Radical. Rebels. Revolutionaries. Renown. Remarkable. Legendary. World-changers.
These are all terms being used to describe the spirit of Christianity. Interestingly enough, they are also used to describe the American spirit and dream. Everyone wants a life of purpose and to make a difference.
We often think greatness occurs through lofty ideas or an illustrious lifestyle. We believe that those who make a difference in society are those who are more distinguished than everyone else.
You see this on the highway with car bumper stickers, “My child is an honor roll student.”
You see it in commercials where organizations and products claim to make you bigger and better than everyone else.
Unfortunately we also see it in Christian circles where preachers claim your best life is now and superiority is obtained through selfish gain.
The extraordinary Christian life is marked by ordinary obedience; it’s faithfulness with simple truth. Radical is regular faithfulness.
No doubt God is calling many to radical sacrificial obedience. We need more radicals in the line of David Platt’s call.
Yet, God is calling many others to radical sacrificial ordinariness. The Christian life is a long-distance marathon that is maintained and measured in the momentary and mundane moments of life.
1Peter is a letter to ordinary Christians to live with endurance in the everyday life.
EXAMINE 1Peter 5 Defend the Faith with Humility 3 exhortations for Christians
Christian leaders are to be humble shepherds (5:1-4)
Peter exhorts the elders (πρεσβυτερους – presbuteros) of the church to be humble shepherds (ποιμανατε – poimen / pastor) exercising proper oversight (ἐπισκοπέω – episkopo cf. 1Peter 2:25; Acts 20:28; 1Timothy 3:1).
Peter is a “fellow elder” (though he was an apostle) and a “witness” (μάρτυς) of Jesus’ sufferings. In other words, Peter is saying, “I am just like you. I am not any better. In fact, when I witnessed Jesus’ sufferings I was weak in faith and failed my Lord. But, Jesus’ grace means I am a future partaker of His glory!
- Christian elders are shepherds of God’s flock, not their own.
- Service as an elder requires great care and oversight with a willing heart, hands and head (mind).
- Further, the character qualifications are examples to others: not forced but willing (compulsion), not greedy (shameful gain) but generous giving, not authoritarian (domineering) but authentic in leadership.
- Peter provides the ultimate reason for being a humble shepherd in that the Chief Shepherd – Jesus Christ, is overseeing our actions and we must give an account for His church. The Christian leaders hope is to receive a crown of unfading glory to bring further worship to God.
Peter has in mind living in the present with the future in mind, a theme throughout the book.
5:1 glory to revealed (cf. 1Peter 1:7, 1:13, 4:13)
5:4 when Chief Shepherd appears (cf. 1Peter 1:20)
5:6 due time (cf. 1Peter 1:5)
5:8 sober-minded, alert (cf. Matthew 24:42 similar to Jesus’ words; and Paul’s 1Thessalonians 5:6)
Knowing we will one day look Jesus in the eyes should cause a genuine humility over out attitudes and actions.
- Leadership is stewardship that requires a humble head (mind), heart, and hands. Humble leadership may sound like an ironic combination of words but it is illustrative of the greatest leader – the Lord Jesus Christ.
Peter may have in mind the OT shepherds who lacked humility and sought selfish gain.
Ezekiel 34:1-10 1 The word of the Lord came to me:2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4 The weak you have not strengthened [Discipleship], the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back [Fellowship], the lost you have not sought [Evangelism], and with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts.6 My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.7 “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:10 Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.
- Leadership is stewardship that requires humble pursuit. As a shepherd, sometimes there is need to “exercise oversight… over those in your charge”. Sometimes people view pastors as a crowd entertainer or personal counselor. The contemporary and consumer view of church has created a poor definition for the role of pastors. Instead, pastors are called to be humble shepherds – whereas the emphasis previously was on humble but not to the neglect of the shepherding role. If a shepherd is doing his job he is actively pursuing others in preparation to meet the Lord Jesus. Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
Ultimately, God is the Chief Shepherd who modeled humility and service by giving up His life but also exercises leadership through the power of His Holy Spirit (John 10:11; 16:8-11). This is the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy.
Christian members are to be humble servants (5:5-7)
Peter specifically addresses others in the congregation “young men” could represent age as well as spiritual maturity. Peter commends submission again to believers. Further, Peter is concerned about both the example that is presented and then the responsibility of others following that example. The similar exhortation is for “all of you” believers to clothe yourselves with humility toward each other. Clothing is an interesting verb choice since it relates to an every day activity.
In Peter’s day, humility was expected more of slaves but somewhat an unworthy character trait for those who were free. Yet, Peter commands it of Christians who have the ultimate freedom in Christ.
- Humility is essential to holiness.
- Isaiah 66:2 “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”
- Matthew 23:12 “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
- God opposes proud but gives grace to humble (Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6; 1Peter 5:5)
- We can be humble servants by placing self before the mighty hand of God.
- This starts with surrender to the Lordship of Jesus.
- We can be humble servants by placing [cast = throw. note: Peter was a fisherman casting far and frequent] our anxieties before Christ who cares for us.
- Pridefulness is characterized by prayerlessness
- Prayerlessness denies the presence & power of God. Worry denies the protection & preservation of God.
- Psalm 55:16-19, 22 16But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. 17 Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. 18 He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. 19 God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah because they do not change and do not fear God…. 22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
- We can be humble servants by protecting ourselves from our adversary.
Christian members are to be holy soldiers (5:8-14)
Peter concludes his letter with great seriousness. He calls them to be sober-minded (cf. 1:13 prepare for action; attentive & vigilant). He reminds these believers to be alert against the enemy. He compares the (definite article) Devil (accuser/slanderer) as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Believers are to resist (stand against) and stand firm in the faith (5:9, 5:12; cf. Ephesians 6:10 ff).
Knowing that other believers enduring similar sufferings and hardships can be a source of strength to stand firm and persevere. Peter calls this to mind (5:9). The closing of his letter does the same by noting Silvanus, the church at Rome (“she who is at Babylon”), and Mark (the Gospel writer). Further, Peter calls them to keep their unity and affection for one another with the “kiss of love”.
Illus Motto: Once a soldier, always a soldier. Recalls the sense of partnership and purpose in the military. Likewise, Christians are to have this view that they have a united partnership & purpose with other believers around the world and they must “stand firm”.
- Satan can roar. Are you fearing
- Jesus can restore & resurrect. Satan’s lions are leashed by the Lord Jesus; they may hurt you but they cannot hinder you from standing firm.
- Cast far & frequently all your anxiety and all your sin on Jesus, for He cares for you.