The Conduct of the Church in the Caldron of Conflict:
A Wonderful Witness Before a Watching World
Father's Day, June 16, 1996
Scripture: 1Peter 5
I. The Conduct of Church Leaders Toward the People
A. Heeding the exhortation of those before us who have successfully suffered the call to leadership for the cause of Christ's glory.
1* (Therefore) To the elders among you, I appeal (exhort you) as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:
1. The apostle Peter implies that he also holds himself accountable as a fellow elder before the refining fire of God's judgment to come first upon church leadership in the house of God.
2. Peter recalls his witness of Christ's sufferings when he suffered his own failure in leadership for which he was held accountable.
3. But Peter also affirms his restoration from failure made possible by Christ as he recounts his assurance of sharing in Christ's future glory.
4. Peter therefore encourages the elders with his own experience as one who has sinned, received discipline, repented, been restored, and will share with Christ in glory. He can rightly exhort any elder to repent and be restored before God's disciplinary fire reaches him for any act of hypocritical pride or unwillingness to admit wrong.
5. The elders are also reminded that just as Christ was willing for suffer for them, so they should be willing to endure hardship and suffering for the sake of those in their churches.
B. Being an effective example in the call to leadership.
2* Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-- not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
3* not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
1. Lead in the manner of a shepherd toward his sheep as Christ exhorted Peter.
2. Lead in the manner of one willing to serve God in a privileged position through divine rather than human motivation.
a. Not for reason of human pressure.
b. Not for reason of worldly resources.
c. Not for reason of selfish pride.
d. But for reason of godly example.
4* And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
II. The Conduct of Potential Church Leaders Toward Present Church Leadership
5* Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older.
III. The Conduct of All the People Toward Each Other
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
6* Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
7* Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
IV. The Conduct of the People Before the Devil
8* Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
9* Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10* And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
V. Standing Together in the Grace of God
12* With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.
13* She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark.
14* Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.