1 Peter 5:1-4 NIV
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
The elders within the church are not just men who are old. They should be men who are mature in the faith and who meet the biblical requirements for an elder. But, that is not always, or perhaps even not normally the case.
Yet, these are men selected among us to lead us spiritually, to shepherd us, to guide us in the way that we should go – to nurture, encourage, help, and to lead us, too, by example.
And, they may not be just those who have the position called “elder.” But, they are pastors, deacons, Bible study leaders, Sunday school teachers, small group leaders, husbands, and fathers, too. For, God has given to the men within the church the spiritual responsibility for those underneath their care, whether at official gatherings of the church, or whether at home.
The emphasis here, though, is mostly about how these men treat those under their care, and about how they should lead them by their own example of how they live their lives, and not just by their words.
What the Lord is pointing out to me this morning is how so many of the men within our church congregations, who are supposed to be leading those under their care to walk in holiness, purity and righteousness – and not just in words only, but by example – are failing big time! And, a big reason they are failing is because they are caught up in sinful practices themselves, and so they can’t lead others to do what they themselves are not doing.
So many of them have eyes that are full of adultery, who are secretly engaged in the lusts of the flesh, and who are concealing their sins with lies and deception. They are involved in what is twisted, immoral, impure and a waste of their time, void of anything good, and harmful to themselves and to others, especially to those whom they are to be leading by example and by love.
To the Living Water
They are supposed to be leading those under their authority, and under their care, to the Living Water that gives life to all those who will listen, and to all who will follow our Lord in surrender, and in death to sin, and in living to righteousness. And, so the Lord, as well as many of those who are godly, who are walking in His ways, are encouraging these men that direction, too.
But, many of them are so busy worshiping their idols, which will never satisfy, that they are AWOL when it comes to shepherding those under their care and to leading them by example to the Living Water which gives life.
Many of these shepherds are concerned with building their earthly kingdoms and with doing what will puff themselves up and will make themselves feel important. Many of them are focused on amusing the people with jokes and video clips and skits, and the like, so that the people will like them and will want to come back, or in order to distract them and to keep them from obeying the truth, for many of them are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
But, they are neglecting truth and mercy and righteousness and purity. For, they are so busy entertaining everyone, that they are not leading people to the Living Water.
They make claims to believing and to preaching the true gospel of grace, but what many of them are offering is a false grace gospel, which has replaced the true gospel of grace in their own hearts, first, and then in what they teach others, too.
But, this false grace gospel comes right from the pit of hell, for it is opposed to the cross of Christ. For, it does not live or preach death to sin and living to righteousness. Rather it coddles people in their sin and it tells them they can continue to live in sin and still have eternal life with God, which is a lie from hell (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8, etc.).
So, be careful whose example you are following, for not everyone who claims to be a follower of Christ truly is a follower of Christ, and not everything presented as the true gospel of grace is truly the gospel of grace as taught by Jesus and his NT apostles. Just because it sounds good or feels good or looks good doesn’t mean it is good. So, know what the scriptures teach, and follow what they teach, too.
1 Peter 5:5-7 NIV
In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Yes, we should submit to those in authority over us, but only as much as Jesus submitted to those in authority over him when he walked this earth.
In other words, we don’t submit to sin or to watering down the gospel or to treating people badly, or to hypocrisy, or to false religion or to lies and deception, etc. We submit as we would to the Lord, in the same manner as we would to the Lord, according to his Word, and according to his requirements for us as his followers, but never to disobedience to our Lord.
And, yes, we should humble ourselves before God and in humility toward one another, and not be proud. But, we must guard against the way in which Satan and his followers twist the scriptures to their advantage to try to lead us away from our pure devotion to Christ.
For, they teach a false humility which honors the flesh and not the Lord, and which centers more on pleasing humans than it centers on pleasing God. They will try to convince you that if you are confident in your walk of faith with Jesus Christ that you are self-righteous and that you think you are better than everyone else.
And, they will try to convince you that sharing the gospel with people and teaching repentance is judgmental and hateful and prideful, too. And, they will try to convince you, too, that kindness and love have to do with telling people what they want to hear, not what they need to hear, and that we are only supposed to say what makes people feel good.
But, true humility under God’s mighty hand submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, it dies to sin and self, and it lives to Christ and to his righteousness. True humility before God, too, is willing to be rejected and mistreated and misunderstood and falsely accused for the sake of Christ and his gospel, and for the salvation of human lives. So, don’t be caught up in deception. Keep following your Lord Jesus in what he says we must do!
1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Oh, Yes! We need to be so alert, especially in the times in which we now live in which deception is everywhere, and where liars and deceivers are the ones in positions of rule and authority over us, and where the gospel is being turned upside down to allow us to keep on in our sinful addictions while giving us a false hope of eternal life with God.
Satan is lurking at every corner, and he has his hordes everywhere, in the church, in the government, in our neighborhoods and even in our own homes. And, he is out to destroy us in every way that he can. So, we must be so alert to his tricks and schemes, and to his lies and deceptions.
And, that is why I will continue to caution believers in Jesus to be very guarded with regard to TV watching and to viewing movies, etc., for they can be so hypnotic and mind-controlling, and you may not even realize you are being duped by master manipulators.
So, don’t believe everything you see or hear. Anything can be faked these days. Pray for much wisdom and discernment. And, inquire of the Lord as to what is true and what is false.
1 Peter 5:10-12 NIV
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.
We are going to face much opposition to the true gospel of grace the closer we get to our Lord’s return, so we need to be on guard against our enemy, the devil, and pray much in the Spirit, and make certain that we are following our Lord in full surrender and that we are not giving the devil a foothold in our own lives.
Know what the scriptures teach with regard to our salvation, and don’t just follow a couple of scriptures pulled out of context. For, scripture teaches that we will reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8; cf. Rom. 8:1-17).
So, know the truth and follow the truth, for the truth will set you free.
An Original Work / November 21, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
My people have forsaken Me,
Their Savior, who died on a tree;
Made idols, and they worshipped them;
So empty, they will ne’er fulfill.
Lord, You are the hope of Your chosen ones.
Those who turn away from You will be shamed;
The Spring of Living Water left behind.
Living Water satisfies.
The thirsty, let them come and drink;
Believe in Jesus as their King;
The gift of Jesus given them,
So they will never thirst again.
Indeed, the Living Water flows within.
It springs up like a fountain cleansing sin.
Eternal life in heaven promised them.
Living Water glorifies.
Oh people, won’t you come to Him?
Obey Him and repent of sin.
Let Jesus come and live within.
Surrender all your life to Him.
My people, won’t you turn your hearts to Me?
Forsake your idols and then you’ll be free.
Won’t you come now to Me on bended knee?
Living Water sanctifies.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus. May we all find the true Living Water that will be in us a well of water springing up to eternal life. Amen!