Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders
 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.  And when they came to him, he said to them:
“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia,  serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews;  how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,  testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there,  except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.  But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.  And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again.  Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all,  for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.  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.  I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;  and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.  Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.  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.  I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.  You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me.  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.’”
 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.  And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him,  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. (ESV)
- Biblical eldership
Knowing that he would never again visit the Ephesian church, Paul offers his final instruction and encouragement to the elders, whom he charged to shepherd the flock (Acts 20:28). This model of Church leadership is consistent throughout the entire New Testament. Local churches are to be governed by a plurality of biblically qualified men entrusted with their oversight (1 Timothy 3:1-7).
- The whole counsel of God’s Word
It is not uncommon for Christians to think that the Old Testament is not for them. After all, isn’t Christianity a New Testament thing? Well, yes and no. Jesus does show up in the New Testament, but the Old Testament from beginning to end testifies to Jesus (John 5:39). This is why Paul was committed to teaching the entire Old Testament to the early Church. The whole Bible is for the whole Church.
- Beware of the wolves
Paul knew that wolves—false teachers pretending to be Christians—would attack the Church, attempting to teach erroneous doctrine. This is exactly what happened to the Ephesian church, which lead Paul to write 1 Timothy (1 Timothy 1:18-20). The Church must always be on guard against wolves. This begins with elders who are deeply committed to sound biblical theology and unafraid to call out false teachers and teaching when necessary.
- What is the biblical model for Church leadership in this text? How is it similar to or different from other models of Church leadership you are aware of or have experienced?
- What parts of the Bible are most confusing or intimidating to you and why? What does this text teach you about those parts of the Bible?
- What is a wolf and what do they do? What wolves or false teaching is threatening the Church today?
Call to Worship
Put Not Your Trust in Princes
 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
 I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free; (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Our Father in Heaven, our sins have made a separation between us and you, our God, and have kept good from us; and by them, we have defiled our minds and consciences. Father, for the sake of our advocate Jesus Christ, blot out all our transgressions, and enter not into judgment with us. Speak peace to us, and let us hear joy and gladness. Amen.
Lord, we thank you for the love You have shown Your church. Jesus, in Your rule and reign, You have given spiritual gifts to Your body. We thank You for the blessings in giving us pastors. We are blessed by the men You have called to serve the body of Coram Deo Church. We ask that You continue to raise up biblically qualified men to serve as pastor. Right now Lord, in the days, weeks, and years that follow, Spirit be moving to prepare and call men to this service, giving them a love for Your word, a gift to communicate it, and a fervent and bold disposition to proclaim the glory of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Father, we also ask for your hand of blessing and provision over other biblically qualified pastors in Kitsap County. We live amongst a spiritual battle, give them courage and conviction to preach Christ crucified. May their pulpits be filled with Your power, Your wisdom, and Your words of grace to save and rescue sinners.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources
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