Let go and let GodSermon passage: (1 Peter 5:5-7) Spoken on: September 21, 2014
More sermons from this speaker 更多该讲员的讲道: Pastor Willy Lau For more of this sermon series 更多关于此讲道系列: 1,2 Peter & Jude
Title: ‘Let go and let God’
1 Peter 5:5-7
I believe anyone can serve God, no matter how young or how old you are.
The church is not a country club. You know, a country club is when you are a member, and different people are there for different activities. Some changed into swimwear, some brought along their friends/guest, along with their tennis gear to play tennis. However, a church sometimes could be mistaken as a country club. A new member/or rather a new comer walks in. he sees a group of people, busy preparing to lead worship, do the PA system, ushering etc. He feels lost, no one comes to talk to him for everyone seems to be minding their own business, going about their own activities. Sounds familiar? I do hope Jubilee Church will not be like that. Look around you for a moment in this room. What do we see?
Some years ago, I had to teach the usher ministry people how to shake hand, welcome new people. We seem to have lost the art of looking up from your cell phones and straight into another person’s eyes when you greet each other. Look beyond ourselves. I challenge you to talk to someone from the other congregation as you walk out of service later. I’m not sure what runs through your mind as we sang the Hokkien song just now. Love the language of the people you serve. Understand their world just as much as you hope that they will understand your world today. For I think this is where the passage this morning wants to deal with.
Part 1) Humility towards the Elders (v.5a)
Many of you would be familiar with this poster but if I would to show it at the other service, I think I will get a lot of blank faces.
Part 2) Humility towards One another (v.5b)
Look again at where Peter takes the idea in the second half of the verse, ‘Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but give grace to the humble.’
At the root of the submission Peter calls for at the beginning of v5 is a heart of humility.
The first thing you need to notice here is that Peter says, ‘Clothe yourselves…with humility.’ The word is different from what Paul uses when he talks about ‘putting on the new self, or putting on Jesus’. This word literally means ‘to tie an apron on oneself.’ This apron was the one worn by slaves. So a rough translation straight from the original language would read, ‘All of you, humble yourselves towards one another, tie a servant’s apron around yourselves.’
It’s not only a great picture of the kind of heart we should have for one another but it’s a great reminder of how the Lord Jesus served us. Every Maundy Thursday service, you will see the act of your pastors washing your feet. I don’t think it’s too far fetched to say that Peter has in mind here the evening meal right before Jesus’ death.
Peter’s call to lowliness is echoed by another apostle. Paul writes in Philippians 2: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should not look only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (2:3-4)
Look up! Away from your smart phone and don’t live in a bubble.
Look at how Peter back this up from OT. He uses Proverbs 3:34 to remind them that God will give them grace when they choose the path of humility. But when we walk in pride, we will find God standing against us as our opponent.
Part 3) Humility toward God
Let’s look again at how Peter continues to expand this thinking in this chapter. He started with a narrow focus in regard to humility to the Elders. He then expands this scope to encompass the whole church and their humility with one another. In v6, he takes this perspective as far out as it can go. He writes,
‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.’ Humility does not find its source in pastors or elders. It does not even spring from the love we have for one another. Genuine humility can only come from one place: it can only come from a right view of who God is and our relationship with Him!
‘Humble yourselves….under the mighty hand of God.’ He doesn’t say, ‘humble yourselves toward God, your friend’ or even, ‘Humble yourselves toward God your savior.’ He specifically says, ‘Humble yourselves..under the mighty hand of God.’
In the OT, the ‘hand of God’ was a way to describe God’s absolute power to accomplish his will.
You cannot truly be humble unless you measure yourself by who God is and by how you relate to Him. That is THE source of lowliness Peter is calling us this morning.
Part 4) God centred Humility (v.7)
Now, in some sense, we can just stop here now and let the Holy Spirit work on us in regards to this topic of humility. All of us knows we think too much about ourselves. Open facebook/Instagram and what have you and you know how narcissistic we all are. We fight too often for our own rights and desires. We give too little when it comes to serving our brothers and sisters in Christ and whats more the marginalized in our society.
My ministry allows me get a glimpse of some of these people and I really think it’s good for my soul. It just makes my problems seem so small. Do you worry about your exams? Or do you worry about your kid’s exam? Talk to Angeline Tan, a 12 year old who is 5 months pregnant. Or do you worry about your job? Your family? Talk to 32 year old Bangladeshi worker, Masum, who has been on special pass for the pass 15 months because he had an injury…..
‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time, he may exalt you, cast all your cares on him, because he cares for you.’
At first glance, you may find v7 as an awkward addition to v6. Some translations even make v7 its own sentence. But it isn’t. v7 is a clause that depended very much on v6. You know in ancient manuscripts, they actually don’t have verse division. Verse division, especially for the New Testament was only introduced in the 16 century.
So this connection actually implies a relationship between humility and casting off of anxiety, the unloading of our worries. What I am trying to say here is that there is a close relationship between the opposites, between pride and worry.
This connection is strange because usually we find the person filled with pride appearing strong and confident while the person filled with anxiety appearing weak and plagued by doubt.
So how do we reconcile this? What is the connection between humility and anxiety? Well, the connection goes back to the source of humility, right back to what it means to be ‘under the mighty hand of God’. The concept that connect anxiety with pride and humility are the ideas of power and control.
Both pride and anxiety are fueled by our desire to have power over our circumstances, by our longing for control. Pride is confidence that we have this kind of power. Anxiety comes when we fear we might lose this power.
Remember what Peter’s listeners were going through. They were followers of Christ, being mocked and persecuted for their faith in Jesus. And whenever persecution takes place, we’re tempted to either take matters into our own hands and try to protect ourselves, or we’re tempted to worry and become weighted down with dear and doubt. Either way, submissiveness and servanthood are the last thing on our mind. Because submission and servanthood is about giving up our rights, not clinging to them through pride. Submission and servanthood are about putting others first in spite of the risks, and not shielding ourselves out of worry.
Although you may not be suffering for your faith like what Peter’s audience was, all of us find ourselves, daily, faced with challenges and trials. So therefore, all of us, each and every day, are tempted to either pride or worry, to either confidence in our own power, or fear because we have no power. And it precisely this struggle that affects our daily relationship with one another. These attitudes are the true enemies of humility.
So how does Peter direct them in light of this common struggle? Peter calls us to humility by calling us to God.
We could say the foundation for Peter’s encouragement can be summed up pretty well by the poster we saw earlier on, ‘Let go and let God.’ To ‘let go’, doesn’t mean to deny our responsibility. It is to acknowledge our weakness. To ‘let go’, is not to choose the road of inaction or passivity. Rather, it is to be proactive in faith and humility.
Let us now look at three things Peter tells us in this passage about ‘letting go and letting God’:
First, we can ‘let go and let God’ because we can trust that God’s grace is sufficient for us because He ‘opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’
When you trust in yourself and your own power, you get no where. Why? Because the King of the Universe is opposed to you. No one can overcome such kind of opposition. But when we seek humility, when we ‘let go and let God’, we can be confident in the fact that God will give us grace for an even greater faith and humility. God wants to empower you for humility.
Second, we can ‘let go and let God’ because we can trust that God’s hand is truly mighty. Peter said, ‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God.’ Humility is the acknowledgment that you and I are not mighty, that we simply don’t have the power to accomplish what needs to be done in our lives. When we ‘let go and let God’, we are trusting that God will act ‘at the proper time’.
Thirdly, we can ‘let go and let God’ because we can trust that God truly cares about us.
Consider your worries this morning. What do you worry about? No matter what that is, no matter how overwhelming it may seem, God is saying to you this morning, ‘Throw all of it on my shoulders. I will take it from you.’ Notice God did not say, ‘Cast all your difficulties on me.’ Instead, He said, ‘cast all your worries/anxieties on me.’ He wants to use those difficulties but take away the anxieties….because He cares for you.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Prayer is one way we cast out anxieties on God.
Let me see how I can conclude what we have looked at this morning. In short, we can say that
THE HUMILITY TO WHICH PETER CALLS HIS ANXIOUS READERS, IS A HUMILITY MOTIVATED BY FAITH THAT GOD IS MIGHTY, AND MIGHTY IN HIS CONCERN FOR OUR ABSOLUTE GOOD.
Worry-free humility under the mighty hand of God is not something we can simply generate. It is only possible through Jesus Christ. Jesus trusted God’s mighty hand when he died on the cross for us, didn’t He? He didn’t have to worry, because He knew that God was in charge and that God loved Him.But there’s more than that. We know for sure that the shoulders that God is able to bear all our anxieties are the same shoulders that bore all our sins on the cross. Jesus wants to take your sins, and your anxieties. He says, ‘Put them on me, and I will destroy them…because I care for you.’ The Christian life, the life of faith, following Jesus begins by letting go of sin and self, letting God forgives us and care for us, making us new through the power of the cross of Jesus Christ. And that’s the pattern for everything else, every time. May God let that be what drives our relationships to one another at Jubilee Church. Amen.