Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
Be Stiff & Pliable
I saw an episode of ?Touched By An Angel? a few nights ago ? an episode we had taped and it was an interesting topic ? corporate restructuring. The story evolved around corporate restructuring.
The main character was a gentle, kind man who found himself vying for the job of company president. In order to ?win? the title he had to compete in a team of three against other teams to be the first to plant a flag on top of a mountain.
One of the other characters, a weaker man, got hurt and the main character, Liam, abandoned him to rush to the top.
In the process not only did he leave his teammate behind, but also his Downs syndrome son who was in a Special Olympics race ? and who stopped on his quest for the gold to help a teammate who fell on the track.
The man made an interesting statement when the company owner offered him the job of president ? he said ?I don?t want to take the job not for what I have achieved by climbing to the top, but because of what I left behind to get there.?
I like this because it speaks to our world today ? we all want something, many to succeed in the business world ? and the model we see around us, especially as times get tough economically ? is to claw our way up over the bodies of those around us.
Today we?re going to look at another way to ?strive? for the gold medal ? the reward that comes with success. But far from a selfish ?me first? way of getting there, God is calling us to a much different kind of character.
Today we?re going to finish our study in 1st Peter ? the Apostle finishes his letter to us by summarizing what the finished work of God on our character looks like.
Remember: Peter is writing to a group of marginalized folks ? people who aren?t important to society ? telling them that they, and we, have an important place in God?s society ? and that He is using the suffering that takes place in this world to mold our character for the next ? burning off the old stuff, and putting in its place a pure love.
That love manifests itself in a person characterized by five traits, traits we?ll list as a series of ?Be? statements:
1) Be a good leader
2) Be respectful of others
3) Be dependent on God
4) Be on duty against the enemy
5) Be restored to the person God is creating
Vs 1-4 Be A Good Leader
? We are all leaders in some area
? All leadership must take place with Christ?s suffering and future glory in mind
? Leaders serve from a call, not an obligation
? Leaders give much more than they get
? A shepherd is a leader, not a driver ? an example, not a tyrant
? Rewards for leaders come later rather than sooner, but they do come
Vs 5 Be Respectful of Others
? ?Young men? is neo = new. Those that are new in the things of the faith should respect those who have experience
? ?submit? is gk:hupotasso ? same found in Chapter 2 ? order yourself under. Find your place, then do well there.
? Humility and respect extends to all members of the body.
? ?clothe? means to gird for labor ? we?ve got a job to do, humility of mind toward our brothers and sisters means we focus on the job, not ourselves and our position.
? God resists the ?proud? ? it means to shine above others.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
? God will clear the way for the humble ? but make the way of the proud difficult
Vs 6-7 Be Dependent on God
? Lay low, don?t panic
? Don?t make opportunities for yourself, but let God create your time and place.
? ?Cast? means to ?throw upon? ? don?t just hand things over ? throw them on God?s shoulders
? ?Anxiety? comes from the word ?distraction? ? the enemy seeks to distract us by throwing problems in our face ? getting us to get our eyes and hearts off what God has us doing ? fighting for His kingdom
? God cares ? same word as earlier but different tense. This time it means: it matters. You matter to God ? what you go through and experience.
Vs 8-9 Be On Duty against the enemy
? (self controlled) Sober up and (alert) wake-up.
? Basically we?re talking about distractions ? external distractions and internal distractions.
? You?ve seen the old war movies where in order for the soldiers to storm the fort someone creates a distraction that draws the attention away from where the attack is coming from. This is how the enemy works ? he distracts us, then attacks to disable our ability to be effective for God.
? Types of distractions
Sin & Temptation
Fear (like a roaring lion)
? His desire is to ?devour? means to swallow whole ? get swallowed up in dealing with him, then you are unable to see around you and work for God.
? Answer: resist stiffly. But not on our own but in the faith. ?Be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might? ?I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.?
? Focus ? Position (humility) ? Speech/Thought ? Prayer
? Divide & conquer doesn?t work if you know you aren?t alone
Vs 10-11 Be Restored to the person God is creating
? We escape the enemy and have victory in our lives because of grace ? not merit or effort
? We must suffer ? but it is only for a limited duration
? The benefits are enormous:
- ?Restore? ? means to repair
- ?make you strong? Related to ?standing firm? He gives us the ability to be strong
- ?Firm? ? to turn resolutely in a certain direction
- ?steadfast? ? to lay a basis
- So then we are repaired, standing firm in God?s direction with a base that won?t be moved.
Its interesting to me that the restoration comes after we show ourselves to be good leaders who are respectful of others and after we have shown ourselves diligent in our watching out for and standing against the enemy.
We might expect it to be the other way around ? equip me then I can be ready to do all that you need. God doesn?t work that way ? He says ?I?ve called you ? now walk in it and as you do I will change you and bless you.?
We want the skills first ? He wants us to rely on Him first by faith, then He?ll provide the skills.
As we finish 1 Peter I?d like to make some concluding statements about the book as a whole.
1) Who you are matters to God
2) How you act toward others matters to God
3) Stand firm before the enemy, become pliable before the Lord
4) Becoming like Christ is a process more than a goal
5) God?s always there to help us up no matter how many times we fall
That brings us back to the story of the executive vying for company president. Our old nature urges us to ?go for the gold? no matter who we leave behind ? but in our new nature the ?gold? isn?t a prize for who makes himself first, but who is last with a humble and giving heart, not for who does the best but who loves the best ? not who has the most but who gives the most.
It?s a matter of choices ? choices we make everyday that turn into choices we make for a lifetime. What choices are we going to make today?