Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, August 2nd. What can you do to support your church leaders as they guide the body of Christ? Learn about the scriptural view of the under shepherd as the study of 1 Peter continues. All of us were born into a society where the church has a structure and it depends upon which family you were born into and which denomination they belong to as to which church structure you were born into. So we have all kinds of people who come from all kinds of different backgrounds.
We can just go right up and down the street. We've got all these different churches that operate a different way. And so we're all supposed to be doing what this book says do. Now, whenever you violate a principle of Scripture, no matter what the violation is, there's always a penalty.
And one of the violations that goes on in churches oftentimes is the way it operates. We have been in 1 Peter for months and months now and we've come to chapter 5 and the first four verses, which talks about the role of the under shepherd in the life of the church, which is speaking about the pastor or the pastors. I believe we need a clear understanding of the role of those whom God places in responsibility in the fellowship.
And so I want to begin by reading chapter 5, verses 1 through 4. Peter says, Therefore I exhort the elders among you as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed. Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion but voluntarily, according to the will of God and not for sordid gain, that is, for money, but with eagerness, not yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be an example to the flock.
And when the chief shepherd, the Lord Jesus, appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. So he says the first responsibility of the pastors is that they shepherd the flock. Now, what does he mean by shepherding the flock? Notice what he says, shepherd the flock of God.
Now, I want you to listen carefully. Shepherd the flock of God. He didn't say shepherd the flock of the pastor. When somebody makes their remark, oh, that's Stanley's church.
I want to go on record. This is not my church. This is God's church.
I happen to be the man that God sent here for a season of time. This isn't my church. It's God's church. He didn't say shepherd the flock of the overseer of the Christ. He said shepherd the flock of God. You don't lead sheep by beating the sheep. You lead them by feeding them.
And what do you feed? Listen to what Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 16. He said about the word of God, all scripture is inspired of God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. Therefore, if the sheep in this fellowship is to be fed, they're to be fed from the word of God, which teaches, reproves, corrects, and trains in righteousness. That is the responsibility of the shepherd. Is that not what Jesus said to Peter in those last days? He said, Peter, love is thou me, said, feed my sheep. My primary responsibility as a pastor is to feed the flock. That is my first priority.
In order to do that, something must be going on in my own life. In order for something to be going on in my own life, you must assume with some responsibility. You must assume the responsibility of praying for God to speak to my heart, convict me of sin, keep me right with him, keep me committed to him in the word of God, understanding the word of God in order that I may expound the truth of God to you. An assembly that is a body of Christ, a church has an awesome responsibility to the pastor as well as the pastor having a responsibility to them. Feeding the flock.
Secondly, a shepherd not only feeds the sheep, but he tends the sheep. That is, he takes care of them. When I think about the ways that he takes care of them, I think of James chapter five when he says, is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church. Let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who's sick.
The Lord will raise him up. If he's committed sins, they'll be forgiven. One of the responsibilities of the elder pastor, bishops, shepherds is tending the sheep, not only to guide the sheep, but to guard them. You'll recall back over in chapter 20 of Acts, what Paul said there again, as he was admonishing these men in charge who were responsible for what was happening to the body.
Here's what he said to them. He said, be on guard for yourselves and for the flock among you, which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to oversee, to shepherd the church of God, which he purchased with his own blood. He says, because I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock, he says, and from among your own selves, men will arise speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them. It is the responsibility of the shepherd to detect error, error in doctrine in any kind of disunity and disharmony of the fellowship.
Somebody wants to get off on some wrong doctrine. It is my responsibility and the responsibility of the other pastors to detect that and to root it out and to get rid of it. That is part of the responsibility of being a shepherd. Now, first of all, he says, our responsibility is to shepherd. Secondly, notice what he says, shepherd the flock of God among you and exercising oversight. You don't want any pastor who doesn't have the strength or the courage to exercise authority. I'm going to show you what kind of authority in just a moment, but he says that the elders who rule, rule well, be considered worthy of double honor.
What I want you to see is there is authority. Now look at you in Hebrews chapter 13, and notice what he says in this passage. He says in chapter 13 of Hebrews verse 17, obey your leaders and submit to them for they keep watch over your souls.
God mistreats you. They keep watch over your souls as those, listen, as those who will give an account. Then once in a while somebody says, well, I don't want any pastor ruling over me.
Don't worry about it. What I want you to see is this. If a pastor does not assume the authority as the shepherd in that flock, then he's going to be accountable to God. Now listen to what he says, obey your leaders and submit to them for they keep watch over your souls. They have an awesome responsibility as those who will give an account unto God. My friend, if a person is hung up on the idea of leadership and authority, what you need to see is the other side of that. Those of us who are delegated authority by God's delegation have the awesome responsibility of giving an account to God one day for what we did and all we did as the shepherds of a flock.
And I'm going to tell you, it's probably going to be worse on us than anybody else because we have the Word of God, the awesome responsibility of expounding it, and so the awesome responsibility is beyond my comprehension of yours. But what I want you to see is, yes, there is authority, there is responsibility, and the man who fails to exercise that authority and fails to guard the sheep because he's afraid of what somebody else is going to say is going to be held accountable to God. Now sometimes we have to deal with some very sticky situations.
We just have to say to some folks or a person here now, no, you can't do that. It does not mean that we're exercising domineering autocratic control, but my friend, we have been given and delegated the responsibility of protecting and guarding this flock against error and against damage. And so we must exercise that, but he says, we must remember we have to give an account. Now listen, overseeing means superintending. Episcopas, the bishop, the overseer, responsible for the work.
The buck stops right here whether we like it or not. Now listen to what he says. He says, shepherding the flock of God among you, exercising oversight. So he says, this is your responsibility. Now, he says, what is the spirit which that must be done?
Then he tells us. He says, not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God, and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness. Now, he says, here is the spirit. What is the proper motivation? Peter says, the proper motivation is not that you're doing your job because you have to do it. He says, not out of compulsion. Now, of course, Paul said on one occasion, when he was talking about his call to the ministry, he says, woe be unto me if I preach not the gospel. And I think all of us who are in the preaching and teaching ministry could say the same thing. And I'm not going to tell you how God got me here.
It'd take too long. But I'm here because God sent me here and will stay as long as God sees fit. And whenever He wants to take me off the scene, that is indeed His responsibility and His choice, not mine. Not out of compulsion, he says, but rather out of the right motivation, out of a desire to serve Him. Listen, not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God, not for sordid gain, that is His not for money. But He says, but with eagerness, that is, eager to serve the Lord. Now, I don't have to tell you how eager I am to preach to you week after week. But when I say to you on Sunday, I want you to get this. Do you understand, my friend, that's coming out of a shepherd's heart, whose responsibility it is to God to get you the truth. And it is my heart's desire that you eagerly absorb the truth and apply to your heart because I know that if you violate the principle, what's going to happen? He says, with eagerness, not for money. I'm going to tell you something. There are going to be folks who stand in the presence of God one of these days, whose idea is God will keep him poor if you'll keep him humble.
And they laugh about that. And there have been many pastors out there, many, many pastors who end up their pastorate, no house to live in, not enough to live on, serve God 30 or 40 years. I'm going to tell you, my friend, those churches will answer to Almighty God for mistreating the pastor. I'm going to tell you, my friend, there's no way for God to bless that church. He is not going to bless the mistreatment of his servants and he's not going to bless the violation of the principles of Scripture.
Secondly, I want you to see something else. He says the manner in which these men should do their work. Listen, he says, verse 3, Nor yet is lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proven to be an example of the flock. There is no way of justifying an autocratic dictatorial ungodly unscriptural rule by any pastor who says, all the decisions must be made by me. Only a fool would say that. So when somebody says, well, the preacher makes all the decisions, not this one.
I'm not that wise. No man is that wise in any church to make all the decisions. Together we make the decisions. Now, when we make them and we believe they're of God, we're coming on strong because we believe we've gotten it from God off our knees waiting and praying and discussing and listening to every avenue.
Now listen to what he says. Not as lording it over them. Therefore, the man who is the pastor and those who the pastors must exercise spiritual authority within the confines of what God says. And that is exercising authority in the spirit of humility and gentleness as if we are submissive to one another, recognizing that the other man can also hear the Spirit of God speak. The Holy Spirit doesn't speak just to pastors.
He speaks to anybody and everybody who's willing to listen to him. And therefore, when godly men get on their knees, it's always been my belief that when a group of godly men get on their knees together and seek the mind of God, they're coming up with the same answer. Paul said, above all, keeping the unity of the faith. Godly men seeking godly wisdom together are going to come up with God's answer. And therein is the safety of God giving authority in the church to the pastors and to those who are administering with them. Listen. Not as yet lording it over those allotted to your charge, not acting like an autocratic dictator, but he says, proving to be examples to the flock. Listen, any man who leads by intimidation or dictatorial autocratic rule is confessing he's not a good leader. But we lead by example and lead by motivation, lead by leading the principles of God. What does God say we're to do?
And I believe that is the responsibility and that is the attitude a pastor should have. That is to be an example. That does not mean we're going to be perfect. You already discovered that I'm not perfect. I'm not perfect. I have my weaknesses, my faults, my frailties, just like every pastor I know does. But I'm not here because I'm perfect.
I'm here because God sent me here. And it is your responsibility to pray for each one of the pastors, to lift up all the pastors, to be godly men listening to the Lord giving direction under God's design of authority that is authority under humility and submission to the will of God and submission to wisdom. That's the way God wants to operate his church. So he says, not as yet lording it over these allotted to your charge, but proven to be an example to the flock. Now, and when the chief shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Now, he talks about the rewards of the pastors, future reward when Jesus comes. But I want to tell you about some of the reward that's not future right now. I am greatly rewarded by the privilege of standing in this place every week and opening the Word of God. If God didn't do anything for me in heaven at all, as far as I'm concerned, I'm adequately rewarded. The reward of being able to open the Word of God, the reward of being able to have the time each week to pour over these pages and ask God to speak to my heart, teach me truth, help me to know, be able to know what to share and when to share.
So we do have the privilege of doing that. That's part of the reward. Part of the reward is watching what happens to you. Nothing so excites me is watching God reach down and deal with a person's life, straighten out their life, watching people be called in the ministry, going to the mission field, God straightening out their lives, delivering them from all kinds of things, watching the body of Christ grow. There are a lot of rewards in being a pastor that are not future, that are present.
Many things that I could talk about, but then there are difficulties, being misunderstood, criticism and all the rest, but after a while you get like a rhinoceros hide. It doesn't bother you anymore as long as you humble yourself before God in obedience to Him. And you see, I had to learn a long time ago I couldn't listen to everybody because if I did, I wouldn't listen to God. And once in a while some folks think they want a weak pastor who listens to everybody listen.
Any man who listens to everybody and does what everybody says does nothing. You don't want that kind of pastor. I believe I'm wise enough to listen to Godly counsel. There are many things that are hurtful in being a pastor, but I want to tell you this. I don't believe any man of God who gets in the ministry, gets in there on the basis of whether it's going to be good or bad on him or not, he humbles himself before the Lord God to say, Lord, I'll go wherever you want me to go. I'll do whatever you want me to do. I'll be whatever you want me to be and all the consequences of that belong to you. When I got in the ministry and I went to my first church, 90 people on Sunday, big Sunday in the summertime when all the summer tourists were there, it was 150.
But you know what? It was just as incumbent upon me to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ as the Chief Shepherd then as it is now. And if I hadn't have been then, I wouldn't be right here right now. God is the one who moves his servants around. And I believe that God has opened up the world to us to share the gospel all around this world in multitudes of places all across this earth.
I'm not worried about the future rewards. I'm grateful for the present ones just like the rest of the pastors. But he says a crown, a crown of glory for those men who have been faithful in the ministry.
So I want to say all of that to you to say tonight. First of all, he is the shepherd and we who are the pastors are the under shepherds. And I think I can speak for all the rest of the under shepherds.
We pray for you and we want you to pray for us. I believe our explanation tonight, if every church would practice that, they would be growing by leaps and bounds. There would be a sense of harmony and unity and oneness and a trust in the fellowship of the leadership of that church. Deacons seen as godly men helping to carry on the work of the fellowship. Pastors seen as godly men in the role of pastors in that fellowship.
And I believe as long as people can see it God's way, not my way, but God's way. Follow that principle, then growth is a natural part of the life and ministry of that church. Let's pray together. Father, I thank you tonight for this passage of Scripture. I thank you for Peter placing it there and by the Holy Spirit's leadership and guidance. And we ask you tonight in Jesus' name, give us godly wisdom, Father, as my prayer.
Humility of spirit, patience and meekness, totally committed to your will so that whatever you choose to do, you will have the freedom and the liberty to do it through our hearts. Whatever you choose to do in this invitation, we thank you for. But God, I do pray tonight in Jesus' name. Those whom you have called, I pray that you'll give them the courage to step out, the courage to move, not to be afraid, but to be fearless and bold to serve you wherever you've called them, knowing that you'll take the care of the consequences of their obedience to you is my prayer in Jesus' name. Amen. Thank you for listening to the scriptural view of the Under Shepherd. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-17 19:03:41 / 2023-03-17 19:11:31 / 8