1. The apostle Peter wrote 2 of the 21 New Testament "epistles" [letters]. 2. In his first letter,: a. Peter wrote to Christians who were facing a fiery trial (1:6-7; 4:12) b. Peter addressed various responsibilities that God has given to His people c. Peter showed how God's people must fulfill these responsibilities, even while suffering persecution from unbelievers d. Peter emphasized the Lord's example of suffering as a result of doing the Father's will. 3. This lesson is a study of the information presented in 1 Peter 5:1-4. 4. In these verses Peter addressed "the responsibilities of elders." Discussion:
I. (vs.1) THIS MESSAGE WAS DESIGNED TO EXHORT "THE ELDERS WHICH ARE AMONG YOU"
A. According to Ephesians 4:11-12, the Lord placed certain leaders in His church so His work would be carried out and so the church would be edified. 1. "Apostles" and "prophets" were temporary. 2. "Evangelists," "pastors" [also referred to as "elders," "shepherds," "overseers," and "bishops"] and "teachers" are permanent. B. The Lord's plan is for each congregation to be led by a group of elders (Acts 14:23). C. Only qualified men may serve as elders (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-8). D. In addition to being a witness of the Lord's sufferings, Peter was also an elder. II. (vs.2-3) PETER EXHORTED ELDERS TO FULFILL THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES
A. Responsibilities include: 1. feeding God's flock 2. taking the oversight willingly 3. avoiding the pursuit of evil gain 4. avoiding "being lords over God's heritage" 5. setting the proper example before the flock. B. Additional responsibilities are addressed in Acts 20:28; Titus 1:9-11; and Hebrews 13:17. III. (vs.4) ELDERS WHO FULFILL THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES WILL RECEIVE A SPECIAL REWARD
A. (vs.1) Peter wrote as "a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed." B. When the chief Shepherd appears, elders "shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."