Share This Episode
Summit Life J.D. Greear Logo

Together We Overcome

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
August 9, 2020 6:00 am

Together We Overcome

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1078 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

August 9, 2020 6:00 am

This may be the most encouraging message you didn’t want to hear. In this final message on 1 Peter, Pastor J.D. shows how Christians can survive in a hostile, cruel, and chaotic world. In fact, not only can we survive; we can thrive. But it’s not how we might expect. Following Peter’s example, we’ll see that the Christian life, while far better, is not necessarily easier.

Beacon Baptist
Gregory N. Barkman
Line of Fire
Dr. Michael Brown
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
In Touch
Charles Stanley
Wisdom for the Heart
Dr. Stephen Davey
In Touch
Charles Stanley

Well, here we are at our last message on 1 Peter. Next week, we're going to take the Lord's Supper together, and then the week after that, we're going to start a series that explores the core of Jesus' call to His people.

We're going to call that series Be the Movement, and I am super excited about it. By the way, I know that a lot of you have questions about going to church, what it's going to look like this fall. As you know, after a lot of prayer and counsel, we have decided, barring some miraculous reversal, we've decided to not meet altogether each weekend as one body.

Until the end of the year. But we believe that we can and should still gather, so we're going to substitute gathering as several thousand with smaller gatherings in other ways. Now, we're still working out the details on all of this and making sure that we are aligned with CDC recommendations to make sure that you are kept safe and that our community is kept safe. But we are figuring out what it's going to look like to gather in home groups, on our premises, with outdoor baptisms, and prayer, fellowships, and et cetera. Hear me, we are going to gather and we want to gather.

It just has to look different in this season. In the next few weeks, each of our campuses is going to spell out what it will look like for you at your campus because gathering, we know it's an important part of the body of Christ and it's something that we need to do together. So just stay tuned, more on that to come here in the days to come. Our theme in 1 Peter has been together we endure. Together as a church, we press through, a really tough time. Remember, Peter writes this letter of 1 Peter to a church in exile, literally in exile. Persecution and hardship had driven them from their homelands, and so Peter talks a lot about suffering and frustration and patience. I think it's been pretty clear why this book is so relevant to us. We come now to Peter's final instructions in chapter 5.

The whole chapter is great, but we're really going to focus on verses 5 through 11 because that's his wrap-up. Listen, this might be the most encouraging message that you did not want to hear. The Christian life is hard. It is far better, of course, than the alternatives, but it's not necessarily easier. In fact, following Jesus sometimes intensifies the hardship that you live with.

Peter's talked about that. These last verses are about how not to simply survive in a hostile, cruel, chaotic world, but how to thrive, how to overcome. It seems like everybody today loves these survival shows. There's a bunch of them, Naked and Afraid, which a lot of you watch but never admit to watching. By the way, that is not what it sounds like. I know it sounds kind of bad, but it's a show where they basically drop two people out in the remote wilderness with literally nothing but a pot, a fire starter, and a knife, and see if they can survive for 21 days.

The first order of business is usually making clothes. One of our small group leaders told me that he and his wife had started to watch a few episodes, and their small group was over one evening, and they didn't have a babysit. So they put their kids up in their bedroom to watch TV during small groups, some kid's show, Dora the Explorer, or whatever. Well, evidently, their DVR was set to record that show, Naked and Afraid.

And you know how sometimes when you do that, it'll switch off of what you're watching when it starts recording and go to that show? Well, that's what it did for the kids. So right in the middle of small group, their four-year-old son kind of ambles down the stairs and says, Dad, that show you and mom like to watch, but the naked people came on. To the whole small group, that kid announces that.

So group accountability, okay? Naked and afraid, then there's man versus wild, out of the wild, worst-case scenario, I survived, I shouldn't be alive, beyond survival, and then maybe my personal favorite, fat guys in the woods. This passage is about how to survive and to thrive and overcome in a hostile world. Listen, I do not know about you, but I am tired of just surviving these days.

Am I talking to anybody out there? I don't want to just make it. I want to look back on this season as some of the best days of my life, even if they've been some of the hardest. Let's just read verses 5 through 10, can we? Verse 5, Hey, can we all just read these last two verses out loud together?

All together, out loud, here we go. Verse 10, Here's the first principle for how to overcome. Number one, you've got to embrace that waiting is normal.

Let me make one of the most important statements that some of you will ever have heard. Waiting on God is a normal part of the Christian life. Every word in these verses points to what to do when you're in a situation you don't like and that you want God to change, that you're suffering, you are the victim of injustice, something, and you want God to change the situation and you're not quite sure why he doesn't. That's the backdrop for every single one of the rest of these commands in these verses. Verse 5, humble yourselves before God. In other words, don't try to get ahead of him.

Verse 7, cast your cares on him while you wait. I mean, if you know help is right around the corner, you might be able to hang on and carry the load yourself, but if it's going to be a while, you need him to help you shelter the load. I mean, my kids, any time that they're holding something that weighs more than three ounces for any length of time, they ask me to hold on to it. We go to Disney World and I say, you don't need all that stuff in your backpack. They've got sunglasses and binoculars and all these metal water bottles and the complete collector's edition set of Harry Potter books. And I'm like, you don't need all that, but they bring them anyway. And while we're walking through the parking lot, they're all excited and they're bouncing with the stuff in their backpack, but you know this, parents. Three minutes inside the gate to carry that backpack the rest of the day, right?

Me, they just can't endure very long. Well, Jesus said, when it's going to be a long day, when it feels like it's going to be a long day, let me carry that load. I'll take it. Verse 6, he says, at the proper time, that is his proper time, not yours. He's going to exalt you. When he decides the time is right and his purposes have been accomplished, then he will restore, establish, strengthen and support you. After you have suffered, verse 10, a little while, he'll restore it.

Establish you. And you ask, well, how long is a little while? Well, we don't know.

That's the point. You're waiting. You're waiting. The whole passage has you in a posture of waiting. So let me say it again. Waiting on God is a normal part of the Christian life.

Can I just be honest with you? I don't like waiting on God. But if our Bible shows me anything, it shows me that waiting is the normal experience of God's children. And a lot of them are confused.

And that's why some of us are confused. When you read the prophets and psalms, you're struck with how much of their lives is spent in a posture of waiting. The prophet Jeremiah, who spent many years unjustly imprisoned in a dungeon just for speaking truth to the king, he has a whole book called Lamentations where he basically just laments, cries out to God and says, why God?

Where are you? Have you forsaken me? Throughout the psalms, King David says things like, I'm in a pit. My enemies have overwhelmed me. My friends have betrayed me.

Darkness is my only friend. Why do you feel so far from me, God? Before God performed the exodus, Israel waited for 400 years in slavery. That's what, 10 generations?

Twice as long as our country has even been in existence? And by the way, this wasn't like a punishment for their sins either. It was just a God, where are you kind of time. God had Israel wait again for 400 years between the last prophet of the Old Testament and the birth of Jesus. 400 years of God, where are you?

Have you forgotten us? Just silence. Isaiah describes that time as like sitting in darkness. Other Bible heroes like Joseph sat in prison for years waiting on God, or Job who waited for years before God restored his fortunes to him. And here in 1 Peter, I want to say Peter expects these believers, he expects us to find ourselves in a posture like this also of waiting.

Here's something you don't want to hear, but you really need to hear. Waiting on God is a normal part of the Christian experience. The prophet Jeremiah would say it this way, it is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It's good.

You say, why? Well, honestly, I don't know all the answers to that. But I do know from experience that there are things that you can learn in a time of waiting that you just won't learn any other way. I'll tell you that Lamentations 3.26 is a verse that God has been using in my life lately. It is good for me to sit quietly and wait for God's salvation. It's good for me to find myself in that posture of helplessness as I wait on God. Andrew Murray, 19th century Christian pastor, he called waiting on God the most essential part of the Christian life. He called waiting on God the highest expression of salvation, the only true expression of Christianity. So waiting is normal.

What you're experiencing, the questions that go with that, it's normal. And here's the good news. Just like here in 1 Peter, God promises good things to those who wait. Jeremiah, Lamentations 3, verse 25 says the Lord is good to those who wait for Him. Here, Peter says God will exalt, He will restore, He will establish, strengthen and support you. Can I tell you, no one, no one who has waited on God has ever been let down, ever.

And you will not be the first. He always comes through and He will for you. So let me just ask, where are you waiting on the goodness of God right now? I mean, maybe it's in regards to a kid that you really want to see come back to God and you pray and you pray and you pray and you stand like the Father in the story of the prodigal son and you just wait. It's good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Maybe you're being treated unfairly by your spouse, maybe you're being slandered at work, maybe you feel like in some situation you just can't get justice. It's good. It's good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Maybe you're in financial duress or you just need guidance and support in a situation. It's good for you that you should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Maybe it's just in regards to COVID-19, when's it going to end?

And when's life going to go back to normal? It's good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him. He will, Peter says, exalt, restore, establish, strengthen, and support you. By the way, Peter's not only talking about this help and this restoration as if... He's not only talking about heaven.

Of course, he's talking about that. Peter is expecting earthly fulfillment of God's goodness. He's expecting God to show up in their lives. Sometimes Christians will think like, well, I know it'll all be better when we all get to heaven, what a glorious, wonderful day that will be. But they don't expect anything good down here.

Peter expects it to happen on earth. In the Psalms, David says pretty bluntly, are dead people able to praise you? Can dead people proclaim your unfailing goodness? Can they stand up and testify to other people about how good you have been and put on display the goodness of God? No, he said, but I'm convinced that I will be able to look on the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. In other words, before I die and get to heaven so that I can tell other people about it.

Joseph and Job and David all got to see God's goodness break out in the land of the living, in their lifetimes. And Peter expects that to happen for us also. If we don't get resolution until heaven, that's okay. But we are eagerly waiting for it now. Jesus was not resurrected in the body on earth so that we, his followers, could manage a slow retreat and just make it to heaven by the skin of our teeth. Jesus overcame the powers of death on earth so that we could see the outworkings of that power in our lives.

That we could see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living in our days. So the question is, can you wait? Can you wait like Peter is telling them to wait? Listen, I really want you to personalize this. I don't want to just have you write down notes or just listen. I want you to take some time to make this yours. I'm going to put some time there on the screen. I want you to fill in this blank right in your heart, okay? God, I choose to believe it is good that I should wait quietly during... And then you fill in that blank. Hey, could we all just pray this together now?

I'll put the words here on the screen. Let's pray it out loud together, okay? Lord, it is good for me to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. You are good to those of us who wait for you, to those who hope in your steadfast love. Amen.

Amen. Number two, Peter says you should humble yourselves. That's in verse six. This is part of effective waiting.

In context, that's going to mean a couple of things. The first is simply you need to receive this waiting as a good purpose of God. Receive it as a part of God's goodness in your life and don't rage against this time of waiting. The second aspect of humility is just admit you need help. Pride says, I don't need help. I can get through this.

I'll make it. It's not really an addiction. It's not really a crisis. I can fix all my own problems. Everything's going to be fine, right? This command to humility is an invitation for you just to admit you need help.

In fact, I love this command because it's not really like a command. Like, hey, be humble. It's stop pretending you don't need help and just admit it. Friend, the only thing you need to access God's help is need.

All you need is need. Luke 18, Jesus tells the story of two men who go up to the temple to pray. One man was religiously and professionally accomplished.

That sense of self-sufficiency, it filled his heart as he prayed. Jesus said that God did not even listen to that man. By contrast, you got a man in the back of the worship area, a despised sinner with a messed up life. He's so ashamed to be there among God's people that he didn't want his face to be seen.

He sits in the back so that nobody can recognize him. And he just kind of bemoans how unworthy he is. But that man, Jesus says, left with the help from God that he needed.

All you need is need. Without need, you'll never get God's help. Number three, number three, Peter says you should cast all your cares on him. Verse seven.

Y'all, I love this verse also. Literally in Greek, it means hurl, hurl it onto God and leave it. He's not just telling you to pray about it. A lot of times we'll pray about our worries and then when we're done praying, we pick them right back up and put them back on our shoulders.

What Jesus is saying is hurl it onto me. Actually make me responsible for that problem. Set it on my shoulders, I'll carry it.

And by the way, that doesn't mean that you don't ever do anything about the problem. Just that the burden of the problem, the responsibility of making it work out, that's no longer on you, right? You put it on him. You've cast it onto him. It's his problem now, not yours. And he may get you to do some things with it, but the weight of solving that problem is not on you. It's on him. He bears the weight of responsibility for solving it. You just bear the responsibility to obey. Hurl it on me, he says.

Make me the owner of it, right? I will take responsibility for it. I'll tell you, I've had a huge problem with this throughout my life. I would pray about a problem, but as moment I'm done praying, I pick up the weight of that problem and put it right back on me as the moment I say amen. So it was a little thing that I started to do to help me with this. I would just say to God after I prayed about some problem, I would say, God, I trust you with this.

Meaning it's yours, not mine. What a friend we have in Jesus. All our griefs with him, we share what a privilege to carry. Everything to God in prayer.

And then we leave it there. I'll tell you one other thing here that's interesting about this word. The word cast in Greek is a participle that modifies the verb. The verb is humble yourselves. Cast your care is a participle, meaning it's a way that you humble yourself. Casting your care on Jesus is a form of humility. You see, the opposite of casting is worry, and that's an expression of pride. Worry is a form of pride because it carries concerns upon oneself instead of entrusting those concerns to God.

So casting our cares on him is an expression of our humility. Here's number four. Number four, he says, be sober-minded. That's verse eight.

See the world clearly. You say, how so, Peter? Well, he says, because, see this, your adversary, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for anybody that he can devour.

It's verse eight. There is an enemy in this world whose goal is to kill, to steal, and to destroy. He wants to destroy the church. He wants to destroy the work of God in your life. He wants to destroy you and your family, period.

C.S. Lewis in his great book, Screwtape Letters, said that Christians make two primary mistakes in regards to Satan and the demonic realm. He says, first of all, some people give Satan way too much credit.

Every flat tire is cause of some demon. And he said in their life, that's Satan. Satan got me fired. Nope, nope, that was you coming into work late 10 days in a row, all right? So that's one mistake, blaming everything on Satan. The other mistake, and maybe even more problematic, are those who seem totally unaware of his work at all. Well, my son just made some bad choices.

He just got in with the wrong friends. Don't you see how Satan could be at work there? Or maybe in some temptation you're dealing with, something your family's going through, something plaguing our church, right?

Isn't this what Peter is telling us? Like, hey, there's an enemy in the book of Job. Satan is the one that causes Job's financial issues.

He causes Job's family strife. In the book of Job, Satan causes weather problems, health problems. Some of these things that you're dealing with are from Satan. Satan is described as being the prince of the power of the air, which means he's everywhere.

He's not the ruler, but he's everywhere. Friend, I mean, can't you see him roaring today in problems that are plaguing our society and the church? In the world, last month, over 300 Christians were killed for following Jesus.

And that's pretty much the average every month. Over 200 churches get destroyed by vandalism every week or some kind of persecution, tearing them down. Over 800 Christians in the space of a week will be beaten, tortured, or imprisoned due to their faith.

Places like Iran and Iraq and Somalia and Sudan and Libya and Yemen and Eritrea and China and North Korea and Morocco, even places like Malaysia. We should not forget about our brothers and sisters over there, but we should also realize that Satan has his own plans for the church in the West, and you've got to be sober about that. I can see him at work and how much he has attacked marriages and families in this season. Make no mistake about it. He wants your complete destruction. He is coming for you. By the way, before I go on to the next command there, that word sober meant then what it means today. It means don't get drunk. That's the third time Peter uses the word sober in this book, and that's not accidental because most people in stress and hard times do what?

They drown their problems in alcohol or some kind of distraction. Peter says you can't afford to drown your troubles in alcohol because there's an enemy at work prowling around and he's trying to destroy you. You've got to be sober and open-minded.

You know, I read that in March of this year, ABC stores reported a 75% increase in the sale of hard liquors and it's maintained every month since then, since lockdown started. There is too much happening. Your enemy is coming for you.

You need to be sober-minded. And then number five, he says you've got to be alert. You've got to be alert. Notice he says that Satan roars. Well, lions only roar when they feel like they've won. Lions have two modes, right? Stealth and roar. Stealth when they're hunting their prey, roar when they've got their prey. Peter says we can hear Satan roaring in various parts of the world. If you can't hear him roaring in your life, it's because he's in stealth mode. He's still coming.

He's still there. Be alert. My burden is that some of you are totally unaware. You compromise with sin. You give Satan a foothold in your life. You don't pray much. You don't stay very close to God. You just act like the enemy's not there.

He is. I saw an article that said that the odds of you being attacked by a shark is one in 3.7 million. And still a bunch of you won't get in the water at the beach. Odds of being attacked by a grizzly bear in the woods is one in 2.1 million.

And a lot of people just won't go in the woods or go camping for that reason. Your chances of being attacked by a supernatural lion, one out of one, Peter says. And yet you don't live aware of that. He's got your number.

He's either roaring or he's in stealth mode, but he is there. And Peter says be awake to that. Number six, he says, resist the devil.

Verse nine. I realize in saying all that, you may feel pretty overwhelmed. Like, well, that's discouraging. Peter says you don't need to be discouraged because you can overcome.

Why? Not because you're stronger or smarter than Satan, but because Jesus has already defeated him. On the cross, Jesus said, it is finished. And he was talking about Satan's work. Revelation 20, verse nine tells us about that final battle between Satan and Jesus.

And spoiler alert, okay? It's not really a big fight. In fact, it's a little anticlimactic, to be totally honest.

It takes about a second. Jesus speaks and it's pretty much over. The point is I can bring that kind of confidence into this fight as I resist Satan. I remember reading the story of Henry Stanley who went searching for David Livingston, the missionary explorer in Africa, and there was a lot of warring tribes and a lot of hostile groups that he had to press through. And so Henry Stanley learned of a custom in that part of Africa where when two people wanted to make a peace treaty, two chiefs, they would make a cut on their arm.

Both of them would have the same shape on the cut and then they would bleed in together. And that symbolized that we are now one and what happens to you will happens to me and I will bring my forces to support you. By the time that Henry Stanley got to David Livingston, they said that he had cuts all up and down his arm of all these protections that had been given to him by these various tribal leaders so that when some hostile force came to him, he would just raise his arm and that arm would show that he was protected by forces much stronger than him. What Peter is saying is when your enemy comes, you're pretty much just raising your arm and you're saying that I have the protection of Jesus Christ because he shed his blood to overcome Satan. And when he said it is finished, he was talking about Satan's work against you. The point is you don't need to fear him. You don't need to fear him, but you should also not ignore him. You have to fight him.

That's the way God has appointed it. And you don't fight with the weapons of the flesh. It's not your personality that overcomes him, your wisdom, your resolve, your family.

That's like bringing a knife to a gunfight. You need the weapons of the spirit. You got to be frequent in prayer. You got to stay close to God. You got to repent and confess your sin often so that he has no foothold to work from. You got to memorize his word. You got to keep faithfully doing the right thing. You don't just give in and go along. You fight. Now here's one.

You got to stay in community. Peter writes this letter. It tells him to resist the devil. He tells it to a community.

I remember hearing a story about the famous Maasai warriors in Kenya. And when they're walking around with their sheep and all the sheep start acting skittish, they start seeing some grass that isn't swaying with the rest of the wind, right? They know what that means that there's a lion.

So what do they do? Do they run at it? No, you don't run at a lion. You get together, they say, with the other warriors, and you start making noise to agitate it. Then when the lion attacks, you band together. One warrior showed one of our missionaries some scars on his chest where a lion had attacked him, right? But this guy said, when the lion fell on me, my fellow warriors fell on the lion.

The lion was killed, but this man and his brothers were not. I know some of you are bummed that we can't all meet together right now. I am too, but that doesn't mean we can't gather. It doesn't mean we shouldn't gather. We shouldn't gather, and we're going to be promoting some ways in the next few weeks of how we can still gather for worship and prayer and baptism and fellowship. You need that.

You can't podcast community by yourself, right? So resist the devil. Number seven, last one, embrace grace. This is verse 10. I love this verse too. The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, he will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you suffer just a little while. The God of all grace.

What a great note to end on. Chances are, right, you haven't waited perfectly. You probably, like me, you pretty much fail your times of waiting. You haven't fully humbled yourself. You haven't trusted God. You haven't been sober and awake and alert when it comes to Satan.

You haven't resisted Satan fully. The great news that Peter ends on is it's okay because Jesus did all those things for you. In the greatest hour of temptation and trial ever to occur on earth, right, the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples slept. They weren't sober and alert, right? Jesus had to wake them up three times, but Jesus still went and died for them and defeated Satan and said, it is finished.

He still secured the victory. When you sleep, when you sleep spiritually, and when you mess up, he still got you at any point, no matter how bad you've messed it up, you can turn and say, I need you. I've messed it up.

I'm ready to do it your way. And the God of all grace stands ready to receive you and to offer his protection and his victory. Listen, living for God is hard. Peter will tell you that not living for God is ultimately even harder. Jesus, he says, has dominion.

He overcame the world. You're either going to belong fully to him or you're going to belong fully to the world. There's no middle ground.

You got to choose one or the other. Hey, why not bow your head right here at the end of our study of 1 Peter and just give yourself fully to him, right? In fact, let's everybody, let's bow our heads together. And if this is in your heart, you could pray this prayer with me right now. God, I surrender all my life to you right now. And I receive Jesus as my savior. Amen. If you just pray that prayer, would you just go to slash guest?

And there's a place there that you can let us know about this decision and how we can, how we can support you in it. I'm going to close with the last verse of 1 Peter, verse 14. Greet one another with a kiss of love. I'm going to go ahead and say, let's not do that today. All right. Maybe an air high five instead. The point is not to kiss there. The point is that you and I are connected in ways, even through physical gestures, that shows we're family and we're in this together. Together, we endure and Peter says, peace to all of you who are in Christ.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-06 12:01:15 / 2023-09-06 12:13:28 / 12

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime