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#16 Our Victory

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(A Chosen People – Series in I Peter)

Westgate Chapel 3/4/01                                         I Peter 5:5-14

PROPOSITION:  We share a victory in common with all believers, which is humility over pride, trust over anxiety, resistance over carelessness, and strengthening over failure.

I.    introduction

-     WE have come to the end of our study of the apostle Peter’s letter to believers in Asia Minor, during the time of Nero and the Roman Empire...about 67 AD.

-     THE last several verses of the letter have to do with suffering, because the signs of severe persecution against Christians were swirling in the Roman empire about this time.

-     MANY of the Christians who would read this letter from the apostle Peter, hunkered down in their towns and villages were already experiencing great hardship because of their faith.

-     MANY had lost homes, jobs, families…and some would soon even lay down their lives for following Christ.

-     THE apostle Peter, the author of this letter, would face his own execution at the hands of Emperor Nero within 18 months of writing the last word and laying down his quill.

-     AND in the last few verses of this letter, he focuses his attention on the battlefield that is the Christian life.

-     IN the closing verses of the letter the apostle Peter identifies the enemy, and says that there is a battle against him that we have in common with believers all over the world.

-     IN fact, look with me at I Peter 5:9 (pg. 1203), speaking of our adversary, the devil, Peter writes,

      “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

-     THIS is a battle that is common, and a battlefield that is common, in the lives of all believers all over the world.

-     IT is not unique to you.

-     IT is not unique to this country.

-     IT is not unique to this time period.

-     AND in verses 5 to 14 of I Peter 5, the apostle identifies four fronts to the battle, and our victory at each front.

-     AND there is victory! Don’t ever question that.

      “…everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (I John 5:4)


ii.   humility over pride

-     THE first front in the battlefield for all believers is the sin of pride.

-     WEBSTER’S says that pride is “a high and inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit or superiority.”

-     PRIDE is a sin that lurks in the heart and becomes visible in many forms.

*     Place and nationality of birth (as if you had one thing to do with that).

*     Family name.

*     Social status.

*     Education.

*     Language.

*     Titles.

*     Physical prowess.

*     Intellect.

*     Material possessions.

*     Clothing.

-     THIS sin of it is that in pride we exalt ourselves above others…and while we would never verbalize this we actually exalt ourselves above God.

-     PRIDE treats others with disdain and contempt. Pride uses people.

-     PRIDE was at the heart of the sin in the Garden of Eden, where Eve and then Adam wanted to be independent of God in judging right and wrong.

-     PRIDE was at the heart of Satan’s assault on the throne of God.

      “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! (13) You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. (14) I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” (Isaiah 14:12-14)

-     THAT is the first front of the Christian’s battlefield…pride.

-     PRIDE will cut us off from God and from each other.

-     SO in I Peter 5:5a, the apostle gives us the strategy for victory over pride, in three practical ways.



      “Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older.

-     “IN the same way”….is Peter’s way of connecting this theme of humility to the workplace and the home back in previous chapters.

-     ONLY this time he directs his first command to the youth.

-     THERE is an arrogance that just goes with being young, and strong, and in your prime…that can make John McEnroe’s out of all of us.

-     YOU know it all, can do it all, and don’t need any help.

-     AND Peter writes,

      “…be submissive to those who are older.

-     THE word for submissive literally means to rank yourself under….to come into formation under those who are older.

-     THIS would include showing respect, being obedient, being courteous, taking the advice of those who are your senior.



 -    THE second practical way to win the victory over pride applies to us all, in verse 5b,

      All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…”

-     THE Greek word for “clothe” yourselves is the word used for an apron that is tied over your street clothes with a secure knot.

-     I AM sure that Peter is remembering the day that Jesus took off His outer clothes and took a towel and washed the feet of His disciples.

-     IT was a job that was usually done by the lowliest servant in the household in Jesus’ day.

-     IT was a very practical service. When you traveled in Palestine your feet got dirty…and before you sat down for a meal with your feet out to your side it helped everyone and the enjoyment of the meal to have them washed.

-     AND Peter’s choice of word and images here encouraged a humility between us all that takes on the form of practical acts of service.

-     IT is not an attitude but an action, that I believe precedes a change in heart.

*     It is taking it on yourself to reach out in fellowship to others.

*     It is looking for those around you that might be in need and doing something about it.

*     It can be as simple as sending a card of encouragement.

*     It can be caring for babies in the Nursery so that parents can be ministered to in classes or the worship service.

*     It is taking a meal to someone you know is in need.

*     It is using the gifts God has given you to benefit others.

-     IT is an apron knotted securely over the clothes that identify you to the outside world.

-     PETER adds a strong incentive for this kind of humility between us. He says in the last part of verse 5,

      “…because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’

-     AND the word for opposes means “arranges Himself like an army.”



-     THE third practical way to win the victory over pride is found in verse 6. Peter writes,   

      “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

-     HERE is what this means: In every threatening situation where your instinct is to wrestle for  control of your life…bring yourself under the mighty Hand of God.

-     PETER has borrowed that phrase, “God’s mighty hand,” from the Old Testament….and for good reason.

*     In the Book of Exodus God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt and when they came out they said,

      “With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Exodus 13:14)

*     In Deuteronomy 4:34 Israel asks,

      “Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm…?”

-     IN all circumstances of life, the follower of Christ humbly submits to and trusts the mighty hand of God….and is lifted up.

-     UP over the circumstances.

-     UP over the battle.

-     UP in victory.

-     BUT notice that is “in due time.”

-     THAT is not usually our time, by the way….but God’s time.

iii.  trust over anxiety        

-     SO the first front in the battlefield for all believers is the sin of pride.

-     THE second front in the battlefield for all believers is the sin of anxiety.

-     WEBSTER says that the word anxiety means, “full of mental distress or uneasiness because of apprehension of danger or misfortune.”

-     ANXIETY harasses the mind.

-     ANXIETY distracts you from the main thing.

-     ANXIETY sends all of your faculties on a detour.

-     ANXIETY blocks your faith from trusting the mighty hand of God to deliver.

-     YOU can’t pray when you are anxious. You can’t meditate on God’s Word. You can’t worship.

-     AND with faith blocked and your life distracted you are a sitting target for the enemy.

-     WHICH is why the apostle Peter says in I Peter 5:7,

      “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

-     THE word cast literally means to throw off and away…and the verb tense indicates that it is something that,

*     Takes effort on your part.

*     That it is a single decisive effort….repeated with each anxiety that tries to attach itself to your spirit.

-     WHY do we cast these concerns on God?

-     PETER says it is because He cares for you.

-     DO you realize that the world religions spend the majority of their efforts and energies trying to get their gods (who are no gods at all) to care for them.

-     AND all along the One true God already cares.

*     Romans 5:8,

      “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

*     Romans 8:32,

      “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”


iv. resistance over carelessness

-     SO the first front in the battlefield for all believers is the sin of pride….and the victory is won through humility

-     THE second front in the battlefield for all believers is the sin of anxiety….and the victory is won through casting our anxieties on the God who cares.

-     THE third front in the battlefield for all believers is carelessness concerning the devil’s strategies.

-     LISTEN to the apostle Peter,

      “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (9) Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (I Peter 5:8-9)

-     PETER has to be thinking about the times he was caught being careless when Jesus was on the earth and what it cost him.

-     HE got caught wanting to build tabernacles on a mountain when Jesus had work for him to do in the valley.

-     HE got caught spouting off about his future when he should have been quiet and listening to Jesus teaching.

-     HE was caught sleeping when he should have been praying.

-     HE got caught denying Jesus and cursing when he should have been standing form.

-     YOU can’t afford to be careless about this thing called the Christian life…it can prove fatal.

-     YOUR enemy is prowling….on the move constantly with no rest.

-     HE is roaring…which is his strategy of intimidation and fear. His intention is to get you on the run, and preferably away from the Lord and the things of God.

-     AND his intention is to devour, and the Greek word literally means to “drink down” until nothing is left. In other words his intention is your utter destruction, until there is nothing left of your life and vitality.

-     RESIST him!

-     THAT is not only by shouting out in prayer…although there is nothing wrong with that.

-     BUT your whole Christian life must be lived as resistance to the devil.

*     Your prayer life is resistance.

*     Your meditation on God’s Word is resistance.

*     Fasting is resistance.

*     Your worship is resistance.

*     Obedience to the Lord is resistance.

-     AND James 4:7 says that if you resist him he will flee.

-     HANG in there, in your Christian walk, says Peter in verse 9, you are not going through anything that the Christians in the rest of the world aren’t also facing.

v.  strengthening over failure

-     THE fourth and final front in the battlefield for all believers is the sin of failure under fire.

-     ALL around us are brothers and sisters who have fallen in the battle.

-     AT some unguarded moment the enemy slipped through the defenses…and there they lay wounded.

-     AND every one of us, at some point or another, have either been there or are there right now.

-     PETER sure knew all about that….all the way up to Paul having to rebuke him publicly for giving preferential treatment to Jewish believers over the Gentiles in Galatia….and that was fairly recent in his ministry.

-     THE enemy is hoping that you will just give up and stay down.

-     DON’T try getting back up.

-     DON’T trust God again. Look where it got you last time.

-     YOUR chances of being useful to God are over, he whispers in your ear. Just stay down.

-     AND that would be the sin of it…..staying down instead of trusting God.

-     AND to this front in the battlefield Peter writes in verse 10,

      “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (11) To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

-     LET’S just take a moment with verse 10.

-     HE is the God of ALL grace…..exactly what you need in every situation.

-     KEEP the goal ever in your mind! It is what you were called to….God’s eternal glory in Christ.

-     YOUR suffering is real…but it is for such a short period of time compared to eternal glory.

-     YOUR suffering is passing….but the glory of God is for eternity.

-     GET up and get back to your singular pursuit of Jesus.

-     HE will restore you.

*     It literally means to supply and complete what is lacking or has been broken in your life.

-     HE will make you strong.

*     The fires of the furnace will strengthen the metal of your life.

-     HE will make you firm.

*     It is the same word used for granite.

-     HE will make you steadfast.

*     That is the word used for a foundation.

-     THAT was what He had in mind for you through the trials and suffering anyhow….so to shrink back defeats His whole purpose.

-     PETER was all too aware of that from his own experience….when he was sifted. In Luke 22:31 Jesus said to Peter,

      “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. (32) But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

-     “WHEN you have turned back…” That is your part and mine in this battlefield.

-     JESUS part is the praying for you and me and the strengthening that happens when you come through the fire.


vi. conclusion

-     SO the first front in the battlefield for all believers is the sin of pride….and the victory is won through humility

-     THE second front in the battlefield for all believers is the sin of anxiety….and the victory is won through casting our anxieties on the God who cares.

-     THE third front in the battlefield for all believers is carelessness concerning the devil’s strategies….and the victory is won through being self-controlled and alert.

-     THE fourth front in the battlefield for all believers is the sin of quitting when you are down…and the victory is won through turning back to the Lord to be restored.

-     JUST to finish I Peter properly, can we read the last few verses? Verse 12,

      “With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. (13) She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. (14) Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.”



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