Friday, September 24, 2021

The Humblest - 1 Peter 5:5-7 - September 26, 2021


1 Peter 5:5-7 The Humblest

Good morning and welcome to another episode of do as I say not as I do, where you can learn, like I have, how to be the humblest. No really, I’m not conceited, though I have every right to be…

We are returning in our work in 1 Peter to chapter 5 verses 5-7, page 1016 where the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter instructs the church in the area of humility.

I’ve heard it said that humility is not a destination but rather a pursuit, the pursuit of humility. It’s a subject of much instruction in Scripture and one with great examples recorded in Scripture, mostly because it is so important for us as individual disciples and united together as a group, and also because we are so bad at it.

You may remember from last time we were talking about the responsibilities the elders, to watch after and shepherd the flock of God and now Peter turns his attention to all the members of the flock again.

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Let’s pray.

Peter begins with a “likewise,” because just as the elders were to look after the church with pure motives, not because they were forced to, or were after money or power, but willingly, eagerly being examples to the flock, likewise, willingly, eagerly, the younger should be subject to the elders.

Now the scholars are divided on who the youngers and the elders are here. 

Some say the youngers are the younger ministers or the deacons in the church and they should be in submission to the elders/overseers/pastors in the churches.

Some scholars say that Peter simply meant what the translators wrote here, that the younger people should be in submission to the older people.

Some scholars say that it is a mixture of the two, that Peter meant that the younger men, because the Greek word used is masculine, should be in submission to the elders in office and generally in years their elders.

Peter has already instructed for wives to submit to their husbands, children to their parents, and slaves to their masters. It stands to reason then that here he is instructing the flock to submit to their shepherds.

John Calvin wrote that, “Nothing is more repugnant to the mind of man than to be subject.”

He is entirely correct. He is correct because submission to anyone requires our least favorite of all the Christian graces: humility.

JP Lange wrote, “This subordination, which is insisted upon as a principal point in the order of the Christian commonwealth, must be founded on Humble submission to God.”

Peter says in verse 5, Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

There are some very important words there in that verse: to clothe yourselves, and, all of you.

Peter has already described, as I said before, the relationships of humility between husbands and wives, children and parents, slaves and masters, and now he describes the relationship of humility, all to all.

Humility is all of our responsibility.

Matthew Henry wrote, “Humility is the great preserver of peace and order in all Christian churches, consequently, pride is the great disturber of them, and the cause of most dissensions and breaches in the church.”

The important phrase there is: clothe yourselves. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward on another…

The Greek word that is translated into English, “clothe yourselves,” literally means to tie around yourselves with a strong knot.

This Greek word was used to describe the apron worn by servants, tied around their waists. It also reminds me of our ultimate example of humility: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Turn with me to John chapter 13.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 

12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Jesus clothed Himself in humility, He tied it around His waist like that towel, and told His disciples that they ought never to think that they were better than Him and He willingly humbled Himself to serve them and so they, and we, ought to do the same.

Humility puts us in the proper position to receive God’s grace. Pride seeks to raise us up where we do not belong, but humility bows our knee before the Father. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. All who elevate themselves will have God as their enemy.

As verse six says, Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.

The scholars speak of the image of the two hands of God, one hand raised, holding a hammer, ready to beat down the proud, and the other hand under the humble, ready to lift them up at the proper time.

God’s promise to exalt the humble at the proper time means that He will lift the humble up from the dust, to advance to honor from disgrace, to joy from grief. This is God’s promise to the truly humble!

However, it is not God’s promise to the falsely humble.

The falsely humble person dresses up their pride in shabby clothes. The falsely humble person talks about their humility, keeps that plaque that says, “the humblest,” and is not conceited, though they have every right to be. 

False humility makes sure everybody knows just how humble they are, but God is not fooled by this charade.

True humility, according to Calvin, is defined as the person being emptied of every confidence in their own power, wisdom, and righteousness, and seeks every good from God alone. Since there is no coming to God except in this way, who, having lost his own glory, ought not willingly humble himself?

Verse 7 is the great demonstration of this concept of humility and submission to the Father, that we have no confidence in our own power, wisdom, and righteousness, but are wholly dependent on Him for grace.

…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

How is casting, literally throwing all our anxieties, cares, worries, troubles, on our Heavenly Father an act of submission and humility? Because it is the opposite action and attitude of thinking that we can control everything, and our need for control is a function of pride.

By casting all of our cares on Him we are releasing control to the Father, not that we were ever really in control in the first place.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus said that we must turn and become like children in Matthew 18?

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

What advantage to children have over adults?

Kids trust their parents, they have confident reliance on their parents’ goodness, they run to them when they’re hurting, they don’t wonder about their worthiness of their father’s love, or question the reality of it, they simply accept it.

I think, for me, the last phrase of verse 7 may be the most powerful. “Casting all your anxieties on Him, BECAUSE HE CARES FOR YOU.” 

I think sometimes, not to plunge too much into psychology, but sometimes I think, or act, or feel, as if I know that God loves me, after all, the evidence is overwhelming, but the thought that He cares for me, cares about me, has me at His heart… it’s mind blowing and wonderful and I need to be reminded maybe you do too…

Psalm 37

1Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. 10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. 12 The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. 14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; 15 their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. 16 Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. 18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; 19 they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance. 20 But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away. 21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives; 22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. 23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; 24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. 25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. 26 He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. 27 Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. 28 For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. 30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. 32 The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death. 33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial. 34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off. 35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree. 36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found. 37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. 38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off. 39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. 40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.