“SAVED TO BE HOLY”
(A Chosen People – Series in I Peter)
Westgate Chapel 10/22/00 I Peter 1:10-16
PROPOSITION: Our great salvation, which is the culmination of the prophet’s message and the angel’s envy, is for the purpose that we be holy, even as God is holy.
- THE apostle Peter writes his epistle from Rome about the time of Nero’s great persecution against Christians.
- HE is writing to clusters of believers in the north east provinces of Asia Minor.
- HE calls them God’s elect….brand new Jewish and Gentile believers battling to stay afloat in their faith.
- IMAGINE how powerless they feel in the face of the mighty Roman Empire, and the philosophical and elitist Greek culture that surrounds them.
- THEY are…
* new in their faith
* very much in the minority
* without any influence or power in their communities
* cut off from the popular culture
* unsettled about the future
- THE further they get from the excitement of their faith beginnings….
- THE closer the persecution comes to touching their lives….the more they had to have been wondering if this was all worth it.
- WHO are we?
- A FRINGE religious minority.
- WHO cares about us?
- WHAT influence do we have?
- HOW do we know any of this faith talk about being born again and going to heaven is going to happen?
- WE don’t.
- THEN why should we go through all the hardships and disciplines of following Jesus….especially if it is going to end up costing us our lives?
- CAN you begin to feel what these new believers were feeling in Asia Minor when this letter arrived from one of the disciples who had actually been with Jesus….
* seen Him die on a cross outside Jerusalem….
* eaten breakfast with Him after He had been raised from the dead
* watched Him ascend to the Father’s right hand
* on the Day of Pentecost had received the Spirit baptism that Jesus had promised from the Father.
ii. It was the prophet’s message
- LISTEN to what Peter tells them in I Peter 1:10 (page 1200) concerning their salvation!
“…the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care..”
- THIS salvation of yours is no fly-by-night theory born in the revolutionary fervor of Palestine.
- THIS salvation you received when you were born again is not one of so many religious responses to a vague notion of the divine.
- NO! This salvation of yours is the culmination of grace to you that the Old Testament prophets have spoken of for thousands of years.
- IT is God’s grace that was..
“…to come to you.”
- PETER is singling out every Christian that is listening to the reading of his letter…then and now…with the use of this personal pronoun.
- IN fact, it is curious to me that in the 7 verses we will be studying this morning the personal pronoun, “you,” is used 8 times.
- PETER is coming after each one of us under the direction of the Holy Spirit to remind us that…
* nations come and go
* emperors come and go
* institutions come and go
* scientific discoveries come and go
* life itself can come and go…but God delivers His grace to real individual flesh and blood people….to YOU.
1. THEY SPOKE
- THE prophets spoke about this grace for hundreds of years before Christ was born.
* In 1450 BC, Moses prophesied about the Prophet who was to come after him who would be greater than himself (Deuteronomy 18:15).
• The Jews lived with the expectation that the Prophet Moses spoke of was the Messiah and Peter confirmed it in his sermon in Acts 3:22.
* In 700 BC, the prophet Isaiah spoke of Jesus’ birth, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
* In 500 BC, the prophet Zechariah spoke about Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” (Zechariah 9:9)
* Isaiah saw the suffering the Messiah would go through when he said, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
* In 1000 BC, David prophesied about Jesus’ resurrection in Psalm 16:9 saying, “…my body also will rest secure,(10) because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”
* 800 years before the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, the prophet Joel wrote, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:28)
• And when Peter preached his sermon that great day he quoted from Joel and said, “This is that…”
- THIS was the grace that the prophets spoke of that was to come to YOU.
- IT was YOUR salvation that was the object of their prophetic passion and integrity.
2. THEY SEARCHED INTENTLY WITH THE GREATEST CARE
- PETER says that these prophets searched the things of God intently, using the greatest care.
- THERE are several hundred prophecies in the Old Testament alone that speak of…
* how Jesus was to be born
* where He was to be born
* His lineage
* Herod killing two year old boys in Judea at the news of Jesus’ birth
* the messenger who would precede Him
* His miracles
* His teaching through parables
* how He was to die
* the desertion of his disciples
* His resurrection
- NO detail was spared.
- AND they were careful.
- REMEMBER back in Daniel, when God would reveal some future work of God to him, he would tremble, get faint, and go into lengthy seasons of fasting and prayer….to “search intently with the greatest care.”
- THERE was no margin of error for an Old Testament prophet. One false prophesy and it would cost you your life.
- YOUR personal salvation was the focus of all of this careful examination….and over hundreds of years time.
- WHILE empires were rising and falling and world history recording military campaigns and conquests….men and women of God were prophesying of the grace that was coming to you.
3. THE TRIED TO FIND OUT TIMES AND CIRCUMSTANCES
- LOOK at verse 11. These prophets were…
“…trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” (1 Peter 1:11)
- They tried to figure out the times and circumstances when YOUR salvation would come.
- IT wasn’t them speaking!
- IT was the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, who was in them, speaking through them, and pointing them to the “sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” (I Peter 1:11).
- AND all along it was the salvation that YOU enjoy this morning that the Holy Spirit had in view.
- THEY didn’t know the times and circumstances. They saw them from a distance….but today you are living that great salvation that they were trying to figure out.
- THOSE glories that they saw following Christ’s sufferings are YOURS today.
4. THEY WEREN’T SERVING THEMSELVES, BUT YOU
- LOOK at verse 12,
“It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.” (1 Peter 1:11)
- LOOK at the number of personal pronouns in there….three of them.
1. The prophets were serving YOU.
2. These mysteries of God have now been told to YOU…
3. … by the apostles who preached the Gospel to YOU.
- BUT wait…it is not only the prophets who saw and spoke these things.
- THE end of verse 12 says,
“Even angels long to look into these things.”
- YOUR salvation is so full of glory and majesty that it attracts the attention of the angels of the Lord.
- HEBREWS 1:14 says,
“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
- PAUL writes in Ephesians 3:10,
“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, (11) according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- THE verb translated “long to look”, literally means “to stoop down and peer in.”
- HOW impressive is the Roman empire now? How overwhelming is the elitist Greek culture now?
iII. it is for your transformation
- OK, let me summarize.
- THE prophets saw and spoke of this great salvation of YOURS hundreds of years before Christ came to earth to make it a reality.
- THE angels “long to look into these things.”
- AND while the saints in Asia Minor listening to Peter’s letter are still saying “Wow!”….he writes verse 13,
- BECAUSE you have this grace that has come to YOU!
- BECAUSE the prophets for hundreds of years were serving YOU!
- BECAUSE this Gospel has been preached to YOU.
- BECAUSE it is a Gospel that angels long to look into….
1. “…prepare your minds for action…”
• The literal meaning in the Greek comes from the men in the Middle East who wore robes with belts.
• And the word used is for tucking the robe into the belt so you are ready for action.
• “Roll up your sleeves” is an equivalent.
• Notice that it is in the arena of our mind and our thoughts that the battle must first be won.
• Paul writes in Romans 12:2,
“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.”
• Because of the magnitude of your salvation….be ready in your mind for action, for spiritual growth, for going deeper with God.
2. “…be self-controlled…”
• This word comes from the Greek word for sober.
• It means to abstain from wine that intoxicates and blurs your vision and thinking.
• It is the opposite of being driven by your lusts and appetites.
• This is the control of the Spirit over your conversation, your decisions, and your actions.
• It is the fruit of the Spirit’s residence and control in your life and mine (Galatians 5:22).
3. “…set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
• The mark of every believer should be the radiant expectation and joy of the hope set in front of us in Christ.
• Our hope is not in this world. That is not how a follower of Christ lives.
• We are building our lives on things eternal, leaning fully in to the Day of the Lord….and it is reflected in how we live in Seattle, WA, in 2000.
4. “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” (Verse 14)
• What were the evil desires that dominated your life before you received this great salvation?
• What were the illicit things that moved you, motivated you, excited you then?
• You cannot shape your life to those behaviors any longer. They have got to go.
- YOU see, child of God, there is an inseparable ethical component to this great salvation.
- YOU and I are saved for the express purpose of living transformed lives in the power of the Spirit.
- JAMES says that without evidence of the transformation, in your goals, your dreams, your conversations, your humor, your finances, your taxes, the way you treat your spouse, the children….there is reason to question if your faith is for real.
- IN 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
- PAUL writes, in 2 Corinthians 3:18,
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
- YOU see, the problem is that we are in an epidemic in America.
- IT is an epidemic of disobedience among the very people who have grace come to them…who have been saved with so great a salvation.
- I HOLD in my hand exhibit A…in the case of the Spirit of Christ verses the Church of Jesus in America.
- AND what is at stake is our eternal future and our witness to this nation.
- (READ Barna quotes from “Growing True Disciples” page 64ff).
- THE prophets spoke about this great salvation that has come to us.
- THE angels stoop down to peer into this great salvation that we received.
- THAT was why Peter wrote in verses 15-16,
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; (16) for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”
- THAT is the goal of your salvation….being holy.
- IT is why the prophets spoke about the grace that has come to you.
- IT is why the angels stoop to peer in to the wonder of this great salvation.
- THE goal is holiness…without which no man will see God.
- YOU can only do it by the Spirit of God in you. You can’t do it on your own.
- BUT at the same time it requires a lot of work on your part….which is why I think a lot of American Christians shy away from the subject of holiness.
- WE want our religion quick and easy….instant preferably at the altar.
- BUT Paul says,
“…work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (13) for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13)
I WANT TO BE HOLY, HOLY LIKE YOU.