Summary: Living as a Church in a Foreign Land Humility In Hardship and Community
Living as a Church in a Foreign Land
Humility In Hardship and Community
We are in our last mini-series in 1 Peter, “Living as a Church in a Foreign Land,” where Peter describes a life of discipleship together as a church in the midst of suffering and difficulties. We started out with Six Reasons for Rejoicing in Suffering (4:12-19), then we looked at what Peter had to say about Shepherding Among God's Flock (5:1-4). Today, we look at “Humility in Hardship and Community” (5:5-7) where Peter addresses the need for humility in the midst of suffering and hardship.
Big Idea – Humility frees us to submit to God and to each other in community.
1. God Calls us to Humility in Community
Likewise shows that Peter is on the same topic, shepherds and sheep, but shifts from describing the responsibilities of shepherds to the responsibilities of sheep. The younger, meaning the rest of the flock, display humility by submitting themselves to the elders, church leadership. Last week we saw the responsibility of the elders is to lead by exercising oversight, this week we see the responsibility of the sheep is to submit to the elders as they exercise oversight. Oversight is seeing over the sheep to care for and protect the sheep. Submitting to the elders shows humility. Spurgeon said humility is to think rightly of ourselves. I think that the best definition can be found in Philippians, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Then Peter expands upon submission and humility, saying that all of us are to cloth ourselves with humility toward one another. All of us are to put on humility, like clothing, towards each other. Then Peter motivates us to embrace humility, submitting to elders, to each other, and to suffering if that is God's will, with this promise, 'because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' He contrasts humility with pride. The refusal to submit to elders or others in the local church, or to submit to God in the midst of suffering points to pride. Peter warns those who are full of pride that God opposes proud people. God stands against and is resisting the proud. But those who embrace humility by submit themselves to elders and the local church, others in the the local church, and suffering if that is God's will, God promises to sustain you with grace, his empowering presence that flows from faith.
Let me give you five observations on pride and humility. First, pride is self reliance; humility is relying on God. "Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.'
Second, pride considers itself above instruction; humility submits to instruction. "Thus says the LORD: Even so will I spoil the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own heart and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is good for nothing. Third, pride takes credit for what God has done; humility gives God credit for what he has done. “And the king answered and said, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, "O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will." Fourth, pride refuses to trust God; humility trusts God. "Thus says the LORD: Even so will I spoil the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own heart and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is good for nothing. Fifth, pride is anxiety about the future; humility is trusting God with an uncertain future. "I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor?” Every single one of us deals with pride in our hearts and so he warns us, God opposes those who embrace pride but gives grace to those who embrace humility.