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Christian Character in 1 Peter 5:5-11


Christian Character

Text 1 Peter 5:5-11
We have already ready read what Peter wrote to the church leadership, about how to shepherd the flock in dangerous times of persecution. But he doesn’t stop there. He writes another paragraph to ‘younger people.’ Now we have already seen that when he writes to elders, he’s not addressing old people, but elders in the faith, mature Christians, who are in leadership positions in the church. So who are these ‘younger people?’ The amplified Bible sometimes helps us with this. It translates, ‘Likewise you younger men, of lessor rank and experience.’ This admonition is for all of us. So, what is his exhortation?

1 Be Humble. 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,
Wasn’t it Winston Churchill who described a political opponent as’a modest man, with much to be modest about?’ Churchill meant it as an insult, but to be a believer is to willingly apply that description to oneself. The Christian is indeed to be a modest person, for we are continually confronted with the truth that we are worthless sinners, who were eternally lost until Christ rescued us from our sin. This truth should render us very humble indeed. Practically, this means:-

  • Submission to elders. Peter tells us that we are to submit to those who are appointed by God to lead over us. Now, what does that mean? Are they to Lord it over us, and we to kow-tow to them? No, peter has already warned the elders that this is not their role. But we are to respect their office…
  • Submission to each other. Philippians 2:3 PRIDE among Christians is a great danger. You can see why. Most of the problems in churches happen when someone’s ego, or pride, or self-esteem takes over and they begin to think that they are better than others, or more important than others, or more clever than others… So Peter reminds us that we are to be submissive to each other. How will that help us in our church life?
    • Humility and submission to others will be helpful when we encourage each other and pray for each other.
    • Humility and submission to others will be helpful when we need to bear each other’s burdens. Galatians 6:2 We NEED to regard others as equals to do this.
    • Humility and submission to others will be helpful when we must exercise our duties to our neighbour. We are to love our neighbour. We are to put our neighbour first…
  • Submission to God. V6
    • We are under God’s HAND! We surrender to God’s will and purpose, for it is always perfect. For some of us that may be about learning Christian contentment in work, in the family, in respect of our home, our lifestyle; and for these poor persecuted believers, and for others in more modern times, surrender to his will can be a painful experience indeed. yet there is another aspect to this…
    • His hand is described as ‘MIGHTY.’
    • Our self humiliation leads to our future exaltation by Him. Humility is ultimately rewarded. that He may exalt you in due time. How can we be exalted in due time, if we have already exalted ourselves? In Luke 18, at the end of the story about the two men who went to the synagogue to pray Jesus explains, Luke 18:18,

There’s no place in God’s kingdom for individual egos. The very essence of the Christian life is that we must die to self, to forsake our own comforts and our own personal advancement, for ‘what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’ We are to be humble.

2. Develop Spiritual Maturity.
The second part of Peter’s exhortation to the Christian flock, is to help them to grow in grace and to develop spiritual maturity. So:-

  • Trust in the Lord. 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. There’s no-one going to care for these believers. No-one cares, they are all too busy with their own important lives. Today, Christianity is the most persecuted faith in the world, yet who cares? The western governments are more interested in middle eastern oil than in helping believers in Moslem countries. No one seems to care. BUT GOD CARES, and we can cast our cares, our worries and our burdens upon the Lord, knowing that he will sustain us, for he cares for us. BUT WAIT! Don’t think that this verse is only for those who are being persecuted, or in dire straits. We are to cast ALL of our cares upon the Lord. Even the very smallest and least insignificant of our worries can be shared with him. Personal cares, family cares, cares for the present, cares for the future, cares for themselves, for others, and for the church.
  • Resist the Devil. 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. 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. This needs a whole study of its own, and we will return to it..

So, having written to elders, reminding them that it is their responsibility to shepherd the flock, he now tells the people of the church to live a humble life, always growing in their Christian faith.

© BobMcEvoy November 2018

From → 1 Peter, Bible Study

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