SBTS chapel live blog: Shepherding God’s Flock

Communications Staff — April 16, 2009

Preacher: Calvin Wittman, senior pastor of Applewood Baptist Church in Wheat Ridge, Colo.

Text: 1 Peter 5:1-5

1 Peter was written to believers who were enduring suffering. The text of this sermon — at least verses 1-4 — is addressed to the shepherds of God’s flock.

In verse 1, Peter addresses the elders. An elder is an overseer of God’s flock, an undershepherd under Christ, the good Shepherd.

Shepherd God’s flock with excellence

To shepherd means to tend to the sheep, to care for the sheep in God’s pasture. To shepherd is to do several things:

1. Love the sheep

How are shepherds to love the sheep? A pastor is to love the church in the same manner as he loves his wife. How is a man to love his wife? As Christ loved the church. Christ loves us despite of who we are. Shepherds should do the same with their flock, their church.

Your congregation must know that you love them. If you are going to be a pastor, you must love the flock in the same way that Jesus loves the flock.

2. Feed the sheep

Jesus tells Peter, ‘Feed by sheep.’ Jesus says that His sheep are the most precious thing in the world to Him. You must faithfully feed his sheep. A pastor who does so, faithfully gives God’s Word to them.

3. Lead the sheep

The shepherd leads the flock. The leader of God’s flock must take God’s people from there are spiritually to where they need to be spiritually. And the leader of God’s flock can’t take people where he hasn’t been himself.

Shepherd God’s flock with eagerness

Some men who are pastors have no business being a pastor. In contrast, a called pastor is one who believes he can do nothing else. He was created for this purpose and nothing else on this earth could fulfill that purpose.

There are great rewards of being a pastor, but those rewards are often not financial. Every pastor worth his salt will have to choose if he will lay his treasures here on earth.

Shepherd God’s flock by example

Instead of leading like the world leads, we should lead by example. The leadership we employ in the church should be leading by example. We should never ask people to do something and then not ourselves do it. If you want people to be serious about missions, evangelism and discipleship, then you have to be serious about those things.

Consequences of being a shepherd

One day, all Christians — including pastors — will give an account for everything they did on earth. Pastors will give an account for everyone in their flock (Heb 13:17). Everytime I stand and speak on behalf of God, I do so with trepidation. I stand with trepidation because I know that one day I will stand before God for what I say and do. And teachers are called to a higher standard (Js 3:1).

Those who faithfully serve God will receive an unfading crown of glory. We serve so that we can receive a crown that we can lay at the feet of King Jesus as we worship Him.

Is there joy in being a pastor? Absolutely. But the greatest joy is stand before the Master someday and hear the words, ‘Well done.’

Warning: God opposes the proud

Pastors are often guilty of thinking they are something when they are not. We think, ‘O, I could do that better: I just need an opportunity.’

The pride of the youth is to think that those who are older are obsolete and have nothing to offer. The pride of age is to think that we have arrived and those who are young can teach us nothing.

In verse 5, Peter turns from the shepherds to the sheep and says ‘Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another.’ Pride is the root of all sin. We must envelop ourselves with humility. I have learned that humility is nothing that you ever completely achieve: you must always be seeking to grow in humility.

If you don’t clothe yourselves with humility, God will actively oppose you.

But God gives grace to the humble. He gives unmerited favor to those who are humble. He gives blessings that could not be merited or deserved to those who walk in humility.

Are you ready to become a pastor, counselor, or church leader who is Trusted for Truth?

Apply now for summer or fall studies

Classes begin in June & Aug.