PHBC October 10, 1999

Series: First Peter, Sermon #80

THE PASTOR-ELDER-BISHOP-TEACHER OF A CHURCH OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST 

Part III

THE PASTOR FEEDING AND OVERSEEING THE FLOCK


TEXT: 1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.

INTRO: I was a little surprised when I began to study the word that is translated feed in our text. When looking at the English word in the Old Testament I found notations that the word meant "to feed or to rule." When I check the Greek word in our text it turned up with the same idea. The word is poimaino { poy-mahí-ee-no} { poimaivnw }. It is translated feed 6 times, rule 4 times, feed cattle 1 time for a total of 11 times. It means to feed, to tend a flock, keep sheep, to rule, govern. It is used of rulers and their ruling. It means to furnish pasture for food, to nourish, to cherish oneís body, to serve the body, to supply the requisites for the soulís need. So, the word has in it the idea of feeding while ruling and overseeing as a shepherd not only provides the feed for his sheep but he also rules over his sheep.

I. IDENTIFYING THE FLOCK OF GOD

A. Since all the elect are sheep, one might be prone to consider the flock of God as all the elect.

1. All animals of the sheep species in the world do not compose one flock.

2. All the sheep in one nation, region, or locality do not compose one flock.

3. A flock is an organized group of sheep under the oversight of a shepherd or shepherds.

B. The locality of a flock is evident from this Scripture as well as others.

1. This flock or these flocks were among them; a flock here and a flock there with shepherds tending each one. 1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

2. It is obvious that the flock mentioned in Acts 20:28 has reference to the particular congregation that assembled in Ephesus. Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

3. It is also obvious that this flock was the same as the church in Ephesus. (See Scripture above).

C. The fact that the flock is a local assembly is evident from Jesus instructions to Peter. John 21:15-17 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

1. I do not believe that the feeding or tending the flock the Lord had in mind what Peter would write.

2. It is apparent, that as a pastor, Peter could not feed and tend to all the saved of all the ages all over the world.

D. Jesusí words concerning the assembly he established give us an indication of what a flock is in the sense of a church; he was speaking to a local visible assembly. Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Fatherís good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

E. I should also call to your attention that Peter specifically refers to the flock of God as distinguished from other flocks. 1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.

1. Paul refers the church/flock of Ephesus as the church of God. Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

2. He calls the Church in Corinth the church of God. 1 Corinthians 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.

3. He charged some of the Corinthians with despising the church of God, referring to their own congregation assembling in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 11:22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

4. Paul specifically persecuted the church of God in Jerusalem. 1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. Acts 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

5. There is no doubt that a local church is in mind when Paul writes to Timothy. 1 Timothy 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

6. The true local church is the church of God, the house of God and the flock of God. 1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

F. It occurs to me that all pastors will do well to remember that the assembly over which the Holy Ghost has made us overseers and flock-tenders is the church of God.

1. It does not belong to the community.

2. It does not belong to anyone but the Triune God.

II. HE PASTOR IS TO TAKE THE OVERSIGHT OF THE FLOCK OF GOD

A. God has put in his heart the desire to pastor a flock of God. 1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

B. The Holy Ghost has made him the overseer. Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

C. The flock has, under the leadership of the Spirit, chosen him to be their overseer. Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

D. With these things evident, the elder should then take the oversight of the assembly.

E. This is not to be done by force.

F. Nor should the pastor rule with force and as a dictator.

1. Neither should the pastor be forced into it for any reason.

a. Some men have become pastors because they considered it an easy way to make a living.

b. Others have been cajoled into the work by a mother who dreamed of her son being a pastor.

2. Nor should the pastor have to be constrained to take the oversight, if he has accepted the pastoral call.

a. Some men in the office are so passive that they will not exercise any leadership but let the church make all their decisions for them.

b. I know a pastor whose daughter was critically ill and he did not leave to go see her until the church had met for a regular service so they could vote to give him three days to go see her.

c. He will not preach in a conference or revival unless the church votes to give him permission to do so.

d. He continues to do this even though his church has practically begged him to do things without so many church votes.

e. But, the thing backfired on him recently when the church voted for him to take each fifth Sunday off so a young man in the church who is related to several of them could preach.

3. The pastor should take this oversight willingly and out of love for the Lord of the flock. John 21:15-17 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

a. The pastor must love the Lord of the flock before he even becomes the pastor of the flock.

b. Love for the specific flock may not be very great when one takes the oversight of the church; but the love for the Lord of the flock should be preeminent

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