Summary: Exposition of Acts 20:25-28 about the first two of four charges to the Ephesian elders about how to pastor
Text: Acts 20:25-31, Title: So You Call Yourself a Pastor 2, Date/Place: NRBC, 2/15/09, AM
A. Opening illustration: the greatest pastor ever, and maybe the church job descriptions
B. Background to passage: the setting is Miletus where Paul has decided to stay, not going to Ephesus because there is not enough time on his way to Jerusalem to carry the offering to the church there. This is Paul’s only recorded speech strictly to believers. He has called the elders of the Ephesian church (explain the elder, shepherd, overseer terminology) for a farewell address. Also make the case for a plurality of elders as the NT model. So after Paul gives his exhortation for them to remember the way that he lived among them, he turns to the charge that he will give them. Lord willing we will look at them all.
C. Main thought: in this text we will see the four charges that shepherds are given in relation to the flock
A. Proclaim the whole counsel of God (v. 26-27)
1. Note the link in verse 27 “for” which makes this one thought instead of two. IMPORTANT to note the details of the text! The background of this verse is blood-guilt, and reminiscent of Ezekiel’s watchman charge. Paul says that no man’s blood will be required of him BECAUSE he did not shrink back, retreat, back down, tickle ears, change the message, present options, or offer suggestions, but he proclaimed or announced the entirety of the counsel or will of God with authority. He saw it as a job, a calling, a commission, and one to which he would be held to account one day.
2. Ezek 33:7-9, 2 Tim 3:16, Matt 4:4, 5:18
3. Illustration: “A shepherd’s task is not to tell people only what they want to hear, but to edify and strengthen them with the deep truths of solid spiritual food that produces discernment, conviction, consistency, power, and effective testimony to the greatness of the saving work of Christ.” –JM, I know that I have told the illustration about MacArthur and Dr Fienberg and his preaching in seminary and being told that he missed the whole point of the passage, tell about Michael the other day talking about dealing with difficult texts in 1 Samuel, preachers around here fear man more than God because they shrink back from uncomfortable subjects like money, gambling, divorce, tobacco, gossip, unregenerate church membership, church discipline, church polity or church government, homosexuality, politics, predestination, gifts of the Spirit, etc. “I find it impossible to avoid offending guilty men, for there is no way of avoiding it but by our silence or their patience; and silent we cannot be because of God’s command, and patient they cannot be because of their guilt.” –Luther, Listen to Adrian Rogers: “It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, then falsehood that comforts and then kills. It is not love and it is not friendship if we fail do declare the whole counsel of God. It is better to be hated for telling the truth than to be loved for telling a lie. It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated. It’s better to stand alone with the truth than to be wrong with a multitude. It is better to ultimately succeed with truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie.”