Topical Sermons Power Point Show
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.
I. WHAT HAS CHANGED.
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 & considerations… This 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.
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.
II. WHAT HAS NOT CHANGED.
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).
III. WHAT WILL SOON CHANGE.
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).