Summary: Pastors and elders, as a central purpose of their office are to care for souls. If not, they fail to obey God (1Pe 5:1-2, Acts 20:28), to the great detriment of the church. The goal of the elders and pastors of a church should be to see families and each
We know it by the abbreviated title: The Reformed Pastor. Originally it was -
Gildas Salvianus: The Reformed Pastor, showing the nature of the Pastoral work; especially in Private Instruction and Catechizing; with an open CONFESSION of our too open SINS: Prepared for a Day of Humiliation kept at Worcester, December 4, 1655, by the Ministers of that County, who subscribed the Agreement for Catechizing and Personal Instruction at their entrance upon that work, By their unworthy fellow Servant, Richard Baxter, Teacher of the Church at Kederminster.’
After being ordained in Worcester Cathedral, he became a pastor at Kidderminster from 1640-1660. While at Kidderminster, Baxter was God’s instrument to promote revival. J.I. Packer states he converted "just about the whole town." Five galleries had to be erected in the church to hold the people and Baxter’s own testimony is, "On the Lord’s days there was no disorder to be seen in the streets, but you might hear a hundred families singing psalms and repeating sermons as you passed through the streets. In a word, when I came thither first, there was about one family in a street that worshipped God and called on his name. When I came away there were some streets where there was not more than one family in the side of a street that did not so."
With an assistant, Baxter systematically catechised an average of fourteen families per week, teaching people in their own homes, by question and answer, the basic teachings of Scripture. He strove to cover all the 800 families in his parish in one year. This became a model method in England and nearly 100 years later his influence in Kidderminster was felt by the eminent Methodist preacher, George Whitefield who stated, "I was greatly refreshed to find what a sweet savour of good Mr. Baxter’s doctrine works and discipline remain to this day."
C. H. Spurgeon commented, "I remember when I used to awake in the morning [as a child], the first thing I took up was Alleine’s Alarm or Baxter’s Call to the Unconverted. Oh, those books, those books! I read and devoured them."
Preaching Calendar -
TODAY: Shepherding the Flock
Next Week: The Great Shepherd of the Flock
Exposition through Acts
SHEPHERDING THE FLOCK OF GOD
1 Peter 5:1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:
2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;
3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;
4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
OUTLINE - Here is a "Structure for Listening"
Shepherding: The context of the call to Shepherd
Shepherding: The chief occupation of Shepherds
Shepherding: The conscious response of the Flock
1) Shepherding: The context of the call to Shepherd > Suffering
Consider the overview of 1 Peter:
I. Salutation 1:1-2
II. Suffering and the certainty of future inheritance 1:3-12
III. Suffering and personal life 1:13-2:10
IV. Suffering and social and domestic life 2:11-3:12
V. Faith and right conduct and suffering 3:13-4:6
VI. Right conduct in the light of the end 4:7-19
VII. Suffering and right relationship between elders and the congregation 5:1-11
VIII. Conclusion 5:12-14
Regarding suffering and adversity, Horace, the Roman Poet said, "Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant." This is kind of virtue is recognized by unbelievers too, e.g., Thomas Paine: "I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ’Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death."
This is true in the case of church leadership.
2) Shepherding: The chief occupation of Shepherds
YOU ELDERS, SHEPHERD THE FLOCK
My translation: Therefore, I appeal to elders among you, (as) the fellow-elder and witness of sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker in the glory to be revealed;
Remember Peter, who learned this from Jesus, John 21:16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep."