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Faithlife

A Comforting Command

A Study of First Peter: The People of God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

A. Monologue: In a distant region of the world, the shadow of physical persecution is driving many Christians from their land. Closer to home there is a type of social persecution. People are increasingly viewing the Christian Community as strange and even dangerous.
We look around at the rampant immorality and we wonder how they think we are the strange ones.
We see the violence everywhere and are shocked they think we are dangerous.
Some of this immorality has even seeped into some churches, not just its members but some of its leaders as well.
Why is this happening to us? We are the people of God. Why do we suffer and evil seems to win? It just seems so backwards! Its more than I bargained for when I signed up for this.
This sounds like something some of us may really be thinking today at this very moment, but I am actually attempting to convey how the early Christian church in Peter’s day around AD63 probably felt.
B. Peter was probably in Rome during this time, witnessing first hand the shadow of persecution from Emperor Nero. Persecution that would eventually become so severe, he would even burn Christians on poles, to use as large candles to light the way to his home.
Somehow Peter recieved word from some Christians in Asia Minor hundreds of miles away, telling him of localized persecution and of problems in their churches with it members and leaders.
Some of them were struggling to make sense of things, if they were children of God, why were they still suffering? Why were they experiencing difficulties in life. Why was the church so messed up. Don’t we ask these same questions today?
So in response, Peter writes a letter to be delivered to several churches all over Asia Minor (Modern Day Turkey). We call this letter 1 Peter. He discussed suffering repeatedly in the letter. One could argue that suffering is the theme of the book.
C. But it is more than a book about suffering. In this great book, we get a total picture of what it means to be the people of God in a world where evil seems to win and good seems to lose.
The people of God have a certain lifestyle because of WHO we are and WHOSE we are.
In other words, it is very important that we understand that the most important matter is not WHAT we believe, but rather IN WHOM we believe!
This is the theme of the book. It was not just written for them. It was written under inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the church today. It was written for us.
D. The letter is full of encouragement, but also exhortations and commands.
Some times the idea of a command is a turn off to some people. But the Bible tells us that every command from God is for our good. The Psalmist writes that God’s commands are sweet as a roll, like honey in the mouth.
We are going to look this morning at one of these commands.
1 Peter 5:6–7 ESV
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:5b–7 ESV
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:5b–7 ESV
5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6–7 ESV
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:5–7 ESV
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Transition sentence: This is a comforting command and I say that for four reasons.

Four ways we can be comforted by this command:
Before we get into the text itself, we need to take a step back and think about the man who wrote it. The Apostle Peter. A brash young man who was always putting his foot in his mouth. Here he is 30 years later.
1. Comfort from the encouragement gained by seeing how much the Apostle Peter had matured in his faith.
It is really amazing we even have the book of 1 Peter at all. You remember Peter right, he wasn’t always on the right side of things. It is such an encouragement to see how much this man who had made so many mistakes had matured and grown in the Lord. It gives me hope.
As soon as Jesus began telling the disciples that they were going to Jerusalem where he would be handed over to the authorities and would be beaten and killed and on the third day he would rise again.
This man fought the plan of God to the very end.
Jesus began telling the disciples that they were going to Jerusalem where he would be handed over to the authorities and would be beaten and killed and on the third day he would rise again. Peter rebuked Jesus for saying it. Thats when Jesus said, Get behind me Satan.
When Jesus told Peter that Peter would deny him three times, Peter told Jesus He was wrong. Have you ever questioned Jesus?
In the upper room, when Jesus clothed himself with the servants towel, Peter initially refused to let Jesus wash his feet.
In the garden, while Jesus was praying, Peter couldn’t stay awake to pray. Can you relate to that? I know I can. Sometimes my prayer time is more dreaming than praying.
When the authorities came to arrest Jesus, Peter brandished his sword to fight them off. Jesus rebuked him.
Then in the courtyard outside Jesus trial, Peter denied he even knew Jesus and cursed God in the process. Have you been there?
Jesus was on a mission, doing the will of His father, heading straight for the cross to die for the sins of mankind. Peter was trying to stop it at every turn. Have you ever fought God’s will for your life? Why is it that God’s will for our lives can sometimes be so opposite of what we think it should be?
You see, Peter could not see the plan of God. Instead of trusting Jesus, he thought he knew better. Can you imagine the anxiety he was feeling during that time? We really can’t blame him can we? I mean, Peter had given up everything to follow Jesus, he had hoped that Jesus would be setting up his earthly kingdom soon. Death of the leader was not on the radar!
So he fought it and fought it and when all seemed lost, he cursed God and denied he even knew Jesus at all! Just as Jesus said he would. Can you imagine the shock when that rooster crowed and Jesus was lead out of the building and looked into Peter’s eyes?
Now read these amazing words Peter has written,
1 Peter 5:5b–7 ESV
5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Clothe yourself: Jesus clothing himself with the servants towel. The context here is he is addressing elders and young people in the church. Serve each other.
Humble: written in the passive which would be best understood as “allow yourself to be humbled by the mighty hand of God.” Like the hand of a surgeon that cuts to remove the cancer. Like the potter who smoothes and shapes the clay. We should not resist the surgeon, our clay should be soft.
The word humbled is written in the passive which means, not for you to humble but rather to allow yourself to be humbled by the might hand of God. Like the hand of a surgeon that cuts to remove the cancer. Like the potter who smoothes and shapes the clay. His is the hand that brings low and the hand that lifts up. he touched the leper and he was made whole, he touched the blind and he could see, he touched the lame and he could walk, he touched the desperate and she was restored. He even touched the dead and they lived again. And for some reason he touched me and I have been made new.
His is the hand that brings low and the hand that lifts up. He touched the leper and he was made whole, he touched the blind and he could see, he touched the lame and he could walk, he touched the desperate and she was restored. He even touched the dead and they lived again. And for some reason, He stooped down and he touched me and I have been made new.
So the first way to draw comfort from this command is just knowing that Peter made the same kinds of mistakes we make, yet he learned to humble himself before God and matured into a great man of faith. If God did it it him, he will do it in us, if we allow ourselves to be humbled under His mighty hand.
Note: What did Peter learn? Peter watched Jesus. describes it perfectly.
Philippians 2:5–11 ESV
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus said in ,
Luke 9:23 ESV
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
That is what Peter did with the rest of his life. What about you and me?
2. Comfort from the assurance of knowing that God knows we have cares/anxieties.
Look at
1 Peter 5:7 ESV
7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
The rest of the message will focus on this part of the verse.
This simple phrase is actually a command within itself. Even though casting is a participle, it is written in the imperative, the language of command, connected to the word humble. We are to allow ourselves to be humbled by God as we cast our care on him.
There is comfort in the knowledge that God actually knows we have have cares.
a. He is not surprised by them. he is not caught off guard when bad things happen. Aren’t you glad he is not a God who looks down from heaven, wringing his hands saying, “Well what are we gonna do now?” It is not like that at all.
Read
1 Peter 4:12 ESV
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
James 1:2–4 ESV
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:1 ESV
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
I know as I look back on the horizon of my life. I can see those mountain top experiences and am so thankful. They were great times. But you know what, when I am honest with myself, I grew more like Christ during the valley experiences much more than I did while on the mountain.
C.S. Lewis in his book The Screwtape Letters, one demon is counseling a younger demon about how to steal a person’s soul away from God,
“Now it may surprise you to learn Wormwood that in His [the enemy-God’s] efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, he relies on the troughs even more than the peaks; some of His special favorites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else.”
Why? “We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons.”
We have real struggles and God knows it and he knows what to do. We can either run from it and never mature in our faith, or we can embrace it and lean into the pain and trust God.
3. Comfort from the fact that God who created the entire universe actually cares for you and me.
a. Not just You as a group of people, as the church but you as an individual.
b. No matter who you are. No matter how young you are or how old you are, he cares for you.
i. when I was a teenager going through some real struggles, no one seemed to get me or understand. I remember sitting in my bed very late one night full of anger and confusion. I told myself that I would remember what this was like so when I had teenagers of my own I could relate to them. But time has a way of changing us. I raised two daughters and well, from what they whined over and over I guess I was ruining their life.
ii. My daughter Hannah was going through a particularly bad time when she was a young teenager. Some of her very best friends were treating her cruelly. She entered a dark time, spending most of her time in her room. Her mom and I could do nothing but pray; for nothing we said helped, it seemed to make things worse. After a few months of this, suddenly that young lady emerged from that darkness a new person. She came and looked at us with all the confidence in the world and said, “I realize now who my best friend has actually been all along and he is the only one I need. Jesus is my very best friend.” And these weren’t just words, she spent the rest of her teenage years serving at a ministry called House of Faith that reaches at risk teenagers in Abilene. She still serves there today.
Teenagers, listen to Mr Steve for just a second. No matter what you are going through and it seems like no one understands you, Jesus understands and He wants to be your best friend too.
iii. The same goes for the younger children. They have real problems too. They may seem so small to us adults but they are big to them. Jesus understands so talk to him.
iv. The only thing harder than understanding someone younger than you is understanding someone older than you! I mean, we haven’t been there yet. So often seniors can feel left behind and ignored as a younger generation takes over.
No matter what your age he understands and cares for you!
C. The Greek word translated Care in the KJV is actually best translated anxiety. The term includes the big issues of life but it also and most definitely includes the small things, the constant nagging worries that come with doing life.
i. The mountain of laundry that never disappears.
ii. The fuel gauge that is rarely full.
iii. The bank account that keeps on bouncing.
iv. The pop test that keep on popping!
v. The disobedient child.
vi. That barbie shoe you stepped on with your bare feet in the middle of the night!
vi. the burnt bread, the noisy neighbor, the lazy employee, the obnoxious boss, the unfair teacher, the unruly student, you get the idea.
He cares! He said in
Matthew 10:29 ESV
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
And He said, the very hairs on your head are numbered. He is interested in the minute details of your life.
4. Comfort from the fact that this command is also an invitation.
a. All=past present and future.
b. Anxiety—Care—not plural. The idea here is not listing them all one by one like huge list, you can do that if you want. But what the Bible is saying is that we are to strip away all the care, the whole attitude of care from our mind and cast it all on him.
c. Casting-Luke 19.35—tell the story.
i. Coat illustration
ii. Poem.
5. Application and Invitation
a. Why is this important?
i.
Matthew 13:3–9 ESV
3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
i.
Matthew 13:21–22 ESV
21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
Matthew 13:22–23 ESV
22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Matthew 13:21–23 ESV
21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Matthew 13:22–23 ESV
22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Matthew 13:18–23 ESV
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
ii. Survey of Concerns: Family, loved ones, Pain, Job, Business, Money, Marriage, Broken Home, Church, Politics, terrorism.
Are you carrying it yourself? You were never meant to.
Matthew 11:28 ESV
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
iii. Special Problem: Burden of Sin.
This is a weight too heavy for anyone to bear! And you dont have too.
1 Peter 2:24 ESV
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Acts 16:31 ESV
31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
iv. Saved but sin has tripped you up?
This is not a lifestyle you were ever intended to live.
1 John 1:9 ESV
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
v. Pilgrims progress illustration.
vi. Invitation:
We are going to have a time of response. The passage is inviting us this morning to cast our cares on Him. Will you allow God to humble you this morning. Will you cast your cares on him?
We are going to sing, Have your own way Lord. While we are singing, I want to invite you to respond however God leads you.
For those of you who are Christians who are carrying a heavy burden this morning would you strip it from your mind once and for all and cast it on him. The altar is open if you want to come and kneel. When you do that, others will pray for you. I will be down at the front if you want some one to talk to about it and pray for you.
If you have never put your complete trust in Jesus as your Lord and savior, let me invite you right now to do just that. Just pray to him and ask him to save you and that burden of sin will be lifted. You can make that public by coming to the front and telling me about it. If you are not sure what to do, I can help you.
If you are struggling with sin Christian, settle that thing right now. Pray and ask for forgiveness and turn from that rebellion against God and turn back to Christ.
For those of you who are Christians who are carrying a heavy burden this morning would you strip it from your mind once and for all and cast it on him. You may be asking, “How do I do it?” Jesus gave us the perfect example. He too carried a heavy burden and He took it to His Father. In the Garden, the night before He was crucified, the Bible says he went there to pray and he became very troubled and sorrowful. Then the Bible says something very interesting. It says, He went a little further and prayed,
Matthew 26:39 ESV
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
ma
Maybe your way of response this morning is to “go a little further.” Move beyond being troubled and sorrowful and asking God to take away the trial to finally in all humility praying, Not my will but Yours be done.
The altar is open if you want to come and kneel. When you do that, others will pray for you. I will be down at the front if you want some one to talk to about it and pray for you. You can turn and kneel there at your pew if you would like. Just whatever you do, respond to God’s leading this morning.
We are going to sing, Have your own way Lord. While we are singing, I want to invite you to respond however God leads you.
You can leave here today free from all your burdens or you can refuse to allow God to humble you. Its your choice.
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