Paul suggests that we take knowledge of, recognize and appreciate our elders. But what is there we should “know” about them? First, we should know the responsibility of their office. The sacred penman wrote, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give an account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17) From this passage we see that elders “watch for your souls.” Like a shepherd watches over his sheep and becomes alarmed when one wanders from the fold, elders watch over the flock of God and become concerned when one of the flock strays away.
Good elders heed Solomon’s advice. “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.” (Proverbs 27:23) We further learn from the passage in Hebrews that elders “must give account.” They will be held accountable for the work they do in tending and overseeing the church.
Another thing that we should “know” about elders is their authority. Paul put it this way: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28) Elders do not exercise authority in matters of doctrine. Matters of doctrine have already been settled in heaven and no man has the authority to tamper, alter, pervert, or change that which God has spoken. (Revelation 22:18-19)
What have elders been authorized to do? (1) They are authorized to feed the flock. (Acts 20:28) (2) They are authorized to watch. (Hebrews 13:17) (3) They are authorized to oversee. (Acts 20:28) (4) They are authorized to admonish. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13) (5) By example, we know elders are authorized to use collected funds. (Acts 11:30) This shows that churches can cooperate or work together.
May the Lord bless you and keep you!
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