God is Watching
Good morning and welcome!
In the world we live in today, we are truly blessed to be able to come, gather together, and worship in God’s house with the freedom we have.
This morning we are going to be turning over , looking at verses 8-12.
And while you are finding in your Bibles I would like to ask, has anyone ever felt like they were being watched?
You just have that strange feeling that somebody is watching you, but every time you look around you don’t see anybody.
It makes you a little paranoid doesn’t it?
But, I want you to know this morning that your not just being paranoid, in fact SOMEBODY IS WATCHING.
Somebody is watching every single thing that you say, that you do.
Everywhere you go, what you watch on television, what you look at on the internet.
This person even knows exactly what you are thinking.
And of course we know this morning that we are talking about God.
Many people acknowledge that God knows and sees everything, but most people don’t live their lives like it.
Most people forget that God knows all and sees all.
Because if we really thought about this concept we would probably change the way we do a lot of things in our lives.
I’ve even heard people go so far as to say, “God doesn’t have time to worry about what I do.”
Or they will say, “God’s too busy running the universe to be concerned with me.”
Their mistake though is that they want to put HUMAN attributes on God.
They are thinking of God in human terms, with human qualities.
So, yes, if we think about God in human terms, then they would be correct God couldn’t know everything or see everything.
God wouldn’t have time to know absolutely every single thing we said or did.
However, we need to be reminded that God IS NOT A HUMAN, God created humans.
We need to be reminded of a few verses of Scripture . . .
19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
God is not limited by human qualities, because God created the earth and everything in the earth, including us.
So, yes, while humans are very limited, God’s ability is UNLIMITED.
And we can rest assured that yes, GOD DOES SEE IT ALL and yes, GOD IS WATCHING!
Which coincidentally is the title of this morning’s message, God is Watching.
So, if you have found in your Bible, I’d invite you to stand if you are able as we read verses 8-12.
Again, that is . . .
8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 11 He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Living in Harmony
Living in Harmony
So, our passage starts out in the middle of chapter three and is actually part of a much bigger passage.
Starting in all the way through , Peter is teaching the people on the subject of submission.
One of the first things we must do in Christ is submit.
James tells us to . . .
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Remember, the first thing is to submit.
We are submitted to God in obedience before anything else takes place.
Submission gives us the power to resist.
The power to overcome.
The power to claim victory through the Holy Spirit.
James tells us we have to come near to God. We have to wash our hands, purify our hearts.
We have to grieve and mourn over our sins.
And most importantly we have to humble ourselves before the Lord.
This is no different than what Peter is teaching in the passage that immediately precedes our passage for today.
And if we look closely we will find similarity in what James tells us in verse 10 and what Peter tells us in verse 8 of our passage.
In , James says we are to humble ourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.
In verse 8 of our passage Peter says we are to . . .
8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
So, Peter says that we are to do some things:
Live harmony with one another
Love as brothers
And I will tell you that unless we are first humble, it will be very hard to live in harmony with one another.
Unless we are humble, it is hard to be sympathetic to another person’s situation or to love others as your own family.
Unless we are first humble, we often lack true compassion for other people. We may say we “love people” or even show the capacity to love, but true compassion is loving others when you aren’t getting anything in return.
And in order to do these things we have to first have a humble heart, which is only possible when we are submissive to God.
And the reason is that when we are being submissive to God, we can see the big picture.
The things that people do and the way people act really do not bother us as much as they used to, because we realize how unimportant those things are.
Wednesday night we talked a bit about all the work that God has called us to and how we honestly, don’t have time for a lot of nonsense.
We don’t have time to “play church,” we have to be focused on “being the Church.”
And if we have humility then this comes into a much clearer perspective to us.
Humility allows us to overlook some things in people’s behaviors and get to the root of giving them what they need, which is Jesus Christ.
And if we really have a humble heart then we are able to do what Peter tells us in verse 9 . . .
9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Anybody ever seen anyone that would repay evil with evil, insult with insult?
Don’t raise your hands, but have we ever acted like this?
The old “eye for an eye” mentality.
They got me so I’m going to get them in return.
They talked bad about me, so let me see what I can say about them .
Where is the humility in that?
Where is the sympathy and compassion in that?
Behaving like this is the complete opposite of what Peter tells us.
It is also the complete opposite of what Jesus teaches us as well . . .
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
And also . . .
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
And often times, we remember these verses when somebody has done us wrong, but NOT for the purposes of doing things differently ourselves.
No, we use them in order to attack those who attack us.
We will confront the other person and say things like, “you must not be a Christian,” or “The Bible says . . .”
What I want us to notice is that here in , Jesus didn’t say “go and tell other people that I said you are to do these things.”
No, what Jesus said was that we are supposed to just do these things.
Don’t worry, God will take care of anything that needs taken care of and God doesn’t need our help.
And God also doesn’t need our help going around “warning” other people about how somebody treated us.
This type of “warning” is nothing more than gossiping.
Because, again, there is too much Kingdom work to be done and we really do not have time for this sort of nonsense.
People are dying and going to hell and we are worried about things that don’t amount to a hill of beans.
Peter tells us that instead of acting this way we are called to respond with blessing.
Which I know is hard sometimes, but if we are going to claim to be Christians and claim to have had our heart transformed by God, then we need to allow the Holy Spirit to have access to our hearts, and allow the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts.
Otherwise, we are not really being submissive to God, we are only trying to earn a “get out of hell free” card.
And that’s not going to cut it.
Living a Sanctified Life
Living a Sanctified Life
At the end of verse 9, Peter says we are to respond with blessing because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Which can trip us up if we do not understand what Peter is saying.
Many people will point to this verse and say that “Well, I’ve got overlook them because that’s how I earn God’s blessing.”
And we will also throw in . . .
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
And we will tie this forgiveness to something we “have to do” even if we don’t want to.
But when we do this, we are only getting half the point that Jesus and Peter are trying to make.
Forgiveness is not something we just HAVE to do.
Forgiveness is something that we should WANT to do.
Forgiveness should be something that becomes part of who we are.
Remember, that Paul tells us in . . .
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
And . . .
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
If God has made us “new creations” and has “transformed us” by the “renewing of our minds,” then these qualities that Peter is teaching us about should become part of who we are.
They should be part of our character.
Living in harmony with others, being sympathetic to others, loving others, being compassionate and humble should not be a chore, that should be who we are.
Blessing others instead of repaying evil for evil and insult for insult, should be part of our character and who we are.
But if you have been in church long enough, you know that this is not always the case.
And this is also the precise reason why people get turned off by the church.
People are not submitting themselves to God and allowing the Holy Spirit total and complete access to their hearts.
Paul tells us that . . .
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
But we are not doing it.
To be a Christian means to be “Christ like,” but we are not doing it.
We are acting no differently than the rest of the world.
Peter tells us that . . .
1 Peter 3:
10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 11 He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
And lots of times we will dismiss these things, even while somebody like me, a preacher is telling us directly from the Bible.
We say things like, “that’s true for so and so, but not me,” or “that’s true for the church down the road, but not me.”
Folks, it is no different here than it is anywhere else.
And to be honest, you don’t have to impress me or anybody else around you.
Because just like Peter says . . .
1 Peter 3:
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
And since God knows all, God also knows that you know where you stand with Him.
You also know where you stand with others as well.
Have you hurt someone? Offended someone? Gossiped about someone?
Have you repaid evil with evil, insult with insult?
Have you been living a life fully submissive to God?
If not, you have an opportunity to change it this morning.
You have an opportunity to humble yourself before God and be reconciled with God.
Then after you have been reconciled with God, you also have the opportunity to be reconciled with others.
You have the opportunity to change your behavior by allowing the Holy Spirit to change your heart.
These opportunities are available but you have to take some initiative in accepting them.
You have to be willing and you have to allow God that access.
Otherwise you are just wasting your time.
Decision time is upon us, what will the decision be today?