1 Peter 5:1
“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:”
Everything needs structure to run properly. A church without structure is a church that is not reaching the lost as it should. A business without structure is a business that is headed to close down. A life without structure is a life that is headed for heartache. Everything must have structure to run properly and to stay healthy. In 1 Peter 5, God shows the structure of a healthy church. Let me point out to you the structure and composition of a healthy church.
First, a church with a healthy structure is a church where the leaders lead by spiritual example. A leader cannot feed others properly if they are not being fed themselves. A leader cannot exhort others to be soul winners if they are not soul winning themselves. A leader cannot challenge others to keep a tender heart towards God if they are not regularly at the altar being cleansed from their personal sin. The private life of a spiritual leader will be revealed in their ability to influence others to do right. Maybe the reason a leader has such a hard time influencing others to do right is because they are not doing right themselves. Your ability to lead will only go as far as your example by action. If you don’t do what you want others to do, you will find yourself failing to exhort others to do what you are telling them to do.
Second, a church with a healthy structure is a church where the followers will submit to their leadership. Verse 5 says, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.” Who are these “younger” people who are to submit? The younger is the follower. In other words, a church where people are willing to follow the leader instead or critiquing and challenging the leader is a church that is able to accomplish great works for God. You will never find a church doing great things for God when the members won’t submit to the spiritual leadership God has in place.
Third, a church with a healthy structure is a church that is “clothed in humility.” Pride will destroy any church. Likewise, pride will destroy any believer. If you remove pride from the church or the believer’s life, you will find humility will reign and Christ will receive the preeminence. Pride always causes strife and fighting; whereas, humility always results in others preferring one another. You can resolve most of your church problems and life problems if you are “clothed in humility.”
Fourth, a church with a healthy structure is a church that prays. Verse 7 says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” A church that never prays is a church that is driven by the flesh. You cannot be Spirit-led without prayer being a major part of what you do. The victorious Christian life is paved with the tears of the believer in the closet of prayer. If you want to experience the conquering life, you must make prayer more than a time slot, but you must make it a part of your daily being.
Fifth, a church with a healthy structure is a church that watches for sin. In verse 8, the believer is warned to “be vigilant” because the Devil is out to destroy them. My friend, always be aware of Satan’s ploy to destroy you. If you will stay humble and pray, you will find that the wiles Satan uses to destroy you will crumble. Always keep in mind that Satan is after you, and you must stay close to God in prayer if you want to avoid the destruction those wiles bring.