1st Peter 5:1-14
"The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 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. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son. Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen."
"I don't think that Peter knew that he was going to write 2nd Peter, at this point in time. He may have been personally convinced that this chapter, and there was no chapter-break, but these passages were kind of his final exhortation, because they're pretty exhortive to the Church. He has some things to say. He's talked to us about our hope, from the first chapter, about the coming of Christ, he's talked to us about our relationship to government, to employers, to Christ, husbands to wives and wives to husbands, and our relationship to suffering and so forth. And as he comes to the close of his letter, he's going to say something to the other elders in the Church, the other Church leaders, and then a final exhortation for everyone. It's interesting as we read these first three verses, he's putting it in context with the fourth verse where he says "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." And Peter no doubt lived in light of that. Ah, for him, it was almost like a class reunion. John is still alive at this point in time. James is gone. Thomas is gone. Matthew is gone. So many, gone on to glory. Jesus of course, Peter filled with memories, and alludes to the very teaching of Christ all through this epistle. Note, I wonder how many times he would reflect on the 'Follow me, drop your nets, follow me, I'll make you fishers of men,' of his early encounters, of the draw of fishes that almost sunk the boat, of Christ sending him down to the seaside and pulling out a fish with the tax-money in his mouth. That's a good thing to think about at tax season, isn't it? Jesus is a great guy to have around during tax season. Just of being taken to Jairus' daughter, Peter, James and John seeing her raised from the dead, or of the Mount of Transfiguration, walking on the water to Jesus. Think of the things that he reflects on, and all the way, of course, to denying Christ, running out, weeping in the night, of his passion. And resurrection morning, the women returning from the tomb saying 'We've seen angels, and they said go tell his disciples, and Peter.' And I don't think for Peter when he first heard that, that was good news. He thought 'My name is mud.' 'Go tell his disciples, and Peter, that he's risen from the dead.' And it tells us that somewhere he met with Peter, all alone, and talked with him, and said 'Shalom, Peter, peace, look at the marks on my hands, the price is paid.' And Peter would tell us in his first chapter, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has begotten us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." And that was his experience. He received fresh hope when Christ came to him risen, and he knew he was forgiven, and the price was paid, and none of his failures had surprise the Lord. And he must have said, 'Peter, I told you that you were going to deny me three times, I told you that I prayed for you, that your faith wouldn't fail, that when you were restored you were to strengthen your brethren, and there's a ministry for you.' And now Peter, thinking he's coming, he's coming soon, he's going to see him again. He saw him in the beginning of the Book of Acts, and the angels said 'He's coming the same way you saw him leave, you're going to see him again,' he's going to see James again, Thomas, the old crew, the Class of One, the Class of AD 32 or whatever it was. And in light of that he begins this exhortation to these under-shepherds, in light of the fact that he's expecting the chief Shepherd.
Opening Verse: 'I've Seen The Worst Of It And The Best Of It'
'Knowing,' he said, 'that judgment begins at the house of God,' as he closed the last chapter, he says "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:" (verse 1) And I'm sure there's with a certain level of excitement, he says, 'the chief Shepherd's coming,' he says, 'I'm a partaker of the glory that's going to be revealed,' I mean, just the scene there at the Mount of Transfiguration, which he will write a little bit about in the 2nd Epistle, just seeing Christ and Moses and Elijah in their glory, and just saying 'that's what's ahead of me, that's what ahead of you.' And it's interesting, he's saying 'I'm exhorting you, I'm a fellow elder, I'm not above you, I'm in this with you, this old veteran pastor,' and I mean veteran, this guy's been through it all, and he says 'I'm a witness of both the sufferings and the glory that's attached to this whole thing. Let me tell you, I've seen the worst of it and the best of it. I've seen the suffering, I've watched it, and I am a witness of that, of those sufferings, but there is also the glory mingled in this.' And he begins his exhortation that way. Now I'm going to take note of something, when he says that he is a, how does he say it here, a witness, that's our word "martyr." You're not a martyr when you die for Christ, when you die for Christ you're demonstrating that you've been a martyr. Remember Acts chapter 1, the Lord said 'Wait in Jerusalem until you're endued with power, that you may be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth.' And Luke ended his Gospel by saying that Jesus said it was necessary for Christ to die and rise again on the third day, 'and you are witnesses of these things, that the gospel and repentance might be preached to all men, you are witnesses of these things.' And that's what he's saying here. Now you and I are witnesses of those things too. When he gets to his second epistle he'll talk about seeing Christ in glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, and he says 'We were eye-witnesses of his glory,' he uses a different word there. It means to have seen something with your eye and gazed upon it. When he says here that he's a "witness," that's a word someone, it's not speaking of what they've seen, it's speaking of the testimony that they give. And you and I are also able ministers of the New Testament [literally, "new covenant," which is the Greek for "New Testament"], and the Bible tells us through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are also to give witness to what Christ has done, 'That eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for those who love him, but by his Spirit he's made those things real to us.' That you and I can effectively give testimony of the death and of the resurrection of Christ, because the Holy Spirit has taken those things that the natural man can't receive, and he's made them real to us also. So Peter is saying this to the elders who were alive at this point, many of whom had not seen Christ with the physical eye. And he says 'I am also a fellow elder, and I'm exhorting you, I'm encouraging you to go onward, I'm exhorting, I'm challenging.' We all need to be exhorted. I'll tell you, the pastors in the church here, the leaders, they need exhortation, they need encouragement. And he says here 'he's exhorting those, the fellow-elders, the presbytus,' and he says, "and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed." I think with a certain level of excitement.
Peter's Exhortation To Elders, Pastors
His exhortation is this: "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (verses 2-4) Now, if I do this passage at a pastor's conference, I'm a little bit different with it, because I'm amongst comrades, and I can have a little bit more fun with it in some ways. But on your side of this, in regards to the Church [Body of Christ], in regards to pastors and elders, these should be the standards that you also should hold somebody to that's in leadership. [Paul set similar standards for pastors, elders in 1st Timothy 3:1-13, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/1stTim/1stTimothy3-1-13.htm] You know, many people come to this church, they're here for a number of years, then they move on, go to another church somewhere else, go to a church in another state, ah, some folks park here, and hopefully we'll finish together, get Raptured together. But for some folks this is a stepping stone, it's part of their journey, and the Lord leads them onto another place, to another ministry, to another state, maybe with their employment, to be a missionary of something [I've been on one of those journeys, hope I can finally settle down now. See http://www.unityinchrist.com/author.htm]. But wherever you are, these things, I think are important.
1. "Feed The Flock Of God Which Is Among You"
He says, first of all, "Feed the flock of God which is among you," first exhortation, to feed the flock, now take note, it's the flock of God, not Peter's flock. "Feed the flock of God which is among you," now he's going to have them in oversight, so he doesn't say 'feed the flock of God which is under you,' he says, "Feed the flock of God which is among you," he says, 'I myself am a fellow-elder,' he realizes he's saved by grace, he had made enough mistakes in his life, he has a reputation, and he says, "which is among you." The exhortation is "to feed." And of course, in his own life, John chapter 21, when Jesus after the resurrection came to them and Peter starts the first crisis in the Church by taking everybody back to fishing, and Jesus stands on the shore and says 'Throw the net on the other side,' and of course the 153 great fishes are brought in, and Peter dives in and swims ashore, and the Lord's there, he's already got a fire going, and coals, and fish there. And Peter comes and sits there, the other disciples come in. It says they couldn't pull the net in it was so great, it says Peter went down and pulled it in himself. So he must have been quite a burly old guy. And the Lord said, 'Peter, lovest thou me?' Peter said, 'Lord, you know that I love you.' And Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep.' He said to him a second time, 'Peter, do you love me?' He said, 'Lord, you know I love you.' He said literally, 'Fold my lambs.' And he said to him a third time, Peter needs everything in three's, he denies the Lord three times, he has to be told to eat three times when the sheet comes down from heaven, he needs everything in threes. So the Lord says, had to wake him up three times at Gethsemane, I mean, you just follow the precedence. Third time, 'Do you love me?' 'Lord, you know that I love you.' 'Feed my sheep.' (John 21:15-17) Here, many, many years later, he said 'I'm going to give you an exhortation, the chief Shepherd is coming, feed the flock of God which is among you. I have it on good authority, feed the flock of God which is among you.' It's a beautiful play on words in John, because Jesus says 'Peter, do you agape' me?' Because Peter had said to him, before he denied him, 'If everybody else denies you, you can count on me. I love you Lord, I'll even lay down my life for you.' Now he's saying 'Peter, do you love me, to you agape me?' And Peter says, 'Lord, you know I'm fond of you, I phileo you, I'm fond of you.' Notice, his pride's not there anymore. 'Lord, you know that I'm fond of you.' And then Jesus says a second time, 'Peter, do you agape me?' And he says, 'Lord, you know that I'm fond of you,' and he says again 'Feed my sheep,' a second time. And then the third time Jesus said, 'Peter, are you fond of me?' Now that's really hitting low. 'Are you really fond of me?" And Peter says, 'Lord, you know, I really do like you.' Jesus then says a third time, 'Feed my sheep.' It's a great encouragement to me, you know, because you do that kind of heart-searching. There are times when the Lord says to me, 'Do you agape me?' If I'm having a bad day I might say 'Lord, you know I'm fond of you.' I mean, just the humanness of this great shepherd here, this great under-shepherd, and the Lord finally saying 'Well if you are fond of me, we'll start there, I'll take what I can get. Feed my sheep.' And of course, "Fold my lambs,' the second time [in the Greek, "fold my lambs"], "to care for the flock, to watch after them, to protect them, to teach them." And primarily, certainly that responsibility of a shepherd is feeding, is to teach the Word of God. Not to be sanctified activity directors, not to be entertainers, but to feed the flock of God. You know, this Sunday we're going to kind of stuff the bulletin with some of the stuff that's gone on in the last year, just because we want you to see that. Just people come and say 'How do I get involved? I don't know how to get involved,' when you see this you're going to think, 'If you're not involved, you need to get involved.' But you know Paul says to the Thessalonians, 'The Word of God has gone out from among you.' And the Word of God has gone out from among you, it's touched this whole city, it's touched this country, it's touched the world in so many ways. And it's the importance of feeding, of teaching the Word of God. [Now Calvary Chapels, started under Pastor Chuck Smith, and they have a very unique and effective way of teaching expositorily through the Word of God. To see how Pastor Chuck started all this, and what's involved in this method of teaching the Word of God, see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/smith.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/ConnectiveExpositoryTA.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/pom/philofmin.htm]
2. 'Be A Pastor Not Because You Feel You Have To, But Willingly, Because It's Something You Really Enjoy
First thing Peter says is "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly," Now, by the way, for those who like to dig a little deeper, we have the "presbytus," and the "poymay" here, we have the pastor, we have the overseer, and the elder spoken of. Some churches, forms of government, there's plurality of eldership, ok, they think 'Elder, Pastor, Overseers, they're all the same things, they're all synonymous. And then our church government [Calvary Chapels] is plurality of eldership. [The United Church of God is the same, having a council of elders which meets once or twice a year to vote on important matters, and has a president to run the day to day administration. This maintains the presbyterian form of government whilst giving it some centralized leadership where needed. It's a stable form of government which avoids hierarchal abuses. But a church government is only as good or spiritual as the individuals within it and it's church. I believe Calvary Chapels get their elders, their presbyters together periodically at "pastor's conferences" held periodically. Pastor Chuck up until his death kind of gently oversaw all the Calvary Chapels, with most of the responsibility resting on the individual pastor. Brian Brodersen has taken over that position now. The overseer, or president of The United Church of God right now is Victor Kubik, a very loving and courageous pastor of Russian-Ukrainian parents.] Some feel that the poymay, the overseer, that James seemed to have a certain say in the Church in Jerusalem, Moses had a certain role, you think of Spurgeon, you think of Moody, [Wesley, Brewster], that there is a position of a senior pastor that's an overseer, a teaching-pastor, and that's more of an episcopas, Episcopal from of government in some ways. And then of course there are some that push for the congregational form of government, who want to hire and fire the pastor all the time [hard for God to lead in that form of church government, when the sheep rule the shepherd]. And to me that makes the pastor a hireling, but I guess it works in some places. It's funny, because Charles Stanley, I guess they have a congregational form of government, but it's obvious whose in charge there, Charles Stanley. If they want to do something, and he doesn't like it, he says 'I'll move down the street,' they say, 'Oh, no, no, no, you stay here, we'll do it your way.' It's interesting, Church historians tell us, in the first century, Lightfoot says "By the end of the first century there were already flourishing all three forms of government, episcopal, presbyterian and congregational." And these are the guys who heard right from the Lord, and they didn't know, they had already mixed it all up in a hundred years. [Comment. Careful study of the Epistles seems to indicate the early apostolic Church under the apostles James, John, Peter and Paul was semi-autonomous, with the presbyterian form of government like the Calvary Chapels.] And to me the great thing about that is Satan had no idea how to stop the Church, because we didn't know what we were doing here, and just about 2,000 years later we're still here. But you have the elder, you have the overseer, and you have the shepherding [pastor's work]. Now let me tell you something, I love the shepherding, part of it. I love to feed the flock. If there's anything that just drives me crazy, it's the distractions, because I love to get alone with Jesus and get alone with the Word, because it has to be alive to me first if it's going to be alive for anyone else. And I love to teach the Bible. That's the fun part of it. It's the "oversight" part of it, that's why it says "not by constraint," there's a reason he says "taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint," Why would he say that? Because it's in that position, well I've had people walk up to me, not too long ago somebody walked up to me and said, 'You know, we don't really like the teaching, we love the praise & worship, that's why we come, we don't really like the teaching.' I thought, 'Well great, you felt you needed to tell me that, come and sing I guess, that's a blessing [laughter],' but I have some folks say to me, 'Hey! Shouldn't be drums up there, that's demonic, shouldn't be drums...Hey!, those guys, your worship leaders look like kids off the street, they don't dress up, they don't, no ties, and says nothing the way you look,' or 'Hey, you don't speak in tongues here,' or 'Hey, you don't do this. Hey, music's too loud,' or 'Hey, why don't you play the old hymns, you don't give altar calls...' that's part of the whole world, where Peter would say, "take the oversight, not by constraint," not because you have to, "but willingly;" Funny thing, we grew to about 5,000 adults without an invitation [altar calls], because I would given an invitation and nobody would respond. And I explained it great. I had all my facts. And Raul Reese would just butcher an invitation [altar call]. I was in his church once, and he said "You come forward right now and get saved, or I'm not teaching." [loud laughter] and thirty-five people got saved. So, I thought, I'm not going to struggle with this, this is a gift, obviously, so, 'Lord, you've called me to be a pastor, and I'm going to do that, I'm happy.' And then when people started to come forward, if you guys were here years ago, the first couple times it happened without giving an invitation in the service, people walked forward and stood here. I said, "What are you guys doing here?" "You here to be saved?" "Yeah, we're here to be saved." I said, "OK, if it looks like the Lord is doing this today, if you want to get saved, you can come down too." So then I'm in this, going back and forth with the Lord, 'This is not part of our original contract, I'm a pastor, I'm not supposed to do this.' and 'OK, well the devil's not making them come forward, so if they're coming I'll cooperate with that.' But there's a whole other thing you go through, I'm up here thinking 'ok, do I ask? The teaching was really for the believer tonight, wasn't for the unbeliever,' and then somebody will walk forward, 'Well that's the answer to my question,' and then do you ask a third time, or do you only ask twice? Do you throw the line out one more time? And of course you don't want anyone to think if they don't come forward, they can't get saved sitting in their seat, and you really don't want anyone to think they got saved just because they walked forward, so it opens this whole other Pandora's Box of stuff. And then you have the people coming up that are more continental or more Calvinistic in their faith, saying, 'You don't give altar calls, people don't, it's not why people get saved,' I say "I didn't do any of it, I didn't do anything, I just teach the Word, you know, it's not my fault." [loud laughter] I don't know what happened, there were 25 of us some twenty-some years ago, and this happened, and I didn't do it, I don't know. We're the best dysfunctional family going, I know that. He says "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly;" be eager about it. And I am. I love what I do, I can't believe I get to do what I do.
3. You Shouldn't Be In the Ministry For The Money
"not for filthy lucre," (verse 2d) Paul, 1st Timothy chapter 3, verse 3, Titus chapter 1, verse 7, speaking about the qualifications of leadership in the Church [Body of Christ], in both places says 'not for filthy lucre.' There was already a problem, 70 years into the [more like 35 years, 30AD or 31AD to 66AD, 67AD] into the Church's history, money. Billy Graham, you know, said "The thing that will take a man down in ministry is pride, money or women, one of those three things." The warning is out there, lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, the pride of life. "not for filthy lucre" means somebody shouldn't be in the ministry for money. [Here's an example of the attitude a pastor ought to have. I saw it in a Maine State Fish and Game worker, and we got talking. He admitted that he needed, at the ordinary grunt-level he's at, 6+ years of college, pushing towards his Masters and Doctorate, for his job, and he only makes $35,000 a year! I said to him, "You have to really love your job." He smiled and said "yes." "not out of constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre" is the attitude we're talking about, what I saw demonstrated by that Maine State Fish and Wildlife worker in his state-owned pickup truck.] So, if they have two Mercedes parked in the parking lot, I'm not talking about you if you have a Mercedes, God bless you, I'm talking about the guy whose up front, begging for money, 'This is triple tithe Sunday, you need to give, I know there's somebody here that's going to give $1,000,' and then he's got a yacht, he's got a house down on the shore, got one up in the mountains, he's got two mansions he doesn't want Time Magazine to know about, and he bought a yacht, because he tried to go golfing, but the frustration on the golf coarse gave him ulcers, so he needed a yacht to go fishing to calm him down. I've heard those stories on TV, you know, one guy who needed plastic surgery because he laid on top of all the letters that people wrote in with prayer requests, and the ink seeped through his skin and wrinkled his skin, and then he needed plastic surgery because he was praying for everybody...Look, [laughter], you're laughing, but you have all seen those guys. You may have come from a church like that, where what's in your wallet is more important to the guy up front than what's in your heart. And there's a constant haranguing of people for money. Unbelievers see that, and know it's crazy. And Christians sit there and think 'I don't know, he says Praise the Lord, maybe I should give him something, I knew if I brought the checkbook, the Holy Spirit, I know that I got to hand it over now.' No, not for filthy lucre, not the reason to be in ministry. And it's an American disease. And in so many countries you might pay with your life, your blood for being in ministry. But even in Rome in the early Church, Peter had to say this.
Pastors Are Not To Be Like Super-Authoritative Nazi Storm-Troopers, Lording It Over God's Flock
You shouldn't be lazy, you shouldn't be greedy, and "but of a ready mind;" is the idea. Again, willing, without money, and "neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." Peter warns about popishness. You know, here's Peter, fellow-elder, not head-honcho, pope-Pete. [Sadly, something happened to the congregation in Rome up around the time of John, probably when the changes started occurring. See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch3.htm. The church in Rome became hierarchal as they fought Gnosticism. Strongly hierarchal forms of church government can lead to strong abuses, and then apostasy. I've been in churches were the pastors and leaders lorded it over their members like Nazi storm-troopers. And they demanded respect which they never deserved. That's why it's hard for me to call a pastor Mr. so and so. I'll call him pastor and then his first name, because my respect for the ministry has been so damaged by those goose-stepping jerks.] Little pope-Pete. He says in this letter, 'I'm a fellow-elder,' He said 'You're not lords over God's heritage,' interesting word, in the Septuagint it's speaking of the land when they cast lots for the land, and the land was divided up, it was the portion that fell to a tribe, and it's used when it speaks of the Lord's portion, and that's what he's talking about here. That anything that you're serving in is among the flock of God, it's God's flock, feed the flock of God which is among you, it isn't yours, it's blood-bought. This is the exhortation to the leaders. [Comment: The Levites were the Lord's portion in the Old Testament, the whole tribe, along with the priesthood of Aaron. Hebrews 5 shows that we are the Lord's portion, even as Peter showed in chapter 2 of this Epistle, of the royal Priesthood of Melchisedec, of whom Jesus is High Priest. So quite literally, we ordinary church members are the Lord's heritage, the Lord's portion, far beyond what the Levites and priests of Aaron were.] So then, not taking dominion over people's lives. Mark chapter 10, Jesus said, 'You know how the Gentiles are, they rule over one another, and the great ones among them have dominion over everybody else. But that's not the way it's supposed to be among you, the greatest among you should be servant of all.' Ah, 2nd Corinthians chapter 1, Paul says 'It's not that we have dominion over your faith, but we are helpers of your joy.' Ah, in Philemon, Paul says, 'Such an aged one as myself,' he said, 'I could command you, but for love's sake I adjure you,' he's taking no authority, in that sense. [Comment: The only right time for a leader, shepherd to take command-style authority is in dealing with wolves, protecting the flock from heretics who would spread heresy, and even this is to be done in love as well. For a short piece describing shepherding, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/pom/AShepherdLooks.htm] Ah, the end of Hebrews, it says, 'Consider the end of their conversation, those who have the rule over you, the way they died, the way they lived,' that it's not an exhortation there to take authority over someone's life. Peter says here that we're not to be popish, we're not to be domineering over people's lives, we're to be examples. Jesus in Revelation chapter 2, verse 6, and again in the letter to Pergamos, says, "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate." The only place in the New Testament where Jesus says 'I hate' something is there. He uses the word "hate," but the only place from the mouth of Jesus Christ we hear 'I hate this' is when he talks about the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. Now there's a foolish, this is not the doctrine of the Nicholodians, where people stay up late at night watching that. It's not Biship Nichol, it's not a bonafide character. Nikaio, if you have Niki sneakers on, that means to conquer [in Greek], domineer [we had a missile called the Niki-Zeus], that's what Niki means. Laitan is the laity. The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes is the "domineering of the laity," it's the reestablishing of the priesthood. And the only place we find in the New Testament that Jesus says 'I hate that thing, I don't want a man, a human, or a woman, between me and my children.' When he died on the cross, the veil was torn so every one of us can go to God, and Jesus hates veil-menders [i.e., "I'm the priest of Almighty God, you have to go through me in order to reach God." is the idea. What church denomination is there where we see this?]. He hates people that try to reestablish that distance between him and the individual, because Jesus is just as interested in your life as he is in mine. If he wants to call you, he knows your phone number, he won't call me. He is as willing to talk to you as he is to the pope or Billy Graham or to anybody else on the planet. And he is as delighted to talk to you. And the reason is, is because the same price that it cost him to talk to the pope or to Billy Graham is the same cost it cost him to talk to you, it was the blood of Jesus. And Peter says here, "neither as being lords over God's heritage," 'over God's flock,' he had witnessed the Judaizers coming in and demanding people be circumcised, demanding people come back under the law. [Comment: And this "law" they were demanding people come back under wasn't the moral Ten Commandment law of God, but the ceremonial laws which Hebrews 10 abrogated, the sacrificial laws. Why were the Judaizers doing this? Because the Temple still stood, and these ceremonial laws were the very laws which defined them as Jews. They also coveted the tithes, they wanted them to start going back to the Temple and it's Levitical priesthood. A massive number of Pharisees had been called to the knowledge that Jesus was the Messiah in a physical knowledge type way, but not genuinely spiritually. What was deceptive, was they had become part of the Jerusalem church for awhile, but they were also still friends with their unconverted Pharisee friends, and they all wanted to bring this Messianic Jewish revival back under the authority of the high priesthood residing in Jerusalem. That is the historic definition of a genuine Judaizer. Often, the Sabbatarian side of the Body of Christ has been called Judaizers, because they keep the 7th Day Sabbath. That view is historically inaccurate and causes one side of the Body of Christ to discriminate against the other side.] And so he says, 'Look, I'm a fellow elder, I've been at this a long time, I'm waiting to look in his face again, he's coming, my exhortation to you, and I've seen the passion of it, and I've seen the glory of it, I'm a witness to those things,' certainly in a way that we're not, but we're part of that, "feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint," 'not because you have to, but of a willing mind, not of laziness, but ready and eager. Not for filthy lucre's sake, it's not about money or personal gain, but again of a ready mind. Not as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.' (verses 2-3) So, an example leads, somebody whose lord over the flock drives. [i.e it's the difference between how cattle are driven by cowboys with bullwhips, and shepherds lead, but picking up a lamb of the lead ewe, and walking, carrying it in his arms, before the flock, leading it to higher pastureland.] You're not meant to be driven, not by a pastor, by a purpose, by anything. Cattle are driven, sheep are led. You never do good driving sheep. You ever see that commercial on TV where guys are herding cats? And they're just like running all over the side of the mountain? That's what happens if you try to drive sheep. They're not meant to be driven, they're meant to be led. [Moses was trained for 40 years in the Sinai desert, leading the flocks of Jethro his father-in-law, as a shepherd.] Cattle are meant to be driven. And we're to lead by example, to lead. So Christ told us, turn the other cheek, and that's what he did when they beat him. He said go the extra mile, that's what he did when he carried the cross. 'No greater love has this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,' that's what he did. He's our great example.
A Pastor's, Elder's Reward For Doing It Right
So, being examples, and he says, "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (verse 4) He uses the amaranth, a flower in that day, it's just an interesting play on words [in the Greek] where it says "fadeth not away", even if it was withered and you put it in water, it kind of came back to life again, and they used it in lots of uses, because it didn't fade. And he uses a play on words and says the glory that we're going to receive is like that, it never fades away. The Chief Shepherd is coming. He says the good shepherd, we're told in John 10, lays down his life for the sheep. We're told the Chief Shepherd, or the Great Shepherd, is, Hebrews 13, he's the one who is risen from the dead, and the Chief Shepherd, the Good Shepherd, all talking about Christ, all in his shepherding capacity, coming for the flock, coming for us.
Now To Everybody Else
'God Resists The Proud, Gives Grace To The Humble'
"Likewise," in the same manner, he's talking about being a fellow-elder, being part of the Body of Christ, now he says "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 given grace to the humble." (verse 5) "ye younger," that's not me anymore. "Submit yourself to the elder" doesn't seem to be in the sense of an elder, a pastor, an overseer, but, 'Those of you that are younger, have the right attitude towards those that are older.' Timothy was told to treat the older women as he would treat his mother, there's supposed to be a certain level of respect for those that have gone on longer with the Lord, and I think there's a lot that we can learn from them. [Mr. Kellers, my first pastor, said he learned more from the widows than he thought they learned from him, and that he always went to them for spiritual encouragement, especially when he was down. Paul in 1st Timothy 5:1 told pastors not to rebuke an elder, somebody 60 or over.] "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." He does something interesting here. He says "be clothed with humility" and he used a verb form of the word, it says back in John 13, the night of the Last Supper, it says that 'Jesus, knowing that all power had been given to him, knowing that all power had been given to him, that he girt himself [with a towel] and got on his knees and washed their feet.' Isn't that amazing? Knowing that all power and authority was his, he washed feet. If you knew that all power was yours, what would you do? 'I'm going to wash feet, I've been waiting till I got all power so I could wash feet,' no, you know, you'd at least get a letterhead, wouldn't you?---"the most powerful." And it says that "he girt himself," that's our word here, "clothed, be clothed with humility," he's thinking of his great example, that Christ when he knew all power was his, that he clothed himself with humility, and he washed their feet. He said, 'Do you know what I've done? I've done this as an example.' And Peter of course remembers it so well, because it was one of these scenes like 'Get behind me Satan,' Peter got it right once, 'Blessed art thou Simon bar Jonah, flesh and blood hath not revealed this to you, but my Father which is in heaven,' and from then on he was trying to get it right. 'I'm going to go to Jerusalem and be crucified,' Peter thought, 'I know, if I wait for these other guys to say it, they'll never say it,' 'Far be it from you Lord,' he's waiting to hear 'Blessed art thou Simon bar Jonah, twice in one day, that he heard from God, but instead he heard, 'Get thee behind me, Satan.' Well, when Jesus got down and started to wash their feet, he's coming around the table, and Peter's waiting, 'These guys, they don't know what to say. I know what to say.' And when he gets to Peter, he says 'Lord, far be it, you're not going to wash my feet!' and the Lord says, 'Peter, if I don't wash your feet, you don't have anything to do with me.' Peter says, 'Give me a bath, wash everything.' An extremist, do it all. And the Lord says, 'No, no, no, no, once you're saved, once the Word has come to you, you have only need that your walk, your feet are cleansed.' And then he says after the process, 'Do you know what I've done here? I've left you an example, that you should serve one another.' It doesn't teach that we're supposed to do footwashing in the Church. OK? Anybody here ever been to a footwashing? They're really weird, aren't they? You know, the Bible doesn't prohibit footwashing. I mean, the way we decide what Church practice and doctrine is this, if we see it with Christ in the Gospels [which we do], Jesus teaching it, practicing it, and then we see it in the Book of Acts [we see the early Church observing God's Holy Days, Passover, Pentecost, The Fast or Day of Atonement, Tabernacles] practiced, and we have it then expounded on in the Epistles, then we have Church doctrine [Paul in 1st Corinthians 11:20-34, here we see the New Testament Passover being observed in Corinth a bit improperly, which Paul is expounding and correcting them about. He mentions two out of the three things Christ did in the Christian Passover service, the eating and drinking of the bread and wine. Although footwashing is not mentioned, it doesn't mean they didn't observe it, since they were pretty much emulating Christ's life as reflected and taught in the four Gospels]. Baptism, we see it in the Gospels, we see it clearly in the Book of Acts, and it's taught on, and it's then part of Church doctrine. [And yet Calvary Chapels use the altar call almost exclusively in place of baptism for asking Christ into their lives. Now Acts 8-10 shows through Cornelius receiving the Holy Spirit ahead of his baptism, that God will not be put into a doctrinal box on this one, but really folks, you say you follow church doctrine, but are missing some important things here.] We see footwashing in the Gospels, we really don't see it in the Book of Acts [it would be a part of the New Testament Passover service, which they were observing back then]. We hear it mentioned once in the Epistles just in the sense of serving. So, it's not demanded of us. And it's always a very strange thing, because usually if somebody's going to wash your feet, at first, I don't know what's got into their mind. It's a good thing. I just don't know how it got there. And they want to be spiritual, they figure they're going to wash their feet. Kathy and I, we were moving from one church to another, and it was a Pentecostal church, some of those things happen in Pentecostal churches, and somebody felt 'The Holy Spirit wants us to wash our feet.' Now, you've got to be humble when you do this, so you don't tell the person, you spring it on them all at once, because if you told them they wouldn't come. 'Oh, they're having a service, did you hear, they're going to wash your feet.' 'Oh, ah, I have another appointment, I'm headed somewhere else.' And then you go there, and they come out with a bowl, and you don't enjoy any of it, you just sit there the whole time thinking 'I can't believe I wore these old sneakers, I wish I'd have changed my sox [laughter], put some powder in my shoes or something,' it's just not enjoyable anyhow. [Comment: According to Oskar Skarsaune in his "In The Shadow Of The Temple" and Rodney Stark in "The Rise Of Christianity" and Ray Pritz in his "Jewish Christianity" the early Church in both Judea and Asia Minor for the first 300 years apparently kept the 7th Day Sabbath and observed God's Holy Days, just as Jesus did, following his example (1st Peter 2:21). And they kept a Quartodeciman, or 14th Nisan Passover memorial service, quite similar to the Passover Jesus observed at the Last Supper, and it is believed by the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God that the early Church followed the custom of a Passover evening footwashing, along with the bread and wine. See http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm to see a research paper about the early Church. It is quite interesting. If footwashing were a part of their once a year New Testament Passover service, which evidently Paul observed in Asia Minor, it would be observed once a year during the Passover service just before the partaking of the bread and wine, just as it was done by Jesus at the Last Supper. Nobody would spring it on you, if you observe this type of New Testament Passover, you know what's coming and what it's all about, and what it represents.] But Peter understood the significance of it, when he's asking the Church to be clothed with humility, because he saw the ultimate example of it, knowing that all power had been given to him, he girt himself, and he got down and he began to wash their feet, he took the place of the lowest servant in the house. [Actually Jesus took the place lower than the lowest servant in the house. Why? In Jewish culture during the time of Christ, it was not even expected that a servant would wash a guest's or their master's feet when they entered the house. They would merely provide the bowl of water to that individual so they could wash their own feet. That's a bit of cultural Jewish history we just learned this past Passover season, 2014.] That's what he did. He says, 'Look, I'm setting an example for you guys.' Peter says, 'You know what, all of you guys be subject one to another, be clothed, be girded like the Master was, with humility.'
'Allow God To Humble You'
"for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." (verse 5c) "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (verses 6-7) OK, "therefore" if he resists the proud and gives grace to the humble, let's be humble. Ready, one, two, three. Is everybody humble now? How do you be humble? Because as soon as you say 'I'm really humble,' then you're not humble anymore, then you're back to proud again. The grammar is interesting here, it says 'He gives grace to the humble,' and then it says "humble yourselves therefore," and it's passive, and it's [in the Greek, grammatically] "allow yourselves therefore to be humbled." And what it tells you is 'allow God then to do that in your life.' And if you've been a Christian more than a week, you know that he does it. 'Allow yourselves therefore to be humbled' where, how? 'under the mighty hand of God,' Now he's writing to believers that are in very difficult circumstances, and much of it was humbling. He says, 'Look, God resists the proud, he gives grace to the humble, therefore allow yourselves to be humbled under his mighty hand.' And that's hard sometimes. Just even in a circumstance where I'm thinking, you're in one of those circumstances where Proverbs is coming to your mind, and somebody's giving you a hard time, and you're thinking 'A soft answer turns away wrath.' And then the devil says, 'But you'll feel much better if you yell back.' And you're in there, and you think 'Well I have to eat crow to just take this and be quiet and be humble.' But it says 'Allow yourself to be humbled under the mighty hand of God,' allow that to take place. Why? Because he gives grace, he gives grace. He resists the proud, he gives grace to the humble. 'Allow yourselves to be humbled under the mighty hand of God,' "that he may exalt you in due time:" And we always feel like my time is due, 'What do you mean due time?' We're to wait, God is going to do this. I mean, Peter knows the final outcome of that. In the process, what do we do? "casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (verse 7) Why, for he in fact is caring for you. How do you let the pressures of life come on you, and allow, you know there's things in life that just humble us, the humbling experience, under the mighty hand of God. Let it come. Because he's conforming you into the image of his Son, that's what he's all about. Our destination is not just a place, it's an image. You know, when I do weddings and I look at a young couple and they're thinking 'This marriage is about me being happy.' Of course the problem is the wife's thinking that, and the husband's thinking that. And marriage is a terrible environment for selfishness. 'This marriage, I'm going to be happy, because she's gonna wait on me, she's gonna cook and clean my sox and give me physical pleasure, this is gonna be great!' And she's thinking, 'He's going to talk to me [loud laughter], he's going to sit alone with me and have a cup of tea, and he's going to go shopping with me,' [if he's smart he will] And you soon realize, wait a minute, marriage, and Honey, just in case you're listening to this tape, I love being married [disclaimer so he's not sleeping in the garage for the next month], and I do. But marriage is another environment for God to conform you into the image of his Son. It's a terrible environment for selfishness. But if we're to allow God to humble us in the daily of life, sometimes we want to jump out of our skin, no, we allow that to happen, and we can be casting all of our care in the process on him, 'Lord, you know, Lord I'm doing this the way you want me to do it.' And pressures at work and pressures at, when sicknesses come, things come into our life we can't explain, casting all of our care upon him. Look, your care, past, because people come and talk to me. Did you ever know that? But sometimes they come and talk to me about something that killing them that they did 20 years ago, and they just can't get out from under it, they feel guilty. Sometimes they come and talk to me about something that's happening today, and they don't know what to do, and they're struggling with it. Sometimes people come and talk to me, and they're worriers and they're just worried about what's gonna happen. And some people that are really worried, are worried about what's happened, what's happening, and what's gonna happen. Casting all of your care upon him, past, present and future, cast it all upon him. You know, we'd rather say 'Lord, leave the driving to us. You get to be Lord, I get to drive.' And the Lord says, 'No, you sit over here with the little plastic steering wheel, and the little beep, beep, plastic horn, and I'll do the driving.' 'But Lord, I thought,' 'No, no, you don't know where we're going, I know tomorrow, I know next week, let me drive, I have the gas, I have the brake.' It's like we have involuntary muscles and we have voluntary muscles, you can raise your hand, you can close your eyes. But aren't you glad that he put breathing and your heart beating in his own responsible realm? Because if you had to remember to beat your heart, you'd be gone a long time ago. You'd see something on TV you wanted, 'And look at that,' boom! you're gone. So, cast all of your care upon him. If he couldn't trust the involuntary muscles to you, he can't trust the future to you, he wants to lead you, he's the Great Shepherd that goes ahead of us, ahead of people, and leads them. It was what Peter was exhorting the elders to do. He will do that. Casting all of your care upon him. And look, we're living in a world that's more care-filled than ever. You turn on the TV in the morning to see if we're in yellow or orange or are we in red [Homeland inSecurity threat color-level indicators right after 9/11]. We hear all the rumblings 'are they smuggling a nuclear device into one of our ports? Are they going to let loose biologicals in the state of California and ruin the economy of the country?' [They don't have to, as a nation, and God is no respecter of persons or nations, we're bringing the curses of Leviticus 26 onto ourselves. California has been in a very serious and deep three year drought, which is continuing. Read Leviticus 26:19. God does not take it lightly that we've killed 67 million unborn babies since the early 1960s when Roe vs. Wade was legislated by the unSupreme Court. God's judgment on the United States has already begun. Time to wake up folks, the American Dream is turning into the American Nightmare.] What's going to happen to the market, is the price of gas going through the roof? We live in that world. We're more informed than we've ever been, if you enjoy worrying, you're happy as a lark these days. Cast all of your care upon him, Christ is coming, he's the Good Shepherd, he's the Chief Shepherd. He's already fixed it so there's an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away, it's reserved in heaven for us. For now there's governments, we're to yield to those things, we're to yield to our role in marriage, as a husband and wife, we're to yield to employers, we're to yield to circumstances, and we're certainly to yield under the mighty hand of God. And if we humble ourselves and we yield to him, he gives grace to the humble. He resists the proud, Peter says. And Peter knows, Peter hacked off people's ears, I mean, Peter could tell us, he's an experiential learner, he's been down, Peter had to be rebuked by Paul in Antioch in front of the Church, for going back under the law again [actually, not that, but going legalistic as the Judaizers were, Pharisaic]. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (verses 6-7)
How Satan Comes At Us
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" (verse 8) Now sober means the idea of alert, be watching, be vigilant. "whom he may devour", Jesus said 'This night all of you are going to betray me, you're all going to run away.' Peter said, 'Not me Lord, I understand your concern about them, but I ain't like the rest of this crew.' The Lord said, 'Peter, Satan hath desired to sift' and then it switches to the plural, he must have looked at all the guys, 'Satan hath desired to sift you [plural] as wheat,' and then he must have turned back to Peter because it goes to the singular again, 'but I prayed for you [singular], that your faith doesn't fail. When you're restored strengthen your brethren.' Peter's faith never failed. He may have thought that it did, but Jesus said it didn't. Satan has desired, he's asked permission, he doesn't have free-reign. He says he's like a roaring lion, that's a specific word for an animal of prey that's crying out in hunger. You ever been to the zoo, and heard when they're going to feed the lions? I was there one time, and this lady next to me, we're standing at the railing inside of the house where the big cats are, and she's got like a little baby, babbling like babies do, I don't know, they're speaking in tongues. And they brought in meat for the lions, and the lion kind of got up and went ROAR!!!! and then it echoes in there, and the baby went, just kind of went back with his eyes, seizure or something. That's the sound. Satan is prowling about, he's says "your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." Now when he calls him "your adversary" he uses a specific word that means "your opponent in court, an opponent in the courtroom." It tells us in Revelation chapter 12 that he is the accuser of the brethren, it's categero there, we get "categorize" from it. That's how Satan loves to war against us. Ok? Satan loves to come to us, because we're suckers for that, 'Oh I'm doing pretty good in this category,' like we're putting stars on the refrigerator, 'I did good in traffic today, and I haven't said a bad word in three months, and ah, I'm doing pretty good with this, I'm still working on marriage here, that's a little bit down below my par,' and Satan loves categero, to categorize your 'righteousness,' and then he's got you like an opponent in a courtroom. 'OK, look at this, and look where you're failing here, and look at this,' and we get condemned and we get in a struggle. No, no, it says we've overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of his testimony. [He must be referring to the instant sanctification that we achieve, that is given to us by God upon conversion, being saved, not the daily sanctification process we're supposed to follow throughout life.] Every category of our life is covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, every category in our lives. And we are being conformed into his image and likeness [daily sanctification]. We are not what we should be, we ain't what we used to be, and we ain't what we're going to be, we're in process, we're in process now. And we need to cast all of our cares on him. Yea, because the enemy, he's going around, he's making a lot of noise, and he is formidable, for you and I, not for Christ. He's roaring, walking about, seeking whom he may devour. "Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." (verse 9) James tells us the same thing. Not "your faith," it's a definite article here, it's "stedfast in the faith" the Christian faith. "stedfast in the faith" that the blood of Christ has paid the price. That we are justified, sanctified [the once and for all kind of sanctification] and glorified, and that we worship a God who calls things that are not as though they were. And the reason he tells us we're justified, sanctified and glorified, is because he is the One who was, who is, and the One who is to come. Because he is the One who was, he tells us we're justified. Because he's the One who is, he tells us we're sanctified, and because he's the One who is to come he tells us we're glorified, he sees us finished. [To read about the two types of sanctification, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/1st%20Corinthians.htm and scroll to the section on sanctification. We still have a part to play in the other kind of sanctification, our daily sanctification, which is our work in progress.] That's the faith that we stand in. It's a completed faith and a completed work. When Christ died on the cross, he said 'It is finished, paid in full.' "Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." (verse 9) Every Christian's struggling with attitudes, with humility, with being humble, that are under difficult circumstances, and the enemy is accusing, that's going on everywhere, you're not the only one. He loves to get you convinced, get you isolated, and that's how a wolf works in a flock, he splits off one sheep, and he loves to make you think you're the only one struggling with anger, you're the only one struggling with lust, you're the only one struggling with this or that. And he loves to do that. The truth is we're all made of the same stuff, we're all made of the same stuff. And are we growing in grace? We're changing. Some of us are a little further along in the process, we've been walking with the Lord longer. But it's like this, who has been conformed all the way? Would you please stand up. We'll take you outside and watch you walk on the water, and we'll know for sure. Whose arrived? You know, it's like somebody going off the Steel Pier trying to get to Europe, so one guy's going off on a skateboard, he's only going to get 20 foot, you have a motorcycle with a rocket engine, and you're going to make him look foolish, you're going to go so far. But relative to Europe you ain't going anywhere either [and Charles Lindberg only got there in the Spirit of Saint Louis by the grace of God if you read the account.] You're going to go 200 foot out and crash into the ocean, we're still going to see you out there off Steel Pier, swimming back. "knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world" the brethren in Germany, the brethren in Iran, there's a great church in Iran, a living church, in Russia, in China, Nepal, around the world. "knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But [it's a great place to forget about all that and think about this] the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." (verses 9b-10) [and I have written in the margin of my Bible, cf. "Helmet For My Pillow" by Robert Leckie, pp. 12, 21, a description of the growing up process which occurred in his six weeks of intensive Marine Corps boot camp training at the beginning of WWII, where his next stop was Guadal Canal.] And it's a short while, it's a limited, the word indicates a limitation, "make you perfect," which is speaking of maturity, that he would "stablish" you, it means to give you a foundation, to be solid, "strengthen" you, and "settle you." "To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (verse 11) I like that description. 'Make you mature, make you established, make you strengthened, settle you.' You know the two pillars outside the house of God in Solomon's day were named Boaz and Jason, it means "to establish and strengthen." We put them on the two pillars outside the church by the way, if you're walking up sometime and see the two Hebrew words, it says "Establish and Strengthen" out there. That's what we want, we want to learn to establish and strengthen us.
Closing Salutation: Where is Peter, Rome or Babylon?
"To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand." (verses 11-12) Now this is evidently Silas, who had traveled with Paul, he calls him Silvanus, he's with Peter. "I have written briefly" that's pretty brief, "exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand." And isn't that where we stand, in the grace of God? That's where we stand. "The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son." (verse 13) So, Mark, who Paul separated from [John Mark, nephew of Silas] at this point is still with Peter. Paul's going to say in 2nd Timothy, 'Send Mark, he's profitable to me in ministry.' He's writing from Babylon it says. Where is he? Is he in Rome? Because some say they were calling Rome, spiritually, Babylon. We know that Peter died in Rome, crucified upside down. Or is he in Babylon? Because there was a Jewish community in Babylon, on the Euphrates. The city certainly wasn't what it was in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, but it was a thriving community, in Peter's day. And some feel that Peter was there. [Babylon at this point in time would have been under the control and within the borders of the Parthian Empire, archrival of Rome, and an empire Rome was never able to conquer. Peter, if he stayed in the literal Babylon, would have been safe and out of the reach of Rome. This being the case, if Peter doesn't live much longer, and was crucified by the Romans, he's probably not in the literal Babylon right now.] Where is he? I don't care, you can think whatever you want. You know, you read commentaries, there are guys who write whole books on whether this was Rome or Babylon. It's not going to help you in traffic this week, you can think he's in Babylon, you can think he's in Rome, as soon as you see him you can say, 'By the way, what did you mean, were you in Babylon or Rome?' and he'll tell you. It's not going to help you in the practical things this week. But it's one or the other, either one is fine with me. I have the letter, I don't care where it came from. I have it. I can study it, I can read it.
Holy Kisses, A Cultural Thing
"Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen." (verse 14) 'Greet one another with a kiss,' we don't do that anymore. OK? Now, early in the Church, early to the Book of Acts, it was accepted culturally. Now you still see some cultures [the Russians] around the world today, 'Oh, kiss, kiss,' you know, I don't need that. I'd be glad to shake your hand, but that still happens in some places. [And in Russian culture, you'd never accuse those dudes of being gay because men kiss as a social greeting. Accuse them of that, they'd kill you, and mop the floor with your body. I love the Russians, but there are some things you just don't accuse them of.] But early in the Church it was culturally acceptable to kiss. Chrisostum says in some churches all you could hear was the sound of kissing. And he said it was foul, because people were taking advantage of, you know, guys kissing girls. So, they changed it in the Church where guys would only kiss guys and girls would only kiss girls. I'm glad that's gone. [laughter] It was shortly after that Caesar made it illegal to kiss because there was such a huge outbreak of herpes simplex-1 in the Roman Empire, they actually outlawed it. So greet one another with a handshake, ok, we kind of do the side-by-side hug thing that's clean, you can do that, just we're watching you. We have cameras and we watch the film during the week, we know who you shouldn't be hugging around here, we watch it, I'll tell you. Greet one another with a handshake, with love there. "Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen." Are you in Christ Jesus? Do you have peace tonight? [transcript of a connective expository sermon given on 1st Peter 5:1-14 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116]
For Paul's standards for pastors, elders, see,
Avoid churches and elders that domineer and dominate over their members. What denomination started all this hierarchal-type leadership? See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch3.htm
What was the early Church like? See,
What are the two types of sanctification? See,
What is shepherd-leadership all about? See,
For a highly effective way to feed God's flock, and how Calvary Chapel's started doing it, see,