In fact, the average church today essentially announces their distaste for any kind of compromise, any kind of humility, and you can, by the way, see it on church signs. I see them every time I'm out driving around. You see it. What does it say? Early service dash traditional. You might as well write underneath it, this is for old people.
Second service dash contemporary. You might as well write underneath it, this is for the young people. We are literally segregating the assembly by age. Within the body of Christ, in every local church, the old and the young have much to learn from each other. The believer with more experience and maturity should be open to learning from the young. The young believer should be respectful and listen to the wisdom of those who have walked with God for years. But in both cases, it requires humility. It requires the attitude of a servant. That attitude is what we're looking at today. This is wisdom for the heart.
Stephen Davey has a message for you from God's word entitled, April ends for everyone. One of the most life changing, rather staggering moments in the lives of the disciples occurred hours before the crucifixion of the Lord. You're more than likely familiar with the narrative where they entered that upper room, a meal had been prepared for them by their host. But as they entered the room, they soon discovered that a household servant had not been designated to wash their feet before they reclined to eat. And I imagine they walked into that room and they looked around and they made a decision about what to do.
And finally, their decision was obvious they're not going to do anything. And so they sat down to eat. Then Jesus does the unthinkable. He gets a basin of water and a towel and begins to wash their feet himself. Peter, you remember, was horrified at the thought, no doubt embarrassed along with the other disciples, by the way, that none of them thought to wash his feet, at least that much. And when Peter tried to stop the Lord, you're not going to do that to me, which was even another declaration of pride.
The Lord rebuked him. Then they were all unforgettably tutored on the subject of humility. You don't have to wonder if Peter ever forgot that moment because the subject of humility comes up over and over again in his writing.
But the truth remains not only for those disciples, but for these disciples, you and me. Humility comes hard. It doesn't come easily. Pride does. Self-promotion does. Self-applause. Self-love. That's easy. I remember as a kid, I think it was middle school, learning the lyrics to that little song.
We'd sing it on the bus, singing in the locker room at the top of our lungs. Oh, it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way. I can't wait to look in the mirror. I get better looking each day.
That was a lie. At any rate, we'd sing it. Not a good song for the church, but it's a lot easier to sing that than to wash somebody's feet.
The fourth century church leader and theologian, Augustine, wrote this challenge to those believers. Do you wish to be exalted? Begin by descending. Do you want a life that will pierce the clouds lay first the foundation of humility? Did Peter ever forget that moment in the upper room when Jesus headed his way to wash his feet?
Never. In fact, Peter's first letter where I invite you to return with me, Peter will take a word and use it. The only time it's ever used in the New Testament will get there eventually, but essentially he's going to tell everybody in the church that what we need to do is get on an apron and in every generation in any variety of ways as it were wash one another's feet. We're in 1 Peter chapter 5 and three times rather quickly Peter refers to the attitude of humility.
He's already opened the chapter. If you were with us a few Lord's days ago, he told the elders in those opening verses that they're to be humble. They're not to use their position of authority to Lord over the flock with haughtiness, but to lead the flock with humility. And now Peter's going to expand that concept and he's going to begin layering it out to the entire church family. And as we work our way through these next few phrases, Peter is essentially going to ask and answer the question, what is genuine humility? What is it?
How do you spot it? The first principle of three that will provide, I'll put it this way, humility is an attitude of respectfulness. It is an attitude of respectfulness. Now, let's pick up where we left off at verse 5, you younger men likewise be subject to your elders.
We've already told the elders to be as it were humble before the flock. Now, you young men, younger men likewise be subject to your elders. It's going to be important that we understand the audience because misinterpretation leads us very quickly to misapplication and this is one of those texts that's often misapplied. He's saying literally be deferential to your elders and the phrase he uses translated young men, is lacking a definite article, which means it is to be generalized to mean young people.
In fact, this term for young men was commonly used in the Greek world for young people both male and female. So he's talking to young people. He's talking to the younger people of the assembly. And this gets even more interesting because the word for elder here, elders, is also without a definite article leading many conservative authors and I'll throw my hat in with him that this is not talking about deferring to the men who occupy the office of elder, he's already dealt with that, but to defer to those who are elderly.
Even though Peter just addressed the elders of the church and he uses the same term presbuteroi, but now he uses it generically to refer to those in the church whom we would refer to as older people, the elderly. That doesn't mean we're going to go around and identify them. You're one of them.
No, you don't want to do that. I was at Harris Teeter two days ago and I checked out, the clerk looked at me and asked me if I'd get the seniors discount. It's happening more often now and she said it with a complete straight face.
I'm going to Food Lion from now on, but at any rate, we're going to go around. That's one of them. We got to defer to them. We got to respect them. They're older.
That's not it. Peter is telling us that one of the ways you show humility in the assembly is for those who are obviously younger believers, younger in age, to show deference and respect for older believers. By the way, we're doing the opposite of that. Systemically, in the evangelical church, one of the ways we do it is in regards to what we've just done, sing.
The older songs, the heart songs of an older generation are entirely forgotten in favor of new music. Your believers' desires are old, not given any deference or respect. In fact, the average church today essentially announces their distaste for any kind of compromise, any kind of humility. You can, by the way, see it on church signs. I see them every time I'm out driving around. You see it. What does it say? Early service dash traditional. You might as well write underneath it, this is for old people.
Second service dash contemporary. You might as well write underneath it, this is for the young people. No blending, no humility, no working through it, no teaching younger people some of the great hymns of the past as well as teaching older people some of the great hymns of the present.
Listen to this. We are literally segregating the assembly by age in worship. You old people go to that one, you young people go to this one. Paul tells the Colossians that music is going to unify us and we're using it to divide us.
But what does it take to work? Humility across the board. Older people are going to have to learn something new, perish the thought.
Younger people are going to have to learn something worth remembering. I've said it before, but after a morning service, both sides leave slightly irritated. Peter would say slightly humbled. Oh, what about me? After all, I get cards, you know, churches are starting and I get these cards in the mail and it's always, we're going to have your best coffee, dress in whatever you want and everything's just, you know, dynamic and it's all about you. Beloved, church is not all about you or me. It's all about us honoring him. And when we leave, we ought to ask ourselves, not that I get to sing what I wanted to sing, did I get to say what I wanted to say, but was he honored and praised and glorified?
And guess what? One of the ways we find Peter exhorting the body to do this, it's showing deference and he focuses on younger believers here. It certainly works both ways. Be patient with one another, both old and young. Get an apron on and show humility toward older Christians who, by the way, can easily be blown by in our rush for something new.
It may be something better, but be respectful and deferential. Humility is an attitude of respectfulness. Secondly, humility is an attitude of graciousness.
Aprons aren't for young people only. Notice the next phrase, verse five, all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another. The words translated all of you stand at the front of this imperative command, exclamation point for emphasis.
This is for all of us. All of you, notice now, clothe yourselves with humility. That verb for clothe yourselves appears only here in the New Testament. It literally means tie a knot or a bow. This is what would be the word used for someone putting on a servant's apron. They'd put it over their tunic.
They'd put their arms and wrap it around just as you can imagine and then they'd reach around and they'd tie the strings in a bow. This is what Jesus did, by the way, in the upper room. When it says he girded himself with a towel, it's an unfortunate English idiom. He didn't take his clothes off and put a towel around his waist. He slipped an apron on over his tunic and tied a knot or a bow. He tied the strings behind him and then did what was not provided by the host family.
He played the role of household servant. So Peter is essentially saying that God has for all of us custom fit us with an apron and we tie a knot or a bow as we put it on. It's for everyone in the church. He adds to this command by quoting from Proverbs 3.34. He sort of paraphrases it, for God, notice, is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. This is just one of those general standing principles of pride and the character of God.
You get applied for the unbeliever. This principle would speak to their need to humble themselves. They're going to be humble, that salvation. There isn't any way anybody will ever be saved full of themselves. The cross invites us to empty ourselves or recognize our sinfulness and our entire need upon God's grace. For the believer, this general principle would speak to us recognizing our own unworthiness to serve them. The fact that we got into the family not because there was something really special about us and God just had to have us. Nobody ever says to God, I know you were lucky to get me into the family of God.
No. And nobody says as they're serving him, Lord, aren't you fortunate that you have me to serve you? No, humility is demanded by salvation and it is demanded by sanctification. Without humility, we can't be saved and we don't grow up.
That's the general principle and the problem obviously is apparent or Peter wouldn't have to deliver this principle within the context of the church. We're so full of ourselves so quickly. We're so quick to take the apron off. We're so quick to enter the assembly with the attitude of here I am rather than as one author said, oh, there you are.
Self-confidence and self-promotion in fact are so much a part of our culture and our world. This is why the testimony of a humble servant sounds odd. You go back and you read the Puritans 400 years ago, 300 years ago, read somebody that wrote about their Christian experience 150 years ago and how different it can be from our perspective. Let me give you an illustration, something written by William Carey, this globally renowned missionary to India.
He translated the scriptures into 40 languages and dialects. Imagine 40 never ceasing hardly at all to to rest from his labors of evangelism and planning churches and teaching. He had an amazing ministry and here's what he writes to his son on his 70th birthday.
I'll just take a little paragraph out. He writes this, I am on this day, 70 years old, a monument of divine mercy and goodness, though on review of my life, I find very much for which I ought to be humbled in the dust. My negligence in the Lord's work has been great.
I have not promoted his cause nor sought his glory as I ought. I am trusting my acceptance with God to the blood of Christ alone. That language sounds strange simply because our world and even our church and certainly my own heart can get so far away from genuine humility.
I mean the average 70 year old believer would write to his son and say, let me tell you at 70 years what I've done and just crow. You know what the church should be? The church should be, by definition, a gathering of the humble. It isn't that we're thinking poorly about ourselves, thinking down about ourselves.
It's just that we're not thinking about ourselves at all. Filled with repentant individuals who recognize our sinfulness, our utter dependence on the grace of God, we have nothing to brag about. We understand the older we get in the Lord the impossibility of self-reform. We trust in Christ alone not only to save us once and for all but to forgive us daily and then to use us to our amazement. He uses us with that attitude. We're ready to say, Lord, thank you for just letting us be used by you.
We're so glad to be able to put on the apron you've designed for us. Humility is an attitude of respectfulness. It is an attitude of graciousness.
Let me show you one more. Humility is an attitude of submissiveness. Notice verse 6. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. Watch this again. Misinterpretation leads to misapplication.
This passive voice needs to be understood this way. Allow yourselves to be humbled. That's different from saying I'm going to get up and I'm going to do 10 things that are really distasteful so I can humble myself. I'm going to go sit on a pole for three months. I'm going to go live in a cave. I'm going to join a monastery. I'm not going to have a coat this winter. I'm going to fast.
I'm going to do all this. I'm going to humble myself. He's actually saying here, accept your humble circumstances.
Allow yourselves to be humbled under the mighty hand of God. Once again, Peter dips back into a popular Old Testament expression, the mighty hand of God. It's used often to refer the sovereign control of God over the circumstances of life. Peter's telling these believers who are beginning to experience more and more suffering and persecution, just remember he is humbling you but at the same time you're not under his thumb, you're under his hand. He's not trying to just squeeze you down. No, he's sovereignly controlling all of the experiences and circumstances of your life. They're under his mighty hand. And here's the promise that notice further that he may exalt you at the proper time.
What does that mean I'm going to get proud? No, the idea of being exalted in this context refers to a reversal of misfortune, a reversal of suffering, a reversal of pain and hardship. Peter doesn't specify when by the way. It might take place partially, temporarily for you today or this week or this year but it will happen permanently, entirely one day but maybe God is designed for your life and next week you're finally going to catch a breath of air or maybe even today, maybe your child will only ask 67 questions instead of 125 or the boss at work will finally say a kind word or some conflict will be resolved.
You're just going to be able to coast for just a moment. He could be referring to that or he could be referring to the day when all sorrow and all pain and all trouble and all suffering will be all eliminated entirely. Question 21 verse 4 but here's the point, whenever and wherever God designs in your life for it to get a little easier and you catch your breath, Peter reminds us here that it will always happen at the proper time.
It'll always be at the right time, never early, never late. So humility is being willing to wait on God's timetable, remembering that while you wait you are under the sovereign control of your Lord. I love the way John Piper put it as he wrote, life for the believer is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding road with switchback after switchback. The point of biblical narratives about Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones, not just in our heads, that God is for us in all these strange turns.
God is not just showing up after trouble and cleaning it up, he's plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ. This is what humility is. It is an attitude of respectfulness, an attitude of graciousness, an attitude of submissiveness and that leads me to ask a very practical question before we wrap it up today. How do you know when humility is at work in your life?
How do you know? Well, if we go back into this context and let me just sort of rewrite it three different ways. You'll know that number one, this attitude of humility is at work in your life. When your demands become secondary, I'm going to convince all those older people to see it my way.
That works the other way too. I'm going to convince those younger people to wise up. It's when our desires become secondary and from this context we could say it this way for the younger people, you won't run over the older believers.
You won't run over them. You won't leave them in the dust either as a church. Secondly, humility will be at work in your attitude in life when your disposition becomes gracious. This is a command for every member of the church, young and old alike.
Tie it on and it reflects in a disposition that is gracious, which not only means that you won't run over older believers, but you won't run one another down. See, humility eliminates competition in the church. It eliminates covetousness. It eliminates gossip. It eliminates meanness. Humility greases the gears of every relationship and the more people you have in any church, the more grace you need. It is a gracious disposition toward one another that binds us, like that love in the bond of unity. When humility is at work in your life and heart, thirdly, you'll know that your desires are becoming adjustable.
Your desires become adjustable. Simply put, you won't run ahead of God. You don't run over older people. You don't run down one another and you won't run ahead of God. We will submit to his pace.
We'll refuse to demand that his timing match our calendar. Allow him to not only lead our steps, but direct our stops. And in the meantime, grab an apron. You know, when you show up to work tomorrow, that employee that arrives wearing in this imagery an apron is the employee you like to work with, maybe four. The family member you can count on is the family member wearing this apron.
It's tied to their spirit. Even when you come to church, the believer that you find most encouraging, humble, fruitful, is going to wear an apron. And all of us together as believers who walk with the Lord, we wear this apron, imagine it embroidered with the word humility.
Humility. As we are willing to wait for his timing and depend on his grace. And at the right time, maybe you're waiting for that right time. At just the proper time, it will come relief, another measure of grace. It may come tomorrow, next month.
We do know it will come permanently, entirely, one day. My wife was listening to a newer song this past week and she printed out the lyrics. I saw them and said, you know, I think that's going to be a good way to wrap this up. It speaks to this point.
And so pack your things away. Let me just read you a couple of stanzas where they took some old lyrics and gave it a little bit of a new spin. Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already been. I'm trusting God will use them as a verse in my life's him.
I will understand it better by and by. Somehow, heartache will not last forever. And yet for now, his plan keeps unfolding and glory lies ahead. I don't see it completely yet, but a day will come. A day will come. I only have the puzzles edge. I see it incomplete, but I'm trusting knowing God himself holds every missing piece.
The picture won't be fully whole till each is put in place. That day will come. Yes, that day will come. Even though we live in a generation where pride is actually encouraged, Christians are called to demonstrate humility. We are to imitate Jesus Christ as he humbled himself for us. I hope today's message spurred you on toward pursuing just that. This is Wisdom for the Heart and Stephen is working his way through a series called Framing the Flock. He's calling today's lesson Aprons for Everyone. We've posted it to our website. You'll find it at wisdomonline.org. Join us next time for more Wisdom for the Heart. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-09 03:53:43 / 2023-03-09 04:03:00 / 9