Shepherds, Sheep and Standing Firm

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November 25th, 2018

Main Idea: Elders are to pastor the church of God toward humility and faithfulness to stand firm against all opposition.    


The normative and primary term for leaders of the church throughout the New Testament is “Elder”, a word that seems to be synonymous with “overseer” or “pastor.” 

 Peter makes 6 observations about elders in this passage:

1.     Elders serve in a plurality (5:1)

2.     Elders pastor the church (5:2a)

3.     Elders lead the church (5:2b)

4.     Elders are called (5:2c)

5.     Elders are examples (5:3)

6.     Elders are under-shepherds (5:4)

Elders who serve faithfully in this way will point their flock to the “Good Shepherd” (cf. John 10) who is the true “shepherd and overseer of your souls” (2:25). 

 Peter calls both shepherds and sheep to humility, as pastors recognize their role as “under-shepherds” and as sheep are “subject to” the shepherds who lead them to the Good Shepherd.


The theme of this section is “standing firm” in the face of opposition. Peter points these churches to 3 necessary components of this standing firm:

 1. Humility (5:5b-7)

Peter urges the church to “clothe” themselves with humility so that they might be exalted at the proper time (when Christ returns). This practically looks like “casting all your anxieties on him,” recognizing that he is in control and is ruling and reigning over all.

Worry is a form of pride because when believers are filled with anxiety, they are convinced that they must solve all the problems in their lives in their own strength. The only god they trust in is themselves. When believers throw their worries upon God, they express their trust in his mighty hand, acknowledging that he is Lord and Sovereign over all of life - Thomas Schreiner

2. Faith (5:8-11)

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight - C.S Lewis

Satan tends to use two things against us: our own sin and suffering. 

 We resist him together by drawing our attention to the one who is truly in control, who has restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established us, and the one who rules and reigns over all things, including our adversaries. 

3. Community (5:12-14)

We must stand firm in the grace of God together; Peter draws our attention to the solidarity of being a part of a suffering community bigger than ourselves, identifies key co-workers in the gospel (Silas & John Mark), and encourages us to stir up brotherly and sisterly affection toward one another. 

Peter’s words here serve as a fitting conclusion for what it looks like to live as “Citizens as Strangers:” “I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.”