1. Accidents happen! What is the main cause of most accidents? (Inattention to our surroundings. We back into another car, cut the wheels too sharp and our fender hits another vehicle.)
2. What are some ways you have suffered by not being alert to your surroundings?
3. How can we avoid those, sometimes, embarrassing situations?
Of course, the way to avoid most accidents is to stay alert.
4. How can we apply that same principle to our spiritual lives?
Peter tried to alert his readers. We receive weather watches and warnings when bad weather is possible.
5. Do you think believers today consider Satan’s influence more as a watch or a warning? Why?
6. What are some ways we are unaware of Satan’s influence around us?
7. How do people suffer from not being alert to Satan’s influence?
8. How could we avoid those situations?
Peter alerted his readers to a threat worse than an impending storm—Satan and his influence. Peter wanted to make sure that the leaders and the followers were all alert to the workings of the Enemy.
Responsible Shepherds! Read 1 Peter 5:1-4
Peter used the word “elder/elders” to apply to pastoral leaders in the church. “Elders” seemed to be used interchangeably with “shepherds” and “pastors.” Notice that Peter identified himself with the leaders of the church as a “fellow elder.” Peter could talk to the leaders of the church in a very straight forward manner because he was a leader as well.
1. What is Peter telling these spiritual leaders to examine very carefully? (Their motives for service.) Why is this important?
2. What specifically are the elders to look for in their motives?
3. How does our motive impact how we lead?
4. What attitudes are expressed when our motives are wrong?
In verse 4 Peter points out that “the chief Shepherd” will return and the leaders will receive an “unfading crown of glory” if they have served with pure motives. Peter warned pastors not to become too autocratic. Because they have authority over their flocks, it is important that they exercise this influence carefully and wisely, maintaining a humble, teachable spirit.
5. Which do you believe to be a stronger motivator—accountability to God or reward?
6. Other than your church staff, who in the church could be considered “shepherds”? (Bible study teachers and Department leaders. We have people we have been given the responsibility of discipling. Check your motives as well.)
While this passage focuses on the role of church leaders, it does not negate the responsibility of local congregations to care for the needs of their pastor and other church leaders.
After focusing on church leaders, Peter addressed those who make up the church!
Trusting Sheep! Read 1 Peter 5:5-7
Let’s be aware that these instructions follow verses that described godly leaders who are leading for the right reasons!
Verse 5 should not be restricted to men or a certain age group. It probably refers to those younger in faith who are following the leaders of the church.
1. What picture comes to mind when you read “clothe yourselves with humility”? (Remember Jesus when He washed the disciple’s feet putting on the servant’s garments.)
2. What are some examples of how God resists the proud?
3. How have you see God give grace to the humble?
4. According to this passage, to whom is the church to be submissive? (The church members should be submissive to the pastor, understanding that God is ultimately in control of the elder, who must give an account himself of how he managed the church.)
Christians also must maintain humble, submissive attitudes with one another. Pride and impatience oppose community and fellowship in the church.
5. What is the relationship between willing submission to spiritual leaders and showing humility to one another?
6. How does verse 7 indicate believers can express humble submission to the will of God? (We are to trust God completely by casting all of our cares upon Him! That doesn’t mean we aren’t concerned about matters but we shouldn’t worry about them because “God’s got this!”)
7. What is the connection between humility and depending on God when suffering for the Gospel’s sake? (Back up in verse 7 the word used for “care” is the same as the one translated “worry” or “anxious” in Philippians 4:6—“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”)
8. Why do we Christians sometimes hold on to our anxieties rather than presenting them to the Lord?
9. What makes it so difficult to trust God’s timing and His care for us?
Worry and anxiety can create inward focus, producing distractions and reducing awareness of other aspects of life. Peter wanted to make sure that the leaders and the followers were alert to the workings of the Devil.
The Need For Alertness! Read 1 Peter 5:8-11
1. What do you think Peter is trying to communicate in the first part of verse 8? (This is serious business! Pay attention or you will be destroyed by the Devil!)
2. How should believers respond to the Devil? (Resist him and realize you are not alone in your suffering!)
3. Is your tendency to ignore the reality of the Devil or to fear him too much?
4. How does this passage help you to find a balanced approach to dealing with the Devil?
5. Why would humility be so important when countering the Enemy? (Satan seeks out the proud to humble them. He knows, as one who is proud, too, that with pride comes downfall. With humility, however, comes a reliance and dependence on God that provides protection and safety from Satan’s schemes.)
The same God who allows the Devil to roar and seek someone to devour is the God who deeply cares for the believer.
Read verse 10!
Notice that God will “restore, establish, strengthen, and support you”. God would see them through their suffering and make them strong enough to remain faithful to Him. This would happen after they suffered a little. No matter how long suffering is in this lifetime, it is brief in comparison to eternity.
Summarize and Challenge!
In order to remain alert, we need responsible spiritual leaders who are leading receptive spiritual followers. Together, leaders and followers can expose the work of our enemy, Satan, and can bring glory to God and magnify His grace in our lives.
Read 1 Peter 5:12-14
Because pride is a sin common to us all at times, how do you know when you have crossed the line and it has become all about you and less about Him? Make a list of the blessings in your life that you recognize as unmerited or unearned, beginning with salvation.
Write out a prayer thanking God for these blessings and dedicating them to Him!