Sermon on May 22 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: 1 Peter 5: 1 – 4
The church is a family to which we belong and not a place to which we go. What kind of shepherds should care for God’s flock?
A true under-shepherd (elder) is:
1. UNWORTHY – BUT SECURE IN JESUS’ LOVE! (v1)
- No-one is worthy to call himself an elder…
In God’s church it is not worthiness that equips (Peter knew that best), but willingness to love and serve
- …but Jesus is the confidence of every elder
Peter’s confidence as a ‘fellow-elder’ was in his restoration (John 20) and Jesus’ love. Elders will be vulnerable to attack and only the love of Christ enables endurance.
2. TRUSTWORTHY – A STEWARD OF JESUS’ FLOCK! (v2a)
- Shepherds are called to treasure what God loves
What God honors most are shepherds who treasure His sheep and sheep who treasure the shepherds because they treasure the sheep.
- The sheep are called to trust their shepherds
Don’t trust the shepherds because they are perfect (they are like you) – trust them because you trust Christ (Heb. 13:15)
3. EXEMPLARY – A MODEL OF JESUS GRACE! (vs 2b and 3)
- Serve gladly, not grudgingly
‘A perfect man would never act from a sense of duty; he’d always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and other people) like a crutch which is a substitute for a leg. Most of us need a crutch at times; but of course it is idiotic to use the crutch when our own legs (our own loves, tastes) can do the journey on their own’.
- Serve sacrificially, not selfishly
- Serve humbly, not pushing your weight
If the Shepherd hung on a cross in weakness and shame, we are freed from having to push ourselves or promote our egos.
4. THIRSTY – FOR JESUS’ APPROVAL! (v4)
The great incentive for every elder is not the fear of people, or their approval – but the ‘well-done’ of their great Coach.
Elders, there is nothing more rewarding than caring for Jesus’ sheep. Do it lovingly, cheerfully and expectantly.
Church members who have put yourselves under their care – you have elders to help you make much of Jesus, not of them. Pray for them, encourage them and love them.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- Peter is speaking to suffering churches. Why do you think he takes the time at the end of his letter to speak to the elders? How does he help them to shepherd the flock? On what does he focus and why is this so important?
- Why is trustworthiness so important for leaders in the church? How may we able to get an idea of an elder’s trustworthiness? (Read 1 Tim.3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9)? Are elders to be perfect before they are appointed?
- Why do you think Peter singles out the motive for serving in verse 2? Compare the joyful attitude of the father as opposed to the elder brother in the parable of the lost son (Luke 15)? Why is the way we serve more important than the specific tasks we do?
- Why should we pray for and love our elders? In what way would this be to our advantage (Hebrews 13:17)? Think about how you can encourage them in the work they have been given.
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