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Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for Acts 14:23

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Intro. Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey went as far as Derbe in Iconium. They are now retracing their steps as they return to their home church in Antioch of Syria. They were confirming the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and telling them that through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God. These people were new converts and they are not telling them that now that they have accepted Jesus that their troubles had come to an end.
A. The word elder in Greek is presbyturos and means an older man.
1. In the prophecy of the last days it said that the old men shall dream dreams. The Greek word translated old men is prebyturos.
2. Through the gospels there are many references to the elders. These were the older men who comprised the group known as the Sanhedrin. Their task was to keep the order.
3. Elders were appointed or ordained to be the overseers of the church. There task was to keep the order.
4. Paul told Titus to set in order the things that were necessary and ordain elders in every city as Paul had appointed him to do.
B. Paul gave to Titus the qualifications he should look for in the ordaining of elders. Titus 1:6-14: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
C. The word translated bishop is in Greek episkopas. This also means an overseer, one who guards over. His qualifications are given in 1 Timothy. 1 Tim 3:2: A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (KJV)
D. It would seem in the early church the office of an elder and a bishop were the same, however in time there seems to have developed a difference at least in the minds of men.
E. Thus two forms of church government were created which split the church.
1. You have those that adhere to the elder form of church rule or presbyteros.
a. You may well guess that when a church identifies itself as a Presbyterian church they are referring to this form of church government.
b. The church is governed by a board of elders. The church of Christ also follows this form of church government.
2. There are those to adhere to a ruling Bishops. Or the Episcopas. And as you might have guessed, the Episcopalian churches by their very name imply that this is their form of church government.
3. There was a recognized leadership in the church who were above the bishops and elders. These were the men who ordained the men to these positions.
F. Today we have men who have been ordained as ministers in the church.
1. They also act as elders or bishops.
2. Here at Calvary we have people who ask them to ordain them to the ministry.
a. In reality we cannot ordain anyone to the ministry, only God can do that.
b. Our duty is to recognize those who are obviously ordained by God and confirm with papers that we believe them to be ordained.
G. It should be noted that these men were ordained by the leadership of the church, such as Paul or Timothy, or Titus.
H. The scripture declares that God has set certain men to serve His church.
1CO 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
1. The one group has been ordained by men and the other set by God.
A. This prayer and fasting was associated with the ordaining of the elders.
1. They were wanting to leading of the Lord.
2. Jesus must be the recognized head over His body the church.
3. Thus His guidance must be sought before the ordaining of any man to these offices.
B. It is interesting that before Jesus named from among the many disciples who the twelve who were to called Apostles, He spent the night in prayer.
LUK 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
LUK 6:13 And when it was day, he called [unto him] his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
1. Since Jesus is the head of the church, no appointments or decisions should be made with consulting with Him.
2. I love it that our church board gathers for a prayer meeting before we start our business meeting.
C. They them commended them to the Lord.
1. They had to just trust in the Lord at this point, for none of them could have been that mature in the faith.
2. When God first started to reach the hippies through our House of Miracles ministry, we were growing so rapidly, and the need to open more houses was so great, we had to take young men who had just been saved a month or two and make them the elders over the houses. Believe me, we commended them to the Lord.
3. I remember after the first two weeks of ministry the first house on 19th street had so many kids that they had stacked them three high on bunks in the garage. We had 35 living in a two bedroom house. One kid was even sleeping in the bath tub.
4. John called a house meeting and announced, "We need more room in the house so we can bring in the new converts, so I ordain all of you who have been saved more than one week as evangelists. You will have to move out of the house and go out and evangelize.
5. We just had to commend them to the Lord.
D. On whom they had believed.
A. When they had first come from the Island of Crete, the first place they land was a Perga, but it seems that that were very anxious to go into the interior of the country, so there is no mention of their preaching in Perga at the first time through, but now on the way home, they preach the Word there.
1. Paul wrote Timothy
2TI 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
2. What else is their to preach by a minister of Jesus Christ.
3. There are so many today who are preaching psychology and sociality. If people want to hear those subjects, they should go back to school.
4. When they come to church they should hear the word.
5. Paul wrote,
2CO 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
B. From there they went down to Attalia, Attalia was a seaport city adjacent to Perga and there they caught a ship home to Antioch.
1. Here in Antioch was the church from which they had been called and sent forth.
2. It speaks of the work that they had fulfilled.
3. The mission was accomplished.
C. When the church had gathered together they shared with them all of the wonderful things that the Lord had done. Much as Brian has shared with us tonight, except they did not have any video to show them.
Sermon Notes for Acts 14:19 ← Prior Section
Sermon Notes for Acts 15:1 Next Section →
Sermon Notes for John 1:1 ← Prior Book
Sermon Notes for Romans 1:16 Next Book →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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