possession, we owe Him a debt of grace for all that we are and all that we have. God is the one who builds His church, and He graciously provides up men and women to serve and strengthen His people.  

On February 17, we will be electing two men to serve as elders: Mok Chuan Xin and Caleb Yap. We will also be re-electing Beh Soo Hee to serve for another three years. I am thankful for each of these men. They are a testament to God’s redeeming grace. In electing them to serve as elders, we are affirming God’s work in and through them. We are recognising that God has called, qualified and gifted them to serve as under-shepherds of His people, for His glory and our good.  

God entrusts to each local church the important task of affirming its own leaders. He calls us to be faithful stewards of this important responsibility. To be sure, God’s people do not always have a sterling track record of making wise leadership choices. In 1 Samuel 8, for instance, the Israelites yearn for a king who will rule in the manner of the kings of the nations. The problem was not Israel’s desire for a king per se; the problem was that the kind of king they wanted was influenced by worldly values and preferences. Here is God’s evaluation of their request: “They have rejected me from being king over them.” (1 Sam 8:7b).  

So why does God still entrust to us the responsibility of recognising our leaders? I believe this is one of the glorious aspects of the life of God’s people under the new covenant. The Old Testament prophets looked forward to a day when God would graciously transform the hearts of His people. His people would then trust and obey Him from the heart. Jeremiah 31:33 says, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  

Jesus Christ has established this new covenant with us through His life, death and resurrection. God has poured His Spirit upon His people, changing our hearts from stone to flesh. God has planted His word in us. Our hearts have been regenerated, so that we are now able to love God and do His will.  

This profoundly re-shapes how we choose our leaders. Because God has given us new hearts, we are able to elect as elders men “after God’s own heart”. In this sense, our choices are not our own; but they belong to God. The church is not a democracy, because what matters most is not the will of the people, but the will of God. In our congregational decisions, including the election of elders, we are affirming God’s will for us, His people. For example, the church at Antioch discerns God’s will to commission Paul and Barnabas for gospel work “while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting” (Acts 13:2).  

So let’s be in prayer for the upcoming elder elections. Pray that we would have wisdom to discern and do God’s will. The elders are putting these men forward because we trust that they meet the biblical criteria (1 Tim 3:1-7; Tit 1:5-9; 1 Pet 5:1-4) to serve as under-shepherds. But we would like to hear from the members of GBC. Please feel free to approach any of the elders if you have questions or concerns. There will also be a question and answer session with the elder-candidates on Sunday, February 10 at 11am. In the meantime, let’s continue to humbly depend on God’s grace and guidance.  

This Sunday, we will hear from Romans 2:1-11. May God prepare our hearts to receive His word, which reveals how He is holy and impartial in all His ways! And do joins us next Saturday (Feb 9, 930-1130am) for our monthly Equip session on how to understand and apply God’s word.