“Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.” (Acts 20:31)
Following his directive to the Ephesian church elders to pay careful attention (Acts 20:28), the Apostle Paul now commands them to be alert. To be alert (γρηγορέω; gregoreo) is a present, active imperative verb. It means to always be vigilant, awake and watchful regarding false teachers.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “The apostle’s warning concerns false teachers. Like foolish sheep, the believers will give heed to popular newcomers on the Christian scene, itinerant teachers with new and exciting (thought unorthodox) messages. They will be quick to divide in factions as some in their own ranks depart from the truth and seek to pull others along with them.”
Not if, but when, this occurs, and even prior to it occurring, faithful church elders are to constantly be on the alert for false teaching by false teachers. There can be no excuses for letting one’s guard down. The well-being of the church is a stake.
Paul used himself as an example to the church elders. Paul gave his all in admonishing the believers in the truth. Dr. Simon Kistemaker states, “Implicitly, Paul is exhorting the elders to follow his example as they assume the responsibility of caring for the church of God.”
Sometimes when Paul warned and instructed the believers in Ephesus, he did so with great intensity and emotion. He was passionate about God’s truth. Paul could be ruthless when it concerned confronting false teaching and false teachers.
May each of us pray for our church elders and other church leaders. May each of them know the Word of God and possess the strength and courage to defend the truth.
Soli deo Gloria!