I pray that your summer is off to a great start.
It was good to get away on vacation. But it is also good to be back home. Because a shepherd is always concerned about his flock. A good shepherd is always concerned about his flock. Today we are going to stay in 1 Peter, finishing this book up. We are going to look at the Chief Shepherd.
I have always viewed my ministry as one of being a shepherd. Early on in ministry, I learned to be content in just caring for the flock. Never did I have designs on advancement into ordained ministry, I was patient to let God expand my ministry in a manner that was of his design and will. God has blessed me with several flocks; one at Harmony, one at OH, and one at 2Gather2Gether. Let’s begin today with 1 Peter 5:1,
“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who will share in the glory to be revealed.”
Peter is establishing his credentials here. Think about this, how much weight does his testimony carry, having been an actual witness to Christ’s sufferings? Think of the weight that our testimony would carry if we had been an eyewitness to Jesus’ sufferings and his ministry. Peter has the experience, the gravitas, as a personal witness and friend of Jesus. We had better pay attention to what Peter has to say. We ignore Peter at our own peril.
This final part, “one who will also share in the glory to be revealed”, describes something we too are included in. You and I, as children of God, like Peter, will also share in the glory to be revealed. We all will participate in Christ’s future glories. We need to look forward to our future with anticipation and expectation. 1 Peter 5:2-3,
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”
I take my personal call as a shepherd seriously, all of us should. This next verse will explain why. 1 Peter 5:4,
“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
All who receive this crown will not wear it. It is not for our heads, nor anyone else to wear. It is for those who receive it, to then lay at the feet of Jesus Christ, at our judgment at the Mercy Seat of Christ. We’ll talk about this before summer is out.
I want us to look at our Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. One of the best descriptions in the Bible of Jesus as our shepherd is in the Book of John. John 10:1-5, this is Jesus speaking.
“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
All pastors and denominational leadership must come through the gate (Jesus). They must have a born-again, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. John 10:7-11,
“Therefore Jesus said again, ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers (Pharisees and teachers of the law), but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I come that they may have (eternal) life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
This passage of scripture explains why those who are in leadership within any church or denomination, must come through the gate. They must enter through a saving knowledge of grace through Jesus Christ. If they don’t, they are robbers and thieves, false prophets and creators of false idols. Theological chaos reigns if we do not enter through the gate.
All of us will be able to tell, as soon as they open their mouths. Why? Because we will not recognize their voice. Their words will give them away. Back to Peter, 1 Peter 5:8,
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Many do not believe that a Devil really exists. Satan is just a fairytale bad guy to them. Satan has been around for a long time. Job 1:6-7,
“One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.’”
Hear me please, Satan is real. Evil exists, evil so foul that you cannot imagine it. We cannot allow ourselves to somehow get caught up on Satan’s team or Satan’s flock. We cannot allow our lack of attention to enable us to paint ourselves into a corner with Satan. 1 Peter 5:9,
“Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same sufferings.”
We know, from Peter’s words here, what it is that we must do. We must continually resist the devil. We must stand firm in our faith. Do not let naysayers worry you about the future. If we stay with Jesus, if we stand for Jesus, Jesus will stick with us.
I will stand with the Lord. Give me Jesus and his Holy Spirit, and we will be more than fine, we will be blessed.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC