By Kevin Shrum
Pastor, Inglewood Baptist Church, Nashville
(1) I must be exhorted and encouraged to be a true and faithful pastor (v. 1).
(2) I must be in fellowship with other pastors/elders and fellow leaders who can challenge me, encourage me, and keep me accountable (v. 1).
(3) I must be an actual witness to the gospel of God and to the God of the gospel through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I cannot be an unregenerate pastor who has made ministry a “career choice” rather than a calling. I cannot live out the faith of another, but must have my own vital walk with Jesus in the power of the Spirit to the glory of the Father through the means of the Word and prayer (v. 1).
(4) I must partake in God’s glory, not He in mine (v. 1).
(5) I must be a shepherd not a lord or a boss over the people God has put in my care. God’s people belong to Jesus before they belong to me – I am to shepherd the people for whom the Great Shepherd shed His precious blood. This changes everything about how I look at God’s people (v. 2).
(6) The flock I shepherd belongs to Jesus not me. He is the Lord of the Church, the Chief Shepherd. The church is “my church” only to the degree that it is first and foremost His church (v. 2).
(7) I must shepherd the “flock that is among you,” not the flock that I wish I had or the flock that will be, but the people as they are right now. A good shepherd goes to the sheep as they are so that he can gently, but firmly lead them to where they ought to be. Then and only then can I shepherd them to new pastures of spiritual growth. If I am “over here” and they are “over there” I must cross the divide and bring them to where God desires for His people to go (v. 2).
(8) I am to exercise oversight in the church – sheep need a shepherd/servant leader. Shepherds lead through the Word, preaching, teaching, prayer, wisdom, example, instruction, confrontation, and exhortation. The Shepherd’s staff is the Word of God, the Word that feeds, edifies, convicts and comforts the souls of men (v. 2).
(9) I must lead willingly, not reluctantly, begrudgingly, or bitterly; I must lead God’s people as a shepherd willing to lead God’s people to greener pastures, protecting God’s people from the doctrinal infidelity of the ravenous, yet alluring temptations of false teaching and the enticements of worldly pleasures (v. 2).
(10) I must shepherd with an eager heart, not for shameful gain. The spiritual leader/laborer is worthy of his wages and the Word-driven pastor is worthy of double honor (I Corinthians 9:8-11; I Timothy 5:17-18). But mammon cannot be my first or main motivation (I Peter 5:2).
(11) I must resist every temptation to be domineering, controlling or manipulative; I must not abuse the trust the people place in me as their pastor as I lead them as a servant-leader. When I abuse this privilege I must drop to my knees in repentance, rising to lead in humble conviction (v. 3).
(12) I must be an example to God’s people. What I preach to them must first live in me (v. 3).
(13) I cannot, in the end, look for my reward for pastoring in this life; while there may be accolades and some rewards in this life, they are but temporal. My true reward comes in another place and time from the Chief Shepherd Himself. This means that when I am recognized in this life I must remain humble making sure I do not steal His glory. If I am forgotten in this life I can entrust myself and my ministry to the One who has an eternal memory (v. 4).
(14) A spirit of submission should characterize my life and ministry (v. 5).
(15) I must overcome and resist my pride as a leader and clothe myself in true humility – which means to live totally dependent on God and to prefer others to myself; to be reluctant to take praise while always being eager to give the same (v. 5).
(16) I must never promote myself, leaving to God Himself the degree to which any notoriety I receive in this life would bring Him glory and advance the kingdom of God. My charge as a shepherd is to lead God’s people to be like the Chief Shepherd not me (v. 6).
(17) Any and all personal and pastoral anxieties I experience must be carried by Jesus; the weight of these is too heavy for me (v. 7).
(18) I must learn to discern and shepherd among wolves. Satan would devour God’s people were it not for the Chief Shepherd and His undershepherds. Facing Satan and his wolves is like encountering a roaring lion. Yet, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah is the true King of this worldly jungle. I must continually point God’s people to their King and it is to Him that I must look when in the battle for truth and the souls of men (v. 8).
(19) I must continually resist Satan by my faith in God; when I do I am joining other believers all over the world who are suffering under and resisting Satan’s temptations. I am not alone, nor are they; He is with us both (v. 9).
(20) Any suffering I may undergo as a pastor is far outweighed by the sovereign God of grace and the ever-increasing grace of God. His calling in me is irrevocable and He will 1) restore, 2) confirm, 3) strengthen, and 4) establish me in due season (v. 10).
(21) Jesus is Lord over all things – over the powers of darkness and over the kingdom of light — and He is Lord over this pastor (v. 11).