Summary: Exposition of 1 Peter 4:1-4
Text: 1 Peter 5:1-4, Title: Leadership in the Suffering Church, Date/Place: LSCC, 3/5/06, AM
A. Opening illustration: Quoted from Pastoral Life magazine: One Sunday morning a pastor got up in the pulpit and apologized for the Band-aid on his face. He said "I was thinking about my sermon while shaving and cut my face." Afterward he found a note in collection plate, "Next time, think about your face and cut the sermon." After the service a stranger from another church approached the pastor and said, “Preacher, please let me know if that dog of yours has any pups. If it does, I want to buy one for my minister.” A study of 301 clergy revealed: 66% feel lonely and isolated, 80% sometimes experience feelings of futility, and 90% suffer stress because of problems with parishioners. Many are tired after a 55-hour week, but most say they are 95% satisfied with their work.
B. Background to passage: Peter makes the jump from judgment in the house of God and the purification that would go on there to where it always begins—with leadership. Both texts in the OT deal with the priests and Levites being purified. So Peter begins his final section addressing the thought of how the church should act toward itself during times of suffering. He begins by addressing the leadership of the church, noting himself as a fellow elder. But keep in mind that these letters would have been read publicly at the church meetings, so it is within the hearing of all. We are also going to broaden the application level of this text toward leadership in general and not just elders; and even to the familial leadership. And finally, I intend to make some sweeping applications for the entirety of the church based on the instruction that responsibility given to its leadership and how the church should respond. Speak a disclaimer.
C. Main thought: Peter highlights what leadership should look like in suffering in the church
A. Job of Leadership (v. 1-2)
1. In these first two verses we see the NT position the office of pastor. Called by three Gr terms, used interchangeably, each one giving insight into function. The elder/pastors of the local church are supposed to be those that shepherd the sheep. They have grave responsibility and accountability to Christ, whose church they shepherd. Shepherding includes feeding, protecting, and caring for. Oversight includes leading, administrating, and discerning. We don’t have time to go in depth about the fullness of the office of elder at this point. There is much more to be said—exp a little about our gov style.
2. Acts 20:28
3. Illustration: “A shepherd’s task is not to tell people only what they want to hear, but to edify and strengthen them with the deep truths of solid spiritual food that produces discernment, conviction, consistency, power, and effective testimony to the greatness of the saving work of Christ.” –JM, the man in Marshall’s hospital room that was telling me about the French Huguenots that despised the Roman clergy so much that they were determined to have no clergy or leadership.
4. By way of application, we can look to all leaders at those that shepherd the flock placed under you. The authority given to elders, is not necessarily conferred, but the job description may be. As a ministry leader, are you shepherding, protecting, caring for? Are you leading, planning, administrating? Especially when you suffer, do you demonstrate an example? How about parents—are you shepherding the heart of your children to love God? Are you overseeing their lives to bring about godly character and goals? Take some initiative. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to do what God has called you to do.
B. Pitfalls of Leadership (v.2-3)
1. Peter gives three possible pitfalls of leadership in this text as a warning, not only to those that are elders, but also to those who are in the church. 1) Serving from compulsion. He doesn’t mean that elders and pastors should feel a compulsion from God about pastoring. Explain the first cent mindset, then MacArthur’s statement about God gonna play that way… Note: according to God. 2) Serving for dishonest gain. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay ministers (in fact in other places Paul affirms that), but that a man shouldn’t minister in order to make the big bucks. Ministers should be examples of Christian stewardship, and churches should be examples of how to deal with pastors. 3) Serving for power and domination. We don’t lead this way, we bring others along by example.
3. Illustration: Bob Reccord’s story about the pastor who fell, p. 36 Beneath the Surface, story of my Dad’s fall as a leader in our home, even good theology doesn’t mean good leadership—Jonathon Edwards,