The Lord's Day Morning
April 18, 2010
1 Peter 5:6-11
“Burdens Lifted at Calvary”
Dr. Derek W. H. Thomas
Praise waits for Thee in Zion Lord, to Thee vows paid shall be. O Thou that hearer are to prayer, all flesh shall come to Thee. Let us worship God.
Lord our God we come before You through the Gospel, through the shed blood of Christ, through the atoning sacrifice on our behalf. We come into Your presence as those who have been called and quickened and regenerated and justified, adopted into Your house and family. We come, O Lord, to praise You. We come to worship You. We come, O Lord, asking for the help of Your Spirit that we might worship You in spirit and in truth. We want to be captivated once again and enthralled by the Gospel. We want this morning that our voices would be raised in affection for we love You. We do not love You as we ought but come in this service and fill us again with Your Spirit that we might pour out our hearts to you. Lord there is no other place that we would want to be right now than here, in Your presence, except perhaps to be in glory itself. So come Lord God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We worship You in Jesus' name. Amen.
Please be seated.
Now turn with me if you would to 1 Peter chapter 5, 1 Peter chapter 5. I'm adjusting the text a little bit from the one in the bulletin. We’re going to be reading verses 6 through 11, 1 Peter 5 verses 6 through 11. Let's once again ask for the Lord's blessing. Let's pray together.
Lord we are a needy people and we are in need of Your Word to mold us, shape us, guide us, direct us, convict us. Come Holy Spirit, shine a light in the innermost parts of our minds that as we read we might also understand and do for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
This is God's Word:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
In this text God is speaking to those of you who are afraid and He is saying, “There's nothing to be afraid of.” In this text God is speaking to those of you who have failed and this text is saying the reason why you fail is because you look to yourselves. This text is speaking to those of you who are experiencing trial and it's saying to you that the burden of this trial is to be borne by another — “Be anxious for nothing,” Paul says. “Do not be anxious about your life,” Jesus says. Cast your care on Jesus today. Leave your worry and fear. Burdens are lifted at Calvary. Jesus is very near. Four things, four things Peter is saying in this passage.
I. The trouble that confronts us.
First, the trouble that confronts us, the trouble that confronts us. Look at verse 9. He talks about suffering, suffering. Peter is writing this epistle probably about a decade after the chapter we just read in 1 Corinthians, in the late ‘60's, just before what we call the Neronian persecution, the persecution that surrounds emperor Nero, when Christians are going to be thrown to the lions and many of them are going to die martyrs deaths. So every chapter of this epistle warns about the coming suffering, but suffering is the lot of every Christian. Every follower of Jesus knows something about suffering. Look at verse 8. He talks about “your adversary the devil who prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
This passage answers the question, “Where does suffering come from?” and it's answer is, “It comes from the devil. It's what the book of Job teaches, that that encounter, you remember, between Satan and God and it's Satan who brings the suffering upon Job. You want to say to Job in almost every single chapter, “Job, stop blaming God! It's the devil!” Paul talks about it in 2 Corinthians 12 when he talks about that thorn in the flesh — “a messenger of Satan” he calls it.
Look at verse 7. He talks about anxieties. Anxieties — cognitive and physical and emotional and behavioral — anxiety affects all of it. It affects the way we think, it affects our bodies, it affects our emotions, it affects the way we behave. Cares, worries. Look at verse 7 at the end of it. Peter is going to go on to say that He cares for you but do you understand why he's sing that — because anxiety raises this terrible question — When trouble come, when trial comes, when Satan buffets, when you find yourself failing, when once again you've made a mess of it there's this question that pops up in your head. You’re far too polite to voice it so let me voice it for you.
The question is, “Does God care?” There. I've said it. Does God care?
You know if I was in charge, these things wouldn't happen. If I was in charge, it wouldn't be so hard. If I was in charge there wouldn't be so much failure.
So does He care? Does He really care? That's where some of you are this morning — way too polite to voice that out in public, but you are cramped and turned in upon yourself because of trials and difficulties that have come from outside and some of them come from inside. And you’re asking yourself the question, and maybe, maybe you’re even answering the question, “God, do You care? Do You really care, because if You cared You never would have allowed this to happen. If You cared, You would never allow my children to go through the things that they’re going through.” The trouble that confronts us.
II. The grace that empowers us.
The second thing that Peter draws our attention to is the grace that empowers us. He talks, first of all, you notice in verse 6 about the “mighty hand of God.” God is powerful. God is sovereign. We’re all Presbyterians in this building, or a least we're all committed to Reformed theology. We believe in the sovereignty of God. We’re not doubting God's ability, we're not doubting His ability to change things. That's not our problem.
Our problem is — Does He want to change things? Does He want to change things? So you see at the end of verse 5, He “gives grace to the humble” and drop down to verse 10 — “After you have suffered a little while, the God of” — look at it — “the God of all grace” — all grace.
Does He care for you? I mean, does He really, really care for you, for you? Listen my friend, listen. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” Listen - “He that spared not His own Son but freely delivered Him up for us all.” Does God care? My dear friend, God has loved us to a degree that is immeasurable, that is boundless. You go to the cross, you go to Calvary, you go to the crucifixion of Jesus, and what do you see? You see the love of God for us, that's what you see. You see the love of God that spared not His own Son, that poured out His unmitigated wrath upon His own Son for me, for you. Does God care?
Does God care? Listen my friends, when you look at the cross, you’re tempted to say — can I say this? — He loves us more than He loves His Son. He doesn't spare His Son out of love for us. You’re tempted to say when you look at the cross, “He loves me more than He loves His own Son. That cannot be, but it sure looks like that!” Does God care? The cross, the God of all grace, all grace.
What does the cross achieve? It achieves my forgiveness. It achieves the wiping away of all my sins, that though my sins are red like crimson the cross wipes them away. “How shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?” The cross achieves not just forgiveness, not just our justification that we can stand in a right relationship with God. It achieves for us all things, all things. It's going to get us home. It's going to get us all the way home.
You see, that's your problem isn't it? You trust Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins but you've got this burden. You've got this burden and it's brought about my suffering, it's brought about my trial, it's brought about by inner demons as we say today, it's brought about by the constant sense that we fail. We fail. Every week we fail. You’re going to sing some hymn at the end of this service, full of resolve. “Lord, I want to be out and out for You. I want to live my life for You.” And within an hour some of you are going to be conscious you've already failed.
I want to speak to you this morning who think that you've failed, because I want to say something to you: It's worse than you think. It's much worse than you think. You think you've failed? You don't know the half of it.
What do I do with my failures? What do I do with my trials? What do I do with my sufferings? All I have is Jesus. That's all I've got. That's all my hope. That is all my hope. That's all I've got. It's not Jesus plus the bits that I'm going to carry, there's Jesus, and then I've got this burden that I've got to carry all the way into heaven. But I can't carry it. I can't carry it. It is too heavy for me. It is too great for me and every time I try to carry it I fall, I stumble.
There's grace that empowers from the God of all grace. All I have is Jesus. I keep saying it and some of you say, “Don't you have another song?” — “Nothing in my hands I bring, nothing in my hands I bring.” I keep saying it because we keep forgetting it. We keep on forgetting it. All I have and all I need is Jesus and that grace that He provides is all sufficient.
III. A lifestyle that shapes us.
But there's a third thing here. There's a lifestyle that shapes us. There's a trouble that confronts us and a grace and empowers us and there's a lifestyle that shapes us and it's in verse 6 and you’re not going to like it. Look down, look down at verse 6. The opening verb of verse 6 you’re not going to like it. It says, “Humble yourselves.” Peter is saying to you this morning you can't carry this burden. You can't carry this burden. It is too great for you. It is too heavy for you so this is what you have to do. You have to bow. You have to bow. This is a republic, you’re not good at bowing, but before the King of Kings you've got to bow. You've got to say, “Nothing, nothing in my hands.”
But you’re saying, “What about the trials? What about the anxieties? What about the suffering?” Listen, listen, this is what you do. You wrap them up in a parcel and stick a bow on it and you give them to Jesus. That's what you do. You hand them over. “Cast your burden upon the Lord,” Peter says. Peter knows what he's talking about here. He knows a thing about pride. Oh, yes, he does. At Caesarea Philippi, when Jesus says that He must go to Jerusalem and be crucified, you remember what Peter said? Putting two words in the same sentence that don't belong — “Never, Lord. You are my sovereign King, but You’re mistaken here.”
Listen my friend. Do you know what we need? At this point, do you know what we need? It's like a balloon, a helium filled balloon, and you come with a pin and “pop.” That balloon of pride needs to be pricked. We need to cast ourselves before the majesty of God and the sweetness of our Lord Jesus Christ and say, “I've got a present for you. Here it is. I'm giving it to you.” And He opens the present and inside the present there are your burdens and your trials and your anxieties and your doubts and your fears and your constant failures and you give them to Jesus because He will carry them for you. Cast your burden upon the Lord because — listen — He cares for you. He cares for you.
“Now Lord, I would be Yours alone and live so all might see the strength to follow Your commands could never come from me.” All I have is Jesus. That's all I have, but it's enough, I tell you. It's enough. It's more than enough. You've got to run. My dear friend, you've got to run to the cross. You say, “This burden is more than I can bear.” Then stop carrying it. Stop carrying it. Run to the cross. Don't just walk but run to the cross because He cares for you. He loves you. He loves you in a way that goes beyond description. Loved with everlasting love led by grace that love to know.
IV. The glory that awaits us.
But there's a fourth thing here. Not just the trouble that confronts us and the grace that empowers us and the lifestyle that shapes us but the glory that awaits us. Look at verses 10 and 11 — “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who has called you” — to what? “To His eternal glory.”
Christian, He didn't just call you to conversion. He didn't just call you to regeneration. He didn't just call you to be justified. He called you to His eternal glory. He's going to bring you home. He's going to bring you home. “In My Father's house there are many mansions. If it were not so I would not have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto Myself that where I am there you will be also.” Do you remember Jesus’ last prayer in John 17 in the Upper Room, that High Priestly prayer? Do you remember that last prayer that He prayed? “Father, I desire that those whom You have given to Me will be with Me, where I am that they might behold My glory.”
Now I want to ask you a question. Do you think that the Father can say “no” to one of Jesus’ prayers? Do you think the Father can say “no” to one of Jesus’ prayers because that's what He prays? “Those whom You have given Me that they might be with Me where I am that they might see My glory.” Glory, eternal glory. Christian, stop trying to carry these burdens. Give them to Jesus. Give them to Jesus.
Father we thank You for Your Word. We want You now to hide it deep in our hearts. All we have is Jesus, but He is all I need. Amen.
Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
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