Final Encouragements of Grace Sermon
1 Peter 5:1-14
Big Idea: We can experience God’s grace while suffering through the organization of the local church, the promise of future exaltation and the exhortation of this epistle.
A. DL Moody was once asked if Moody had the grace to be a martyr. Moody replied, “No, I have not. But if God wanted me to be one, He would give me a martyr’s grace.”
1. Street definition for grace might be: “God’s undeserved favor”.
2. It seems that there are times in life that are so overwhelming and difficult that if it weren’t for the grace of God, we would not get through them.
a. Salvation is the chief example of God’s grace when we need it the most
b. Facing physical sufferings or death.
c. Living in a broken marriage or an unhealthy home.
d. Mistreated at work or by friends because you choose to speak out for your faith.
3. God promises to give us grace that is sufficient for what we need (2 Cor. 12:9)
4. Question: How do we experience God’s grace while suffering?
B. Concluding our study of 1 Peter today.
1. Given some final encouragements of grace for those who are suffering and going through difficult times.
A. Suffering is already happening for those to whom Peter is writing.
1. 1 Pet. 4:12-19 describes this as a “fiery trial”
2. In fact, these trials are designed to purify the faith of these Christian communities and
3. So that believers may entrust themselves to their faithful Creator.
B. Because some are going through difficult times, Peter recognizes that there are also some things that God has in place to help Christians who are suffering, regardless of what that suffering might be. Ways where a Christian might experience God’s grace, even while they are suffering.
A. Through the organization of the local church (1 Pet. 5:1-5)
1. When Elders Shepherd (1 Peter 5:1-4)
a. Because believers are being persecuted and suffering, it is imperative that those appointed to leadership by God, lead as God would have them.
b. This is such an important point that Peter almost begs those elders to listen to what he has to say.
i. Does so in a very personal and autobiographical way
ii. Peter could have pulled rank as the “Apostle of the Circumcised” (Gal. 2:7-8) or the “Rock on Which Christ Would Build His Church” (Matt. 16:18), or as one of Jesus’ closest disciples.
iii. Instead, appealed to them as a fellow-elder
a.) One of them, in the trenches along with them
b.) Only time this word used in NT
iv. Also as one who witnessed Christ’s sufferings
a.) Although Peter ran and denied Christ in the final hours,
b.) He had walked with Him for several years seeing the attacks and mistreatments by His fellow-Jews
i.) He saw family members ridicule Him
ii.) He watched mobs try to kill Him
c.) He knew what was at stake here and what his brothers and sisters in Christ were going through.
v. He also reminded them that he, as well as them, would all be ushered into glory when Christ returns. There was not a distinction between him and them, the focus was on Christ.
c. His command to the elders is to “shepherd” (5:2)
i. This is the same command that Jesus gave to Peter thirty years earlier, which still stuck with him.
a.) In John 21:16, after Jesus was raised from the dead and had shown Himself to Peter, John and some of the other disciples, He spoke with Peter privately.
b.) Jesus told him that as a sign of Peter’s love for His Savior, he would need to “Shepherd my sheep.”
ii. Peter gives that same command to the undershepherds of the local groups of Christians.
d. Who are elders?
i. Elder is an church leadership office filled by a qualified men (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).
ii. Generally are the more mature, older people.
iii. Elders at CBC: 4 paid, 8 lay. Also have deacons and ministry leaders.
e. What is “shepherding”?
i. Go back to Psalm 23 to see several characteristics of the Great Shepherd’s leading:
a.) I shall not want (v.1a); Living waters (v. 2b)
b.) Prepared table (v. 5a); Dwelling place (v. 6b)
iii. Presence – You are with me (v. 4c)
iv. Protection – rod and staff (v. 4d)
v. Peace – I will fear no evil (v. 4b); They comfort me (v. 4e)
f. How should an elder “shepherd”?
i. Right motives (v. 2)
a.) Willingly or freely, not forced or under compulsion.
b.) Eagerly and enthusiastically, but not based on a love for money or “what’s in it for me?” attitude
i.) Scripture does say that elders and pastors who faithfully labor in ministry may be paid for their labors
ii.) 1 Tim. 5:17-18, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The laborer deserves his wages.’”
iii.) This issue is attitude.
c.) An elder should want to do it, not for himself, but for God and for His sheep
ii. Right manner (v. 3)
a.) Not domineering or lording it over those in your care, but instead, leading by example.
b.) Not forcing yourself on people, but rather, earning the right to be heard as you involve yourself in their lives.
iii. Right reward (v. 4)
a.) “Those who bear the burden of faithfully shepherding God’s flock willingly, eagerly, and as role models will receive the unfading crown of glory when Christ, the Chief Shepherd, is revealed.” (Jobes, 306)
b.) Better to be rewarded by Jesus with eternal things, than seek the rewards of man, which are temporal and fading.
g. As elders shepherd, according to God’s way of doing things, God’s grace can be experienced by those who are in hard times.
2. When People Submit (1 Pet. 5:5a)
a. “You who are younger” refers to everyone who is not an elder.
b. There is a responsibility to follow those who are leading and to voluntarily and willingly submit ourselves to their authority.
c. Ps. 23: A sheep will not experience the blessing and grace of provision unless he eats the food that the shepherd gives him.
d. Likewise, he won’t experience peace and protection unless he obeys and lies down where the shepherd tells him to.
3. When Everyone is Humble (1 Pet. 5:5b)
a. For all of this to happen, all of us, shepherd and sheep alike, need to clothe ourselves in humility.
b. Picture is of one putting on an apron.
i. Perhaps Peter was thinking of the Last Supper when Jesus, described in John 13, tied a towel around His waist so that He could wash the feet of His disciples.
ii. Jesus was teaching and modeling for the disciples truly humble service.
a.) Even though He was their Lord and Teacher, He served them.
b.) He also said that Peter wouldn’t understand then, but would understand later. I think he did.
c. Reason: Prov. 3:34
i. Any type of arrogance or pride,
ii. Whether by a domineering leader or a disobedient follower, justifies God’s opposition.
iii. As we go through hard times, we don’t want God to oppose us, instead we want and need His grace to get through them.
a. Be involved in church
i. Heb. 10:25 tells us not to neglect meeting together, because there is encouragement and love to be found in the church.
ii. Make worship service a priority, above all other things
iii. Make an effort to be involved in a ministry, LG or D/M
b. Hold elders accountable
i. Actively involved in people’s lives, using prayer and the Word to help them in their tough times.
ii. Elders are not immune to the sufferings of life.
iii. Make the elders’ ministry a joy (Heb. 13:17)
B. In the promise of exaltation (1 Pet. 5:6-11)
1. By Coming Under God’s Mighty Hand (1 Pet. 5:6, 10-11)
a. Again, a “therefore” ties us into what we just talked about: humility and mutual submission.
b. The command, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God,” means that we are to accept God’s will for our lives, even though they may include difficult circumstances as part of His deliverance, without railing against God or those who have caused the circumstance.
c. If we are insulted for the name of Christ (1 Pet. 4:14), or are found suffering for righteousness’ sake (1 Pet. 3:14), we are to accept the humiliation that might come, just as Christ accepted the humiliation He received as He suffered on our behalf (1 Pet. 4:13).
i. This is against everything that is naturally within us.
ii. We want to defend ourselves, vindicate ourselves, fight for our rights, and make those who have done this to us pay.
iii. God wants us to humbly submit to His will at the same time we are praying “My your will be done” (Matt. 6:10)
d. Why? So that He might exalt us
i. God is the great “corrector of wrongs” and He promises to exalt each of us who is humiliated and brought low because of our faith in Christ.
ii. However, it is on His timing, which is the proper time, not ours.
a.) It may be during this lifetime, as it was for:
i.) Joseph – who he made second-in-command of all of Egypt after his brothers had humiliated him by throwing him into a well, selling him off as a slave and lying to their father about his death.
ii.) Daniel – who he made ruler over the province of Babylon after he was humiliated by being kidnapped and taken from Israel and was made to be a eunuch.
b.) Or, the exaltation may wait until when the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ, returns to bring us into glory with Him.
iii. What do we know about this final exaltation?
a.) First off, it is eternal, which makes any suffering seem short by comparison.
b.) Second, it is based on the resurrection, ascension and exaltation of Jesus Christ.
c.) Third, it is complete and lacks nothing (v. 10).
iv. We are reminded that we are talking about the “God of all grace” (v. 10), who is also the God of all power and dominion (v. 11).
e. Although the promise of exaltation is real, the cares and anxieties of life are real as well. We are to handle them:
2. By Casting Our Anxieties on Him (1 Pet. 5:7)
a. We give them over to God.
b. We remember that He is God and we are not.
i. Worry, anxiousness and control are all signs of a lack of faith.
ii. We feel that the only way things will get done and suffering will cease is if we do something about it.
iii. It is pride and arrogance at its root to say that I have to take care of this, because the implication is that God cannot, which is blasphemy.
iv. “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
c. Through prayer, we confidently approach His glorious throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16).
d. Why? Because God cares for us.
i. Just because He may allow suffering in our life, doesn’t mean He doesn’t care for us as we go through it.
ii. Peter knows this first-hand (Mark 4:35-41).
a.) He was in the boat that was nearly capsized by a storm.
b.) He was among the disciples that cried out “Don’t you care that we are perishing?”
c.) He saw Jesus calm the storm as evidence that He does care for us, and will show us grace in the middle of storms.
e. But we don’t fall into a “let go and let God” mentality where we don’t do anything at all.
3. By Resisting the Devil (1 Pet. 5:8-9)
a. We are given three commands in these two verses:
i. Be sober-minded and watchful
a.) Gives us a picture of a night watchman who constantly walks the walls of his city looking to see if there is any danger impending.
b.) There is danger, in the form of a prowling lion.
i.) Peter may have had the image of the lions that Nero would use to devour faithful Christians as entertainment for his people.
ii.) Or he may have had the description from Psalm 22:21 that described Christ’s enemies as a lion.
c.) Regardless, Peter is describing our adversary the devil.
i.) Here the devil seeks to devour the Christian.
ii.) In John 10:10, Jesus says that he seeks to steal, kill and destroy the sheep.
iii.) We are engaged in spiritual warfare
iv.) He can’t take away our eternal salvation, but he can take away our joy and our effectiveness to witness to those around us.
ii. Resist him
a.) Our defense and our last command is to resist what the devil is trying to do.
b.) This is done by remaining firm in our faith.
c.) Because this is spiritual warfare, we are given every spiritual piece of armor we need in Eph. 6:10-20, with the command to “Stand firm” given three times.
d.) We are also given the encouragement that there are fellow-believers around the world that are going through the same things we are, and worse, and yet they are experiencing God’s grace in their sufferings.
e.) Also, we are given the encouragement that God will correct all wrongs in eternity (1 Pet. 5:10-11)
b. Again, Peter is speaking very personally
i. Jesus had told him once, right before Peter was to betray Jesus in Luke 22:31, that Satan desired to shake him up and ruin his faith.
ii. Peter also remembers how he failed to be vigilant and alert in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus asked him to be watchful, but instead was found sleeping three times.
iii. His concern is that other fellow believers did not make the same mistakes that he made.
a. There are several ways that we can experience God’s grace, even while we are in the middle of tough times.
b. One is through the protection and provision of the local church, where elders shepherd and people follow.
c. Another is through the promise of God exalting us as we humbly accept His will in our lives, give Him all our cares, and resist our enemy by faith.
C. Through the exhortation of this epistle (1 Pet. 5:12-14)
1. Side Points
a. It appears that Silvanus, who is mentioned in several other places in the NT, was simply the letter-carrier for Peter.
i. Not the secretary as many people believe.
ii. Silvanus (Silas) often appears as a companion of the apostle Paul; Acts 15:22; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1.
b. While this is less certain, most commentators agree that “Babylon” refers to Rome
i. Tradition holds that Peter was martyred in Rome in the early 60s.
ii. However, “Babylon” could be just a general designation referring to a place not Israel, which was his home.
iii. This would parallel where the recipients of the letter were as dispersed abroad in 1 Pet. 1:1.
c. Many people have thought that the “She” in verse 13 meant Peter’s wife
i. Remember that Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law in Luke 4:38f
ii. Also, reference to his “son”, Mark, gives it more of a family feel.
iii. However, the “she” is most probably a reference to the community of believers that were where he was writing from
iv. And Mark, is most probably John Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark and another traveling companion of Paul.
a.) Tradition holds that they ministered together later in Peter’s life
b.) Peter may be referring to him here as his spiritual son, as he was actually Barnabas’ cousin.
2. This is the true grace of God (1 Pet. 5:12)
a. This is the theme verse for the entire epistle; where we got the theme “Gripped by Grace”
b. Peter’s whole point in writing this letter was to encourage and remind believers that God’s grace can be seen vividly in the midst of suffering and persecution.
i. In the very beginning of his letter, we see how God’s grace saves us and will bring us through this life and into eternal life with Him.
ii. As we are gripped by this truth, our conduct and how respond to life’s circumstances are affected.
a.) We live lives of holiness, moderation and praise.
b.) We submit ourselves willingly to governing and business authorities.
c.) We have marriages and homes that are positive testimonies.
d.) We refrain from striking out and striking back at those who seek to harm us.
e.) We reach out to others in need, using our gifts in love.
f.) We grow in our faith and in humility – and all of this not when times are easy, but when they are very, very hard.
c. Being able to do any of this is the true grace of God. And by His grace, we can stand firm in it.