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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Keep Watch

Paul stresses the importance of self-watch.

Acts (18)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27

The video for lesson 18 is the same as for lesson 17. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 17).

Read and meditate on Acts 20.25-31.
Elders are at all times to remember that this is not their church, but Christ’s. He bought it with His blood, and He appointed them to shepherd and care for His sheep. They must be vigilant, thorough, personal, and courageous in defending the Lord’s sheep and building them up in His Kingdom.

For reflection
1.  Paul told these shepherds bluntly that they would not see him again, so they’d better be ready to do the hard work of shepherding God’s flock, which they saw in and learned from him. As you understand it, what does the work of shepherding entail?

2.  Paul insisted that he had taught the whole counsel of God to the elders and people in Ephesus. How should Paul’s example of teaching the Word encourage and guide us as students of the Word?

2.  The churches of the Lord will always be under attack, from without and within, as spiritual warfare rages at all times. Pastors and elders must guard the flocks of the Lord from false teaching, self-interested leaders, and spiritual assault. What kinds of attacks threaten the wellbeing of churches in our day? How should shepherds protect their flocks against such attacks?

4.  Paul exhorts the shepherds to watch carefully over themselves, their teaching, and their flocks (cf. 1 Tim. 4.16; Heb. 13.17). Why? How should shepherds and other disciples exercise this kind of watch over themselves and one another?

5.  The work of shepherding cannot be fulfilled in committees, on boards, or through programs. It takes shepherds being with and among the sheep entrusted to their care, getting to know them, building loving and trusting relationships, and watching over the progress of their souls with vigilance and prayer (Heb. 13.17). But it also requires people who are willing to be shepherded, and to accept the faithful instruction they receive and live by it (cf. 1 Thess. 5.12, 13). Absent such diligent shepherding, the Lord’s flocks cannot flourish as He intends. Does this kind of shepherding exist in your church? Explain.

The strength and stability of a local church is not in its programs, budgets, or facilities. It’s in its shepherds. Paul understood this. Do we?

Closing Prayer
The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Psalm 23

T. M. Moore

Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.

Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book,
The Kingdom Turn (click here).

Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Or, you can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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