Preparing for Glory
1 Peter • Sermon • Submitted
0 ratings· 9 views
On my way to work one day, I actually was listening to the radio. Suddenly, the music was interrupted by a news broadcast saying that a passenger jet had just crashed into one of the twin towers in New York City. By the end of the morning, we had learned that another jet had crashed into the other of the twin towers, plus another two planes were involved in other locations. Our nation had just experienced terrorist attacks on our own soil. Not since Pearl Harbor had the U.S. been so surprised and caught off guard. As of recent months, citizens in this nation have suddenly experienced temporarily losing many freedoms and rights granted by our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Why such incredible shock and surprise? Could it be that as a nation, many of our citizenry, including us, have an unspoken mindset that nothing bad can happen here? I dare believe that to be the case. That is precisely one reason why Peter was so adamant about preparing the churches for the upcoming intense persecution. The fiery trials were right on the horizon. Indeed, though many may have thought they would not experience it, it was coming very soon. It was not something that just happened other places to other people.
However, just like the Paul Harvey monologues, the Christian waits with expectation for the rest of the story. But how should we respond in the midst of persecution and trials? Our response shows quite clearly what our attitude towards Christ is.
Our attitude towards Christ is also seen in the practical application of the truths of God’s written Word as we relate to each other and as we live our daily lives wherever God has placed us.
To prepare for glory, we must have the proper attitude towards Christ.
Humility - 5:5-7
Humility - 5:5-7
We’ve heard a great deal from Peter about the need for believers to submit or to be subject to those in authority. He’s covered the areas of being subject to those in government, slaves being subject to their masters (or for us, employees to bosses), as well as wives submitting to their husbands. In the next few verses, he covers another area of submission, within the body of believers.
You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
Last time in this letter, Peter was addressing the church leadership, in particular, the pastors or shepherds of the local flock. In this section, Peter turns his attention to the church family, itself. The term used for submit or be subject, is the military term of lining up under. There is no need for anyone to try to exert any headstrong tendencies or aggressive attitudes of promotion in the church family. Last week, I hope I was clear in presenting the fact that I, along with every local pastor, must submit ourselves to the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ. Throughout the New Testament, we are given instruction that the church family is to submit themselves to the pastor or elder of the church.
Let me assure you that I’m not seeking a power trip. I see myself as a servant-leader; a player-coach; a sheepish-shepherd. I also recognize all too clearly and with great fear and trembling, that I have to give an account to my Lord one day as to what I did and how I shepherded the local flock.
Some would like to believe this section refers to those with many years as the elders. However, that would take this section out of context with the previous section that was aimed very specifically at the pastor, or elder. Thus, Peter uses the phrase, likewise or in the same way. This teaching was not new, for Paul was very strong on this as we see in:
Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.
But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.
Even the writer of Hebrews deals with this issue.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
This can only be done if there is an attitude of humility. In fact, that attitude would seem to be how the church can experience unity. Peter says that all believers should clothe yourselves with humility toward one another. Every single one of us should be looking for ways to serve and minister to one another. It’s not a matter of minimizing yourself; it’s a matter of not thinking about yourself and thinking only of others. I know that flies in the face of the pseudo-psychological mantra of looking out for yourself first. However, I don’t see that principle being taught in the Bible. And the reality is that a person won’t begin thinking with humility unless they are willing to totally surrender and submit to the Lordship and authority of Jesus Christ over every area of our lives.
Just the use of the word for humility describes a willingness to do the most menial of tasks for the other person. Just like today, even back then, this attitude and character trait was considered weak and cowardly. Yet, I find that the bravest, most powerful person who ever lived, Jesus Christ, to be the perfect example, even as He washed the disciples’ feet.
When a person has this attitude, there is no room for pride. Peter speaks to this as he points out God’s opposition to prideful people. When we humble ourselves, we are given the grace to live accordingly. In other words, we can have full confidence that God is going to continue to be in charge and direct the paths in our lives, working things out just the way He wants them to be in our lives for His glory.
I remember when our oldest was less that 2 years old, we got hooked on Psalty, the Singing Songbook. On one of the first videos, we heard the song Cast all your cares upon Him. Recently, I looked up a more detailed description of the word cares or anxiety as it’s used in 1 Peter 5:7. It means anxiety, the state of being pulled apart. My friends, most of us have experienced that feeling and emotion more than once. So what does Peter recommend? That we would cast all your anxiety. The NASB words it casting, which gives a truer sense of what Peter was actually saying. Warren Wiersbe states: we must once and for all give all of our cares—past, present, and future—to the Lord. . . Each time a new burden arises, we must by faith remind the Lord (and ourselves) that we have already turned it over to Him. We need to throw our anxiety upon the Lord, whatever that may be.
When we think of preparing for glory and developing certain attitudes towards that end, for the believer, it becomes obvious that we must be humble. We look for ways to actively live out the Christian life by our submission and service. We know that God will lift us up at the proper time, for we know He will give us the courage to face life head-on since He’s in charge and wants the very best for us. We can trust Him implicitly.
Heedful - 5:8-9
Heedful - 5:8-9
When you think about it, one of the reasons that we have cares or anxieties is because we have an enemy because of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Our enemy is Satan, the deceiver and the accuser.
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
Let me be clear that Satan is not all-powerful, nor is he everywhere present, nor does he know everything. I get a little upset and frustrated when I hear people acting and talking as though Satan has more power and abilities than he does. On the other hand, it seems to me that some Christians do not recognize that he is a very real enemy and uses his demon angels to accomplish his desires. However, he cannot do a single thing without God’s knowledge or permission. In addition, the Bible doesn’t speak about various demons of food, lust, pain, etc. We cannot jump on any mystical bandwagon that does not totally match up with the Bible.
In these verses, Peter takes some time to describe an attitude and approach when our enemy, the devil, tries to dissuade us from being obedient to Christ and trusting Jesus fully. First, we are called upon to Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. We dare not assume that he’s a cosmic joke to be ignored. Just as a good ball team needs to understand and expect the opponent’s strategy in order to achieve a victory, we must recognize Satan’s game plan. We must recognize that Satan and his workers are looking and strategizing for ways to bring the believer down.
What are some of the ways in which the devil does this? Well, as we look through the Scriptures, we see that Satan is a total fraud; he is a counterfeiter. What God has created is good, but Satan twists it and counterfeits it with that which is false. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, we get the picture that wherever there is a true follower of Jesus Christ, Satan plants a fake Christian. They look nearly identical, until harvest time. How can we know what is true and what is fake? Study the Bible and know it well, keeping a close relationship with the Lord. The closer you are to God, the easier it is to see Satan’s falsehoods.
I was reminded of this in a personal way when my wife and I went to a wedding where we had once lived, and met with some close friends of ours. In the course of the conversation, the husband related to me how an individual had shared some very slanderous things about me as if they were completely true. At this point, I was saddened, disappointed, and angry all at the same time. After all, nobody enjoys being lied about and having people trying to destroy you. It was at this point, that our friend stated, I knew he was lying. I told him that I didn’t believe him for a minute, because I know Leonard and he would never do that. Because of knowing my real character, I was vindicated to someone who wanted to destroy me. My friends, the better you know God, the easier it is to detect Satan’s wily, deceitful tactics.
Peter also says to resist him, firm in your faith. We do not back down to Satan when he tries to convince us that it’s not worth it to serve the Lord. We do not allow him any space in our minds when he tries to convince us there’s another way besides God’s way. We stand on God’s Word. We are under the protection of His Holy Spirit and the full armor of God that is spelled out in Ephesians 6. Let me add a little note here. When resisting the devil, we do not and are never encouraged to engage Satan or any of his demonic angels in discussion. We don’t battle against Satan using the many “techniques” that well-intentioned individuals have shared. The only way to resist him is with the Word of God, which is exactly what Jesus used when confronted in the wilderness by Satan. Even the great archangel, Michael, refused to rebuke Satan, but rather said, The Lord rebuke you. I find it arrogant and troubling that there are people who think they need to personally engage Satan.
James gave a wonderful formula for how to deal with Satan.
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
So having an attitude of being heedful, recognizing the enemy for who he is, then realizing that God is sovereign over all is a great tool in preparing us for glory. And that requires that we have the proper attitude of humility towards God and others.
Hopeful - 5:10-14
Hopeful - 5:10-14
We can be hopeful because we know that God is in total control. He is not caught off guard, nor does he have a plan B. Let’s look at these last verses as we see that a Christian carries an attitude of being hopeful.
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it! She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.
The God of all grace is a fascinating phrase when we take a little time to ponder grace. Peter reminded us in 1:10 that our salvation is because of God’s grace. In 2:3, we are reminded that we have actually experienced the Lord’s grace in so many ways that we can trust what God has planned for us. And of course, we see that God continues to give us the grace we need for any and all situations.
Peter also tells us that we have been called to His eternal glory in Christ. This makes even more sense knowing that whatever suffering we will be experiencing will be for a little while, because our final destination is to be with Christ for eternity.
Yet, we ask, why we must endure the trials? The last part of verse 10 reminds us that He will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. The idea is that Jesus is working to equip, to adjust, to fit together for His glory and for our benefit. God in His perfect sovereignty uses suffering, along with His Word, fellowship with other believers, and various other tools to make us into the saints He wants us to be.
We will be established as we hold firmly to the Word of God. We won’t be swayed by the newest, strange, doctrinal teachings, nor will we recant because of persecution.
How is that possible? Because God is able and willing to strengthen us with His power to do exactly what He wants us to do.
In all of this, we are confirmed by Him as we can say with Job, as well as sing along with the hymn, I know whom I have believed.
Brothers and sisters, we can be encouraged that regardless of the persecution we might have to endure, it will merely continue in preparing us for glory with Christ.
Interestingly, Peter began this letter by greeting his readers with peace. He also ends the letter with a blessing of peace. He also greets them by encouraging them to greet one another with a kiss of love. This was a very normal means of greeting and is still practiced in parts of Latin America and Europe. Prior to this, Peter sent specific greetings to specific people.
In all of this, we are reminded that because of who we are in Jesus Christ, we know that whether good or bad comes our way on this earth, we are destined for glory in Christ for all eternity.
And To prepare for glory, we must have the proper attitude towards Christ. This involves having attitudes of humility, being heedful, and being hopeful. With this, we can face whatever tribulations and trials may be ahead.