Responding To The Message We Have Received
I Peter 5:6-7
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
June 24-26 2005, in New York, Billy Graham stood in front of thousands to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ at a public Crusade for the last time. Mr. Graham’s said, “It’s my prayer that here, in New York, people of all denominations will start praying day and night that God will continue to speak to us. This should not be the end of anything; it should be the beginning of a new day with the Lord in New York and in this tristate area,” It ended up being the beginning of a new life for thousands of converts to Christ. One example was A 12-year-old girl who accepted Christ said, “I’ve been doing a lot of sins and I want Jesus to come and forgive me so that I won’t go to hell. I want to go to heaven and stay with Jesus, and I want Him to come to my heart. Something in my heart told me I have to be born again, and I have to be different.” We have all seen the footage of the Billy Graham Crusades where hundreds and thousands make their way to the front of a packed stadium to respond to the invitation to salvation.
It never gets old seeing people respond to the life changing gospel of Jesus Christ! Each week, after each sermon we have a "time of invitation". The purpose of doing this is to give the congregation an opportunity to respond to God's message. It is encouraging to see people come forward publicly during the invitation... but I am more concerned with the response to the message after they walk out the door of the church. Many times I have seen people come to the Altar and profess faith in Christ and never return. I have seen people come leave a puddle of tears in the altar and cry out to God to restore them and then a few weeks later they are right back in their backslidden condition. I have seen people come to the altar in an attempt to leave their burdens with the Lord but they often pick those burdens up and carry them home with them. I have learned that you cannot measure the success of a sermon by how many people come to the altar, but by how people respond when they return to their daily lives. -- The goal of a sermon is for people to see the truth of God's Word and to respond accordingly.
For the past few months we have been examining Peter's message to the churches of Asia Minor. And what he taught them directly applies to us today. In this epistle Peter has covered subjects such as:
1) The living hope that we possess as Christians
2) The fact that we should live Holy lives unto the Lord
3) We have been taught to submit to authority
a) Slaves were to submit to their masters' authority
b) Wives are to submit to their husband's authority
c) Christians are to submit to the government's authority
4) We have seen the reality of Christian suffering
5) As well as the reason for Christian suffering
6) We have seen that we can and should rejoice in the midst of suffering.
7) We have seen the responsibility of Pastors
8) And the actions required of church members.
9) Throughout this letter we have seen the amazing work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
10) Peter has taught us about:
a) The cruelty of the Cross
b) The greatness of salvation
c) The process of sanctification
d) The glory of redemption
11) We have seen that this world is temporary and we are just "pilgrims and strangers" passing through this life.
12) This Epistle shows us how we are to live here until we leave here.
Through this letter we have been encouraged, comforted, challenged, strengthened and instructed. As we approach the end of Peter's letter... he explains how we should respond concerning the truths that we have learned. I would like to look at verses 6-7 and preach on the thought "Responding To The Message We Have Received"
The way we should respond to the truths we have been taught are clear. We must:
i. Humble Ourselves Before The Lord
ii. Trust In The Work Of The Lord
iii. Give Our Burdens To The Lord
iv. Remember The Love Of The Lord
Let's begin in verse 6 with the fact that you must:
I. Humble Yourself Before The Lord - v6a Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God
Biblical humbleness means to be free from pride and arrogance. We must comprehend that in the flesh we are inadequate, but we must also know who we are in Christ. Peter makes it clear in these verses that Christians should be humble people. He mentions this 3 times in 2 verses... (Verse 5a)"Younger men, be subject [be humble toward] to your elders." (Verse 5b) "clothe yourselves with humility toward one another." (Verse 6) "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God."
Humility is essential in the life of a Christian. It is a defining mark of a true believer. There is no greater example in history of humility that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was humbly obedient to the Father's will. He humbled Himself and went to the Cross to save us from our sins. Because of this God has highly exalted Him! - Philippians 2:8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
At the moment of our conversion we "humbled ourselves under the mighty hand of God" And we must live each day of our lives with that same humility! Jesus did not want to suffer the pain and agony of the cross. But when He prayed to the Father to "let the cup pass from Him" he concluded by saying "nevertheless, not my will but yours be done" - The people that Peter was writing to did not want to face the suffering and persecution that they were in the midst of. But here they are encouraged to "humble themselves" regardless of their circumstances. This echoes what Peter had said in - 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Following God may bring suffering and great trials in your life. There may be difficulties and burdens that you are experiencing as we speak. Humbleness is the answer! Humility means trusting God instead of ourselves. It means trusting God when we don't understand our circumstances.
In order to "Respond To The Message We Have Received" we must "Humble Ourselves Before The Lord". As we move further we see that we must:
II. Trust In The Work Of The Lord - v6b that he may exalt you in due time:
WHEN we humble ourselves THEN God will exalt us. "Exalt" means to lift up. this means that God will lift up those who are suffering. But notice the words "in due time". This means that He will lift us up when the time is right. We will be exalted in His time, not ours! This letter makes it clear that the sufferings we face have a purpose in our lives. Many times we face trials and troubles and we become impatient with God. We ask Him to remove us from the fire of affliction and if He doesn't do it quick enough for us we become bitter and rebellious. This is the opposite of humility...this is PRIDE! We are told in - Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. - Pride will bring you down, humbleness will lift you up!
Peter personally learned the concept of humbleness from the Lord Jesus. Peter was present in Luke 14:11 when Jesus said - "For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." - He was also there when Jesus said in - Matthew 18:4 "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
When we turn loose of our lives and willingly place ourselves under the Lord, He can and will use us for His glory! Our humbleness and trust will be seen when we cast our cares upon the Lord. This is another way that we are to "Respond To The Message We Have Received"
Notice that you must also:
III. Give Your Burdens To The Lord - v7a Casting all your care upon him;
“Casting” is the Greek verb epiripto. It was used of casting garments on a beast of burden. "Casting our cares" is a result of humbleness as well as a requirement of humbleness. Casting our cares upon the Lord means that we trust the promise that He cares for us. The Lord has the power, wisdom, opportunity, and ability to use these "cares, struggles, troubles, trials and sufferings" to work for our good and His glory.
“Casting” literally means to "fling or to throw something on something,” Are you distressed? ...Cast your cares upon the Lord!! Are you discouraged? ...Cast your discouragement upon the Lord!! Are you in despair? ...Cast your desperation upon the Lord!! Are you hurting? ...Cast your pain upon the Lord!! Are you fearful? ...Cast your fear upon the Lord!! - Psalms 55:22 "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
The verb "casting" is in a form that refers to a one time process. Whatever you are facing today "once for all, throw those burdens to Jesus!" When the worries of life press us down, we do not have to bear them alone! We serve One Who is stronger than we are and He cares enough to carry our load. We are not told to "cast some of our cares upon the Lord". We are not told to cast "most of our cares upon the Lord"... We are not even told to "cast our biggest cares upon the Lord". Peter says "CAST ALL YOUR CARES UPON HIM!!" If you are having a hard time letting go of your burdens there is motivation in this verse for you to do so. And this leads us to another way that we should "Respond To The Message We Have Received". Notice that we are to:
IV. Remember The Love Of The Lord - v7b for he cares for you.
What is our inspiration for "casting our cares upon the Lord? Our inspiration and motivation comes from the fact that ...HE CARES FOR US!!!! If He cared enough to send His only Son to secure salvation and eternal life for you, why would you think that He doesn't care about the pain that you are enduring at this present time!
Yes he knows your struggles and HE CARES ABOUT YOU!!! Consider what Jesus said in - Matthew 6:25-26 "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" - Jesus says that if God looks after the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, how much more does He care for us as our Heavenly Father.
He cares enough about us to perform a work in us that will conform us into the image and character of the Savior (James 1:2-4). You are not alone. You don not have to bear your burdens alone. You do not have to face manifold temptations alone. You do not have to go through the fire alone. You do not have to hold on to your anxieties and worries. God cares for you! So cast EVERY CARE UPON HIM!!!
I talked to a lady a while back who said that she doesn’t have any problem casting her burdens on the Lord. Her problem is that she keeps picking them back up! That is not the answer your troubles... the answer is to "Cast your cares upon the Lord" and leave them there!
How should you respond to the message you have received?
i. Humble Yourself Before The Lord
ii. Trust In The Work Of The Lord
iii. Give Your Burdens To The Lord
iv. Remember The Love Of The Lord