TAKE THE OVERSIGHT
Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday evening, Aug. 15, 1999, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia:
TAKE THE OVERSIGHT
By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia
Scripture Reading: Acts 20:28-31
Text: Acts 20:28
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Introduction: Paul was preaching to the God-called preachers of Ephesus. In giving them instructions, he mentioned that they were “overseers” over the flock. An overseer is much like a steward, in that he has been placed in charge of a job by someone higher than himself. That is, he is a man with a responsibility.
By way of introduction, I would like to say three things about the position of spiritual oversight:
1. Spiritual oversight must be GRANTED.
Primarily, it is granted by God. If that oversight involves the oversight of PEOPLE, then it also involves the voluntary submission of those people. For instance, no pastor can do well as a leader unless his people choose to follow him. No husband can do well as a leader unless his wife chooses to follow him.
2. Spiritual oversight must be GRASPED.
God forces nothing on anyone. A person must be willing to accept the responsibility God gives him. Moses nearly got himself in big trouble for hesitating when God called him to the ministry.
3. Spiritual oversight must be GUARDED.
Paul warned the Ephesian elders that there would be trouble in their flock. Some of it would originate with grievous wolves who would come into the flock. Some of it would come from people within the flock. There are also those who would try to usurp the rightful authority that God gives a man. This happened to Moses. It happened to David. It has happened to nearly an independent Baptist preacher who has stayed in a church for a very long time.
Churches are destroyed by struggles over who has the oversight of the church.
Now, I want you to think with me tonight about three types of overseers, and how they must each “take” the oversight.
I. MINISTERS SHOULD TAKE THE OVERSIGHT OF THEIR FLOCK
1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
Leroy Wright, giving me counsel when I took my second church, way back in 1980: “Don’t hold a lot of meetings. Don’t ask for permission. Just do it.”
Preacher, if you don’t take the oversight, someone in the church WILL.
A. The pastor should pray for wisdom
B. The pastor should preach the word
C. The pastor should pick his workers
D. The pastor should portray the way
E. The pastor should persist in the work
* I believe this country needs more preachers who will go to a town or city, plant their feet, and be God’s man there for the rest of their lives.
II. MEN SHOULD TAKE THE OVERSIGHT OF THEIR FAMILY
Genesis 18:17-19 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Brother, if you don’t take the oversight, your wife will (and she was not made to be the overseer; she was made to be the helper of the overseer!).
A. He should take the oversight of the future
* Child training
* Courtship and marriage
* Career – counsel concerning putting God first
B. He should take the oversight of faithful service to God
* Josh. 24:15
C. He should take the oversight of the finances
III. MEMBERS SHOULD TAKE THE OVERSIGHT OF THEIR FUNCTION
Numbers 3:32 And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary.
In the above verse, it is obvious that some people had some spiritual oversight delegated to them. I believe the Lord has SOME job for EVERY believer.
Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
A. God gives the activity – the task
B. God gives the arena – the territory
C. God gives the aptitude – the temperament
D. God gives the awareness – the wisdom
E. God gives the ability
* Be diligent in the function God gives you
* Be delighted with the function
* Be dedicated to the function