LifeWay Explore the Bible Study: Alert Living

7:59 PM

During the last presidential election a Christian business leader, Jeremie Kubicek, promoted an emphasis that pushed for humility as the number one quality that leaders, in fact everyone, should possess. The image above was used in his "campaign." His point was to use the election campaign emphasis as a means to communicate his message regarding the importance of humility. As we turn our focus this week toward the final chapter of 1 Peter in the LifeWay Explore the Bible study: Alert Living, this is the emphasis the Apostle Peter also focuses upon.

As I began to study 1 Peter 5:1-11, I felt the title and TARGET for the study should be tweaked. As you study, prayerfully consider the following TARGET for your group:

An attitude and lifestyle of humility provides the necessary soil 
in which believers can grow in Christ.

As a part of my teaching plan, I am going to use the image above as a part of my LOOK UP step in order to draw my group into Peter's conversation regarding the importance of humility. Check out the additional ideas I suggest below or download the entire teaching plan.

LOOK UP: Getting focused on the text.
  • Display in Advance (Markerboard, Tear sheet, or PowerPoint slide): HUMBLE FOR PRESIDENT
  • Discuss (Once most of the group has arrived): If we were to elect “Humble” for president today, what qualities might he or she possess?
  • Discuss: In an article that Christian business leader Jeremie Kubicek published, he contrasts the differences between humility and pride. With which of these would you agree? With which would you disagree?
Humility is a virtue. | Pride is not.

Humility comes when people are secure. | Pride comes when they are insecure.

A humble leader is a confident leader, knowing who they are and what they do. | A prideful leader is an overconfident leader, trying to convince other people that they are good enough to be doing what they are doing.

Humility is strength. | Pride is weakness.

The humblest people I know don’t have to prove themselves or hide something. | The most prideful people I know are always proving themselves and hiding something.

Humility is attractive. It makes people want to follow you. | Pride is obnoxious. It causes people to flee from you.

    Humble people understand themselves, what they can do well and cannot do well. Humble people are not afraid to take constructive criticism or counsel. | A prideful person hasn’t taken the time to truly know himself. The pride in these people makes them want to be someone else and blame others when weakness appears.

Humble people are responsive to God, themselves and others. | Proud people are resistant. Everyone else is the problem.

Humble people understand their dependence on God and yield to Him. | Proud people are their own gods and overemphasize themselves.

  • Ask: What other qualities would you say demonstrate humility? Do you believe our culture is facing a humility crisis? What about the church?
  • Contextualize: As Peter comes to the conclusion of 1 Peter, his primary focus is on living a humble life. He wanted his audience, including us, to understand that humility is an essential part of our Christian faith—not just for Christian leaders but for all believers. 
  • Transition: He begins 1 Peter 5 with a word he uses often – Therefore. This therefore points back to what Peter has just emphasized in 1 Peter 4 regarding suffering. Many times suffering and trials reveal the pride and arrogance that is in our hearts. We then respond to our circumstances by deflecting blame, mistreating others, and building up our own pride.  Peter says there is another way – the way of humility.
LOOK IN: Unpacking the text.
1 Peter 5:1-4
Instruct: Listen for Peter’s positive directions and warnings for this group of leaders.

Identify (List on markerboard): What were the positive directions Peter gave? What were the warnings he gave?
  • POSITIVE: Shepherd God’s flock among you. ASK: How would you describe the act of shepherding?
  • WARNING: Don’t oversee them out of compulsion. ASK: What does he mean? (the action or state of forcing or being forced to do something; constraint.)
  • POSITIVE: Shepherd according to God’s will. ASK: How is shepherding according to God’s will different from overseeing them out of compulsion?
  • WARNING: Don’t shepherd them for financial gain. ASK: What happens when someone begins to view people as a means to financial gain?
  • WARNING: Don’t lord your position over them. ASK: How would you describe the act of “lording” over someone?
  • POSITIVE: Be examples to the flock. ASK: How can elders be examples/role models? 
Discuss: If the elder is to do this in order to set an example, does this mean other believers in the church are exempt from acting in this way? What is the purpose for setting an example to the flock?

Contrast: What is the reward the church leader should be looking for? (unfading crown of glory). How long does an unfading crown of glory last? When a church leader begins to look for earthly gain, what happens? What does he gain? How long will that gain last?

State: While this passage focuses on the role of church leaders, it does not negate the responsibility of all believers to act this way toward one another. They are to set an example toward one another and to the world that is watching.

Consider: How hard is it to know that you are to live in such a way that you are to set an example to others of how to live the Christian life?

Transition: Peter now turns his attention to everyone else in the church including the younger men.

1 Peter 5:5-7
Identify (List on markerboard): What were the instructions he gave in these passages?
  • Be subject to the elders (v.5) Ask: Why should we be subject to the elders of the church? (Remember, the elders were to set an example.) How hard is this for a young person or young adult? How hard is it for you? What makes it so difficult? What benefits do we gain by following Peter's instructions?
  • Clothe yourself with humility (v.5) Ask: How do we clothe ourselves with humility? What does his imagery communicate?
  • Humble yourself under the hand of God (v.6) Ask: How do we humble ourselves under the hand of God? How difficult is this to do? How does this help us be clothed with humility and be subject to church leaders? How does God give grace to the humble? What should this communicate regarding living a life of humility versus a life built on pride?
  • Cast all your care on Him (v.7) Ask: How can casting all our cares on Christ help us remain humble toward God and practice humility? How can knowing that God cares help us overcome despair if we feel that we are not getting the recognition we feel we deserve? What happens when a professing believer just gives up and gives in when facing difficulties or temptations? (When we don’t turn and trust in God during distressing times we tend to become self-centered. We forget about God’s grace which leads us to dishonoring the name of Christ in the way we live and treat others.)
Consider: Which of these actions is most difficult for you to implement? Consider what you need to do in order to strengthen that area of your faith.

Transition: Peter knows that, while we are striving to live our Christian faith in a difficult world, we could become vulnerable prey for the Devil, so he gives a stark warning regarding what we should be doing while striving to live as he has previously instructed.

1 Peter 5:8-9
Illustration Option (Explore the Bible Leader Extra): Four-year-old Kelsi Butt survived an attacked by a mountain lion in August while she and her family were camping at Green Canyon Hot Springs Resort in Idaho. When she was attacked, Kelsi’s mom heard the screams, and went to rescue her daughter by yelling and chasing the lion. He dropped Kelsi and ran away. Kelsi sustained some bite punctures and bruises, but was otherwise fine. The parents had actually spotted the cat earlier and were watchful as a result. Experts say their close watch and quick thinking saved the child’s life. The parents were ALERT to the presence of a mountain lion and took the threat seriously. They knew of the danger, watched closely, and they acted quickly.

Identify (List on markerboard): What were the actions presented by Peter that a person should take in defense of an attack by Satan.  (Be serious! Be Alert! Recognize that everyone is vulnerable; Resist him; Remember that you aren’t the only one being attacked.)

Discuss: Is your tendency to ignore the threat the Devil poses, or to fear him too much? How does this warning help us live by the guidelines he has given in the previous verses? What do we need to do when we see the Devil attacking or preparing to attack others around us?

1 Peter 5:10-11
Emphasize: Peter points out four things God will do for his readers as they strive to live a faithful, humble Christian life, even in the midst of suffering – He will restore, establish, strengthen, and support them!  All four words emphasize the same idea—God would see them through their suffering and make them strong enough to remain faithful to Him.

Ask: How can knowing this help you remain humble? How can it help you remain alert and serious about your faith?

LOOK OUT: Responding to the text.
  • Read: Genesis 3:4-5
  • State: Pride led to sin which has separated us from God. The sin of pride continues to perpetuate itself today. That is why Peter emphasized that this cannot be part of the life of a believer. Pride weakens our resistance toward Satan, prevents us from tackling with confidence the outside forces that press in on us (i.e. suffering), and it causes us to dishonor others around us. We cease to be an example to others of how a Christian should live in a fallen world.
  • Apply (Refer back to the display, HUMBLE FOR PRESIDENT): If you were describing “Humble” to someone based upon our study today, what qualities would you say “Humble” would need to have in order to be president? If these were qualities we feel a president should have, don’t you think we should be exhibiting those same qualities as believers?
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