Summary: A sermon examining the responsibilities of a shepherd.
Excuse Me, While I Preach To Myself
In our local Baptist association it seems that there are always 5 to 10 churches who are without a pastor. When a pastor resigns, the church will form a "pastor search committee" This is a group of people who are given the responsibility of selecting a candidate to bring before the church as a prospective pastor. Often this committee will advertise on the internet for this open position. They will accept resumes for a selected period of time and then begin the painstaking process of sorting through the pile of prospective candidates.
Imagine for a moment you are on this committee and you examine a resume that describes a man who has been:
- Arrested many times.
- He is always in and out of prison.
- Countless times he has been run out of town.
- He has never built a building.
- He has never been on T.V or radio.
- He doesn't have his own website.
- He has never owned a home.
- Has to work on the side to support himself.
- Never seems to stay very long in one place.
- He is not a skilled public speaker.
- He has an unimpressive appearance.
- Sometimes preaches for hours at a time.
- And he constantly gets involved in public controversies.
No church today would even entertain the idea of calling such a man. In rejecting this résumé you have just turned away the Apostle Paul!
When a church is seeking a new pastor you hear many opinions from the membership as to what they want in their next leader. Some will say we need a man with a degree from an approved seminary. Others will say "I don't want a man with a cemetery degree". Some want a young man who will reach young couples. Others want an older man with more experience. Some want a man who studies much and is a strong expositor. While some are less concerned with preaching and more focused on his ministry to the people.
As far as I know I am not going anywhere, but if that changes let me encourage you to put aside your personal preferences and look to the Lord to provide His man to lead you into the future. When a church is seeking a shepherd they can find the description of what God expects from His man in the Word of God. And what God says you need is more important than what you want!
Notice the description given in: I Timothy 3:1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
These verses show the qualifications of a shepherd. But here in I Peter 5 we find a description of the responsibilities of a shepherd. Often after a sermon, some of you will come to me and say "boy you sure stepped on my toes brother!" Or maybe someone will say "that message was meant especially for me". Well today you have the opportunity to hear me preach a text that directly applies to me! There is information that will be beneficial to you but the majority of this text is directed at the Pastor. So I ask you to "Excuse Me, While I Preach To Myself"
Years ago I was watching Matlock, and Ol' Ben was talking to himself. And he said (to himself) "I have heard that you are not crazy if you talk to yourself but it is a sign of insanity if you answer your own questions." I think it will be ok if I preach to myself, but if I start to amen my own sermon we could be here all night!
- Look with me if you will to verse 1 as we consider:
I. A Word About The Pastor's Call - v1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: