I have to tell you, as after all the years, I've seen some good people make some very bad mistakes, and it always breaks my heart.
1 Pet. 5:1-3 "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."
I must feed. I must lead. I must be an example....but I am not your lord.
I have the liberty to feed. I have the liberty to lead. I have the responsibility to be an example, but I do not have the liberty to be your Lord.
Acts 20:26-31 "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. 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. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."
In these verses I see as pastor... Preaching truth in love makes me pure from the blood of all men.
God has "made me" an "overseer" so and I must "oversee" and "watch", and in context, I must deal with "grievous wolves" that "speak perverse things", which I have done publicly and privately.
Heb. 13:17-18 "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."
Also notice in Acts 20 that Paul "ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."
A real pastor knows his "flock", and is a 24/7 pastor, not able to "leave his work at work."
I want you to know I am unable and unwilling to be a pastor by profession.Phil. 1:3-11 "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform ] it[ until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."
You and I have responsibilities as well.
When I was a member of People's Baptist, Dr. Charles E. Wright was my Pastor, preacher, overseer, guide in the word, but not my lord. He could give me counsel when I asked for it. He could hold me to standards when I was in a position of ministry, and influence. I believe he loved me, prayed for me, and preached the truth to me and my family.
I am forever grateful to God for allowing me to be under his watchcare, and for me and my family benefiting from his prayer influence, his preaching influence and his personal care of my life.
We pastors are not your Lord, but if anyone on this earth wants you to succeed more than us, I would like to know that person. May I point to Paul's "tears" again? 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."
Here are a few things that cause "Good people to make bad mistakes:”
- Not understanding the value of a dedicated life. Good people make bad mistakes when they are not being "Led" by the Spirit, but think they are. The most dangerous time in decision-making is when we are not "walking in the Spirit." Gal. 5:16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." By the way, "lust of the flesh" can be any wrong choice.
- Not seeking Godly counsel and prayer before making major decisions in life. Prov. 11:14 "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety." I'm sure Demas did not go to Paul and say "I believe God's calling me to go back to the world." I have noticed that when people want to do what they want to do, they don't want anybody telling them what is wrong with their want to do's. Psm. 81:10-13 "I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!" Prov. 1:5 "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:"
- Listening to the wrong counselors. When it came to making the decision to move to TN for Bible school, I could listen to the Spirit, or listen to the "reasoning" of friends. Well meaning friends said, “We could stay at Peoples Baptist Church. I could stay in business. We could live in our house” etc.
- Letting your guard down in moments of weakness. 1Pet. 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
DEVOUR: “to drink down, gulp entirely, -: drown, swallow (up)
And the answer to the problem is verse 10 “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
The Apostle Peter was a good man, dedicated, walking with Jesus, but he was led astray and made a very bad mistake. In the process, he denied three times that he even knew Jesus. He was deeply convicted and wept bitterly over the failure that he was so sure he would never experience.
Here is the good news: Even though Peter failed, Jesus told him beforehand that He had prayed for him and that when he was converted to strengthen the brethren. He did so and warned of the tricks of Satan as well. 1 Peter 5:8-10
Who better to warn believers to “Be sober, be vigilant” Than Peter?