Centered on Christ
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Centered on Christ

The Importance of Honoring Elders in the Lord’s Church

A shepherd walking through a green pasture with his flock.
Photo by hani Pirzadian on Unsplash

Just as a flock of sheep is helpless without the protection of shepherds, so the Lord’s church depends upon the elders to guide them in the right way (1 Peter 5:1–4).

The elders are vital to the good health of a congregation — which is why Paul urged Titus to appoint elders first before he addressed other issues (Titus 1:5).

Paul instructed Timothy that elders who rule well are worthy of “double honor” (1 Timothy 5:17–18). Good elders, like the ones I and others have at West Hobbs Street, should be honored and respected by all the flock. The flock should “obey” and “be submissive” to the elders — for they watch out for our souls (Hebrews 13:17).

While an elder who rebelliously decides to live a life of sin must be rebuked in the presence of all (1 Timothy 5:20), Paul reminded Timothy that this should not be done lightly or hastily.

Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:19)

Sometimes people like to complain about the elders — preachers can be the worst. Sometimes people like to approach the preacher with a complaint about the elders.

1 Timothy 5:19 reminds a preacher (and Christians) not to receive an accusation against an elder if it’s coming from one person. This is in the context of honoring elders. Frivolous claims against an elder or rumors spread about an elder should be immediately dismissed unless evidence is presented of wrongdoing.

Elders have a difficult job. It is good work (1 Timothy 3:1), but it isn’t easy. Sometimes they receive little praise and honor, while they constantly deal with people’s problems and complaints — some of the complaints being very petty.

Perhaps the elders’ job as shepherds would be easier if the sheep would quit running in all directions.

I love and appreciate good elders in the Lord’s church. As a preacher, I’ve been blessed to have good elders in both congregations where I’ve preached.

My work is so much easier because of good shepherds. In fact, every Christian’s walk with the Lord is easier with godly elders.

If you have not told your elders how much you appreciate them lately, let me encourage you to do it. Honor them — both in word and by how you live as a member of the flock.

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