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Introduction: We’ve come to the end of our study of 1 Peter.
Peter has reminded us throughout this letter that we can have unshakeable faith when we fully devote ourselves to God.
Transition to the Text: Turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Peter 5:1-14.
We’ve come to the end of our study of this amazing letter.
And in the final part of any book, you usually get one of the most important aspects that the writer wants to get across.
And Peter is going to tell us about God’s plan for the church.
The local church is most important organization in the world.
And God has a way that He wants it led.
And we would do well to do things His way.
Especially, since as has been a theme throughout this letter, the world is watching.
Big Idea: Let the church be as Jesus intended.
1. Lead when called to lead.
(1 Peter 5:1-4)
Explanation: At the time Peter was writing this, there was a major shift in the leadership of the church.
The generation of the apostles were slowly but surely being killed for their faith.
A new generation of leaders was being raised up to shepherd God’s people.
These people were called elders.
And probably not what you think.
We read elder and we think they are old.
But let’s look at statistics, the average lifespan of a normal everyday person in first century Israel was 48 years.
And Christians were systematically being rounded up and killed for their faith in Jesus.
Pastors on the other hand were even bigger targets because they were the one doing the speaking.
So the average age of pastor when he was killed was likely around 30.
So elder had nothing to do with age and had more to do with maturity.
But notice how Peter encourages these people tasked with taking on the leadership of the church after the apostles are gone.
He doesn’t appeal to his authority.
He doesn’t look down on them.
He doesn’t even bring himself down to their level.
He elevates them as equals: I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder.”
And he bares his heart.
The most important thing that an elder can do is lead.
Exercise oversight over God’s people.
Application: But Peter adds a couple things.
Do it willingly.
And do it eagerly.
God is not in the mood for reluctant leaders.
Because reluctant leaders make reluctant decision makers.
But at the same time, check your motives.
Are you int for shameful gain?
Do you like being in charge and bossing people around and getting your way?
This church leadership is not for you.
Elders are to look forward to reward after this life is over.
2. Follow when called to follow.
(1 Peter 5:5-9)
Explanation: Perhaps it goes without saying, great leaders must first be great followers.
Even Peter who was the defacto leader of the disciples first followed Jesus…albeit very imperfectly.
So Peter instructs “the younger” to be subject to the elders of the church.
The word for younger here speaks less about age and more about the newness of their faith.
Those who are “newer” ought to be subject.
This lines up with Paul’s instructions not to allow new Christians to be elders (1 Timothy 3:6).
Peter goes on to say that these new Christians must be willing to allow some degree of pastoral authority over them.
We of course struggle with this in today’s world where everything is about democracy.
But the idea of church members submitting to elders is a consistent message in the New Testament.
What does this idea of subjection look like?
For one it’s about humility.
I love how often the Bible uses the metaphor of putting on humility like you would your clothes.
Illustration: One of my biggest anxieties in life is matching my outfit to the occasion.
I’m as anxious about being overdressed as I am of being underdressed.
Because in either case you are going to stick out.
Pretty much why I always keep a sport coat at the office.
Application: When it comes to humility, which is not often the natural response to others, the transformation looks a lot like changing your clothes.
Notice that Peter gives a reason why: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
And your humility starts with how you treat the authority He has put over you.
To be in subjection to God’s leadership in the church is a matter of humility.
Peter then says that humbling yourself under God’s appointed leaders is the same as humbling yourself under God’s leadership.
Throughout the Bible, submission to God’s appointed leaders, as in Prophets, Priests and Kings is the same as submission to God.
Rejecting that leadership is the same as rejecting God.
But then Pastors are there to serve as God’s representatives as well.
Peter says to cast our anxieties on God because He cares for you.
And one of the evidences of that care is the appointing of godly leaders to serve as his representatives on this earth.
But be careful because devil is bent on destroying the church.
And the devil won’t attack the church from the outside.
He’ll come in and try to corrupt the church.
Sometimes that is through bad leadership.
Other times it’s through bad church members.
We must be on our guard but also find solace in our connection to Christians around the world.
We are not alone.
But we must also...
3. Remember this life is only temporary (1 Peter 5:10-14)
Explanation: Throughout Peter’s letter, the idea of Christians enduring suffering with patience and grace is a major theme.
But here Peter gives a promise that this suffering is only temporary.
Now we know that even in this world, it doesn’t rain every day.
That life is full of ups and downs.
Even in times of great suffering there is still joy.
But for Christians suffering is only temporary because this life is only temporary.
We have something amazing waiting for us in heaven.
Illustration: I know what you’re thinking.
People say that all the time.
It will be over soon.
It will just hurt for a moment.
Sometimes it’s about the pain.
Other times its about youth.
We can’t wait to grow up.
Application: We must remember that no matter what we face here, we must be living for eternity and not for now.
Perhaps that’s easiest when things aren’t good.
But of course the most dangerous are when things are going great.
When we have no need for God.
If you can believe it, suffering in this world is by the Grace of God because it calls us to Him that we might find our hope in God.
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