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Sermon: Shepherds in the Church, Part 1, First Peter 5.1–4

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Shepherds in the Church, Part 1

The shepherd and the sheep at the Judgment

First Peter 5.1–4

[Based loosely on Shepherds, Wake Up! by J. J. Turner]

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • September 29, In the year of our Lord, 2018

  1. Elders of the church shall participate in an experience
    1. that earth cannot match,

      1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away (1 Peter 5.1–4).
      1. What award ceremony have you attended
      2. that matches the one awaiting elders?
    2. Hebrews 13 also speaks of this time:

      17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you (Hebrews 13.17).
  2. Since Jesus is the Chief Shepherd,
    1. shepherds in the church today,
      1. whom we commonly call elders,
      2. need to use Him as their example.
    2. In John 10, Jesus also referred to Himself as the Shepherd:

      11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

      14 “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”
      (John 10.11, 14).

    3. This makes us the sheep.
      1. As shepherds, they are responsible for the
        1. care of the flock,
        2. feeding the flock,
        3. protecting the flock, and
        4. leading the flock.
      2. Remember First Peter 5.2
        1. that Peter said they are to shepherd
        2. the flock of God that is among them.
          1. They are responsible for the local congregation and
          2. not for other congregations.
            1. Picture a shepherd looking after his flock.
            2. They do not tend other flocks.
      3. In Acts 20, Paul told some elders:

        28 “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20.28).
      4. Jesus told Peter the same thing:

        16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep” (John 21.16).
    4. As shepherds they do what shepherds do with sheep.
      1. Sheep need shepherds.
      2. People need leaders.
        1. People without leaders
        2. are like sheep without shepherds.
          1. First Kings 22.17
          2. Ezekiel 34
      3. I say these things because
        1. it shocks me as to how many Christians think
        2. that shepherds of the flock are optional.
    5. The Bible also refers to them as elders,
      1. signifying that they are older and experienced Christians.
      2. However, we use that term almost exclusively, and we should not.
  3. Ephesians 4 shows what the Chief Shepherd wants His local shepherds to do.
    1. What is the purpose of the eldership?
    2. What is it that they are supposed to accomplish among us?

      11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4/11–16).
      1. They work with other leaders
        1. to equip us to minister,
        2. to build us up, and
      2. they continue doing these things
        1. until we all come to the unity of the faith,
        2. until we all come to the knowledge of the Son of God,
        3. until we become perfect,
        4. until we reach the measure and stature of the fulness of Christ,
        5. until we mature and
          1. are no longer tossed about by all the crazy doctrines out there, but
          2. they help us to grow up in Christ,
            1. as each of us learns to contribute his part
            2. to the building up of the body of Christ.
  4. Leaders Follow the Scriptures
    1. Any kind of group needs a leader or leaders.
      1. The church is no different.
      2. Therefore, we read in the New Testament of shepherds over the church.
        1. The church is not a business.
        2. Therefore, you cannot run it like a business.
          1. It is a family.
          2. It is a flock of sheep.
            1. We do not want me with MBAs, but
            2. men who follow the instructions of the Chief Shepherd.
    2. It does not surprise me
      1. that Paul mentioned the Scriptures
      2. when he spoke to the Ephesians elders:

        32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20.32).
    3. That means that whatever we think of them and their work,
      1. we also have to use the Scriptures.
      2. You would be surprised how many Christians
        1. judge the shepherds of the flock
        2. by their own opinions.
  5. Setting the Tone for Church Leadership
    1. Jesus used the shepherd/sheep model.
      1. John 10.11

        11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10.11).
      2. And we have noted that Peter referred to Jesus as the Chief Shepherd.
        1. That certainly implies under-shepherds.
        2. That is precisely what elders are.
    2. Church leadership is not:
      1. modeled after business,
      2. modeled after the American government, or any other human government,
      3. a dictatorship,
      4. a board of directors, or
      5. a CEO
  6. The Shepherd Model
    1. Although Jesus started the church during the days of the Roman Empire,
      1. He did not use it in anyway to set up church leadership.
      2. Many manmade denominations will use the country of their origin
        1. to set up the government of their church, but
        2. we have to use the Scriptures.
          1. Therefore, you will not see in the Scriptures anything
          2. that resembles the brutal ways of human governments.
    2. The shepherd model
      1. uses the towel versus the sword.
      2. It uses God’s wisdom over human wisdom.
    3. Proverbs 27.23–27

      23 Be diligent to know the state of your flocks,
      And attend to your herds;
      24 For riches are not forever,
      Nor does a crown endure to all generations.
      25 When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself,
      And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,
      26 The lambs will provide your clothing,
      And the goats the price of a field;
      27 You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food,
      For the food of your household,
      And the nourishment of your maidservants.
      (Proverbs 27.23–27)
      1. Think of the individual care shepherds give to sheep.
      2. The sheep also have to let the shepherds shepherd.
  7. VII.We Need Shepherds
    1. God wants shepherds over His church and
      1. that should be good enough for us.
    2. The New Testament also refers to them as:
      1. Bishops
      2. Pastors/Shepherds
      3. Presbyters/Elders
      4. Overseers
    3. We will do damage if we make “elder” the exclusive term.
      1. People will wonder why we don’t have the other positions.
    4. Let the elders ask themselves:
      1. Am I doing the work of a shepherd?
      2. How can I become a more Christ-like shepherd?
  8. VIII.Crucify Self
    1. Become a servant
    2. Become the least of all
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