This week, Pastor Chris wrapped up our 1 Peter series with a word about how followers of Jesus should respond to adversity. Closing out his first letter, Peter offers clear understanding for what the Bible says about overcoming spiritual attack. In order to find safety and overcome adversity, we must be and find a safe shepherd, have spiritual covering, find your crew before your crisis, and stand firm to the end.
- Safe Shepherds – Be a safe shepherd and find a safe shepherd to follow. Shepherds guard, protect, and live with their sheep in mind. This means we ought to care for and serve the body of Christ around us.
1 Peter 5:1–4 (ESV)
1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
- Safe Shepherds Do:
- Exercise oversight
- Serve willingly, as God would have them
- Eagerly, as examples to the flock
- Serve the Chief Shepherd and His flock
- Safe Shepherds Don’t:
- Serve under compulsion
- Do it for shameful gain
- Lead in a domineering way
2. Safety Under Covering – Spiritual covering is part of God’s ordained plan. The devil will seek to tell us that covering isn’t safe. There is great victory and protection to be found under covering. It is a sign of maturity to submit to Godly authority.
1 Peter 5:5–7 (ESV)
5 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.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
What is humility?
- Humility is not thinking less of yourself. Humility is thinking of yourself less.
- Humility permits you to accept help from God & others.
- Humility is not essentially self-denial but losing ourselves in service of others.
Characteristics of Humility:
- Admitting our weaknesses.
- Being patient with others’ weaknesses.
- Being open to correction.
- Pointing the spotlight at others.
- The Victorious Christian Life will be marked by:
- Submission (:5)
- Humility (:5-6)
- Trust in God (:7)
- The Tormented Christian Life is:
Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)
…he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
- Do you need to tell your side of the story?
- Do you struggle with thoughts of distrust or suspicion?
- Do you revisit and rehearse past hurts?
3. Safety in Numbers – Resisting the devil is not a solo mission. We need to lock our shields with others in order to live in an overcoming way.We must be willing to open our lives and find our crew before the crisis.
1 Peter 5:8–9 (ESV)
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” C.S. Lewis
4. Standing Firm to the End – Choose to persevere. The Lord will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
1 Peter 5:10–14 (ESV)
10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. 13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
- Do you have a safe shepherd? Are you considered a safe shepherd? Why do you think both are important to overcome adversity?
- What is spiritual covering and why is it important? Are you currently under covering?
- Which of these characteristics of humility do you find most difficult to live out: admitting your weaknesses, being patient with others’ weaknesses, being open to correction, pointing the spotlight at others?
- Pastor Chris said that pride blinds us, often in 3 ways (you need to tell your side of the story, you struggle with thoughts of distrust or suspicion, you revisit and rehearse past hurts) Have you been blinded by any of these areas?
- Where do you lie on the spectrum of living independently versus in community? Why is it important for a follower of Jesus to have community?
- Answer this honestly: if everyone at City Central was like you (served like you, tithed like you, loved like you), how healthy would we be? Is your answer convicting? What would you need to shift in your life to change your answer?
- How can you exercise being a safe shepherd? Find an area to serve this week and choose to give your life away.
- Write down your answer to question 3 in the discussion questions. How can you seek to grow in this particular area this week? Make a game plan for how you will walk in the opposite spirit.