A. T. Jones
AS PAUL was on a journey from Macedonia to Jerusalem, he paused at Miletus, and “sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church” (Acts 20:17).
To these elders he said words which have been preserved by inspiration for the instruction of the church, and of the elders of the church, for all time.
Among these words to the elders of the church are these: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers” (Acts 20:28).
Elders of the churches today, do you know that the Holy Spirit has made you overseers of the flock of God? If you did not know it before, there stands the word of God, and there it has stood all the time, telling you that it is so.
When the Holy Spirit has placed you in the responsible position of overseers of the flock of God, how are you discharging your responsibility to Him who “has made you overseers”?
Do you constantly recognize, and live in the presence of, the fact that the Holy Spirit has made you overseers? Do you constantly recognize your responsibility to the Holy Spirit? Do you constantly seek to discharge that responsibility under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and acceptably to Him?
If not, then what are you doing in that position? Is it possible that any elder of a church will say that the Holy Spirit has not made him an overseer of the flock? If such a thing be possible, then the question recurs. What can a man be doing in a position which is under the direct supervision of the Holy Spirit, while saying that the Holy Spirit has not called him to that position? If such an attitude would not be lying to the Holy Spirit, or else entirely usurping the place of the Holy Spirit, it would certainly be perilously near it.
The church is “built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” The church is under the special care of the Holy Spirit. The eldership is under the direct supervision of the Holy Spirit. And the man who occupies the position of elder stands in that relationship to the Holy Spirit, whether or not that man recognizes the fact. It is a dangerous, yes, a perilous, thing to occupy a position which is under the direct jurisdiction of the Holy Spirit, and at the same time not recognize His jurisdiction.
Surely, then, it could never be that any elder of a church would say that the Holy Spirit has not made him an overseer of the flock.
Very well, then, brethren, elders of the churches, as the word of God says that “the Holy Spirit has made you overseers,” do you recognize that fact? Do you constantly live and work in the presence of that solemn and thrice-blessed fact? Do you pray in the Holy Spirit? Do you recognize the Holy Spirit in . . . oversee the flock with eyes anointed with the Holy Spirit? Do you “feed the church of God, which He has purchased with His own blood”—do you feed the church with the Bread which came down from heaven, through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit?
Elders of the churches, wherever you are, whoever you are, never forget that the word of God says that “the Holy Spirit has made you overseers” of the flock of God. Acknowledge it. Court it. Live in the presence of it. Receive that word; receive the truth expressed in that word; and receive the Holy Spirit, which has given the word in which is expressed the truth that “the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.”
“Ask, and it will be given to you.” “Receive the Holy Spirit.” “Be filled with the Spirit.”
The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, September 6, 1898