Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)

The value of a thing is seen in the cost.  The rare pearl comes with a costly price because its value is so extremely high.  The leaders of the church are charged to take heed, beware, or pay careful attention to the flock.  Why is it so important that the leaders take such pain in regards to the flock? Namely, they are to be cared for because of the price that was paid to obtain the flock.  How are the leaders to care for the flock?  The leaders are instructed clearly from the epistles to preach the Word, to be bold in exposing and refuting error, to be an example, to be diligent in the work of ministry, and to be willing to suffer hardship and persecution.

The flock is what the leader is to give his attention too.  The flock must understand that the leader has a responsibility as well as the sheep have a responsibility.  The flock is responsible to follow the leader in such a way that he can lead with joy and not with groaning (Heb. 13:17).  It is for certain that there false prophets in the world, but it is equally true that many in the flock have a weak view of the church.   It is neither a building nor a gathering that makes a church, but rather a church is a gathering of people who hear the Word preached faithfully, accurately and worship through the sacraments. 

For many the church is expendable, exchangeable, and exitable.  The church is talked about, slandered, abused, ridiculed, run over, beat upon, and in some circles she is nothing more than the laughing-stock of the town.  People go in and out of the church like they do the convenient store.  If the store gives them what they want then they will return, but if there is anything in the store that goes against their desires they quite simply find another store down the road.  The great problem here is that how a man treats the church is how he treats God.  God’s love for the church is so high that he would literally purchase her with His own blood. 

A man cannot say that he loves God, if he does not show love for God’s church.  You cannot draw near to God if you treat his church lightly.  Wisdom places infinite value on the church. Dearly beloved, if you find a church where the Word is preached and the sacraments are rightly administered you must give your life there until Jesus comes.  Serve the church to the point of bloodshed, Jesus did.

J. Randall Easter, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Briar, Azle, TX.