Six Things About Biblical Shepherds
1 Timothy 5:17-20; Acts 20:17-21, 28, 1 Peter 5:1-4
Part 9 of In Pursuit of Godliness Series
The subject of shepherds is found all over the scriptures. The earliest reference to shepherds that I know from the Bible is found in Genesis 4:4, where Abel was a shepherd and he “offered to God fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.” Sheep or lambs were offered to the Lord, and we are old that the Lord was pleased.
But the most notable of all shepherds in the Bible was Jesus himself. He said “11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11. Peter also reminded the overseers of the church that Christ will appear to reward His faithful under shepherds. 1 Peter 5:4, “4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” There are six things the Bible says about spiritual shepherds.
1. Shepherds are worthy of double honor.
“17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:17-18.
· Paul underscored the importance of shepherding the church. v.17.
· Pastors, elders, or overseers became the under shepherds of Jesus. See Acts 20:17-21, 28.
· Those who worked hard for the Word must receive renumeration.
· The apostle Paul refused to receive support for the sake of other ministers who needed church funding more than he did.
2. Shepherds are decision makers.
“The elders who direct the affairs of the church.” 1 Timothy 5:17a
· Spiritual leaders are liable to God for whatever will happen to His church.
· It is harder to manage a larger group of people with different perspectives and each with strong feelings regarding how things must be done, than managing one’s own family.
· The key is balancing people’s differences with our mission and vision.
3. Shepherds are humble ministers of the Word.
“17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor,especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” 1 Timothy 5:17
· Church members have different gifts, strength of gifts, and different callings but every gift must be used to unite and strengthen the body of Christ. See Ephesians 4:11-13.
· The key to effectively lead the church is to practice these gifts with humility.
· Humble shepherds appreciate feedback from their congregation.
· Leaders are open to suggestions from their members.
4. Shepherds truly care for the flock.
“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 1 Peter 5:1-2.
· Be dependable. v. 2. An absentee shepherd will fail to watch over his flock.
· Be a provider. v.3. Like the shepherd who feeds and provide rest to his sheep, overseers must provide the church with spiritual nourishments and rest. (Bible study, seminars, trainings, and fellowship for rest.)
5. Shepherds are careful how they live.
“19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.” 1 Timothy 5:19
3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” 1 Peter 5:3-4.
· Shepherds must be mindful on how they live.
· Shepherds must continue to pursue godliness.
· Shepherds must demonstrate Christ’s love in serving others.
6. Shepherds are promoters of the gospel.
“17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tearsand in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.” Acts 20:17-21
· The congregation must hear the shepherds cry to God for the salvation of others. v.19
· The shepherds must continue to encourage the church to share the gospel by their examples. vv.20-21