“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.” (Acts 20:32)
The Church at Antioch commended the Apostle Paul to “the grace of God” when he and Barnabas were set to embark on their first missionary journey (Acts 14:26). Later on, Paul and Barnabas did the same thing to the newly established churches and their elders (Acts 14:23).
As Paul was set to conclude his encouraging words to the Ephesian church elders, he likewise commended them. The word commend (παρατίθημι; paratithemai) means to entrust and to show something, or someone, to be true. Paul’s entrusting of the Ephesian church to the elders in question was an ongoing commendation: not only to God but also the word of his grace.
God himself, and the word of his grace, are the instruments to build biblical church leaders. These are the means God gives to strengthen leaders as they face the difficulties of leading a local church in the midst of a fallen world, sinful temptations, and the devil himself.
Not only did Paul say that God would build the elders up and strengthen them, but He would also give them an inheritance. Dr. John Walvoord writes, “Though trust in God is essential, it must be accompanied by obedience to His Word. This will lead to edification (it will build you up) and to an inheritance among all those who are sanctified (cf. 26:18; Eph. 1:18; Col. 1:12; 1 Peter 1:4).
To be sanctified means to be made holy. Like all who live by the Word of God, and as a result grow in holiness, God promises an eternal inheritance. This inheritance is not based on the believer’s personal holiness, but rather the believer’s personal holiness is the evidence of eternal life, God’s inheritance, which the believer has presently by faith, will be possessed by sight and in its fullness in heaven
God’s Word enables human leaders to be bold watchmen for God on behalf of the church, God’s flock. Take the opportunity today to pray for your church’s elders and pastors.
Soli deo Gloria!