Feed God’s Flock

Share on Social Media:

“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:

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;

Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

(1 Peter 5:1-4)

There will be reward for being faithful elders, feeding and overseeing God’s flock, and there will be punishment for those who are unfaithful and abandon their calling. God is looking for faithful men in the church to look after His sheep until He comes again for them.

“Feed the flock of God” (verse 2) is a charge from Almighty God to those who have been called to be elders/ministers in His church. We are to take the “oversight thereof” meaning to take charge of them (not by force) and look after them. We are to do it with a willing heart before Almighty God, and money is not to be our motivation. We are not to lord it over them, by being overbearing or abusive (this is a warning), but we are mainly to lead by example. This latter part is very important because the sheep and others are watching your example and how you walk. We are to be good examples and lead by example, not like the Pharisees who were very bad examples but expected the people to obey them nonetheless.

Alternatively, Christians (or the sheep), have been commanded to obey those who have the rule over them, and submit to them:

“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.”

(Hebrew 13:17)

This is said because sometimes Christians can be rebellious and hard work. Christian, if God has placed over you, godly leadership, do not make life difficult for them by being rebellious, because these men watch for your soul. A submissive attitude and some respect for God’s man will go a long way.

Elders are appointed by God, through the leadership of the church. They are not voted in by the people and are not to be controlled by the people. Nonetheless, there is to be accountability but this will be primarily through other elders and leaders in the church. If Christians have a concern, they can go to the elder in question or other elders about Him. The elder is there, however, to do the will of God, not the will of the people.

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”

(Ephesians 4:11-15)

God’s ministers are needed to bring the church to maturity and the unity of the faith and to edify, (that is, to build up), the body of Christ. As we can see from verse eleven, that there are five different types of gifts, each one with its own individual anointing and area of expertise. All of these gifts are necessary because God said that they were, and the church is not to be denied of any of these callings, because without them, the church cannot fully function or mature. These gifts are given for the church, and as long as the church is around, these gifts will be around.

Authority Versus a Controlling Spirit

There is an authority given to God’s leadership in God’s house. This has always been the case, even in the Old Testament. God is a God of law and order. In the Scriptures, we see numerous examples of apostolic and pastoral authority. That authority is bestowed by God and ought to be respected. On the other hand, churches and other religious groups can become very controlling. There is a difference between the two: one is from the Spirit God and the other from the devil. One rules through a spirit of fear, and manipulation and to some extent holds people against their will. We see this type of behaviour manifested in cults, where extreme control is exercised over a person. The control you see manifested is not where a person is held against their will, behind bars or at gunpoint, but by invisible forces. Many times, a controlling cult leader will say that the person in question is “free to go”, but the person stays because they are afraid to leave because they are under that controlling influence or spirit. When you see fear, control, and manipulation at work you are seeing a spirit of witchcraft at work. Fear and wanting to control people are the basic motivation. When this gets into a church or religious group a wrong spirit is at work. Some groups have actually become cults, where there is very little wrong with them doctrinally—a wrong spirit got in.

Godly leadership is not like this. There is no spirit of control exercised over a person. Nonetheless, there should always be the fear of God present, both in the leaders and in the people. Also, godly leaders carry authority and are not to be stripped of that authority. We see authority with Paul the apostle in churches to command from God and to bring correction, and in some extreme cases handed people over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20). This is not an everyday occurrence, and God wills that in His house there is unity, love, respect, liberty of the Spirit, the fear of God and that His people yield to Him primarily, and submit to His word and way of doing things. He wants a spirit/attitude of co-operation among His people. We see today among some modern Christians, a spirit of rebellion where they are not prepared to submit to anybody or anything—this is wrong.

Men of pure motives will tend towards God’s true authority, while men with impure motives will tend towards being controllers. Sometimes control comes from people being overprotected being afraid to lose someone. In the New Testament the apostles were prepared to let people walk away (2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 5:11-15) and in some cases put them out, under the direction of the Holy Spirit—certainly not holding people against their will for fear of losing them. Cults will also threaten that if you leave you will be ostracised from other family members etc.

Sometimes wrong people will try to put pressure on the elders to conform to their thinking and way of doing things. The leaders must be led by God and stay strong and close to God. Moses was a strong leader carrying out God’s commands, but Aaron was a weak leader who gave in to the pleas of the people. Today’s leaders should be like Moses, not Aaron. In modern-day churches, many pastors are weak and give in to the people. They are led by the people and not by God. Their convictions tell them better, but they are afraid to stand up to the people for fear of what might happen. This results in weak pastors who are afraid to lead the church in God’s way. This tends to be the trend in some denominations. They don’t want to rock the boat too much for fear of losing their position, so they become weak and easily pushed around, and lose their God-ordained authority.

Some modern pastors are too controlling: some ask members to sign or agree to a membership/covenant statement or agreement. In it typically, the person will agree to submit to that pastor and the local church and to tithe faithfully, etc. You will not find any such agreement in the Bible. God is not asking you to sign up to any such thing. Yes, you should be part of a local church, obey the pastor and yes, faithfully tithe/give to God’s work, but you should only pledge your allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ and to Him alone. You should then allow Him to plant you in the body wherever He decides and there you should faithfully serve Him in whatever capacity He asks you to. And if a church asks you to “radically get behind the pastor’s vision”, then you should head for the doors! The apostles did not talk like that. Stay with the word of God people.

Pastors: Feed the Sheep

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

(John 21:15-17)

Elders are to labour in the word and feed the sheep therewith, and receive financial provision in doing so:

“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”

(1 Timothy 5:17-20)

It is written here that you should not receive an accusation against an elder except by the mouth of two or three witnesses. Also, that Christians that sin should be publicly rebuked within the church setting.

Preach the word and only the word!

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

(2 Timothy 4:1-4)

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

(2 Timothy 2:2)

God is looking faithful men in the church that will faithfully feed the sheep and teach the word.

Preach the whole counsel of God. Do not water down the word, or their blood will be on your hands. Warning to compromised ministers:

“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”

(Acts 20:26-27)

Take heed to the flock, look after them, feed them and guard them against wolves, that is, false church leaders:

“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.

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”

(Acts 20:28-30)

True men of God love the sheep and care for the sheep. Hirelings are simply hired and do not care about the sheep but are out for themselves.

“But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.”

(John 10:12-13)

God said to Ezekiel in the Old Testament that the shepherds that did a bad job at shepherding God’s people, by feeding themselves that He would “feed them with judgment.”

(Ezekiel 34:16)

Mind how you go.

Simon Bell

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.