Sermon Summary and Discussion Questions | "Elders: Serving Under the Good Shepherd"

Introduction (1 Peter 5:1-4):

  • Elder (spiritual maturity) = Pastor (caring/teaching) = Overseer (governing/ruling)
  • Elders will stand before the throne and give account for the way they served the flock. (1 Timothy 4:16).
  • Cultural and congregational pressure exists to conform pastors to expectations rather than biblical teaching.

Outline:

Significance (What)

Peter addresses numerous churches, exhorting them to shepherd God’s flock. Jeff chronologically goes through the Old Testament showing how God identifies himself as the Shepherd and extends those duties/responsibilities to His chosen leaders of His flock. It is important to understand that God entrusts his own care for his own people to pastors despite the fact that they are no less a sinner than the flock they are caring for. Pastors are sheep too. Therefore, their status should not be elevated above the rest of the congregation. They shouldn’t be CEO’s of the church nor employees at the congregation’s disposal.

Profile (Who)

Called (Acts 20:28 and Ephesians 4:9-11)

  • The Holy Spirit gives the gifts needed to be an overseer. Men don’t make elders, the Holy Spirit does.

Qualified (1 Timothy 3:1-7)

  • In teaching and living, elders are called to uphold the Gospel, making a statement about Jesus.
  • The pastor’s fundamental character is blameless. This doesn’t mean perfection, but instead the absence of glaring inconsistency.
  • The pastor’s life must commend the Gospel and provide an example for God’s flock.

Gifted

  • Character is necessary for eldership, but not sufficient.
  • God gives grace to strive for Godliness.
  • Elders don’t have gifts that make them superior, but instead competent.

Responsibilities (How)

Model

  • Model the character qualities that God requires of His people.
  • Jeff explains that most eldership qualifications in 1 Timothy are character qualities, and those that all Christians should display.

Teach

  • Must be a skillful teacher. Only the pastor is required to be skillful in teaching.
  • Must feed the Word of God to the people of God. Should not allow other priorities to take precedence over this. Paul charges Timothy to devote himself to teaching by reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with complete patience. Elders will build a biblical church when the people cherish and apply the Word of God.

Lead

  • The pastor is responsible for directing the affairs of the church, facilitating relationship with the Creator, and deploying saints by their gifting.
  • Models Christ’s leading and example, humble and serving.
  • The elder’s authority resides exclusively in the Word of God.

Care

  • Under-shepherds of the Great Shepherd
  • Pastors are to have God’s heart for His people

Equip

  • Must equip the saints for the work of ministry

 

Discussion Questions:

  1. How has this message shaped or changed your understanding of pastoral ministry? 
  2. In 1 Timothy 4:16, Paul states that elders will stand before the throne and give account for the way they served the flock. In what ways might this change how or how often you pray for your pastors?
  3. Which pastoral responsibilities have you seen evidenced in our overseers?
  4. Take time to pray for each of your pastors and for their leadership of the church.

[by: Tristan Murray]