Saturday, May 20, 2023

2023.05.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 20:28

Read Acts 20:28

Questions from the Scripture text: What is the main command in Acts 20:28? Of whom are the elders to take heed first? Of whom  else are they to take heed? How many of them? What is the relation of the elders/overseers to the flock? Who made them overseers among them? 

How must we respond to the Triune God’s redeeming us? Acts 20:28 looks forward to the morning sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In this verse of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that since the Triune God is redeeming us, we must do what He gives us to do, in the way that He says, in dependence upon Him. 

Taking heed by the Word. Paul has given solemn testimony of his own innocence of the Ephesian elders’ blood. Would they be innocent of their own blood? Would they make use of the whole counsel of God that he has proclaimed to them? Now the apostle charges them, “Therefore, take heed to yourselves.”

And Paul has included, with this, solemn testimony also of his own innocence of the Ephesian congregation’s blood.  Would these elders also be innocent of that congregation’s blood? Would they continue to declare the whole counsel of God? Would they, also, keep back nothing helpful but proclaim and teach all of it in public and house to house? Now the apostle charges them, “Therefore, take heed to all the flock.”

This is the great thing in feeding and tending souls: the word of God. Do you take heed to yourself in the Word of God? Do you take heed to those entrusted to you? Do you bring yourself, and any entrusted to you, under the public and household ministries that the Lord has ordained? Take heed!

Taking heed under the Triune God. Taking heed isn’t optional. It’s an assignment of the Holy Spirit. Yes, there is a process that we can learn from 1Timothy 3 and Titus 1 for identifying and ordaining elders. But it is the same Spirit Who gave us those words that also superintends all providence, and He is the One Who has made certain members of the flock overseers. 

To the responsibility of Who made them overseers, they must add the responsibility of what sort of flock this is, and whose flock it is. This flock is a church, a people who are called out of the world. And this flock belongs to God. It is the church of “the Lord and God” He has called them. It is to Himself that He has called them. And now they are His. What a wonderful thing the church is—the church of God!

Third, there is the responsibility of how these overseers, and the rest of the flock, came to be the church of the Lord and God: He purchased them with His own blood. God (God the Son, specifically) took to Himself an additional, new nature for the purpose of dying for sinners (cf. Philippians 2:5–11, 1 Corinthians 15:3, Hebrews 9:13–22). What a precious church this is that has been purchased with such blood!

Taking heed by grace. So, as the apostle charges these elders with their ministry, he brings to bear the weightiness of the triune God to their responsibility. But this is a great encouragement as well. 

Would the Holy Spirit make them ministers and then not attend their ministry by His almighty power? Would God call them to shepherd His own church, but not make all things work together for good for that church of those called according to His purpose? And would the Son shed His blood to purchase them but not proceed to intercede for them always and to save them to the uttermost?

It is a great responsibility: “who is sufficient for these things?” But it is an even greater ability: “our sufficiency is of God!” This is our hope, when we use the means ordained by God as employed by the men ordained by God: that they will be effectual by the grace of God!

What use do you make of the means ordained by God? How are you availing yourself of the ministry that He has set over you? What is your hope in doing these things? Would you really be able to claim that as your hope if you weren’t making use of what He says to?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for purchasing us by Your own blood to be Your own church, Your own flock. Having paid such a price, bless unto us Your priceless Word and the priceless ministry of that Word, by the same Spirit by Whom You gave it, we ask in the Name of the Word, Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH406 “Jesus, with Thy Church Abide”

No comments:

Post a Comment