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Scripture Reading:  Acts 20:17-32

Now That We Have Elders



1.  Today marks one month since this church appointed elders (3/28/04).

2.  There have been many encouraging words from brethren here & elsewhere.

3.  This was an end & a beginning – what we want us to study about from God’s word:  Some things have changed, some things have not changed, & some things will be changing.



  A.  The Organization of this Local Church has Changed – Phil. 1:1.

    1.  Previously, we were scripturally unorganized – Acts 14:21-23.

    2.  Men’s business meetings were used to aid us in addressing the work of this church, but falls far short of qualified oversight of elders (Acts 20:28).

    3.  With elders there will no longer be decision-making meetings of the church, publicly or privately:  Unscriptural to do so.

      a.  Right to get public & private input, communicate needs, concerns & considerationsThis will be done regularly.

      b.  Wrong to make these decision-making meetings.

    4.  God has placed the responsibility & accountability of oversight upon the elders – 1 Pet. 5:2; Heb. 13:17.

  B.  The Service of Oversight (Leadership) now Exists – 1 Pet. 5:2.

    1.  Feeding Acts 20:28 (cf. Ezek. 34:2-3).  God’s word in the right measure to help new converts & seasoned saints.

“The tasks of a Near Eastern shepherd were: -to watch for enemies trying to attack the sheep -to defend the sheep from attackers -to heal the wounded and sick sheep -to find and save lost or trapped sheep -to love them, sharing their lives and so earning their trust.”  (Online Bible Greek Lexicon, entry 69)

    2.  Watching Heb. 13:17 (“to be sleepless, keep awake, watch; to be circumspect, attentive, ready”).  Call on elders to help, Jas. 5:14-15.

    3.  Protecting (defending) – Tit. 1:9-11.

      a.  Illustrated by David, 1 Sam. 17:34-35.

      b.  Pro-active, not waiting until the danger is full-grown – Acts 20:29-31 (foresight, perception, perseverance).

    4.  Examples for the flock (heal…find & save…) 1 Pet. 5:3; Acts 20:32.

      a.  At worship services, work, play, home, Christian service, etc.

      b.  Not as “lords” (force & harshness, 1 Pet. 5:3 cf. Ezek. 34:4).

      c.  Communication with the church (sharing, know the flock).

  C.  Members Who Willing Follow the Scriptural Rule of Elders –  Heb. 13:7, 17.

    1.  Some brethren are of the view that the elders must poll the members before they make any decision for the church.  Scripture please?  _________

    2.  Some brethren are of the view that the elders must do what the church tells them to do.  Scripture please?  ________

    3.  The authority of elders:

      a.  Rule (Heb. 13:17):  “to lead, to go before, to have authority over.”

      b.  Shepherds (pastors, Eph. 4:11):  Shepherds lead, not the sheep.

      c.  Overseers:  Superintend, preside over (direct) (Acts 20:28).

      d.  The example that is to be followed (1 Pet. 5:3).

      e.  According to the Scriptures Acts 20:28-32.

    4.  A word of caution 1 Tim. 5:19.  Do not make or accept an accusation against an elder (via gossip, etc.) without 2 or 3 witnesses…Sin.  The elders will talk with you about your sin & urge you to repent.

  D.  Accountability.

    1.  The elders (He. 13:17) Eze. 34:5-10 (16-22; Jer. 23:1-2); 1 Ths. 5:14

    2.  The church:  Esteem your elders; work with them – 1 Ths. 5:12-13.



  A.  Personal Responsibility of each Member to Continue in the Faith – Acts 14:22 (Matt. 25:19).

    1.  Elders do not do your work for you!  (Exhort, comfort, teach…)

    2.  Personal responsibility of every member to…

      a.  Work & serve – Rom. 12:3-8 (Eph. 4:15-16).

      b.  Grow to maturity – Heb. 5:11-14 (2 Pet. 3:18).

      c.  Live morally – 1 Jno. 2:15.

      d.  Be vigilant – 1 Pet. 5:8 (Eph. 5:15-18).  Satan continues to work, & we must all be careful (Acts 20:28-32).

  B.  We Still Face Tribulations as We Live for Heaven – Acts 14:22.

      1.  Having elders does not mean, “no more problems!” – cf. having apostles (Matt. 10:16-26).

      2.  Truth will be resisted; Error will lurk; Apathy will threaten; etc.

  C.  Still have Mutual Care for Brethren – Phil. 2:2-4; Rom. 12:10 (Eph. 5:21).



  A.  The Appointment of Deacons 1 Tim. 3:8-13.  (To serve the church)

      1.  Tested (examined) & found worthy to serve, 1 Tim. 3:10.

      2.  They will have a vital work that maintains harmony (Acts 6:1-7).



1.  Having elders will not please God unless the elders & the church work together to do God’s work in God’s way – Eph. 4:1-3, 16.

2.  By doing so, we glorify God (Eph. 3:20-21).  Be at peace, edified, living godly, comforted & growing (Acts 9:31).