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The Shepherd and the Flock - The Introduction

Good Morning Beloved,
Thank you all for joining us today

Heavenly Father,

Gracious Father, thank for You for all that You have blessed us with today
many of which most people take for granted, like waking up
we pray that we may we equally bless those around us by sharing the Good News
the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ
And we especially pray for those who have treated us badly
however, not nearly as badly as we have treated You. And still, You freely offer us love
Fill our hearts with that proper attitude of love and humble spirit, one of peacemaking, harmony and sympathy and compassion. Because it's so easy for us to fail at having the right attitude not to mention having the right response.
In Jesus name we pray

"Therefore, as a fellow elder and witness to the sufferings of the Messiah and also a participant in the glory about to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you:  Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory."
I Peter 5:1-4

Today's Message: Shepherding The Flock - The Introduction

Today, as we continue our study on I Peter, we move forward into the final, chapter 5, verses 1-4. I invite you to open your Bibles, with me, if you would please, to I Peter 5:1-4. Allow me to just read this text to you as we begin. "Therefore, as a fellow elder and witness to the sufferings of the Messiah and also a participant in the glory about to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you: Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory."

Beloved, the main intent of this rich and wonderful section of Scripture, from dear Peter, is wrapped up in the first word of verse 2, and the word "shepherd." Shepherd. is derived from the verb pascere. That is the main verb. That is the gist of this chapter. That is the concept. It's the exhortation. Peter says I exhort you to shepherd the flock of God. The word shepherd is the Greek words poimēn – poimainōpoimēn which means to shepherd, one who tends a flock, a herdsman, to oversee or to pastor, as we frequently translate it. The noun form, poimēn, is the word we translate shepherd and often translate pastor. Pastoral ministry comes then from shepherding as a model. The Greek verb, poimainō, to feed. The two words occur a total of 29 times in the New Testament, most frequently referring to Jesus. Jesus called himself the "Good Shepherd" in John 10:11.

However, unfortunately, as time and history and culture would have it, we don't know very much about shepherding. Therefore, we tend to know very little about the shepherds. We know very little about sheep. And, we are likely under some fairly prevalent misconceptions on both of those accounts.  Before we can truly understand what it means to "shepherd the flock of God," to in a spiritual sense, we have to understand the analogy itself from the literal side of it. I'm relatively certain, that you have probably not had any experience with shepherding, so when somebody uses the word sheep for the church and for believers, you likely don’t know all that’s involved in that process. And there's quite a bit involved, in that process.

So as I began to prepare for this particular lesson, I been researching, studying all I could find on the subject really, and that which is contained with God's Word, I came to better understand, at least a little more, about shepherding.  Prior to that, my knowledge, was like many, rather limited, however, after reading several books written by some of the foremost shepherds in all of New Zealand, which I have read quite carefully, by the way, I believe, I now have a better understanding of what it is to be a shepherd and to have to care for sheep. So before we look at the spiritual side, I need to fill in the gaps of shepherding that would have been well known to Peter's readers. Allow me, if you will, to sort of educate you on that, or we’re not going to fully understand what it means to shepherd the flock of God. So, as I begin to talk about sheep, if you just imagine in your mind this is how the Bible describes us, God's flock, His sheep. Are you ready? Let's get started.

So, for example, did you know, that the sheep, is the only known animal in the world that can be totally lost within just few miles of its home. Most animals, have a God given instinct, in which to find their way back, a gps like instinct to go home. For the most part, that is a primary element of the animal life. Now within its closed range, the sheep has adequate skills. It does know its own pasture. It also knows the place where it was born and suckled by its mother. It will invariably rest in the same shade every day. It will sleep in the same fold in the same place. It will stay in the home range more than any other grazing animal and not stray very far.

But if that sheep, for some reason, wanders off, or is taken into an unfamiliar territory, it becomes completely lost.  It has no general sense of direction. It has no sense of orientation. It does not know where it is and it does not know how to get back to where it’s supposed to be. It cannot find its way home. In fact, lost sheep will walk around in endless circles, bleating continually in confusion under great distress, unrest and sometimes even in panic.

Now sheep are beautiful. Sheep are very gentle. Sheep are humble. Sheep are, contrary to popular opinion, rather intelligent. But they are so utterly prone to get lost that if they go astray they are helpless to find food or water. There are about a billion plus sheep in the world and all of them would very soon starve to death or die of thirst if it were not for thousands of caring shepherds, who like the shepherd in our Scripture goes, out after the lost sheep because he knows it could never find its way back. Almost all other animals can find their way back, not the sheep.

When Jesus saw the disoriented, confused, hungry, thirsty, spiritually lost souls in the crowds, in Matthew 9:36, He said they were like sheep without a shepherd. They didn't know where they were. They couldn't feed themselves. They couldn't find water. They were totally lost and didn't know the way back and there was no one to lead them to water, to lead them to food, and to lead them home. When the prophet Isaiah wanted to describe lost men, he selected sheep and he said, "All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way." And so now, we're all wandering, disoriented, we're all lost and we could never find our way to the sheepfold. And we have no shepherd to lead us.

And just for the record, sheep, are especially vulnerable when purposely led astray. They are innate followers, very easy to lead them astray. I also read, in my study, that in New Zealand there are approximately 40 million sheep sent off to market and led to slaughter each year. And there is one sheep that leads them to their death. Strangely enough and yet, not so strangely, that sheep in New Zealand is called the "Judas" sheep.  That is a specially selected castrated male sheep who leads the unwitting sheep to the killing floor. Unaware of what is about to happen, the sheep blindly fall in behind the Judas sheep and they follow him to the killing floor at which point a trap door on the side opens and he exits down to bring the next group. The door closes behind then and they are slaughtered. Sheep when gone astray are utterly lost and are completely unable to find their way back. So sheep can be very easily led to their death. A sad but true reality, isn't it? And beloved, Scripture says, we are all like sheep, gone astray.

Something else, that significantly points us to the need for a shepherd; that they not only need to be rescued, but they must also be protected. They need to be carefully guided and provided for. They need a shepherd who can gather them in a safe place, who can bring them home, who will go after them when they do go astray, who will even carry them, if needed, when they are wounded. Sheep spend most of their life eating and drinking, they are constantly thirsty and hungry. And if left without a shepherd they are especially vulnerable. So, do you get that so far? Now, I'll explain why that is: They have to have clean ,  pure water. They have to have water that is not stagnant and filled with potential bacteria or disease. They have to have water that is not too cold or too hot. They have to have water that is moving but not too quickly. So, they need to be led, as the psalmist put's it, beside the still waters. The water must be very close in proximity, so it can be easily found and therefore easy to drink.

Now, as I'm sure you probably know, many, in fact most, animals are able to smell water, even at a distance. They can sense it on the wind. Ever notice how they can sense a storm coming? They can even feel the moisture of it, however, not so with sheep. If sheep are allowed to wander off too far from their own pasture, they cannot sense a water hole, even though it maybe nearby. So they will die of thirst because they have no instinctive capability to find water on their own.

Are you sort of getting the feeling, as I have, that God somehow created sheep just to make some sort of spiritual point? They're unable to move to any new place on their own. Even if they eat their own range, they will continue to eat the stubble and they will continue to eat the dirt before they will venture to move somewhere else unless led there. Furthermore, sheep are not discriminate eaters. Like some animals are. Actually, most animals are. Sheep, however, are not. They don't really know the difference between a poisonous plant and a suitable one to graze on. They cannot distinguish between grains, oats, hay, alfalfa, or toxic deadly vegetation.

And so you can see they have a great need for a shepherd who is careful, thoughtful, watchful, knowledgeable, wise, a shepherd who plans, provides, pastures, protects his sheep. Sheep left alone will surely die, the shepherd is key to sustaining their life.

We imagine sheep to be these clean, soft, white, woolly, cuddly little things, much like a lamb. I took my children, when they were much younger, they got to feed these little, woolly lambs with a bottle and as they were feeding these woolly little lambs and they were oohing and cooing about how soft and cuddly they were.  As you can imagine, it doesn't take long however, for a little lamb to become a sheep, and sheep, by the way, are almost never clean and white.  They are typically dirty. As disheartening as it may be, sheep are basically very filthy animals. In fact, they may even be the dirtiest animal on the planet.  And just in case, you weren't aware of what makes them so incredibly dirty is that their wool and their skin produces lanolin and that lanolin comes out literally everywhere. And, I'm sure that you know that lanolin is, a tacky, sticky, greasy sort of substance. And because of that, everything sticks to them, even sticks, stick to them. Dirt, weeds, vegetation, seeds, almost anything blowing in the wind, anything they rub up against sticks to them. They are very dirty unless a caring shepherd cleans them.

And here's something else, which is actually even worse, what often sticks to them becomes deadly because it sticks to them at their rear end, you know,  the opening where they eliminate their food waste and closes it off, and they literally will die because they cannot get rid of what is in their bodies. Periodically they have to literally be shaved at that point or they will die because they become so embedded with dirt and debris. They have no capability in which to clean themselves. I'm sure you never seen a sheep lick himself. They won’t do that. They are exceptionally filthy dirty, animals, unless the shepherd cleans them. They will die unless they are shaved at the appropriate place, back there.

Oh and just in case you didn't know, sheep don’t graze well in wet grass because they become very sick. It creates a condition which can cause death. Wet ground produces foot rot. And even flies can kill sheep by laying eggs anywhere and everywhere they can on the sheep. And when those eggs hatch, those maggots become flies, a sheep can be driven literally to death

So, as you can understand, being a shepherd is actually a very, very challenging duty, not to mention, it is a filthy, dirty job. That’s why the lowest people on the social ladder in biblical times were shepherds. And, that’s what made the angels appearing to the shepherds in the field so remarkable. That the angels would come and announce to the shepherds the birth of the Messiah, rather than to the elitist of the society, it was really quite amazing because the shepherds were considered to be the lowest of the low, because they were generally so dirty and filthy, in dealing with these animals.

Oh, by the way, have you ever heard of a sheep fight? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Do you know why? Because sheep don’t fight. In fact, they can’t fight. They literally have no defense mechanisms against predators. They can’t scratch. They can’t kick. They can’t bite.  So, they’re completely helpless and defenseless. Instead of running away, they actually run together. They huddle together, which makes them an easy target. A predator gets their pick whichever one they want. So, without a shepherd, sheep can’t survive. Sort of ironic isn't it? That we are referred to as Christ's sheep, His flock.

Here's something else you might find interesting, or not, about a  fully-woolen sheep, if it falls on its back, it's often not able to roll back on its feet.  So, it just gives up and dies unless a loving shepherd comes to pick it up, to turn it over. And when a sheep has been lying on its back and unable to roll back up for some period of time, when the shepherd comes and picks it up, he has to treat it with special care because its circulation has stopped. So, it he sets it back onto it's feet, it will just fall over again. Therefore, he may actually need to carry it for a while, until it's circulation returns to normal. As you can imagine, sheep require constant care and attention, they're very needy animals. This marvelous imagery is behind the usage of these pictures and metaphors in the New Testament. Again, irony?

Jesus often talked about us being His sheep and talked about what it is for Him to be the shepherd of His own sheep. If we’re going to understand what Peter is saying here about the duty of being a pastor, we have to understand a little bit about the picture itself. We need to recapture what it means to be a sheep, or what it means to be a shepherd. It’s in that context we come then to chapter 5 verse 2, and Peter says, "Shepherd the flock of God." This is a full-time relentless responsibility. Sheep have great needs. Sheep have great needs. They can’t protect themselves. They can’t feed themselves. They can’t get water by themselves. They can’t even do anything to heal themselves. They become so easily discouraged over pain and injury. They are helpless, hopeless, easily led astray. They are dirty, and they need us to be there to give attention to all these issues.

Sheep are the most vulnerable creature there is and yet isn't it amazing, of all of the animals that the world offers they are the most useful.  You can use every single part of the sheep. I won't go into all of the things that they're used for, but every part of the sheep is useful.

In order to fully understand, this marvelous, rich text, allow me to just read it again, well part of it. "Therefore, as a fellow elder and witness to the sufferings of the Messiah and also a participant in the glory about to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you: Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock."

I hope now, that you can better understand that Peter has chosen to use an analogy which says you have a helpless people who are highly vulnerable, defenseless, tend to wander away, don't know what's good for them, and they desperately need your shepherding.  Because sheep have so many potential problems, shepherding requires full-time attention and a relentless responsibility. And as you'll recall, the believers to which Peter wrote were facing intense persecution , they are going through very difficult times. In times of persecution, it becomes particularly important that the shepherds take care of the sheep.

In chapter 4, Peter gave these believers, instructions on how to live under persecution, now he focuses on the tasks of providing leadership, care, feeding, and protection for God’s people, the flock. Peter is talking to the elders of the churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.  And though he's talking to the elders, his instruction is for the shepherds of the church throughout the ages.  So you might say, he's talking to those of us who shepherd, who feed God's sheep.

Beloved, let's face it, Judas sheep are all around, the responsibility of shepherding the flock becomes even more critically important. It's particularly when the church is experiencing extreme persecution, when the church is under attack, when the church is being subjected to deception, and yes, it is still occurring, even in our day. And, I'd like to add something here, to those of you who are pastoring a church, or leading a flock. It's not your church, it's not your flock, and I want to be as clear as I can here: It's Christ's church, and it's God's flock.

Now, in order to fully understand the passages in our text, we essentially need to ask four simple basic questions; What, who, how and why. We'll try to cover at lease some of them here today. So, the first question is what is Peter trying to say here in this passage? What is he asking of us in this responsibility of shepherding? The first thing I'd like to make note of, is that Peter does not command, but he exhorts. The Greek word, paraineó. It comes from two words, pará, "from close-beside" and ainéō, "to praise."  So Peter is strongly encouraging, or advising, he does not claim power to rule over all pastors and churches. "I exhort the elders among you:  Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly;  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." So what Peter is saying, is there people belong to God, lead the, feed them, water them, protect them, and be prepared to one day give God an account of what you have done. And if you've done your task well, there will be a reward.

In verse 2, Peter says, "Shepherd the flock of God." There are a few basic elements here, in this text. 
"Therefore ..... I exhort the elders among you." "Therefore," is connecting the elders to suffering, particularly, those who are suffering according to God's will. Keep in mind, these believers, are
facing persecution, they're being assaulted, they’re under attack. Therefore, this is time to step up and shepherd God's flock, His people, the way that God wants you to shepherd. And so Peter exhorts the elders, the shepherds. Elders are in simple terms the overseers, they are the shepherds, the pastors.

This term is actually borrowed from the Old Testament, elders, overseers, pastors of God’s people. They are called elders, which speaks of their age and maturity. They are called overseers which speaks of their leadership. They are called pastor or shepherd which speaks of their responsibility to feed. In the Old Testament, elders ruled in the synagogues in Israel, these mature men, well knew the Scripture and who had a great deal of experience in it, were to lead the local congregation, each local synagogue.  In the New Testament, it’s the same concept. The Lord has appointed within the church, those who are to feed and lead the flock of God. They are the shepherds, they are the overseers, the mature men of God. You might notice, the word is plural, the reason for this was it's important that there not just be one, but that there be many who led the church, because that protects against one man going off into some doctrinal anomaly. He was held accountable to the rest. It protected against imbalance. It provided a variety of gifts and ministries. A plurality of elders preserves against the undo elevation of one man which is so dangerous. It also protects against the dominance of one man. Another reason, is if a church should, for some reason, lose it's pastor, it puts the church in a rather precarious situation.

The qualifications for these men, have been very specifically laid out in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1. These are very specific qualifications. 

Turn with me to I Timothy 3:1-13, to see what those very specific qualifications are: "If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.”  An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy— one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?)  He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil. Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the Devil’s trap. Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money,  holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.  And they must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons. Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything.  Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households competently.  For those who have served well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus." 

And Titus 1:5-9: "The reason I left you in Crete was to set right what was left undone and, as I directed you, to appoint elders in every town: one who is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of wildness or rebellion. For an overseer, as God’s administrator, must be blameless, not arrogant, not hot-tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money,  but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled,  holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it."

Beloved, that's quite a significant list. And, as we know, that even with strong leaders and supportive followers, that ubiquitous sin, human pride, often gets in the way.  Hebrews 13:17, tells us, "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you."
 To sum it up, that as pastors, we must give an account. That’s probably why James 3:1, says, "Not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment." Teachers will receive a greater reward, however, so is the potential discipline if we fail. So the primary task for a shepherd, is to make sure that sheep are protected, fed and watered. And this is to be done, so that their life can be sufficiently nourished and they can grow to full spiritual maturity.
It is our responsibility to feed them truth, lead them in truth, and protect them from going astray, becoming vulnerable to predators who want to deceive them, and lead them into harm. If you hadn't noticed, the primary qualification, is didaktikos – skilled in teaching, because we’re called to feed.

So Peter gives us here, some clear instruction. Though this passage focuses primarily on the elders, since strong pastoral leadership is essential. There is however, also a word to the rest of the flock. And, the whole process must be wrapped in what is arguably the chief Christian virtue, humility.

You may remember, in John 21:15-17, Peter was confronted by the Lord that day when he was in Galilee just after the resurrection, and Jesus, was remembering Peter’s three denials, and said to Peter three times, "Do you love Me? ... Do you love Me? ... Do you love Me." Jesus, was giving Peter, an opportunity to restore himself for each denial. Now, I'm sure we all remember, Peter's response, "Yes, I love You." To which Jesus responded, “Feed My lambs ... Feed My sheep ... Feed My sheep." In other words, shepherd them. And shepherding, by the way, is synonymous with feeding. The exhortation to shepherd is a calling to the most humble of men, the lowliest of the low, the not noble, nor the many mighty.

I must tell you, quite honestly, it is such an honor and privilege, it is, by far the greatest task I've ever been given, and though unworthy, I am so incredibly blessed to have been equipped, called, gifted and empowered to this task. Now, that said, there are a great number of successful mega-churches that have exploded onto the church scene, and they are literally everywhere. They're all over the place everywhere. And these are typically being run by professional public speakers, million dollar entrepreneurs, CEOs with MBAs. These non-shepherd, so called churches, have very little or nothing to do with feeding the flock of God. It’s a huge deception. And that’s not to say there aren’t some real sheep in those environments, in fact, their probably crawling with sheep,  wandering around, lost, trying to find a true shepherd. Sadly, many of them are being led astray, they are literally starving for sound doctrine, living water, and have become vulnerable to any predator that comes along. Our responsibility is to shepherd, and we can only effectively shepherd one way, God's way. And that is to make sure the sheep are nourished on the food and the water of life, God's Word. So Peter is exhorting the elders, to shepherd God's flock. That’s the exhortation.

Peter models what he is exhorting: He does not lord it over them, although being an apostle, he could have easily asserted his authority. "Apostle" referred to men entrusted with authority from Christ to establish churches. As an apostle 1:1, Peter had authority over these churches. "Elder" relates to a local church. But Peter isn’t flexing his apostolic muscle here, but exhorts them humbly as a fellow elder.

Peter first begins by relating his own experiences with Christ, as the basis for his exhortation. "I exhort the elders among you as your fellow elder." And the first aspect of his authority or authorization is common experience. Since he had been a witness of Christ’s sufferings and he also was a partaker of the glory that is to be revealed. Some say that Peter did not witness the crucifixion, since he denied Christ and fled. But it is quite possible that Peter watched from the outskirts amist the crowd and saw Jesus hanging on the cross. However, even if he didn't, Peter certainly had witnessed the sufferings of Christ throughout His earthly ministry, including His agony in the Garden, His arrest and mistreatment at His mock trial. He had seen the scars in the risen Savior’s hands and side. He had personally witnessed the sufferings of Christ. Peter very humbly recognizes that he is one of them. There’s modesty in his exhortation.

Peter had seen a glimpse of the Savior’s future glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. Verse 1 takes us to the cross and the transfiguration. Verse 2 recalls Jesus’ teaching on being the Good Shepherd in John 10, as well as His charge to the restored Peter to shepherd His sheep, in John 21:15-17.

Verse 5:3, "lording it over" the flock, brings to mind the ridiculous debate the twelve had about who was the greatest disciple, and the Lord’s teaching about the greatest being the servant of all. "Be clothed with humility," certainly recalls when Jesus was taking a towel and girding Himself as He washed the disciples’ feet in John 13:1-17. The word about Satan, 5:8,  recalls Jesus’ warning that Satan would "sift" Peter like wheat, I'm sure you recall, in Luke 22:31. The verb, "to restore", 5:10, is the same word, katartizō, translated "mend" their nets in Matthew 4:21,  when the Lord first called Peter to follow Him.

 So Peter isn't speaking from a viewpoint of speculation, but rather an apostolic witness, which is  recorded in the New Testament under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. An elder who wants to shepherd the flock conscientiously must be a student of the apostolic witness in Scripture, especially as it relates to the cross "the sufferings of Christ" and the coming kingdom of Christ, "the glory that is to be revealed."

The cross is at the center of the Christian life and an elder must live by the cross daily and be able to lead others to do the same.. Focusing on the suffering of Christ is the motivation for dealing with sin and for loving Christ more. Focusing on the glory that is to be revealed in Christ’s coming kingdom makes an elder live in holiness and hope in light of Christ’s coming. It is out of a personal experience of the cross of Christ and His coming kingdom, that enables a man to minister Christ to His flock, the church. An elder must be someone who walks closely with the crucified, risen, and coming Savior, Jesus Christ.

Peter, was motivated by sympathy, common responsibility, by apostolic authority, and by future hope. So the exhortation is followed by the authorization, and then comes the identification. He gets very specific about this flock, in verse 2, when he says, "Shepherd the flock of God among you." Now, we know there is only one flock of God, but you cannot possibly shepherd the entire flock, so Peter is getting very specific here, "shepherd the flock of God among you," so this narrows it down. Look, every shepherd is called to his charge, his God given flock, and beloved, those of us who are in charge of feeding God's flock, will give an account to God for how we cared for that flock, our part of the flock, anyway.

So Peter moves from exhortation, authorization, identification to regulation. There are a couple of positive statements. Also in verse 2, "not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will." Simple enough. Episkopeō, from which we get episcopal, which is taken from that word, of course. It means to look over, skopeō, to have scope over, epi, to get the scope. Part of shepherding the flock of God, is to kind of assess the bigger picture. Isn’t it? To understand and recognize potential threats, opportunities, strengths, weaknesses. All of that, comes with overseeing. That's the 1st positive. The 2nd positive can be found at the end of verse 3, "being examples to the flock." So, in one aspect, you are to keep a look out, scoping things out, and on the other hand, the task of shepherding involves coming back down from your look out post, if you will, and mingling amongst the sheep. Getting to know people, preferably by name, and letting them get to know you as well. In a larger church, it's less likely for one pastor, to know everyone by name.

One of the greatest qualities of church leadership is the power of an exemplary life. Which means I must live by example. In other words, the flock needs to be able to get close enough to me to see my life. That’s the positive. I know it may not sound like it at first, but listen, it helps to keep a pastor in line so to speak. Beloved, that's got to come naturally, from your personal living, that's the power of church leadership through an exemplary life.

Now, the negatives, are overseeing, not "out of compulsion, but freely, according to God's will."
In other words, you shouldn't be intimidated or forced into it, or because of pride, driven by a personal desire to succeed, or a fear of failure. It must be a voluntary will, in order to please God. 
A sort of an obsession or compulsion, a drive that comes from the will of God. If someone were to ask me, and they have, what single thing drives me to be a true shepherd of God's flock, it is the will of God. It's voluntary, driven by a compulsion, that is the will of God. The best advise I can offer to someone contemplating getting into ministry, unsure if they're being called or not, if you can do anything else, do it. But I can assure you, they'll be some days you'll wish that you had. It's not a career, it's a calling. But if you literally can't imagine doing anything else, do it, your called to ministry.
In my case, it was the will of God revealed to me. It was very clearly indicated to me. It’s been that will of God that’s driven me to continue.

Next is, "not for the money but eagerly." Those that preach the gospel should live by the gospel. By that I mean, you can't stand up there and preach humility while trying to become rich. And, let me be clear on something, it’s okay to pay the pastor. Allow me to affirm that. But you're not in it for gain. You're not trying to build an empire. That's what false teachers do. They're up there peddling their latest books and DVD's. Peter says in II Peter 2:1, "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves." And in verse 3, "They will exploit you in their greed with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep." There should be no desire to get rich in the heart of a true pastor. If that's the motivation, well, I wouldn't want to be in their shoes. There are some days, it gets pretty difficult, it's often hard and frequently challenging, you still do it, because you can't imagine doing anything else and you do it with joy, eagerness and gratitude.

And the third is, "lording." I know we touched on this briefly earlier, but now we'll examine it a little more closely.  Peter says, in verse 3, "not lording it over those entrusted to you." Lording, is the Greek word, katakurieuontes,  meaning to completely dominate. Kurieuō is to be Lord. Kata to be lord down. It’s to come down on people rather harshly or hard, an intimidation, in a domineering way, or by dominating. This is a term that is used of people who come down pretty hard on others. So, I just want to make something clear here, first, that's not the way you shepherd a flock. Your only authority comes from the Word of God. And when you speak the Word, that’s your authority. So, the rest of the time you do not have any authority.
You may remember,  Jesus said, in Matthew 20:25, "But Jesus called them over and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them.  It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave;  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many."

Shepherding means leading God’s people, in the ways of God. They are not to be driven like cattle, you're not to dominate, intimidate them with fear. You have to treat them with tenderness and care.

They must be led by example. You shepherd by a life of service, according to God's will, voluntarily, free from greed or abusive domination. Peter sums up his words with some motivation in verse 4, "And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." 

In Closing....

I can tell you from my personal experience, it's a source of unceasing immeasurable joy, great honor and privilege. So, I promise you, ministry does have its rewards, but it certainly isn't a monetary reward, but there is indescribable immense delight that comes with it. However, it's greatest reward of all is a deferred reward, the one when the Chief Shepherd appears, with that unfading crown of glory,  an eternal glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus.

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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