Summary: Today we are going to look at 8 steps that Peter fires off in these concluding verses, 8 steps that Jesus took as He walk this earth, 8 steps that are necessary for the church & the Christian to take if they are to live God’s way. (Living God’s Way - 9)
In HIS Steps
Living God’s Way – part 9
1To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 5Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 12With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. 13She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
Those are the final words – that Peter wrote in this letter to those beaten up & beaten down believers who lived in the first century. Believers who were undergoing tremendous hardships at the hands of Nero and the Roman empire. Final words in a letter written to both encourage them and empower them to live God’s way.
Final words in a letter where Peter has given them some incredible teachings;
• Remember who you are… you are God’s people
• Choose to be holy; choose to be different then the world
• Think right about who you; look into the divine mirror that says… you are acceptable, valuable, forgivable..lovable
• Somebody is watching… (temptation, authority, marriage, suffering)
• He gave them 7 attitudes that if they put into their lives would diffuse conflict in all of their relationships
• He told them - Build your hope on brick, on the powerful promises of God, on Christ
• He also told them, Arm yourselves with the attitude of Christ; arm yourselves with selflessness
• And in that passage we looked at last week – he told them about the beautiful letdown (you don’t belong here… allow your letdowns to draw closer to God… allow them to take you to the place where His presence is enough, is more than enough.
AS ALWAYS – this journey into God’s word during the last 9 weeks, has been another unbelievable adventure for me. I hate to see it end.
AND – to be honest I really struggled with these last 14 verses all of Monday & Tuesday. I just could not get a handle on them. NOW – I saw all kinds of good stuff - BUT I saw no real connection. THEN – at about 8 pm Tuesday night. I kind of changed the direction of my thoughts and started trying to put myself in Peter’s place. I started;
Asking myself how would Peter want to end this awesome letter…
A letter in which he has already given them so much good stuff
What final; thoughts, ideas, truths, encouragements & challenges did Peter want to leave with them as they folded up his letter… (a letter that could very well be the last words that he would ever share with them).
SO – you see these words were no mere last minute add on.
NOW – it so clear that Peter wants them (and us) to live God’s way… He’s given a lot of practical advice on how to do it… BUT – Peter knows that living God’s way is not easy; he knows that we will have all kinds of obstacles, hindrances, distraction and road blocks along the way.
SO – Peter, as he concludes this letter on living God’s way, fires off a bunch of stuff (as I like to say, ‘rapid fire’)… I MEAN – I can see both his pen and his thoughts flying.