Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership

Scripture: 1 Peter 5:1-10, Acts 6:1-6, Jeremiah 10:21
Date: 05/13/2017  Lesson: 7
"Humility, rather than pride, should characterize the Christian’s relationship, not only with God but with each other (1 Pet. 5:5)."
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. We want to welcome you if you're joining us online or if you're joining us via the television or right here in Granite Bay. We just want to welcome everybody to our Sabbath School Study Hour this morning. As you know, we've been studying through the book of Peter. Peter has been our topic for the - several weeks and this morning our lesson, as we study together is lesson #7 entitled servant leadership - servant leadership is our title this morning, as we study it together.

I also want to make you aware, for all of those viewing, that our free offer this morning is is there anything left you can trust? - Is there anything left you can trust? - This is offer #103. It can also be studied online at amazingfacts.org or you can just call 1-866-788-3966 to receive this free offer - is there anything left you can trust? Here at Granite Bay, as our custom is, before we jump right into our lesson, we love to praise the Lord in song and we love to hear music. And so, before we just jump right in, I like to encourage you to sit back and enjoy this special music this morning. I thought I did what's right. I thought I had the answers.

I thought I chose the surest road but that road brought me here. So I put up a fight and told you how to help me. Now just when I have given up the truth is coming clear. Lord, you know better than i, you know the way. I've let go the need to know why.

For you know better than i. If this has been a test I cannot see the reason, but maybe knowing I don't know is part of getting through. I try to do what's best and faith has made it easy to see the best thing I can do is put my trust in you. For you know better than i. You know the way.

I've let go the need to know why. For you know better than i. I saw one cloud and thought it was a sky. I saw a bird and thought that I could follow but it was you who taught that bird to fly. If I let you reach me will you teach me? For you know better than i.

You know the way. I've let go the need to know why. I'll take what answers you supply. Lord, you know better than i. This morning we're jumping into lesson #7 - it's a powerful lesson as we get into it.

And, as I like to do, I like to kind of look at the memory verse first - I like to look at the memory verse here in lesson #7 - servant leadership - and it's a verse, I'm sure, we're all acquainted with - all of us face cares and the cares of this world - and Peter gives us this encouraging verse as we jump right in this lesson this morning on servant leadership. It's 1 Peter chapter 5, verse 7. He says, "casting all your care upon him for he" - what? Cares for you. "He cares for you." And so, ultimately, as we go through this lesson on servant leadership, one point that we're going to see consistently throughout this lesson is the fact that God cares for his leaders. God cares for his church and we can cast all our care on him.

I've broken down the lesson into three sections that we're going to cover as we go through Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and even Sunday's lesson. These are the three topics that this lesson breaks down for us, as Peter gets into it, and we're going to study specifically Peter chapter 5. The first point - the first key lesson or point that the lesson brings out is God's body - or the church - needs leadership. So we're going to talk about the need for leadership and we're going to actually see this early on in the early church in how Christ develops the church and how he gives leadership to the church. The second point the lesson brings out is that leadership is not so much about position but character.

It's the character of the individual and Peter is going to dive into the characteristics that make up God's leaders. Now, I know it's very easy for us sometimes when we think of leadership - we may not put ourselves in that place, in church leadership. 'Well, I'm just a member in the local church.' But as Peter gets into these characteristics of leadership, we begin to realize that all of us can have these characteristics and we can, actually, lead wherever we are in the church. We can make a difference. We can influence people that are closest to us and around us through these characteristics that Peter dives into.

The third point is: as leaders we must be clear minded, knowing that every turn we are being hunted. So, the last part of the lesson talks about this roaring lion - talking about satan - who seeks to devour. You know, in the old testament, it's very interesting. Jesus, his plan for the children of Israel was that they would be the head and not the tail. They were to be an example to all nations around them and, in their own way, each was to be a leader in God's movement.

And that doesn't change and Peter kind of unpacks this in 1 Peter chapter 5. He unpacks this idea that everybody can be a leader, even though there are specific leaders that God does raise up in his church. But, when you lead, remember there's always an adversary and he's always around every corner and he's seeking whom he may devour. And why is that? Because he wants to destroy God's movement. He wants to destroy God's church.

He wants to destroy God's plan for his church in reaching the world with the Gospel. So the last point we're going to look at is this idea of being clear minded - being sober - because we are being hunted. If you have your Bibles, I'd like for you to open up with me to 1 Peter - we're going to start - we're going to jump right in - 1 Peter chapter 5 - 1 Peter chapter 5, verses 1 and 2 - 1 Peter chapter 5, verses 1 and 2. He says, "the elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:" - he goes on to say - "shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being Lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;" - Peter begins, in this epistle, in his letter in 1 Peter chapter 5 he begins by talking to whom directly? Elders. He's talking to the elders of the church.

He's talking to the shepherds that are to shepherd the flock that are to guide the flock along life's journey as we're preparing for the soon return of the chief shepherd Peter will identify later as we go on in the lesson. And so, early on in the church's history, Christ established different roles of leadership - teams of leadership, if we can put it that way, to continue the growth of the church. Now I've asked a couple of volunteers to share with us and read a few passages this morning and, in just a moment, we're going to come to the first passage in relationship to this - the early church and God's purposes. But principally, it's no different than the jethro principle - you familiar with the jethro principle? You go back to Exodus, okay? In Exodus chapter 18:21 to 22, the children of Israel - massive group of people - come out of Egypt and some of those were mixed Egyptians in that group that left with them. And Moses was the one that was ultimately responsible and anybody who had a situation or a problem or a challenge, they would come to Moses and Moses met jethro, after this - his father-in-law and his wife and his two sons had come to be with him and jethro notices all that Moses is dealing with and he begins to share with him this principle of leadership, even as far back as Exodus.

I'll read for you Exodus chapter 18, verses 21 and 22; he says, "moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter" - this is interesting - "every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge." - And you're going to actually see this in the new testament - this same principle coming out as God establishes his church. He goes on, finally, and says, "so it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you." Okay? They will bear the burden with you. But Moses was to deal with what kind of matters? Large.

He was to deal with the major matters and these other leaders he was establishing within the camp were to take on the smaller matters. And there's no difference in relationship to the new testament and the new testament church. And so, in the early Christian church, we start to see the same principle being applied in the raising up of the deacons. Now this is a - this is a major transition in the book of acts, just like when jethro gave the principle to Moses, this was a major transition as they were coming out of Egypt. In the early Christian church - in the book of acts - there was massive growth that they were experiencing.

You have 3,000 the first time that Peter preaches. After that you have this increase of 4,000, you have this increase of 5,000, you have this tremendous group that continues to grow and swell in the early Christian church. And so, when you have this increase of Numbers, you have a specific challenge that comes, because some widows - the Greek widows - were being neglected in the service. They weren't being neglected purposefully, but when you have that many people, sometimes it's easy to be overlooked. You don't try to overlook somebody, but they can be.

And so it caused a major issue in the early church, but the disciples - the apostles, specifically - realized that if we deal with this matter then, ultimately we will neglect the Word of God and prayer - the preaching of the word - because, ultimately, God wanted them to go to the remotest parts of the earth. So what did they do? They looked out among the disciples and they said to the disciples - the multitude - 'you choose seven' and they gave them specific guidelines and then they went out and they followed those guidelines. It's kind of like jethro, as I read in Exodus, he said, 'choose men - able men - who fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness' - okay? It's a little different in the early Christian church - we're talking about men that are full of the Holy Spirit - no different, really, in Exodus, but there's certain qualifications and so, these group of multitude - this mass multitude of disciples find among them seven and they set up these deacons to watch over the church. And so, Christ begins to expand, within the church, the roles of ministry so that everybody's needs could be met and everybody could continue to be educated as disciples and continue to grow to fulfill their Gospel commission. But it also allowed the apostles to fulfill theirs.

This is a huge transition in the book of acts - this idea of expanding ministry roles. In acts chapter 14, verse 23, we read this: "so when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed." So in acts chapter 6, we see this raising up of the deacons. Later, in acts, we see the concept being developed of elders and overseers. So it's almost like this process - as the church is growing - as the church is experiencing different situations, God's spirit moves upon those disciples to begin setting up this structure, okay? To help the church continue to fulfill its plans, okay? Now I want you to notice something. If you have your Bibles, turn with me to acts chapter 15, okay? Acts chapter 15 - little bit later in the book of acts - acts chapter 15.

I want to read you something - so you have the development of deacons and then you have the development of elders and, you remember, in Exodus the Judges or the leaders there of fifties and hundreds, they were to deal with the small matters, right? And Moses was to deal with the great matters. Now, notice, with me, in acts chapter 15, verses 1 and 2, okay? Acts chapter 15, verses 1 and 2, it says, "and certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, 'unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.' Therefore, when Paul and barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them," - I want to stop there for a minute. So there were jews within the early Christian church that were still pushing the need for circumcision and Paul said, 'listen, there's no need for circumcision because Christ has died for us, okay? But yet, there was still this push and Paul realized this was no small dissension. In other words, this was a bigger matter that was to belong to who? The apostles and the elders. It was to go - like to Moses, okay? Notice, as he continues: "this was no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to" - whom? - "The apostles and elders," - so this wasn't something for the deacons, okay? This wasn't something for deaconnesses, this was something, literally, where they had this Jerusalem counsel - a special counsel where, specifically, the apostles and the elders were to take this up.

This was a greater matter. So we're seeing the principle in Exodus actually be applied here even in the new testament church. So there's need for leadership - there's need for structure so that the people can continue to grow and ultimately achieve the goals that God has for them. So the apostles and elders - about this question - so that's why, when we get into the new testament church, we understand the need for leadership. We understand that there's a need for deacons, there's a need for deaconnesses, there's a need for elders.

By the way, in acts chapter 6 - we finished with verse 7 - and the way that the apostles had dealt with the situation it said, 'the number of disciples continued to multiply.' Isn't that the goal, ultimately? That the church continued to grow and grow and ultimately hasten the second coming of Christ. Everybody has a part to play in the great Gospel commission, even though there are roles that God has established, biblically, to help the church continue to grow. Now I want you to turn to 1 Peter chapter 5 because here in Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Peter starts to focus on the issue of character versus position, okay? So if you go to 1 Peter chapter 5, where we were - 1 Peter chapter 5, verses 2 through 4 - 1 Peter chapter 5, verses 2 through 4 - notice, specifically, he says, "shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being Lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the chief shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away." Isn't that an incredible hope at the end? So that when the chief shepherd comes, we'll be just like that chief shepherd and from the chief shepherd, what does Peter say we're going to receive? A crown. Peter says we're going to receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. Now, in the presence of Christ, what are we going to do with those crowns? Cast them - we're going to cast them at his feet because we're going to recognize who the chief shepherd is.

And, by the way, leaders who have these characteristics, that we'll unpack in just a minute, that Peter identifies, are the same kind of leaders that are going to take their crown and they're going to throw it at his feet because they realize who's really the leader. Who, ultimately, is our leader? Jesus Christ is the head of the body. And so we throw our crowns at his feet. But what's interesting about these passages I want to bring to your attention in relationship to character - you know, sometimes in our world, leadership, many times, is based on position. So we try to climb the corporate ladder because we realize if we just only had that position - okay? - Then things might be better.

You know, I would make more, I'd be able to do more - and so we look at it based on position more than we look at it in relationship to character. But, when you study leadership from a biblical perspective, you realize - and true leadership, even today, is character based - real leaders have a character. It doesn't matter where they are, they can be at the bottom of the food chain, so to speak, in corporate life, but everybody listens to them for some reason, and what they say - everybody pays attention, because it's about who they are, not what position they have. And this is what Peter points out. Notice these verses again - notice them carefully, because what Peter does is he says he gives us what shouldn't be and then right after that he tells us what should be, okay? And so he breaks this down.

Notice with me, going back to the verse, he says, "shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not" - notice - "not" - so he's going to tell us what shouldn't be - he says, "not by compulsion but" - what? - "But willingly," - so he tells us what shouldn't, then he tells us what should - "but willingly". Then he goes on and gives us another one. He says, "not for dishonest gain but eagerly;" - and then he says, "nor as being Lords over those entrusted to" - "nor as being Lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;" and I want to look at these with you, each kind of individually. When you look at that word 'compulsion' as Peter's talking to us about it, he's talking about in a manner that cannot be evaded. So, it's - it's absolutely required.

In other words, it's kind of forced on an individual. That is like saying, 'I'm here because so and so put me here' rather than saying 'I'm here willingly'. This makes a difference in the church, believe it or not, the difference between forced leadership and leaders that, you know, see the Lord moving and leading and guiding and they're just willing. 'Lord, okay. I'm willing.

' Another verse here, in just a second, is John chapter 10 - that I have somebody that's going to read - because Jesus points this out in his own life. In 1 Peter we get to the chief shepherd, so in each of these areas, what shouldn't be and what should be, we see exemplified in the life of Christ because he, ultimately, is the leader above leaders. There's no one like Jesus to lead, and so, we're going to come to this in just a second - John chapter 10 in just a moment. We could say that the Lord needed to lay down his life, okay, but he wasn't forced to lay down his life, was he? He laid down his life - what? He laid down his life willingly. He came to set the example willingly, okay? So this is interesting - John chapter 10, verses 15, 17, and - have somebody reading that - first - or John, excuse me, chapter 10, verses 15, 17, and 18.

"As The Father knows me, even so I know The Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. Therefore my father loves me because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again..." Jesus laid down his life what way? Willingly. And so, the leaders, the shepherds - the aspect of character that each of us need is this willingness to follow wherever the Lord wants us to go - to do whatever the Lord wants us to do - willingly - to be willing leaders, not just leaders that are leading because we're told to or somebody else did so I have to, but it's really about a willingness to lead.

Matter of fact, Jesus also said, in John chapter 17 - or chapter 7, verse 17 - this is interesting: he said, "if anyone wills to do his will he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on my own authority." He says, 'if anyone' - what? - 'Wills to do his will' - God is not going to force us to do his will. God wants us to follow willingly and, if we're willing to follow, the chief shepherd, wherever he leads, then we shall know of the doctrine. They'll be know question - his teaching - but we need to be willing. So Peter zeroes in and says, 'listen, leadership is not by compulsion, but it's willingly.' What difference willingness makes over compulsion, okay? And I'm sure we can all have life examples of this - being willing verses just kind of being forced or pushed. Peter gives another principle: notice, with me, the second one.

He says, 'not for dishonest gain, but' - what? 'But eagerly' - but eagerly - leaders should be eager but they shouldn't be there - you know, when you're forced, many times it's for dishonest gain, okay? What I get out of it that matters as much. You know, some people, they take on leadership because of a title or respect or what people will think of them. It's like 'what I will gain' - okay? You look at the jews in the new testament and you look at how they led, okay? 'Look at me' 'look at me' - right? What they could gain. But yet, Peter goes on: it's not for dishonest gain, but he says it should be eagerly - okay? It should be all about what I give, not what I get. Real leaders are individuals who are always giving, right? What does Jesus always do? He gives forgiveness.

He gives blessings. He gives instruction. He's always giving. He's always giving. And so, Peter's pointing out that people need to be eagerly leading.

In other words, they're investing unselfishly - they're giving unselfishly. It's not about them, it's about who they serve, right? It's about who they serve, not about them. And so, Peter points this out. Notice in Luke - I want to read for you Luke chapter 10, verse - he says, "you shall love the Lord your God with" - what? It's a verse we're familiar with - "with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,'" - eagerly. When you listen to that - where Paul says, 'not by dishonest gain but eagerly' comes back to my mind - Christ's words when he says 'you should love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind,' - and then finally - "your neighbor as yourself" - it's not about us, it's about others.

It's about God. It's about Christ. And finally, the last one he says, "not" - or "nor" - he uses - "nor as Lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock." Not as Lords. You know, the jews had a habit of creating burdens for the people to carry. You read this in the new testament.

But they, themselves, did they carry them? No - 'we'll give you the burdens. Oh, by the way, have fun. Enjoy carrying this.' But they didn't do it. They wanted everybody else to do it - why? Because their form of leadership was Lording it over them. You know, I just started exercising more consistently, recently, and I have some friends and we go together and we go every day during the week and as they're doing these - I kind of plan out the workout and then we kind of do it together - and I thought to myself, you know, what would it be like if all I did was said, 'you do this' and 'you do that' and 'you do this' and I'm just sitting there videotaping the whole thing? Okay? Just - 'I'll just lay the burdens right out there; you guys just carry them.

' And, by the way, I'm eating over in the corner, okay? It doesn't work. It doesn't work. It wouldn't last very long, that's for sure. But when we do it together - you know, Jesus set the example. He didn't come to Lord over us, but he set the example in every single way that he could.

In other words, if God is calling us to something, he himself did it. He did it. You know, if some of us are called one day as leaders in Christ's church, to face suffering, to come to the close of our lives on this earth and God says, 'listen, you're going to lay down your life' - just like his apostles did - okay? You're going to lay down your life - he's not asking us to do something he hasn't done. Matter of fact, he goes even farther than us in doing what he's asked and he gives us the strength and walks next to us. You know, you're familiar with the verse in Matthew chapter 11? He says, 'take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.

' He's walking - 'take my yoke upon you' - it's still not just ours, it's his and ours - we're walking together. And so, Jesus - or Peter, here, talks about leadership in a way that we don't Lord it over someone, but we need to be examples to the flock. If we're going to ask someone to make a surrender or a sacrifice, are we making the same surrender and sacrifice? That's what the character of these leaders exemplify here in Scripture. When Jesus walked on the earth, among his very own disciples - by the way, this kind of gets us - this section takes us into Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday and Wednesday we talk about servant leadership and, specifically, we're talking about a characteristic called humility.

Matter of fact, it's probably one of our greatest needs is to be humble. And Jesus exemplified this in his life, also, as we'll see. But, in just a moment, I have another reader that will read Matthew chapter 20, verses 24 through 28. Jesus had to teach this principle to his apostles - there is no doubt. Matter of fact, they were always kind of wrestling over who was going to be the greatest in the Kingdom of God and there came a certain point in Christ's ministry when James and John, their mother comes to Jesus and says, 'listen, can my boys sit at your left hand and your right hand when you enter the Kingdom of heaven? I mean, can they be the two that just, you know, are right there?' Okay? And it's interesting what Jesus has to say.

Matter of fact, he says, 'it's not mine to give.' But he goes and he expounds on a principle of service - okay? - Rather than kingly leadership - okay? - The disciples had talked about being the greatest and so, now it's interesting as Jesus deals with them on this point. After the mother gets done asking the question, Jesus has some very interesting things to say. Matthew chapter 20, verses 24 through 28 - Matthew chapter 20, verses 24 through 28. "And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to himself and said, 'you know that the rulers of the gentiles Lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.

Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave - just as The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.'" Okay, Jesus Christ came not to be served but to what? But to serve. And he wanted his disciples to understand this incredible principle. In the lesson - in Tuesday's lesson, there's a powerful statement in Desire of Ages that they quote here: it says, "Jesus," - in this situation that we just got done reading in Matthew - "Jesus bears tenderly with them" - he's so gracious - "not rebuking their selfishness in seeking preference above their brethren. He reads their hearts, he knows the depths of their attachment to him.

Their love is not a mere human affection; though defiled by the earthliness of its human channel, it is an outflowing from the fountain of his own redeeming love. He will not rebuke, but deepen and purify." God didn't openly rebuke them, but he wanted to share a heavenly principle so that they would realize real leadership - real leading - is service based, even if it means giving up your life. No greater love has any man than this: that a man lay down his life for his - what? Friend. Friends. And Jesus laid down his life.

He served. Matter of fact, he washed their feet, didn't he? Yes. The master - the teacher - kneels down and literally washes every single one's feet in that upper room - or that time when they were having passover meal. And this leads us to this principle - this characteristic that all of us need in our lives, and that is humility. You know, it's interesting to me, this concept of humility.

In Micah chapter 6, verse 8 it says "he has shown you, o man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk" - what? - "Humbly with your God?" To walk humbly with thy God. And the chief shepherd, who Peter says we will meet one day, exemplified this principle in his life. Notice, with me, Philippians - Paul, writing to the Philippians - we're going to turn in our Bibles to Philippians chapter 4 - Philippians chapter 4 and I'll start with verse 3 - oop - excuse me - misprint - chapter 2, okay? - Chapter 2 - Philippians chapter 2 - this is unity through humility - and it's humbled and the exalted Christ - and we see this principle - and I'll start with verse 3 - it says, "let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." - Not ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind "let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Therefore God also has" - what? - "God also has highly exalted him" - notice, in his humility - in his humility God says, 'now I'm going to exalt you and I'm going to lift you up." And where is Jesus now, by the way? Heaven. He's in heaven. He's at the right hand of The Father. Isn't that where you and I want to be? Amen. One day, isn't that where we want to be, sitting or standing, praising the Lord, standing at his right hand? the Lord says, 'listen, just like I humbled myself and The Father has exalted me, you humble yourself and I'll lift you up.

I'll lift you up. And so servant leadership has this quality about humility - humbleness. You know, it's very interesting, I had a friend of mine who was an elder in a church in New York and there was this one gentleman that was fairly new in the church and he had a passion and a zeal and he said, 'oh!' - The pastor wasn't there all the time so he went to the elder, who happened to be my friend at the time, and he said, 'man, I want to preach. Just give me the opportunity. I want to preach.

I want to preach.' And my friend said, 'clean the toilet.' He's like, 'what? What do mean, 'clean the toilet'? No, I want to preach. I can't clean the toilet, I want to preach.' He said, 'no, clean the toilet.' What was he trying to get across to this young man who had just come into the church? He said, 'listen, if you're going to stand up front and you're going to share the message with the people who are listening, do it with a humble heart, okay? In time God will give you that opportunity, but humble yourself and just do what you can where you are and be effective in doing that, and the Lord, in time, he will lift you up and he will give you the opportunity because no longer will it be you being the center of focus, Christ will be the center of focus and he always needs to be, always.' So we need to be humble just like Jesus was humble. He came, he garbed himself in humanity. By the way, do you realize he's still living in that flesh? He robed his divinity in humanity and he still has that. Talk about humble - and he wears that in front of God and all the angels in heaven.

One day, if we're humble, we'll be in that same place, worshiping him, fellowshipping with him, learning all that we can learn. This idea of humility is so central. Notice, matter of fact, Peter really brings this out - 1 Peter chapter 5 - going back to 1 Peter chapter 5 - 1 Peter chapter 5, verses 5 through 7 - he says, "likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with" - what? Humility. We need to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.

Be we also - here Peter says we need to be clothed with "humility, for 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'" You know what God's grace is? God's grace is two parts: you have God's unmerited favor - nothing we do can merit God's favor - God gives us his favor. He loves us that much. Amen. Okay? The other aspect of his grace is God's power, okay? So you have his unmerited favor and you have his power. If you're humble, what can you experience in your life? He gives grace to the what? To the humble.

He gives his unmerited favor and he gives his power to the humble, not to the proud. He has to bring low the proud. So where would it be better for us to be standing? The proud or the humble? Humble, so we can experience the grace of God regularly. Verse 6 goes on: "therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in" - what? - "Due time," - in his time, not in your time. That was what my friend was trying to communicate - not in your time, okay? But in God's time he'll exalt you, he'll lift you up, he'll give you opportunities that right now you really want - and you want it, but you need to humble yourself and let the Lord lead, guide, and direct and give you those opportunities, but you can still lead where you are.

It doesn't mean, well, sometimes we think, 'oh, if I preach then I'm the leader'. You can lead where you are. You don't have to preach to lead. If you're just humble, allowing the Lord to work in your lives, he helps you to be an influence wherever you are. So, in verse 7, he says, "casting all your care upon him for he cares for you.

" Casting all your care upon him for he cares for you. What better place to be than under the mighty hand of God, right? There's no better place than living under the mighty hand of God. Our hands aren't as strong as his. Our hands can't even accomplish half of what his hands can accomplish and Peter says here, 'listen, if you humble yourself, you will be under the mighty hand of God.' Growing up I remember, you know, for a little child, many times, they love to be under the hand of their dads. I remember growing up I always looked up to my dad, okay? Still do in many ways, but I remember one time - on the farm we had seven acres and my dad, every year during spring, he would go out to the ditch - and we had a long ditch of 75 yards or more - and he would burn the grass, okay? And this was just something we did every single year and it just so happened my younger brother and I and my dad were there and he starts burning the grass.

And as it goes along and it burns more and more - it's behind our barn - now, our barn was very large and it had a lot of hay in it and the hay was very dry, okay? And so he was burning and all of a sudden the wind shifted and - and that fire that was all the way down the driveway, started coming back towards the barn and all my dad had was this little hose. Now I looked up to my dad - in this moment, my dad told me, just recently, 'you know, that moment I was so scared. I thought we were going to lose everything.' And he started praying to God. He was like, 'Lord, you've got to help me.' And this fire was getting out of control and it was big and it was coming all the way back towards the barn and he told my younger brother, 'run into the house and call the fire department.' And he calls -1-1 and the firemen come out there, but the wind, as my dad is praying and we're doing all that we can - a neighbor had come over and he's beating out the fire and - just two of them going at it - I'm carrying buckets - we're going as fast as we can but, in this situation, even this was out of my dad's control. Even though I looked to him and I loved being under his hand, even that was out of his control.

We needed someone stronger. We needed someone more able. And the wind started dying down and I remember when the fire department got there and they started working on it, the fire had gone all the way around our barn and it had just stopped before the car and it had stopped six inches from the barn. They had gotten there just in time, but the wind had died - if the wind would have kept going as fast as it was going - and this was in Wisconsin, by the way, if the wind - just open - if the wind kept going as fast as it was going, there was no way. That barn was going up - it wasn't too far from the house - we're talking a huge explosion, okay? But the Lord's hand was mighty and the Lord's hand was mightier than my dad's hand.

That's the hand we should be living under. Amen. We should be experiencing the grace of God daily, as we humble ourselves. And you know in what ways you need to humble yourself. the Lord can help us understand.

He can give us the strength to do that. But, when we humble ourselves, he, in turn, will lift us up. Amen. We must stop trusting self and begin entrusting ourselves to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This same king that knelt down to wash the disciples' feet when he was upon the earth, was the same Lord, in the old testament, that laid low the high and mighty.

Isaiah chapter 13, verse 11 - our lesson points to these passages - "I will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible." Job chapter 40, verses 11 and 12, "disperse the rage of your wrath; look on everyone who is proud, and humble him. Look on everyone who is proud, and bring him low; tread down the wicked in their place." One day God is going to humble the proud, but if we humble ourselves now, in the same day that God humbles the proud, he will lift up the humble and he will literally set them right next to himself in the heavenly kingdom. What kind of leaders is God, through Peter's epistle, calling us to be? And, finally, when we are these kinds of leaders, we need to be sober - Peter goes on - we need to be sober. We need to be clear minded, he says, "...be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." When we are living humbly and God is lifting us up, remember, there's an adversary right around the corner and he's going to do everything that he possibly can to devour you. But, in verse 9, Peter goes on and says, "resist him, steadfast in the faith," - how do you resist him? Staying steadfast in the faith.

Peter says stand steadfast in the faith - resist him, "knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world." Sometimes we suffer and we think we're the only ones. Peter says, 'no, you're not the only ones.' There's people all over the world that are facing challenges and facing trials and that are suffering. But we can praise the Lord as we stand fast in our faith, even if we should suffer it's okay. Why? Because standing fast, we're resisting our adversary so that one day God can lift us up to be with himself in the Kingdom of heaven. Powerful passages.

And, finally, verse 10, "but may the God of all grace, who called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and" - what? - Settle - "settle you." This is awesome. It says, through all of this, what is God doing? He's strengthening you, he's perfecting you, he's establishing you, and he is settling you in the truth - the truth as it is in Jesus. "But may the God of all grace, who called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle [you]." May we be all of these things as God's leaders wherever we are. May we influence others for his honor and for his glory, because one day, the chief shepherd is coming. He's coming.

Amen. Again, I'd like to let you know of our free offer, which is: is there anything left you can trust? - It's offer #103 and you can find it online at amazingfacts.org or just call 1-866-788-3966. May God bless you and have a wonderful Sabbath day. Hello, friends. We all know a marathon is one of the longest and hardest races a person can run.

But did you hear about the ultra marathon they used to have in australia? It was 544 miles from melbourne to sydney; it attracted as many as 150 world-class athletes. But then something happened that no one would ever forget: in 1983 a 61-year-old potato farmer named cliff young decided to enter the race. People were very amused because he had on rubber galoshes over his boots and when the race began and all the runners took off, sure enough old cliff was left behind shuffling along very slowly - but he was shuffling very persistently. Normally, during this seven-day race, the runners would go about hours running and then they'd sleep for six hours, but nobody ever told cliff that. When the other runners stopped to rest during the night, cliff just kept on running.

Some people were afraid old cliff was going to have a heart attack and they were asking the race organizers to show mercy and stop the crazy old man, but he would have none of it. Each day he was gaining on the pack because when they were sleeping, he was plodding along. During the last night of the race cliff passed all of these world-class athletes. Not only was cliff able to run that 544-mile race without dying, he won, beating all the other racers by nine hours, breaking the record, and becoming a national hero in the process. What's really amazing is when they told him he won the $10,000.

00 prize he looked confused and said he didn't know there was a prize and he decided to share it with the other runners. When asked how he was able to run all night long, cliff responded that he grew up on a farm where they had about 2,000 head of cattle and, because they couldn't afford horses, he used to have to round them up on foot, sometimes running two and three days non-stop. So, throughout the race, he just imagined he was chasing after the cows and trying to outrun a storm. Old cliff's secret was to keep on running while others were sleeping. You know, the Bible tells us that the race is not necessarily to the swift - something like aesop's fable of the tortoise and the hare - the tortoise just kept on plodding along.

That's why Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:13, "he that endures unto the end the same will be saved." Now you might slip and fall during the race. You might even get off to a bad start. But in the Christian race that we run, the main thing is you want to finish well. Keep on running, friends and don't give up. For life-changing Christian resources visit afbookstore.com or call 1-800-538-7275.

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