PHBC September 19, 1999
Series: First Peter, Ser. #79
THE PASTOR-ELDER-BISHOP-TEACHER OF A CHURCH OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
PETERíS QUALIFICATIONS TO WRITE THIS EPISTLE
Scripture: I Pet 5:1-4
TEXT: 1 Peter 5:1 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.
INTRO: Since Peter is about to admonish the elders among these scattered pilgrims and saints of God, he proceeds to give them his qualifications for doing so. Though he does not mention it here, it would be enough to say that he was being moved along by the Holy Spirit as he was writing this epistle. But, of course, anyone could claim that. All kinds of claims are being made about God speaking directly to people. I think of how Oral Roberts claimed that Christ appeared to him and told him to build a 777 room hospital in a city that was over-supplied with hospital rooms already. The hospital is no more. It had to be sold due to lack of use. I think of Bill McCartney claiming that God had revealed to him that every church in America was to send Promise Keepers one thousand dollars. But I know of a number of churches that did not respond to that con and his claim was proven false.
Peter, therefore, sets forth other qualifications. He was a fellow-elder, and that qualified him to speak with some authority on the matters he is setting forth. Second, He was an eye-witness of the sufferings of Christ, and that gave him the qualification of experience that is sometimes needed in such circumstances. He was a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed, and this qualified him to speak of that which lies ahead for the children of God when Christ comes in his glory.
I. PETER WAS AN ELDER AND THIS OFFICE CARRIES WITH IT SOME AUTHORITY TO SPEAK FOR CHRIST ON SPIRITUAL AND PRACTICAL MATTERS
A. We noted last Sunday that an elder is one who presides over an assembly, or church, of the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. Let me remind again of what Strong said on the meaning of the Greek word presbyteros which is translated elder here and elsewhere in Scripture.
1. Strong says that elder is "A term of rank or office. Among the Jews it referred to members of the great council or Sanhedrin (because in early times the rulers of the people, judges, etc., were selected from elderly men)."
2. Strong also says that it was used "of those who in separate cities managed public affairs and administered justice."
3. Concerning the used of this word by New Testament speakers and writers, Strong says that "among the Christians," the word was used of "those who presided over the assemblies (or churches)."
4. Strong adds, "The NT uses the term bishop, elders, and presbyters interchangeably."
C. Peter does not seek to assume authority over these elders but his office of elder does give him unction and the credentials to speak authoritatively for Christ.
D. There is authority that goes with filling the office of elder as is clear from Scripture.
1. The pastor is the undershepherd of Christ and the shepherd of the sheep and as such he must feed and lead the flock over which he has the oversight. Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
2. The pastor is also the bishop of the assembly, a designation that also speaks of authority. Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
3. The fact that members are instructed to obey the pastor is an indication that there is an authority that goes with the responsibility of this office. Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
4. Paul, in his first epistle to the church in Thessalonica, admonished them to know them that were over them in the Lord, referring to pastors. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their workís sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
5. Peter indicates in the his message to these elders that there is a mutual willingness in this arrangement of Godís own making. 1 Peter 5:2 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.
II. PETER DECLARES THAT HE WAS AN EYE-WITNESS OF THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST
A. He knew first-hand the teachings of Christ for he was with him from the earliest part of his ministry until his death at Calvary. Acts 1:21-22 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
B. That he witnessed some of these sufferings while warming himself around the fire of the soldiers who had taken Christ captive. Luke 22:54-60 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priestís house. And Peter followed afar off. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. 59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
C. One of the qualifications of the apostle who took the bishopric of Judas was that he must have been present during the ministry, sufferings, and the resurrection of Jesus. Acts 1:21-22 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
D. Peter reminded the ones to whom he and others preached on the day of Pentecost that he and the other apostles were witnesses of Christís resurrection. Acts 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
E. He repeated his claim in the third chapter of Acts. Acts 3:15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
F. Peter and John make a point to mention this again when they were being prosecuted for preaching in the name of Jesus. Acts 5:30-32 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
G. In his sermon in the house of Cornelius, Peter indicates that those apostles to whom he has been making reference were all ordained to be witnesses of the suffering of Christ. Acts 10:39-43 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
H. The fact that God ordained him a witness of his sufferings was apparently considered by Peter to be a qualification for him to speak authoritatively to his fellow-elders in this epistle.
III. PETER WAS A PARTAKER OF THE GLORY THAT IS TO BE REVEALED
A. I like the certainty of this expressed by Peter; though he had not experientially partaken of this, he was so certain of it that he wrote as if he were already experiencing it. 1 Peter 5:1 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.
B. He wrote with a similar certainty in verse 4. 1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
C. He had written in the first chapter of this book with a similar certainty. 1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
D. The saints in Old Testament times expressed this same certainty.
1. David had this confident expectation. Psalm 73:24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
2. Job had this same assurance of future glorification. Job 19:23-27 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
E. Paul expressed this same blessed assurance of future glory. Romans 8:17-18 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
F. Paul expressed this confidence in the saints sure glorification again. 2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
G. For Paul to live was Christ but to die was gain. Philippians 1:21-23 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.
H. Paul again speaks with assured anticipation in his letter to the Colossians. Colossians 3:3-4 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
I. Paul knew this future glory was for all those who loved the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
J. The apostle John had no doubt about the future glory of all true believers. 1 John 3:1-3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
CONC: Do you have this confidence? It will change your whole outlook on life and suffering and death.
As Paul, you can say that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy of comparing with the glory to be revealed. Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
As Job you can know that even if the worms devour your body you will still see God in your flesh. Job 19:25-27 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
As John, we can say we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him. 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
If you are saved, and you do not already have this wonderful assurance that caused Peter to speak of his future glory as though he were already in that glory. "a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed."
I am reminded of the words of the eager anticipation of John as he was coming to the close of the final book of the Bible as he heard the Lord declare, "Behold, I come quickly." John replied, "Even so come Lord Jesus."
Dear Brothers and Sisters, the sufferings of this present time are nothing when compared with that glory that is to be revealed in them that know Christ.
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