A Humble Outfit (1 Peter 5:5-7) - Sermon
Hi, I am pastor Rob. It is great to be with you today! Thank you for being here. I love seeing your faces, and for those of you tuning in online, it is great to have you with us! We are working hard to make this experience as normal as possible. We think we have worked out some of the glitches, but we certainly have room to grow.
This week, our youth minister, Joe Koehler, had a progressive dinner for the Senior High. Twenty students showed up to go house to house for fantastic food and fun. It was the end of the summer celebration. The theme was a masquerade; students masked up and dressed up. One person wore a Darth Vader mask, one student wore a military gas mask, and Joe wore this, a dog mask. I don’t know how long they wore them, but they looked silly and snazzy at the same time—what fun.
What would you have worn? I enjoy dressing up. Have you seen those pictures from the early 20th century men dressed up for work outside? They wear suits to dig holes. That is kind of how I like to live. Not entirely, but I do enjoy dressing up. When you dress up, you put on a few extra things like a tie, maybe a tie clip, a handkerchief, and suspenders. Here is a question for you, “What is the most important article of clothing you own?” (Don’t answer that.) Today, we are going to talk about a piece of clothing that we never want to forget. What is that? Humility. We don’t typically think of humility as clothing, but God does.
Let me show you if you have your Bibles. Turn to 1 Peter chapter 5. We will be reading verses 1 through 11. As you listen or read, notice the words about humility. I am going to have R. and K. S. read for us. We have a tradition of standing in honor of God’s Word. Would you please stand with me if you are able.
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 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. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Thank you. Let’s pray. Dear God. I need you. We need you. You are mighty and strong. You are a fortress for us in times of trouble. We cling to you. God, use the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts to be pleasing to you. You are our rock and redeemer. AMEN. You may be seated.
CONTEXT - BIG IDEA
Today, we are zeroing in on verses 5 through 7. Last week, pastor Mike shared with us verses 1 through 4. Those verses deal with church leadership. In verses 5 through 7, Peter addresses everyone in the church. He discusses how we are to relate to church leadership, each other, and God. The big idea of these few verses is, “Non-elders and elders should live humbly by obedience and prayer because God cares for the humble and opposes the proud.” This big idea fits with the overall theme of Peter, which is, “Our sure hope in Christ enables us to live in a way that displays God’s glory in all circumstances.” We can live a life of humble obedience and prayer through God’s grace found in Christ. He made obedience possible and praying acceptable to God the Father by his death on the cross for our sins.
In Peter’s day, many in the church suffered. Likely, they faced harassment, ex-communication, loss of employment, imprisonment, abuse, and sometimes death for their faith. Taking a stand for Christ was difficult and required humility.
LIFE IS HARD IN OUR DAY
These days, life is hard in different ways. In some cases, it is hard because it is too easy. We have wealth, opportunity, and power. Such blessings can lead to complacency, pride, and prayerlessness. We may not see our need to humbly obey or pray. At the same time, some of us have health problems, relationship problems, or financial problems, and we know our neediness. In whatever situation we face, we need to clothe ourselves with humility.
STUDY OF TEXTS
Way before Peter, God spoke of this virtue. For example, he promised national healing because of humility. He said:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Elsewhere, God said,
When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with the humble is wisdom (Proverbs 11:2)
With humility comes wisdom. The opposite of humility is pride. God said of pride a few chapters later,
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
The prophet Isaiah spoke on behalf of God, saying,
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)
God pays attention to those who are humble.
The prophet Micah said this,
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
God wants us to clothed in humility. He has since the beginning of time.
In the text this morning, Peter is going to tell us three reasons why. If you are taking notes, it is because of grace, exaltation, and care. Let me say that again: grace, exaltation, and care.
We are going to walk through the text, verse by verse. So look at 1 Peter chapter 5 starting at verse 5.
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. (1 Peter 5:5)
The text begins focusing on those under the leadership of the church. Peter is talking to those generally younger, most likely younger in the faith. However, that is not always the case. (Age, gray hair, and worldly success don’t qualify a person as an elder or leader or chairperson in the church.)
If the average church member is whom Peter writes, what does he ask? Verse 5 says, “be subject.” They are to be subject to their elders. “Subject” is the same word translated as obey or submit. Peter used that word before in chapters 2 and 3. He told everyone to be subject to every human institution (2:13). He commanded everyone to be subject to the emperors and governors of the land, and servants to be subject to their masters (2:18) and wives subject to their husbands (3:1).
SUBMISSION TO GOD
This submission or obedience is first and foremost under God. Peter understands that when a person submits to a human institution, as a follower of Christ, he or she is putting their faith in God, not a person. The person says with their actions, "I am going to trust God in submitting to my boss’s request." That said, Peter does not address the cases where leadership in the church, home, workplace, or nation demands disobedience to God and his Word. In such cases, Peter demonstrated with his life and teaching, that the call of the Christian is first to obey God than man.
If we keep reading, Peter expands the audience.
Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another.
Now, note the phrase, “all of you.” Humility is a necessity for all of us. It is essential for our wardrobe. Peter mentioned it before in chapter 3, verse 8. Turn there. “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (1 Peter 3:8). Humility is critical for the wellbeing of the church.
ARE YOU HUMBLE?
Are you humble? What humble person would assess their humility, saying, “Oh? Yeah. I am humble. I have it down.” All of us can grow in humility. You can ask those around you to find out. How humble are you? What would people say at work, home, school, or on the field? What does humility look like? How do we become humble? One of my favorite authors wrote, "play golf." I would add, "best ball" and not keeping score doesn't count. I am very competitive. So playing golf would make me humble. If you like golf, I am not talking to you. Perhaps humility is being a servant, selfless, gentle, quick to listen, generous, contrite, and flexible. If you want to learn about humility, look at Jesus. He humbled himself, becoming like us, leaving heaven, and suffered injustice for us without opening his mouth. He did that in love. Be like Christ. Peter gives us three reasons why.
REASON NUMBER 1. GRACE
His first reason is in verse 5,
[F]or “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
The first reason is grace. Do you want God to oppose you? I don’t. You want his grace, not opposition. If you don’t think you need God’s grace, you will probably need his grace and a dose of humility. I want God’s grace, not opposition, don’t you? Ephesians 2:8-9 state we are saved by grace alone through faith. God’s grace saves us. The first reason we are to pursue humility is because of God's grace. What does that grace look like? Well, the Bible gives us a path to follow. Naturally, God has consequences for rebellion against his ways. They discipline us. And supernaturally, God will discipline us to help us grow in him. Ultimately, he opposes the rebel and brings judgment on the unrighteous.
REASON NUMBER 2. EXALTATION
A second reason is in the next verse, verse 6. Look at it with me.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
Hmm. That seems prideful and self-serving, doesn’t it? What does Peter mean? Let’s consider his audience. His readers were not exalted. Instead, they were suffering “fiery trials” (1 Peter 4:12). This language of a mighty hand of God echoed the Exodus of the Israelites.
God’s people in the Exodus saw his mighty arm repeatedly rescue them from difficulties. They were slaves for four-hundred years. As oppression increased, so did their pleas to God for mercy. God heard their crying and powerfully saved them through ten miraculous plagues. After they escaped Egypt, he kept working miracle after miracle for them as they traveled to the promised Land. He split the Red Sea. He led them with a fiery pillar at night and cloud by the day. He gave them bread from heaven and water out of a rock. Their clothes never wore out. When they got to the Promised Land forty years later, and God split the Jordan river in two and took down Jericho's walls. The mighty hand of God was a comfort to these lowly people. He exalted them by his strong arm in a similar fashion; Peter writes he will exalt his readers at the proper time.
When is the proper time? It’s a future reality. Jesus, the apostle Paul, and John also mentioned this eschatological, future, hope.
Jesus spoke about the value of storing up treasure in heaven. Paul, the apostle, wrote about running for the prize and seeking a crown of righteousness. John, the apostle, had a vision of heaven where elders cast crowns from their heads to Christ’s feet in worship. I think Peter’s audience would long for God's strong arm to vindicate, rescue, lift them up, and eventually reward them for their obedience under pressure.
We need exalting too. Peter knew that the church needed this word. He shared with the people a vision of an unfading crown of glory and an inheritance that won’t perish spoil or fade. They were emblematic of the precious salvation that Christ purchased for us with his blood.
REASON NUMBER 3. CARE
So, Peter says we pursue humility because we want God’s grace; we want to be exalted; finally, we seek humility because God cares for us. Look at verse 7. God cares for you. Let’s take a moment and think about that. Isn’t that incredible? God, who created all this, cares for you. He thinks of you. The mighty, Sovereign King of kings and Lord of lords cares for you! Be encouraged, brothers and sisters. Embrace this truth. And in doing so, humble yourself.
What are you going to wear today? Don’t forget humility.
HOW DO WE BE HUMBLE?
How? How do we wear humility? Verse 7 tells us how. Look at verse 7.
[C]asting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
What does Peter mean? Like a fishing line, throw your burdens church. Seek God to work on your behalf, like the Israelites of old. Cry out. Plead. Peter is telling the church to pray. You and I are to cast our cares, concerns, worries, and anxieties on the Lord. What do you care about these days? Let’s take a few moments to think about what causes you anxiety. You don’t have to tell anyone. Just think about it. Maybe write it down on your phone or a piece of paper. (Exercise 30 Seconds).
Friends, don’t hold your anxieties any longer. You are not alone. God wants you to share those with him. He commands it. He is not too busy for you. He cares. He is God. He can handle all of your requests simultaneously. You won’t overwhelm him or overload him. Pray the Omnipotent one. This prayer is just talking to God. You can do it out loud, on paper, or our head. You can pray in the shower, on a run, or driving. You can pray when you wake, eat, or as we go to bed. God wants you to talk to him. Maybe you think I am not good enough or worthy to pray. In yourself, you aren't. Christ died to forgive our sins. We can pray because of what he did. Join us. Pray to God.
WHY DO WE PRAY
He knows your thoughts. God knows all things. You aren’t giving him new information. Then why pray at all? What is the point? It is about a relationship. God wants a relationship with you. He cares about you.
I can’t tell you how many times I pray, and God answers. He doesn’t always give me the answer I want, but he gives me an answer. I find something that is lost; God opens someone’s heart, he makes it clear a door is closed, and I won’t get what I want. Pray, brothers, and sisters. Why? Because he is commanding it? Why? Because it is an expression of humility. Why? In prayer, you and I admit we need help. We are putting our faith in God, not in ourselves. Don’t be silent. He wants you to pray.
QUITE AND CORPORATE PRAYER
That being the case. Let’s do that now. I am going to pause, and we will lift our cares quietly right now. (Perhaps we are worried about: work, school, home, money, relationships, the past, or the future).