JESUS AND AUTONOMY: Acts 20:28-38

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SCRIPTURE

Acts 20:28-38 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. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38 being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship. 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. 

BIG IDEA

Within Paul’s final teaching to the elders in Ephesus before heading to Jerusalem, we learn at least five things. First, we need pastors who pay careful attention to themselves. This isn’t only something pastors do personally; this is something the team of pastors must help one another with. No pastor should ever be without accountability or community. Second, we need pastors who will pay careful attention to us, shepherding and overseeing. We are not saved by the church; we’re saved by Jesus. Yet Jesus saves into His church. We are not likened to bears or any other autonomous animal. We are likened to sheep, and sheep flourish in flocks. Third, we need pastors who will fight off wolves. Not only is lone-wolf Christianity miles from Biblical sanity, wolves are actually depicted as dangerous devourers of the flock. Ultimate wolf-signs are twisting the word of God and wanting to draw away disciples after themselves. Fourth, you need pastors who model hard work and generosity. Fifth, and finally, we need pastors who are always pointing us to the gospel. Your ultimate need is to be continually taught and reminded of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for the sheep (John 10:10). The Good Shepherd is how you are ultimately going to be built up; how you are going to receive an inheritance; He is how you are set apart from sin to holiness. May God gives us the grace to trust and obey. 

DISCUSSION

1. Study through Acts 20:28-38 together. What stands out to you and why? 

2. How does having a plurality of pastors help us obey the first part of verse 28? 

3. Why do you think many today have such an issue with authority of any kind? Can you think of any examples? 

4. Why do you think many who profess to be Christians are not members of a local church? Is there anything in the Bible to support this? Can you think of any reasons why it’s important to belong to and serve a local church? 

5. What are the ultimate signs of someone being a wolf? What do those signs mean, exactly? 

6. How is the Good Shepherd so much great than wolves and even greater than loving pastors? 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • MEN’S WORKOUT / BIBLE STUDY (second and fourth Mondays of every month from 6–7am) – The Gospel Rescue Mission is hosting a men’s workout and Bible study. Pastor Brett will be there along with every other willing and able man. 

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