I Peter 5:1-4 - "Directions". - Text notes -- James Dale
I Pet 5:1-4
Directions (Part 1 of 3
Most everything that Peter has mentioned up to this point in this epistle has been directed to the individual. For example:
- Be ye holy 1:16
- Abstain from fleshly lusts 2:11
- Be of one mind 3:8
- Live the rest of your time in the flesh to the will of God 4:2
Make no mistake about it, God will hold us accountable individually for the decisions we make in this life. However, know this also, that God never intended for us to be sojourners in a strange land alone. It is assumed that a true believer will be part of a local assembly of believers to receive teaching and encouragement and support on this side of glory.
This body of believers will worship together, sing together, share the doctrine of Christ, baptize new believers, and look forward to His coming. They meet regularly and are organized. Some of the older ones are gifted for leadership, and the church is to follow their leadership in the battle with Satan in this world.
It is now to this aspect of fellowship that Peter turns his attention. As we meet together, what is the management arrangement? When PAUL talks about this part of Christianity, he deals more with structure and qualifications. PETER seems to deal more with attitudes.
The mental portrait that Peter paints is that of a sheep ranch. The principle players are:
- The shepherd (the leaders) 1-4
- The sheep(the followers) 5-7
- The lion that tries to kill the sheep(the battle) 8-11.
The conclusion of his letter has to do with the way a local church should look like as they are going through tremendous suffering for their faith.
Today we will be discussing his comments to the shepherd.
I. The Responsibility of the Elder
A. “The elders which are among you I exhort”
- The word “elder” comes from a Greek word that we get our word “Presbyterian” from.
- It means an older gentleman in age, but also in this case it refers to a position or office of the church.
- Notice that Peter does not command … he exhorts.
B. “Who am also an elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed”.
- Peter identifies himself as a fellow elder not an apostle. He doesn’t even say he is a chief elder. It is the only time in Scripture that this word appears.
- Peter witnessed the suffering of Christ. This is not true of the other elders.
- Peter states a principle as witnessed in the life of Christ … glory follows suffering. Peter has suffered and will partake of glory.
- Peter saw a preview of glory (Mount of Transfiguration).
- Glory has not come yet. We must suffer first.
C. “Feed the flock of God which is among you”
- “Feed” is our trigger word. It means to tend and guard the flock. In America we use the word “pastor” which comes from the Latin word that means a shepherd.
- It is the same exhortation as Jesus gave Peter in John 21:15-17.
- Notice it is local … “those among you”.
Now, how do you “Feed the flock?” Peter lists five attitudes for being a good elder.
II. Attitudes of Elders
A. “Taking the oversight thereof”
- This is where we get the word “Episcopalian” which means to be a bishop or an overseer.
B. “Not by constraint but willingly”
- An elder must not be coerced or reluctant. He should volunteer himself.
- There is human will involved here. It is something a man wants but he is not to disregard God’s will. Paul talks about this in I Tim 3:1 “If a man desire the office of a bishop”. This comes first when a church selects an elder.
C. “Nor for filthy lucre but of a ready mind”
- This is the only time that this word (filthy lucre) is used in the New Testament. It means the same as “wages” but in a dishonest way. It may refer to II Peter 2:15 “the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” … doing a ministry for the purpose of making money. Don’t we see examples of that today?
- It is necessary to pay the minister but it is not the primary goal of a minister.
- A “ready mind” means he does service for the love of the ministry, not for profit. It is the antidote of the sin of Balaam.
D. “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage”
- The authority that comes with this office should not be misused.
- The charge is allotted to the shepherd. A minister is only the administrator of God’s providence.
E. “But being examples to the flock”
- The word “but” is a strong contrast.
- The elder is a model to be followed. This means the flock is to be lead not driven.
- The word “being” indicates that it takes a conscious effort.
III. Rewards of the Elder
A. “And when the chief shepherd shall appear”
- This indicates the timing. The reward will be given at the second coming.
- This word “Chief Shepherd” is used only once in Scripture. It is the same mental picture of a sheep ranch. He is the boss … the owner. He has authority over everything.
- First coming … He is the Good Shepherd
Second coming … He is the Great Shepherd.
B. “Ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
- Greek word for crown is “stephanos” not “diadem”. This crown in the Greek culture was for the victor not for royalty. It was made of oak or olive leaves which faded and wilted.
- This crown will not fade because it will be for eternity.
- “Glory” is referring to the Shekinah glory (the physical manifestation of God’s presence).
- This is one of five crowns mentioned in the Bible as rewards for Christians.