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Trials From Without - Lesson 20 - Good Internal Relationships.

1 Peter 5:1 - 7

The power of Spiritual Reality

1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,

2 Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;

3 nor as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

4 When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,

7 casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

It’s really important to have solidarity when facing external trials. When you are dealing with the enemy, you will hear lies and accusations intended to cause doubt and distrust in your relationships. If the attack is successful and causes you to question the loyalty or dependability of people around you, it can be distracting, if not devastating. So, starting with the pastor, Peter gave instructions on how to relate to each other in a way that builds up, encourages, and makes everyone strong even in the midst of trials.

The term elder is equivalent to the pastor. Peter spoke from experience as he exhorted pastors to be shepherds. He had walked with Jesus, witnessed His death, shared His resurrection glory, and watched Him ascend to heaven. Out of all that came his four-fold instruction:

  1. Be a shepherd, not a cowboy. Don’t drive the people; calmly lead them. Sheep need deep, sweet grass and cool, calm water. They need protection from wolves. They need their leader to be dependable and stable as he takes them from pasture to pasture while meeting all their needs.

  2. Exercise oversight. A pastor must have an agenda and a means of accomplishing it. He must share these things in a way that calls people to action. Sometimes he must give extra encouragement to individuals or the whole church in need to move in the right direction. He is not an authority but calls the church to submit to the authority of the Lord Jesus and His Word. He is to do all of this willingly and without any constraint other than following the will of God.

  3. Not for sordid gain. It’s an eagerness to serve that motivates a godly pastor. He is not consumed with the love of money but is eager to invest in Kingdom work for eternal reward. He should be financially rewarded for faithful service, being paid appropriately for his fulfillment of much responsibility.

  4. Not over-lording, but leading by example. It’s not “do as I say”, but “follow me as I follow Christ”. This can be a delicate balance as a pastor must lead, and at times with firmness. Yet, he is not to be autocratic and domineering. He should be living a Christian life that models the walk with Jesus.

The motivational hope for a pastor is the appearance of Jesus, the Chief Shepherd. A man who has served faithfully will receive an unfading crown of glory from Him. I have to tell you that I want that . . . bad!

Peter addressed the young men next, urging them to let the elders lead and teach them, but for all of them of any age to be humble toward each other.

Humility is vital because it obtains God's grace; after all, grace is the supply that makes everything right in the church. Pride is a devilish destroyer, but mutual respect for each other while trusting the mighty hand of God will make a church impervious to enemy attack. And what do you do while humbly waiting on God for promotion? Cast all your cares on Him.

If you find it challenging to wait and to be humble while waiting, roll your anxiety over on Him. Let His love flow through you to the one who needs it. Let His peace fill you as He works out His perfect plan in your life. Let’s keep the devil out!!;

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