In this sermon, Jon English Lee explains the biblical responsibilities of both the shepherds and the sheep within the household of God. Here’s a couple excerpts:
Peter says next that elders are supposed to exercise oversight. We could translate that “watch over the flock, or oversee the flock.” Elders are called to be the watchmen keeping an eye on the safety of the flock, day and night. Sheep are tasty targets, and elders need to be vigilant. And the threats are primarily from two different angles: from false teachers and from wolves. The new testament makes clear that there will arise, from within the flock and from without, those that will proclaim a false gospel. Those that will distort and deny key doctrines taught in the bible. The apostolic faith will come under attack, and we even see that happening before the completion of the new Testament. Paul and John write letters warning people to watch out and have nothing to do with those that deny who Jesus was and what he had done. Elders have to be on guard against these false teachers. Elders must exercise oversight by guarding the purity of the doctrine in the church.
Regarding the authority of the office of pastor/elder:
The elder does not possess inherent authority… His authority is delegated to him, it is derived from the authority given him by another. Thus, in as much as the under-shepherd is speaking the words from the chief shepherd, then we sheep are called to obey and submit to the under-shepherd. In as much as the elder is rightly proclaiming to you the word of God, then you ought to hear that elder as speaking the very words of God to you. Elders don’t have the authority to enlarge or distort the message, but if they are accurately proclaiming the Bible’s message to you, then you should listen to them as messengers from God himself.