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
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 . . . . . . . . . . . .
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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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. . . . . . . . . . . . .
A Spiritual House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A Holy Priesthood. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A Chosen Generation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A Royal Priesthood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A Holy Nation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A Peculiar People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Church Portrayed in The New Testament was an.
Evangelistic Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
The Gospel Spread from City to City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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 . . . . . . . . .
They All Shared in This Noble Work. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
These Consecrated Efforts Converted Thousands . . . . . . . . . . .
How We Can Help in Bringing Lost World to Christ. . . . . . . . . .
Those With Ability Should Preach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Everyone Should Do Personal Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Everyone Should Pray for Those They are Trying to Convert . . . . .
(ff: means the verses following in context, Cf: means compare this
` 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.”
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
Let us now study the threefold Division of Labor in the Commission:
The New Testament Division of Labor in Carrying Out the
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
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
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
Euanggelistees the evangelist, euaggelion, the gospel and
euaggelizoo, I preach the gospel, frequently occur in the Greek
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.
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
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
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
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,
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.
The Christian Ministry is a Ministry of Love & Service –
“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
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
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
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
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
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;
“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
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
“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
“neither have you bound up that which was broken” Cf: Luke
“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
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
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: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
“Neither shall he seek the young one (that
“nor heal that, is broken”. The priests were the
“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
THE CONTINUING RESPONSIBILITY of SHEPHERDS:
20:28 Motives to duty. Cf: to Ephesians 4:30-5:2 and I Corinthians 13.
20:29-30 Perils ahead.
20:31 Be watchful as Paul gave an example.
20:33-35 Serve with unselfish motive
The shepherding and pasturing of the flock is of primary
God has not changed His mind about what is right in the
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.
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
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.