The Good Pastor

Ephesian Elders Strengthened

Book of Acts Chapter 20

As God’s children and members of God’s Church what are the qualities that matter in a good Pastor?

*Act 20:26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
Act 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

1) A good Pastor will never hide the truth of God from his congregation, and neither will he ever water down the Word of God!

Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

2) A good Pastor or preacher will watch for our souls!

Eze 33:8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Eze 33:9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

3) A good Pastor or Preacher will warn us of the sin in this world.

Paul was given the opportunity to preach his last sermon to these elders in Ephesus.

Few preachers get this opportunity because none of us can tell if we will live through the next day.

Every Sunday there are preachers who preach their last sermon, but they do not know they are doing so.

If they knew it, what would that particular sermon say? Would they acknowledge their responsibility to God?

The pure truth is, that as we witness and as a preacher preaches, should not we preach and witness as if it were the last words we would get to say?

If we love those souls as God loves those souls, we would, make every effort to reach those souls for Jesus Christ!

Any preacher who makes an unfaithful representation of the “Gospel” is guilty of treachery before God!

Any hearer who rejects the truth of God will increase his or her condemnation!

These are just facts according to the Word of God!

Every preacher who preaches the truth of God, can be free from the guilt of those who remain lost and remain condemned!

This is also a fact!

The Apostle Paul said he remained pure.

Paul did not preach what was popular, but he did preach what was essential to salvation.

4) Every good preacher will preach what is necessary for salvation!

All matters of the Doctrine of Jesus Christ must be preached!

Those that hear these things must believe and lay these things up in their heart.

These things are necessary to be declared.

These things will include all the truth of Creation.

5) Every good preacher will be faithful to obey God!

What man was and what man has become through sin, must be established.

The person of the Lord Jesus must be preached! Jesus was one hundred percent man while also being one hundred percent God!

The nature of the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost) and His saving operations must be taught!

The truth of the future judgment, the resurrection of Christ and the blessedness of Heaven, must be preached as real, for they are real.

6) Every good preacher will preach the “Grace” of God and God’s love.

The Bible is not about theories, the Bible is about the truth!

We must understand our sinfulness.
We must understand our need to repent.
We must relate to our faith.
We must understand our adoption into the family of God.
We must understand our regeneration.
We must feel the truth of our hope of eternal life.
We must know and feel the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

We must understand our duty to God!

Rom 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
Rom 2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
Rom 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

7) A Pastor or Preacher called of God will preach and teach all the council of the Holy Trinity!

This is the food that we need from our Pastors and preachers!

*Act 20:28 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.

God says we are like sheep in need of a shepherd.

The first duty of the Pastor or Preacher is to be that assigned shepherd to the flock that God has provided.

They must first guard their own lives.

This means his own life but also his character and conduct or he will not be able to look after the sheep God has given him responsibility for.

Every pastor and preacher is responsible before God for the congregation of sheep that God has made him an under-shepherd over.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the One True Shepherd of the Church because He gave His life for the Church.

He is to give his attention to concentrate upon, focus upon, and attend to his flock.

He is the first guard in place to stop any false teaching.

He is to guard against an unforgiving spirit in his congregation.
If Jesus Christ is willing to forgive all then, who are we to say we are not going to forgive all?

He is to guard against self-indulgence.
He is to guard against drunkenness.
He is to guard against the possessions of this life which we cannot take with us.

He must guard against fables, myths, ideas, and false doctrines of men and all useless knowledge of men, who do not know the Word of God.

He must study the Word of God and listen to the Holy Spirit.

He must especially give himself to Bible Doctrine and the Scriptures.

He must look after the flock! Why?

A) Sheep get lost.
B) Sheep can be seized by the false teachers in this world.
C) Sheep without a proper shepherd are left in a pathetic condition.

Mat 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

He must feed the Church that the Lord is building!

The Lord Jesus Christ came to die for His Church. “Jesus Christ paid the supreme price for each of His sheep!”

Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

We must think of the “blood of Jesus” as the blood of God because no human blood has the power of His blood!

His blood is precious.
His blood is full of dignity.
His blood is very valuable. We are unworthy of His blood, but He has made us to be His own.

Why are all these things so important? Because the Devil also has his false disciples!

*Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Act 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

Notice this attack by the Devil is on two fronts.

1) Grievous wolves outside the Church going after the flock of God.

2) Deceitful men who have made their way into the Church.

Satan’s disciples are hurtful, destructive, and cause mischief and this is what they will cause outside and inside the Church.

We have seen more attacks on the Church in the past few years than we ever have.

During the Covid years, our own government demanded that we not even attend church, but we could go places like Walmart without threats.

The Bible tells us not to forsake the assembling together for any reason.

Heb_10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Some of these dangers came by Judaizers and Gnostics.

Gnostics try to incorporate Christian, Jewish, and Pagan ideas into solving the problems of life.

This is like some new places that use the term “Chrislam” and this is false teaching.

This is like taking the Bible timetable in Creation to mean millions and billions of years when the Bible is specific. Every day was a twenty-four-hour day, Every week had seven days. A true year by the Sun was 365 days and by the Moon was 360 days as the Jews use it.

There was the teaching of the Nicolaitans: Who were followers of the ways of Balaam. These are those who cast a stumbling block before the Church.

Jud 1:11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
Jud 1:12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
Jud 1:13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

2Pe 2:13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
2Pe 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
2Pe 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
2Pe 2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

There were also some from inside the Church.

How can we tell most of them?

2Ti 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

Those that love this present world more than the Lord Jesus Christ will destroy the Church so, we must listen to these warnings from the Apostle Paul.

These are all those that are mentioned in the Book of Revelation who have lost their first love!

It is not only the Pastor or Preacher who is to watch for all these things, it must also be the congregation.

We must know what we are listening to and compare it to the truth of the Scriptures and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This must not just be a onetime warning.

When the Lord tells us to repeat a warning then, He is very serious, and we have seen the results of these things in our own lifetime.

Many mainline denominations have given in to the teachings of the world and have forgotten the teaching of Jesus Christ and the Apostles.

*Act 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

What is one of the jobs of our preacher? To warn us using the truth of God!

If we listen to and obey the Word of God, we will not be caught off guard by the actions of this world.

In a real sense we can see the truth of God, like an open book on display in the actions of our nation and our world today.

The Church must be fed the truth, simply because the Word of God is the truth of our world today.

False teachers will come into any group of believers with just enough truth to deceive the congregation.

What did Paul teach the Colossians?

Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The Lord Jesus Christ is our only hope to make it to the glory world!

The Apostle Paul did not just warn the Church one time, but he warned the Church constantly and continuously!

False teachers pervert the truth.

They take of the truth and pervert its meaning!

1) They attack any believer who says they believe all the Word of God.
2) They either add to the Word of God or they take away from the Word of God.
3) They will severely attack Christian Leaders trying to defame their character, trying to stir up believers against them.

*Act 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

As Christians we will have far less trouble if we would just live for God and take an unmovable stand on the Word of God.

When we become wishy washy in our faith, it just helps our enemies.

The words “one mind” and “one accord” are used many times in the Bible and these words should describe the Church at all times.

Most of the time it seems that all denominations are at war with each other when the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of all the Church.

If He is not the Head of every, body of believers, then that body of believers are not part of the Church!

The era of Grace is slowly coming to an end and the Church will soon be removed from this earth.

We are in the Age of the Laodicean Church, and time is running out and it will soon be too late to worry about that family member or that friend, you have been putting off to witness to.

1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

We will only gain a heavenly inheritance if we keep our faith till the end.

Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Another duty of the Pastor or Preacher is “to give” of their time and determination. They are not to be ministers demanding a salary.

It is by the “Grace” of God that each church will support their Pastor.

Our example again the Apostle Paul.

*Act 20:33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.
Act 20:34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
Act 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Paul did not covet worldly wealth!
Paul was committed to the Gospel!
Paul labored at secular work as a craftsman, a tentmaker.


To meet his own necessities.
To help fellow preachers and teachers.
To support the weak.
To be more like Jesus Christ.

Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Paul wanted to be free and independent of these new congregations.

He did want these congregations to feel like he belonged to them and had to do their bidding.

Many Pastors are caught up in this trap today!

Now every congregation should, as they are able support their Pastor without demands on his sermons.

Paul was a church planter.

Paul would not allow for any restraint, or any pressure put upon his right to move about and preach the Gospel.

The Holy Spirit leads every true man of God to move and preach as the Holy Spirit leads and it must be this way!

1) Paul did finally receive support from a few churches because there is immense value in being completely free from a financial burden so he could devote full time to the preaching of God’s Word. This is as it should be.

2) A true Pastor has a right to be supported by his congregation. When the Lord Jesus sent out the Apostles, He had these words.

Mat 10:9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
Mat 10:10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: “for the workman is worthy of his meat”.

3) A Pastor and his congregation should agree on all things that pertain to the Word of God.

4) Every Pastor is to set the example in all things including giving to help others in need.

5) Every Pastor is to pray with his congregation.

*Act 20:36 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
Act 20:37 And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him,
Act 20:38 Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, “that they should see his face no more”. And they accompanied him unto the ship.

If we go back to our first thought of “what would a last sermon be like” if that Preacher knew he would never see that congregation again.

What would he preach?

In reality, this is the way every sermon should be developed. None of us know when our last day will come!

The Holy Spirit must be allowed free will in the topic of each sermon, but that Preacher should decide what he would say if this was his last sermon to these particular people.

It should be the same for all who witness for the Lord.

The message of God desperately needs to be told to every living soul!

A person cannot study these letters written by the Apostle Paul and led by the Holy Spirit, without seeing the love that Paul had for the Gospel and those who believed the Gospel.

1Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

1Th 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

1Th 5:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.


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