God’s Victory Plan for Us
1 Peter 5:1-14
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Feb. 24, 2013
*Remember when the Saints were winning a few years ago? -- Of course we do. Everybody loves a winner! And Christians: we are winners for all eternity! Jesus Christ won the victory for us when He died on the cross 2,000 years ago.
*And our final victory is certain, even though it may not seem so as we go through troubles in life. But God’s got a victory plan for our lives in this world. God has a victory plan for us. It’s the best possible plan we could ever have. And Peter helps us see it here in the Word of God.
1. How can we live in Christian victory? -- First: Serve like our Savior.
*This is Peter’s message to us in vs. 1-4, where he said:
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 (feed or take care of) the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by constraint 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.
*Peter is primarily speaking to preachers here. And we can see how Jesus wants me to serve: Faithfully, properly, willingly, unselfishly, eagerly, gently, and expectantly. God wants me to be a servant-hearted leader like Jesus.
*He wants me to be an example as your pastor. And one reason why is because God has called all of us to serve. We see some examples of service in the closing verses of Peter’s letter.
*In vs. 12, Peter said: "By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting (or encouraging you) and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand."
-Encouraging other people: That’s a big thing, because it can have a big impact.
*Testifying about God grace is an even bigger thing! And every Christian has testimonies: The testimony of our salvation, plus testimonies of God’s ongoing work in our lives.
*Then in vs. 13&14, Peter said:
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.
*Greeting one another may seem like a small thing. But small expressions of love can also make a big difference in peoples’ lives.
*How can we live in Christian victory? -- Serve like our Savior.
2. And humble our hearts.
*This is Peter’s instruction to us in vs. 5&6, where he said:
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,
*God wants His followers to put on servant-hearted humility. As Peter said in vs. 5, "Be clothed with humility." The original word for "be clothed with" is an unusual word in the Bible. This is the only place where it can be found.
*The word picture is "to tie a knot," but not just any knot. Slaves in that day wore aprons when they went out to work for their master. Those aprons were tied with a knot, and this is the kind of knot God is talking about here.
*God used this word picture to help us put on servant-hearted humility. A. T. Robertson tells us that as Peter wrote those words, he may have been thinking back to the night before Jesus died on the cross. The Lord wrapped Himself in a servant’s towel and began to wash His disciples’ feet. That’s the humble attitude God wants us to have. (1)
*God wants us to live in Christian victory. -- So humble your heart.
3. And cast your cares on the Lord.
*In vs. 7 Peter tells believers to be "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." The idea here is to do it quickly. Don’t wait around. Throw your cares on the Lord.
*John Piper tells us: "This word 'casting' occurs one other time in the New Testament, in Luke 19:35. It's Palm Sunday and the disciples have been sent to get the donkey for Jesus to ride on. Then Luke 19:35 says, 'They brought it to Jesus, and casting their garments on the colt, they set Jesus on it.'
*So the meaning is simple and straight forward. If you have a garment on and you want an animal to carry it for you, you 'cast' the garment on the animal. In this way you don't carry it anymore. It's on the animal not on you. The donkey works for you and lifts your load."
*Then John Piper explained: "Well, God is willing to carry your anxieties the same way a donkey carries your baggage. One of the greatest things about the God of the Bible is that He commands us to let Him work for us before commanding us to work for Him." (2)
*In Matt 11:28 Jesus said, "Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest"
-Psalm 55:22 says: "Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you."
-And in Isaiah 46:4 the Lord tells us, "Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you."
*Glory to God! -- "Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."
*Sometimes when your world is crashing in, you may be tempted to think that the Lord doesn’t care for you. But always look back to the cross! God has done a million good things for us. But if He never did another thing, the cross would be enough! Jesus died on the cross to take the full punishment for our sins. And He rose again to give eternal life to all who will trust in Him.
*The cross of Christ forever proves God’s care for you! -- "Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."
*When our Katie was a student at LSU, she said something that really inspired me. Katie had been stressing-out about a lot of things in her life. But she told me that she prayed about it. And as she prayed, Katie told the Lord that she was going to imagine a box. Then she was going to put all her worries in that box and give them to Him.
*A little while later she caught herself worrying about something else and she said, "Oh. -- that goes in the box."
-Job trouble. -- That goes in the box.
-Financial trouble. -- That goes in the box.
-Family problems, health issues, struggles with sin. Put them all in the box.
*God wants us to live in Christian victory. -- So cast your cares on the Lord.
4. And be determined to resist the devil.
*We must remember that we have an evil enemy. Peter talked about him in vs. 8&9, where he gave us this warning:
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.
*The devil is the ultimate reason why there is so much suffering in this world. He is the number one enemy of believers in Jesus Christ, and so, we have to resist him!
A. We must be determined to resist the devil. As Peter said in vs. 8, "Be sober and vigilant." The NIV says, "Be self-controlled and alert." And the AMP Bible says, "Be vigilant and cautious at all times." "Be on the alert!" Peter says. Then he tells us why.
 Be on the alert first because we have a dedicated enemy.
*Peter said, "Be sober, be vigilant; because YOUR adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." The devil is dedicated to be our adversary. There are no neutrals in this war. We must not fool ourselves into thinking we can sit it out on the sidelines. Satan is our enemy.
-Be on the alert because we have a dedicated enemy.
 And because he is a destructive enemy.
*In John 10:10 Jesus said that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. Peter tells us that our enemy is like a lion. Lions are huge and powerful, up to 500 pounds and 9 feet long!
*Years ago I stopped at a little country store in Georgia. Out in the parking lot they had a bobcat in a cage, cute little thing, only two or three times bigger than a cat.
*I walked over to that cage, and when I got about three feet away, it was like a bomb went off. That cute little cat turned into a raging monster! It was like a tornado in that cage. That thing was mean, vicious and wild. I wasn’t about to stick my finger in that cage and say: "Here Kitty, Kitty."
*But a lion is twenty times bigger than a bobcat. And the devil is trillion times more dangerous and destructive.
-Be on the alert because we have a destructive enemy.
 And because we are in a dangerous place, his place.
*We are in enemy territory tonight. Peter points us to this truth when he tells us that the devil is a roaring lion. You see, lions do not roar when they are hunting. They roar for several other reasons. One of the main reasons why they roar is to protect their territory. And this world is the devil’s territory. (3)
*Sometimes we sing "This Is My Father’s World," and of course that’s true. But in John 12:31, Jesus called the devil the "Prince (or ruler) of this world." And in a very real way he is, at least for now. Kidnappings and murders, bombs blowing up babies, pornography crime and corruption: None of these things belong to God.
*The world is filled with evil. And when we see that, there should be no doubt that we are in the enemy’s territory. That’s why 2 Cor 5:20 says that we Christians are ambassadors for Christ. We are ambassadors serving the Lord in the devil’s territory. Satan does not want us hurting his evil kingdom, so like a lion, he roars to scare us away.
-Christians: Be on the alert because we are in a dangerous place.
 And because we have a deceptive enemy.
*In vs. 8, Peter said that the devil is walking around "seeking whom he may devour." But how does a lion hunt? -- Well have you ever seen a cat stalking something? -- That’s how a lion hunts.
*Most animals that lions eat are faster than the lion, so he must surprise his prey. Moving slowly, close to the ground, the lion stalks, creeping closer and closer. Then it rushes forward, grabs its prey and pulls it down. (3)
*The devil is not going to walk up, tap you on the shoulder and say, "I want to devour you, if that’s O.K." No. -- If he wants to devour your marriage, he will build walls between you and your spouse. And he will put you in the office with an attractive, friendly co-worker who sympathizes about your trouble at home. One thing can lead to another. Friendship can cross over the line to attraction. Then one day the trap slams shut, and he’s got you.
*If the devil wants to devour your life with alcohol, he is going to do it with slick ads showing beautiful people having a great time drinking.
*If he wants to devour your life from Christian service, he will stir up trouble in the church, or try to discourage you, or try to distract you with something else that seems perfectly harmless or even good.
B. So we must stay alert! -- But we also must take action.
*As Peter said in vs. 9, "Resist him (i.e. resist the devil), steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."
*We must "resist" the devil. That word means "to stand against." God wants us to take a stand! -- But how can we do that?
 First we stand in the faith. We can never do the work of the Lord in the strength of our flesh. It must be "in the faith," as we are trusting in the Lord
 It must be in the faith. And it must be in the family, as we take a stand together.
*No one is singled out in vs. 9. All of us are called on to resist the devil. Peter mentions our "brotherhood" as believers. That includes all Christians. We all have to resist the devil. But we never have to resist him alone. And God has some great news for us in James 4:7: "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
*God wants us to live in Christian victory. -- So be determined to resist the devil.
5. And count on God to complete what He started.
*This is Peter’s faith-filled prayer for us in vs. 10-11, where he said:
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.
*Christians: You can count on God to complete what He has started in our lives.
 And God has surely started a good work in our lives.
*Verse 10 tells us that "the God of all grace" has "called us to His eternal glory by Jesus Christ." Right now, Jesus Christ is preparing an eternal home for us in Heaven. And one day, He will call us home.
*But it’s not because of our goodness. It’s because of His grace! He really is "the God of all grace." None of us is good enough to go to heaven on our own. All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And the only way to get into Heaven is by the amazing grace of God, -- the grace that he showed us when Jesus died on the cross for our sins.
*Three days later, Jesus rose again to offer salvation by grace through faith to anyone who will receive Him as Lord and Savior. It’s all about Jesus:
-Trusting in Him.
-Placing your faith in Him.
-Having a personal relationship with Him.
*“The God of all grace” has “called us to His eternal glory by Jesus Christ!”
-So Christians: God has surely started a good work in our lives.
 And He will finish it.
*Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus is the "author and finisher of our faith!" We can always count on Him! Verse 10 tells us that we may have to suffer a little while before we go. But God Himself is going to "perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle" us. This means He is going to restore us, support us, strengthen us, and put us on a firm foundation, -- until the day He calls us home.
*One day D.L. Moody was walking down the street, and he came to a little girl who terrified by an approaching storm. The sky was dark and black. The frightened little girl said: "Brother Moody, the world is coming to an end!"
*And Mr. Moody answered: "That’s all right honey. We can live without it, for this (world) is not our home. We are just passing through to a better world." (4)
*We are passing through to the best world! -- And on the way, God wants us to live in Christian victory!
-So serve like the Savior.
-Humble your heart.
-Cast your cares on the Lord.
-Be determined to resist the devil.
-And count on God to complete what He started.
*Let’s trust in the Lord as we go to God in prayer.
(1) "Robertson’s Word Pictures" by A.T. Robertson - 1 Peter 5:5
(2) SermonCentral sermon "Anxieties: To Be Cast Not Carried" by John Piper - 1 Peter 5:1-11 - June 13, 1993
(3) SOURCES FOR ROARING AND HUNTING:
SermonCentral sermon "This Could Be the Start of Something Big: Victim or Victor?" by Johnny Creasong - 1 Peter 5:7-11
(4) SermonCentral sermon "The Difference Easter Makes" by Evie Megginson - Acts 10:39-43