THE CHARACTER THAT IS FORMED THROUGH SUFFERING
- Memory verse: 1Pet5:10
- In the final chapter of 1Peter, we discover the relationship between the second coming of Christ and the theme of suffering.
- Read 1Pet 5:1-4
- “ am also an elder ”
- Peter, like the other disciples and Paul and were apostles.
- The word apostle means = those sent out for a specific purpose.
- Peter does not claim the position of an apostle here in chapter 5. Instead he uses the word elder. What did he mean by the word, elder?
- The Greek word is presbuteros and means = an older person. It is where we obtain the word, presbyter.
- Another Greek word is episkopos and means = a spiritual office of shepherding. This Greek word is translated, bishop.
- Peter never claimed a higher position than the other disciples, even though Jesus Christ gave him the position as the leader of the other disciples and the head of the church. (Mat 16:19) In this one statement, we see the humility that Peter has learned through his sufferings.
- “ a witness of the sufferings of Christ ”
- The suffering of Christ is the beginning of the believers walk with the Lord. All that we gain is because He suffered. All that we will have in the future finds its source in the suffering of Jesus Christ. Without the suffering of Christ, we would have no spiritual blessings or eternal salvation.
- Peter is telling us that he was there when Jesus suffered for our sins on the cross. He was a witness.
- “ a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed.”
- Peter, along with James and John, was present on the Mount of Transfiguration and saw the glory of Jesus Christ revealed.
- Read Mat 17:1-2
- This experience for Peter was a small taste of the experience that remains ahead in the future when all believers will be with the Lord face to face as the fullness of his glory is revealed in the millennial kingdom when Jesus Christ reigns on earth for 1000 years.
- The role of the pastor and other leaders:
- “Feed the flock of God ”
- As one of the elders of the New Testament church, Peter gives some commands to other elders who are in the position of leadership. The word, elder, is never used in the singular in the New Testament but as one of a group which includes the pastor..
- The primary goal of an elder is to be sure that the congregation (the flock) receives the true doctrine of the Word of God based on the Apostolic doctrine of the New Testament.
- “ taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.”
- Peter tells us that a pastor and the other leaders of the church are to oversee the welfare of the congregation in the same way as a shepherd watches his flock:
- The concept of shepherding involves:
- =1= Feeding and provision (2)
- =2= Guarding and protection.
- Leaders keep the flock together so that none stray away from the flock.
- Leaders guard and protect the flock so that no enemy comes to steal the flock.
- =3= Supervision and discipline.
- Leaders exercise discipline when necessary.
- =4= Instruction and guidance.
- Leaders provide the spiritual direction for the congregation by establishing priorities and goals.
- The pastor and the leaders must have a willing heart to fulfill their calling as leaders and a ready mind to serve God and the people. Their motive for choosing to be a pastor must not be to gain money. This makes the vocation of a pastor different from other professions.
- Every church leader must be serving with a proper motive and with a proper spirit.
- What is the counsel to pastors and leaders? (3)
- Pastors and leaders must be careful how they lead the congregation. It must be done in a proper manner. Their style of leadership should not be authoritarian where they dominate and dictate.
- Notice that Peter contrasts the phrase, “lord over” with “being examples”.
- In other words, commanding and demanding is not a good way to lead the flock. Instead leadership must be by example with an attitude of serving with humility. We can best see the difference by the following contrasts:
- A CONTRAST OF LEADERSHIP STYLES:
RULERS OF THIS WORLD
SERVANTS OF THE LORD
1. IN RELATIONSHIP WITH THOSE THEY LEAD
THE RULER IS ‘OVER’ BY POSITION OF RANK
THE SERVANT IS ‘AMONG’ AS A BROTHER (1THE 1:5) (1PET 5:3)
2. IN THEIR EXERCISE OF AUTHORITY
HE LEADS BY ‘COMMAND’ AUTHORITY
HE LEADS WITH THE ‘GENTLENESS’
OF CHRIST (2COR 10:1)
3. IN THEIR LEADERSHIP MODE
HE’S AUTOCRATIC, ‘TELLING’ OTHERS WHAT TO DO
HE ‘SHOWS’ OTHERS WHAT TO DO
BY EXAMPLE (1PET 5:3) (1TIM 4:12)
4. IN THE EFFECT OF THEIR LEADERSHIP STYLE
ACHIEVES BEHAVIORAL ‘CONFORMITY’
ACHIEVES HEART ‘COMMITMENT’
5. IN THEIR USE OF POWER
USES ‘COERCION’ TO ENFORCE
APPEALS WITH GENTLE ‘INSTRUCTION’ AND RESPONDS IN TRUTH (2TIM 2:24)
6. IN THEIR ATTITUDE TOWARD OTHERS
LEADS FROM A ‘SUPERIOR’ POSITION
LEADS IN ‘MEEKNESS’ AND
LOWLINESS (1THE 2:7-8)
7. IN THEIR CHARACTER AND LIFESTYLE
MORALITY IS ‘PRIVATE’ AND DIVORCED FROM LEADERSHIP
MORAL CHARACTER IS THE
‘FOUNDATION’ FOR TRUE
LEADERSHIP TIT 2:1-7
- The believer that serves God should keep in mind that it is the Lord that he serves. The Lord always rewards a servant.
- “ when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory ”
- Jesus Christ is the shepherd.
- Psalms 22 tells us about the Good Shepherd who gives his life for the sheep.
- Psalms 23 tells us about the Great Shepherd who watches over His sheep.
- Psalms 24 tells us about the Chief Shepherd who is coming again to rule over His people.
- At the second coming of Christ, church pastors and leaders will receive a crown of glory at the judgment seat of Christ.
- Suffering produces certain characteristics in the believers character. We find these characteristics in the form of counsel for the believer.
- What is the counsel to all believers?
- =1= Humility
- “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility ”
- All believers are to have a submissive attitude. What is that?
- It means that no believer should ever try to get his own way. If a believer pushes to get his own way it results in arguments where each one tries to prove he is right. The proper attitude must be one of humility.
- Peter tells us to be clothed with humility. It means that this characteristic should be part of your character that is always with you. It is like your underwear. If you are not clothed with humility, you are spiritually naked and human pride will show through.
- “ for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
- The word, “resisteth”, means = to fight against. God fights against the person with an attitude of pride.
- The believer, whether a leader in the church or a follower in the church, will experience the grace of God if he has an attitude of humility.
- “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”
- God puts people in authority over us. This is a Biblical truth that goes through the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is true of the secular world as well as the spiritual world.
- Even when God puts a person in leadership, that leader should maintain an attitude of humility so as not to frustrate those under his authority and so as to reap the grace of God over his ministry.
- =2= Trust
- “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. “
- When the believer reaps the grace of God for an attitude of humility, he can trust God with everything.
- Peter encourages believers to use their faith by giving all problems to the Lord.
- Peter tells us why we are to take everything to the Lord. It is because of His great love for us. (Mat 11:28)
- =3= Sober Vigilance (8)
- Sober means = serious.
- The believer is to consider his actions and attitudes seriously so as to permit the Holy Spirit to convict him when they do not correspond to the Word of God.
- The leader is to consider his leadership style seriously so that he follows the direction of Holy Spirit.
- Vigilant means = to be watchful.(guard and observe)
- Both leaders and the average believer should be vigilant.
- The world offers a great variety of deceptions that deceive the believer that is not watchful.
- Peter tells us why we need to be watchful:
- “ because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
- Peter clearly tells us the reason for our need of vigilance. We have a spiritual enemy, Satan. His purpose is to destroy faith, the gospel, our witness in the world, and the believer.himself.
- Peter also clearly tells us how to defeat this enemy.
- “ resist stedfast in the faith ”
- Vigilance gives the believer a perspective on his life.
- “ knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
- All people suffer problems in this world whether they are believers or non-believers.
- Some problems come as consequences of personal sin.
- Some problems come as persecution because you are a Christian.
- Some problems are sent by the devil.
- Some problems are permitted by God for the believers good.
- God gives the believer wisdom to discern what God is doing in his life. (Jam 1:3-5) The non-believer does not receive this kind of wisdom.
- The sovereignty of God over the suffering believer:
- “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus
- God knows what He is doing in the believers life. His grace is smoothing the rough spots in life, filling the voids, lifting up and sustaining the believer through every trial so as not to be defeated.
- Gods purpose is to produce a strong believer for eternity with God. However, before we get to eternity with God, He is preparing us to serve Christ in His millennial kingdom on this earth.
- “ after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
- Suffering is in Gods plan because it is the only way to produce mature, strong, established believers.
- The word “perfect” means = perfected or mature. In other words, it does not mean without defect, because as long as man is living in the flesh, he has the flesh nature with which to deal. He cannot be totally without defect. He will be subject to sin from time to time as long as he lives. However, the believer learns to respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit when he sins. He learns to quickly repent and get right in his relationship with God. This process of maturity is called sanctification.
- The word, “settle” means = to restore.
- By the grace of God, the believer is restored in the traumatic areas of his life that damaged him.
- Praise for how God works in our lives. (12)
- Peters closing:
- Peter informs us that he is the author of this book but that Silvanus actually wrote the book by hand as a scribe, writing down Peters words.
- This is John Mark, the author of the gospel of Mark. He was not Peters son in the flesh but a spiritual son.
- The kiss of charity
- This is a holy kiss. It was a greeting between believers. This is not a kiss of erotic love but one of agape love that is unique to the Christian.
- Peters final words are peace to all believers.
(9) The believer in Jesus Christ has the spiritual power and authority to resist the devil in the same way that Jesus resisted Satans temptations by using the Word of God. (Mat 4:2-4) The word, resist, indicates a military defense that is accomplished by an army. Believers praying for each other is that spiritual army.
- Peter has emphasized through this book that suffering is a valuable tool in the hand of God that prepares us for the second coming of Christ. It makes us ready to serve Him in his earthly kingdom. Believers will be given areas of responsibility and service that will require maturity and strength of character.
- As we understand these truths in this book, we can better accept the suffering that comes into our lives and better cooperate with God as He transforms our lives to His standard.
This is a self-study. Please do not send homework answers to the teacher forcorrection.
- Application of 1Pet 5
- Which of the specific character qualities need the most work in your life? Why?
- Sober vigilance
- Read 2Pet 1:1-9
- How many times does the word “knowledge” occur in this section?