Elders are mature believers tested in the faith who are given authority under Christ and his word to teach, guard, and govern the church. Christians who are proud and resistant to godly authority are most at risk from the Devil's assaults.
Scripture: 1 Peter 5:1-14
- In chapter 5 Peter sets forth the believer’s attitudes which are to be humility toward others and resistance to evil.
- God will guard, strengthen and establish His church.
- Elders are to be an example to the flock demonstrating humility. Peter himself shows humility, identifying himself as a fellow-elder, not as the chief apostle.
- The office and function of the elder has its origin in the Old Testament: see Ex. 3:16-18; Deut 1:15; Ezra 10:8,14; the Sanhedrin in Jesus’ day was the council of elders.
- Paul establishes that elders are tasked with teaching and administering/governing the church (1 Tim. 5:17).
- Overseers must meet high qualifications (1 Tim. 3:1-7).
- Elders must be experienced, mature believers; they must have experience and tested faith within the family of God.
- No elders have perfect families, but elders must govern their own home well and be able to teach.
- To avoid causing shame, elders should be well-respected, living consistent lives inside and outside the church.
- It is a disgrace when church leaders are incompetent, lazy, bumblers, who cannot manage their own families.
- Christ is the Chief Shepherd, the Good Shepherd. Elders are His under-shepherds.
- God promises to raise up godly elders in every age.
- Elders are tasked with teaching the truth in the face of opposition and guarding the sheep from wolves.
- Elders are not to fully purify the church, seeking to make a final separation of sheep and goats.
- Elders are given authority under Christ and His Word, not a position of dictatorial rule.
- As we obey Christ so we are to obey godly elders who must themselves give an account to Christ (Heb. 13:17).
- The modern church has trivialized the role of elders and pastors, wrongly minimizing church authority as a significant element of God’s government in the earth.
- Serving in leadership is often a thankless task, and thus a responsibility too often shunned by men. Desperate for leadership, churches are asking for unqualified volunteers.
- Men in the church need to man-up and serve selflessly.
- Many enter ministry out of a desire for personal gain, but godly service is self-sacrifice and a labour of love.
- Younger Christians are especially reminded to be respectful toward their elders.
- We are to gladly recognize the grace of God at work empowering and enabling others for service (1 Cor. 4:7).
- God opposes the proud, who are setting themselves against God Himself (Prov. 3:34).
- Those who humble themselves under God are not in danger of falling.
- Anxiety is a sense of lack of control of our circumstances. Humble trust in God liberates us from anxiety.
- The honour of the gospel is at stake when God’s people are proud, anxious, resisting authority, and resisting God.
- It is when we are proud and resistant to godly authority that we are at most risk to the Devil’s schemes.
- What are the responsibilities of elders in the church?
- What are the responsibilities of God’s people toward their elders? How can we support the elder’s role?
- How should both leaders and lay persons demonstrate humility in their respective positions?
- What is our attitude toward other Christians that God has gifted for service?
- How can we be free from anxiety?