DEC 21

Acts 20:17-38
Memorise Acts 20:28
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”

One of the most touching passages in the Bible comes from Acts 20, which relates the farewell message of Paul to the Ephesian elders. Paul realized that this was probably the last time he would see them, as he told them “And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more” (Acts 20:25).

Why was Paul so concerned about the church in Ephesus? Read what Paul said, “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” (Acts 20:29-30).

So what was Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesian elders? “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” (Acts 20:28).

The Ephesian pastors must first keep watch over themselves, and only then over the flock, which the Holy Spirit has made them responsible. For they cannot care adequately for others if they neglect the care and culture of their own souls. They are to be ‘shepherds’ of God’s church. The word “feed” translates the Greek word “poimano” which means to ‘tend’ a flock and in particular ‘to lead a flock to pasture, and so to feed it‘.

What does a shepherd do? If you want to know, read Psalm 23 – memorise the 6 verses, understand them, and “hide” them in your heart. Then you’d know what a wonderful God (the chief Shepherd) we have, and how the elders (the under-shepherds) should look after the church like how the Good Shepherd looks after His sheep!

Knowing what a good elder/pastor should be, we should love, respect and pray for them.

Thought: Should all church members strive to have the qualities expected of the elders?
Prayer: I thank God for faithful elders and pastors who boldly and faithfully teach us the truth, so we can learn to know and love You more and more each day!