Lesson 42—Crossing Generational Boundaries
Scripture: 1 Peter 5:5
Lesson Goal: To learn and understand the importance of crossing generational boundaries, as we minister together and serve one another.
We begin today’s lesson by looking at two quotes from last week’s lesson. “The task of the shepherd carries with it an unequalled responsibility before the Lord. While it includes the positive elements of spiritual leadership toward maturity and Christlikeness and spiritual guardianship to protect the flock, its chief objective is the feeding of the flock” (MacArthur).
“In the spiritual care of God’s children, the feeding of the flock from the Word of God is the constant and regular necessity; it is to have foremost place” (W. E. Vines). To put these quotes in a personal context, the single most important responsibility that I have been given as pastor of Mars Hill Baptist Church is to preach and teach the Word of God. Please read James 3:1,
1 Corinthians 9:14-18, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
It takes much prayer, study, time and preparation to be able to fulfill and honor God’s call to preach and teach the Word. As you read and study today’s lesson, please know that several hours were spent in its preparation. In order for me to give the time, prayer and preparation needed, many others (staff and deacons) work hard and faithfully minister (tend) to the needs of Mars Hill Baptist Church. Much of this ministry is done without attention being called or even being noticed by the multitudes. The Mars Hill Baptist deacon body is committed to serving the needs of our church family. The pastoral staff is ministering to the needs of both church family and community. There is simply no way you would be reading this lesson, or be a part of the Life Focus class, if it were not for the commitment of our staff, deacons and so many other committed folks who “serve the Lord with gladness.” These faithful folks enable me to do what God has called and is leading me to do. It is a beautiful thing when we, the church, seek to know and do the work of ministry. May you be blessed by this ministry, and may God be glorified.
➢ Would you purposefully make an effort just to say a thank you to a deacon or staff member today?
➢ Would you take just a moment to express your appreciation and be an encourager to your Sunday school teacher today?
Before we move into the biblical portion of today’s lesson, I want you to understand the blessing of some others on our staff. The two ladies who serve in our office (Judy and Tina) are truly ministers along with our pastoral staff. They provide so much more than just that of administering and running the office. They serve with grace and compassion. They often become counselors ministering to the hurting, the broken, the confused and sometime the outcast. They are truly the frontline warriors of ministry representing our Lord and Mars Hill Baptist Church with dignity and honor. This pastor and our pastoral staff thank God for these ladies, and we understand how very vital they are to the ministry of MHBC.
Someone has well said that the best referee is the one who does his job and you don’t even know he is there. That is how I would describe those staff members who faithfully do their jobs to make God’s house the clean appealing place we enjoy. As pastor, I witness these faithful staff servants cleaning, dusting, mopping, vacuuming and a host of other duties during the week. The work they do is the highest quality, but the spirit in which they do it is even higher in quality. They do these things truly understanding what it means to “do unto the Lord.” May I offer a heart-to-heart suggestion? Instead of calling to correct an oversight in the bulletin (which in spite of all our best efforts we occasionally have), or instead of reporting a spill on aisle three, take just a moment to say thank you and encourage our ladies and support staff who serve you each week.
Someone may be saying, “What about all of us who don’t even get paid to do the many things we do, all of us who do the same ministries every week and don’t get recognized or appreciated? No one thanks us.” To all of you who give your time, talents, effort and love, we say, “Thank you!”
(Verse 5) “likewise” The same transition found in 1 Peter 3:1 and 3:7.
“Younger people submit yourselves to your elders.”
Peter once again continues the theme of submission. Younger believers should submit to the older believers, not only out of respect for their age, but also out of respect for their spiritual maturity. The idea being conveyed is that younger believers are to recognize and respect the maturity of older believers. Warren Wiersbe explains: “Not every senior saint is a mature Christian, of course, because quantity of years is no guarantee of quality of experience. This is not to suggest that the older church members run the church and never listen to the younger members. Too often there is a generation war in the church, with the older people revisiting change and the younger people resisting the older people!” One of my favorite quotes concerning age comes from Vance Havner: “Birthdays tell us how long we have been on the road not how far we have traveled.” “[Peter] calls everyone in the church to put aside self-promoting pride and willingly and respectfully place themselves under the leadership of their shepherds” (MacArthur). Mars Hill Baptist Church has been so blessed with a spirit of love, cooperation, oneness and unity. Through the years, the greatest supporters of our youth and young adults have been our senior adults. In fact, I often share with others that the most progressive people at Mars Hill Baptist are our senior adults.
Today, if you consider yourself in “you younger people” of verse five, take some time to say thank you to a senior adult in our church family. Because of their faithfulness and commitment, you who are younger are able to worship where you worship and how you worship. Thank God for our senior adults.
(Verse 5b) “Yes all of you be submissive to one another.”
The process of our spiritual maturity flourishes when we have a spirit of submissiveness. Again, I remind you that submitting or submission in this context does not mean weakness. “Submissive to one another” means that I will honor others above my own selfish interests and agendas. As Charles Swindoll states, “So the first strong word of counsel for those who want to find genuine satisfaction and true success comes from a whole parade of passages in Holy Scripture (Psalm 138:6, Proverbs 3:34, Matthew 23:12, James 4:6, and 1 Peter 5:5). Submit yourselves to those who are wise instead of flaunting your own authority. For those who genuinely submit with humility God will bless.”
(Verse 5b) “and be clothed with humility, for…”
The word clothed was used of a slave who tied on an apron, so the idea was to wear humility as a slave’s apron. Under the slave’s apron, the loose outer garments were gathered. For the ultimate picture of humility, please read Philippians 2:1-11. We (true believers) can never be submissive to each other until we are first truly submissive to God. When we truly submit to God, He will give us the grace necessary to submit to each other.
Questions for Life Focus
How was and is Christ the ultimate example of humility and submission?
Why is it so difficult for us to submit, especially to one another?
A question for the “younger” adults and the “not so young” adults–How many friendships do I have that transcend generational lines?
We miss many great blessings, if we do not get to know each other.
To witness a true example of humility, I suggest you look up Mr. James (Scooter) Tice or Mr. Paul Strickland. They are just two of the many humble warriors who wear the apron of humility at Mars Hill Baptist Church, and what makes it so special is that Mr. Scooter and Mr. Paul, and so many others, don’t even know they are wearing it.