Paul’s Advice to the Ephesians Elders:
“28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.”
- Be Attentive to Yourself: What your church needs most from you is your Godliness. The Christians in your congregation desperately need to see the gospel applied rightly in your life. They need to see it In the way you love, the way you lead, the way you rebuke and admonish one another. The people need to see a man wholly devoted to God. Seeing one of those is like spotting a snow owl. perhaps you could stumble upon one in the but elders in a church are like an exhibit at a zoo – where you’re sure to see one. It’s no mistake that the first words out of Paul’s mouth when on the subject of advising elders is for them to watch themselves… It’s kind of counter intuitive… you’d think he’d start of telling them to watch over the flock – but no… before you can watch the flock you must watch your own life.
- Be Attentive to the Flock: Passivity is a mark of immaturity. He’s not a good security guard who sees a shadow or hears a noise and fails to investigate. You have been given to the flock to guard it. The Word warns us that there are predators in circulation they are crouching in wait to distract and destroy Christians – God’s purchased possessions. And you, as Elders have been given the specific duty of guarding these particular Christians – Do not be passive but in stead take initiative in both the growth and protection of the Christians who make up your fold.
- Be Alert for Predators: Perhaps the most important thing you will do as an elders is protect the sheep you have by doing all you can to insure that only sheep enter your fold and that dishonest wolves are not permitted in and if they are when noticed they are briskly expelled. The scripture warns us, “After my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock”. Paul’s not mincing words here. These wolves are here for one purpose – to devour Christians. Our society teaches us that there’s no such thing as a wolf – there are just people but the Bible tells a different story. In Fact, Paul is clear that we are to be on for both predators from the outside and liars from within. He says, “from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” The Christians who make up your congregation have only you appointed by God as line of defense for their own well being.
- Be Willing to Admonish: It is worldly to believe that Christians in a church don’t have the right to reprimand or rebuke one another. Our walk with Jesus is personal but it’s not private. Jesus has given us to one another for our growth because we are unable to see all of our sins and shortcomings apart from a love fueled rebuke offered in humility by a Godly and trusted friend. You have been placed for such a purpose. Join in the testimony of the apostle Paul who claimed, that he, “did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears”. You see the work of rebuking Christians was difficult for Paul. He didn’t enjoy rebuking others but he feared what might happen to them if he refused, and compelled by love, he purposed to “admonish everyone with tears”.