Shepherding the Flock
1 Peter 5:1-4
We are now dealing with new topic which is about leadership. Peter now is talking on how leaders are to function, operate, or run the church. I would say it’s a job description for those who are in charge of God’s people.
I. Definition of terms:
A. Pastor – refers to the church leader as the shepherd of the flock, speaking of his work of teaching and nurturing and protecting the assembly (Eph. 4:11).
B. Elder – refers to the church leader’s maturity and responsibility and the fact that he is to be an example to the church.
C. Bishop refers to the church leader’s authority, to the fact that he is to rule the church. The Greek word translated “bishop” is also translated “oversee” (Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:2).
D. The Word of God uses these terms interchangeably. A pastor is an elder and is also a bishop. These are not separate offices.
II. Duties and responsibilities ( 1 Pet. 5:2a)
A. Feed the flock of God. Feed here means to shepherd, to rule
B. Flock of God is God’s people, not pastor’s people. The church is God’s people.
C. The pastor should take care of the church as God would take care of them.
D. He should lead them in green pastures of God’s truth.
E. Seek the sheep when they go missing or astray.
F. Protect the sheep from predators.
G. Comfort the sheep and give them assurance in time of pain and sorrow.
H. He must be an “example to the flock,” and practise the holiness, self-denial, and all other Christian duties, which they preach and teach to their people
I. Most of all, the most important is, the shepherd should love the sheep.
Illustration 1 : A Leader Is…
Peter Drucker, perhaps the most noted authority on leadership in the 20th century, says:
A leader is one who has followers. An effective leader is not someone who is loved or admired. He is someone whose followers do the right thing. Popularity is not leadership, results are. Leaders are highly visible. They, therefore, set examples. Leadership is not rank or privileges, titles or money. Leadership is responsibility.
Illustration 2: God’s Standards for Pastors
(1) He must be a man (1 Tim. 2:12; 3:1). (2) He must have a divine call (1 Tim. 3:1). (3) He must be proven (1 Tim. 3:10). (4) He must be blameless in the areas listed in 1 Tim. 3:2-5; Tit. 1:6-8-in relationship with his wife (1 Tim. 3:2), in relationship with his children (1 Tim. 3:4; Tit. 1:6), in his personal life (1 Tim. 3:2-3; Tit. 1:8). (5) He must be able to teach (1 Tim. 3:2). (6) He must hold fast to Apostolic doctrine (Tit. 1:9). (7) He must be able to deal with false teaching (Tit. 1:9-11). (8) He must not be a novice (1 Ti.m 3:6). (9) He must have a good reputation in the community (1 Tim. 3:7). (10) His wife must be spiritual (1 Tim. 3:11). Way of Life Encyclopaedia by David Cloud.
III. Three indispensable attitudes of would be Shepherds ( 1 Pet. 5:2b)
A. Willingness – means with compulsion, voluntarily. The pastor leads without being forced or pressured into leadership. The desire to lead is on his heart and none imposes this on him. He does this because he love Christ and wants to serve Him. Pastoring though hard, laborious, full of sorrows and pain, sometimes even dangerous, and degrading, is still a joyful job to him.
B. Eagerness – the enthusiasm for the ministry must not be love for the money or financial gain but love for the ministry. The Greek word for “ready mind” is alacrity which Webster says cheerful readiness which in simple term is eagerness. Clark’s commentary says “Doing all for Christ’s sake, and through love to immortal souls.”
C. A role model – be a good example to believers. The phrase “being lords over God’s heritage” is to have authority or rule to people which God has entrusted to you. The pastor must be a pattern to his people regarding humility, purity, honesty, faithfulness, love, and other Christian traits and character which makes us different from non-Christian people around us. The most inspiring leader is the one whose life speaks louder than his words. This is in contrast to evil shepherds who take advantage of their sheep to bring about their selfish gain.
Illustration 1: The Test of a Truly Great Man
It was John Riskin who said, “I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have a … feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them.” Andrew Murray said, “The humble man feels no jealousy or envy. He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear others praised while he is forgotten because … he has received the spirit of Jesus, who pleased not Himself, and who sought not His own honor. Therefore, in putting on the Lord Jesus Christ he has put on the heart of compassion, kindness, meekness, longsuffering, and humility.”
M. R. De Haan used to say, “Humility is something we should constantly pray for, yet never thank God that we have.”
Illustration 2: Biblical Teaching on Leadership
The following principles of leadership emerge from biblical teaching:
1. Christian leaders should be certain that their goal is to serve God and others, not to receive the title or honor that comes with leadership.
2. Leaders should not use their position for their own advantage or comfort. No task should be “beneath” them—although some tasks may be delegated. They should not ask others to do what they are unwilling to do themselves..
3. Leaders will seek to distinguish their own preferences from the will and welfare of the group as a whole.
4. Normally the position should seek the leader. There may be some situations in which persons may apply or volunteer. Nevertheless, when someone strongly desires a particular responsibility, his or her motivation should be carefully examined.
5. We must learn to see each other as valuable to the Lord and basically equal in his sight.
Millard J. Erickson, The Standard, May, 1982
IV. Eternal Reward
A. The Chief shepherd is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is also called the “good shepherd” in Jn. 10:11, and “that great shepherd of the sheep in Heb. 13:20.
B. At His second coming, He will appraise, or judge the ministry of pastors as well as all the saved people at the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor. 3:9-15, 2 Cor. 5:9-10).
C. There are at least 6 crowns mentioned in the Bible:
1. Crown of glory – crowns for true pastors (1 Pet:5:4)
2. Crown of gold – crowns for all the redeemed (Rev. 4:4)
3. Crown of rejoicing – crown for soul winners (1 Thess. 2:19)
4. Crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8)
5. Crown of life – for faithfulness (James 1:12)
6. Imperishable Crown – for discipline (1 Cor. 9:24-27)
D. These crowns “fadeth not away” meaning, it does not lose its value. God will make sure that the pastor’s work will be remembered forever.
This short message is not enough to tell everything about the duties, responsibilities, authority, calling, etc. for pastors. What I want to tell you is when you want to be a leader or a shepherd in the church, you should be faithful in shepherding the sheep which the Lord Jesus Christ have entrusted you.