Christian living in a hostile world
Humility, Anxiety, Self-control, Vigilance
Call to worship
Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. (Psalm 28:2)
The Lord’s Prayer
Hymn: “You alone are worthy” (Screen)
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 3:31; Matthew 20:20-28
Prayer of Adoration and Confession
Declaration of pardoning
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
Hymn: “We will give thanks to Thee” (Screen) (Scripture in Song)
Offering and Dedication
“You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving”
Prayer for others
Scripture Reading 1Peter 5:5-11
Hymn no 564: “Make me a captive Lord”
Dear Brother and Sister in the Lord,
They say the last words of a person are the ones we always remember. The advice of someone on his deathbed is always remembered. In the chapter we read tonight out of 1 Peter 5 was in a sense the last words of advice of the apostle to the Christians in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.
What would your best advice be to Christians living in a hostile world? Where would you begin if you had to make a list of all the possible dangers that might cause Christians to be less effective in a world that is looking for every opportunity to eradicate a group of people calling themselves Christians?
The apostle Peter was speaking to a group of people scattered in far flung places without direct contact with the rest of the Christian world. They knew persecution and hardship.
It seems as if the apostle thought that the major enemy of any church does not lie without, but within. Let’s use the opposite of the word in case: pride. He writes:
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)
Moffatt translates, “Put on the apron of humility.” Very appropriate—since the apron is the badge of a servant.
When Jesus called his disciples, in the first recorded sermon of our Master, in the very first line of that sermon, Jesus said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)
A paraphrase of this verse sounds like this:
“Humble men are very fortunate!” he told them, “for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.
To be poor in the spirit is to know we are beggars before God. God mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble. (Proverbs 3:34) This is a very serious lesson that Jesus taught the future leaders of the church.
In Matthew 20 the disciples were discussing the possibility of leadership in the church. Who will be the leader? Who will have the highest position?
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)
It’s hard to be humble.
It's hard to be humble
When you're perfect in every way
I can't wait to look in the mirror
Coz I get better lookin each day
I guess you could say I am a loner
A cowboy all locked up and proud
Well I could have lots of friends if I wanted
But then I wouldn't stand out in a crowd
Many churches suffer because of pride. Many churches fell because of those who found it hard to be humble. Humility means to not be in the centre of your life. Your desires don’t count. Humility means to serve others.
Imagine a congregation where all the members have this humble spirit; where they esteem others better than themselves; where they outdo each other in performing the menial tasks. Such a church need not be imaginary; it could and should be an actuality.
In this letter the apostle warns us that we must be humble under the mighty hand of God. Think of it—the mighty God as opposed to our pride and determined to break it, contrasted with the mighty God powerless to resist a broken and contrite heart! (Believer's Bible Commentary)
This humility is to be shown not only in relation to others but to God as well. In Peter’s day the saints were passing through the fires of affliction. These trials, though not sent by God, were permitted by Him. The best policy, Peter says, is to take them humbly from the Lord’s hand. He will sustain His people and exalt them in due time.
I wondered why anxiety was listed in these last instructions to the people Peter addressed. If you take this verse out of the context, as it happens so many times when people want to encourage one another in times of difficulty, it is easy to understand. But what does it mean within the context of the paragraph?
Exactly what we already heard about it as it ties in with humility. When we give away control of our lives, and give up the throne of our existence, anxiety can set in. Especially if things are not going our way. It is a hard lesson to learn: leave it in the hands of God. Give up control, become a servant and follow where Jesus will lead you.
It is easy to say, “Have Thine own way Lord, have Thine own way”, but in the meantime we are already working out how we are going to do things our way.
To cast is to throw away. In many cases this word operates in the context of getting rid of your clothes, ripping it off as they did when Jesus entered Jerusalem. In this sense it forms a contrast between “being clothed with humility” and “tearing off anxiety”.
Why? He cares for us. What about the little sparrow? And the hairs on your head? And the lilies in the field?
Three times in this short letter the apostle Peter give the command to be self-controlled. Paul calls self-control an attribute of the fruit of the Spirit.
Imagine a church where there is no self-control! This is the enemy from within. Face a hostile world where the troops know no discipline.
Now we get to the enemy from without.
Hymn No 430: “Blest are the humble souls” (Tune 453)
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)