I Peter 5:1-4 ESV
“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
Over my lifetime of 70 years, I have lived a lot of places, and I have been in a lot of different church gatherings, mostly in institutional churches, although I no longer attend institutional churches, but that is another subject. So, I have gotten to experience many different pastors and leadership styles, too, some that were good, but many that were not.
And, sad to say, there are a lot of pastors and elders who rule with an iron fist, or who are very controlling and domineering, and who also do not lead by example. Some of them are even very abusive, worldly, manipulative, deceptive, superficial, and playacting. And, even some of them are living in sexual addiction, addicted to porn, and/or engaged in extramarital affairs.
Too many of them today are followers of men and of the flesh rather than being followers of God and of his righteousness. Their “bible” is often more books written by mere humans, especially books on how to grow their churches, i.e. their businesses, and on how to use marketing schemes, tricks, gimmicks and entertainment to draw in large crowds of people into their churches, i.e. into their businesses of men.
And, so the Holy Spirit has been kicked out of many of these church gatherings in favor of the teachings and marketing schemes of men. And, many of these churches and their pastors have reduced the gospel of Jesus Christ to a mere acknowledgment of Christ or to some words repeated after someone else, after which they congratulate them that they are now part of God’s family, that heaven is guaranteed them, and it can’t be taken away.
And, this is while they coddle them in their sins, and many of them tell them that they don’t have to repent of their sins, obey Christ, or submit to his Lordship over their lives. Or else, they leave this impression in people’s minds. For, they convince their adherents that a mere profession of Christ is enough to secure them heaven no matter how they live their lives.
Biblical Role of Elders
But, what is the role of pastors and elders supposed to be? They are to shepherd the flock like Jesus shepherds his sheep. So, they are to lead us to holiness, godliness and to spiritual maturity in Christ. They are to teach us the whole counsel of God so that we can grow in our walks of obedience to our Lord, and so that we can be fruitful for God’s eternal kingdom.
They are supposed to keep us from being led astray by deceitful schemers who would have us being tossed back and forth by all sorts of waves of doctrine. But, so many of them have become the deceitful schemers who are confusing people’s minds, and who are distorting the gospel, and who are leading people to follow after man and the flesh, rather than to follow the way of holiness and purity of devotion to Jesus Christ.
So, the pastors and elders that have the position of leadership and rulership over God’s people need to be exhorted in this manner today, especially. Many of them need to stop trying to build kingdoms of men, and they need to be about following our Lord in the building of his eternal kingdom. They need to not only be preaching the full gospel message, but they need to be living it. They need to be setting a godly example for their flocks to follow.
Clothed with Humility
I Peter 5:5-7 ESV
“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
Jesus told his disciples to obey the Pharisees who were over them in authority, but that they were not to do what they did. They were not to be like them. So, when this says here that we should be subject to the elders (and pastors) in the church, we are only subject to them as long as they are leading us to follow after God. For, where they are trying to lead us away from Christ, we are not to follow them. We don’t have to obey or subject ourselves to leadership that is leading us to disobey God, in other words.
For, if we are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that means we are also to submit ourselves to the Lordship of Christ over our lives. So, where human leaders and rulers lead us to disobey God’s Word, we are to answer them the same way as the disciples did, but with full respect. “We have to obey God rather than men.”
Too many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ these days are following men over God, and they are following leaders and rulers in the church who are following after men instead of God. And, they are following whatever it is these men are teaching them, and most of them, it would appear, are not questioning what they are being taught, for people are flocking to these charlatans by the thousands, and perhaps millions.
So, just like “unity” is unity with Christ and with his holiness, and with the teachings of His Word, so obedience or submission has to be obedience and submission to Christ and to His Word over and above submission to human leadership, if that leadership is leading people to disobey God and His Word, and to follow after men, instead.
So, it doesn’t mean you lack humility if you don’t submit to what is false. It also doesn’t mean you are a disunifier if you refuse to unite with what is not of God and with what is opposed to God. In fact, it takes great humility to stand on the truth and to do what is right, for pride would have us compromise our faith and convictions in order to be liked by others.
Like a Roaring Lion
1 Peter 5:8-11 ESV
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
We have to realize here that Satan has gotten into the gatherings of the church, and he is creating havoc in today’s institutional churches. He is the one behind the diluting of the gospel and the cheap grace which coddles people in their sins and which makes no demands for repentance, obedience to Christ, and submission to his Lordship.
And, he is the one blinding people’s minds to the truth and convincing them that the truth is a lie, and that the lie is the truth. He is the one convincing pastors to remove God’s boundary lines, or to lower them, and to coddle people in their sin, and to stop talking about sin and repentance and obedience. He is the one convincing them that even they can be porn addicts, and such, and still keep their positions as pastor and elder.
Satan is the one behind this moral decline in the church and this acceptance of a man-made gospel which appeals to fleshly lusts. He is the one behind turning the church, God’s house, into a marketplace, and telling Christians to “stay in your own lane” so as not to offend anyone with the truth of the gospel. He is the one convincing Christians that sharing the gospel is being the gospel, and that the gospel is just being “nice” to people and inviting them over for movies and popcorn, etc. (See the Missional movement).
Satan, and his many hordes in the beastly New World Order, with its one world religion, are behind this diluting of the gospel and this turning God’s house into a marketplace, and this turning the church into a business of men or into a social network and a place to have fun and to be entertained. And all this is preparation for the rule of the beast and his one world religion.
So, we need to have eyes to see what is going on in the church, and how Satan is destroying the church from the inside out, and how he is blinding the eyes of many who profess faith in Jesus Christ, and how he is leading many people to hell while promising them heaven as their eternal home.
We have got to be watchful, and be in prayer, and be in God’s Word, and we have to be testing what we hear and see against the Word of God in its fullness, and IN CONTEXT, or we may easily fall for the deception, too. For, the devil is very clever in how he disguises the lies as truth. So, be aware! And, resist his lies, and embrace the truth of God’s Word, and live it, too!
For Our Nation
An Original Work / September 11, 2012
Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.
Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.