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v.17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.
Elders: In our lessons on the church we discussed the two offices of the church. There is
the office of elder and there is the office of deacons. e also covered the duties of the
elders. This is a review so we will not loo! at all these te"ts. I do want to review so that I
can ma!e a foundation for m# preachin$ toda# and also in case #ou were not here durin$
that time we tau$ht on elders. e loo!ed at the %ualifications for elders and for deacons.
The %ualifications are the same with one e"ception. The elder must &e to &e a&le to teach.
The deacon ma# &e a&le to teach &ut it is not re%uired that a deacon &e a&le to teach. 'e
ma# or ma# not &e a&le to teach &ut an elder must &e a&le to teach. e also see a
difference in that there is a desire for the office of &ishop. (emem&er there are man#
words that descri&e the same office: Elder) &ishop) over*seer) shepherd) pastor) etc. e
also loo!ed over the duties of the elder.
+ The# are to $ive themselves to pra#er and to the preachin$ of the ord. That is their
primar# or first dut#. ,ra#er and preachin$ is where the# spend most of their time. Elders
care for the spiritual needs of the church people and deacons care for the ph#sical and
sometimes also the spiritual needs of the church &od#.
+ The# are to oversee * Elders and pastors direct) $uide and lead the church. -ecause of
their !nowled$e and stud# of the ord elders should !now what .od wants of 'is
people. The# should &e the &est %ualified to lead &ecause the# are supposed to &e the
most !nowled$e of the -i&le. /econdl#) &ecause the# are supposed to &e in pra# the#
should &e the most sensitive to the leadin$ of the 'ol# /pirit as to the direct and even the
pace that the church should &e movin$. e !now 0and it &ears repeatin$1 that pastors are
2ust men. The# are not perfect and the# can ma!e mista!es. That is one of the reasons
wh# .od $ives a church more that one elder. e loo!ed at the verses that showed elders
in the church are normall# more than one person the# are two or more as the church
3.17 4From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.5
,aul had authorit# over the elders as an Apostle. Apostle were men chosen &# .od to
esta&lish the church) to oversee the church and throu$h their writin$s .od has used them
to develop and write the doctrines of the church. ,aul as an Apostle) could direct and
command the elders and an#one else in an# church. Also he was li!e the father of that
church &ecause the church came throu$h his missionar# ministr#. 'e would $o to a place
and preach the .ospel. /ometimes people would &e saved. 'e would sta# there for
awhile and then appoint elders so that he could $o someplace else with the .ospel. e
often times see him $oin$ &ac! to those churches he esta&lished to visit and minister.
Also the Epistles 0or letters1 of ,aul are mostl# written to those churches to deal with a
particular pro&lem or issue in that church.
e do not have the office of the Apostle toda#. hat we do have is the -i&le which
contains the writin$s of the Apostles. /o when we as a church follow the writin$s of the
Apostles we are actin$ or operatin$ with the authorit# of the Apostles.
,aul calls the elders 0the pastors1 from Ephesus to come and meet with him. -#
addressin$ the elders ,aul shows that the# are the ones in char$e of the church. And the#
are the ones .od will hold responsi&le for the church. ,aul is $ivin$ them directions for
the church. 'e is in a hurr# to $et to 6erusalem for ,entecost and ,aul does not want to
ta!e the time to travel and sta# at Ephesus. /o he calls them to him and $ives them final
3.22*27 And now) &ehold) &ound &# the /pirit) I am on m# wa# to 6erusalem) not
!nowin$ what will happen to me there) e"cept that the 'ol# /pirit solemnl# testifies to
me in ever# cit#) sa#in$ that &onds and afflictions await me.
,aul is ris!in$ his life to return to 6erusalem. (emem&er) he is a former teacher of the
6ews and a persecutor of the 8hurch. 9ow he would &e considered a traitor and he would
&e in dan$er of &ein$ !illed &# the same people he was wor!in$ with &efore. /o) he calls
the elders to$ether to $ive them what mi$ht &e his last instructions to them.
-e on $uard for #ourselves and for all the floc!) amon$ which the 'ol# /pirit has made
#ou overseers) to shepherd the church of .od which 'e purchased with 'is own &lood.
The purpose of m# sermon is not to esta&lish the duties of the elders to the church. I have
alread# done that. 9or) is the purpose to tal! a&out the dan$ers that the church faces and
the responsi&ilit# that elders have to protect the church. I have alread# covered that in m#
e"hortation to elders. Those are ver# important sermons and that is the main point of this
te"t. -ut that is not m# reason for usin$ this passa$e toda#. (ather what I want us to tal!
a&out is church mem&ership. I do not 2ust want to present to #ou m# opinion &ut I want
#ou to &e full# convinced from the /criptures that there is no option in this.
,aul is spea!in$ to the elders. -e on $uard for #ourselves and the floc!. I want us to loo!
at the idea of a floc!. hat is a floc!; ell) ver# simpl# a floc! is a $roup. In literal
terms) floc! is often used to descri&e a $roup of animals. hen I thin! of floc!
0especiall# as it is used in the -i&le1 I thin! of sheep. The -i&le often descri&es the
&elievers as sheep and as a floc! of sheep. The -i&le ma!es reference to sheep over 200
,s. 27:1 4The <ord is m# shepherd...5
6ohn 10:27 4M# sheep hear M# voice) and I !now them) and the# follow Me=5
6ohn 10:11 4I am the $ood shepherd= the $ood shepherd la#s down 'is life for the sheep.5
And we could loo! at numerous other passa$es that use the word sheep to descri&e the
people of .od. It is rare to find a sheep alone. 'ave #ou even sen 2ust one sheep &#
himself; It is ver# uncommon* it is ver# rare. 9o) sheep are alwa#s to$ether. The# live in
a $roup* a floc!. Also we do not find sheep 2ust out wanderin$ in the 2un$le alone. The#
are not li!e the wild animals of the forest or the 2un$le. The are alwa#s cared for &# a
overseer* a shepherd. The shepherd leads them) he feeds them and he cares for them. If
#ou are a 8hristian then I as! #ou what floc! do #ou &elon$ to; ho is #our shepherds;
If #ou have no church home* if #ou are not a mem&er of the church then #ou have no
floc!. >ou have no home. >ou have no shepherd. >ou are a stran$e animal. >ou are not
loo!in$ li!e a sheep. >ou are not actin$ li!e a sheep. Ma#&e #ou are actin$ li!e a $oat;
<oo!in$ &ac! at our te"t please 0Acts 20:2:1=
5-e on $uard for #ourselves and for all the floc!) amon$ which the 'ol# /pirit has made
?! the elders are to $uard the floc! which the 'ol# /pirit has made them overseers. If I
am an elder of this church which sheep am I to oversee; hich sheep am I too $uard;
/hould I &e tr#in$ to oversee and $uard the church in the @/ where I was once a pastor;
Am I to $uard and oversee the church that meets here in the mornin$; /hould the elders
of .race -aptist 8hurch &e tr#in$ to shepherd those who are meetin$ in 8o$on; ?r even
in 8e&u; ho are the ones the elders of .race -aptist 8hurch are to &e $uardin$ and
'e& 17:17 4?&e# #our leaders and su&mit to them) for the# !eep watch over #our souls
as those who will $ive an account....5
For whose souls will the elders of .race -aptist 8hurch $ive an account; Are we
accounta&le for ever# person in 8a$a#an Ae ?ro; 'ow are we to !now whose we are to
watch) $uard and lead; It is simple. The elders of .race -aptist 8hurch are accounta&le
for and are to &e $uardin$ and overseein$ the mem&ers of this floc!. e are accounta&le
for the mem&ers of .race -aptist 8hurch* onl#. e are onl# responsi&le for the mem&ers
of this church.
3. 2: -e on $uard for #ourselves and for all the floc!) amon$ which the 'ol# /pirit has
made #ou overseers) to shepherd the church of .od which 'e purchased with 'is own
<etBs loo! at that last phrase 4to shepherd the church of .od which 'e purchased with
'is own &lood5.
The elder is the shepherd of a church. A church is a floc! of sheep. If #ou are not in the
church then #ou are not a part of the floc!. If #ou are not part of the floc! then it loo!s
li!e #ou are not a sheep. If #ou are not a sheep then #ou have not &een purchased with the
&lood of 8hrist. C(E,EAT+
hat can we conclude; e can conclude that those who are not a mem&er of a local
church are actin$ li!e a lost person. ?ne of the factors that identif# the 8hristian is church
mem&ership. ,lease do not misunderstand what I am sa#in$. Ao not put the carra&ou
&efore the cart. 8hurch mem&ership will not ma!e #ou a 8hristian. -@T if #ou are a
8hristian #ou must &e a mem&er of a church. There are no stra#s in the !in$dom of .od.
As we have said &efore) that simpl# is not normal.
,lease turn with me to 1 ,eter D:1*E. e have loo!ed at this verse in our studies &efore
&ut I want to use the verse a$ain to &rin$ out another point.
3.1*E 4 Therefore) I e"hort the elders amon$ #ou) as #our fellow elder and witness of the
sufferin$s of 8hrist) and a parta!er also of the $lor# that is to &e revealed) 2 shepherd the
floc! of .od amon$ #ou) e"ercisin$ oversi$ht not under compulsion) &ut voluntaril#)
accordin$ to the will of .od= and not for sordid $ain) &ut with ea$erness= 7 nor #et as
lordin$ it over those allotted to #our char$e) &ut provin$ to &e e"amples to the floc!. E
And when the 8hief /hepherd appears) #ou will receive the unfadin$ crown of $lor#.
ho is ,eter tal!in$ to; 3. 1 4elders.5 This verse is ver# similar to the verses we saw in
Acts 20. hat are the elders to do; 3.2 4/hepherd the floc! of .od amon$ #ou.5 A$ain)
there is a local church* a local con$re$ation* a local $roup of &elievers that the elders are
to care for and lead. This is 2ust li!e the verses in Acts 20. -ut there is one more point I
want to &rin$ out here in 1 ,eter D. ,lease loo! at verse E.
4And when the 8hief /hepherd appears) #ou will receive the unfadin$ crown of $lor#.5
,eter calls 8hrist the 48hief /hepherd.5 <oo! at it please. ,eter calls the elders shepherds
and he calls 6esus the 48hief /hepherd.5 hat is the point; ell there are man# points) I
&elieve) &ut the point I want to emphasiFe is that 8hrist is the 8hief /hepherd who has
appointed 2unior shepherds to oversee all 'is floc!s. There is a connection here that I do
not want #ou to miss. 8hrist is the chief shepherd. 8hrist has appointed 2unior shepherds.
Those who are under the chief shepherd should &e under the 2unior shepherds. If #ou are
in 8hrist #ou should &e a mem&er of a church. hen #ou su&mit to church leaders #ou
are su&mittin$ to 8hrist. hen a person refuses to su&mit to the leaders of the church
the# are re&ellin$ a$ainst 8hrist. 8onnection with a local church is connection with the
universal &od# of 8hrist. 8hurch mem&ership is a si$n of !in$dom mem&ership.
8hrist is the head of the &od#. 8hrist is !in$ of the !in$dom. And 2ust as Moses appointed
men to oversee small $roups of the nation of Israel) so 8hrist has appointed pastors over
the churches in the !in$dom. Mem&ership in the church shows mem&ership in the
Gin$dom of .od and o&edience to 8hrist. A person who refuses to o&e# 8hrist is either a
sheep in re&ellion or the# are a $oat. 'ow can we tell the difference; The <ord chastens
those whom 'e loves. .od will punish the re&ellious sheep to &rin$ them into o&edience.
.oats will not &e punished to o&e# &ut rather will &e 2ud$ed at the comin$ of 8hrist.
If #ou are saved #ou should &e a mem&er of a church. /ome mi$ht sa#) well I am
&aptiFed. And to that I sa# 4,raise the <ord.5 -aptism is a pu&lic profession of faith.
-aptism identifies #ou with 8hrist. -aptism tells the world that #ou are now a disciple of
the <ord 6esus. -aptism is the &e$innin$ of the 8hristian life. -ut it is not the end. 9ow
the life of a 8hristian is one of o&edience and su&mission to 8hrist. The one who endures
to the end shall &e saved. There will &e man# who fall awa#. There will &e some who
start the 2ourne# of the 8hristian life &ut the# will not finish. The# will profess 8hrist &ut
the# will refuse to follow 'im.
6ohn 10:27 4 M# sheep hear M# voice) and I !now them) and the# follow Me.5
The sheep are the ones who continue to follow 8hrist. The moment a person stops
followin$ 8hrist the# are no lon$er actin$ li!e a sheep.
There are some people who would sa#) wh# should I &e a mem&er of the church; I attend.
I am here. h# are #ou pressurin$ me; There are man# reasons. -ut rather than loo! at it
from that point of view letBs turn this around. h# would #ou 9?T commit to a &od#;
hat is !eepin$ #ou from o&e#in$ the simple commands of .od; A person who would
as! %uestions li!e that is a selfish person. A person who would not want to &e a mem&er
of a church * who would not wish to serve their &rothers and sisters in 8hrist * who will
not share the $ifts and resources that .od has $iven them is a person who is selfish and
Thin! a&out this please. 'ow can a person claim to trul# &e a 8hristian if the# refuse to
follow 6esus in -aptism; -aptism is the pu&lic profession of faith. -aptism is
identification with the person of 6esus. And -aptism is commanded. In the same wa#)
how can a person &e -aptiFed and not &e a mem&er of a local church; hat were the#
&aptiFed into; Ma#&e #ou will sa# the# were &aptiFed into 8hrist. True. -ut 8hrist is the
head and there is no head without a &od#. To &e united with the head is to also &e a
mem&er of the &od#. If a person is not a mem&er of the &od# the# are not connected to
The# are li!e a man who si$ned a marria$e contract &ut who will not live with his wife.
The# are li!e a woman who e"chan$ed rin$s with her hus&and &ut sleeps in a different
place ever# ni$ht. /uch a one is a person who has made a commitment &ut is not livin$
out the commitment. There was a ver&al promise &ut no action. The# promised &ut the# is
no commitment. The# wear the weddin$ &and &ut live as if the# are sin$le.
(om. 12:D 4so we) who are man#) are one &od# in 8hrist) and individuall# mem&ers one
1 8orinthians 12:27 9ow #ou are 8hristBs &od#) and individuall# mem&ers of it.
8olossians 1:1: 'e is also head of the &od#) the church...
And there are man# other passa$es we could loo! at that show the unit# &etween the
&od# that is the church and 8hrist that is the head.
This is reall# the %uestion: If #ou have &een &aptiFed what were #our &aptiFed into;
hat does &aptism ma!e #ou a mem&er of;
If #ou &elieve that the 8hurch is a voluntar# or$aniFation which #ou can choose to &e a
mem&er of or not) then #ou have misunderstood the -i&le. I pra# that this sermon toda#
would help #ou see the necessit# and the re%uirement to &e an active) committed mem&er
of a local church. The status of 4lon$*term visitor5 is un!nown in scripture. Those who
have &een &aptiFed in 8hrist are united with 'im and the si$n of that unit# is mem&ership
in the local church.
If #ou are not a mem&er of the &od# then #ou are not connected to 8hrist the head.
If #ou are not connected to the head then #ou are not in 8hrist. >ou are not saved. A$ain
let me &e clear. 6ust li!e wor!s does notr save a person &ut a saved person will have
wor!s. Also church mem&ership does not ma!e a person a 8hristian &ut 8hristians are
mem&ers of a church.