Summary: Within the local church today, there are certain role-specific responsibilities. The pastor has the responsibility to shepherd the flock. The flock has a responsibility of submission and sobriety. Ultimately, God has the responsibility to give eternal
1. The first job description in the church is for the position of shepherd. (5:1-4)
2. The second job description in the church is for the position of sheep. (5:5-9)
3. The third job description in the church is for the position of Chief Shepherd. (5:10-11)
What is the church? Is it a building with a steeple? Is it nice facilities with padded pews and a pulpit? What does it take to build the church? Bricks, mortar, wood, paint? Those things are great, but they aren’t what God has chosen to build His church with. He’s chosen to build it with people. Common, ordinary people like you and me. In the passage we just looked at, Peter begins by describing the people God uses to build His church. He’s not talking here about the universal church made up of all believers. He’s talking about the local church. He’s talking about the people that make up the local church and what their responsibilities are. When you look at it that way, it’s almost like he’s giving out job descriptions. Job descriptions to the local church. I want each of us here today to understand our responsibility in the church. In order to do that, we’re going to look at three job descriptions for positions in the church. The first job description is for the position of shepherd.
Now, let’s back up for a second to figure out who Peter’s talking to here. Back in verse 1, he addresses his comments to “the elders which are among you.” Many times in the New Testament, especially in books that were written later like 1 Peter, the terms “elder”, “bishop”, “overseer”, meant the same thing. They meant pastor. Not just a preacher, but a pastor. Don’t get those two words confused. They mean very different things. A preacher is one who faithfully proclaims the Gospel. Preaching is a very important part of being a pastor. But pastoring is so much more. That’s what Peter describes in these verses. The word “pastor” is the exact same word that is often translated “shepherd”. As a matter of fact, it’s translated “feed” in verse 2. It sounds redundant to us, but Peter is telling these folks that pastors need to pastor their church. Or shepherds need to shepherd their flock. Then he goes on to tell them what that means. He goes on to give them their job description. Verse 2 says they are to take oversight not by constraint, but willingly. That’s one thing about the call of God. He doesn’t make us do anything. He doesn’t force anyone to answer His call to ministry. He makes it very plain and clear, but He won’t force you to answer it. Anybody that goes into the ministry because they need a job, will end up with a job—not a ministry. It’s like my dad told me when I was going to get married. He said, “Don’t marry a girl you think you can live with. Marry a girl you know you can’t live without.” The call of God is the same way. I have to be a pastor because I can’t do anything else. That doesn’t mean I’m not qualified to get a decent job somewhere else. There are lots of jobs I could live with. But I can’t live without being a pastor. So pastors are to shepherd the flock willingly. Verse 2 also says they are to not do it for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. Folks, you know as well as I do that pastors don’t minister for the money. True pastoring is a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week ministry that no amount of money could compensate for. And despite that fact, we are to do it with a ready mind which means eagerly. It doesn’t mean we have to eagerly be poor, it means we have to eagerly do the ministry, no matter what the compensation. Somebody talked last week about a finance committee praying about their pastor. They prayed, “Lord, you keep him humble, we’ll keep him poor.” True pastors don’t do it for the money. The final thing Peter says about pastors in verse three is that they don’t lord their position over the flock. They lead by example. God doesn’t call dictators. He doesn’t call CEOs. He calls pastors—shepherds. Shepherds don’t drive sheep like people drive cattle. They lead them. They lead from a position of trust and integrity. Not from a position of power and authority. All power and authority rests in Jesus Christ, not the pastor. So the pastor’s job description says he is to shepherd willingly—not by compulsion. He’s to shepherd eagerly—not for money. And he’s to shepherd by example—not like a dictator. That’s great. If I left it off there, everybody would probably think this was a great sermon. It was short and it was about somebody else. The sermons I’ve always liked the best are the ones that are preached to somebody else—not to me. But now Peter gets to the everybody else part. He gets to the job description for the position of sheep.