This has been an challenging book to study. There are some clear directives and controversial ideas (Marriage / Authority). Overall it is crucial instruction in how we build biblical culture here at Midtown.
At the conclusion of his letter to the ‘Saints’ Peter does the following things:
1st He calls out leadership in Christ’s church to follow Christ’s ways.
2nd He addresses the body in regards to operating under the authority God has put in place.
3rd He sets humility as the relational standard for the the Body of Christ.
4th He advises everyone about the spiritual battle that is a constant for Christians.
5th He encourages us to stand firm through the struggles and suffering that we all share in Christ’s Body and he reminds us that eternity with God awaits us because of what Christ did.
Last Weeks passage ends: 4:19: Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
1 And now, a word to you who are Elders in the churches. I, too, am an Elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in His glory when He is revealed to the whole world.
- This is addressed to those who have been ordained by God to lead His people
- Peter has been in this role for a number of years by the time this was written
- He knows what Christ went through for US so we can share in His glory
As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.
- He is speaking peer to peer… I know the challenges you face
- Care for the people God has entrusted to you. Focus on the ‘Saints’ God gives
- Treat this responsibility as a privilege, not a burden
- Don’t do it for selfish reasons but because you have been called to it
3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 4 And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.
- Don’t think of yourself as better than the rest of the body (domineering)
- Hold yourself accountable to the same standards as everyone else (scripture)
- ‘The Great Shepherd’ told HIS people how leadership in HIS church will work
“You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.” ~ Jesus @ Mark 10:42-44
5 In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the Elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”[Prov 3:34]
- This is a brief aside from the comments directed to Elders
- ‘In the same way’ = what will bring you honor because of your obedience
- God is a deity of authority, structure and order
- Better translation for ‘younger’ here would be: recent, new or fresh
- Immature believers are commanded to accept authority because mature believer already do (it is a sign of maturity)
- Then there is a general exportation to ‘wrap your relationships in humility’
- God favor for doing it HIS way VS God’s opposition for doing it Your way
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.
- In humility, trust God and place yourself willingly under HIS control (you are)
- God knows the right timing for when you will be honored (sheep may not do it)
- Because you know you are under HIS care, prayerfully put everything on HIM
- You have to lead God’s people HIS way & in HIS power ‘cuz they are HIS!
8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
- Elders: Responsible for the spiritual condition of their flock (stay focused)
- We are to ‘look out’ for the activity of the enemy (Elders and everyone else)
- The devil is persistent like hunting lions, always hungry
- The devil uses tactics of isolation, just like lions do
- As your Pastor I know how important is for you to be here amongst the body
- Pastors & Elders are changed to confront the activity of Satan when we see it
- I’ve suffered for confronting Satan in this body (not popular, not seen as kind)
- But I do it because God wants it done, not because everyone will understand
10 In his kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.
- Those who God has chosen all share in God’s glory (eternity) through Christ
- For those who have surrendered their life to Christ, suffering will end one day
- There will be restoration and new strength founded on HIM (Christ)
- A quick declaration of Christ’s Omnipotence! (breaking into worship)
12 I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.
- Peter is expressing partnership in leadership, affirming Silas’ servanthood
- The hope is that we would all be encouraged in our suffering knowing the end
- That we would be encouraged because we trust God is forming us by grace
- Standing firm in this grace means we are unwavering in our belief in God’s love
13 Your sister church here in Babylon sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet each other with a kiss of love. Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.
- He refers to Rome as ‘Babylon’ because of the rampant evil
- Mark is believed to have written his Gospel with oversight from Peter
- It is believed mark was in Rome with Paul during His imprisonment there
- A kiss of ‘agape’… This is about fellowship / non sexual love
- Those who are ‘In Christ’ live in the reality of being at peace with their creator
For Elders and those called to be Elders in the future:
What is your motivation to lead God’s people? Are you good with being a servant and ultimately a slave to Christ’s Body?
As a member of this Body are you totally accepting of the authority of Greg, Wood and Todd? If not, what needs to change?
How does your complete trust in God specifically express itself in humility?
What are some life habits that enable you to be alert regarding Satan’s actively and oppose him?
After reading this book, what is your attitude toward suffering in your life?