Sermon:Living as the Church in Light of Our Lord’s Return 1 Peter 4:7-11

Living as the Church in Light of Our Lord’s Return

1 Peter 4:7-11

Truth Taught – We must be busy serving others within the local Church because the Last Days are upon us 

Introduction

Last week we saw Peter’s military strategy and God’s Art of War. The point he makes is since we are in a war as God’s people, we must engage in the battle and be armed with the mind of Christ then fight aggressively against our passions, which are waging war against our souls. With this wartime mentality we must do battle now because our passions are currently waging war within us. Delaying or putting it off is not an option for the Christian desiring to glorify God.

Today, Peter shows us why we must be using our spiritual gifts in the local church now. We cannot delay or put off using our gifts because Jesus is coming again. The best way to have the Lord’s bride, the church, ready when He comes is to build up the bride through working within the realm of our giftedness. How are you using your gifts for the good of the church?

I’ve pastored for twenty years now and have found this to be true. There is a small percentage of people within the local church who are using their gifts for the good of the body, and then there is a large percentage who think their gift to the church is their presence on Sunday mornings. Your attendance is expected but not a spiritual gift.

As we begin, it’s important to see that exercising spiritual gifts is a very good way to anticipate the Lord’s return then also conclude that to not exercise them is to live not anticipating Jesus’ return. So, we must ask ourselves, Am I living for God’s glory and am I motivated by the imminent return of Jesus?

Last time we looked at the ways of the lost world around us . . .

1 Peter 4:3–4 (ESV)

For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;

As I get ready to read today’s text notice with me how we are to live differently than the lost world especially in light of Jesus’ return.

-The lost world lives their life in drunkenness, and God calls us to live with sober minds.

– They give themselves over to lawlessness, but we are to live in sincere love.

– They give themselves over to orgies yet we are to show hospitality.

– They malign others; we must serve others.

Prayer

1 Peter 4:7–11 (ESV)

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

  1. The End Has Begun

The end of all things is at hand

There is a misconception with today’s heightened zeal for eschatology. The zeal without knowledge is very evident when people can tell you all the intricate details of premillennial eschatology, but the same person cannot explain the basics of the Gospel. Beware of the person who has the Daily Times in one hand and the Book of Revelation in the other. I’ve spoken to and pastored these types before. They wear me out because if they were really looking for Jesus’ return, they would be the most loving and hardest workers in the church. Instead all they want to do is live in a make-believe world and pretend that they have figured out what God is up to, and honestly, they have forfeited true Christianity for trivial knowledge. The danger of spending too much time seeking to discover the answers to when and how Jesus is returning becomes an obsession because it is all theoretical and there are no demands to live a certain way. Whatever your take on the return of Christ is, does it promote an earnest passionate life of overcoming sin and serving others? If it doesn’t, then your end times view is flawed.

Here, Peter fills us in on true end times. He says they have already started. The reality is that the Last Days began when Jesus rose from the grave. We have been living in the Last Days all our lives. The Last Days will be fully consummated at our Lord’s return. We are in the Last Days right now.

God calls his church, in every generation, to live in light of this remarkable truth: nothing now stands in the way of Jesus’s return. After his perfect life, sacrificial death for us, resurrection from the grave, and ascension to heaven to pour out his Spirit on his church, the next major movement in the history of the world is the second coming of Christ.[1]

1 Peter 1:20 (ESV)

20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you

God’s great reminder here is that we are currently living in the Last Days, so, what significance does that have for us? What should our lives look like in light of Christ’s imminent return?

  1. The End has Begun, Live Obediently for the Sake of Your Prayers

therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers

Since we are in the Last Days, live a life that will allow our prayers to be most effective. Peter has already mentioned prayer a couple of times.

The inconsiderate husband’s prayers are not heard.

1 Peter 3:7 (ESV)

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

The Lord’s ears are open to the righteous.

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Sermon: The Art of War 1 Peter 4:1-6

The Art of War

1 Peter 4:1-6

Truth Taught- As Christians, we must be armed in order to live our life for God’s glory.

Introduction

About 500 BC in China Sun Tzu wrote what has been the definitive work on military warfare. This treatise is over 2500 years old and is still used by many military leaders today. Of course he was not a Christian and so I’m not quoting from this work as if it was the Bible in any way.

Sun Tzu Quotes…

  • “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” …
  • “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. …
  • “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”
  • The Skillful Warrior attacks so that the enemy cannot defend; he defends so that the enemy cannot attack.

If we are to live as Christian exiles and make an impact in this lost world we must see the Christian life as a nothing less than war. I say that to capture what Peter has been telling us. Let’s look together at some of Peter’s military and wartime ideas and terms.

1 Peter 1:1 (ESV)

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

1 Peter 2:11 (ESV)

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

In Chapter 3 he writes about the suffering of Jesus in war/military focus and the victory Jesus won over sin and death.

1 Peter 3:18–19 (ESV)

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison,

Now, our text for today builds on the idea of war. Peter writes that if we are going to fight the battle successfully in this world we must be armed. Let’s look together at Peter’s battle plan and the Art of War

Prayer

1 Peter 4:1–6 (ESV)

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

  1. Waging War Requires a Determined Battle Plan

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

Sun Tzu wrote that we must know ourselves and know our enemy. So, according to Peter who is our enemy?

1 Peter 2:11 (ESV)

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

Peter tells us that our enemy is within. The enemy that wages war against our soul is not Satan but our own human passions. This is a spiritual war and the enemy takes no prisoners.

Do we know our enemy? Our own sinful nature our desires and passions are waging a war against our souls. Peter’s writes that the war is currently being fought, in other words, our passions are right now attacking our souls. So, we know who the enemy is and we know what the enemy is currently doing.

Do we know ourselves? Are we somehow trying to convince ourselves that we are strong without God’s help? Possibly, we are telling ourselves that everything is ok and I don’t have to engage in battle. Perhaps we’ve convinced ourselves that there is no war.

There is a war our enemy is strong and merciless and we are weak and currently being attacked. We need some spiritual ammunition to fight in this spiritual war.

What does Peter tell us our ammunition is?

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking,

Because we are in a spiritual war we cannot achieve victory through the physical realm. He gives us the example of Jesus…

To achieve spiritual victory for His people Jesus suffered in the physical realm. He suffered in the flesh for the ultimate spiritual victory for all His people. His suffering won our justification but in order to win our sanctification God requires our suffering. We have been saved by the work of Jesus now God’s grace and our works will sanctify us.

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Peter tells us to arm ourselves with the same mindset or outlook that Jesus had. He was willing to suffer in the flesh or in the physical realm to secure a spiritual victory. The same is true for us. When we are armed with proper thinking and a proper mindset, namely that spiritual victory requires some level of physical suffering then we are on our way to see the spiritual victory.

When we fight against our natural passions to sin we will be engaged in a level of suffering but we do it knowing that sin will be overcome. It’s very much like a withdrawal from a drug. We must not live and engage in the things we used to. We cannot, as God’s people continue living like we used to live. We are in a war and when we are in a war we live differently.

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Sermon: Unjust Suffering Accomplishes Divine Purposes 1 Peter 3.18-22

Unjust Suffering Accomplishes Divine Purposes

1 Peter 3.18-22

Unjust Suffering Accomplishes Divine Purposes

1 Peter 3.18-22

Truth Taught – Jesus is the supreme example of what suffering unjustly can accomplish.

 

Introduction

There are passages in the Bible that are very clear and easy to understand, most are this way. Then, there are passages like this one today that are more difficult.

2 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV)

15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

I found great encouragement this week from Martin Luther. Listen to what Martin Luther, the great reformer, said about this text. This quote gave me a lot of encouragement as I approached this text: This is a strange text and certainly a more obscure passage than any other passage in the New Testament. I still do not know for sure what the apostle meant.—Martin Luther[1]

There are some very odd but amazing truths found in our passage for today. Let’s gather treasure together as we sift through this text. I’m so glad we looked at Psalm 19 and discovered that God’s Word is to be desired more than gold and honey. This was great encouragement for me to try and tackle this text and reign it in for our good and God’s glory.

Last time we discovered (in case you didn’t already know from experience) that there are times when we suffer even if we do the right thing. We learned that when this happens, we should not be fearful or troubled and that we should continue in obedience because God is at work doing something we may not understand. We learned that in these times to continue honoring Christ and be ready to give an account of the hope you have and to make sure to keep a clear conscience. So unjust suffering is a real part of the world in which we live but never forget God is also at work and His ways are not our ways nor are His thoughts our thoughts.

Well, if there ever was a clear-cut case of someone suffering unjustly for doing what is right it is our Lord, Jesus Christ. In this passage we are to learn that suffering for doing what is right is not the final word in any Christian’s life. It wasn’t the final word for Jesus, and it’s not the final word for us either. Jesus’ unjust suffering made us presentable to God. His suffering was a victory not a defeat, and the same is true for our suffering as well. So, that’s where Peter takes us today.

Prayer

1 Peter 3:18–22 (ESV)

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

  1. Christ’s Suffering and Death had a Purpose

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

This verse is connected to the previous verse we covered last time . . .

1 Peter 3:17 (ESV)
17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

Peter’s point here is that unjust suffering especially has a purpose. As Christians our suffering is not accidental or random just like Jesus’ suffering was not random. His suffering and death had a purpose and accomplished eternal redemption for all of God’s elect. Peter tells us that the purpose was that Jesus died for the sins of His people. Unlike the OT sacrifices, Jesus died only once not repeatedly like the sacrificial lambs in Jerusalem.

Hebrews 7:27 (ESV)

27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.

Jesus’ unjust suffering and death opened the way for all believers to come to God, and it literally brought us to God. This is dramatically shown as the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom showing that Jesus is the way that believers come into God’s presence not through the temple veil.

His death was a victory because His death is what accomplished bringing us to God. So, very clearly, Jesus’ death had a divine purpose. His unjust suffering, the just for the unjust, accomplished a divine directive, the salvation of God’s people.

Hebrews 6:19–20 (ESV)

19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Jesus died as a human. He died in the flesh but remained alive in the spirit. For those three days while in the grave His flesh laid waiting for His spirit to return. Where was His spirit for those three days?

I love movies with a twist. God had more than one twist in the suffering and death of Jesus. It was not a defeat but a victory. It wasn’t random but accomplished our redemption.

  1. Christ’s Suffering and Death had an Eternal Twist

being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.

The way this fits into Peter’s purpose to show us that suffering even for doing good is okay because God is doing more than we could ever imagine. Jesus’ unjust suffering and death was the power to free all His people from the grip of sin. It even did something else . . .

There have been times recorded in the Scripture which Satan may have thought he won the victory.

In the Garden of Eden Satan thought he won. After he convinced Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, he thought he won only to discover a curse from God—Satan lost.

In the Book of Job Satan believed that he could get Job to curse God and tried with all his might only to discover Job still loved God even though everything was taken away from him—Satan lost.

Satan tried to kill Jesus when He was an infant, the murder of the male infants 2 years old and younger carried out by Herod. Joseph and Mary fled taking Jesus with them—Satan lost.

In the temptation of Christ, Satan thought he could convince Jesus to go down another path, one of ease, if only He would bow and worship Satan, He would be given all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus loved His Father and His will more than anything Satan had to offer—Satan lost.

Then there was the cross. Satan thought that since Jesus wouldn’t worship him then if he killed Him, he would win. Satan worked so hard to get Jesus out of the way. When Jesus breathed His last, Satan thought he had finally won. Then the tombs broke open, the veil was torn, the earth shook, the sky went dark. Satan was used by God, and through the death of Jesus, all of God’s people were saved—Satan lost.

There are currently demonic spirits imprisoned waiting for the final day when they will be judged and cast into the Lake of Fire. Ever since the fall of Satan and the angelic realm that followed him, there has been a cosmic conflict between evil spirits and angelic spirits, between God’s people and demonic forces.

The Epistle of Jude tells us the circumstances surrounding this event.

Jude 5–7 (ESV)

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

So, Jesus is dead, goes out the announcement to all the demons kept in chains awaiting final judgment. The Messiah has been put to death; the Davidic line is broken. There will be no one to continue the kingdom of David; God has been beaten. Satan has finally defeated the Messiah they thought, and our imprisonment is over.

Then Jesus shows up to proclaim that the Messiah has won the victory for the sin of His people. Not only did the devil not destroy the Messiah, but he also just lost all those who were bound by sin. Satan now has nothing. Jesus proclaimed the victory to those in chains.

This place where the demons are kept in chains until the last day is known in Revelation as the bottomless pit. 2 Peter calls this place hell.

2 Peter 2:4 (ESV)

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;

Peter mentions the Days of Noah as the time frame for these fallen angels’ sin. What exactly did they do to earn God’s imprisonment until the final day?

The spirits who are currently held captive by God in the abyss, hell, or the bottomless pit are those who did an abominable act during the days of Noah. Their crime was to cohabitate with human women to seek to corrupt humanity.

Genesis 6:1–4 (ESV)

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

These demons are held in the prison of hell waiting their final judgment. This does not include all demons because during the days of Jesus they were terrified of also being imprisoned by Christ.

Luke 8:26–31 (ESV)

26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” 29 For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) 30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss.

Now, Jesus enters the domain of this prison and has a message to share with them. He is going to rise from the grave, and Satan will be once and for all defeated and their doom is final.

So the twist is that what Satan fought so hard to accomplish, namely the death of the Messiah, only served God’s greater purposes to save His people and as the demons who are in chains began to celebrate what they thought was Satan’s victory, Jesus walked in and proclaimed His victory . . . Satan lost.

  1. Christ’s Suffering and Death Saves His People

20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Peter continues with Noah and changes his focus to show us that Jesus’ unjust suffering and death saves us much the same way the ark saved Noah and his family. Unjust suffering accomplished an amazing feat, the salvation of God’s people.

Noah’s ark was the object lesson of his generation. For 120 years Noah and his family worked to build the ark out of obedience to God’s command. The ark was a sermon, in a sense, that Noah preached. It showed his faithfulness and also showed the evil of the generation around him. No one listened. The ark was the means of salvation and the object that also stood for God’s judgment. Enter the ark and be saved, stay on the outside and perish. All who were in the ark lived, and all who did not enter drowned in God’s judgment.

The flood waters that brought judgment on the world in Noah’s day reminds Peter of Christian baptism. Verse 21: “And corresponding to that [the flood], baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Verse 18 says Christ died for sins and brought us to God. In other words, Christ saves us. But the question is: who is us? Whom does Christ’s death actually save? That’s what verse 21 answers: those who are baptized. But Peter knows that this will be misunderstood if he does not qualify it. So, when he says, “Baptism now saves you,” he adds, “Not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience.” This is virtually a definition of baptism. Baptism is an outward expression of a spiritual, inward appeal to God for cleansing. In other words, baptism is a way of saying to God: “I trust you to apply the death of Jesus to me for my sins and to bring me through death and judgment into new and everlasting life through the resurrection of Jesus.”
Baptism may cleanse the body because it was by immersion. But that is not why he says it saves. It saves for one reason: it is an expression of faith. It is an appeal of faith. Paul said in Romans 10:13 that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Baptism is such a calling. It is an appeal to the Lord.
So to be immersed in the Ark saved Noah, and to be immersed in Christ saves God’s people. This is what saves. Water baptism does not save; it is a very good picture of what salvation really is. All who were in the Ark were saved from God’s wrath, and all who are in Christ are saved from God’s wrath as well.
All this was accomplished when the Righteous One suffered unjustly for the unrighteous ones.
Remember, when we are called to suffer, God is accomplishing many things and there will be a divine twist, and you will be amazed at the ending.

 

 

*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

 

[1] Karen Jobes, 1 Peter, 236

Sermon: Wartime Strategy for Living in a Hostile World 1 Peter 3:13-17

Wartime Strategy for Living in a Hostile World

1 Peter 3:13-17

Truth Taught – God calls us to faithfulness even if we should meet resistance and persecution for doing what is right

 

Introduction

How are we to respond when things don’t go according to plan? What happens when, as Christians, we do what is right and still experience persecution?

So far Peter has presented the positive side of obedience. He has shown us that Christians are to act in obedience to impact all our relationships whether the broad stroke of government and society to bosses to family life and in the local church. He’s shown us the proper Christian virtues for unity within the church family. In a perfect word, we’d all live in harmony together as believers, but that’s not always the case, and, just in case you’re unaware, we do not live in a perfect word.

When we are obedient and things go right, we can see how God has worked but what happens when we act in obedience and things get worse? What happens when we are zealous for good works, and we find that we are up against resistance and even persecution? What are we to do when the government or certain individuals turn on us because of our Christian faith?

How are we to live as exiles in a hostile world. We must never forget we are in enemy territory we are behind enemy lines. How do we respond when our good deeds meet with resistance and persecution?

Prayer

1 Peter 3:13–17 (ESV)

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

 

  1. The Reality of Living in a Hostile World

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,

Peter begins with a sort of rhetorical question. Who is there to harm you for doing what is good? Most of the time the answer would be no one. Yet he knows that there may be times when the answer is someone.

This past week we saw in the news and on social media a state representative that tried to bully an elderly lady, a mother and three children who were standing outside of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic engaged in peaceful prayer for the babies and the mothers. They were zealous for what is right, and they were engaged in peaceful prayer for the unborn. They were doing what was right and in the right way and yet they met resistance from this liberal politician who disagreed with their beliefs and felt they did not have the right to be there doing what they were doing. How does Peter tell us to respond to these types of things?

His strategy goes something like this: Since Jesus has already won then we will be blessed by God no matter what happens to us in this life. Don’t fear the resistance or even be troubled by the resistance.

Those who would oppose us often through bully tactics, guilt tactics, or whatever other means they use can, at times, make us feel like we are the ones who are wrong and that maybe we shouldn’t be doing the things we are doing even though we know they are in God’s Word.

We are to go to the aid of the unborn, the widows, the orphans and all others who cannot help themselves. We know prayer is right. We know making our presence seen is right. Yet, those who oppose us will twist the truth or seek to bully us into thinking maybe we shouldn’t be doing what we are doing.

Peter uses the phrase zealous for what is good—by this he means things like generosity, kindness, and thoughtfulness toward others. His point is that even most non-Christians respond positively toward these types of actions. Such a lifestyle has a way of restraining the hand of evil in a society. Yet, Peter knows firsthand that doing what is right doesn’t always go well for the doer.

Acts 4:1–3 (ESV)

And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.

Acts 5:27–33 (ESV)

27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them.

If we were in the apostle’s shoes, what would we have done? Would we have dropped our heads and said, okay sir whatever you say? Would we have let them intimidate us? Would we have let them out argue us? Or would we have never even been there to start with?

They were obedient to God, but the secular world saw this as insurrection and wanted it stopped.

  1. The Wartime Strategy for Living in a Hostile World

Peter tells us that even if we should suffer for righteousness, don’t forget we are blessed so don’t be troubled, intimidated, afraid, and don’t let them pressure you into backing down for one second because we have already won. The victory is already ours because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

 

Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

  1. Do Not Fear

The key is to have no fear of man but do fear the Lord.

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Living in Unity and Community as the Church 1 Peter 3:8-12

Living in Unity and Community as the Church

1 Peter 3:8-12

Truth Taught – God has called us to seek unity while living within the context of Christian Community

 

Introduction

Peter has been teaching us that, as Christians, we are exiles; this world is not our home. While living as exiles, God does not want us to hide but to stand out and impact this world with truth and love. He’s said things like, go over and above so that you will be noticed. Do not seek to hide in culture but stand out in good works and love. Today, we are going to see that we are to stand out by our Christian character and virtue. So, we are not to hide in the world and not be noticed which is like a Christian wearing camouflage, but we are to do good, love others, and stand out in society for our good works, like a hunter wearing bright orange. God wants us to do good to others and be noticed. God does not want us to be chameleon Christians but hunter-orange Christians.

As Christians, we have a very intense and peculiar calling. Our calling comes from God to be His representatives in exile. The world is to look at us and see indications that God is our Father. Our calling’s intensity comes from the fact that God has called us. The peculiar nature of our calling comes from the fact that we are to live out one worldview while living among those with another worldview.

Our lives must be different than the lives of the lost around us. We are called to be a peculiar people.

1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Our passage today teaches us that we are to live this way within the community of the lost world and also especially within the community of believers, the church. The qualities God shows us today in our text are qualities that will encourage true fellowship within the church community. These virtues will sustain Christian community and glory to God.

Prayer

As I read the list of Christian virtues that God has called us to, ask Him to reveal areas where you need some improvement. Then seek His grace to grow in that area. These are virtues Jesus modeled while on earth; let’s seek to be like Jesus in living out these godly virtues.

1 Peter 3:8–12 (ESV)

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For

       “Whoever desires to love life

and see good days,

       let him keep his tongue from evil

and his lips from speaking deceit;

11    let him turn away from evil and do good;

let him seek peace and pursue it.

12    For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,

and his ears are open to their prayer.

       But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

  1. The Virtues that Hold Christian Community Together

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

  1. unity of mind

Here, literally like-mindedness. If we are to enjoy a rich Christian community then we must all be on the same page. We must share similar beliefs. We must be willing to act on those beliefs. As a unified family of believers, we must share a common heritage of faith. This is why we take membership seriously. It would not be beneficial to the individual seeking to be part of our church nor would it be beneficial to the church to stray very far is this area.

If we have doctrinal differences, we cannot be unified in mind or like-minded. This will create division not unity. As believers, we have rejected our former useless way of life, as Peter calls it, and embraced truth together.

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Sermon: Words to Husbands and Wives 1 Peter 3:1-7

Words to Husbands and Wives

1 Peter 3:1-7

Truth Taught – Wives are to live in subjection to their husbands while husbands are to be considerate of their wives.

 

Introduction

Context is always vital, and today it is extremely important. We must remember that Peter is writing Christians who are living in the middle of a very large Roman empire that is often hostile to Christians. So, Peter’s words here are written to encourage Christians not to disengage from society but, in fact, to live in the midst of a pagan world and influence it where it can be influenced.

We are continuing with Peter’s teaching of being subject to an authority for the sake of Christ. He’s already told us that we are to be subject to governing authorities, to our masters/employers and today he addresses Christian wives and Christian husbands.

1 Peter 2:13–14 (ESV)

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.

1 Peter 2:18 (ESV)

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.

1 Peter 3:1

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands

These commands come to us in a fallen world and encompass situations that are less than perfect. We must ask ourselves this question . . . Christians, are the human institutions worthy of being submitted to? No. Christians, are your employers worthy of being submitted to? No. Christian wives, are your husbands worthy of being submitted to? No. So, this idea of being subject to is not the same as when we submit to Jesus Christ. He is worthy and honorable and has earned our submission, but institutions, masters, and husbands have not.

In the ancient world when Christianity was beginning to take hold in and around the Roman Empire, there developed an interesting phenomenon that faced many new believers. How were the new converts supposed to relate to their spouses who may or may not be Christians?

So, the dynamic here is that both husband and wife are lost and then one gets saved. How are they to relate to one another and to the society at large? Here’s what Peter tells us:

Prayer

1 Peter 3:1–7 (ESV)

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

  1. Words for Christian Wives

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

  1. The Christian Wife’s Respectful and Pure Conduct

Initially, we might wonder why Peter has 6 verses for Christian wives and only one verse for Christian husbands. Well, it’s not because husbands have it all together and don’t necessarily need 6 verses, but the reason is because in Roman society there was a greater potential for family and society disruption when a wife became a Christian than when the husband became a Christian. The potential was there for the new Christian wife to try and dominate her lost husband. Because God had saved her, she was not to take her new freedom in Christ and lord it over her lost husband. Rather she must continue in her submission to him.

A woman becomes a Christian and all of a sudden she feels superior to her husband, she feels like now that she knows what the Bible teaches and belongs to God, she knows so much more than he does, how can he be the leader in the family?  Not only that, she keeps meeting these wonderful men at church who are fine, outstanding Christians and she becomes envious of them and she becomes indifferent to her own husband and much more attracted to other men who love Christ because she sees in that the potential for such a wonderful life.  This can lead to great, serious problems.[1]

So, for a Christian wife, in the first century especially, her strategy was to continue in submission to her husband whether or not he is a believer.

Like in all the other instances Peter addresses the Christian citizen, the Christian slave, and the Christian wife had little power to effect authoritative change. They could, however, live out their faith in such a way as to make the authority glad they were Christians. The Christian citizen in the pagan Roman Empire was to live not in rebellion or in protest but to be active in doing good. The slave was to go over and above what was required. The Christian wife was to continue to respect her husband rather than lording her faith over him. She was to do good to her husband so that he would see her faith in action and potentially come to faith in Christ himself.

Peter writes that the lost husband would see his wife’s conduct. He says that this conduct was to be respectful and pure. She is to care for and love her husband, she is to see that she respects him, and she is to conduct herself with purity. These things are true for all Christian wives whether or not their husbands are believers. However, there are conditions with submission that all Christian wives should realize. There is the condition of the husband requiring his wife to sin. For example, in the First Century Rome, all citizens worshipped the false deities of the Roman Empire. Should the husband require his Christian wife to engage in pagan worship, then there is the sin that the Christian wife must not engage. She cannot take part in her old religion any longer. It’s at this point that submission to Christ takes precedence over submission to society and/or her husband. So, whenever our authority seeks to cause us to sin, then we cannot submit to that request whether it is the governing authority, our employers, or for wives, their husbands.

Another condition is the condition of submission to an abusive husband. God will not require us to submit to one who uses our submission either as a license for their own sin or a means to lord over us. In all examples perfection is not the condition for submission but there are limitations in each section mentioned.

Wives, you are called to submit to your own husbands in respect and purity.

  1. The Christian Wife’s Internal Beauty

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

Peter is not telling women to look bad externally. He’s not saying it’s sinful to braid your hair or to wear jewelry. He’s not saying to avoid designer labels or expensive clothing. None of that is wrong or sinful. However, what he is saying is to not focus too much on externals but be mostly concerned with who you are on the inside. Who are you in the secret places that only God can see? Who are you really?

Rather than what can be seen, literally, cosmetic God is more concerned about who you are internally. Internal beauty is far more valuable than external.

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Sermon: Knowing Christ and the Power of His Resurrection Philippians 3:4-11

Knowing Christ and the Power of His Resurrection

Philippians 3:4-11

Truth Taught – Only in Christ will we gain the righteousness God requires

 

Introduction

We were created for God’s glory in treasuring Jesus above all things. Sin has entered the world, and it is treasuring something lesser than Jesus who is the greatest treasure. God has given us the greatest treasure, namely Jesus, and as sinners we treasure lesser things more. Think about it for a moment and see if this is not so. Whatever sin you struggle with, at the moment of committing it, you have loved the sin more than you love Jesus.

So, if the greatest treasure is Jesus, and we sin by treasuring lesser things and God knows that our very souls depend on treasuring Christ over and above all things, then He is most loving and gracious to us to take away lesser things that capture our affections to free us to treasure Jesus above all other things. For a time, this brings us suffering.

Do you treasure your health more than Jesus? If you do, the most loving thing for God to do is to take your health away. Do you treasure your job more than Jesus? Your money? Your whatever?

I don’t know why the giant cathedral burned this past week. I’m not one to claim to know why certain things happen.

Also inside the Notre Dame Cathedral, among so many historical artifacts, is the notable 17th century organ with all of its parts still functional. There are also drawings, plans, and engravings which showed the old and hidden mysteries of several of the church developments and how the city of Paris came into being.

The Notre-Dame Blog is a great place to find out more about the World-Famous Cathedral that captures the hearts of all Paris visitors, not just Catholics.

Did you catch that? The cathedral has captured the hearts of Paris. People go there or went there to see the building and architecture and relics, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not heard there. Perhaps the cathedral was worshipped as a greater treasure than Jesus?

The Apostle Paul had amassed for himself some significant treasures. He had status and education and reputation that he treasured more than Jesus. God took it all away. Once removed Paul could see Jesus more clearly. He wasn’t trying to find Jesus among his other treasures; they were gone and now he could see Jesus more clearly. Once he saw Jesus as supreme and most valuable, he couldn’t get enough. He welcomed suffering because he knew that through suffering God was clearing away lesser things so he could see and value Jesus even more. The more Paul saw Jesus the more he wanted to be like Him in every way…even to live, suffer, and die like Jesus.

Prayer

Philippians 3:4–11 (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 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

  1. Our Sinful Confidence in the Flesh

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

Can you see what Paul had placed his trust in before he met Jesus? He had confidence in the flesh or literally, confident in his own achievements. He thought God was pleased with all his religion. He thought by working really hard God would be proud of Paul, and he thought that this would give him a right standing with God.

He followed the Law of God. He was circumcised just like a good Hebrew baby was. He had a noble heritage being from the tribe of Benjamin. He was at the top of the Hebrew ladder of success. He paid careful attention to the Law of God. He was a Pharisee, the leading religious class in Israel. He was zealous to keep the traditions even to the point of seeking to stamp out all other variants that were, in his view, wrong. He was upright and blameless. He was the model religious person of his day. No one had more works, credentials, or zeal than Paul. If works could get us to God, then Paul would have been first in line and awarded the biggest prize.

There’s just one problem. This is not how one gets in right standing with God.

Think with me for a moment . . . Paul had been taught from a child the ways of works religion. He had been trained to be a hard worker in Judaism. He had amazing achievements. Scholars have said that Paul had the equivalent of three PHDs. He spent his entire life working and achieving . . . and he was confident in these things. Then, his entire belief system comes crashing down. Everything he had spent his life believing and trusting was proven trivial at best and worthless at worst. His suffering had begun.

Have you ever had your previous beliefs proven wrong? Have you ever wrestled with theology? Have you ever had to admit that the things you previously believed or did to gain God’s favor were worthless and wrong?

Something happened to Paul—he met Jesus.

  1. Suffering the Loss of Lesser Things to Gain the Greatest Thing

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 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

Notice what Paul is doing. All the things he had in the valuable column of his ledger he no longer counted as valuable because he met the most valuable, namely, Jesus Christ. These were the things he placed his trust in to gain God’s favor. These were his confidence in the flesh things.

The Greek has a progression for us to see. First, he placed these things in the loss column then he actually suffered the loss of them. That was such a gracious thing for God to do for Paul. You see God had opened Paul’s eyes to put these things in the loss column so that when he lost them, he was not devastated. He suffered the loss of all things that he had placed his trust in for God’s favor. He suffered loss. God got those things out of the way so Paul could see Christ more clearly.

Paul saw Christ and saw in Him the righteousness that he had been trying to achieve in vain. He saw in Christ the righteousness God requires in order to be in right standing with God. This righteousness was not gained by hard work and keeping the Law of God but was gained by faith.

and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

Once the apostle experienced true righteousness, he never looked back. God showed him Jesus, and all the things of this world became trinkets, especially the things that promise significance, security, and God’s favor.

Suffering then is nothing more than the taking away of bad things or good things that the world offers for our enjoyment—reputation, esteem among peers, job, money, spouse, sexual life, children, friends, health, strength, sight, hearing, success, etc. When these things are taken away (by force or by circumstance or by choice), we suffer. But if we have followed Paul and the teaching of Jesus and have already counted them as loss for the surpassing value of gaining Christ, then we are prepared to suffer.

If when you become a Christian, you write a big red “LOSS” across all the things in the world except Christ, then when Christ calls you to forfeit some of those things, it is not strange or unexpected. The pain and the sorrow may be great. The tears may be many, as they were for Jesus in Gethsemane. But we will be prepared. We will know that the value of Christ surpasses all the things the world can offer and that in losing them we gain more of Christ.

Beloved this is just plain Christianity. This is nothing out of the ordinary. Paul’s experience must be the experience of all Christians. This is Christianity 101.

Once Paul caught a glimpse of Jesus without all his works in the way, look at what he tells us . . .

  1. Knowing Christ is Great Gain

10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Now, for Paul, the greatest thing, literally the only thing that matters in the entire universe is that he knows Christ. This doesn’t mean that he just knows who Jesus is but that he has a vital and vibrant relationship with Jesus. He met the greatest treasure in the world and now all his other things are worthless. The greatest thing is to know Christ. Many would affirm that. However, we must realize to have a deep relationship with Jesus means that we must be conforming our lives to Him. As we follow Him, we become like Him, and we love Him more and more all the time.

I want to know Him intimately. I want to love Jesus completely without all the human works in my way.

Knowing Christ is great gain.

  1. Knowing Christ in the Power of His Resurrection

I want to know Him and the power of His resurrection . . .

Paul experienced true power in Christ to overcome sin, true power to be made right with God. He tells us that this power comes to us through Jesus’ resurrection. The Law had no power to overcome sin. The works that Paul now sees as rubbish could not get him in a right standing with God. There is no power in works of the flesh.

2 Timothy 3:5 (ESV)

having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

There’s no power in the law. There’s no power to overcome sin in my flesh. There’s no real power for spiritual service in my flesh. There’s no power for victory in my flesh. There’s no power for witnessing in my flesh. He says I’ve been operating without power and now I see all the power in Christ. You say, “How do you see it?” In His resurrection. Why does he say the power of His resurrection? Because it was in His resurrection that He most graphically demonstrated the extent of His power. What other work of Christ is as powerful as that? None. Raising Himself out of the dead showed that He had power over the physical world and also over the spiritual world. He had power over the human realm and death, and He had power over the demonic realm and all the demons who wanted to hold Him captive. You see the greatest display of power Jesus ever accomplished was His resurrection from the dead, and Paul says that’s the kind of power I want to experience. That’s what he’s saying. Why did I trash this stuff and take Christ? Because of His power . . . Paul understood true power now. He understood that all the good deeds done by every human who ever lived if applied to one man’s soul could not save him. He discovered in Christ true power. Jesus’ power is most strongly displayed in His resurrection.

Ephesians 3:20 (ESV)

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

Do you want to know what else Paul put in the gain column?

  1. Knowing Christ in His Suffering

and may share his sufferings

If we are going to really know Christ, we will only truly know Him if we are taken through suffering. Now think with me about what God is doing in Paul and if we are following Christ, in us as well. If we have, after meeting Christ, taken all our works of the flesh and gains and treasures of this world and wrote LOSS over them, then when God takes them away from us, the suffering now becomes gain because in the suffering we are knowing Jesus more intimately and the stuff we’ve lost is rubbish anyway then God has just been very good to us.

  1. Knowing Christ in His Death

becoming like him in his death

Now if knowing Jesus better through suffering wasn’t enough, Paul writes that he even counts death as gain because through death he will see Christ even more clearly.

It seems he has two things in mind here. First is that he will know Christ more intimately some day after he dies so Paul even counts death as gain.

Philippians 1:21–23 (ESV)

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

Dying is gain because he is with Christ.

Secondly, it seems he wants to be able to die like Jesus died. He wants to know Christ and follow Him so closely that when death does come to Paul, he wants to die like Jesus. I read this over and over again, praying and seeking truth from God and asking how did Jesus die?

Luke 23:44–46 (ESV)

44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.

Paul writes, I want to die like Jesus died. Into Your hands I commit My Spirit…

  1. Knowing Christ in Our Own Resurrection

11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

The greatest event in history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the guarantee that all His people will also be raised from the dead.

Do you see just how intimate our walk with Christ must be? If we follow Him in this life through suffering and someday death, then we will also follow Him in resurrection. We can’t say well I’ll take the resurrection part but the suffering?? We can suffer in faith if we count all the stuff that may be taken as loss when compared to gaining Christ.

This is Paul’s meaning here. He says that he’s ready to give up anything to gain Christ in a more intimate way even his own life.

Literally, that I may attain resurrection from among the corpses.

Closing

Ask yourself a question, what will you give in exchange for your soul? You see, Christ offers you union with Him, righteousness, power, fellowship, and glory. What are you going to hold on to that’s equal to that? And what good is it going to do if you gain the whole world and lose your soul? That’s the question. What do we gain in Christ? We gain everything. We gain infinite treasure in Christ.

My prayer is that we begin letting go of the things in this world that promise us security, significance and safety. As we do, Jesus will become more and more clear. The better we see Him the more of Him we’ll want. The things of this world will automatically begin to lose their luster and Christ will shine all the brighter.

 

 

Sermon: Examples of Honorable Living 1 Peter 2:13-25

Examples of Honorable Living

1 Peter 2:13-25

Truth Taught – All Christians are called to live honorable lives no matter our cultural context.

Introduction

Last time we saw together that Peter exhorted us to live with two things in mind.  He told us to abstain from sinful passionsbecause they wage war on our souls.  He also told us to engage in honorable living.  Here he speaks of living in such a way that what we claim to believe is seen in our lives. Too often Christians say what they believe but their lives say something else.  It’s what our lives say that is the true reality and a clear picture of what we believe.  If we claim to be a Christian and then live no different than the lost world around us, how can we have any assurance that our profession of faith is real?  So, it is in this section and for basically the rest of Peter’s epistle that he shows us what honorable living looks like. What does a life look like that would cause the lost world to take notice and give glory to God?  What would a life look like that would make a lost person glad that you’re a Christian even if they do not believe?

The Christian communities that Peter wrote to made up a small segment of the Roman Empire.  Their question he addresses is how should Christians conduct themselves while living as exiles among unbelievers?  Should they withdraw from society?  Should they simply seek to fit in?  Should they spend their lives protesting the evils of society? What would God have them do?  What would God have us do?  It seems that none of the responses I mentioned are what God teaches here—He doesn’t want us to withdraw, fit in, nor spend a life in protest. What God teaches is to simply live out your faith among the lost world.  Engage in the honorable living taught in 1 Peter 2:11-12.

Here, Peter explains to us that we are to live peacefully in society.  As God’s society, and while living as exiles we are not called to rebellion but to serve and Peter repeatedly calls this doing good.  We are to be do-gooders while living as exiles.

Our loyalty to Christ does not give us a license to rebel against other authorities.  Of course sometimes peace is not possible, but where it is we are to live peacefully in this world.

Prayer

1 Peter 2:13–25 (ESV)

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

  1. Exiles, Live At Peace With Secular Society

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

As Christians in society, we are free and must not use our freedom to our advantage but as a means to seek the welfare of others.  The overall intention of Peter is to explain that Christians are to be law-abiding citizens and not troublemakers.  This does not mean we are pacifists, those who are into peace at any cost.  That’s not Peter’s intention here.  We are to obey the laws of the land in a general sense but seek to change things where we can.  When we cannot obey due to the fact that the government has stepped away from God’s purposes, then we must stand in defiance to those wicked laws.

We are to be those who do good to all people even if we do not agree with them or if they are our enemies. We are to go out of our way to treat all people with respect and kindness.  What Peter gives us is a general overarching command to be model citizens and to do good to all people.

He stresses, in this section, doing good.  This Greek word agathopoieomeans to go over and above what is expected.  So, based on this, simply obeying the law is not enough; that’s the minimum not over and above.  Specifically, it means good works beyond what is normally expected in a given situation. The reason is so that the authorities will take notice and praise you and in turn even praise God for your good works.

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Sermon: Waging War Against Your Passions For God’s Glory 1 Peter 2:11-12

Waging War Against Your Passions For God’s Glory

1 Peter 2:11-12

Truth Taught – Exiles live honorably in a hostile word by abstaining from sin and engaging in good conduct.

 

Introduction

After Peter has described such a rich and amazing salvation that God alone has given to all believers, and once he has declared that God is placing us within His very house that has Christ as the cornerstone, then he draws an appropriate conclusion.  All believers are beloved.

1 Peter 2:10 (ESV)

10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Now, Peter has spent the entire beginning of his first letter to convince us that no matter what may be transpiring around us and to us we are nonetheless loved by God.  This love is not the brotherly love that Peter tells us we are to have with all fellow believers within the church but an intimate Father-sibling relationship of love, care, and respect.

So, beloved, the matter is settled.  If you are a believer today and if you are in Christ by faith, then God loves you more deeply than you could ever imagine.  You are His and He is yours.

1 John 3:1–2 (ESV)

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

Prayer

1 Peter 2:11–12 (ESV)

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

  1. Abstaining From Passions

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

Here we see an action we must engage in if we are to win the battle for our souls, we must abstain from sinful passions that battle against our souls.

Now we must see where Peter is coming from here.  He’s already called us elect exiles and now calls us sojourners and exiles.  So, we are foreigners living abroad, and we must not act like the citizens of the country in which we are currently living.

It’s not too difficult to take the pulse of those who are in the world.  Those who don’t know Jesus as Savior act one way, and we who do know Jesus must act another.

Have you ever noticed that the world never focuses on the absolute most important issue?  It’s really two parts and we are going to look at them.  Part one, the world never focuses on the human soul . . . ever!  They care a lot about preserving the body.  Health care professionals are all about looking for ways to extend the length of life while making it better quality.  Our lifespan is not very long in view of eternity.  Why would the world put so much emphasis on the temporal and none on the eternal?  They live with darkened eyes . . .

2 Corinthians 4:3–4 (ESV)

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

It’s vital for us to see that the world has been blinded to reality.  They’ve been blinded to what really matters.  Their eternal souls for a few years of pleasure will spend eternity in hell.  They never once consider their souls, and their souls will be forever lost.

Luke 12:16–21 (ESV)

16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Part two, the world spends so much time on trivial and worthless things.  Think with me what the world endears.  Our culture is so enamored with sports, fashion, entertainment, etc.  Does it really matter so much who wins the Super bowl, World Series, what movie is coming out, or what so and so is wearing?  These things mean nothing, yet billions are spent annually on things that are worthless.

When we speak to these folks about Jesus their eyes glaze over as if He is boring and doesn’t matter. I cannot speak to you about Jesus, my soul or being born again, I have to go to the 4:00 show.

This is the mindset of the population in which we live.  We must not be like them because our nation is another kingdom all together.  This is why we must abstain from the passions of the world.

1 Peter 1:14 (ESV)

14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,

Peter will go on and further describe what he means . . .

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