1 Peter 5:1-5

 

1 Pet 5:1 (KJB)
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
 
Elders - Presbyter or Older man
Exhort - Encourage
Witness - One who observes physically like an eye witness
 
Here Peter begins his exhortation of the elders among the Christians who read his epistle. Once the leadership is encouraged, they can pass on that encouragement to the people in the church. Peter also identifies himself as an elder and one who was an eye witness to the sufferings of Christ. Peter was right there and he was even accused of being a follower of Christ until he denied the Lord three times. Peter also states that he too is going to be a partaker of the glory which will soon come unto the believers with the forthcoming persecutions. Peter will soon be crucified as the prophecy of his death told by the Lord will soon come to pass.
 
1 Pet 5:2 (KJB)
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;
 
Feed - Shepherd
Oversight - Oversee or care for
Constraint - Compulsion or obligation
Filthy Lucre - Base or illegal gain
 
Peter is encouraging the elders to shepherd the flock. Remember the Lordís words to Peter. (John 21:17 KJV) 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. This is the responsibility of church leaders as they are to feed the flock and care for them by building them up in the fear and nurture of the Lord. The mindset the leader is supposed to have is one of a ready mind who is willing to lead the flock, if God so raises that person up into leadership capacity. Not everyone is empowered to be a leader and Peter is making a contrast in mindsets. The one who does by obligation or feels compelled to do it will most likely be a poor leader. Then there is the leader who likes to lead for filthy lucre or dishonest gain. It doesnít necessary mean big money but can also mean they like the celebrity position and that can lead to troubles where they might eventually over-state their importance and then go after the big money and may even do illegal things behind the backs of the congregation. This has happened more than once in the church scene.
 
1 Pet 5:3 (KJB)
Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
 
Being lords over - Be master or to subjugate someone
Heritage - Lot or portion
Ensamples - Pattern, model, or example
 
Peter further exhorts these leaders that they are not to act as if they are lords of the flock because it was Christ who died for the people and not them. The flock does not belong to them as the verse speaks of the flock as Godís heritage or portion. No leader is to act despotic toward the flock of God especially while they are undergoing persecution. It may surprise the leaders, but they would normally be the first ones taken and this is why they are to be examples to the flock. The sheep must see the leaders acting like Christians at all times and not like the world. It is a shame that so many Pastors in todayís churches seem to act like the flock belongs to them. This makes for very tension filled church and all the spirituality is either forced or faked. It would never be a true church if the Pastor constantly beats the sheep.
 
1 Pet 5:4 (KJB)
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
 
When the elders are ruling in a proper way, it makes for a very spiritual and safe congregation for the sheep. Then in this verse Peter states that when the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the chief Shepherd, shall return, the elders will receive a crown of glory that will never fade away. This verse has been used to teach that Pastors will receive a special crown but what is in view here is that all true believers will receive the crown of glory which is eternal life. Remember the promise of the glory we all will share when the Lord returns. It will come when all the suffering of this world is behind us. (Rev 1:6 KJV) And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. The Lord, through His death and resurrection, made us kings and priests. A king normally wears a crown and that is the symbolism that we have here when it speaks of crowns. There is no super spiritual class or caste system in Heaven among the believers. The crown of glory is the glory imputed to the believers by the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
1 Pet 5:5 (KJB)
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
 
Likewise - In the same way
Submit - Be subject
Clothed - Cover or clothe oneself
Resisteth - Sets himself against
 
Now Peter turns to the younger believers. Just as the elders are to be subject unto the Lord so they will not be ruling despots, in the same manner, the younger believers are to be subjected to the elders. The word ďsubmitĒ in the Greek is in the Imperative mood which makes this a command. In other words, the younger believers are to be subject unto the elders, whether they like it or not. This is Godís way of growing them and for keeping order in the church. (1 Tim 3:6 KJV) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Paul had exhorted Timothy that they are never to place a novice or new believer in any position of authority since they really are not spiritually ready and that lack of spirituality will cause their flesh to rise up and begin to rule as a despot. This is why those who come out of Seminary should never take a pastorate immediately. They should go out and work for at least five years and live among the people and get to know their daily problems and then they will be qualified to rule because it will be a rule with understanding.
Peter also exhorts that everybody be subject to everybody and that simply means look upon someone else as more important than yourself. (Phil 2:4 KJV) Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. God calls us to be clothed with humility as if we are given a robe to put on. If we do not clothe ourselves in humility, then God will set Himself against us. He will humble us if we do not humble ourselves and Godís methods will probably be much harder than volunteering. (Prov 3:34 KJV) Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. Proverbs 3:34 teaches us that God will Himself scorn the scorners but His grace, acceptance, or favor will He give to those who are humble. If we want to experience Godís best, then we do it Godís way.

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