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Together We Overcome

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
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November 30, 2020 9:00 am

Together We Overcome

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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November 30, 2020 9:00 am

We come to the end of our time in 1 Peter. Our theme has been “together we endure”---together, we press through these tough times. The last few verses are about how not to simply survive in a hostile, cruel, chaotic world, but how to thrive.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. 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. Happy Monday and welcome to Summit Life with pastor and author J.D.

Greer. I'm Molly Vidovitch. Today we come to the end of our teaching in 1 Peter. Our theme has been Together We Endure. Together we press through tough times. Peter talks a lot about suffering, frustration, and patience.

So it's clear why this book is so relevant to us right now. The last few verses are about how to not simply survive in a hostile, cruel, chaotic world, but how to thrive. Be sure to stick around to the end of the show today for a special word from Pastor J.D.

But for now, let's learn how to overcome. Our theme in 1 Peter has been Together We Endure. Together as a church, we press through a really tough time. You 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 to the entire book. 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, and 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. 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, all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because God resists the proud, but he gives grace to the humble, a quote from Proverbs 3. Humble yourselves, verse 6, therefore under the mighty hand of God so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him because he cares about you.

Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anybody that he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world. Hey, can we all just read these last two verses out loud together? All together, out loud, here we go. Verse 10, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while. To him be dominion forever. Amen.

Amen. 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 five, humble yourselves before God. In other words, don't try to get ahead of him.

Verse seven, 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, well, then 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 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. Guess who gets asked 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 and 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.

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 see 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, 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, but 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, 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. 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. 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. 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, had a 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. 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. 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. I will take responsibility for it. 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.

That'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. 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 from 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. 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. 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? 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. He 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 happen 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've got to be frequent in prayer. You've got to stay close to God. You've got to repent and confess your sin often so that he has no foothold to work from. You've got to memorize his word. You've got to keep faithfully doing the right thing. You don't just give in and go along. You fight. Now, here's one.

You've 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. 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. They know what that means. 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. 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. 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've suffered 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, the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples slept. They weren't sober and alert. 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, 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've 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. Together we endure. And Peter says, peace to all of you who are in Christ. We are family and we're in this together.

We don't want to simply survive these days. And Pastor JD gave us seven incredible ways that we can actually overcome. You're listening to Pastor JD Greer and Summit Life. So tomorrow is an international holiday known as Giving Tuesday. We have a really cool opportunity here on Summit Life to make an impact on church planting in southwest Germany.

If you've been with us for very long, you know the value that we place on church planting. Molly, I did not know that was an international holiday. I'd heard of Giving Tuesday, but I didn't know it was internationally recognized.

I guess it makes it really appropriate that our gift is international. I mean, one of the things we want to do is be able to support a family living on mission, a church planting family that I know personally and love very much. Rich and Julia Rudolph, they're three children in a very unevangelized part of Germany, where the gospel is hardly known. They've been a part of our church for more than 10 years, and they've been in southwest Germany for the past seven of those 10 in the city of St. Wendell. It's a great work. I've had a chance to visit personally, and it's a really exciting thing for our church to be a part of.

And I want to give our Summit Life listeners a chance to be a part of it as well. They work within a regional German church planting network that facilitates leadership training, church restoration work, and is involved in church planting in an area that, yes, Germany has a Christian past, but if you know anything about Europe, we're talking about wide open places in Germany with lots of people where there are no gospel preaching churches. What's special about this Giving Tuesday is that every gift tomorrow is going to be matched up to $10,000. All funds are going to be given to their after-school programs that present people, present young German teenagers with the gospel to refugee outreaches there, and a lot of summer camps that are just very effective in their ministry strategy.

They've got a great need for a sports field facility that can be used all year long. All this giving is going to go to help be able to give them some of those tools. We're praying that God would supply the support necessary to help turn part of their parking lots into a field so that they can use it more effectively for outreach programs. So if that kind of thing stirs your heart and you're excited about what God is doing in Germany, let me ask you to go to any time tomorrow, make a gift donation, and again, we're going to match it, everything we receive, up to $10,000. We are thrilled to have the Rudolph family as a part of our church body, and I'm excited to be able to give you a chance to be able to participate in their incredible ministry as well. This is pretty exciting. That's every gift given tomorrow at or call us at 866-335-5220.

That's 866-335-5220. I'm Molly Vidovitch, and I hope you're ready for a challenging week of teaching here on the program. God wants to multiply our lives, but that journey begins when we take our hands off of everything we own and love and trust in and venture into the unknown. Be sure to join us Tuesday when we kick off a new series here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-15 20:17:40 / 2023-08-15 20:28:57 / 11

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