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                        "SHEPHERDS OF THE FLOCK"

                         Our Duties Toward Them

INTRODUCTION

1. In this series of studies we have considered...
   a. The terms used to describe elders
   b. The work of elders as ordained by God
   c. The qualifications of those serve in this capacity

2. In this lesson we will "turn the tables"...
   a. Instead of examining the elders, we shall examine ourselves
   b. By considering our duties toward those who are elders

[We begin by noting what should be true regarding...]

I. OUR ATTITUDES TOWARD ELDERS

   A. WE ARE TO RECOGNIZE THEM...
      1. This charge is found in 1Th 5:12
         a. Though elders are not mentioned by name
         b. They are the ones who are "over you" - cf. Ac 20:28
         c. The same word (proistemi) is used in 1Ti 3:3,4; 5:17
      2. To recognize (appreciate, NASB) them
         a. Gr., eidenai - to have regard for one, cherish, pay
            attention to (1Th 5:12) - Thayer
         b. "To have a regard and respect for. Recognize their office,
            and treat them accordingly with reverence and with
            liberality in supplying their needs (1Ti 5:17)." - JFB

   B. WE ARE TO ESTEEM THEM HIGHLY IN LOVE...
      1. This command found in 1Th 5:13
         a. The Ethiopic version renders it "honor them abundantly"
         b. This high esteem is to be accompanied with love
      2. "This esteem is due them on account of their work." - B. W.
         Johnson

   C. WE ARE TO ENTREAT THEM AS FATHERS...
      1. This duty is found in 1Ti 5:1
         a. The word "elder" (KJV, ASV) likely means any "older man"
            (NKJV)
         b. But would certainly apply to those serving as elders
      2. Elders should be approached with love and respect, as a child
         should his or her father
      3. The charge to "not rebuke" does not preclude proper correction
         a. Gr., epiplesso - to strike upon, beat upon; to chastise with
            words, to chide, upbraid, rebuke - Thayer
         b. "the Arabic version renders it, 'do not strike an elder';
            meaning not with the hand, but with the tongue, giving hard
            words, which are as heavy blows;" - Gill
         c. Yet notice what is said about erring elders in 1Ti 5:20

   D. WE ARE TO COUNT SOME WORTHY OF DOUBLE HONOR...
      1. This instruction is given in 1Ti 5:17-18
      2. Regarding elders who:
         a. "rule well" - manage their oversight effectively
         b. "labor in the word and doctrine" - through study and
            teaching
      3. Considered worthy of "double honor"
         a. "Of double respect; that is, of a high degree of respect; of
            a degree of respect becoming their age and office;" - Barnes
         b. "From the quotation which is made in 1Ti 5:18, in relation
            to this subject, it would seem probable that the apostle had
            some reference also to their support, or to what was
            necessary for their maintenance." - ibid.

   E. WE ARE TO RECEIVE NO ACCUSATION WITHOUT PROOF...
      1. This warning is given in 1Ti 5:19
      2. "No accusation of wrong or ill-doing is to be entertained
         against an elder, save before two or three witnesses."
         - Lipscomb
      3. The testimony of two or more is similar to that required in the
         Law - cf. Deut 19:15

[With such attitudes as respect, love and kindness toward elders, proper
conduct should follow.  What that conduct entails we now consider...]

II. OUR CONDUCT TOWARD ELDERS

   A. WE ARE TO BE AT PEACE...
      1. A charge given in 1Th 5:13
      2. This will certainly make the elders' work of overseeing the
         flock easier
      3. If we make their job difficult through envy, strife, and
         divisions, we will be held accountable - cf. He 13:17

   B. WE ARE TO OBEY THEM...
      1. This command is found in He 13:17
         a. Though elders are not mentioned by name
         b. They are the ones who "rule over you" - cf. 1Ti 3:4-5; 5:17
      2. To "obey"
         a. Gr., peitho - "to listen to, obey, yield to, comply with"
            - Thayer
         b. "by constantly tending upon the word preached by them, and
            hearkening to it; by receiving it with faith and love, as it
            appears agreeable to the Scriptures; for a contrary behavior
            is pernicious to souls, and highly resented by God; and by
            being present at, and joining with them in the ordinances of
            Christ, as administered by them; and by regarding their
            admonitions, counsels, and advice:" - Gill

   C. WE ARE TO BE SUBMISSIVE...
      1. This command is also found in He 13:17
         a. Though again, elders are not mentioned by name
         b. Yet they are the ones who "watch over your souls" - cf. Ac
            20:28; 1Pe 5:12
      2. To be submissive (submit to them, NASB)
         a. Gr., hupeiko - "to resist no longer, but to give way, yield
            (of combatants); metaphorically to yield to authority and
            admonition, to submit" - Thayer
         b. "not only obey in cases where no sacrifice of self is
            required, and where you are persuaded they are right (so the
            Greek, for 'obey'), but 'submit yourselves' as a matter of
            dutiful yielding, when your judgment and natural will
            incline you in an opposite direction." - JFB

   D. WE ARE TO IMITATE THEM...
      1. This admonition is given in He 13:7
         a. Again, it is presumed that elders being referenced to
         b. For they have the "rule", and also "speak the Word" - cf.
            1Ti 3:2,4,5; Tit 1:9
      2. "Whose faith follow" (NKJV)
         a. "imitate their faith" (KJV, NASB, NRSV)
         b. "try to have faith like theirs" (CEV)
      3. This passage may have reference to elders who have died
         a. "Remember...considering the outcome of their conduct"
         b. "They lived to get good and do good; they were faithful to
            their God and his cause; they suffered persecution; and for
            the testimony of Jesus died a violent death. God never left
            them; no, he never forsook them; so that they were happy in
            their afflictions, and glorious in their death. Carefully
            consider this; act as they did; keep the faith, and God will
            keep you." - Clarke
      4. Yet we certainly do well to imitate those who are mature in the
         faith - cf. Php 3:17

   E. WE ARE TO CALL THEM WHEN IN NEED...
      1. Instructions found in Jm 5:14
         a. Given to those who are sick
         b. To call for the elders, who will pray for them
      2. Note where the responsibility to call is placed
         a. Those who are sick are to call (not wait to be called)
         b. While elders are watching over the souls, they can't always
            know every need
      3. Whether our needs are physical or spiritual, don't wait for the
         elders - call them!

CONCLUSION

1. The work of elders is great, and their responsibility is grave:

   "they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account"
                                                    - He 13:17

2. We have a serious responsibility as well, in regards to elders who
   watch over us:

   "Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be
   unprofitable for you"
                                                    - He 13:17

May our attitudes and conduct toward those who serve as overseers and
shepherds of the flock be such that they do their duty with joy...!
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