2017-9-24 He Cares for You

Cornerstone EPC                                                                              Sunday morning
Franklin, NC 28734                                                                          September 24, 2017

“He Cares for You”
Text: 1 Peter 5:6-7

We continue in these ending exhortations in 1 Peter—and they are welcome indeed, in view of the sober realities we have considered during the past months of this sermon series.  Again, recall the timeliness of this letter for our time.  This is not our final Home, and we will endure opposition merely for wearing Christ’s Name.  Yet the Light of the World, even amid the providentially difficulties of life, shines both upon this section of 1 Peter and upon our very lives.

The editors of my edition of the Greek New Testament, consider 1 Peter 5:6-11 a single paragraph.  Yet, apparently for thematic reasons, they insert a space between verses seven and eight and another space between verses nine and ten.  Hence, there are three smaller divisions within this paragraph.  We shall treat the text accordingly.  God willing, we shall look at 1 Peter 5:8-9 next week and at 1 Peter 5:10-11 in two weeks.  This approach now noted, let us hear the living God speak from His written Word.

(HERE READ THE TEXT)

There is an explicit command in today’s text, namely, “Humble yourselves….”  Our sense of self, before the Lord, must be that of John the Baptist when he said of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).  We see humility further demonstrated in Paul’s Spirit-led words to the Philippian Christian households (cf. Philippians 2:1-4).  There, Paul urges his readers to esteem others better than self and to consider others’ interests as well as their own interests.  We must do this, by God’s grace, under His mighty hand.  Some translators and commentators think that the word hand is euphemistic for power.  God is omnipotent; He is all-powerful.  Therefore, He is able to humble us under His mighty hand, and He is able to cause our souls to delight in the same.

We are to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand in order that He may exalt you, or lift you up, in due time.  The due time of our exaltation will be just the right time, or God’s ideal opportune time (Greek chairos [cairoV]), for us to be raised from our low estate to His right elevation of us.  Indeed, He will do this.  Hear the Lord confirmatory promise through James’s Spirit-led pen: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).  Hear a similar warning and promise, at the end of the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, from Jesus Himself: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).

We are to humble ourselves, before the Lord, casting our anxieties on Him.  Some treat the participle rendered casting as an imperative, or command—to wit, “Cast your cares on him,” (e.g., NIV).  In any case, we are to cast, and to be found casting, our cares upon Him.  The Greek word rendered casting (a form of the Greek epirhipto [epiriptw]) literally means to throw on.  We do not merely hand over timidly our anxieties to God.  We throw them upon Him.  Moreover, we throw all of our anxieties upon Him, no matter if they appear great or trivial in our eyes.  Hence, we retain no anxieties for ourselves.  We throw them all upon our great God.

We do this because the Holy Spirit tells us, through Peter, because the Lord cares for us.  A woodenly literal translation of the underlying Greek is He indeed thinks concerning y’all.  His eye, and His mind, ever is upon His redeemed in Christ to do us good.  David, centuries before Peter, wrote similarly, “Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22a).  We, then, shall cast our every anxiety upon the Lord, for He cares for us and will sustain us.  There is more; remember God’s command and promise in Philippians 4:6-7, “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  He truly cares for you.  Cast all your anxieties on Him, and rest in His wonderful peace.

Our God is all-powerful and is in full control.  Never forget this, for it is true though we don’t fully understand how, and though appearances sometimes appear to testify otherwise.  Our God is all-powerful and is in full control even though we long to be Home with Him, but are not yet, and though we hurt at times here for His sake.  Therefore, let us realize that we are neither all-powerful nor in full control.  This is an important step toward humbling ourselves before the Lord.  Let us wait for Him to lift us up, both in time and in eternity, for He will do it in His good time.  Let us cast our every care upon Him.  Let us do this with vigor, not with timidity.  Let us do this without reserve, but let us do this will full confidence in our God.  Let us cast our cares upon the Lord knowing, beyond all our abilities of expression or of understanding, He indeed cares for us.  May the Lord indeed bless you, for He indeed cares for you.

AMEN.

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