Summary: Standing strong in the Christian Life

Standing Strong in God’s Grace - 1 Peter 5

August 24, 2008

Turn with me this morning to the end of your Bibles, to the book of 1 Peter, chapter 5. We want to finish up our study of the book of 1 Peter today. Remember that Peter is writing to give practical help to Christians dealing with daily problems. He starts by reminding us that we all face trials. They come in all shapes and sizes of trial. Peter says we can expect them to come; so don’t be surprised when they do come. They can be very hard to deal with, but with God’s help, we can make it through. Peter says in spite of the trials in our lives, we are to Live in Hope. Hope is not a futile wishing for a good future, rather hope is the confident expectation that God will work, based upon his character. I can have hope in the midst of trials, Peter tells me, because I am chosen of God - God loved me and elected ME! I am born of God - God not only loved me, but he made me his child. I am destined for good - I have an incorruptible inheritance waiting for me. I am shielded by God’s power - I am completely protected as I face these various trials. Therefore, I can have JOY in the midst of the trials, and I can GROW spiritually.

Peter tells us that because we have hope, we are to Live in Holiness. To do that, Peter calls us to

control our minds, imitate our master, inquire of scripture, anticipate judgment, and confirm our faith.

Next, he tells us we are to Live in Harmony. He says we are to extend ourselves to sacrificial love, and seek to live in unity, because we are children in the same family, stones in the same building, priests in the same temple, and citizens of the same nation.

Then Peter tells us we are to Live as a Herald, we are called to advertise Jesus to the world, to declare his praises in this generation.

Peter tells us we are to Live Humbly, to live a life of submission, to God, to Government, to Bosses, to Spouses, and to One Another.

Then, as we’ve looked at the last few weeks, Peter calls us to Live Honorably, to live redeeming the time. We don’t want to waste our lives. We have wasted enough time already in living like the world. We want to pray more, love more, share more, serve more. We want to control our tongues. We want to control our desires and give and tithe and rejoice.

Today, we move on to chapter 5. Here in this chapter, Peter gives a summary of what he has been talking about. He reminds us that no matter how difficult the situation we are facing, we can stand strong in the grace of God. Let’s look at chapter 5. READ CHAPTER -- PRAY.

No matter how difficult the situation we are facing, we can stand strong in the grace of God. We need to understand this morning, as Peter did, that Satan is a very real adversary. He is not a cute little cartoon figure with a pitchfork and a pointed tail. Rather he is a scheming, calculating, intelligent adversary, who seeks every way possible to cause you to stumble in your spiritual life. We often think of Satan as a fool.

I remember once talking with a lady and she said, “I’m not going to say this out loud, because the evil one can hear.” So she wrote down what she wanted to say. I thought to myself, “So, Satan can hear but he can’t read!”

Satan is a master-planner, an architect of destruction, a 5 star general at causing us to sin. And sometimes we focus on our trials and we want to turn to despair. We look at the things people say, the way others treat us, and we want to give up, we think it’s just no use trying to do the right thing.

But Peter reminds us here in chapter 5 that we can STAND STRONG in the grace of God. As Peter reminds us in verse 10, God can make you strong, firm and steadfast. Paul tells us in Ephesians to Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. God’s desire for us is to stand firm. And here in 1 Peter 5, we find three ways we stand strong. First,

1. Faithful Leaders Help the Struggling Christian to Stand. Peter starts out the chapter by talking about the leaders of the church: the elders. In the NT, there are several terms used for the church leaders: elders refers to the wisdom and maturity of those who lead; pastors refers to the shepherding care and protection given; bishop or overseer refers to the office held by the elders or pastors. Several terms, but 1 position of leadership.

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