Everybody Wins

Everybody Wins!

Pastor Don Carpenter / General

Not From Around Here: The Strange and Complicated Life of a Sojourner / Humility; Submission; Submission of the Clergy / 1 Peter 5:5–7

Robert Roberts writes about a fourth grade class in which the teacher introduced a game called “balloon stomp.” A balloon was tied to every child’s leg, and the object of the game was to pop everyone else’s balloon while protecting one’s own. The last person with an intact balloon would win.

The fourth graders in Roberts’ story entered into the spirit of the game with vigor. Balloons were relentlessly targeted and destroyed. A few of the children clung to the sidelines like wallflowers at a middle school dance, but their balloons were doomed just the same. The entire battle was over in a matter of seconds, leaving only one balloon inflated. Its owner was, of course, the most disliked kid in the class. It’s hard to really win at a game like balloon stomp. In order to complete your mission, you have to be pushy, rude and offensive.

Roberts goes on to write that a second class was introduced to the same game. Only this time it was a class of mentally handicapped children. They were given the same explanation as the first class, and the signal to begin was given. But the game proceeded very differently. Perhaps the instructions were given too quickly for children with learning disabilities to grasp them. The one idea that got through was that the balloons were supposed to be popped. So it was the balloons, not the other players, that were viewed as enemies. Instead of fighting each other, they began helping each other pop balloons. One little girl knelt down and held her balloon carefully in place, like a holder for a field goal kicker. A little boy stomped it flat. Then he knelt down and held his balloon for her. It went on like this for several minutes until all the balloons were vanquished, and everybody cheered. Everybody won.

Who got the game right, and who got the game wrong? In our world, we tend to think of another person’s success as one less opportunity for us to succeed. There can only be one top dog, one top banana, one big kahuna. If we ever find ourselves in that enviable position, we will fight like mad to maintain our hold on it. A lot of companies fail to enjoy prolonged success because the people in charge have this “balloon stomp” mentality. In the church, the rules change. Jesus Christ gets top billing. We’re just here to serve his purposes, and we do that most effectively by elevating others and humbling ourselves.

We humans can be prideful, competitive and selfishly independent. “You are not the boss of me!” is a phrase uttered from the youngest among us. We do not do well as a community of believers if we all function like that. We were designed to function within a body all with different roles that complement not compete with each other.

As the Apostle Peter draws his first letter to scattered pilgrims in the first century, he focuses on preparing them for the ongoing battle with the forces of darkness by working together. Last week we learned the role and function of the Elder/Pastor/Bishop in the local church. Tonight we will discover the role and attitude we all must take on in order to ensure that in this game of the Christian life, everybody wins.

Everybody Wins When We Follow The Leader

1 Peter 5:5 KJV

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.

New Testament 5:1–5—Faithful Caretakers of the Flock

Respect for parents, elders and, in Judaism, those more knowledgeable in the law was socially obligatory in antiquity; some Jewish traditions regarded it as an expression of one’s respect for God. Such respect included deferring to the wisdom of older men and allowing them to speak first. Peter advocates submission to the ruling elders (5:1), but he also urges—against Greco-Roman society’s ideals—mutual humility, based on the teaching of the Old Testament (Prov 3:34).

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words Subject, Subjection

hupotasso (????????, 5293), primarily a military term, “to rank under” 

Hebrews 13:17 KJV

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Everybody Wins When We Clothe Ourselves With Humility

1 Peter 5:5 KJV

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.

Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament 18. Christian Humility, a Safeguard against Satan and a Source of Strength in Suffering (5:5b-14)

THE subject of humility begins with the second sentence of verse five. The words “be subject to” are not in the best Greek texts. We have left them out of the fuller translation. “Be clothed with” is the translation of a word which speaks of the act of tying or tucking up the long outer garments of the oriental around the waist as a roll or band or girth. It refers to the same action as Peter mentions in 1:13 where he says, “Gird up the loins of your mind.” The word in its noun form referred to a slave’s apron under which the loose outer garments were gathered. The exhortation is to put on humility as a working virtue which would make all the other virtues what they should be, thus workable in the Christian scheme of things. The other virtues such as kindness, generosity, justice, goodness, longsuffering, when saturated with humility, are most acceptable and praiseworthy, but when seen in a proud person, are like clanging brass or a tinkling cymbal.

John 13:4–5 KJV

He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 

After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

The word he uses for to clothe oneself is very unusual; it is egkombousthai, which is derived from kombos, and describes anything tied on with a knot. Connected with it is egkomb?ma, a garment tied on with a knot. It was commonly used for protective clothing; it was used for a pair of sleeves drawn over the sleeves of a robe and tied behind the neck. And it was used for a slave’s apron. There was a time when Jesus had put upon himself just such an apron. At the Last Supper, John says of him that he tied a towel around himself, and took water and began to wash his disciples’ feet (John 13:4–5). Jesus put on the apron of humility, and so must his followers.

It so happens that egkombousthai is used of another kind of garment. It is also used of putting on a long, stole-like garment which was the sign of honour and prestige.

To complete the picture, we must put both images together. Jesus once put on the slave’s apron and undertook the humblest of all duties, washing his disciples’ feet; so we must in all things put on the apron of humility in the service of Christ and of other people; but that very apron of humility will become the garment of honour for us, for it is the one who is the servant of all who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.1

1 William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 312–313.

Proverbs 3:34 KJV

Surely he scorneth the scorners: But he giveth grace unto the lowly.

James 4:6 KJV

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament 18. Christian Humility, a Safeguard against Satan and a Source of Strength in Suffering (5:5b-14)

The word “resisteth” in the Greek is a military term, used of an army drawn up for battle. Pride calls out God’s armies. God sets Himself in array against the proud person. The word “proud” is the translation of a Greek word which means literally “to show above,” and thus describes the proud person as one who shows himself above others. The word “humble” is the translation of the Greek word rendered “lowly” in Matthew 11:29, where it describes our Lord’s character. The word is found in an early secular document where it speaks of the Nile River in its low stage in the words, “It runs low.” The word means “not rising far from the ground.” It describes the Christian who follows in the humble and lowly steps of his Lord.

…gives grace to the humble Speaking now to all believers, Peter draws on the Septuagint (ancient Greek ot) version of Prov 3:34 to stress the importance of humility in the Christian community. The nt frequently exhorts believers to cultivate an attitude of humility (e.g., Eph 4:2; Phil 2:3; Col 3:12; 1 Pet 3:8).1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), 1 Pe 5:5.

Everybody Wins When We Allow Ourselves to be Humbled By God.

1 Peter 5:6 KJV

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

The verb translated “humble yourselves” is not in the aorist middle but the passive voice, which means that the subject of the verb is passive in the hands of God and is acted upon by Him. The exhortation is, “Be humbled,” or “Suffer yourselves to be humbled.” The humbling process which God was using was the persecution and suffering through which these Christians were passing. Peter exhorts these believers to react towards these in a God-honoring way, to be submissive to the discipline which God was using to make them more humble. But with this exhortation comes also a note of comfort and hope in that the presence of humility in the life of a Christian is the prerequisite that God demands before He will exalt that Christian to a high place of privilege and honor in His service. As someone has said, “He must take a low place before God, who would take a high place before men.”1

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 128.

James 4:10 KJV

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Everybody Wins When We Cast Our Care On God.

1 Peter 5:7 KJV

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Then comes an exhortation to cast all our care upon Him. The command is directly and vitally related to the context. These Christians were undergoing such persecution that the circumstances in which they found themselves gave abundant opportunity for that sin called worry. The apostle exhorts them that while this humbling process is going on, they should cast all their care upon God. The word “care” is the translation of a Greek word which means “anxiety” or “worry.” The word “all” in the Greek text has the idea, not of every worry that comes along, but the whole of their worries. They are to cast upon God the whole of their worries, that is, come to the place where they resolve to cast the whole of their future worries upon Him, and the result will be that when those things that would otherwise worry them come up, they will not worry. The word “cast” is the translation of a word that means “having deposited with.” It refers here to a direct and once-for-all committal to God of all that would give us concern

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 128–129.

The words “for he careth for you” can be translated literally, “for it is a care to Him concerning you,” or “for you are His concern.” Anxiety is a self-contradiction to true humility. Unbelief is, in a sense, an exalting of self against God in that one is depending upon self and failing to trust God. Why worry therefore, if we are His concern. He is more concerned about our welfare than we could possibly be. Furthermore, since the humbling process has been allowed to come to us in the permissive will of God, and He is using it to accomplish His purpose in our lives, He has it under His control and us in His care. In it all He is concerned about us, therefore, again, why worry?1

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 129.

A doctor had to give a painful shot to a four-year-old girl. When she learned what the doctor was about to do, her face showed her anxiety and her body tensed. As the doctor picked up what looked to the little girl to be a needle large enough to kill an elephant, she turned her eyes to her father, who then took her hand and fixed his eyes on hers. An expression of confidence and calmness came on her face. She knew she was not alone and found comfort, not in her father’s spoken answer, but in his presence with her in her time of trial.1

1 Michael P. Green, ed., Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 Sermon Illustrations Arranged by Topic and Indexed Exhaustively, Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989).

God has given us exactly what we need to navigate these difficult times. We have Under-Shepherds to guide us. We have Humility to redirect us. We have Prayer to unburden us. We all win when we work the plan and when we work it together.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 2:57 PM November 18, 2020.

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