Last Week we looked at the responsibility of the pastor to shepherd and lead the church. We saw that he is appointed by the Holy Spirit to serve the assembly of believers. He is to feed the flock of God not lording over them. His heart felt desire as Paul stated in Col. 1:28, is to "preach, warring every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus"
This evening I want to continue in I Peter 5:5-11 and look at the responsibility of all believers to the Lord.
I. Believers Are To Be Submissive. V5-7
A. Peter turns his attention from the shepherd to the sheep.
1. Good leaders deserve good followers.
2. Those that are led are responsible to be in subjection to God and to other Christians.
3. As sheep, we are responsible to God to be good followers.
B. Submission to Elders. V5
1. Church leaders were usually older members.
2. 'Elder' and 'younger' are not terms of instruction concerning age.
3. They refer to the recognition of position and maturity.
a. Note the verse does not say "younger men or women" it says just younger.
b. Literally the word means "new" as a new person, or fresh person.
4. It is contrary to our human nature to be submissive to anyone.
a. It is a matter of pride.
b. No one wants to be told what to do.
c. The world says if we submit to anyone else we are inferior.
d. It says we are less than they are and that it is demeaning to follow someone else.
5. Biblical submission is to be in our right position or place.
6. The pastor is no greater than any member or any member greater than the pastor.
7. No deacon, trustee, teacher or church officers is greater or lesser in God's eye than anyone else.
8. Each of us has a responsibility to God and to each other.
C. The Bible says we are to humble ourselves to God.
1. You see one reason some have a problem submitting to others is because they are not submitted to God.
2. They rebel against the leadership that God appoints because they are at odds with the Lord.
3. The one submitted to God will obey God.
4. Peter quoted Prov., 3:34 to emphasize God's attitude toward the proud and toward the humble.
PROVERBS 3:34 34 SURELY HE SCORNETH THE SCORNERS: BUT HE GIVETH GRACE UNTO THE LOWLY. (KJV)
5. The word "resisteth" means to be opposed, God has set himself against the proud and the arrogant, but gives Grace (favor) to the humble.
II. Believers Are Encouraged To Stand Fast And Do Right. V8-11
A. Although we are to rely on God and cast our cares on Him...
1. We are not to be careless.
2. We are to be sensible.
3. Be Alert!!!
a. The devil is always ready to slip in and do his dirty work.
b. He seeks to undo and confuse the work of the Lord.
c. He will tempt us with pride and feeling of inferiority.
d. He will convince you that others are taking advantage of you if you enthusiastically do you job.
4. We never give place to the devil! cf Ep 4:27
a. We must understand that bickering, gossiping, complaining and always finding fault with others is of the devil.
b. It causes confusion and division.
c. Most times if someone is upset about something, if they would go to the person who upset them and explain and ask for an explanation the matter would be solved.
d. Yet, people sometimes feel they need support, so they carry tale to others.
e. Rumors and gossip can go on for years.
1) ex. Proctor and Gamble sign
2) FCC and Madelyn Murray O'Hare
3) Note: Lincoln illustration
Abraham Lincoln's coffin was pried open twice. The first occasion was in 1887, twenty-two long years after his assassination. Why? You may be surprised to know it was not to determine if he had died of a bullet fired from John Wilkes Booth's derringer. Then why? Because a rumor was sweeping the country that his coffin was empty. A select group of witnesses observed that the rumor was totally false, then watched as the casket was resealed with lead.
The second time, fourteen years later, the martyred man's withered body was viewed again - this time by even more witnesses. Why again? For the same grim purpose! Rumors of the same nature had again implanted doubts in the public's mind. The pressure mounted to such proportions, that the same ghoulish, grotesque ceremony had to be carried out. In spite of the strong protests of Lincoln's son Robert, the body was exposed a second time. Officials felt the rumors should be laid to rest along with the Civil War president. Finally - the corpse was permanently embedded in a crypt at Springfield.
III. Concluding Thoughts.
A. Working together to carry on the work of the Lord is an act of a mature Christian who loves the Lord and wants Christ to be glorified.
B. If we are seeking to bring glory to the Lord, then we will be examining all we do to make sure that whatever it is it honors the Lord.
Note: Casey Stengel said: "It's easy to get good players. Getting' em to play together, that's the hard part."
C. What's true in baseball is also true in the ministry of the local church.
D. What would help us is when we are hurt, when we disagree, when we feel hurt....take it to the Lord, for God cares.
1. It is hard to harbor evil feelings toward someone in the presence of Christ.
2. When the gossip begins to unload on you.
a. Ask them straight forth, "Have you been to the person who offended you?"
b. Have you tried to settle the matter with them?
c. If they persist and offer the gossip will ...then say, "You are talking to the wrong person, go the them."
E. When there is a job to be done volunteer and get it done. Look for opportunities to help do the work of the ministry.
Do something. Do not sit by in silence and wait for someone else to do it, or assume that someone else will take care of it. There is danger in remaining silent.
There is a story told of a remarkable account of the destruction of an ancient city. The watchmen on the walls would call out whenever they thought they saw a foe approaching. Sensing that the people had begun to resent them for giving these alarms, they decided to remain quiet. Regrettably, not long afterward the enemy actually did come. The enemy sent a small group of men to test the defenses. They seemed to the watchmen to be of no danger. The walls were high and the city was strong. The watchmen were not sure if they were the enemy or not. They watchmen fearing the scorn of the town gave no alarm. They remained silent.
Then the enemy moved his main force and attacked the city. The city that could have been saved was assaulted and devastated, and nothing was left but smoking ruins. Later someone erected a small memorial inscribed with the following epitaph: "Here stood a town that was destroyed by silence."