The Joshua Victor Theory

Pastor and Flock

April 22, 2013

Sermon on Acts 20:17-35 for the 4th Sunday of Easter, about Paul's farewell speech and commission to the elders (pastors) of the churches of Ephesus. A reflection on the pastor's duties toward the congregation.

Sermon Talking Points

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1. What instructions does Acts 20:17-35 contain for pastors? What worthy example did St. Paul set in his own conduct of his ministry among the Ephesians? The New Testament uses a variety of descriptive terms for the one preaching office, without any sense of hierarchy or rank in power: Presbyters (elders); shepherds (pastor); bishop (overseer); evangelist; teacher; apostles; prophets; etc.

2. Read Acts 20:26-27. What does it mean to declare the “whole counsel of God?” What is the danger of false teaching, and why is it vital that sound teaching be maintained? 1 Timothy 4:1-2; 6:3-10; 2 Timothy 3:12-17.

3. What gave Paul the confidence that his work in the church didn’t ultimately depend on him, and that the church would “survive” without him, under the ministry of other pastors? What “weapon” did they have against false teaching? 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Ephesians 6:10-20.

4. What are some of the reasons a pastor might teach or visit from house to house? Do you have a need, or would you be open to a visit from your pastor(s)?

5. Whose blood was the purchase price of the church? Acts 20:28. What does that say about the identity of Jesus? How does that supply the forgiveness and salvation by which the church lives?

**Note: although the exact wording of the quotation of Jesus in Acts 20:35 is found nowhere in the Gospels, the theme is expressed in many places: Matthew 10:8; Luke 6:38; 11:9-13; John 13:34. Why is there greater blessing in giving than receiving?

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