Summary: Peter exhorts the church here in four areas: leadership, humility, anxiety and our adversary the devil.
SBC Philippi 11/27/05 pm
Rev. Jeff Simms
Some Parting Words of Advice
Primary Purpose: We will look at some parting words of advice that Peter had for the church in 4 major areas.
Peter begins this section by saying that he wants to exhort the elders of the church as a fellow elder. He could make demands upon them as an apostle, but he appeals to them rather as a elder of the church. The word exhort isn’t necessarily to correct nor is it to tell them something they don’t already know. The idea of exhorting is to come alongside and encourage. The word exhort is parakaleo (par-ak-al-eh’-o) means to call to one’s side, to address, to admonish, to strengthen. It’s almost like a coach or a fellow athlete coming alongside a runner who is struggling and encouraging them as they run hard the race. We will see Peter exhorting these believers in 4 main areas: leadership, humility, anxiety and their attitudes about the devil.
Peter’s first words of exhortation are to the leadership. Perhaps he is remembering Jesus’ own words to him that are recorded in John 21:15-17 when Jesus told Peter to “feed his sheep”. Peter sees himself as a kind of shepherd of God’s people whom he calls the flock. He tells the elders they are to lead willingly (Hekousios- voluntarily, of one’s own accord) and not seeing it as a duty, but as a privilege. Keeping in mind that the best way that they can lead is by example vs.3. This is one of the chief characteristics that make leading in the church different from the world. That the leaders in the church see themselves as servants to the rest. Perhaps he was remembering some of Jesus’ words as recorded in Matthew 20:25-28 “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles Lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” So, when we understand leadership in this manner we are following the example that Jesus and Peter set for us.
Another reason for leading in this manner is for them to keep in mind that the Chief Shepherd is going to appear one day. This word is Archipoimen ( ar-khee-poy’mane) and is only used once in the New Testament and here only of Jesus. It’s something that refers to the fact that Jesus is the leader and overseer of the church. Jesus Himself refers to himself as the Good Shepherd in John 10:14. He is the head of the church Col 1:18. In fact, if you notice Peter refers to the church not as the elder’s flock, but as God’s flock. He will when he appears bring with him a reward that will never fade away. Peter is reminding them again of the reward that they should be working for. The metaphor that Peter chooses to use here is of a crown of glory. The crown or “stephanos” representing the eternal blessedness that will be given to true servants of Christ.
The second and third items that Peter wants to mention have to do with attitude and the inner life of the person. Peter wants them to lead and work together in a spirit of humility. Peter goes back and quotes Proverbs 3:34 that says that God Himself will oppose the proud, but gives grace to the humble. The word oppose means to set oneself against. It is the proud that God is opposing. It is the attitude of the heart that seeks self-advancement, that doesn’t want to acknowledge God or the help of others. But, rather than being proud he tells these believers to “clothe” themselves with humility. The idea of clothe is to fasten or gird oneself. The truly great person is God’s eyes in the one who acknowledges their dependence and trust upon God and not their self-sufficiency. (also see Is 57:15)
Following closely to that area is the need for each believer to cast their anxiety upon God. The reason for doing this is because God cares for you. He cares about the small things as well as the big. There isn’t anything that we can’t bring to him. The idea of cast is a greek word for Epirhipto which means to “throw upon”. Notice the command here is not to cast up some of our anxieties but “all” of them. We are to hold nothing back. Sometimes we like to worry because it may empower us feeling like we are in control or doing something to help our troubles. But, the best thing we can do is to cast it up to him.