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The Biblical Illustrator i Pet 5

The Biblical Illustrator i Pet 5

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 12, 2011
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THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR I PET 5CHAPTER V.Vebs. 1-4. The elders which are among you I exhort. — Elders exhorted : — 1. Inthathe, an elder, exhorts them, elders, note that ministers are fittest to teach ministersand to judge of their actions. When we dislike anything in a minister, it werewisdom to ask the judgment of some godly minister before we censure. 2. In thathe requireth nothing at their hands but what he himself did, note that the mostforcible way of teaching, whether private or public, is, first, to do that in our ownpersons which we require of others. He is an ill captain that bids his soldiers gofight, himself in the meantime tarrying behind. 3. In that he beseecheth, note hismodesty and humiUty. (John Rogers.) The office, spirit, and reioard of a faithfulministry : — The apostle Peter, after various exhortations to strengthen thebrethren,turns at the close of his Epistle to his fellow-ministers, and gives them his partingcounsel. St. Peter calls the Church " the flock of God." It is not man's flock, butGod's, which He hath purchased with His own blood. Our Saviour spoke of theChurch as His flock — My sheep, My lambs — and Himself as the Good Shepherd.Each believer will have his own history. There will be peculiarities in it, notfound in any other — in what way he wandered ; where Jesus found him — in thehouseof God, on the bed of sickness, at the grave of some one dear to him as his ownsoul. When thus brought home to the fold, he becomes one of those sheep to whomJesus gives eternal life. He feels that he is not his own, that he has been boughtwith a price and can no longer live to his own will, but to the will of Him that lovedhim. But though thus made one of the flock of Christ, the believer has not yetreached heaven ; he must be fed, cared for, guided on his way there, and it is forthis end, as well as to add to this flock, that the ofl&ce of the ministry was insti-tuted. Jesus so loves the souls of men, for whom He died, that He commits themonly to those who love Him, and will feed His flock. Having thus considered theoffice of the ministry, let us consider the spirit in which it is to be exercised — notof constraint, but willingly, of a ready mind, neither as lording it over your charge.There may be a constraint in taking upon us this office and ministry, but it is sucha constraint as St. Paul had when he said, " ecessity is laid upon me ; woe is untome, if I preach not the gospel ! The love of Christ constraineth me." We mayshrink from it from a sense of our utter insufficiency for such a work. Isaiah said,?' I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips." Theremay be a shrinking from the work from these causes, and at the same time awiDing
and ready mind. The constraint St. Peter speaks of is where there is no heart forthe work, where there are secular motives of base gain or ambition. Where thereis this constraint, a penurious, stinted service will be rendered. Christ praises theangel of the Church of Ephesus for labour unto weariness. This is what Christpraises in His servants. either as being lords over God's heritage, the Church.Our Saviour had warned His apostles against the spirit of ambition which wasfound in the world. " You know," He said to them, " that the great ones of thisworld exercise lordship over men, but it shall not be so among you." And last of all in the qualifications of the Christian minister, we are to be examples to theflock in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity. Having thus con-sidered the office of the ministry, and the spirit in which it is to be exercised, let usnow notice the reward of the faithful minister. " And when the Chief Shepherdshall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory which fadeth not away." Theservice of Christ in the ministry of. the gospel is not without its reward. It has itsreward, not only in prospect, after it is finished, but by the way, in the Life whichnow is. Our work brings us in contact with Divine truth, which grows upon usin interest and delight, so that we are overmastered by its power and glory. Thistruth raises the soul above itself on the wings of faith and hope, and makes usheavenly-minded, wh'ch is life and peace. There is a satisfaction growing out of the nature of our work, so that the labour itself is its own exceeding great reward.Our work, again, brings us into a loving sympathy with the Man of Sorrows. Thegospel we preach began first to be preached by the Lord Himself. And as He wasgrieved at the unbelief and hardness of heart of those who heard Him, as He weptover Jerusalem, so does every faithful minister of Christ mourn over those whoobey not the gospel and neglect its great salvation. (J. Packard, D.D.) Addressto the young elders : — It is quite plain that St. Peter is here addressingdistinctivelynot elders in age, but elders by office. Age might enter then, more than now, intothe question of fitness; nevertheless, what made a presbyter was not age, but2538G THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR. [chap v.ordination. And when we see gathered together a goodly band of youthful minis-ters, we do well to say to them, Kemember, you have an office given you whichreckons not by years, but by graces ; you have to walk the aisles of your church, totread the streets of your parish, as men (in one sense) prematurely old — as men of that truest dignity, which consists not in wealth, not in rank, not even in age, butin bearing Christ's commission. St. Peter counts this so honourable an office that
he will claim even for himself none higher. Another apostle, his friend and chosenbrother, describes himself in like manner in two of his writings, only as "the elder "(2 John i.). They well knew, both of them, the higher compulsion of sympathy,above anything that mere power or official dignity can exercise. 1. I will say aword upon the dedication. The Christian clergyman is a dedicated man. Do youheartily believe that your motive in asking ordination is honest, truthful, pure ?Is it the choice of your heart ? Do you mean to give your life to it ? You mustnot be satisfied with that sort of average ambiguous twilight state which the worldconsiders good enough for a lay Christian. 2. Thus the dedication passes on intathe commission. You dedicate yourselves to Christ, and He gives you His com-mission. It would be absolutely intolerable to one who knows himself to have tofeel, when he robes himself in his vestry for the exercise of one of his clericalfunctions, that he is volunteering his counsels for that time to a body of rationalspiritual beings who have just as good a right to teach him. Bearing this well inmind, still we say, Without Christ's commission we could not speak : with it adying man may be bold to speak to dying men. 3. ext to the sanctity, the twofoldsanctity, of the office, let me strongly urge upon you its Divine humanity. Thesecret of all influence is. Be human. One word of genuine kindness, of heartycompassionate sympathy, will be worth ten thousand expositions of your claim tareverence : it will open hearts otherwise barred against you, and, letting you in,will let in Christ after you. And as in your intercourse, so also in your preaching.Let it indeed assert strongly the direct revelation and inspiration of your gospel.But in the application of this Divine gospel, speak as a man to men ; speak as onewho knows its necessity to himself, as one who knows the nature, the life, the heart,to which he has to offer it, and has learned, not from books but from men, what isthat heart-sickness too, and eager inward thirst, to which Christ his Lord came tominister, and has of His infinite mercy set him to minister in His absence, in Hispresence 1 4. eed I say, then, in the fourth place, that the Christian ministry isa work ? It is no pastime. It is no outside perfunctory propriety. It is a work.Be able to say, I am an elder of Christ's Church, and therefore my time, raystrength, my life, is the Church's, is Christ's. 5. Who shall deny then this otheravowal— that the ministry is a difiiculty? Do you suppose, ye who pass by, that aclergyman's ordination sets him above the most trying snares of world, flesh, ordevil ? 6. Then let me record, for your encouragement, this one other character-istic — the ministry an honour, a privilege, and a blessing. There is a specialcoronet for the faithful presbyter, over and above that which he shall share with thelowliest of the redeemed. In this life it is his, if he be earnest in his work, toenjoy a gratitude scarcely given to another — the gratitude of lives remodelled, thegratitude of souls saved. (Dean Vaughan.) Peter exhorting the elders :— I. AWELL-EQUIPPED soLDiEE. 1. An elder. (1) In age. (2) In knowledge. (3) Inexperience. (4) In position. 2. A witness. Of Christ's — (1) Suffering ; (2) Atone-ment ; (3) Love ; (4) Sympathy ; (5) Humanity. 3. A partaker — of the glory which

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