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Part 13 1 Peter 5:1–14

1 Peter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:55
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1 Peter 5:1–14 NKJV
1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. 5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 12 By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand. 13 She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Today we are at the end of 1 Peter. Our 13 weeks of study has led to this point which in some ways is a summary of what has been said before but which we need to take close heed of. Today’s passage follows that of which he said that judgement begins with the house of God. Peter says: “Therefore, elders, warn those whom you look after of which I am a fellow-elder.”
Peter does not count Himself as above other leaders in the Church as he is thought of in Roman Catholicism. Indeed there is no evidence that he was ever above the other apostles, in fact, it would seem that James, the half-brother of Jesus, seemed to be more in charge! Of course, though, he did write us two letters that are included as part of God’s Word. Indeed it is very clear that, even in Peter’s view, the leadership structure in the Church is upside down to that of the world, he is simply a fellow-elder.
This is not obvious in so many churches around the world or indeed here in Swansea and Wales. Peter makes it clear that the role of an elder is something that should be done willingly, or in other words, something they should get on with automatically without greed! Leadership is to be done with humility not cajoling people to do what they want done even if they think it is in the member’s best interests. Peter did not always think like this but the start of it may have been when this scenario arose:
Mark 10:35–45 NKJV
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; 40 but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. 42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
This passage should be familiar to those who were here this morning as this is the very passage I preached on. Yet this sermon I prepared a long time ago and, indeed, I had planned to finish 1 Peter last week. So, is there a reason why we are hearing it twice in one day? Maybe I am preaching to myself but perhaps also to you especially those who are standing as deacons and elders at the AGM.
Going back to this passage the disciples did not easily learn their lesson until Jesus served as an example of a servant washing the disciples’ feet and then through His death on the cross. Indeed, Jesus led the way whilst also being strong-willed and passionate and one time rebuking Peter as Satan – but all was done in love and with the meekest of hearts. Peter, I think, learned and then he taught that eldership was about serving more than lording. Humble yourself in the sight of the lord and He will lift you up.
And when Jesus returns He shall reward those elders who have done well with the crown of glory according to verse 4.
Not just elders but everyone is to beware of being proud – for it is a trap of the devil – all that we are, all that we have is because of God and we can take no glory to ourselves.
It is in humility we realise our complete dependence upon God and we are called upon to cast all our care upon Him for He cares for you. All our worries, all our anxieties need to be cast upon the One who shows His concern for us.
The word for anxieties or care here is the same word used in the story about Mary and Martha – the word is translated as distracted:
Luke 10:38–42 NKJV
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
8
If God is for us who can be against us? It doesn’t mean that if God is for us then no-one is against us. Unfortunately this is not what it means.
“In the jungle, the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight. In the jungle, the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight...” I’m sure you’ve heard the song – but if Peter was writing the lyrics he would write: “In the jungle, the mighty jungle the lion snarls tonight…”
We do have enemies, and one in particular; Satan, who, in this passage, is compared with a hungry lion. The roar of a lion is enough to put fear into elephants who contrary to popular opinion are not afraid of mice but they are of lions and it is a lesson we ought to be mindful of. When Scripture says if God is for us who can be against us – what it is saying is that nothing is bigger than God but for us to win we need to be submitted to Him and relying upon Him.
We are warned that our enemy is walking around looking for food to eat – the devil is looking to make us ineffective as Christians. We all have an Achilles heel that can cause us to fail. Every one of us. We have to know our own weaknesses and be particularly cautious in these areas.
Luther said that the devil climbs over the fence where it is lowest.
If gossiping is our problem do not hang out with those who would tempt us to do this. If drinking alcohol is a problem then we should not be going to pubs. It is the same for those who find it easy to complain – instead we are to be thankful. And so on. It is in doing good that we overcome evil. So, we are to also resist the devil and as James says, he will flee.
All that has gone before in this chapter helps us be aware – if the elders truly shepherd the flock they will warn them, if those who listen to the elders obey they will be forewarned which is forearmed, and if we are all humble, both elder and younger, if we are not proud, then we will not consider ourselves to be so strong as not to fall. And we have to watch where our focus is – whether upon the Lord or upon the world.
Of course when we read about the devil here we can just think of the internal battles that wage against us but I suspect that Peter has a larger picture in mind here. It may be, in part, that this passage is about the internal struggles we all face but I think Peter is mainly talking of persecution and suffering as a result.
The context of this passage seems to be that ‘the devil walking about’ is really about those who, under his influence, want to cut Christians down both verbally and physically and in any other way and there are already many in our day who seek to do just that.
I have said before time and again priming you for what is going to happen, for here in the West persecution is coming and we should not be unaware of the devil’s devices – the evolutionary lie, the homosexual lie, the teaching of primary school kids of LGBT are all a set-up to keep people from Christ and to persecute Christians and it is already happening.
We are to be sober, vigilant and wise in such a time. We will be misunderstood, considered to be bigots, all because we do not believe the things they believe, but we must always be those who act in love in response to all these things. But stand fast against these things we must and be persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
Even those who call themselves Christians will turn against us if we hold fast to Jesus and His Word – in a survey of members two years ago of Baptist Union of Great Britain churches say: 1/3rd of the members in each Church see no problem with homosexuality, 1/3rd are against and a further 1/3rd are unsure. This is surely a recipe for disaster in what is supposed to be an evangelical organisation. This in the Church!
What on earth is being taught? Oh, that’s right – Scripture only contains the Word of God – it is not the Word of God from beginning to end – therefore we can pick and choose what we think is God’s Word – hardly a surprise to find ourselves in such a mess today! I’m sure the tipping point will come soon enough when people are persecuted for what they believe – we’ll soon see who holds to Scripture and who, instead, holds to culture which is inspired by the devil. Surely the devil has already done his work in the Church for 65% do not even believe he exists and that there is no eternal punishment to come. Truly there will be hell to pay for teachers of a false gospel. As Paul makes absolutely clear in no uncertain terms:
Galatians 1:8–9 NKJV
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Accursed means to be eternally judged!
What is lacking among Christians is a knowledge of the Word of God, the Bible. Do we know it? Are we reading it? Again I will direct you to the 3-year plan in the bulletin. How will you know when error arises? How will you know if I preach unbiblical and unchristian things? According to these same Scriptures you should be testing what I say to know whether it is true or not.
In the midst of all this we are to remember the Christians who are persecuted across the whole world already. Should we not be praying for them as indeed they pray for us? We should not be caught unwatching. We are to be sober, that is, of sound mind, clear-headed and we are to be vigilant, always aware of what is going on for Scripture plainly says that they will soon be out to get us – and this is not paranoia.
It was Jesus who said
Matthew 24:9 NKJV
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
All nations, including where we live.
2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV
12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
10
It would seem persecution is inescapable unless we compromise. Suffering is sure to come, unreal as it may seem to us now. When it does we are to make our escape if we can. Just as in times past Christians in England escaped persecution by going to Holland or Switzerland or the USA – it may be that today we would find refuge in a Country like Russia! Indeed this is not my recommendation, it was Jesus who recommended it if there is a way of escape:
Matthew 10:23a When they persecute you in this city, flee to another.
In the past such saints have lost their possessions and their lives:
Hebrews 10:34b and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.
This is the present reality for Christians in India and China.
Indeed we have the chapter of faith for more illustrations:
Hebrews 11:35b-38 Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
The result of persecution is to strengthen, to establish us, and purify us – the Church of which we are all a part will then be the kind of bride the Lord wants – one that is done with sin and the world and that holds possessions lightly.
Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles (and seventeen others!), died on July 23, 1742 at the age of seventy-three. Her father had been one of the ministers of England who was ejected by the Act of Uniformity of 1662. So she knew a thing or two about suffering and seeking rest in the coming kingdom of God. She is buried in London’s Bunhill Cemetery, and her epitaph provides a fitting close to Peter’s letter:
In sure and certain hope to rise,
And claim her mansion in the skies
A Christian here her flesh laid down,
The cross exchanging for a crown.

The Reformer Hugh Latimer and Nicolas Ridley were burned at the stake in Oxford for their faith in October 1555. As the flames of this final trial rose around them, Latimer cried out:

Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.9

These were the final words of a suffering man who wanted nothing more than to die in adoration.

God is personally involved in caring for His people. God is not far from His people especially in times of suffering. He is present to strengthen and sustain until we all gain our eternal reward with Him. Our faith and works are not in vain.
11
To close off this letter what better place than verse 11?
All glory belongs to God who also gave us His Son. Jesus did not flee though He had opportunity to do so by simply calling upon the legions of angels to save Him but instead He suffered and died to bring us back to Him, to reconcile us to Him. The LORD will have the last laugh at all His enemies for all glory, all power, all lordship belong to God forever and ever and ever and ever. Amen.

Benediction

1 Peter 5:10–11 NKJV
10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Bibliography

Helm, D. R. (2008). 1 & 2 Peter and Jude: sharing christ’s sufferings. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
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