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Main Street Church Of Christ
formerly Peak & Eastside Church of Christ
4300 Main St. @ Peak,  Dallas, TX 75226

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Baptism & The Thief on the Cross | Introduction to the Book of Acts | Preaching with Inspiration | Adair Chapman Sermon | More...

The following is a 1994 paper brother Kelly prepared and sent to the Bible chair at Abilene Christian University. Certain brethren of the contrary part had come from a school of preaching saying brother Kelly was not teaching Church of Christ doctrine. Brother Kelly then said: “I appeal to Jerusalem” so to speak and sent this paper along with all his lessons found on this web site to the Bible chair at A.C.U.

The brethren of the Bible Chair then passed this paper along with the lessons to Brother Phillip Slate who was in charge of the Missions Department of A.C.U. Brother Slate meet with brother Kelly at A.C.U. and gave him the right hand of fellowship even though he thought brother Kelly quite conservative. Brother Slate was a great encouragement and influence on Kelly continuing to labor at Peak & Eastside which became Main Street Church of Christ.

PS: Emphasis, bold and capitalization are all added by Brother Kelly and all mistakes errors and miss-speaks


Table of Contents

The Great Commission. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 1

The New Testament Three Fold Division of Labor in

Carrying Out The Great Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

I. The Work of Evangelists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

The New Testament Evangelists Set Churches in Order By

Teaching the Converted 1st Principles . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

The New Testament Evangelists Returned from Time to Time

To Strengthen, Conform and Purify Congregations. . . . . . 3

The Hard Hearted Hearer

The Shallow Hearted Hearer

The Crowded Hearted Hearer

The Christian Heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

False Preachers & Deceitful Workers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Sanctification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Legalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

A View of the Christian Ministry, Acts 20:17-35 . . . . . . . . . . 8

II. The Work of Shepherds or Elders 9

Shepherds or Pastors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Elders or Presbyters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Bishops or Overseers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

The Shepherds Field or Place of Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

A Plurality of Shepherds or Elders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Qualifications of Elders or Shepherds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

How Elders & Shepherds are Placed into Office . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Biblical Example of a Congregational Meeting . . . . . . . . . . . 12

The Work of Elders & Shepherds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

God’s Judgment of the Old Testament Shepherds. . . . . . . . . . 13

Paul’s Charge to the Elders, Acts 20:17-35. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

III. The Work of Every Saint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Every Christian Must be Strong in the Lord Himself. . . . . . . . . 16

Every Christian Must be a Proclaimer of the Gospel. . . . . . . . . 16

Back up Preaching with Tithes, Offerings & Prayers. . . . . . . . . 16

The Priesthood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

      He Holy and Royal Priesthood of the Saints. . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

      A Spiritual House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

      A Holy Priesthood. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

      A Chosen Generation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

      A Royal Priesthood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

      A Holy Nation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

      A Peculiar People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

      The Church Portrayed in The New Testament was an.

      Evangelistic Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

      The Gospel Spread from City to City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

      From House to House, Preaching & Teaching Christ . . . . . . . . . 18

      They Gladly Suffered Persecution: Name & Work/Christ . . . . . . . 18

      In Jerusalem, Gave Up Their Homes for Sake/Christ . . . . . . . . . 19

      They All Shared in This Noble Work. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

      These Consecrated Efforts Converted Thousands . . . . . . . . . . . 19

      How We Can Help in Bringing Lost World to Christ. . . . . . . . . . 19

      Those With Ability Should Preach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

      Everyone Should Do Personal Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

      Everyone Should Pray for Those They are Trying to Convert . . . . . 20

      (ff: means the verses following in context, Cf: means compare this to)

      ` The Great Commission

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach (poor translation Greek Literal: “disciple ye”, i.e. a believer) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20

      “And He said unto the, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel unto every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:15-16

And He said unto them, these are the words that I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets and in the psalms, concerning me. Then He opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. And He said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:44-48

Let us now study the threefold Division of Labor in the Commission:

The New Testament Division of Labor in Carrying Out the Great Commission

The great Commission is the WHOLE WORK of the WHOLE CHURCH. Any work that does not come under the SCOPE of the Great Commission is church work, NOT the Work of the Church. Christ is head over ALL the Church; therefore, He is a definite work for ALL the Church to do, in “the manifold wisdom of God”


The Work of Evangelists

Foremost an evangelist must remember that he is over NO ONE in authority! The Lord Jesus God’s Suffering “Servant” cf: Isaiah 53, came to show us what God is like . . . He who seeks to do the work of a Christian evangelist will subject and submit himself to each and every member . . . counting each and every saint as better than himself! A Christian evangelist must strive to obey and be in subjection to every other Christian and the elders.

Christ established the office of evangelist in the body: Ephesians 4:11. Phillip was an evangelist: Acts 21:8. Timothy was exhorted to do the work of an evangelist: II Timothy 4:5. Paul by worthy example has left us a good account of the work of an evangelist. From a study of these men and their work we learn that the work of an evangelist is a threefold work:

The New Testament Evangelist evangelized men and towns with the Gospel. The best way to understand the New Testament use of the word we get evangelist from is the old English word “herald”. “It’s 10 (ten) o’clock and all is well”, was a common announcement in old England. He brought news, and news is announced not taught. You Do Not teach men news! You proclaim news! While both Jesus and John the baptizer preached the kingdom of God, our marching orders are to preach, i.e.: announce, proclaim or herald the gospel to the ungodly world. Rather than the kingdom first, they need to know that it is God, the author of creation, who is pleased to be reconciled to all men with the gospel of Christ.

The Proclamation: These facts should be limited to the facts that the God of creation has fulfilled all of His promises made from old to the Old Testament prophets, in His Son Jesus . . . Whom He has raised from the dead. The Gospel that “Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. WHAT SCRIPTURES? Anyone seeking to do the work of an evangelist will look up the Old Testament scriptures Paul and others used to make a gospel presentation. We don’t have to re-invent the wheel.

Philip the evangelist went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them, baptizing those who believed - Acts 8:5-12. Later he went towards the southwest where he preached Jesus unto the eunuch and then baptized him - Acts 8:26-39. Then he preached in all the cities until he came to Caesarea – Acts 9:40. Paul strove to preach Christ in new cities, where He had not been named – Romans 15:20-21.

The New Testament Evangelist Set Congregations (Groups of Baptized Believers) in Order by teaching the converted First Principles:

“Teaching them whatsoever things I have commanded you” – Matthew 28:19. Paul is known to have made three evangelistic tours or missionary journeys. On his first, leaving Antioch of Syria, he sailed through the Mediterranean and finally labored on the peninsula known as Asia Minor. Paul’s strategy to preach to the Greco-Roman world’s metropolitan centers of influence, leaving the towns & countryside for the new local congregations. The apostles worked in centers from which radiated avenues of communication. When he had preached in Derbe he started back over the trail he had come . . . city by city, setting the Churches “in order”. This included “ordaining elders” in every Church, or “city” – Acts 14:23. Also, this is the same work that he assigned to Titus on the isle of Crete. Cf: Titus 1:5.

Some of these brethren were gentiles, who just a few months before had been worshiping idols in heathen temples full of sin, idolatry, prostitutes and allurements. Now some of the stronger and fully qualified, who were previously known as “God fearers” are even becoming shepherds! We must have the probationary period wrong someplace that requires years of visual righteousness, and a run for political office, rather than a simple conservative fulfillment of the biblical qualifications.

      The N. T. evangelist was sent out, an example would be: Acts 13:1, and he would be subject to that eldership’s oversight.

      The N. T. Evangelist returned from time to time to strengthen, confirm (by teaching first principles) and purify congregations.

      This was the purpose of Paul’s second tour. Acts 15:6 & 41. Much of the admonition contained in the epistles of Timothy and Titus can be seen to fit within the SCOPE of WORK of an evangelist.

      II Timothy 2:2 teaches the perpetual nature of the Great Commission. The things Paul had taught, Timothy was to “teach”. Then, he was to commit that same message to others, who in turn would be able to “teach others also”.

      The words of Jesus in Acts 1:4: “you are My witnesses” are lifted directly from the prophecies of Isaiah 43:10-12 and 44:8. These verses in Isaiah were obviously included in the “40 days” of the previous verse. Acts 1:3: . . . “teaching ” “of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God”. Isaiah taught that Israel, the nation was called to be God’s witness. But that the nation Israel misinterpreted its purpose, failed to recognize the nature of the Messiah or the Kingdom. Him they killed and they built an exclusive wall to guard their privileged purity from the contamination of others. What national Israel failed to do, this new Israel, the Kingdom, the Church was to do. Its task was to be that of witness bearing. This the apostles did: Acts 2:32. 35, 5:32, 10:39, 13:31, 22:15.

      The Witness is to be to “all nations”, beginning where you are “Jerusalem”; then to your kinfolks “Judea” then the nearest neighbor “Samaria” but is not to cease until the ultimate point: all the world. That work is not to cease until the ultimate point: “all the world”. That the work is still to continue cannot be denied: “always” – Matthew 28:18-20 until the end of the “aeon” age. We cannot bear eye witness but the prophets and apostles still speak in your Bible. Any brother can do the work of an evangelist.

      Evangelism of the ungodly, in the New Testament sense has been all but choked out by a failure to recognize the plain meaning of words. Preach and teach were never confused in the early church. Let the evangelist first obtain by preaching and then teach first principles . . . and let the shepherds sustain by fellowship, teaching holiness, doctrine and the word in general. This is the plain New Testament sense of the words and the context in which they are found.

      Today preaching and teaching have been replaced with: teaching doctrines (all true) and earnestly contending for the faith. A requirement for elders first and all Christians second. Jude 3. But, it was not meant to supersede “Go ye unto all the world and preach the gospel unto every creature.”

      Why do you waste time with them (Luke 15) has always been the attitude of Pharisees and elder bothers towards real gospel preaching: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.”

      PREACHING: “Keerux, the preacher, keerussoo, I preach and Kerrugma the speech, or the preaching. – and it’s associated word:

      Euanggelistees the evangelist, euaggelion, the gospel and euaggelizoo, I preach the gospel, frequently occur in the Greek Christian scriptures.

      They are completely different words from: didaskalia and didaskoo, I teach, didaskalia and didachee a doctrine, and didaskalia and didaskalos a teacher.

      Alexander Campbell said regarding this distinction: “No two such families of words of so many branches, and of so large a currency are more distinguishable or more frequently distinguished in the whole nomenclature of the Christian Scriptures.”

      And, of course, he also said: “No inspired writer made a distinction without a difference:” See Alexander Campbell Preacher of Reform & Reformer of Preaching/Fitch/Sweet Publishing Co.

      The early preaching had to do not with tenets or doctrine but with precepts to be obeyed because the Word has become flesh and died on the tree for you personally. Preaching is not to impart Church of Christ orthodox views . . . but rather it is to, thunder through the lost’s mind, heart and emotion producing Godly sorrow for their sins and Bible repentance. Real Bible belief, ie: faith, trust and reliance from the heart and soul that Christ died for “my” sins according to the scriptures; and trust with reliance that He can and will save me, must be produced prior to baptism or it’s an empty ritual.

      Alexander Campbell wrote: “Baptism has NO ABSTRACT EFFICACY. Without

      PREVIOUS FAITH in the blood of Christ and DEEP and unfeigned REPENTANCE before God. NEITHER immersion in water or any other ACTION, can secure the blessings of peace and pardon.” See the Christian Baptist/College Press.

      The preacher announces the wonderful works of God in Christ. He is to reason, state, illustrate and prove the great gospel facts.

      If a convert’s faith is centered in the One True Church, or all the true doctrines that separate us from false religion, any plan of salvation, or his own merit at baptism, . . . including all the above added together – rather, than the Lord Jesus Christ “for” the remission of sins” . . . then, I’m afraid no sins are remitted, no robe is issued and no addition to the Kingdom has been made. Acts 2:22-47. Even common law recognized “a pardon must be accepted to come into effect.” The principal was upheld by the U. S. Supreme Court in 1933 in a death penalty case where pardon was refused.

Alexander Campbell, “Often insisted that mere intellectual assent to gospel facts is NOT saving faith. The Faith that Saves, he urged, IS NOT belief or any doctrine or truth, abstractly, but belief in Christ; TRUST or CONFIDENCE in HIM as a PERSON.”

The evangelist or preacher was not to announce Christianity but rather Christ. Such a subject is teachable and must be taught immediately after baptism in the ancient order of things, but, it is not preachable.

Brethren, hearken unto the words of God, through the prophet: Jeremiah 31:31 ff “. . . they shall not teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother: know the Lord . . .” the Church of Christ, the Kingdom of God will not be a tribal religion like Judaism, you can’t be born and raised up in it! But rather, you must first: know the Lord (Jesus), in order, to be “born again” John 3:3ff and then . . . “the Lord added unto the Church daily such as should be saved”.

This backwards way of trying to teach man into the Kingdom produces a seed that “the fouls of the air” soon “take away what he hath”. The potential convert is left in a kind of limbo . . . climbing up some other way” . . . Cf: Matthew 7:13 ff. O, he comes to God in his religion and his own righteousness . . . but not through the Christ . . . Cf: John 14:6. Just as the sect of circumcision-ists and Jews, he displays a “zeal for God but not according to knowledge” and he totally “rejects the righteousness of God”. At the banquet, the King will ask: “Friend, how came thou in hither not having a wedding

garment Cf: Matthew 22:1-14. Brethren, these things are not the result of preaching” . . .Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.”

Our own children are not hearing the gospel message in a 15 – 20 minute “ lesson”. Our places of worship should never resemble a ritualistic temple made with hands, we must “ worship in spirit and in truth”. Look at what is happening to the denominations’ buildings all over the world. Even some of ours are empty and dead . . . and are being sold off. Whatever became of the great debater . . . the Gospel meetings that began the restoration movement? Paul preached till midnight and we can’t go till 1 minute after 12 because everyone wants to rush to the cafeteria or to watch the game during football season.

We would like to remind you that: Beginning in 1801 Barton Stone preached revivals. In those days revivals began on Saturday. People brought their own provisions. Nearby Church folks supplied additional food. People slept in their wagons or on the ground. A few had tents. Once the service began, they didn’t stop, continuing night and day until food ran out and people were utterly exhausted.

Any evangelist whose “salt” HAS NOT “lost it’s savor” understands that the heart of man must be dealt with first, it is the goal, the object of the preaching to stir up, till, and prepare the ground (human heart) for the planting of the seed (word). Cf Matthew 13:l ff.

The Hard Hearted Hearer: Matthew 13:19 ff. The intellectual disciple embraces legalism and has distorted thinking about God, ritualism, customs and practices. NO REPENTANCE. Those who think they are well MUST be convinced they need a physician too or the result is: MARBLE HEARTED disciples, who have their own ideas about God. BAPTIZED with a baptism of holy fervor & inquisition, rather than “remission of sins”. They refuse to follow the light they have been given. 1 John 3:11-12. NO LOVE. The path of their HEART is hardened into bedrock rock from the past pains and hurts of: hoof, foot and wheel and the seed cannot take root. Hebrew 4:1-16 & 10:38. This kind of disciple has never allowed Jesus to deal with their hard hearted emotions (John 6:37) or their will, life’s daily practices. Cf: Hebrews 12:15, Ephesians 4:31-32 and Luke 6:46-49. (Please note these stay in the Congregation.)

The Shallow Hearted Hearer: Matthew 13:20-21. A heart of BEDROCK covered over with a thin layer of soil. A joyful beginning but the root soon reaches the bedrock of the heart. No nourishment (intellect – 1 Peter 2:2) and when the hot sun of problems arises, no will to be a doer of the word. James 1:22. We must LOVE God with our minds, our lives and our feelings. (These stay until V:20-21).

The Crowded Hearted Hearer: The Carnal Sinful Disciple. God is demanding of us absolute loyalty and first place in everything in our lives. The thorns are sin. This disciple has no will to practice Christianity in his life. (1 John 3:1-3). God wants to reign supreme in our heart. (Exodus 20:3). Can you honestly thank God for your pleasures in life while you are doing them? (James 1:17). If not, they are sin (1 John 5:17) ( Some hide, some leave.)

The Christian Heart: A True Disciple of Christ. Luke 8:15 amplifies Matthew’s account “honest and good hearted, having heard the word, keep it” . . . . “Understand”.

(1 Kings 3:9). FRUIT: Both SOULS (John 15:1-8) and Christian Character. “By their fruits ye shall now them: “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance . . .” (Galatians 5:22).

False Preachers & Deceitful Workers

Jesus warned: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them BY THEIR FRUIT”. (Matthew 7:15 ff/ The fruit of a Christian life is both SOULS and Christian Character, i.e. our sanctification. Therefore, a Christian fruit inspector will inspect preachers and evangelists in these two areas IN ADDITION TO HIS DOCTRINES.

The out-word appearances of doctrine, can be and is often deceiving.

Souls: It is awful hard to understand how a preacher or evangelist thinks he can go to heaven alone and not be a soul winner? Those who are separated to preaching the gospel, should preach to the lost and show “the way” how they too might be fruitful Cf: John 15. Get out of the building and find some body, yourself AND YOU WILL NO LONGER BE IN THIS CATEGORY. If you are not in it, please help some poor preacher who is, he just doesn’t know how.

The Levitical Priesthood received for every week of service in the temple, twenty-three weeks in which they had no appointed work. They were “spoiled children” who became lazy bums . . . All professional priesthoods develop the idea that their job is “caretaker of the temple” (building) and their time should be spent in preparation for “Sunday’s lesson”. . . . the he should already be prepared for: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you”.

Sanctification: The fruits of the spirit are: “love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, temperance, faith . . .” Sanctification and holiness are absolutely necessary in the Christian life. A change takes place, in which the true believer is transformed by God from one stage of glory to glory, into the very image of Christ. (11 Corinthians 5 & 6). When men failed to teach: “follow peace with all men and holiness without which, no man shall see the Lord”, (Hebrews 12:14) the end result was Gnosticism and perversion. We hesitate to mention, but it must be done, (in case any have gone to sleep at the switch) the depths of sin and sexual perversion that this false teaching developed into … but, the discovery of the gnostic Coptic papyri in 1945 near Nag Hammadi in Egypt has revealed the utter depravity of the work of these deceitful workers. (If you must, see Agrello/the Christian myth, but be ready to get sick to your stomach). Paul warned of those who: “. . . creep into houses and lead captive silly women . . . (11 Corinthians 3:1-9 & Cf 11 Peter 2 & 3.).

Legalism: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whoso\ever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace”. (Galatians 5:4.) Legalism is Pharisee (ism) and catholic (ism) under another name. Ask your preacher to please define the word “justify”, and see how many take you to Romans 3:21 through 5:1 and discuss “RECKONED, COUNTED & IMPUTED” RIGHTEOUSNESS”. In fact, how many sermons have you heard on this subject? We have heard thousands of lessons on what faith is NOT taken from James 2:19 but never one on what FAITH IS! It’s all right brethren to preach & teach about these subjects, in fact the prophet specifically through the Spirit said we would: (Psalms 22:25 ff, 30-31, Cf Romans 1:16-17 & 3:21 – 6:17.

The recent publication of 4 Q MMT “Miqsat Ma’ase Ha-Torah” “is nothing short of revolutionary:. See Abegg/BAR 12-94. This text received its name from its use of this phrase. The papists HAVE HID THIS TEXT FOR ALMOST 50 YEARS AND HAVE PURPOSELY LEAKED A FALSE TRANSLATION: FOR THE PAST 10 YEARS. “Some precepts of the torah” Catholic words leaked in 1984. A LITERAL example of NEWS-SPEAK, that may have caused George Orwell to roll over in his grave . . .

A simple concordance of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, leaves little doubt that the Greek equivalent is “ergon nomou”. “Ergon nomou” is commonly translated in English versions of the New Testament as: “Works of the law”. This well known Pauline phrase is found in Romans 3:20, 28 and Galatians 2:16. 3:2. Looking at Galatians and Romans in light of 4 Q MMT, it is now clear Paul is using the same terminology to fight legalistic teachers who still thought they could be “justified” by the “blood of bulls and goats”. This shows Paul was not “jousting with windmills or fighting a straw man” when he took on those legalists who taught that the “works of the law” could be: ‘RECKONED for RIGHTEOUSNESS’. Catholic and liberal scholars have long suggested that Paul misunderstood Jewish teaching of his day. BECAUSE the phrase “works of the law” NO WHERE appears in the foundational books of rabbinic Judaism of the first and second centuries A.D. Only in the letters of Paul & MMT are these words found. MMT provides the “smoking gun” and shows Paul fighting sectarian legalistic theology from Qumran which had entered the Church. See DSS Translated/Brill/1994.

Some of the seeds of these TYPES of TARES are still around, but we can’t root them up without the wheat being destroyed also.

A View of the Christian Ministry – Acts 20:17-35

Rather than parting as some brethren so often do, with their elders . . . every Christian evangelist, should strive to conduct him-self in such a way, so that when he leaves a congregation, he can preach a parting sermon just like Paul. Paul is a beautiful example of a pure heart and clean hands who can speak these words in boldness . . . without bragging in his use of ‘I” this or . . . “I” that . . . his statements are all true and please note his elders are sorry to see him go rather than . . .

20:17-21 Review of Paul’s Three Years’ Ministry.

18-19 The Gentleness of his ministry.

(a) Humility – “lowliness of mind”.

(b) Tender-hearted – “with tears”.

(c) Patient in “trials” . . .”.

20:20-21a The integrity of his ministry.

          Neglected no truth. (20a)

          Neglected no sphere “public or private”. (20b)

          Neglected no race or class, Jew or Gentile. (21a)

20:21b The Message of his ministry:

“Repentance toward God . . . faith in Jesus”.

20:22-27 His Present Position.

20:22 Paul’s present purpose – to go to Jerusalem

20:23 Paul’s present prospect – bonds and afflictions.

20:24 Paul’s final purpose – to fulfill his ministry.

20:25 A painful feeling – “you shall see my face no more”.

20:26-27 All Responsibilities discharged.

          “pure from the blood of all men”.

          For “the whole counsel of God” declared

The Christian Ministry is a Ministry of Love & Service –

      Matthew 20:25ff & 25:31ff

“Christianity if emphatically, super-eminently -- yea, transcendently

is the religion of love’ – Thomas Campbell.

The Work of Shepherds

The one qualified to be a shepherd is the one doing the work of a shepherd, who has the desire and fits the other exact scriptural qualifications. They are not too grievous, we are not electing a pope but rather servants of the Servant. Just Christian family men who are “apt to teach” and “not a novice” . . . etc.

Shepherds or Pastors: In 1 Peter 5:4, Peter exhorts the “elders” to do the work of shepherds. In Ephesians 4:11 the term ‘pastors; used interchangeably with shepherd. In Bible times a shepherd was responsible for the sheep. He brought them into the sheep fold at night and laid his own body across the door . . . So a sheep couldn’t get out or a wolf get - in the fold. Day to day and house to house” he was responsible for the sheep … teaching them whatsoever things I have commanded you . . .” Matthew 28:18ff. Therefore, teaching the actual words & doctrine of Jesus Himself is foremost and Christ, Himself is the foundation that the “apostle’s doctrine” was built upon … Today the gospels, the teaching of Jesus is in great need of being elevated in our thirst for truth. They need to be returned to their proper first place, in our quest for “living water”. There is surely a reason for Matthew, Mark, Luke & John was placed first in the codex (s) by the early fathers. Colossians 1:13-18 ‘the preeminence? or could it be, they recognized that this was God Himself speaking to the whole Christian age through His Son? Cf: Hebrews 1:1-2.

Fellowship of converts was put right after “apostle’s doctrine” i.e. teaching, but before “breaking of bread and prayers” Cf: Acts 2:42. Fellowship is not cookies and tea once a month. Besides doctrine (teaching) Christianity was “the way” of life for the early Church. Shepherds and pastors are responsible for feeding the flock the word of God. You would not feed and water your dog Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night . . . The SPCA would be outraged! So it is with the flock. Some sheep can be trusted to read, study and pray without supervision . . . some are weaker and require daily bread for they wander off and wolf . . . Each congregation should have a proper ratio of shepherds vs. sheep to avoid wearing these servants out with too much work. After all . . . “they must give account . . .” for they watch for your souls” Heb. 13:17.

Elders or Presbyters: Both of these words appear in our English translations. They are from the same Greek word, meaning one who is older. Read these passages where these terms appear: Acts 14:23, Acts 20:17, 1 Timothy 4:14. Some of this meaning can be found in 1 Timothy 3:6 “not a novice” Not young or just a beginner in the faith. An older man can be a novice too . . .

Bishops or Overseers: Comes from the Greek word epis-kop-os. A very in lighting study of this word shows that the translators had to choose another English word every time episkopos was used in which an elder or shepherd was not meaning. What word did they choose to use? Visited - Luke 1:68, visited – Luke 7:16, visited – Matthew 25:35-36, over – Acts 6:3, visit - Acts 7:23, visit - Acts 15:14, visit - Acts 15:36, visitest – Hebrews 2:6 and visit – James 1:27. This would seem to indicate visiting the flock of God is one of the chief duties of Bishops and Overseers. The Roman Catholic system cheats the sheep out of personal visitation because no Roman bishop can visit the people of his Dioceses.

Bishops or Overseers, Both of these words appear in our English translations. They are from the same Greek word meaning: one who is over in authority and responsibility. Read these verses where these terms appear: Acts 20:28 and Titus 1:7. How do we know that ‘bishop’ or ‘overseer” designates the same person that the word “elder” does? Read Titus 1:5 and 7. In verse 5 Paul speaks of ‘elders’ and in verse 7 ‘bishops’ when referring to the same class of persons. Also compare Acts 20:17 and 28. The “elders” in verse 17 that Paul called to him, he also calls “overseer” in verse 28. Therefore, they also are used interchangeably.

Why are three classes of terms and six English words used to refer to one office? The first class, shepherds and pastors beautifully describes their work as shepherds or pastors of God’s flock (His people). The second class: elders or presbyters speaks of their person as regarding their age and Christian experience. The third class refers to their being superintendents of the congregation.

The Shepherds field or place of service: The New Testament teaches that shepherds or elders are local servants, serving in local congregations. The Bible does not teach that shepherds should be in another city, or over a group of churches . . . (1 Peter 5:1-2) “the elders . . . among you”; (Acts 14:23) ‘ordained elders in every church” and Titus 1:5 “ordain elders in every city” . . . because, a city only had one Congregation then.

A Plurality of Shepherds or Elders: A congregation when set in order is to have a plurality of shepherds or elders. Wherever the scripture speaks of the office, every time it is in the plural form. Cf: Acts 14:23, 20:17, Titus 1:5, 1 Peter 5:1, Philippians 1:1 & James 5:14. Therefore, at least two elders are necessary but a congregation may set apart as many shepherds as are fully qualified and the congregation desires.

Qualifications for Elders or Shepherds: The following passages state the qualifications for elders: 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9 and 1 Peter 5:1-4. For the convenience of this paper, all three passages are being collected into one list of qualifications. They are also cataloged as “Negative” (those things that he must not be) and as “Positive” (those things he must be).

Negative: (1) “not given to wine” (2) “not a striker” (34) “not covetous” (4) “not a novice” (5) “not self willed” (6) “not soon angry”.

Positive: (1) “The husband of one wife” (2) “vigilant” (3) “sober” (4) “of good behavior” (5) “given to hospitality” (6) “patient” (7) “a lover of good men” (8) “just” (9) “holy” (10) “blameless (11) “temperate” (12) “apt to teach” (13) “of a good report of them without” and (14) “one that ruleth well his own house”.

Remember Paul said” “a bishop MUST be” what he describes in these qualifications – 1 Timothy 3:2.

How Elders and Shepherds are placed into office:

The qualifications for elders laid down in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-11 by inspiration of the Holy Spirit MUST be heeded. Please note again that 1 Timothy 3:2 says a bishop or elder “MUST be” such and such a man. Therefore, one who does not measure up to these qualifications is not scripturally qualified to be an elder.

Study Acts 14:21-23. It is God who gives the ability of leadership. So New Testament leadership in the churches was a gift of God-given ability which was to be recognized; rather, than an office of political power to be installed. Spiritual gifts are the gift of God; when men recognize the God-given leaders they “elect” them and “appoint” them to their God-given functions.

The word translated “appoint” is xelpotovew. It is compounded of xelp = hand and relvw = stretch. The word literally means to stretch out the hand to vote. But Josephus used the word once of the appointment of one without regard to the choice of an assembled group. The only New Testament use is II Corinthians 8:19 where a “brother” was “appointed” by the churches.

Was this appointment in Acts 14:21 ff by the apostles or the local church? Probably the church “elected” and the apostles “appointed”.

        The root meaning suggests a vote by a show of hands.

        In verse 23 there are three verbal ideas, “having appointed, … having prayed … they committed them …” Although a noun, “fasts” is also used. Are we to suppose that only the two apostles prayed and fasted? On the contrary. The whole congregation entered into the entire proceedings.

        In the light of how the “appointments” were made in Acts 6:2-6, we assume that to be the pattern followed here.

The apostles presented the matter, stated guide lines, had a vote taken and then amidst praying and fasting, laid their hands on the in a formal ‘appointment”. This procedure stabilized the churches under competent local leadership.

Today, the actual appointing of elders is in the hands of the congregation and/or the evangelist, who acts as spokesman for the congregation. Paul left Titus, an evangelist, in Crete for the expressed purpose of appointing elders, Cf: Titus 1:5. Acts 14:23 shows that Paul and Barnabas appointed for the congregations the ones to be their elders. Especially does the Revised Version bear out the Greek on Acts 14:23. All things must be done decently and in order. Therefore, the evangelist is only operating as spokesman for and with the blessing of the congregation. He has no special authority other than granted him by the members of the congregation. Inasmuch as it is a serious thing to appoint elders and elders are to be of “good report among them without” (the unsaved world), the evangelist should make careful investigation. Those nominated by individual members, should be submitted by the evangelist to the entire congregation for their approval.

A reasonable period of time should be allowed for anyone objecting to a brother; so they can fulfill the requirements of Matthew 18:10-17. If the matter is not then resolved, then they should bring the matter to the evangelist’s attention. If the matter cannot be resolved privately to the glory of Christ, then it must be brought to the congregation to decide.

Biblical Example of a Congregational Meeting:

Study Acts 15:7 ff . . . Verse seven opens, “And after there had been much debate . . .” This reveals part of a planned strategy so that an orderly meeting could be conducted. Every person was given ample opportunity to say his piece, to blow off his steam, to argue his convictions. This issue was not settled by authoritative fiat of apostolic office. That is not the way God exercises his authority. There were no ex-cathedra pronouncements. There was not even to be the semblance of coercion. The gospel is not a law to be forced.

The Holy Spirit works through the church and through the debates of the church; as well as through individual and specialized “officers”. So before the assigned speakers of the prepared program marshaled their arguments, free, open, vigorous debate offered a variety of viewpoints. This forestalled criticism that the meeting was “rigged” and it only sought support for the final conclusions. It was sound psychology, sound democracy and good Christianity to allow the utmost differences to be aired. The TRUTH can STAND THE LIGHT.

The evangelist and/or congregation, having satisfied them selves that the nominated are qualified, and desirous of the work, formally sets apart the brothers to that work. If at any time the evangelist believes that an elder becomes disqualified and is worth of accusation at the mouth of two or three witnesses, then the evangelist must go to him according to Matthew 18:10-17. Every Christian MUST be treated with respect if we desire to “lay hold on the hope set before us.” If the problem cannot be resolved privately, it must be taken to the congregation and, if right and necessary, he must be removed from his place of authority by the evangelist, with the congregation’s blessing(1 Timothy 5:19-20). However, an evangelist is warned about laying hands suddenly upon an elder, inasmuch as he may be misinformed: (1 Timothy 5:22).

Every Christian must back up the elders and shepherds with his offerings and prayers. Those elders who spend their time laboring in the word and doctrine are to have their financial maintenance thereby: 1 Timothy 5:17-18. PETER WAS A PREACHER AND AN ELDER.

Today thousands of full time paid, properly supported and maintained . . . employed by Christ . . . with no other jobs . . . faithful shepherds are needed in the kingdom of God . . . to help those unprofitable servants who are doing their very best!

We don’t need to change the elderships in the Churches of Christ. We need to help and support those faithful brethren who are following in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd. We should encourage all of the brethren who are qualified to desire and do the work of a simple shepherd.

The Work of Elders & Shepherds:

We are dealing here with the work as regards being elders. In a few words, they were to be the pastors, the shepherds of the church, which is God’s flock. This includes teaching (Acts 20:28); 1 Peter 5:2; 1 Timothy 5:17. This is why they MUST BE “apt to teach”, protecting the church from false teachers and internal eruptions (Acts 20:29-31; Titus 1:9-11; and overseeing the church in spiritual matters. (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2, 3; 1 Timothy 5:17.

As can be seen, we are LISTING in general only the main duties of the elders. Needless to say, very few elders today are doing this work. Most of them “hire” a preacher to move in and do it for them.

However, if preachers do the work that God has given them, they will be out reaching people and communities who have not yet been brought to Christ and will be setting congregations in order. God did not ordain that those separated to the preaching of the gospel should “settle down in a community” and do the work He ordained for elders to do.

God’s Judgment of the Old Testament Shepherds

Prior to the captivity of the state of Israel by Assyria, false shepherds received a ringing indictment from Isaiah the prophet. Read and study Isaiah 56:10-12. Indeed it is because these false shepherds will not do their job that Christ must come and do it for them. Study Isaiah 40:1-11& 46:1-4 Cf: – God “carrying them” Cf: Luke 15:5. But Israel would not . . . Some of these false shepherds were drunks. There is very little danger of our elders falling into this sin today . . . but the other crime pointed out by Isaiah is the desire for “gain” and apparently even today the abundance of material things could become a problem . . . we are richly blessed above all the peoples on the face of the earth.

We can understand what God is going to do in the future if we look at what He has done in history and what inspired scripture says, He will do . . . The Old Testament is a shadow of things to come. When Israel was blessed, they turned to material things and pleasure. Each time God the Father chastised them and disciplined them. Will He do differently today?

Read and study Jeremiah 23:1-6. Jeremiah the prophet is sent to Jerusalem and Judah prior to its destruction in 586BC. God has an indictment against the false pastors;

Verse 2:

        “ye have scattered My flock” – (sin of commission)

        driven them away” – (sin of commission)

        “have not visited them” – (sin of OMISSION)

Just prior to Jerusalem being taken by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the prophet says: . . . their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away ...”

(Jeremiah 50:17). But Judah would not . . . and wrath and destruction followed. God thinks shepherds should VISIT the lost, SEEK and find the scattered sheep of His fold. It is very doubtful that He has changed His mind on the matter. Cf: Luke chapter 15 and Luke 19:10. Today, should we commit the same sin or omit the same duty, how will God deal with us?

Read and study Ezekiel Chapter 34. Ezekiel the great prophet of the captivity of Israel and Judah which we discussed above . . . is himself a captive in a strange land. “The word of the Lord came unto Ezekiel and for us to understand the time period that God is speaking of, we need to first understand verses 22-24. David has been dead almost 500 years and God says: “Therefore, will I save MY flock”. The coming Son of David, the Suffering Servant of God, the Messiah is going to come and do the work that these false shepherds and pastors won’t do . . . Therefore, we are talking about the condition of the shepherds in Israel during the time of Christ and when He had to personally deal with them. The “woe be to the shepherds” vs. 2 is followed by the same old problems and attitudes God has dealt with before:

        “that do feed themselves”. What is food? The word of God.

        “should not the shepherds feed the flock?” – not teaching people.

        “ye eat the fat”. What are the true sacrifices of God?

A broken and contrite heart maybe? Cf: Luke 7:29-50.

        “ye kill them that are fed”. Cf: Matthew 21:33:-46.

        “ye fed not the flock” Cf: John chapter 10.

        “the diseased ye have not strengthened”. Cf: Luke 5:12-39.

        “neither have you healed that which was sick”. Cf: Mark 5:1 ff.

        “neither have you bound up that which was broken” Cf: Luke 10:25ff.

        “neither have you bought again that which was driven away”.

        “neither have ye sought that which was lost”. Cf: Luke 15

        “with force and cruelty have ye ruled them”. Matthew 23 & 1 Peter 5:1f

Please continue in study in this 34th chapter of Ezekiel.

As we continue this thought through history we find Zechariah the prophet of the restoration again seeing another destruction for Jerusalem. Read and study Zechariah 11:1-17.

V: 1-6 The Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by Titus of Rome is foretold.

Cf: Daniel 9:24 ff and the previous Cf: Matthew 21:33 ff

V:7 “and I will feed the flock of slaughter”. Cf: John 6:1-71

V8 “three shepherds also I cut off.” (which three is unknown, but Josephus tells of the high priest (wicked shepherd) Ananus and others, the villains of Acts 23-25 were dragged from the sewers, where they had hidden, their bodies torn apart and slaughtered by a zealot popular revolt. What an end to the Ceremonially Clean, Ritualistically Proper Doctors of the law and Priest-craft . . . and his sons: In the summer of 66 AD Eleazar, a son or grandson of the high priest, put him self at the head of a group of rebels and took the temple. Another Menahem appeared in the temple in royal array and was attacked by Eleazar. See More Light on D.S.S./Burrows. Why the Ananus family? This family has appeared before in scripture. Cf: John 11:47 ff, 18:13, Matthew 27:19-25, Acts 4:5 ff and Acts 23-25. The grandfather’s tomb has been recently discovered at THE PLACE KNOW HISTORICALLY AS AKELDAMA. The Bible says the priests “brought with them” (money). Ananus chose the potters field for himself and other beautiful tombs. The hypocrite tried to glory himself that one was for “strangers”…only wanted to help the poor no doubt? Amazing insight for us who are believers. In their final resting place both Judas Acts 1:15ff and Ananus still cannot divest themselves of the “rewards of their iniquity”, i.e.: Akeldama, the field of blood, became their grave, Judas burst & Ananus’s body was thrown out by Romans.

See Leen & Ritmeyer V20N6 BAR/12/94 & Cf: related Bible verses.

          V:10 “break my covenant.. Cf Jeremiah 31:31ff, Hebrew 9:15-28 & Col. 2:14

V:11-13 The prophecy of Judas confirms the reason for this . . .

V:14 The destruction again foretold. Cf Matthew 24:1 ff

V:15 Now God gives us the picture of a “foolish shepherd”:

                “shall not visit those that be cut off (the perishing).

                “Neither shall he seek the young one (that has strayed).

                “nor heal that, is broken”. The priests were the doctors!

                “Nor feed that, that standeth still”. Feed the flock with the word.

                “he shall eat the flesh of the fat”. What sacrifices does he devour? Could it be those trying to come to God?

                “tear their claws (sheep hoofs) in pieces”. Cf: Gal 5:15.

                “the idol (lazy) shepherd that leaveth (alone) the flock.

                “the sword shall be upon is arm” (His arm of strength to save himself and escape God as he thinks will be cut off.)

                “and upon is right eye . . . shall be utterly darkened” Cf: Matthew 6:22 ff, 15:14. Ephesians 48 and I John 2:11.

Considering what God had done in history, study Paul’s charge to the elders:

Acts 20:17-35.


20:28 Motives to duty. Cf: to Ephesians 4:30-5:2 and I Corinthians 13.

            The Holy Spirit made them elders. It is God who chooses

            Their trust purchased by precious price. 1 Peter 1:18-19/

20:29-30 Perils ahead.

            Ravaging wolves shall attack the flock.

            Some from within will prove false.

20:31 Be watchful as Paul gave an example.

20:33-35 Serve with unselfish motive

            Paul’s labor an example.

            The teaching of Jesus so enjoins.

The shepherding and pasturing of the flock is of primary importance.

God has not changed His mind about what is right in the Kingdom!

The extremely low wages of “double honor” should be readily paid by each and every saint to these good men, at all times. Beseech them humbly and entreat them as parents when you disagree with them. In subjection to them you will peace for your hearts. Hebrew 13:17.

* * * * THE WORK OF EVERY SAINT * * * *

Every member of the church has a task to perform. Christ’s departure from earth was like a Man taking a journey who committed His goods to His servants – TO EVERY MAN HIS WORK (Mark 13:34). If EVERY MEMBER does not perform the particular work assigned to him by Christ, the church will fall just that far short of carrying out the great commission. With reference to carrying out the great commission, here are some of the things every Christian is to do:

Every Christian must be strong in the Lord himself. If he isn’t, much time and attention will have to be spent on him that should be expended upon winning the lost to Christ. Furthermore, he must be the kind of a brother to other Christians that he ought to be in order to build up the church spiritually. (Hebrews 3:13)

Every Christian must be a proclaimer of the gospel. If every creature is to hear, every Christian must tell of Christ. Every member of the dispersed Jerusalem church went forth proclaiming the Word. (Acts 8:1,4). Revelation 22:17 says that the ‘bride” is to say “come”, and we understand that the bride is the church. The armored soldier with the Word of God as the sword described by Paul was a description of what the Ephesians Christians were to be. Therefore, every Christian must know the Word of God and be prepared to go forth and speak to men of the saving Christ. Without this, the church can be but weak and struggling for existence, whereas it should be conquesting and triumphant.

Every Christian must back up the preaching of the gospel with his tithes, offerings and prayers. The Old Testament priests (the public servant in religious matters) were given no inheritance in the land of Canaan. They were to live of the tithes and offerings of the people of God. (Numbers 18:20-24). This is alluded to when Paul wrote the Corinthians that those preaching the gospel should have their living of the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:13,14). Even those elders who spend their time laboring in word and doctrine are to have their financial maintenance thereby. (1 Timothy 5:17, 18). Then Paul called upon the congregations to pray for those who were preaching God’s Word that it might have a mighty victory. (Ephesians 6:18-20; Colossians 4:2-4; II Thessalonians 3:1,2). If every supposed Christian would bring his tithes and offerings and would pray, what a boost to New Testament evangelism would be given! Because “we give at Church” IN NO WAY RELIEVES US OF THE RESPONSIBILITY TO DO PERSONAL WORK AND feed the poor, the maimed and the halt and blind”, the orphans, the widow, the hungry, the broken, the downtrodden, the oppressed . . . along with the meek and the faithful.

The Priesthood:

One of the first heresies that developed in the church was the doctrine of the separate priesthood. Instead every Christian is a King & Priest I Peter 2:5-9 History has proved the words of Jesus true: “the hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep: (John 10:13) . . .indeed in the times of the apostles some “preached Christ for gain and envy”.

Jesus is King of Kings NOW: The Carnation of Jesus to King and His seat at Good’s right hand is an event that has already taken place in history . . . almost 2000 years ago. Cf: Daniel 7:13 ff; Acts 1:9-11; Acts 2:30 & Acts 7:55-56.



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