Sermon: Preparing for Obedience1 Peter 1:13

Preparing for Obedience

1 Peter 1:13

Truth Taught – We are to prepare our minds to be ready to obey God in all He tells us in His Word

 

Introduction

God always has a pattern when seeking obedience from us.  He shows us what we have been forgiven by grace.  Peter has laid out the salvation that God has given us by faith. This salvation is extremely valuable and amazing.  We have reviewed it about every week so far.

We have been brought to life by God and now have a living hope. We are guarded and so is our inheritance. This salvation is ready to be revealed; prophets longed to see it; and angels long to understand it.

So, based on all that we have been given by God through faith, what is an appropriate response?

This world is full of takers.  Those who always want handouts and free things are everywhere.  Our society has created a society of consumers.  Whether its generational welfare, those who refuse to work or those who live in their parents’ basement till they’re 40 years old or those who think that they are entitled to something just because they’re breathing is a terrible perspective.  This plays right into our fallen self-centered nature.

We’ve been given salvation but not for free.  Someone had to achieve the demands of God through His law.  Salvation was given to us, but not for free.  It cost Jesus His life to give it to us for free.

If you’ve received this salvation, then God desires obedience and service.  He desires His people to follow Him as Lord and not just Savior.  So, what does Peter do to help motivate God’s people for service?

It would be very easy as Christians in the first century to simply be concerned with themselves. Applying these situations to ourselves, suffering such intense persecution could cause us to be very secretive and self-focused.  How could we even think about others when our lives are hanging in the balance?

What does Peter tell us to inspire Christian living and service to others no matter what the circumstances?

He does this in verse 13 by using three Greek verbs.  These verbs will make up our outline for today.

  1. Prepare Your Minds
  2. Be Sober-Minded
  3. Set Your Hope Fully on Grace

Prayer

1 Peter 1:13–17 (ESV)

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

  1. Prepare Your Minds

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action

Verse 13 is the transitional verse going from the explanation of our great and infinitely valuable salvation to what God expects now from us.  It sets up Peter’s fuller teaching on Christian living found in the rest of the book.  See verse 13 as a bridge between the introduction to our salvation and the following application of our salvation.  God does not just give us salvation to make us welfare cases, but He expects godly living as the manifestation of salvation given.

1 Peter 1:3 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Because God has given us such a great salvation, and since we currently possess it, and since there is more to come, does God require anything from us now?  Peter explains to us that salvation is free, but it does come with great responsibilities.  Here is where many Christians today miss the mark.  They think that they can get by in this world without serving Christ and His church.  They think that all they have to do is simply sit back and reap all the benefits at no cost to them.

Luke 12:48b (ESV)

48 Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Jesus teaches that when God gives us things, especially salvation, then we are required to be the steward who is awake and ready and working for His Master—not the one sitting back and simply taking without serving.

The first thing we must do if we are going to follow Christ in faithful service and obedience is to 13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action

This phrase literally means to gird up the loins of your mind. So, to obey and serve takes some mental preparation.  The reason it does is because we don’t normally think of obeying Christ and serving others because we are too focused on ourselves.

So, we must see that if God is to have our heart and our obedience, He must also have our mind.

This language of girding up our loins comes to us from the Passover event found in Exodus.  In Exodus 12 we are told that the Hebrews were commanded to eat the Passover meal in haste.

Exodus 12:11–12 (ESV)

11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord.

The point is that eating the Passover meal with their loins girded up meant that they were ready to move forward in their pursuit of the Promised Land.

When we gird up the loins of our mind, we are preparing to move forward in godly obedience preparing our minds to live out God’s commands.  It’s a moving forward in obedience.   For us, the Promised Land is obedience to God’s Word.

We live in a day when we don’t prepare to live in obedience but simply react to situations.  One scholar said it this way, we simply think with our eyes.  As a result, our minds are never really made ready for obedience and service.  What God desires is a determined mental preparation toward obedience to His Word.

I want to challenge you with this because it seems we too often use our minds to seek a way out of obedience and service.  When we react rather than plan our thinking most often will be in the negative.  We will reason our way out of obedience rather than a way into it.  Therefore, we must make mental preparation beforehand rather than at the spur of the moment.

So, how do we gird up the loins of our minds to get ready to obey God? Or we might say it this way—how can we turn the robe of our mind into running shorts?

We must prepare our minds or gird up the loins of our minds with truth. What does Paul tell us in Ephesians 6?

Ephesians 6:14 (ESV)

14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

This is the exact language of girding up your loins.  He says but on this belt of truth.  Beloved, we must be saturated in truth.  We must be influenced by truth rather than what the world would tell us.  If we are to obey God consistently, we must be influenced regularly by His truth.

Romans 12:2 (ESV)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

If we are to obey God consistently, then our thinking needs to be renewed and transformed by His Word. If we are not immersed in the truth of God found in the Bible, then our obedience at best will be sporadic and legalistic. It won’t flow from the joy and love for God but from some duty.

Then, secondly, we must make obedience a priority.  We must be purposeful, looking for opportunities rather than a reason we can’t serve.  If we flood our minds with truth, then we will live in the light of truth not in the light of self-centeredness.  Truth will point us outward toward God and others rather than inward toward ourselves.

  1. Be Sober-Minded

being sober-minded

It means if you really want to obey the command to hope fully in God’s grace, don’t let your mind drink in things that numb the mind (and heart) to the value of God’s grace. The great problem with drunkenness is that it distorts reality by making the mind insensitive to what is true and real and valuable.

This, I’m afraid, is one of our big problems.  Our minds are drunk with the lies of the world.  We don’t think like a child of God automatically because our minds have been saturated with the drunken lies of the world.  Here again, is seen the importance of God’s Word and God’s truth for us.  If we are going to think soberly about what God desires from us, we must have truth sober us up.

The lies of this world point us inwardly, and if they ever point outward, it’s to satisfy some sinful craving we have; so, they are still pointing inwardly even when they point out. A drunken mind thinks about material goods, fame, fortune, idols, etc.  Our minds are like this naturally.  So, the only way things are going to change is if we are born again to a living hope.

1 Peter 1:3 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Normally, our minds are finding joy and hope in dead things, things that are perishing.  It takes a work of God, namely, the new birth to awaken a drunken and dead mind.

1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV)

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

What turned the cross from foolishness to the power of God for us?  What changed us from being one perishing to one being saved?  It was God’s work of bringing us to life.  As Peter tells us He has caused us to be born again.  Now, due to God’s work we are changed, and our minds can think soberly.  We used to think the cross was foolish and now we see it as the power of God.

In the same way, the things of this world that had intoxicated our thinking are now seen in the light of the new birth.  Suddenly, the things we used to hope in and find significance and safety in are seen as rubbish.

Philippians 3:4–8 (ESV)

though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

Paul’s mind was darkened or intoxicated before his new birth.  He used to think that fame, notoriety, significance, intellectual dominance, and being the best of all the Pharisees was what was most important. Then something happened.  God saved him.  Now he could see all those things through the light of Christ, and he saw them for what they really were . . . rubbish.

Now we too can think soberly about everything.  As believers, we too have a born-again mind and can think correctly about things.  We do, however, need to bring truth into our mind for the purpose of thinking biblically.

We have learned that in order to be consistently obedient to God, we must prepare our minds to think soberly by taking in truth.  Now Peter is going to tell us what our living hope is.  Prior to our new birth, our hope, if we had any, was a dead hope because it was placed on lies and things that were perishing.  Now he tells us what it was to have a living hope.  He tells us how this living hope really works . . .

  1. Set Your Hope Fully on Grace

set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Set your hope on something real and eternal.  Peter’s secret to consistent obedience in good times and under pressure is grounded on the living hope, which rests fully on the grace that is to come when Jesus Christ appears.

This living hope is an absolute confident expectation that when Jesus returns, all His followers will receive abundant grace.  He calls it a living hope because this sure expectation fuels and drives our everyday lives.  We have a proper perspective, a proper attitude; we make godly choices and live in light of this promise.

How do we know that this will come to pass?  Because when Christ died on the cross, He secured eternal salvation for all of God’s elect.  It is the past act of Jesus’ death that guarantees our future eternal right standing with God by grace through faith.  This is why Peter tells us to place our hope fully on the grace that was secured at the cross and will be made manifest at our Lord’s return.

Our world tells us to hope in other things like money, status, education, fame, etc., but these things cannot be trusted.  They are fleeting.

I want to remind everyone that this grace Peter refers to is fully present but not fully realized.

The motivating factor for consistent obedience is the grace that will be revealed to us when Jesus returns. When Jesus comes back, He will bring this grace with Him.

Now Peter is not suggesting some mindless hope that present suffering is somehow not real and not painful. He’s not saying just look to the future and everything will be fine.  What he is teaching us is that while we suffer in this world, we can still have peace and joy in Christ because He has secured our future status as God’s children, and we will inherit eternal life and eternal grace.

When we suffer, we can endure it for God’s glory as we realize that we are secure in God’s grace and that more will be revealed at our Lord’s return.

Does the thought of Jesus’ return bring you comfort in times of struggle?  Peter teaches us that it should.  We must live our lives in the shadow of His return.

Here’s how Paul speaks of this same living hope:

Titus 2:11–13 (ESV)

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

Be obedient to God as you wait with excitement for our Lord to return.

Hebrews 9:28 (ESV)

28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

As we wait biblically our lives will begin to make sense.  Our purpose will come into view.  What matters most will become clear.  Suffering won’t seem as devastating because eternity with Christ is coming.  Sin will loosen its grip upon us as we find our treasure not in this world but in Christ who will return.

Revelation 16:15 (ESV)

15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”)

 

Application

How does this verse encourage you to move forward in obedience as you live out your Christian life?

Based on our magnificent salvation, how should we show our devotion to Christ?

 

 

 

 

 

*Resources Used:

Teaching 1 Peter by Angus MaCleay

1 Peter by Karen Jobes

1 Peter by David Helm

1 Peter by John MacArthur

1 Peter by Peter Davids

1 Peter by Wayne Grudem

1 Peter by Edmond Clowney

 

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