The Needed Work of Elders

Text: Acts 14:23

As Paul returned from his first preaching tour, he and Barnabas visited the churches that had been established (Acts 14:21-23). As they visited, they “appointed elders…in every church.” In this example, we see that a church having elders should be a priority. This lesson will focus on the needed work of elders in the church.

The Need for Elders

  • Needed in order to follow the NT pattern (2 Timothy 1:13) – the NT teaches that local churches are to have a plurality of elders (Acts 14:23; 20:17; Titus 1:5)
  • Needed to shepherd the flock (1 Peter 5:2) – sheep need a shepherd (cf. Ezekiel 34:5); local churches need leadership

The Specialness of Elders

  • Special because they are given by God (Ephesians 4:11) – every good gift is from God (James 1:17); elders have been given by God to help us do the work He has given us to do (Ephesians 4:12)
  • Special because few can serve as elders – qualifications must be met (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9)

The Desire for Elders

  • Desire to not be lacking as a congregation (Titus 1:5) – as individuals, we are to grow from spiritual infancy to maturity (1 Peter 2:2); infancy is not wrong, but contentment in that state without growth is wrong (Hebrews 5:14); same is true for churches; not necessarily wrong for a church to be without elders, but we must work to have them
  • Desire for help in our individual lives (Hebrews 13:17) – when elders are able to do their job, it benefits all the members of the local church; the path to heaven is not easy (Matthew 7:14), we need all the help we can get

The Work of Elders

  • Shepherd the flock (1 Peter 5:2) – feed (1 Peter 5:2; cf. 1 Timothy 4:6); protect (Acts 20:28-30; cf. Titus 1:9-11); lead (Hebrews 13:7) through the word (Hebrews 13:7), not contrary to it (Acts 20:30)
  • Exercise oversight (1 Peter 5:2) – over the congregation among them (1 Peter 5:2); keep watch against threats from without and within (Acts 20:29-30)
  • Being examples (1 Peter 5:3) – the character qualifications for elders are good for all Christians (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9); elders must live in such a way that the congregation can imitate their lives (Hebrews 13:7; cf. Philippians 3:17)

Summary

  • Elders in the local church are needed, special, and to be desired – they have an important work to do
  • God designed His church with elders for a reason – for our spiritual well-being; He wants all to be saved, then remain saved

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