Below are additional resources of videos, links, tools, and expanded notes to supplement the sermon
preached by Rob Blair at Harbour Shores Church on July 31st, 2022

Below are links to 4 sessions from Biblical Eldership Resources. These sermons focus on Paul’s final message to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:17-38.

Session 1: Paul’s Final Charge to the Ephesian Elders

Session 2: The Elder’s Call to Care for Themselves and the Church

Session 3: The Elder’s Call to Protect The Flock

Session 4: These Hands Have Provided for My Necessities

1 Peter 4:19-5:5

So I exhort the elders among youas a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christas well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among youexercising oversight, not under compulsionbut willinglyas God would have younot for shameful gainbut eagerly; not domineering over those in your chargebut being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appearsyou will receive the unfading crown of glory.

A short message by Alexander Strauch to Harbour Shores Church was recorded at the final T4G earlier this year.

Play Video


Here are several books which have helped me greatly to prepare this sermon and which I personally can recommend for anyone who wishes to go deeper into the subject of biblical elder/pastor/shepherd.

(Scripture & Outline

Main Scripture: 

1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.

18 And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 33 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38 being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even 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 overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


Acts 20 is the parallel passage to 1 Peter  5:1-4, where Paul delivers his farewell address to the Ephesian elders. In addition, Psalm 23 describes Jesus as our ultimate protecting and providing Shepherd, the very foundation for Peter, Paul and every under-shepherd, whether we carry the title or not.

Main Theme: 

Protect (others) & Serve (one another)

Main Points

1.) There is only one CHIEF (Over) Shepherd (despite others we may call Lead or Senior Pastor)

24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

These 3 main points will be reiterated throughout the lesson. The first one being that Jesus is the only perfect, complete shepherd who lacks nothing in providing for and protecting His flock.

2.) We’re all called to have the HEART of our Shepherd
(even if we don’t have the TITLE of shepherd.)

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Second, the Shepherd’s heart which Jesus had is the same shepherd’s heart of Paul which we are called to imitate.

3.) Even the BEST of men are MEN at best.
(Every person will either be their best IN Christ, or their worst in THEMSELVES.)

For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

Third, in Christ we’re at our best, and yet we all “…stumble in many ways” because of our sin-filled flesh. Yet it’s not as much a “light switch” we flip or a spiritual “Jekyyl & Hyde”, but more that of a “dimmer switch” where we constantly live in varying degrees of either Christ-likeness or unrighteousness. This is why  much grace is needed in the local body. The same grace which God extended toward us through Jesus is needed when (not if) both shepherds and sheep sin.

OBJECTION as to Why This Matters:

How does this apply to me, if I’m not an elder (and I don’t plan on becoming one)?

To begin, chapter 5 begins “So I exhort the elders among you…” Peter is writing to the entire church about their elders. He doesn’t set the flock aside and address only the leaders. But even if the letter is directed to the church, it doesn’t necessarily  mean this section applies to everyone, does it?

1.) General

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

To answer that, we look first at a broad GENERAL application where “all scripture” is applicable to every godly person who desires to “…be complete, equipped for every good work.” All scripture includes 1 Peter 5:1-4 .

2.) Specific
an overseers must be…
☐ above reproach,
☐ the husband of one wife,
☐ sober-minded,
☐ self-controlled,
☐ respectable,
☐ hospitable,
☐ able to teach,

not a drunkard, ☐ not violent but gentle, ☐ not quarrelsome, ☐ not a lover of money.
He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?
He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.
Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

But it also applies SPECIFICALLY to the area of elders/shepherds. First because there isn’t a single character qualification for an elder that any godly man wouldn’t want  for himself. (can apply also to women by switching the role of husband for wife in the 2nd item on the list.)

Furthermore, once Paul lays out all of the godly character qualifications for the 2 positions of local church leadership, he then explains how in so doing, it is so that the sheep might “…know how one ought to behave in the household of God” as they confess the great mystery of godliness which is the church; God’s foundation and framing of truth.

3.) Personal

11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Finally, the writer of Hebrews makes it a PERSONAL issue of every mature believer who wants to be able to distinguish good from evil. There is now excuse for remaining on light spiritual “milk” and not eating meat, which will require training and constant practice.

Noble QUEST for ALL Believers:

Although scripture exclusively reserves the position of elder for men (see 1 Tim. 3:6, Titus 1:6 below), shepherding is not.

the husband of one wife,

While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess.

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 The shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock. 18 When they came home to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come home so soon today?” 19 They said, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock.” 20 He said to his daughters, “Then where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.” 21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah.


I am very dark, but lovely,
    O daughters of Jerusalem,
like the tents of Kedar,
    like the curtains of Solomon.
Do not gaze at me because I am dark,
    because the sun has looked upon me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me;
    they made me keeper of the vineyards,
    but my own vineyard I have not kept!
Tell me, you whom my soul loves,
    where you pasture your flock,
    where you make it lie down at noon;
for why should I be like one who veils herself
    beside the flocks of your companions?

There are several e.g. of biblical shepherdesses. Even if women (as well as youth and/or men who are not in leadership) may not have the title of “shepherd/elder/pastor”, no one can prevent them from having a heart after their Chief-shepherd.

Would we prefer having the label without the heart, or the heart, whether we have the title or not? 

Therefore, part of the heart of a shepherd is the specific desire/skill to INSTRUCT/ TEACH others, which  is the one qualification we often assume is reserved exclusively for pastors/elders.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.

20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

And yet, the truth is everybody is already teaching/preaching something, by how we live. Our lives are walking sermons. The question we must ask ourselves is how does what I teach/preach with my life line up with scripture?

3 OBJECTIONS Regarding Teaching:

What about the warnings/limitations on becoming a teacher?

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

With the first warning, Jesus instructs His followers not to call anyone father or teacher, as the Scribes & Pharisees insisted their followers do. And He ends the section by contrasting humility vs. self-exaltation. It’s not so much about the titles, but about the motivate in one’s heart that would cause them to use titles as a way of “lording” it over others and feeding their own pride.

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

The full context in James 3 is the tongue. Unbridled, it destroys so many. Teachers primary tool is speach. Which is why he begins with warning; “Not many of you should become teachers”. But then James immediately identifies himself as a teacher. So he isn’t warning against the position or the act of teaching but against seeking it without consideration, that with greater influence over others comes greater responsibility and stricter judgement for our motives.

26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Finally, the Apostle John was battling an early form of Gnosticism which taught the only way to enlightenment was if a teacher, who had ascended in knowledge, would pull you up in your spiritual climb. John combats this heresy by informing his readers they already have God the Holy Spirit residing in them. There is no one greater. Teachers are vital in pointing people to the truth, but it isn’t the teacher who determines enlightenment. It’s the truth itself which sets us free,  not instructors.

Practical QUEST for Those Who Are Mature:

How can we train better through constant practice so as to be able to teach?

11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

NOTE:  See the “Bible Study” section below at the bottom of this page on how to use a simple bible study technique which expands a well known inductive bible study approach, know as P.R.O.C.O.M/M.A.S.

So How do I train and

mature in my “powers

of discernment”

so as to grow in my

ability to teach others?


11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

 Answer; the writer of Hebrews exhorts all of who are mature, that is is through  “constant practice”. Here is a simple (yet not easy method that any believer can practice training to study any passage or topic in the bible. It’s based on the familiar threefold process of Observation • Interpretation • Application. Instead of having just 3 phases, this one adds 5 steps before and after observation. Considered this more fluid than formulaic. There isn’t a strict, exact order or frequency of when to apply which tool.

How to STUDY the Bible & TEACH Others:


IMPORTANT:  This process can be seen in, and support by the word of God. Scriptural references provided with each step  (emphasis added).

17 Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word. 18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

1. Begin with prayer. Pray to God the Spirit, who resides in you, if you have been born again. The same One who inspired the writers of the Old & New Testaments (2 Ptr. 1:21) is the same One who will help us to understand His word.

And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

2.) Scripture is literally the inspired (lit. meaning God breathed WORD of God. He gave it to us to be read. There is life transforming power simply in the mere reading of His word.(Rom. 1:16-17)

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

3.) Write any question which come to mind as you read. No observation is too trivial or too difficult for you and God the Spirit to study together. We observe not with our own human minds, logic and intellect, but with the very mind of Jesus. Don’t worry about apparent contradictions or so-called discrepancies. And always remember that God’s word judges us, we don’t judge His word.

160 The sum of your word is truthand every one of your righteous rules endures forever.

4.) Keep the passage you’re studying in context of the verses directly before and after it — within the chapter —  in the book/letter — in all of the books written by that specific writer — as well as in context of other verses having to do with that same topic. Maybe you’ve heard the saying “Context is everything!” When it comes to interpreting the bible, it may not be everything, but it carries quite a bit in order to properly understand.

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,

5.) We will never understand what a passage rightly means until we first understand what the original writer meant when he wrote it, and how it would’ve been understood by the original audience to whom it was first written. We must understand how words would’ve been interpreted and understood in the time the were written. Once we rightly understand the writers and readers would’ve best understood it then,  we will then be able rightly determine how the word can be best understood now.

5:39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to meto have life.

20:30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

6.) The meta-narrative is the over-arching theme that runs through the entire Bible. A motif is a pattern especially with regards to the different types of literary genres. The central Interpretive motif is the key pattern throughout all of scripture by which we interpret the main message of the Bible. The point of M/M is serve as a guard rail against heresy; you’ll never discover anything in scripture that contradicts the over-arching theme/pattern of the Bible as a whole. Anything consistent with the main pattern and theme of scripture is likely to be within the bounds of orthodoxy.

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

7.) Once a passage is understood, we must begin the process of application. Begin by looking for PRECEPTS (i.e. imperative commandments) and ask yourself how much has changed since then. If not much has changed, then the law is timeless. If however, much has changed, or there is not a direct precept, then look for PRINCIPLES, especially ones that occur in both the O.T. and N.T. If so, then those principles are cross-cultural and timeless and carry over into our culture today. Finally look for PATTERNS which repeat. If it’s not a command, and doesn’t go across all ages, then there still may be some things which we can apply to our personal life, even if it doesn’t apply to every Christian in different situations.

And application should be 1.) incredibly specific in DETAIL, not general. 2.) PERSONAL for you. 3.) ACCOUNTABLE; something which others can check with you ion order to make sure you followed through with what you said you would do.

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

8.) God’s word is given to change/impact not only your life, but also the lives others. (Rom. 10:14-17) Share it in the most natural way you know how, where you are, at that time. Start off simple. It may be something as basic as talking about it with a group of family or friends. God the Spirit brings to us the words to speak in the right way — just as someone spoke the words to us at one point in our life. (Luke 12:11) Pass on to others what you’ve faithful received. (2 Tim. 2:2).