Chapter Fourteen — Part Four: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 03/13/2022

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 14:23-28

1. Appointing Elders.
a. Acts 14:23a AMPC — And when they had appointed and ordained elders for them in each church with prayer and fasting…
b. Chosen (in KJV)—(Greek cheirotoneō)—to appoint; to elect; to vote by stretching out the hand; to create, or appoint by vote, one to have charge of some office or duty.
c. They were chosen with prayer and fasting (and the leading of the Holy Spirit).
d. These elders were not ordained in the sense of being set apart for ministry—they were simply chosen and appointed for a specific purpose, or task, in the Church.
e. The Church, the Body of Christ, in every town needed some form of leadership—men with the call and anointing of the Holy Spirit.
f. But the apostles were very careful not to appoint anyone to a position or an office, without the distinct leading of the Holy Spirit.
g. Later, we see Paul giving Timothy instructions along these lines.
h. 1 Timothy 5:21-22 AMPC — I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the chosen angels that you guard and keep [these rules] without personal prejudice or favor, doing nothing from partiality. 22 Do not be in a hurry in the laying on of hands [giving the sanction of the church too hastily in reinstating expelled offenders or in ordination in questionable cases], nor share or participate in another man’s sins; keep yourself pure.
i. Paul instructs Timothy to avoid using his own human judgment in his position as a pastor and a leader.
j. He warns him to do nothing from partiality, or personal prejudice or favor.
k. He also warns him to not be in a hurry to appoint, ordain, or reinstate any person, without the leading of the Lord.
l. He should keep himself pure and keep himself, and others, accountable always to the Word of God.
m. Acts 14:23b AMPC — …they committed them to the Lord in Whom they had come to believe [being full of joyful trust that He is the Christ, the Messiah].
n. The apostles committed, commended, and entrusted these appointed elders, into the hands and care of the Lord—to be led and kept by Him, and to faithfully lead the Church in their city.
o. Once we have done our part to preach the Gospel and make disciples, we must commend them into the hands of the Lord.
p. We must trust Him to watch over them, lead and guide them, and to have His will and way in their lives.

2. Qualification of Elders.
a. In the Old Testament, elders were the heads or rulers of the tribes, cities, and nations (Dt. 1:13).
b. Elders (Greek presbyteros)—found 67 times in the New Testament and is translated “elder” (except in Jn. 8:9; Acts 2:17; 4:22).
c. It generally refers to the Sanhedrin in the Gospels and Acts   (Mt. 15:2; 16:21; 21:23; 26:3; Acts 4:5,8,23).
d. In the early church, elders were ministers, deacons, preaching elders and/or business elders of the local churches (Acts 11:30; 14:23; 16:4; 20:17, 28; 21:18; 1 Tim. 5:17; Tit. 1:5; Jas. 5:14).
e. 1 Timothy 5:17 NKJV — Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
f. James 5:14 KJV — Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
g. All apostles were considered elders (Acts 11:30; 1 Pet. 5:1; 2 Jn. 1:1; 3 Jn. 1:1).
h. But not all elders were apostles (Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23; 16:4).
i. The elders were overseers in Acts 20:17; 20:28.
j. Elders could be preaching elders or bishops (1 Tim. 5:17; Tit. 1:5-10; 1 Pet. 5:1-2).
k. 1 Peter 5:1-2 AMPC — I warn and counsel the elders among you (the pastors and spiritual guides of the church)… 2 Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully.
l. The Greek word ‘elder’ is also used of older men and women (Lk. 15:25; Jn. 8:9; Acts 17; 4:22; 1 Tim. 5:2).
m. 1 Timothy 5:1-2 NKJV — Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.
n. And of ranks of heavenly elders (Rev. 4:4,10; 5:6, 8, 11, 14; 7:11, 13; 11:16; 14:3; 19:4).

3. Concluding the Journey.
a. Acts 14:24-25 AMPC — Then they went through Pisidia and arrived at Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the Word in Perga [the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God], they went down to Attalia;
b. Attalia: was a maritime city of Pamphylia in Asia, very near the borders of Lycia.
c. It was built and named by Attalus Philadelphus, king of Pergamos, and now called Antali.
d. Acts 14:26 AMPC — And from there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had [first] been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had [now] completed.
e. This marked the end of their first missionary journey.
f. Acts 14:27a AMPC — Arriving there, they gathered the church together and declared all that God had accomplished with them…
g. They gave a report of the fruit of three years of missionary work.
h. They brought praise reports and testimonies to those who had first commended them to the grace of God, earnestly prayed for them, and who now shared in their joy.
i. Acts 14:27b AMPC — …and how He had opened to the Gentiles a door of faith [in Jesus as the Messiah, through Whom we obtain salvation in the kingdom of God].
j. The door into the Kingdom of God, is faith in Jesus Christ.
k. Note: God, not Peter, is the One Who opened the door to the Gentiles.
l. Acts 14:28 AMPC — And there they stayed no little time with the disciples.
m. They stayed there a long time with the disciples—some believe it was a period of about five years.