Summary: Qualifications of Church Leaders
We continue our worship by listening and learning from the Word of God. Please open your Bibles to 1 Peter Chapter 5….
God spoke to the Apostle Peter and told him to write to Christians about how to live on earth until Jesus Christ returns to earth. In chapter 4 God spoke of how we are to relate to one another in the church family. Our passage today speaks to church leaders. But before you turn off your listening ear, there are many reasons for all of us to understand what God is saying here:
Yes, 1 Peter 5:1-4 is directly for church leaders but we must all listen because:
- We can learn more about God and His plans for us!
- God may call on you to be a church leader!
- We can appreciate our church leaders and need to pray for them.
- We need to know what type of leaders we should have.
- Each one of us is a leader in one form or another.
Let us pray about together our learning today (pray commitment….)
Read along with me 1 Peter 5:1-4….
Before we look at God’s instructions, let us note what is said about Peter and about Jesus Christ, the chief Shepherd.
What can we note about Peter from v1:
- A fellow elder appealing to other elders
An elder here indicates a church leader.
- A witness of Christ’s sufferings
Even though Peter denied he knew Jesus when Christ suffered and died, Peter personally saw all of it.
- Will also share in the glory to be revealed
Peter trusted Jesus completely and was looking forward to some sort of glory in his future and was living with this in mind. Peter was looking forward to something glorious, did Peter experience any glorious in his life already (glorious as in the shekinah glory we talked about last week)?? What were some of them??
Let us summarize these truths from v1 about Peter: Peter loved Jesus Christ and lived his life ministering to God’s people while anticipating the glorious appearance of his Lord!
And in v4, Peter actually encourages Christian servants to live the same way he does anticipating Christ’s return.
And what can we say about Jesus Christ here in v4?
a. Chief Shepherd
A shepherd leads and guides. Church leaders are to lead and guide. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd; all leaders are to follow Christ! Jesus Christ is always the focus and the ultimate authority.
And we note that Jesus will appear again; in other words;
b. Jesus will return to earth soon!
And what will Jesus do for those who led for Him?
c. Jesus will reward His servants with crowns of glory that will never fade!
And what are instructions from God to elders (church leaders)?
v2: be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers.
Did you notice that God does not just say “be shepherds of God’s flock”? Why do you think God added “that is under your care, serving as overseers”??
Being a shepherd for God is not forced, not man created, but God ordained.
God is the one who is to build the church and call leaders. Note v3 the flock is entrusted, not self-gained. Remember the Tower of Babel? It didn’t take long for man to build for their own glory.
Church Leaders are to be shepherds (lead and guide) their flock to Jesus Christ.
Church Leaders are to serve as overseers (keeping an eye out and caring for) of the “flock”. In our applications, we will talk more about the “flock”.
And we read in v2-3, “Elders” are:
- not to be greedy for money (i.e. riches and self-gains)
- to be eager to serve (i.e. love the job and love the people)
And look again at v3 with me…..
Elders are not to see themselves as the master, for the Only Master is Jesus Christ. And so,
- (v3) to always humble themselves before Jesus Christ
The application of God’s Word for Church Leaders is straightforward from 1 Peter 5:1-4.
What else can we glean from this passage?
First of all, let us all follow the example of the Apostle Peter,
1. Love Jesus Christ and live life ministering to God’s people while anticipating the glorious appearance of his Lord! How are we all doing with this? Make a commitment today!
2. Jesus Christ is to always be our Only Master and we are to only follow those who will lead us to Jesus Christ.
Now, we noted that “Elders” are to oversee the flock entrusted to them. We need to note that this is a “two way street”. 3. An Elder can really only oversee those who are willing to be cared for and guided; this will happen in 2 levels: those who attend church regularly become part of the flock; however, only those who have chosen to become a member of the church through it’s constitution and by-laws can be disciplined by the church.
And again for all of us, Church Leaders are called by God and have quite a responsibility; 4. Pray for your church leaders often.