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The Shepherd and the Flock - Conclusion

Good Morning Beloved,

Heavenly Father,

We just thank You for the Word You have for us today
may we not listen, but actually hear what Your Spirit is saying to us
and may we be all be forever changed by it.

May we make a difference, in the world that's hurting and suffering around us
a world of broken, lost people, searching for answers the world can never give
how to attain peace amidst all the chaos

Lord, we just pray that Your Spirit, would lead us and be seen in us
that others may know, that we are Yours
In Jesus name

"In the same way, you younger men, be subject to the elders. And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you. Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world."
I Peter 5:5-9

Today's Message: Shepherding The Flock - Conclusion

Beloved, each time we gather, I have the great honor and privilege of sharing God's Word, because that's really the calling of God upon me and each of us, to give our undivided attention to His precious Word. Today, is no exception to that privilege and very honorable calling. And so today, we remain in the on going study on I Peter, however, we embark on the final chapter, of I Peter, chapter 5.

As you may remember, we had previously been examining the first few verses, which are verses 1-8, now we move forward in our study to verses 5 through 9. So, I would invite you to open your Bibles with me, if you would, to I Peter 5:5-9. Again, I would like to get this passage in forefront of our hearts and minds, so if you will allow me to once again, just read this marvelous text to you before we begin.

"In the same way, you younger men, be subject to the elders. And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you. Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world."

I would just to point out, before we begin our lesson today, that those of us who have the role of shepherding the church, really should pay particularly close attention to the instruction in passage. Those of you who are being shepherded would do well, to also pay close attention to this passage because only are we, as leaders of the church to fulfill our calling and responsibilities but you, the congregants are to hold us accountable as part of your responsibility.

So just to quickly refresh our minds on what we previously discussed, that times of persecution of the church, is a synonymous call for strong leadership. In times of persecution lukewarm elders might well regret their prominence; therefore the need for the aphorism. In the previously concluded sections of his great epistle, Peter discussed the matters of suffering, tribulation, trials, and persecution, which these believers were currently experiencing.  And then he quickly turns his attention to the topic of church leadership, to discuss that times of trouble, times of difficulty, times of persecution in the church, it demands the strongest, most faithful leaders.  Within these four verses, Peter focus his exhortation on  church leadership.  And he focuses on them, to make sure they know they are to fulfill their spiritual duties and responsibilities.

It is a word which Peter would be likely to remember, from the solemn manner in which the injunction to perform the duty was laid upon him by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. These poor, dispersed, suffering Christians, were the flock of God, redeemed to God by the great Shepherd, living in holy love and communion, according to the will of God. They are also dignified with the title of God's heritage or clergy; this peculiar lot of those chosen for His own people, enjoy his special favor, and to do Him special service. This direction often takes such an oversight within the church as a shepherd becomes accustomed to his flock. The command, from Jesus, which was laid upon Peter, feed my sheep, John 21:19, became the charge delivered to the succeeding elders, Acts 20:28, and a familiar description of the Christian pastor. How severely will they be condemned, those who would feed themselves and feed not God's flock, those over which they were called to preside.

Let's look at verse 5, this is talking about not only mutual complaisance between rulers on the one hand and ruled on the other, but clergy to clergy and laity to laity are to behave with the same self-suppression. Be clothed with humility. The Greek verb, which comes from two words, tapeinoōas, or tapeinos, to make low, and the noun, tapeinophrōn, meaning humble-minded, which comes from two words, tapeinos, to make low, and phrēn, meaning heart, mind, thought, is a rare and rather curious one. So to "clothe yourselves with humility," in other words means to "tie yourselves up in humility." By putting on humility you show your subjection one to another. Humility preserves the order of peace in churches and societies; pride disrupts peace and disturbs order. This idea that lies within this phrase.

Somewhere along the way in our Christian experience, I believe that we have to learn to apply ourselves to certain spiritual fundamentals if we are going experience spiritual growth and maturity.
If we are going to be effective, if we are going to be all that God would desire us to be, we must grow. As far as I'm aware, the Bible never exhorts us to think more highly of ourselves than we ought or to improve our self-esteem, as we’re so often told to do by many Christian writers. But it does frequently tell us that we must humble ourselves. I believe that humility is being aware of our own insufficiency, and completely trusting in Christ’s all-sufficiency. I like the definition in II Corinthians 3:5, "It is not that we are competent in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our competence is from God. He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit produces life. And Proverbs 11:2 tells us, 
"When pride comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom." 

In verses 1-4, Peter exhorted the elders to shepherd the flock of God and his instructions were in detail.  Now, here in verse 5, Peter turns his focus from the shepherds to the sheep. Peter frequently uses the phrase, "in the same way," throughout this epistle. It appears to be Peter's word for transitioning to a new group. Earlier, back in chapter 2 of this epistle he is concerned, he tells us that we are to act in a certain way toward those who are around us in the world. Then, in verse 13, Peter says, "Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the Emperor as the supreme authority  or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good.  For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.  As God’s slaves, live as free people, but don’t use your freedom as a way to conceal evil. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the Emperor."

Then, Peter begins chapter 3, verse 1, "In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the Christian message, they may be won over without a message by the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives. "

Now, here in chapter 5, Peter is apparently transitioning to another new group, as we see in verse 5. 
"In the same way, you younger men, be subject to the elders. And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time,   
casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you."

Peter had been exhorting the shepherds, motivating them to shepherd their flock, now he is exhorting the sheep to proper spiritual attitudes. Therefore, this applies to each of you, as Peter is now speaking to the sheep. I believe that in part, the unimpressive character of so many Christian people in our society today, is due to the fact, they do not steady their thoughts and focus them on the purpose of finding out the weak points to which special attention and discipline should be directed. It has become far too easy for people to say, "Woe is me, poor, weak, and sinful creature that I am! There's isn't anything I can do about it." I believe, that it would serve us all well, to instead say, "I acknowledge that am a very passionate person, and I realize that my primary focus is to control my quick temper and that tongue of mine,"

It seems far too often we preach a bit too loudly, that the way of self-improvement is not by hammering at ourselves, but by letting God mold us, to help keep the balance right. However, we also have to insist upon the other side of the truth, and to press the complementary thought that specific efforts after the cultivation of specific virtues and all the more if they are virtues that are not natural to us, for the gospel is given to us to mend our natural tempers, it is therefore the responsibility of all Christian people that would seek to live as Christ would have them. Further, the right attitude for any man who knows himself down to the roots of his being, to put an end to any undue exaltation of ourselves. We must try to cultivate this temper, by looking toward God, in prayer and having communion with Him. Focusing on Him as the Giver of anything in us that is good, and that annihilates our pride.

Peter began verse 5, by exhorting the young men be subject to the elders. "In the same way, you younger men, be subject to the elders." I imagine, his thought process was that young men who tend to at times be a bit over zealous, and aggressive. And young men who are infatuated with their own ideas and tend to think somewhat unfavorably about the ideas of an older generation, young men who might be aspiring toward leadership, to a shepherd's role, so Peter is reminding these young men who would likely be the most head-strong in an assembly of believers that they are to be subject to the elders. This would essentially be a non issue for women, as they are already subject to their husbands, or older men, who would be more mature. Therefore, it would likely be these younger men, who would pose the greatest threat to the assembly. However, I believe the overall spirit behind his words, pervades the entire congregation, "be subject to the elders." Peter implies that all believers, are to subject to those who are over them. The word used here, is the Greek word, hupotassō, meaning to arrange under, obey, to be under obedience. So Peter is exhorting these young men to get in line, in obedience to those who are over them. In others words, it's a matter of respecting your elders. Spiritual maturity always calls for an attitude of submission.

While I have not personally experienced this issue, I can tell you this much, in speaking with a number of colleagues who are also in ministry, who have dealt with this particular issue, it is very disheartening to stand in the pulpit before a congregation, delivering a Word from God, to a group of congregants who have no respect for those who are in spiritual authority over them. And, the same is true for a congregation who is under the authority of poor spiritual leadership. The people of God must learn to submit themselves to those in spiritual leadership.  And it is not a matter of perfection on our part.  Because, believe me, we're not perfect, in fact, far from it but it is a matter of spiritual authority and that you are to submit to it. 

In verse 6, he says, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time " Humble yourselves therefore, here Peter is saying, be willing to take a low place, such a place as becomes you. Do not arrogate to yourselves what does not belong to you. Under the mighty hand of God; refers to the calamities which He brought upon them, or was about to bring upon them; the hand being that by which we accomplish anything. When that hand was upon them they were not to be lifted up with pride and with a spirit of rebellion, but were to take a lowly place before Him, and submit to Him with a calm mind, believing that He would exalt them in due time. In other words, that He would lift His heavy hand, and raise them up from their state of persecution and suffering. There is no situation in which one will be more likely to feel humility than in times of affliction. The mighty hand of God, by which He is able to beat down those that are proud and high, and to defend or exalt those that are humble and lowly. The mighty hand of God has different meanings at different times, sometimes, it's deliverance, yet it is always, the mighty hand of God.  That's the mighty hand of God.

"However, I know that the king of Egypt will not allow you to go, unless he is forced by a strong hand.  I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles that I will perform in it. After that, he will let you go. And I will give these people such favor in the sight of the Egyptians that when you go, you will not go empty-handed."
Exodus 3:19-21

In John 13, we're told the story of when Jesus looked and saw that the disciples’ feet were not washed, Jesus, demonstrated Himself what it means to be clothed in humility. "So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself.  Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.  He came to Simon Peter, who asked Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterward you will know.”  “You will never wash my feet—ever!” Peter said. Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me." I wouldn't be at all surprised, if our beloved Peter, was thinking of this incident, when he said, "And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble." Beloved, that's the great thing about having God as your clothing designer, one size fits all. It perfectly fits every single one of us. We must understand that key to humility is to understand that others are not any more or less important than you are, however, we are to serve others before ourselves. Peter references Proverbs 3:34 to support his instruction; "He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble." You may recall that in James 4:6, he also quotes this same Proverbs verse; "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Humility, humble, and haughty must be prodigious virtue to God, it is recorded in both the Old and New testaments, nearly 100 times.

So Scripture clearly affirms that God resists the proud, but do we know why?  The short answer is, He despises it. He hates it. But why? Why does God hate the proud? Perhaps the best answer is found in the book of  Ezekiel 28:12-19, where we're told the story; Allow me to just read to you what it says there; "You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God. Every kind of precious stone covered you: carnelian, topaz, and diamond,
beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and emerald. Your mountings and settings were crafted in gold; they were prepared on the day you were created. You were an anointed guardian cherub, for I had appointed you. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the fiery stones. From the day you were created you were blameless in your ways until wickedness was found in you. Through the abundance of your trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I expelled you in disgrace from the mountain of God, and banished you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud because of your beauty; For the sake of your splendor you corrupted your wisdom. So I threw you down to the earth; I made you a spectacle before kings. You profaned your sanctuaries by the magnitude of your iniquities in your dishonest trade. So I made fire come from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of everyone watching you. All those who know you among the nations are appalled at you. You have become an object of horror and will never exist again." So God's grace is reserved for the humble.

In Philippians 2:3-11, the apostle Paul says, "Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.  Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth— and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

And in Isaiah 66:2,  Isaiah says, "My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being.
This is the Lord’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at My word."

Peter begins his great epistle, saying that we had ought to humble ourselves toward others, so that we would know God's grace rather than opposition. Then, Peter becomes more direct in his exhortation, telling us that we not only better humble ourselves toward one another, But also God. You know, I hear a great many Christians who tout the phrase,  Christ is our example, but how many of us actually live by His example? How many Christ-like attributes are we demonstrating to the world by our lives. I have to tell you, the term Christian, has got to be one of the misused words in our culture today. Everybody can be a Christian, without exhibiting any Christ-like behavior. I mean to say, they talk a good good game, but let's face it, many of them aren't living it. Going to church on Sunday doesn't make you a Christian, no more than standing in your garage makes you a car. 

Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus was humble. And Jesus humbled Himself, and washed the feet of His disciples. Jesus wasn't bursting with pride, and believe me, if anyone on the face of this earth could, Jesus Christ could have been filled with pride, yet, He was humble and served others. What other King do you know, or have even heard of that does that?  Mark 10:42 says, "Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them.  But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many."

And so now, verse 7. In verse 7, Peter says, "casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you." The words are taken out of, or at least refer to Psalm 55:22, where, instead of "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken", the Septuagint have it,; the care of the body, and of all the affairs of life, concerning which saints should not be anxiously thoughtful, but depend upon the providence of God, though in the diligent use of means, which is not forbidden, nor discouraged by this, or any such like exhortation; as also the care of the soul, and the spiritual and eternal welfare of it. In Psalm 84:11 it says, "For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory. He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity." God concerns himself in the affairs of his servants, and in whatsoever befalls them, and takes diligent care that no good thing be wanting to them. That secure feeling of having your parent tuck you in safely at bedtime, when you were younger. Those were the days, right? When a hug and a kiss somehow made everything OK.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25, just how much our Father cares for us; "This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?  Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying?  And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these!  If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith?"

In verse 8, Peter issues a warning of the impending looming danger: "Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour." 

In James 4. verse 7, James tells us, "Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!"

And in Ephesians 6:14, Paul says, "Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word."

In Closing,

Beloved, I'd just like to say here, that it proves nothing for u to question whether we are the accepted of God, whether we are beloved by him, when we suffer. Scripture has shown, for even those whom God has loved most, His own Son, Jesus Christ,  have been among the greatest sufferers. 

In our fallen human nature,  we often think that our sufferings are more severe, unjust and unique; as if there has never before been none like them. Yet, if we  would only stop to realize, if we only knew all, we would find that thousands, even among them the most wise, the pure, and the good, who have endured sufferings of the same kind, and perhaps, in the case of our Lord Jesus, far more intense.
God's love for us doesn't insure that we will never be asked to endure sufferings, but, we do have His promise, that we will never be asked to endure it alone.

Like God, Himself, His promises are eternal. Yesterday, today and until the end of the age, God will not forsake those of us who believe.

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

Copyright © 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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