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The Theology of Obedience

Spiritual Renewal Conference  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Developing a Desire and Devotion for our Great God resulting in and from Obedience

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Jeff Myers, the author of Understanding the Times (a masterful work) wrote:
“Often people get their beliefs like they catch colds — by being around other people! And since ideas are everywhere—on television, in books and magazines, at the movies, and in conversation with friends and family—it’s easy to pick them up without considering whether they’re worth believing.”[1]
Myers argues that:
1. For most, our beliefs are acquired without effort!
2. For most, our beliefs are acquired through culture!
3. For most, our beliefs are acquired without conscious filtering!
4. That is, the average person holds a set of beliefs that are a conglomeration of the beliefs of those surrounding them!
Stated concisely, the average person forms their beliefs with little thought, searching, or evaluation—THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!
Our aim is the direct challenge of our worldview within the following areas:
1. We want to challenge our understanding of God (develop a proper foundation)
2. We want to challenge our understanding of Obedience (form a foundational response)
3. We want to examine our personal level of Obedience (evaluate consistency)
4. We want to examine and implement the necessary key components of Obedience (course correction)
Why?
A worldview that is held in theory only, while refusing implement and conform to said worldview, demonstrates that it is an illegitimate worldview.
In order for a prescribed worldview to be legitimate, the promoter must:
1. Define the worldview (we identify the proper worldview)
2. Align to the worldview (we create standards/laws in accord to the worldview)
3. Act consistently within the worldview (we live under the prescribed standard)
Illustration:
1. Negative: “I believe that God is real—and Jesus is the way to life”
a. But… there is no difference between my life before Christ and “after” Christ
b. I don’t read or pray to know God
c. I don’t affirm what the Lord reveals as truth and commands of us
d. I don’t live in accord to His example and instruction
2. Positive: “I believe that God is real—and Jesus is the way to life”
a. And there is a noticeable difference in my life!
b. I read and pray to know the Lord
c. I affirm what the Scripture reveals—even when it is hard to do so
d. I strive to follow the example of Christ and His apostles by developing an intimate relationship with the Lord—which requires me to jettison my former way of living.
LET ME BE CLEAR HERE: A WORLDVIEW IS NOT A MEANS TO SALVATION ;
rather, A WORLDVIEW IDENTIFIES WHY WE ACT THE WAY WE DO.
You see, Myers states:
“A worldview is a pattern of ideas but also a pattern of beliefs, convictions, and habits that help us make sense of God, the world, and our relationship to God and the world.”[2]
All worldviews answers life’s most basic questions (but each worldview does so differently):
1. How did I get here?
2. Where am I going?
3. What is my purpose?
4. What is wrong?
5. How do I fix it?
6. Is there a God, how do I know?
In regards to today, we will only look at and answer question #3—“What is my purpose?”
Our purpose: To glorify God and enjoy Him immensely.
1. We work to honor God through obedience = Glorify God
2. We develop our love for God = Enjoy Him
How do we do this? Through the work of Jesus Christ!
Jesus Saves and Empowers us through the Spirit for our OBEDIENCE so we walk in a dynamic, soul-satisfying, and God glorifying relationship with Him.
My goals for today:
Develop a theological argument for obedience. (This will affect our worldview)
Define obedience from a vertical level (our actions in relation to God)
Define obedience from a horizontal level (our actions in relation to others)
Define obedience within the public context of society (our actions indirectly related to others)
Before we begin, let’s look at a few quotes:
Some Popular Conservative Thoughts on Obedience from Church Leaders:
John MacArthur: “The gospel in vogue today holds forth a false hope to sinners. It promises them that they can have eternal life yet continue to live in rebellion against God. Indeed, it encourages people to claim Jesus as Savior yet defer until later the commitment to obey Him as Lord.”[3]
Jeff Myers: “To understand what God wants from us we must identify the world’s patterns, refuse to conform to them, and be transformed into a God - pleasing pattern of living.”[4]
MacArthur: “The belief that someone could be a true Christian while that person’s whole lifestyle, value system, speech, and attitude are marked by a stubborn refusal to surrender to Christ as Lord is a notion that shouldn’t even need to be refuted. It is an idea you will never find in any credible volume of Christian doctrine or devotion from the time of the earliest church fathers through the era of the Protestant Reformation and for at least three and a half centuries beyond that.”[5]
J.I. Packer: “Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.”[6]
J.I. Packer gave us five basic assumptions to work from when looking at the Lord:
God has spoken to man, and the Bible is his Word, given to us to make us wise unto salvation.
God is Lord and King over his world; he rules all things for his own glory, displaying his perfections in all that he does, in order that men and angels may worship and adore him.
God is Lord and King over his world; he rules all things for his own glory, displaying his perfections in all that he does, in order that men and angels may worship and adore him.
God is Savior, active in sovereign love through the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue believers from the guilt and power of sin, to adopt them as his children and to bless them accordingly.
God is Savior, active in sovereign love through the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue believers from the guilt and power of sin, to adopt them as his children and to bless them accordingly.
God is triune; there are within the Godhead three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and the work of salvation is one in which all three act together, the Father purposing redemption, the Son securing it and the Spirit applying it.
Godliness means responding to God’s revelation in trust and obedience, faith and worship, prayer and praise, submission and service. Life must be seen and lived in the light of God’s Word. This, and nothing else, is true religion.[7]
Now, for the rest our time together, let’s look at 1st Peter and extract a theology of obedience:
Notes on 1st Peter:
1. There is a long-standing debate on authorship due to the quality of Greek and some phraseology; however, it is reasonable to assume that Peter used an amanuensis to write his letter.
2. The material presented within the letter is considered basic or foundational rather than advanced (requiring mastery of foundational instruction).
3. 1st Peter has an intense eschatological focus that, at times, ventures into an apocalyptic tone.
4. The goal of 1st Peter is HOLINESS in three forms: 1) Personal, 2) Social, and 3) Corporate.[8]
5. The suffering consciously addressed in 1st Peter is that of PERSECUTION and REJECTION due to faith—not that of illness, grief, and pains associated with normal day-to-day life.
= Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
1 Peter 1:1–2 ESV
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Two things we MUST see from this text (1 Peter 1:1-2):
1. God planned and chose to save us through the sacrificial death of Christ (Justification).
2. God planned and chose to save us to enable us to grow in obedience (Sanctification).
God’s will is that we obey; however, it is also God’s will that He enables us to obey!
What Obedience is and is not:
1. Obedience is submission to God’s authority
2. Obedience is difficult because it is a battle
3. Obedience is a gift made possible through the Holy Spirit
4. Obedience is conforming to God’s household—we are aliens in the world.
5. Obedience is not independent of God’s presence, work, and power
6. Obedience is not legalism
7. Obedience is not temporary
8. Obedience is not unenjoyable
9. Obedience is not possible independent from the corporate church
Our Primary view of God dictates the manner in which we approach obedience:
1. King = God is the Ruler, so we fall inline
a. Positive: God is the protector and guardian of His people
b. Negative: God demands and extracts from His people.
2. Judge = God is the evaluator, so we better measure up
a. Positive: God will ALWAYS do what is right and bring about justice
b. Negative: God will not punish the evil (He’s unrighteous), or God will pour His wrath out upon EVERYONE (He’s unloving)
3. Father = God is the caregiver who has a loving-concern for us—He is our provider
a. Positive: Head of the Family (Husband) = God is our love, so He has our heart. We are His children and bride—we are those whom He deeply cares for and provides.
b. Negative: God is a trite father and an unloving husband because He does not give us what we want (even the evil things)
4. Friend = God is our companion, so we enjoy His presence
a. Positive: Comforter = God is the counselor, we need His wisdom
b. Negative: Sidekick/Co-pilot = We water God down and make Him our peer.
5. Advocate = God is our defender, He argues on our behalf
a. Positive: Priest = God is our guide, He brings us into fellowship
b. Negative:
Jesus argues for me before the Father, therefore I do not need to strive to resist sin since I’m good with Jesus.
Jesus ignores me, so it doesn’t matter what I do.
The Truth: God is marvelous and unique, therefore we must guard against limiting God to the areas that we are most comfortable with while rejecting the attributes of God that make us uncomfortable.
Casual Christianity results from misaligning God’s character and attributes within our understanding.
Areas of Casual Christianity:
1. Non-participation in Kingdom work = Misunderstanding of God as the King and the Great Commission becomes the great omission.
2. Abuse of Grace and/or refusal of Grace = Misunderstanding of God as the Judge and we use grace as a license to sin, or we become overly legalistic.
3. Isolation from the Church Body = Misunderstanding of God as a Father and we live life as if we are all alone and must forge ahead to make things happen without God or His church.
4. Lack of Passion and Love = Misunderstanding of God as our Husband and we long for a source of intimate love
5. Lack of Reverence and/or lack of fellowship = Misunderstanding of God as our Friend makes us feel alone, we may also treat God with contempt.
6. Independence from God’s Instruction/Direction = Misunderstanding God as our Wise Comforter means we will live life based upon our wisdom and not God’s.
Doctrine:
1. We obey because God is Sovereign and we, as His creation, are subject to Him.
2. We love God because God is love and cares for us
3. We are devoted to God because God is faithful and devoted to us
Last point of introduction…
Is Obedience Worth the Effort? (YES)
· tells us three things about our reward:
tells us three things about our reward:
1 Peter 1:3–6 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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
o Imperishable = It cannot decay or be destroyed
Imperishable = It cannot decay or be destroyed
Undefiled = It is pure and immensely enjoyable
Unfading = It is eternal and ever-captivating
This hope is the Lord!
This hope is the Lord!
We do not obey merely to obey in a “suck-it-up” manner; rather, we obey because we HOPE to see God for all of eternity!
Our hope is Christ’s return, the salvation of our souls, and abiding in His presence (1:3, 13, 21; 3:5, 15)
Since Obedience is expected, required, and rewarding, we must ask…

What Does True Obedience Look Like?

We answer this question from three angles in 1st Peter:
1. Vertical = How I relate to God
2. Direct Horizontal = How I directly relate to others
3. Indirect Horizontal = How I approach life and live within the public eye

Vertical: Commands in Relation to God

The Scripture:
1. = Rejoice in God’s protection in the face of trials!
1 Peter 1:6 ESV
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
a. This is not a situational happiness… you don’t have to pretend that everything is “fine” and life is great.
b. This is a commitment to understanding what trials mean—we’ve been approved by God to righteously endure what our Savior endured.
c. We rejoice because our faith is proved through trials—therefore, our hope is guaranteed!
2. = Believe in and Love the Lord
1 Peter 1:8 ESV
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
a. Even though we’ve not seen the Lord—we expect to see Him.
b. When we live in expectation of seeing Christ, we demonstrate belief in Christ.
c. Belief in Christ produces an inexpressible joy!
d. Belief in Christ is demonstrated by a refusal to focus on the trials, and, instead, to place intense focus on Christ.
3. = Live in anticipation to respond by fully trusting God
1 Peter 1:13 ESV
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.
a. The grace that Jesus will bring to us at His Parousia is our motivation.
b. Preparing for action (work), contains the imagery of modifying one’s dress for work—it would be impossible to fight, run, or labor intensely in inappropriate attire!
4. = Anticipatory determination to respect and obey God
1 Peter 1:17 ESV
And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,
a. Though we are children of God, our awe and respect for God should not diminish
b. When our view of God diminishes, we will most certainly venture into sin and justify it—This is always evil,
c. Remember, God is a great, righteous, and perfect judge—sin WILL be punished!
5. = Approach the Lord by feasting on His word—this is our sacrifice!
1 Peter 2:2–5 ESV
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
a. A command = long for God word as infants do for food
b. A result = we grow through the word of God
c. A condition = if we have tasted the goodness of God, we will feast upon His word.
d. We are built up by approaching Christ!
e. As God builds us in His presence, He gives us the ability to offer sacrifices he accepts.
f. Our sacrifice? Foregoing our way of life to learn His way of life!
6. = Praise God vocally
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.
a. God chose us as a people
b. He made us holy
c. He made us a priesthood (to help others worship)
d. He made us His!
e. He called us out of darkness and into light
f. For what? TO PRAISE HIM IN FRONT OF OTHERS!
7. = Live in a manner that refuses to conceal or embrace personal sin
1 Peter 2:16 ESV
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
a. Because we belong to God, we are free
b. We are not gifted with freedom to sin or even hide sin!
c. We are gifted with freedom that enables to serve God instead of being judged by Him!
d. Schreiner argues: “Genuine freedom liberates believers to do what is good. Those who use freedom as license for evil reveal that they are not truly free since a life of wickedness is the very definition of slavery... True liberty, according to the New Testament, means that there is freedom to do what is right.”[9]
e. One way we honor God is by honoring those He places over us (more on this later)
8. = Imitate Jesus Christ
1 Peter 2:21 ESV
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.
a. The suffering of Christ—not only purchased our life—but also serves as a model for us to imitate
b. = plainly tells us to have the attitude of Jesus Christ
i. Though He was God, Jesus suffered until death
ii. We too, should resist sin—even if it brings about our doom!
c. The point is clear, God expects us to conform to His standard, and He has saved us so we could do so!
9. = Honor the Lord by boldly proclaiming the gospel.
1 Peter 3:14–15 ESV
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 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,
a. Righteous suffering produces a blessing for us—in the midst of the storm of suffering, God is our blessing!
b. Suffering originates from our proclamation of the gospel
c. Though suffering is guaranteed, we should be humble in our proclamation
d. A humble proclamation, in the face of suffering, is how we honor God!
10. = Commit your innermost being to Christ—give Him ownership
1 Peter 3:21 ESV
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,
a. Water baptism is symbolic of spiritual baptism which states:
i. I am immersed in God
ii. God is in me
b. Baptism is a surrender—I give ALL of me to all of Thee!
c. We are saved by Christ when we fully give ourselves over to Christ!
d. Baptism is a cry (an appeal) to God for Him to do what He has promised—to make us His!
e. Because this tends to be a confusing verse, let’s hear Schreiner’s summary of it: “Hence, we are not surprised to read in this verse that baptism saves “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The waters of baptism, like the waters of the flood, demonstrate that destruction is at hand, but believers are rescued from these waters in that they are baptized with Christ, who has also emerged from the waters of death through his resurrection. Just as Noah was delivered through the stormy waters of the flood, believers have been saved through the stormy waters of baptism by virtue of Christ’s triumph over death.”[10]
11. = Develop a habit of authentic prayer
1 Peter 4:7 ESV
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
a. Prayer is a vital part of a believer’s life and deeply effective—thus, we do not want to undercut our prayers.
b. We tend to undercut our prayer through (these are synonyms):
i. Our lack self-control and our tendency to think inappropriately
ii. In short, we must avoid irrational and undisciplined behavior
iii. Why? What we do affects how God interacts with us.
· Rebellion must be disciplined (God cannot allow us free-range in sin)
· Sin must be judged (God’s holiness demands that He punish us)
· Restoration must take place (we have to repay those we wrong)
c. Also, because we are in the “last days”, we do not want to waste a moment, for it may cost us dearly.
12. = Humbleness by trusting God instead of caring for self.
1 Peter 5:6–7 ESV
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
a. To trust in God means we do not trust in self!
b. We humble ourselves by refusing to gratify our evil pleasures and seek gratification in God.
c. When we exalt God through obedience, God exalts us!
d. True Christianity finds its help and life in God because it knows that there is an enemy working to destroy us (mostly through our desires)
e. Pride tells me, “I must solve my problems and fix my life”, God tells me come and drink from the well of salvation—He is the well!
13. = Stand by abiding in the word of God.
1 Peter 5:12 ESV
By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.
a. Peter writes so those he loves would not fall
b. The Bible contains ALL that is necessary for us to know and not fall.
c. When we heed the word of God and approach the Lord, God gives a strength and stability to us found nowhere else!
d. The Lord and His Word is our source of LIFE—abide in Him!
Categorical Response (vertical):
1. Continual Praise
2. Sacrificial Commitment
3. Determination to Trust
4. Disciplined Intake of the Word
5. Exposure of Sin
6. Mimicking Jesus
7. Proclamation of the Gospel
8. Submission to God

Direct Horizontal: Commands Pertaining to Direct Interaction with Others

The Scripture:
1. = Live in obedience to God by demonstrating authentic love for others.
1 Peter 1:22–2:1 ESV
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
a. Our love of others should be sincere
b. Our love of others should be pure
c. Our love of others should be without malice
d. Our love of others should be without deceit
e. Our love of others should be without slander
f. Our love of others should be rooted in the work and word of God!
2. = Live submissively to and respectful of the government.
1 Peter 2:13 ESV
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,
a. Our love of others should submit to and respect the position God GAVE them.
b. Pride is the root of our disobedience—pride is not instep with love of God
c. Love of God allows us to honor those He places above us.
d. Two things:
i. Submitting to government is not normal—we stand-out when we do this.
ii. Submitting to government should not override our submission to God.
3. = Respect and honor everyone—especially God
1 Peter 2:17 ESV
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
a. This verse serves as a summary, but it is worth repeating.
b. Honoring God involves loving the church
c. Honoring God involves godly submission to government
d. Honoring God involves respect and reverence (fear) for God!
4. , = Submit to those who are over you and around you.
1 Peter 2:18 ESV
Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.
1 Peter 2:18 ESV
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 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,
a. Submission to the societal “norms” in our employment and families is a demonstration of love and an act of service to the Lord.
b. A key aspect of this text (within slavery) is the context of suffering—Peter commands his audience to obey their evil masters!
i. Again, Christians are not so much concerned with “our rights” (the world is) as we are with God’s commands.
ii. A prime demonstration of “love” is showing respect and humility to those who do not deserve it within our estimation!
5. = Submit in gentle quietness—be humble
1 Peter 3:4 ESV
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.
a. Though initially applied to the wife in a family unit, if God dictates something as honorable to one sex, it would be safe to assume it is honorable to both sexes. (holiness, purity, righteousness, and truth are not situational)
b. Therefore, living in humility towards others is a command and standard for all to submit to.
c. Domineering, demanding, boastfulness, pride, self-righteousness, and the such are NEVER tolerated or endorsed within scripture; thus, we should see this applied at two levels:
i. Family: Wives are instructed to avoid excessive and indecent self-expression
ii. Church Family: We are the bride of Christ, we should avoid excessive and indecent self-expression
iii. EXTREME INDIVIDUAL SELF-EXPRESSION IS THE MINDSET OF MODERN AMERICA! (including the church)
Note: (Schreiner)
“The most important comment in the verse is that these women “put their hope in God” (hai elpizousai eis theon). This comment is instructive, for it informs us that these women did not submit to their husbands because they believed their husbands were superior to them intellectually or spiritually. They submitted to their husbands because they were confident that God would reward all those who put their trust in him.” [11]
§ The basis of life is hope in God
The basis of life is hope in God
Clearly men are not superior to women in essence—only in strength (stronger vessel)
Peter wants us to understand that obedience is for the sake of the reward that comes from God; that is, we think what God gives is better than what we could secure for ourselves.
Some thoughts on Gender and Submission:
The New Testament NEVER counsels husbands to submit to their wives as to rule—though it DOES teach women to submit to their husbands.
Mutual submission in position/function is not a Biblical theme—God created leadership:
God is the leader of the universe
God is the leader of the universe
o The Father is over the Son, the Son is over the Spirit
The Father is over the Son, the Son is over the Spirit
Christ is the head of the church
o Christ is the head of the church
oThe government (King, group, President, etc.) is the head of a country
The government (King, group, President, etc.) is the head of a country
The elders rule the church
o The elders rule the church
o Husbands are the head of the family
Husbands are the head of the family
Employers/Masters are head over the employee/slave
o Employers/Masters are head over the employee/slave
However, mutual LOVE, CARE, HONOR, RESPECT, and CONCERN is a Biblical theme:
God is triune—equal in essence but different in function.
Humanity is both Male and Female—equal in essence (being) but different in function.
o Humanity is both Male and Female—equal in essence (being) but different in function.
Leadership is still under God—equal in essence to those they lead but different in function.
o Leadership is still under God—equal in essence to those they lead but different in function.
o The Church is comprised of both males and female—both will receive the EXACT same reward (Christ), but both have different roles.
The Church is comprised of both males and female—both will receive the EXACT same reward (Christ), but both have different roles.
Today, this TRUTH most-likely offends us all. So, let me expound briefly:
While the church is led by men, the scripture does not relegate the role of women to merely housekeepers and cooks.
Anna prophesied about Jesus ()
§ Deborah was a prophet and female judge of Israel ()
Deborah was a prophet and female judge of Israel ()
Ruth is faithful to her mother-in-law
§ Ruth is faithful to her mother-in-law
Esther saves the whole of the Jewish people (oddly, through improper submission to her pagan husband’s Persian laws, but faithfulness to God’s standard)
§ Esther saves the whole of the Jewish people (oddly, through improper submission to her pagan husband’s Persian laws, but faithfulness to God’s standard)
Mary (the mother of Jesus) faithfully and boldly followed Jesus
§ Mary (the mother of Jesus) faithfully and boldly followed Jesus
§ Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus, a witness of the crucifixion, and the first to testify of His resurrection.
Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus, a witness of the crucifixion, and the first to testify of His resurrection.
God loves, saves, and honors women as He does men; however, God has also established an order for the world that allows us to understand our role before Him.
6. = Honor and support those the Lord entrusts to your care
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.
a. While this verse lends to a misinterpretation that is rather offensive (women are weak and men need to tolerate this and work through it), its TRUE interpretation is refreshing.
b. We are to care for one another—we honor the Lord when we do this!
c. Failure to care for those God places around us leads to a hindrance (thwarting) in our prayers.
d. Though women are weaker in strength to men, men are to view them as equal co-heirs of salvation and not a person to be conquered, dominated, and consumed—this truth has been lost on humanity for centuries!
7. = Live in unity with compassion, sympathy, love, grace, and mercy for others—this is how we turn from evil!
1 Peter 3:8–11 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. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
a. As a summary—God cares about how we live and interact with others!
b. We are to live in harmony
c. We are to live as sympathetic
d. We are to live as brothers
e. We are to live in kindness
f. We are to live in humility
g. We are to live in forgiveness
h. We are to live in endurance and longsuffering
i. We are to live with pure speech
j. We are to live by actively turning away from acting in evil.
k. We are to live by actively pursuing peace
l. We are to understand that God sets His face against those who fail to do so!!!
8. = Live with genuine love and care for each—especially forgiving each other
1 Peter 4:8–9 ESV
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
a. “Above all” is not exaggeration, Peter wants us to know that our interactions with others affect our interaction with God.
b. Christian love forgives because it has been forgiven.
c. The failure to forgive others shows we’ve not experienced forgiveness ()
d. In addition to forgiving others, we are commanded to show hospitality (lit. loving strangers).
e. Hospitality is not decorating your home for your friends, it means serving others for their own good and care
i. we are not to complain about what it costs us.
ii. We are not to complain about potential or realized abuse of our serving others.
9. = Speak from God’s word and in God’s strength serve each other
1 Peter 4:11 ESV
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.
a. When we speak to others, it should sound as if God is speaking.
b. We are to let the word and truth of God permeate our speech and conversations.
c. We do not create God’s words; rather, we communicate what God has previously recorded for us (the full gospel and truth of the Bible) to others.
10. = Pastors should lead willingly and by God’s standard
1 Peter 5:2–3 ESV
shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
a. Those who lead the church are to do so in truth and willing service of God
b. Leading the church out of the desire for a paycheck is wrong—though it is not wrong to be paid
c. Leading the church out of sheer obligation instead of a willing and loving heart is wrong
d. Leading the church out of hesitation and selfish greed is wrong
e. Leading the church by Lording your power/position over the church is wrong
f. Leading the church and not providing a good example to follow is wrong
g. In short, leaders are to demonstrate Christ and their love for Christ in every aspect of their life.
11. = Respect your elders—and live in humility towards all!
1 Peter 5:5 ESV
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
a. Since the elders/pastors lead out of devotion to the Lord (and at personal cost), the church should:
i. Submit to their leadership
ii. Live in humility
iii. Avoid pride
Categorical Response (direct horizontal):
1. Sacrificial Love
2. Respectful Submission
3. Corporate Humility
4. Aggressive Oneness
5. Corporate Purity
6. Maturing Encouragement
7. Willing Care

Indirect Horizontal: Commands in Relation to my presence within the World

The Scripture:
1. = Live holy and counter-cultural to worldly desires
1 Peter 1:14 ESV
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,
a. Because we ARE children of God, this impacts how we assess and gratify our passions.
b. The world regularly and impulsively gives into their passions.
c. As children of God, we are to reject conforming to the patter of the world; instead, we deny the gratification of ALL passions that do not align to the Lord and His Word.
d. “Do not be conformed uses a word which occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only at . It means ‘to pattern one’s actions or life after’, and reminds these Christians that obedience to God and holiness of life (see v. 15) are radically different from a life that follows ‘natural’ (that is, non-Christian) desires wherever they lead. Doing God’s will is the opposite of doing what remaining sin makes us ‘feel like’ doing (; ).”[12]
2. = Live in a manner that abstains from desires of the flesh
1 Peter 2:11 ESV
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
a. Desires/passions = (epithymia/ἐπιθυμία) f: to strongly desire to have what belongs to someone else and/or to engage in an activity which is morally wrong—‘to covet, to lust, evil desires, lust, desire.’[13]
b. Our life within the world is marked by the FACT that we do not long for what belongs to the world.
c. = “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”
Hebrews 11:16 ESV
But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
d. This verse shows us that the great lovers of God in the past longed for life with God—not with the world!
e. A hallmark of a Christian’s testimony is that they long for God’s presence and His presents—not the things that society covets.
i. Strong Government
ii. Personal Success
iii. Wealth and Pleasure
iv. Sexual Gratification
v. Vain Knowledge and etc.
3. = Live a dignified life in view of those outside the church
1 Peter 2:12 ESV
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.
a. Dignified/Honorable (Gk. kalos) = pertaining to a positive moral quality, with the implication of being favorably valued—‘good, fine, praiseworthy.’[14]
b. When others see us, they should admire our life because it is distinctly moral and valuable—even though others may rail against us!
i. Submissiveness
ii. Kindness
iii. Humility
iv. Hospitality
v. Patient/Longsuffering
vi. Purity
4. = Endure through suffering resulting from persecution
1 Peter 2:20 ESV
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.
a. We should EXPECT to suffer when we sin against God and violate human government.
b. However, we should also EXPECT to suffer for honoring God in a world that is hostile toward the Lord.
c. When we are PERSECUTED for righteousness, we should rejoice (a gracious thing in God’s sight) because we are deemed pleasing to God.
d. The world loses its fangs when those it kills STILL praise and glorify God.
5. , = Prepare yourself for and accept suffering
1 Peter 4:1 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,
1 Peter 4:12 ESV
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
1 Peter 4:1 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,
a. “arm” (Gk. hoplizo) = (a figurative extension of meaning of ὁπλίζομαι ‘to arm oneself,’ not occurring in the NT) to prepare, with focus upon the process of equipping—‘to prepare, to make ready.[15]
b. Rather than being surprised, we should prepare ourselves to suffer (by seeking the Lord) at the hands of our society.
c. Question: IF our society is set against God, WHY do we feel the need to blend into a population that rejects its Lord?
6. = Rejoice in suffering—but do not suffer as a result of sin!
1 Peter 4:13–15 ESV
But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.
a. Suffering for/with Christ now results in His glory and glory for us at His return!
b. We should expect insults and attacks because of the gospel we preach
c. However, we should ACTIVELY work to ensure that we do not suffer because of personal evil.
d. In addition to personal reprimand, suffering as a sinner also attacks our testimony of Christ. When we fall, our testimony/convictions are deemed false!
7. = Be aware and focused on resisting Satan’s attacks!
1 Peter 5:8–9 ESV
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
a. Sober-minded (Gk. nepho) = (a figurative extension of meaning of νήφω ‘to be sober, to not be drunk,’ probably not occurring in the NT; see 88.86) to be in control of one’s thought processes and thus not be in danger of irrational thinking—‘to be sober-minded, to be well composed in mind.’ [16]
b. Watchful (Gk. gregoreo) = (a figurative extension of meaning of γρηγορέωa ‘to stay awake,’ 23.72) to be in continuous readiness and alertness to learn—‘to be alert, to be watchful, to be vigilant.’[17]
c. Grudem states: “The opposite of this sober watchfulness is a kind of spiritual drowsiness in which one sees and responds to situations no differently than unbelievers, and God’s perspective on each event is seldom if ever considered.”[18]
d. We are to be fully functional, think with clarity and control, and be alert.
e. Why? Because Satan looks to punish/accuse us before God for our neglect of God’s commands—he wants us destroyed.
f. Why does Satan want to destroy us? Because this makes God look less honorable and desirable when His servants are destroyed—especially for sin!
Categorical Response (indirect horizontal):
1. Non-conformity to the pattern of society
2. Self-Denial
3. Nobel Dignity
4. Patience in Suffering
5. Joy in Suffering
6. Exceeding Wisdom

Practical Response: How Do I Confront My Tendency Towards Casual Christianity?

1. Begin with prayer—ask the Lord to open His word to you so that it opens you to His instruction.
a.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
i. The word of God is sharp—it gets through what philosophy and counsel cannot.
ii. The word of God opens the soul (pysche) = How we feel and our inner self (how we contemplate and evaluate life)
iii. The word of God opens the spirit (pneuma) = Our spiritual nature (how we respond to God)
iv. The word of God discerns and evaluates our thoughts (opinions) and intentions (motives/purpose)
b.
1 John 5:14–16 ESV
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.
i. God wants us to ask Him for things through prayer.
ii. God wants to grant our prayer requests!
iii. God wants to forgive us and restore us from our sin!
c.
Ephesians 1:18 ESV
having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
i. Paul prays that the church would have their heart illuminated to know God (our hope)
ii. It is God that chooses to reveal Himself to us, so humble yourself and ask for Him to make you see as He sees.
2. Investigate the Word of God—do not casually read it!
a. Look at the complexity of God’s character and nature as revealed in Scripture
b. Look at the commands that God issues
c. Look at the moral teaching that God provides through recorded events
d. Look at how God defines humanity
e. Look at how God assesses and evaluates everything—let that be your assessment and evaluation!
3. Examine your Life—we are not good, nor are we perfect!
a. Examine My Relationship with God
b. Examine My Relationship with Others
c. Examine My Motivations, Expectations, and Rewards
4. Align to God’s instruction through the proper response of continual repentance:
a. Acknowledge and confess your sin
b. Continually practice separation (holiness)—work to remove yourself from where you don’t belong.
c. Continually practice cessation from evil (fleshly) desires and habits
d. Continually strive to abide in the presence of the Lord.
e. Continually strive to abide and maintain unity in the body of Christ.
Christianity is a change of community, change of family, change of nature, and a change of heart. You are born again into a new life—we should walk in it!
Closing thought from D.L. Moody:
“I GET a good deal of comfort out of that promise. I don’t think that means a short life down here, seventy years, eighty years, ninety years, or one hundred years. Do you think that any man living would be satisfied if they could live to be one hundred years old and then have to die? Not by a good deal. Suppose Adam had lived until to-day and had to die to-night, would he be satisfied? Not a bit of it! Not if he had lived a million years, and then had to die.
You know we are all the time coming to the end of things here,—the end of the week, the end of the month, the end of the year, the end of school days. It is end, end, end all the time. But, thank God, He is going to satisfy us with long life; no end to it, an endless life.
Life is very sweet. I never liked death; I like life. It would be a pretty dark world if death was eternal, and when our loved ones die we are to be eternally separated from them. Thank God, it is not so; we shall be reunited. It is just moving out of this house into a better one; stepping up higher, and living on and on forever.”[19]
The life God gives us is the reason we press forward and obey Him—let us strive and avoid hypocrisy in:
1. Our vertical relationship before God—worship in Spirit and truth
2. Our direct horizontal relationships with others—love in truth and sincerity
3. Our indirect horizontal relationship with our society—someone is always watching
Our Immediate Response:
Take a few minutes to pray and ask the Lord to show you in what areas you are disobedient (look over 1st Peter for help).
Ask the Lord to help you see where you can spend more time with Him. Now, take a few minutes and evaluate your week and day to see where you can capitalize upon and maximize time with the Lord.
Ask the Lord to empower you
Lastly, invite someone in this room to hold you accountable—and implement these areas of obedience.
[1] Myers, Jeff. Understanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews (p. 6). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.
[2] Ibid.
[3] MacArthur, John F.. The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith? (Kindle Locations 285-287). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
[4] Myers, Jeff. Understanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews (p. 5). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.
[5] MacArthur, John F.. The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith? (Kindle Locations 356-359). Zondervan. Kindle Edition
[6] Packer, J. I.. Knowing God (p. 17). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
[7] Packer, J. I.. Knowing God (p. 18). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
[8] Davids, Peter H. NICNT: The First Epistle of Peter. Eerdmans (p. 17-19).
[9] Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 131.
[10] Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 194.
[11] Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 155.
[12] Wayne A. Grudem, 1 Peter: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 17, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 83.
[13] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 290.
[14] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 741.
[15] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 683.
[16] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 352.
[17] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 332.
[18] Wayne A. Grudem, 1 Peter: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 17, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 202.
[19] D. L. Moody, The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody, ed. Emma Moody Fitt (East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore, 1900), 234.
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