Summary: A message on the essntial virtues of Christian living.
The Rev’d Quintin Morrow
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
Fort Worth, Texas
The Text Outline:
I. The Christian’s Attitudes (vv.5-8a).
A. Submission (v. 5a).
B. Humility (vv. 5b-6).
C. Complete trust in the Lord (v. 7).
D. Self-control (v. 8a).
E. Spiritual attentiveness (v. 8a).
II. The Christian’s Adversary (vv. 8b-9).
A. The Devil’s description (v. 8b).
1. He is like a roaring lion.
2. He is looking for easily captured victims.
B. The Devil’s defeat (v. 9).
1. Resist him in faith.
2. Resist him mindful of his defeats elsewhere.
III. The Christian’s Advancement (vv. 10-11).
A. Eternal life.
I Pet. 2:13; I Cor. 16:15; Eph. 5:21; Heb. 13:7, 17; James 4:6; Pro. 3:34, 6:16, 8:13; Mic. 6:9; Tit. 1:3
The Apostle Peter is writing to Christians spread out over a wide area of the Roman Empire. These believers share a common faith, and face common problems. As the Apostle writes, Christianity, initially considered a sect within Judaism, is beginning to sheer off into a distinct religion. The Romans had granted the Jews a special dispensation from the annual obligation to worship the divinity of Caesar, and as a part of Judaism the first generation of Christians enjoyed the peace and security this loophole brought them. But as Gentiles began to be converted in significant numbers, and as the first Jerusalem Council of elders in Acts chapter 15 concluded that Gentile converts should not be required to submit to circumcision and keeping the Mosaic Law, a distinction was being made between ethnic Jews practicing the religion of the fathers and followers of Jesus of Nazareth. Thus Christians, in the mid-first century A.D., began being singled out for persecution—both by the pagan Romans and the leaders of the Jewish synagogues.
Peter’s letter is especially germane for us. He writes to a diverse group of believers trying to live for God in a society ignorant of God. We share with the Apostle’s original recipients the experience of being misunderstood because we claim the name of Christ. In this letter, Peter informs his readers that they will be subject to ever increasing conflict with the world. But the good news is that their—and our—suffering is temporary, that our firmness will be rewarded, that our Lord Jesus left us an example of godly suffering to imitate, and that the virtues of patience, faith, and humility, which according to Peter are more precious than gold, are the results of suffering for Christ’s sake.
In his brief letter Peter uses the Greek word anastrophe, meaning conduct, behavior, or way life, 6 times; the word pascho, meaning to suffer, 12 times, and the word hypotasso, meaning to subject or to subordinate to, 6 times. Taken together, we get from Peter’s letter an emphasis on the godly life being one lived in submission and humility in the midst of suffering.
I have titled the message on I Peter 5:5-11 this morning “Every Pilgrim’s Progress” not only because these 7 verses in many ways recapitulate the epistle has a whole, kind of like a reprise, but also because they synthesize the basics of every Christian life. Peter will admonish us to the Christian’s attitudes of submission, humility, and trust; he will reintroduce us to the Christian’s adversary Satan, described as a roaring lion looking for easy prey; and he concludes with the Christian’s advancement, or the rewards that await us for continued faithfulness.