Text: 1 Timothy 3:15b

We thank God for a blessed 28th Thanksgiving Anniversary last Lord’s Day. Indeed, God has been merciful and gracious in sustaining Tabernacle BP Church all these years. Following the Thanksgiving Anniversary, it is thus most appropriate for us to hold our Annual Congregation Meeting (ACM), whereby we give an account of how we had done the Lord’s work and assess if we had done so ac-cording to His way, bringing glory to His name.

As we review and ponder on matters concerning the church, it is imperative for us to understand what is the church and her function. This understanding must not be based on our own imagination, but on the forever inerrant and infallible Word of everlasting life. One Bible passage which teaches us so is 1 Timothy 3:15, where the church is described as “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

The term “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia. When used with respect to God’s people, it refers to those who have been “called out” and sanctified by God. They are separated unto God and belong exclusively to Him. God is here described as the living God, differentiating from the dead idols of the world. By calling the church as “the church of the living God”, Paul is affirming that the church is not a man-made institution but one that is divine. It consists not of dead stones but living stones which are called out and sanctified specifically by God. The church is established for God’s glory and for His glory alone.

Now the church is also called “the pillar and ground of the truth”. Notice how the definite article “the” (tēs) is attached to the term “truth” (alētheias). We are here talking about one particular object which is called “the truth”. In a world confused by relativism, many ask “what is truth?” The Bible declares emphatically, “thy (God’s) Word is truth” (John 17:17). The object of faith is none other than the Bible, the Holy Scriptures. The Bible alone is the truth.

How then does the church function as “the pillar” and “the ground” for the truth? First, the term “pillar” (stulos) talks about a strong and supporting column. It is not the fake walls that separate sections in a HDB flat, but columns which firmly support a building. Here, it talks about the church being a promoter of the truth. Every local church is supposed to be the place where the truth of God is loudly proclaimed and practised.

However, it is not possible for the church to be “the pillar” if it is not “the ground” (hedraiōma) of the truth. This term speaks of a strong foundation. The church is thus to be firmly grounded on the perfect foundations of God’s Word. It is not to depart from the truth. In short, every local church must be a church where the Bible is truly the sole and supreme authority of faith and practice.

Sadly, many local churches fail to take heed to 1 Timothy 3:15. They face the following challenges:

  1. Failure to be a Bible-Proclaiming Church. Biblical preaching is decried and substituted with social activities. If there is any preaching, much of it is based on human opinions rather than the Word. There is also a lack of evangelism and missions. The local church is silent on God’s Word, even though it may be full of activities.
  2. Failure to be a Bible-Practising Church. The church is “grown” using worldly methods rather than based on the infallible pattern found in God’s Word. Where the Bible is preached, the people exercise little faith in it, neither do they obey it. The conduct of God’s people does not reflect Christ-likeness and is of no difference from the world’s. God’s people do not love one another, but are biting and devouring one another in envy (Gal. 5:15), each not esteeming the other better than themselves.
  3. Failure to be a Bible-defending Church. When God’s Word is under attack, the church chooses to keep silent rather than to denounce error. Instead of “earnestly contending for the faith” (Jude 3), it chooses to decry such acts as “a lack of love” and calls for courageous soldiers to keep their silence. As a result, the local church acts based upon subjective opinions and emotions rather than doctrine and the truth. False teachers and brethren soon infiltrate the ranks, and the church falls. They forget the Biblical teaching in Psalm 11:3 – “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

The ACM is not a mechanical exercise, but a meaningful spiritual meeting. It is every member’s responsibility to put on the eyeglasses of faith as every item in the agenda is reviewed. Is Tabernacle BP Church functioning as “the pillar and the ground of the truth”? Let every decision be made based upon spiritual and Biblical perspectives rather than carnal opinions and worldly philosophies.

May the Lord find it pleasing to help Tabernacle be a Bible-proclaiming, Bible-practising and Bible-defending church! Soli Deo Gloria.

Lovingly in Christ,

Preacher Clement Chew