1 Peter 5:1-14

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FrancisQuarlesTo the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.

She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. Greet one another with a kiss of love.

Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Observation

  • Peter was an elder.
  • Peter was a witness of Christ’s sufferings.
  • Peter will share in glory.
  • The glory will be revealed.
  • The elders are to be shepherds of God’s flock.
  • There is portion of God’s flock that is under the care of the elders.
  • The elders are to watch over the flock under their care.
  • The elders are to watch over the flock willingly.
  • God wants the elders to be willing to watch over the flock.
  • Elders are not to pursue dishonest gain.
  • Elders are to serve.
  • Elders are not to lord over those entrusted to them.
  • Elder are to be examples to the flock.
  • When Christ appears the elders will receive a crown of glory.
  • The crown the elders receive will never fade away.
  • Those who are younger are to submit to their elders.
  • Everyone is to cloth themselves with humility to others.
  • The reason to be humble is God oppose the proud and favors the humble.
  • We are to humble ourselves under God’s hand.
  • God’s hand is mighty.
  • We are to humble ourselves so God can lift us up.
  • We are to throw our anxiety on God.
  • God cares for us.
  • We are to be both alert and of sober mind.
  • The devil is our enemy.
  • The devil goes around looking for someone to devour.
  • We are to resist the devil.
  • We are to stand firm in faith.
  • Believers throughout the world undergo suffering.
  • God is a god of all grace.
  • God called you to His glory in Christ.
  • God’s glory in Christ is eternal.
  • After we suffer a little while God will restore us to Him.
  • After we suffer a little while God will make us strong and steady.
  • All power belongs to God for ever and ever.
  • Peter considered Silas a faithful brother.
  • Silas helped Peter write this letter.
  • Peter wrote to encourage and testify to the grace of God.
  • We are to stand fast in the grace of God.
  • The woman in Babylon sent greetings.
  • The woman in Babylon was chosen.
  • Mark is Peter’s son.
  • We are to greet each other with a holy kiss.
  • Peter requested peace to everyone who was in Christ.

Interpretation
Peter starts this passage talking directly to elders. Elders in this context are all those who are appointed to govern the church not just older people. However, it is normally older people, thus the term elder, are the ones in governing the church because experience and wisdom come with age. That is why in verse 5 Peter tells the younger to submit themselves to their elders. The elders in this context are leaders and pastors in the church.

Peter’s admonishment is to elders of the church. Elders in the church carry a special responsibility, caring for God’s people. That is, they have direct responsibility for the protection, and development of what belongs to God. Peter warns the elders against traps which have ensnared many, sloth, desire for gain, and lust for power.

Elders are to do their work diligently, not because they are compelled, not because that is their job, not because they are paid to do so. They are to do their work because they actually care God’s people. Being an elder is not a profession, it is a calling from God. While being an elder can be and sometimes is a profession. In the body of Christ, elder is an office. It is not to be performed as a job but as devotion. Whoever works as an elder solely as a means to earn a living is not a minister of Christ but a slave to his own stomach and his purse.

Peter tells the elders to guard against a lust for power. The job of the elder is to shepherd the flock and feed men’s souls. The type of trees to plant on church property, the color of carpet in the sanctuary, even the start time of the Sunday morning worship service are examples of the petty things where elders can and have missed used their authority. The elder’s job is not to exercise power and authority.  An elder is only a shepherd, a guide, a teacher of the both law and gospel of God.

Peter tells the youth to obey their elders. This is completely contrary to our culture. We worship youth. Everyone what to look younger, feel younger, be younger. But the elder is the one with the knowledge and wisdom. As I am now older I understand this. But when I was a young man I thought the older did not understand. They were close minded. Those of us in the older generation however,  need to remember the words Peter has already written. We are to exercise authority only as a matter of teaching and training, not as a means to get our way. Peter addresses everyone when he tells us all to humble ourselves, the leaders, the old and the young.

We must bear in mind the purpose of Peter admonition to humble ourselves. We are all to submit to God’s authority. We are to trust the providence of God. Leaving all our cares and worries with Him. To worry and struggle with them ourselves is to believe we can do something about them. That is thinking higher of ourselves than we really are. That is pride. Humility is recognizing our limitation and our inadequacy to affect an outcome. God hates the proud but show favor to the humble.

We face a formidable enemy. This is an enemy that shows no mercy. He is looking for weakness to exploit. We are to not display any weakness to the devil. We are to resist him. However, let us not forget the context. To assume we, within ourselves, could resist Satan would be extremely prideful. We cannot. We need to be humble and cast our fears on Christ and rely on Him to defeat the devil.

God is a god of grace. God called you to Himself. We may think we are losing the battle, We may suffering but it is only for a short while. Eternity is forever, And God will restores us to Himself, because all power all glory belong to Him and Him alone.

Peter does not deny living by faith is difficult. That is why he wrote this letter, to encourage us and aid us to stand fast. That is why we are to throw our cares on Christ. We are to live in Christ and die to self.

Application

Humility is something we all need to have from the top of the leadership to the ordinary church member. We are not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. To do otherwise is pride. God hates pride. Trust in the providence of God. To do otherwise is pride.

 

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