Date written: December 17th, 2006
Scripture ref: Acts 20:17, 28
SUBJECT: Church Organization/Leadership
TITLE: Why Do We Have Elders?
PROPOSITION: We have elders to 1) Oversee 2) Counsel 3) Shepherd.
Objectives: That each would understand the role elders have in the local congregation.
1. Read: Acts 20:28
2. About the Text:
1) This context is the only passage of scripture in which we have all three words used to describe the office of the elder.
2) Verse 17 tells us that Paul called for the elders at Ephesus.
3) In verse 28 he calls them overseers.
4) He also tells them to "feed" or "Shepherd" the flock of God.
5) These three basic words, elder, overseer, shepherd, give us a great description of the role elders have in the local congregation.
3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
DISCUSSION: We have elders . . .
I. To Oversee (Episkopos)
1. Titus 1:7 says, "For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of Godů."
2. We're familiar with this aspect.
3. An overseer manages affairs.
4. Elders make decisions on the budget, property, events, order of worship, song books, building repairs, etc.
5. Consider 1 Timothy 3
6. Some qualifications relate to this aspect of the job.
1) Not greedy for money.
2) Not covetous of others possessions.
3) Have a good report from those without.
4) Of good behavior.
7. To oversee the business affairs of the congregation is one role of the eldership.
II. To Counsel (Presbuteros)
1. Acts 14:23 "And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed."
2. The term "elder" signifies one who is older and has the wisdom and experience of years on his side.
3. In Old Testament times, the elders of the city counseled its inhabitants.
4. Remember Ruth 4.
5. Titus 1:8 "But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;"
6. Older men are in a great position to give us good advice regarding life in general.
III. To Shepherd (Poimen)
1. 1 Peter 5:1-4
2. This is the largest role that the Bible describes.
3. An elder is to be a shepherd.
4. He provides a good example to the church.
5. He also must be involved in teaching.
6. He must also guard against false teachers whether from without or within.
7. Titus 1:9 "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers."
8. Acts 20:28-31 "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."
9. Perhaps this is the most often overlooked and neglected role of an elder.
1. Why do we have elders?
1) To Oversee
2) To Counsel
3) To Shepherd