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THE FUNCTION OF SHEPHERDS
Teaching the Faith
The apostles are the models for church elders, just as Jesus is the model for all church leaders.
- Promoting healthy belief and thus healthy believers (Titus 1:9; 2:1; 3:8).
- Guarding the gospel against different doctrine (Acts 20:30; Titus 1:11).
- Knowing, preaching, and teaching the faith (1 Timothy 3:6; 5:17).
- Ministry of word and prayer (Acts 6)
Shepherding the Flock
- Protecting the church from wolves (Acts 20:28-31). Among the wolves are those who cause dissension and strife.
- Ensuring good nutrition for the flock (John 21:15-19).
- Taking care of flock with caring authority (1 Timothy 3:4-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; Hebrews 13:17).
Consoling the Hurting
- Consoling with the consolation they have received from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
- Praying and anointing the sick and sinful (James 5:14-16) -
- Dealing with each one gently
- like a nurse caring for the sick
- like a father with his children (1 Thessalonians 2:7,11).
Encouraging Christian Formation
- Nurturing Christians as Christ is formed in them (Galatians 4:19).
- Maturing believers to grow into the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:14,15).
- Leading the believers to go beyond the basic teaching and toward maturity (Hebrews 6:1). Maturity and the fullness of Christ is the goal and purpose for all the gifts of the spirit.
- Building believers into a household of faith (1 Corinthians 3:10-18).
- Facilitating the one another ministries:
- mutually edifying (Romans 14:19);
- accepting (Romans 15:7);
- serving (Galatians 5:13);
- offering hospitality (1 Peter 4:9);
- encouraging (1 Thessalonians 5:11, 14).
- Enabling us to use gifts for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
Equipping Saints for Ministry
- Equipping Christians for their God-given ministries (Ephesians 4:12).
- Encouraging each part of the body to be joined and knit together, working properly in love (Ephesians 4:16).
- Calling saints to be good stewards of the gifts each has received (1 Peter 4:10-11).
- Promoting oneness of mind and purpose in the body through devotion to the interests of others (Philippians 2:1-5).
- Overseeing the practice of Matthew 18.
- Romans 16:17 (keep an eye on--and avoid-- those who cause dissensions and offenses).
- Offering counsel to members in conflict (1 Corinthians 6:1-6).
Restoring the Fallen
- Gently restoring those who have sinned (Galatians 6:1-5)
- Affirming love and forgiveness to the penitent (2 Corinthians 2:5-11)
- Saving some from the fire (Jude 23)
- Prayers of restoration (James 5:15)
Above adapted from material presented by Dr. Charles Siburt at the ACU Fall Lectureship 2006.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 21 January 2007
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