Summary: In times like these, with the end of all things near (so it seems), mature Christians think and act as best they can to witness for Christ - in humility practicing the principle of JOY: "Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last". Amen!


I Peter 5

Remember our ominous headline? “The end of all things is near.” We don’t know when, but we do know that the end is nearer than it has been. You might say that, regardless of when, we are going down the home stretch of life on this earth. As the end approaches, what do Christians do?

To sum up Peter’s admonitions that followed his pronouncement that the end of all things is near (4:7a), you might say that he told us to continue to live for God despite any suffering we endure for the cause of Christ. “So then, those who suffer because they do God’s will should stay the course and be faithful to the Lord God their creator and redeemer; they should not be ashamed to name the Name of Jesus; they should continue to do good!”

As the end approaches, therefore, Peter says my advice to you is that you take the name of Jesus with you; then he cautions all Christians – elders, rank and file, young folks, everyone who names the name of Jesus – to be humble about it.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, whatever you say in the name of Jesus, let your humility shine forth – not because I say so; nor should you fake it; true humility cannot be faked; so, let your humility be genuine.

Genuine humility sets a good example. I Peter 5:1-4 . . .

In the early church, elders were looked upon as people of wisdom and spiritual maturity; in some instances, it may be that the position of elder was attained by virtue of age; more and more through the centuries, however, age has not been as great a factor; in fact, some of the wisest, most spiritually mature Christians I have known were folks younger than I but obviously had been blessed by God with the gift of discernment.

The important thing here is that those among us who have been gifted to lead ought to do so by setting a good example of the believer both in word and in deed. There are several ways to set a good example.

Peter mentions first and foremost that a Christian leader ought to set an example of caring sacrificially for those entrusted to his or her care in the same way that a shepherd cares for sheep. Good shepherds are more than willing to offer themselves as living sacrifices on behalf of their flock.

Another way Christians set a good example is by serving willingly – not having to be coerced into using the gifts God has given you; not in it for the money – although those who devote their entire lives to the service of God are to have their needs met by the congregations they serve if need be.

Have you ever known a Christian who was so eager to serve that he or she was willing to go out on faith – some would say “go out on a limb” – to share the love of God with no thought of personal gain?

Christians who serve God by serving others set a good example also by leading gently – not by throwing their weight around so to speak or by trying to lord it over those entrusted to their care. Ever heard the expression “gentle persuasion”?

Seems to me that Peter is telling us that, if we set a good example of the believer by caring sacrificially . . . by serving willingly . . . leading gently, we shall receive a reward that is far greater than remuneration!

“You will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

The one thing that Jesus promised his disciples that to me will be the most exciting revelation when we all get to heaven is the glory that He said He would share with them; and I take it to mean that He will share His glory with me and with all who name the Name of Jesus as they serve Him. (Matthew 19:28)

We love that old song, “Oh that will be glory for me.” What is it that will be glory for me? What is it that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will share with His saints? Listen to this: (Philippians 3:20-21) . . . I tell you what:

When I get there and am transformed into His likeness, what follows will have to be so glorious that the human mind cannot perceive it nor words describe it even if we were allowed to catch a glimpse of it.

In the meantime, do not forget that if we remain true to Him in the here and now by walking the walk as well as talking the talk, our witness will be such that the radiance of His glory will be reflected in our lives. Genuine humility puts others first. I Peter 5:5-7 . . .

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