Tuesday, October 31, 2017, 3:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Muted Trumpet.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 5 (Quoting select vv. ESV).
Being Examples (vv. 1-5)
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: 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; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 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.”
What is the role of elders within the church (the body of Christ)? They are rulers, preachers, teachers, ministers, directors, guides (leaders), and pastors (shepherds) of God’s people under the direction and supervision of the Lord Jesus Christ, our chief shepherd, and they are his servants. They have the commission of oversight and discipline of the people, but they also have the duty to rule and to guide (lead, direct) the church according to God’s Word, as a shepherd would lead his sheep to pasture (to eat). As shepherds of God’s people, the elders are to keep watch over the people (the sheep), to care for them, to minister to their needs, to lead them in the way of righteousness, to caution them against wandering, and to exercise church discipline, if necessary, to bring a wandering one back into the fold.
Because of the seriousness of their God-given assignment within the body of Christ, elders must meet certain spiritual requirements to even be an elder. They must live lives above reproach, be God-fearing, and not be arrogant or quick-tempered or be drunkards, greedy, or violent. They must be hospitable, lovers of good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. And, an elder “must hold firmly to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it,” etc. (See: Titus 1:5-9; 1 Tim. 3:1-7, 1 Peter 5:1-4).
Other than the part about ruling and overseeing, as members of the body of Christ, we are taught that our lives must reflect these spiritual qualifications or characteristic traits, too. We, as well, are to serve as ministers of the gospel of Christ, and of his love, mercy, grace and compassion. We are to care for one another, encourage (urge, inspire, cheer) one another in the faith, speak the truth in love, and build one another up in Christ to maturity, etc. We are all given spiritual gifts and assignments to be used within the body of Christ for the strengthening, encouragement and spiritual growth of one another. And, we are to serve Christ and one another in Christ’s love, and according to God’s Word (See: Rom. 12; 1 Co. 12; Eph. 4).
As far as elders are concerned, not only must they shepherd God’s flock (his sheep), exercising oversight, willingly, and not under compulsion, and for the right reasons, but they must do so in a manner in which is not domineering (oppressing) over the people, as though they are the masters of the people and that the people are their slaves. Instead, they must serve as examples to the flock. What this means is that they shepherd (lead, guide, direct) God’s people by example and not by words only, not hypocritically, and not harshly or by bullying (intimidating; browbeating).
Although we are certainly not all called to be elders, nor can all of us be elders, many (if not all) of these truths apply to us, as well, in that we should also lead others to walk with Christ, not just by our words, and not arrogantly or through mistreatment, but by example in how we live our lives. The Bible has much to say to us on the subject of being hypocritical. We need to tell others about Jesus Christ, and share the gospel of our salvation with them, and we need to encourage (urge, inspire, cheer) and build up one another in the faith, but we must be so careful to make certain that we are walking the talk and not just talking the walk. Actions speak louder than words, and people will judge our words by what we do. So, we need to take the log out of our own eyes before we try to take the speck out of another’s eye, and then we will see clearly to remove that speck.
Humble Yourselves (vv. 6-11)
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. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 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. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
So, we are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. He is to be our Lord (owner-master) and we his servants. We are not to be arrogant or haughty (conceited, prideful, self-righteous), but we are to be realistic with regard to where we were outside of Christ, when dead in our sins, and acknowledge the fact that it is only by God’s grace that we are now saved from our sins, and that we can even walk righteously before him. We are not to exalt (elevate, applaud) ourselves, but we are to leave that to God. This is not to say that we can never defend ourselves against false accusations, but that we should not go around promoting self, but Christ, who is our lives.
We, too, are to be serious-minded about Christ, about his Word, and concerning our walks of faith. Too many Christians (or professing Christians) do not take God and his Word seriously (to heart), and so they live with one foot, they think, in heaven, and one in the world, which cannot be. If we take God and his Word seriously, we will follow our Lord in obedience and we will do what his Word teaches us we must do, and live how it instructs us to live, not in our own power, but in the power and strength of the Lord. And, we will be watchful about how we live our lives, what we say, what we think and with regard to our attitudes and beliefs (doctrines), to make certain they are in agreement with the teachings of Christ and of his NT apostles.
Yet, we are to be mindful of the fact that we have an enemy whose goal it is to defeat, distract, discredit or to destroy us, so we must actively resist him. Daily we must put on the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks and schemes against us. When he throws his fiery darts our way, we must answer (respond) back with the truth of God’s Word, with steadfastness of faith, with perseverance, confidence in Christ, and trust in our Lord Jesus and in his sovereignty and his faithfulness.
When we are tempted to sin against God, we must flee the sin, throw off any hindrances to our walks of faith and cut out of our lives all which leads us into sin. If we play with fire, we are bound to get burned. We can’t keep tempting fate and not expect to get bit. We have to cut the cancer out so we don’t die. But, we don’t resist and flee in our own strength or willpower, but in the strength and power of God living within us. He is able and he will restore, strengthen and establish us in the faith as we yield to his lordship over our lives, submit to his will and purposes, and walk in obedience to his Word.
Muted Trumpet / An Original Work / October 14, 2011
Softly He speaks gently to us,
Giving us His messages, and
He waits patiently for us to
Respond to His words.
Will you listen to Him speaking?
Will you waken from your sleeping?
He is calling; hear Him whisper
His truth unto you.
Jesus speaks His words unto us,
So that He might live out through us,
Giving light to all who need Him,
So they can obey.
He gave His life to die for us,
So that from sin He would free us
To walk humbly in obedience
Unto Him each day.
Hear the trumpet clearly calling.
He died to keep us from falling.
Won’t you listen; heed His call to
Turn to Him today?
Hasten to Him calling to you.
Turn from sin and follow Jesus.
He loves you so much He gave you