Dr. Zach Crook

Peter’s Instructions for Godly Leadership

In this article, we will be delving into the final chapter of the Book of First Peter, which was written for a church enduring severe persecution. Despite being written centuries ago, Peter’s words still hold relevance and offer guidance to believers today. In our exploration of First Peter, Chapter Five, we will focus on Peter’s exhortation to the elders to shepherd God’s flock with humility and grace, avoiding the pitfalls of greed and the desire to exert power over others. We will also examine the theme of suffering and how it can be used as a tool to strengthen one’s faith. In a world where believers face trials and tribulations, it is essential to remain vigilant in our faith and stand firm in the truth of the gospel. So, let us open our hearts and minds to what God may teach us through this final chapter of First Peter.

Instructions for Godly Leadership

In the last chapter of his book, Peter addresses some elders and leaders in the church, emphasizing that good, godly leadership is grounded in humility. Although this is directed towards church leaders, there are principles that are applicable to anyone who leads others, such as parents, small group leaders, or work supervisors. Peter challenges us to think about having humility instead of always acting like an expert. He encourages us to use our position of influence to serve and lead others, to be an example to the flock, and to avoid being domineering or greedy. 

Resilient Christians Radiate Humility

Peter also quotes from Proverbs, emphasizing that humility is a virtue and that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Peter reminds us that people are watching us, and we have a choice to humbly serve others or to use our power to enrich ourselves. He also reminds younger people to submit themselves to elders and to be willing to find mentors and be discipled. Peter quotes Proverbs again and emphasizes that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. He encourages us to walk through life with humility and grace, knowing we have a crown of glory waiting for us when the Chief Shepherd appears. This is why we can set an example for others and live our lives differently, even through trials and hardships.

The posture of humility that Peter encourages us to have is one where we recognize that trust is crucial in all aspects of our lives. Peter asks us if we trust God with every area of our lives and highlights this point in verse six, where he instructs us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God so that he may exalt us at the proper time. Furthermore, Peter reminds us to cast all our cares on God because he cares about us. Trusting God, according to Peter, involves having the humility to submit to God’s will for our lives. We must be willing to set aside our desires if they contradict God’s Word and seek His face instead. By doing so, we allow God to work in our lives and lead us toward His glory. Peter emphasizes that although there is a crown of glory that awaits us, it will be in God’s timing, not ours.

Resilient Christians Cast Anxieties on Christ

One of the difficult truths we must accept in life is that waiting is often necessary. God allows us to face trials because they help strengthen our faith. During these times of waiting, we are called to submit ourselves to God. As we see in Peter’s words, we are to cast all of our cares on Him. The word “cast” has a fishing connotation, which is something Peter, being a fisherman, would understand well. When fishing, weights would be added to nets so that when they were thrown into the sea, the nets would sink to the bottom, making it easier to catch fish. So casting our cares on God means removing the weight from our shoulders and giving it all to Him. It means admitting that we can’t do everything on our own. Although we may take pride in American exceptionalism and the idea of pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps, it can be dangerous to rely solely on our own strength. The world says if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything. However, this idea may contradict the gospel because God tells us not to try to do everything on our own but to submit to Him and cast our cares on Him because He cares for us. In Matthew 11, Jesus invites us to come to Him when we are weary and heavy-laden, and He will give us rest. When we walk empowered by the Spirit, we walk differently and cast our cares on Him because we know that He cares for us. 

Resilient Christians Resist the Devil

In Peter’s letter, he reminds us to be sober-minded and alert because we are in a battle against a real enemy – the devil, who is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. This emphasizes the importance of biblical community, leaning into one another, and being there for each other because the enemy wants to attack us when we are isolated and alone. Satan will try to make us feel isolated and alone, but we need to resist him firmly in the faith, knowing that fellow believers are experiencing the same kind of suffering throughout the world. To resist him, we need to respond to every lie from the enemy with truth from God’s word, just like how Jesus responded to Satan’s temptations with Scripture. Finally, we can take comfort in the promise that the God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and uphold us.

Resilient Christians Face Persecution with Praise

Peter is reminding the church that the persecution they are undergoing is intense, but he assures them that the God of all grace who has called them to his eternal glory in Christ will restore, establish, strengthen, and support them after they have suffered for a little while. He emphasizes that their suffering is finite, and their trials will eventually come to an end. Therefore, the church should look at the trials and difficulties of this life differently, knowing that they have hope in Jesus, who will encourage and inspire them. Peter breaks into a song of doxology, declaring, “to Him be dominion forever, Amen.” He expresses how encouraged he is by the hope they have in Jesus, and he writes it down so that everyone can break out in praise.

Peter’s Exhortation to Resilient Christians

The writer of the letter is expressing his gratitude and praise for God’s goodness, stating that he has written this letter through Silvanus, whom he considers a faithful brother, to encourage and testify that this is the true grace of God. He further explains that the purpose of the letter is to offer encouragement to the readers, who may face difficulties in life, by reminding them of the living hope that they have in Christ. The writer wants to testify that Jesus truly paid for our sins by living a perfect life, dying on the cross, and rising from the dead after three days. He emphasizes that this is the true grace of God, and he urges the readers to remember and be encouraged by it. The letter ends with an exhortation to focus on the encouragement and testimony provided in the letter.

Resilient Christians Encounter the Peace of Christ

The writer discusses the importance of standing firm in the truth of the gospel, even in the midst of difficult trials and challenges in life. He commands the church to stand firm on the foundation of Christ, no matter what curveballs come their way. The Holy Spirit speaks through Peter, urging believers to hold fast to the truth of the gospel without doubting who God is or what He has done. The writer emphasizes that the hope of the gospel is what we stand firm on, and we do not give up or give in to the difficulties of life. He then reminds believers to greet one another with a kiss of love and declares that there is peace for those who are in Christ. Paul teaches that this peace surpasses human understanding, and it is an underlying sense of security that cannot be explained rationally. The writer notes that God saw us in our sin and inability to save ourselves, yet He provided peace through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must stand firm in the truth of the gospel, trusting in God’s love and peace amidst the trials of life.

God’s love for us is so great that He sent His son Jesus to live a perfect life and die on the cross for us. Understanding this truth enables us to worship God and be encouraged regardless of the challenges we face. Peter has urged us to stand firm in the gospel and to walk with a peace that surpasses human understanding. By doing so, we become a powerful witness to the world around us, and people will want to know why we have hope. The reason for our hope is that God, who is full of grace, has called us into His eternal glory in Christ and will restore, establish, strengthen, and support us even after we have suffered for a little while. So, if you have never put your trust in Christ, I want to encourage you to do so.

Next Steps:

If you are feeling weighed down by the burdens of this world and trying to figure it out on your own, know that God did it for us because we can’t. Jesus went to the cross for us. If you have not made the decision to trust in Christ, you could do so today. Maybe you already are a follower of Jesus but have been feeling overwhelmed by trials and difficulties and are starting to believe the lies of the enemy. In that case, remember that God cares about you and wants you to cast your cares on Him. Instead of carrying the burden on your own, stand firm on the gospel and give your burdens to Him. Jesus is a firm foundation, His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. He will be with you no matter what you’re walking through. Go to Him.