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Summary: Essentials of leadership given by Paul to the elders of Ephesus

SERIES: “LESSONS FROM THE EARLY CHURCH”

TEXT: ACTS 20:17-32

TITLE: “LEADING THE CHURCH OF GOD”

INTRODUCTION: A. Acts 20:17-32 – “From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church.

When they arrived, he said to them: ‘You know how I lived the whole time I was with

you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great

humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. You

know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but

have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and

Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will

happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that

prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me,

if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the

task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. Now I know that none of you among

whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I

declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not

hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and

all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the

church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage

wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own

number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of

you night and day with tears. Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace,

which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are

sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves

know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my

companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must

help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: It is more blessed

to give than to receive.’ When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and

prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them

most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they

accompanied him to the ship.”

B. From this passage we learn some important things about the church:

1. vs. 28 – “church of God”

a. In the original language, the usage of what is termed the genitive (usually

translated as “of” or “from”) shows possession or origin.

b. Therefore, we need to understand that the church belongs to God

1). He bought it with His own blood

2). He started it on the Day of Pentecost through His Holy Spirit

2. vs. 17 – the word translated as “church” is a Greek word that means “called out” or

“set aside”

a. Used in secular Greek to refer to the elected assembly of representatives who met

to discuss and decide a city’s governmental matters

--They were a group chosen out of the general population and set apart for a

particular purpose.

b. “The elect” describes the church

1). Peter calls the church “a chosen generation”

2). The Bible also calls us “saints”

a). In the Greek, it’s the same term used to describe something set apart for a

particular purpose in the service of God.

b). Very closely tied to the words “sanctified” and “holy”

C. Leadership is the subject of Paul’s teaching

1. By biblical definition, it is out of those who are the “called out” (the church), God

has again “called out” or “set apart” certain men to be leaders.

2. Biblical words used in this passage to describe and define these particular leaders:

a. Elders – designates seniority or maturity

b. Overseer – to watch over or look out for

c. Shepherds – pastors that provide for and protect the flock

D. The Bible stresses the importance of leadership among the people of God

1. Throughout the Scriptures, God has chosen and set apart individuals for leadership

purposes

--The Scriptures also show that God has held these individuals accountable for

what they have done as leaders

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