Summary: There is no way around it. We have been called to be servants, and the Lord has exemplified what that means. Let’s tie on our aprons!
July 13, 2003
"Tie On the Apron" 1 Peter 5:5-14 Pastor Jon MacKinney
We all have principles that we live by, certain things we believe to be true. You can tell what a person believes to be true by their actions. The person who, at the Grand Canyon, stands back from the edge has a healthy belief in the law of gravity. And every year, it seems like it’s a European tourist that decides to test that and falls over. The person who saves money for years and years in a good investment is demonstrating a belief in the law of compound interest, that if you leave it in there it will start to grow, and all of a sudden at some point it should take off, as long as you’re not invested in something that doesn’t go the other way. The person who goes through their life very carefully and always seeking to avert disaster is a firm believer in Murphy’s Law, that if something can go wrong, it will and so they seek desperately to try to keep that from happening. A person who careens down the road at 115 miles per hour with a blood alcohol level of .172, as the allegation is of someone who shares my last name did last week or last year in Scottsdale, is demonstrating a belief that nothing bad can happen to him or to those he may encounter. So, what we believe dictates how we live. Our actions are shaped by principles, what we believe to be true. And, in fact, it’s much easier to tell a person’s real core values and the principles they live by what they do rather than what they say. It’s easy to affirm values and truth. But talk, as some people say, is cheap. It’s how we act.
Now, the Bible, of course, is full of principles like this. And Peter, as he brings this letter to a close, is going to restate one of those principles very clearly. It really is an incredibly vital principle for the Christian life, one that is so powerful that it will impact the way you live – your attitudes, your actions, your speech, your state of mind, as well as your enjoyment of life – this one principle. We’re going to describe that principle first of all, and then we’re going to spend the rest of our time applying that principle, as Peter does here in 1 Peter 5:5. Here’s the principle. It’s this, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Peter quotes that here in the end of verse 5. It’s from Proverbs 3:34. "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
Now, there are a ton of examples in the Word of God about God opposing the proud, aren’t there? There’s the men who decided to build the Tower of Babel. "We’re going to built this tower, reach up to the heavens." There was Nebuchadnezzar, who at one point looked out upon the city of Babylon and said, "Look at this great city of Babylon which I have built!" And God removed his sanity and he spent the next seven years of his life out in the woods growing his nails and his hair. Herod, who received the praise of people when he’d finished giving a speech. When they said, "It’s the voice of a god, and not a man!" decided it’s pretty cool. Immediately, he was eaten by worms. (That’s a way to go.) Goliath, who stood before the armies of Israel and mocked them and their God.
Proud people, people who are proud, find themselves opposed by God. Now, we need to break this statement down. It’s easy to say proud people are opposed by God, but we need to know what these words mean. This word ’proud’ that’s used in Scripture is a compound word that means, the first word means ’above’ and the second part of the word means ’to appear.’ So, the word basically means ’to appear to be above’. And anytime you’re above that means you’re above something – you’re above the ground, or in human relationships we are above someone else. I have told you before that when I was in college, the group a friends that I was with when we would really talk about it, found we all considered ourselves slightly superior to everyone else in the group. We found a group that we felt we were each slightly superior to. Of course, it doesn’t really work, does it? Because if everyone feels that they’re slightly superior to everyone else, sooner or later someone is going to fall on their face. So, a person says, "I am the greatest. I am the best. I am the most important. You need to bow down and worship me." Maybe that’s why pride comes before a fall – because a person has elevated themselves to a position that they cannot really maintain. I mean, it’s easy to say it, "I’m the best." But, there’s always a problem when someone else comes along and challenges that assumption and then you have a race or a competition or maybe even a fight and you find out that you aren’t the greatest. Someone else is.