Thank you SANLO family for joining our first live online service this past Sunday. A special thanks to all those who made it possible for us to be worship our Lord and hear from His Word. We continue to pray that you are safe and healthy, and may the Lord be our shelter and refuge in this unprecedented time. Please look for more updates as we roll them out to you on the upcoming online services and know the staff is always here to support and to pray for you.
A Remedy for Suffering – 1 Peter 5:1-7 – Pastor Eric
Certainly, we live in uncertain times as the events of our world rapidly change. We live with words like pandemic, outbreak, shutdowns, social distancing, and coronavirus, COVID-19. This virus has created a world full of anxiety and trepidation.
Remember, God is still in control, and He is very present, so we have don’t live in fear but in faith. Sin is the reason to blame, not God, for the suffering and anxiety in the world. Sin is the greatest pandemic and eternal danger to us all.
As the world is rushing to find a vaccine and cure for COVID-19, there is truly only one cure for the world’s pain and suffering. There is only one true answer to the world’s problems. That cure is Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate cure for what we need for He has paid for the penalty of sin and overcome death by rising from the grave to offer us eternal peace and hope.
Since, Jesus Christ is the cure for sin and suffering, then the church is a remedy for the suffering and the hurting. Along the way, God has asked the church to be a remedy and to be a help to a hurting world.
The church can be a remedy for suffering in three powerful ways:
(1) The first remedy is humble character. God calls His people to lead with humility and good character, not for personal gain. The world needs people who lead with righteous character for His glory, not for human applause. (1 Peter 5:1-4)
Peter begins this portion of Scripture by wrapping himself in two very important things: Christ and hope. This is the place every Christian should been no matter their role in life or in the church. Peter holds firmly to Christ and to hope of Heaven for he knows there are better days ahead. That is good news for us today. There is a better day coming in Heaven, a day without illness, isolation, or disease.
Then, in verses 2-3, Peter expands upon the character of an elder and pastor in the church. He warns against three vices - the vice of laziness, the vice of greed, and the vice of abusive power. Laziness kills productivity and the advancement of the gospel. Greed kills stewardship and the testimony of the church. Abusive power kills people and destroys relationships.
Instead, Peter exhorts three virtues of character - the virtue of willingness, the virtue of modesty, and the virtue of humility. Willingness breeds cooperation and service. Modesty encourages contentment and stewardship. Humility fosters obedience and submission.
Right now, the world is screaming for Christ followers, who truly lead their lives by faith and not by fear. The worlds needs Monday morning character, not just Sunday morning company. The suffering world needs rock solid character in their neighborhoods, in the grocery stores, and in their workplaces. Let us be Christ-like people to help remedy a world full of suffering.
(2) The second remedy is humble respect. God calls His people to live in mutual respect and honor. The world needs people who will put others before themselves. (1 Peter 5:5)
The principle of submission is respect from members of the church to the elders and pastors and to Christ. We don’t like that word, submission, because it always seems negative or domineering. But biblical submission is not subservience, where you just do whatever is told.
Biblical submission is built on a mutual commitment to Christ, to the church, and to the gospel. Above all, biblical submission is wrapping yourself in humility. Why? Because Christ wrapped Himself in submission to His Father, and He humbled Himself to be point of death, the death on a cross. (Philippians 2:7-8) So, clothe yourself in the gospel.
In this time of hysteria and panic, the world desperately needs others first, me second people. This is why the Christian community has respected the local authorities to suspend in-person worship services. We, the church, can put our other fellow neighbors first with social distancing and good hygiene. We put others first by patiently waiting in long lines.
Let’s be people who rush to be humble and quick to be respectful. Let us give up pride for grace, so that the church might be built up and the world might see Jesus. Let us shock the world with radical love just like Christ did for us.
(3) The third remedy is humble faith. God calls His people to lean on Christ. The world needs people who will trust in Christ, not their own devices. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
In verse 6, once again, humility is the key ingredient here. Humility is an essential and necessary attribute for every believer as Peter puts everyone under the hand of God to fight off anxiety and fear.
The most trustworthy place to be is always in the hands of our Lord and Savior for He is the true Master, Supreme Leader, and Chief Shepherd. We are all under-shepherds who fall at His feet and submit our cares to Him.
Now, you might be saying, “I know, but it’s so hard! It’s so difficult not to be anxious right now. I feel overwhelmed by all the news, this coronavirus, and all these life changes. How can anybody not be anxious at time like time?" Here are some healthy tips to prevent us from falling into anxiety.
Spiritual distancing tips to keep us away from anxiety:
- Get into the Word. Dig into His Word. Replace your commute time with time in the Word. Read about all the times in Scripture when God’s people, where in exile, in suffering, and in pain. Read Exodus, the gospels, Job, or 1 Peter. See how God showed up to care for His people and to redeem them for their anxiety. The Word is a great remedy for our anxiety.
- Be Selective in your Media Intake. Don’t watch every news cast or read every article on COVID-19. It can feed into anxiety. Be well informed, but not overwhelmed. Don’t let the news run your life, let Christ run your life.
- Be Productive - Spend the extra time doing something productive. Clean the house, try a new recipe, spend time with your kids and give them big hugs, or read that book you always wanted to finish. Productivity can be a good remedy.
- Pray - Lean into God. Use those 20 seconds of hand washing to pray. Throw your worries upon God, because He can hold them all. Give God your worries about coronavirus. Give Him your concerns about the well-being of your loved ones. Give God your stress over what to do for work or your finances. Prayer is a wonderful remedy for anxiety.
Philippians 4:6-7 says it well, “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The greatest scarcity in the world today is not something that you can get at Costco or at the grocery store. The greatest scarcity in our world today is peace. The greatest need in our world right now is the everlasting peace and peace with God. This peace is found only in GOD.
Jesus Christ died and rose again to secure everlasting peace for you. There is a blessed assurance in knowing that you are loved by the Savior of the World, and He is in control of your life, your health, and your future. Christ is always watching over your world, and He is what you need and what our world needs.
So, lean into God at this time. Trust Him at this moment. Put your faith in One who has all the answers and all the cures especially the cure for sin and anxiety. And I guarantee that you will find rest. You will find relief and peace for your weary soul.
And church, we, be a remedy of peace for people. Your witness can be the most attractive thing anybody sees right now. People are anxiously listening and seeking for peace and hope. People anxiously need the good news, and the church has the best news in the world.
Let us be a remedy for a suffering world with humble character, humble respect, and humble faith for we have the cure for the world’s pain, Jesus Christ.
Let us not give into anxiety or fear, but let us given into Christ. Let us humbly fall captive to the hope of the gospel. Let us be empowered by the Holy Spirit to boldly and to graciously proclaim Christ’s victory over disease, disaster, and death.
He is Lord, Lion and the Lamb, Come Thou Fount, Build My Life, Doxology