I Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
God has an order to all things. In the opening verses of this chapter it is clear that God was speaking to the elders as the leaders of the local church. They need to be sober and worthy of following.
In our text today Peter is told to remind the younger men to submit themselves to the elder. The context has not changed and thus it would seem that the younger men needed to learn from the elder, not seek to change the standards to appease the world.
Younger men may have more energy but they need to be taught. They have not walked with the Lord as long as the elder has.
Today we see far too many elders in the churches who have not discovered what their purpose is. Some younger men who cannot get the elders to bend to their whims leave and start a more emergent church. We see that too often today. To avoid this situation, many elders have decided that they need to become more like the younger, less spiritual men, if they are even saved.
We have said before that the local church cannot function as a democracy. God’s Word is our authority, and His Word is settled. Peter had been directed to spend the previous 4 chapters dealing with the facts of what a true Christian looks like.
The younger need to humble themselves and accept the instruction of godly elders. Peter went on to remind all believers that there needs to be a mutual respect for one another. We have already seen that the elders do not lord it over others. They lead with authority, but that authority is from God.
We see here that true believers need to be clothed in humility. There is no place for pride in the local church. God resists the proud. A person that wants to be proud, will find that they are working against God. God gives grace to the humble. We have noted before that this grace is that help that is needed to be able to walk humbly with the Lord.
In verse 6 we are further reminded of the importance of humility. God’s hand is mighty. The true child of God is held in the Father’s hand. That hand is a hand of safety. It is also the hand that will chasten the proud saint. The rampant rebellion against God’s will and Word today suggests that the rebels are unsaved men. They have a religious organization, but it is not of God.
The true saint is a servant of the true God. He leads and directs His children. We submit to Him and when we do that, we will submit to His human authority as well.
We are further reminded that God will exalt His own in due time. There is a time to walk along side an elder and learn. The time will come when the younger will need to take a greater role in leadership. God will work to show both the elder and the younger when that time is.
Paul took Timothy as his son in the faith and taught him. Timothy was in a place of leadership at the time of Paul’s death. However, we read in II Timothy 4 that Paul was still teaching and encouraging Timothy to hold fast to the faith once delivered unto the saints. He needed to be a godly man.
In verse 7 we see that we can cast all our care upon Him. We may think we need to see things done differently. We may become impatient with God’s leadership. Rather than undermine God’s leadership, take your concern to the Lord. He will show you what you need to do. We know that God is not pleased with those who seek to overthrow God’s appointed leadership. We know that God is not pleased when people spread lies about the leaders in order to get others to work against them.
God expects church members to submit to His leadership.
God cares about each saved person. The younger ones can take their cares to Him and He understands all about it. He knows how to keep things going in the right way. Keep in mind that Jesus promised to build His church upon Himself. He also declared that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
There are far too many churches today that have fallen to the tactics of the devil. They fell because they turned away from the truth. Most of the churches that seem to have fallen were never true churches anyway. They have just made it more obvious to those who are paying attention, that they are frauds.
True saints have an enemy. That enemy is not man. That enemy is Satan. He is looking for any way possible to overthrow the Work of God. Thus the elders need to be sober. They need to pay attention to what people are saying and doing. They need to be aware that trouble is never far away. They need to be vigilant. The Greek word translated as “vigilant” means to be “wide awake mentally and spiritually.” The elders need to be in the Word daily and moment by moment. There are many schemes being planned these days. The CCM music is trying to get into churches all the time. The devil is always trying to weaken Biblical doctrine. He has been very successful in many religious groups. God has blessed us with the internet so that we can search the source of the “new ideas” that are being promoted. Many of the things can be discerned simply because they are clearly against God’s Word. However, the devil is crafty. He is very good at laying traps. The elders need to be walking humbly with the Lord and not be quick to agree with some new idea.
In verse 9 we are told to resist the devil by being stedfast in the faith. We cannot resist the devil in the flesh. We can only resist him as we draw nigh to God. The elders that Peter was addressing needed to be reminded that other brethren were facing the same afflictions they were facing. The devil’s tool box is quite small. He is subtle, but God’s Word is greater. If we walk by faith and not by sight, we will heed God’s warnings and we will build ourselves up in the true faith. We will draw on God’s grace continuously.
In I Kings 19 God recorded the actions of Elijah. Elijah was a faithful man of God. He did not have many friends. He was not close to any other true prophets. In the text, he thought he was all alone in his faithfulness to the Lord. God reminded him that he was not all alone. He may not have known any others who were suffering for their faith, but God reminded him there were many others who also had not bowed to the whims of the devil.
The apostle Paul was forsaken by many. However, he still had God’s Word and He still had the Holy Spirit indwelling him. He still had a few good men like Timothy. God never leaves His true child all alone. We may think we are all alone, but we are not. There are others who are also walking with the Lord. We can be encouraged in that fact. We may not be able to fellowship with them as we would like, but we can always fellowship with the Lord. That is what we really need. God looks after His own.