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July 14, 2021 12:00 am
Priorities of Paul. He would say is the elder goes, so goes the church of the church goes, so goes the home is the home goes, so goes the nation and the evangelical church seems that they mesmerized with a prayer for revival to occur in Washington we need a revival at any begin in the end, and that will affect people that will affect their homes. It will affect their nation the nation is a reflection of our home.
Our homes are reflection of our churches and our churches are reflection of our own.
This is where we see the beginning God's desire for his people.
Now is that we would unite and assemble in local churches all over the world. But those churches have some defining characteristics. The titles and qualifications for the leaders are spelled out for us what the church leaders do is spelled out in working to learn more about that today is Stephen Davey opens God's word to acts 20 his message today is called shepherds in biblical style pierced. Huckleberry Finn is having a conversation with redheaded Mary Jane was telling her that in the church of her Rev. Harvey Wilkes, her uncle, I should say there were quote no less than 17 clergy.
But he added that all of them preach the same day. Only one of well then, as Mary Jane, one of the rest of them do all nothing much to talk. They Lola around, they pass the plate one thing or another but mainly they don't do nothing well then asked Mary Jane in astonishment. What are they for Huckleberry Finn replied with a sense of confidence why Mary Jane. They are style you know nothing.
They are for style. Just what are pastors for are they social workers.
Are they the resident psychologist or psychiatrist's are they corporate administrators. Are they the resident self-help experts.
Are they the in-house therapists who make everybody feel good. Are they the weekly motivational speakers to get everybody moving that everything that I just rattle off were not made up they are actual job descriptions of thousands of pastors today. Never before in my estimation has the role of the pastor elder or church leader been mired in so much confusion and un-biblical jargon. So this morning I want us to begin swimming upstream with this issue were going to swim against the current of popular opinion. Maybe even an opinion or two of your own. As we go to the word to discover the role of responsibility. The pastor, I invite you back to acts 20 if you're not already there will be left off in our last discussion. The first point that I want to give to you way of introduction. Is this the church leaders are identified in the New Testament Scriptures by three primary terms or titles. All three terms are interchangeable, and referred to the same office weathers will see their called pastor or elder or bishop does all emanate from the New Testament text, but they all three refer to the same men as leaders in the church. The first term is present due to Roy and it appears in verse 17 of chapter 20 we read there.
In fact, it's translated elders typically in the New Testament. Paul sent to Ephesus and called to him the present, due to Roy the elders of the church. This is the word that gives us our transliterated Word Presbyterian and they typically call their church leaders, elders determined that more than likely was borrowed from the Jewish synagogue and it's a word that refers to the elderly men who led the synagogue, which I feel much more qualified today than ever before nephew again in verse 28, notice the second term, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers your translation may read bishops. It's the Greek word Episcopal costs translated bishop many times her overseer. That word Episcopal cost gives us the word Episcopal so that denomination typically calls or church leaders, bishops that we've taken the last part of Episcopal cost, scope paths, and we have added it to many of our English words like MICRA scope tell us scope and they accurately convey the meaning of that Greek word to look carefully over to watch intently. You have the responsibility of the present, due to Roy and now you have the rule of the Episcopal will look later that in a moment little closer.
Now the third term is found in verb form in the very next words verse 28 to shepherd. You can underline that word Shepherd because it third term point in us to shepherd the church of God.
The noun form is found in Ephesians 411 where God tells the church that he is gift things the body with several different offices and one of them is the point man. I asked the pastor often translated pastor/teacher, or literally, the theater, the word summarizes the role of the office or the passion of the office of church leader appointed by God to leave the flock. In fact, the same Greek word is been transliterated to give us our English word past year and that is the passion of the pastorate to lead the sheep into rich past yours and to feed as feeders. The flaw in Jesus Christ as the resurrected Lord met with Peter who denied him three times. You may remember that he asked Peter.
Peter do you love me Peter responded. We will debate the usage of word differences in attacks when on time, but Peter responds with yes Lord you know I love you.
Peter then feed my sheep. Peter do you love me yes Lord you know that I love you then shepherd boy Mino there's the word Shepherd my sheep, Peter, do you really love me yes Lord you know that I do love you. Then Peter feed my sheep. It is that Jesus Christ is saying to him in advance Peter the New Testament church is about to be born in the flock collected together and I never want to forget that the greatest revelation of your love for me as a church leader is that you feed the sheep and I emphasize that men and women because that is most often the neglected role of the pastorate body at large. I think today is hungry and they are trying to feed that rather thin pools of water, so to give it a second thought. Church leadership is identified as a plurality of men. In other words, the office of elders in a singular church is an office occupied by more than one man. In fact, we had looked earlier in acts chapter 14 verse 23, were they they saw that they establish we saw that they established elders presbyter Roy plural for every Eckley see a singular for every church. So there were men leading a single church that while the New Testament, especially the book of acts gives the example in their church polity organization of a leader among the leaders leading elder among the elders such as James was in the Jerusalem church where he not even being an apostle stood and summarize the debate and then rendered the verdict seen also in Timothy was the pastor teacher in the church in Ephesus and Titus was the pastor teacher in Crete.
I think the. The common mistake is to assume on two fronts that number one the leading elder or the pastor teacher should attempt to dabble in everything. Or worse yet, that he alone is to decide everything we've another word for that is called dictatorship right on eldership is the introduction I was moved to our text in chapter 20. Let's refresh our memories by beginning in verse 17, where we were last time and from Miletus Paul sent to Ephesus and called to him the present. Due to Roy the elders of the church and when they had come to him. He said to them, you yourselves know from the first day that I set foot in Asia how I was with you the whole time serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon the remember how he summarizes ministry three years, the ministry of tears and trials and humility highlighted on verse 20 shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable in teaching you that only publicly but also in your home solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, behold, bound in spirit, I'm on my way to Jerusalem. Not knowing what will happen to me there except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying the bonds and afflictions await me now notice this perspective, but I do not consider my life of any account is dear to myself in order that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus to testifies solemnly of the gospel of the grace and now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom will see my face no more. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose will bully the counsel of God.
Without this point. Having said all of this in regards to his own ministry. He now directly addresses the Ephesian elders and in so doing, by the way, he inadvertently under inspiration provides for us the biblical job description the responsibility the rule and the role of the pastor elder Bishop. He warns them. First of all, you notice in verse 28 to be on guard for yourselves.
It's interesting to me that Paul would begin by warning the leaders about their own spiritual vulnerability before he addresses the vulnerability of the church you could paraphrase this word processed K to take heed to yourselves to pay close attention to yourself is Paul saying hey you elders watch out why begin with the elders because of the elders fail in their spiritual walk.
The church will suffer will not. The elders are involved in sinful practices. The church will suffer will not and he begins here expressing his grave concern over the future of the church in Ephesus by beginning first to warn the leaders of their own spiritual walk. The warning by the way can be applied every Sunday school teachers, stood a moment ago everyone a worker every Christian servant in ministry here everyone occupies the role of teacher leader. The truth is, it is sometimes easiest to walk away from fellowship with God when you're right in the middle of serving God.
Why because you're involved in the lives of others. Your concern with the cares of others. Your burden with the sins of others and you sort of take your relationship and it's easy to show and put in the back room so he begins here. By telling them to take a hard look at their own lives. And if the leaders ladies and gentlemen are weak in their faith. They will not lead the church to take steps of faith, will they not if the leaders of the church are immature in their behavior. The church will be given to strife and discord with the leaders of the church do not have a tendency towards study of the word and a desire to do that they'll never leave the church in a study the work. The leadership do not have sensitive consciences to sin. The church will be given to sin without warning toward holiness and purity. Lenski wrote it very well when he said be taught yourself before you teach others be light yourselves begin the light yourselves before you ever seek to draw people into the light being near to God before you ever dare draw all people to a nearness with God. In other words, the elders are to be the standard in the flock for purity and faith and sound doctrine. The writer of Hebrews declared to the body.
Remember those who lead you or lead you the spoke the word of God to you. Considering the result of their conduct imitate their faith. Ladies and gentlemen, we have separated conduct from leadership, but according to the New Testament conduct is the foundation for leadership. By the way, before ever long before we had an admitted adulterer ever occupying the White House admitted adulterers and fornicators occupied the pulpits of our churches. Why cannot an immoral man lead the nation when NMR all men can lead the church the priorities of Paul.
He would say is the elder goes, so goes the church as the church goes, so goes the home is the home goes, so goes the nation and at the evangelical church seems that the mesmerized with the prayer for revival to occur in Washington we need a revival and it needs to begin in the pulpit and then that will affect people do will affect their homes.
It will affect their nation the nation is a reflection of our homes, our homes are reflection of our churches and our churches are reflection of our elders and it was also the side knows go back to the text here. He tells Paul or Paul tells them to carefully watch over the flock.
Secondly, stand guard over yourselves and for all the flock.
This is a wonderful expression. This is a term used for the local assembly did you know that we are considered by God to be a flock so wonderful term, a local Ackley Seo. The Greek word for church, a local assembly of cold out one. First, I want you to notice the ordination of the elder. The text is among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Who is it that made them overseers. Is it a history of fathers and grandfathers event elders no visit.
The recommendation of a friend of the office of elder. No is a congregational vote no. Those maybe wonderful parts of this process that ultimately identifies a man and set them aside as a leader in the church ladies and gentlemen, the one who called the one who equipped the one who impassioned him is the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can equip a man for this work. Only the Holy Spirit can give these men gifts needed for the task.
Only the Holy Spirit can energize them for this all-consuming role. A man doesn't force his way into the eldership man doesn't manipulate his weigh-in.
You don't get in because your wealthy get it because you're the president of a company you don't get in because you have business experience you get in because the Holy Spirit has already identified you as a leader in the church and it just takes a little while for the church to catch on.
Secondly: only clarifies ordination, but he reveals their oversight notice verse 20 any of the holy spirit has made you overseers, that's the term Episcopal Haas. It relates to the ruling nature of the office of pastor elder Bishop now. We've also observed in acts. The affirmation of the congregation relation to the decisions of the elders and at the wonderful thing that we experience here. There are several things that we bring to the body and we get on the same page. We sing the same music and were in the same key. The wonderful thing to move forward in unity. Paul wrote in first Thessalonians chapter 5, but we request a view flock brethren body that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction. The older oversight also includes, as Paul wrote to Titus, the overseer, there is the word of his capacity given the bishop must hold fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching that is the body of truth, the doctrines we hold to that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers who must be silenced powerful words first Peter five to the elders of the oversight of flock. Thirdly, here's their objective. Notice the phrase in verse 28 to shepherd the church of God, what an incredible objective to shepherd. That is to nurture the feed and to guard and to protect the church of God, how important is the church to God.
Would you notice the next phrase the church of God which he purchased with his own blood. That's how priceless you are.
He shed his blood by you out of darkness. He died for you for the flock and the under shepherds. He gave his life. That's how precious you are to God. There's nobody else in the world would die for you, like he did when you were enemies of him but I want you to notice your look carefully at it all that it not only tells us about the preciousness of the church, but it declares for us. The deity of Christ. If you have people that you work with her study with the denier or doubt the deity of Jesus Christ. We just read one of the strongest phrases in the New Testament the declare the deity of Jesus Christ that there is an entire New Testament we look at again the church of God which he purchased with his own blood, the antecedent, the blood is God an incredible statement.
Colossians 1 tells us that the fullness of deity dwelt in this Lord Jesus Christ and so you can in fact say that when Jesus shed his blood.
How interesting to compare this to Hebrews, which we don't have time to do but where the high priest would go in on the day of atonement and offer the blood of the goat for himself in the bowl for the people in in the text in Hebrews says he offered blood that was not his own. Here Paul wants us to know that he offered his blood for the church that was indeed his own blood. Blood of God. We got equip the listless make three statements are quickly one of the marks of a healthy biblical local church. First of all the faithful leadership by godly men. Second of all, a flock of well fed, submissive believers. By the way, is a member of the flock. The greatest test of your character may not be in your willingness to lead. But in your willingness to what follow third firm faith in the living Lord of the church. The one was called by the way, the Episcopal Haas the Bishop of our soul, the one who was referred to in Hebrews as the chief Shepherd of the flock. This one who dies to the church could be bought out of slavery and brought out of darkness, the one referred to as our wonderful Savior, the man who was fully God at the University of Chicago Divinity school, which is by the way of for a hotbed of liberalism they have what is called Baptist day.
Not sure exactly what that means I I wondered if they had a potluck or something vital Baptist. Well it is a day when all the Baptists are invited to the school because the school basically needs Baptist money so they have the supposed day were the invite the Baptists from the area. Common invited speaker on this regular day. This article is reading each one was to bring a lunch to be now doors in a grassy picnic area and after lunch they were to convene in the theological education center. The University of Chicago invited.
It said the greatest mind.
Recently they invited Dr. Paul Tillich and read some of his stuff, so I know the other side of the fence believed in seminary. He spoke for 2 1/2 hours basically attempting to prove that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was. He quoted scholar after pseudo-scholar book after book. He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical literal bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and the religion of the church's groundless emotional mumbo-jumbo because it's based on a real relationship with the risen Christ to infect never rose from the dead by the way he is right on that Ellis presupposition course is wrong. But if Jesus Christ did not rise from that our faith, Paul said would be what worthless. He then asked if there were any questions. After about 30 seconds of stunned silence and old pastor with a head of woolly white hair stood up to the back of the auditorium and said Dr. Tillich. I have just one question.
All eyes turned to look at him. He reached into his crumpled sack and he pulled out an Apple took a bite. Dr. Tillich crunch. My question is a simple question.
I haven't read the book she quoted, and I can recite the Scriptures as you have in the Greek language took another bite of his Apple. I don't know anything about neighbor, Heidegger munch munch finish is Apple and put it back in his sack and said Dr. Tillich. All I want to know is this is the Apple I just ate bitter or sweet. Dr. Tillich pause for a moment and answered in scholarly fashion. I cannot possibly answer that question for I haven't tasted your Apple white-haired pastor brought the core of his Apple newspaper bag looked up at Dr. Tillich calmly said, neither have you tasted my Jesus David wrote O taste and see that the Lord is good. The desire ladies and gentlemen of this church and this leadership is to lead and feed guard equip so that ultimately we all together, honor and glorify resurrected suite for living Lord I'm glad you took the time to join us today for this broadcast of wisdom for the hearts Stephen Davey is working through the closing chapters of acts in this series from our vintage wisdom archives. Today's message is called shepherds in biblical style. For those of you who are part of our wisdom, partner, family will be encouraged to hear from a pastor who wrote to us recently to say this, I wanted to send a brief note to thank Stephen and the ministry team for making all of your Bible lessons available both online and on the radio as a bi-vocational pastor. I am in constant struggle to balance my study time alongside my work duties and I've been greatly blessed by the teaching resources you've provided while driving a school bus I'm able to listen to your daily radio broadcast after I've delivered the students to their school. Thank you for the enormous investment of your time and energy in the cause of spreading the precious gospel message and preaching the whole counsel of God made the Lord by his enabling grace continue to strengthen you for this vital ministry that came from Dan who pastors in South Carolina. Thanks for writing Dan friends Stevens messages are available to you free of email@example.com. Thanks again for joining us today. Tune in next time. For more wisdom