Called to be holy - part 1
· Ethics informs and tells us how to live.
· As I mentioned last Sunday our ethics, how we live especially our Christian walk, is based on our theology
· But in far too many of yours and my situations and circumstances, our very theology is flawed with too much anthropology and social psychology
· In other words the very warning that we will hear Peter give you are victims of it.
· Have you ever heard or even used these excuses
o I’m just human
o No one is perfect
o Boys will be boys
o Girls never forgive because they never forget
o Old habits are hard to break
o Can’t teach an old dog new tricks
· Flawed ethics, in a world of sin, and as one brother reminded me last week, in a country that tolerates for the moment your Christian belief.
· Notice what the state of California did just this week
· And realize that we are just a Supreme Court decision away, an amendment away, a mayor, governor, or president signature away from being just like these first century elect exiles that Peter is writing to.
· Despite all of that, Peter gives four imperatives or exhortations for the readers of this letter.
· We have looked at ‘hope’ in verse 13.
· The other three are
· Fear of God
· Love one another
· Listen to the second;
1 Peter 1:14-17 (ESV) 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 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,
· My subject today is; ‘Called to be Holy!’
· These exhortations or imperatives start off with a prerequisite
· Therefore, preparing your minds for action and be sober minded
· I am impressed with what God has done for us and to us and that our salvation walk also means the use of our minds.
· Our faith and our walk with the Lord is not a blind faith nor is it a no brainer as some would say
· Listen to what the New Testament say about this very point
Mark 12:30 (ESV)
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
Luke 21:14-15 (ESV)
14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.
Romans 12:2 (ESV)
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV)
22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
· I need you to think with me through this
· You, I, and everyone who calls on the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are called to be Holy and there are no ‘ifs’, ‘ands’, or ‘buts’ about it!
· Are you with me so far? Amen!
· Before I talk about how this is possible, look at why this is possible and the answer is in the verse 14, the start of this exhortation and also at the start of verse 17.
· ‘As obedient children’, verse 14 and ‘if you call on him as Father,’ verse 17
· Why this is possible because of the relationship the elect has with God almighty
· And that relationship is a parent – child relationship
· We can pray ‘Our Father’
· I am examining the theology and from this I am arriving at the ethics.
· Allow me to give some practical rhetorical illustrations of this
· I would not even want to be near your house or even in the neighborhood, parent if one of your kids come home and said in answer to the following;
· Why are you coming home at this hour of night, when I told you to be home by, And your child answered “Well all the other kids stayed out late!”
· Or your child has been drinking, smoking, getting high and they come into your house like that, and you say what’s wrong with you? And all they could say is all my friends were drinking, smoking, or getting high
· Your daughter tells you she’s pregnant and she says I couldn’t help myself, several other girls I hang with are pregnant, and it only natural anyway
· God, your Father says to you, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
· And your excuse is God cannot expect me to be perfect and holy like He is because I’m just human and nobody is perfect and everybody got some sin in them.
· Well just like you as a parent would say in so many words you are not every kid, or just because the others are doing it I expect more from you because you are my child,
· God says the same to us and more
· Paul helps us to understand this better and also starts us on the journey of how do we do this.
· Here is where our theology become flawed
· To be holy as God commands, I need to establish some commandments and affirmations in my life. Commandment telling me what I can’t do, say or think and affirmations telling me what I can do, say, or think
· Parent have you ever said these words; “You are my child and you are better than that!” God says the same to us.
· You also may have heard this “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree” that one also works spiritually
· But listen to Paul:
Galatians 2:15-16 (ESV)
15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
· Stay sober minded here
Galatians 2:19-20 (ESV)
19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
· Wrong or flawed theology will cause us to have despair when we mess up, when the things we thought we were over come back and haunt us. When we find out again that we missed the mark and find ourselves in sin of thought, word and deed
· We feel despair thinking that we must do something to get back right with God
· Trying to be holy by the works we do,
· Allow your theology to be revised to say I am saved by grace through faith and not of works because then I can boast, this is a gift of God
Be reminded of
Romans 8:1 (ESV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 2:13-14 (ESV)
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Now my ethics can say;
· I was not honest in my schoolwork, Dishonesty characterizes me, but that identity is dead, the record of my wrong is nailed to the cross
· I have not been fair to my spouse, I have said and done things that I deeply regret, but what was true of me is nailed with me to the cross.
· I am not as far along in my Christian walk, knowledge, or maturity as others that I know, I fear that I will never catch up to the spiritual maturity they seem to express so readily. My background will never compare to theirs, my reputation will not match theirs. Yet, any record that could be held against me, my Lord has nailed to the cross and I bear it no more!
We sing may songs but are we really listening to the words
- Hum the song “it is well with my soul”
- Now listen to these words of the third verse
- “My sin- Oh the bliss of this glorious thought! – my sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more; praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul
- It is well with my soul
- Let us pray
· Look back at verse 13; “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
· As a subject; “Set you hope fully on God’s grace”
· Hope is about expectation, so I could also say as a subject; “set your expectation fully on God’s grace”
· If you examine and study theology, you will soon or later arrive at a point where you will simply say “Now what?”
· And that is because theology, the study of our God in this case, prompts another study called ethics and from our view point again, Christian ethics; the doctrine, teaching, study of the Christian life.
· This is what I was saying earlier to get your attention
· How do we live in society as Christians?
· Specifically in Peter’s time as oppresses and excluded in an overt way
· But even in our times when most church goers would argue that ‘all is well on the home front’
· But is it?
· We, today, live in a culture that is at best morally indifferent
· A culture in which Christian views are mocked and where immorality in high places is not ignored but even rewarded in the voting booth
· We can go on but you know the picture, if not just pickup a local news paper, listen to the news on television or radio, examine what we label today as entertainment
· We hope for a better day, a safer day
· We hope for a ‘change’ as one of the candidates would have us believe
· We hope for better gas mileage, and cheaper gas prices
· We hope for a better place for our children and grandchildren
· But what Peter wrote to an exile people in the first century still applies to an exile people of the twenty first century
· And if you don’t think you are exile, speak Christ and His teaching more in the places you go, offer the Christian perspective as a solution to the situations and circumstances that you are aware of
· 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.
· Therefore, or ‘for this reason’
· And we find that reason in the long sentence of 1:3-12
· This exhortation of hope is not based on chance, luck or accident
· But I can talk about hope, ethics because of the awareness of the theology
· Open your eyes and look at who we are and what we have because of whose we are
· Born again to a living hope, caused not by us but by God the Father through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
· That’s one of the reason
· To an inheritance unlike anything you have ever seen or can imagine
· It is imperishable, undefiled, unfading, and kept in heaven with your name on it, by the God who caused you to be saved in the first place
· That’s one of the reason
· It is good that I tell you this but you really don’t need me to tell you this because if you are saved, you are indeed sanctified, you find yourself rejoicing with joy that you just cannot explain
· Loving Jesus who you just cannot see yet
· Because deep down in the very essence of your being you know that you know that you know that your soul is saved
· That’s a reason
· A reason why your theology and you may not have a theological degree, but your theology prompts your ethics your life as a Christian
· It is in this context and only in this context that you can prepare your mind for action and not only that
· Being sober minded and not caught up in the intoxication of this life
· Set you hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ
· In other words, Peter instructs his readers to set their hope on the grace that will be theirs when Jesus returns by being fully able to think and act on the basis of their true nature in Christ, despite whatever hostility such a lifestyle might provoke from their society.
· You will not be able to make the correct ethical choices if you do not have your minds fixed on the final outcome of the result of that choice.
· It is about looking pass the moment and being reminded of all that has taken place and will take place for us to be who we are
· And the exciting part to all of this is that you can do it
· The ability is yours
· Why? Because of your relationship to God and your belief in God and not in the order that I just stated it but this is how Peter writes it.
· Verse 17; “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,”
· Verse 21; “who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
· Peter also strategically connects his readers – New Testament folks – with the Old Testament writings
· Since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
· This is found in several passages in the book of Leviticus and you need to hear this and listen to this in order to be help with the ‘how do I do this?’, ‘how do I apply this to my life to accomplish what Peter is exhorting the readers of this letter to do.
· In all of your conduct, not just on Sunday but Monday, not just when you feel like it be even more so when you don’t. Conduct, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual
· Leviticus 11:44 (ESV) 44 For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. Leviticus 19:2 (ESV) 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
· Leviticus 20:7-8 (ESV) 7 Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. 8 Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you.
· Leviticus 20:26 (ESV) 26 You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.
· How? do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance
· How? in all your conduct
· I could summarize this by saying based on verse 3; 1 Peter 1:3 (ESV) “3 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,”
· That you were born again for this holiness so; as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct
· Therefore –
o prepare your minds
§ For action and
§ Being sober minded
o Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you
o At the revelation of Jesus Christ
· As obedient children
o Do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance
· But as He who called you is holy
o You also be holy in all your conduct
· Since it is written
o “You shall be holy, for I am holy” Leviticus 11:44 (ESV)
· And if you call on Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds
o Conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile
· Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers
o Not with perishable things such as silver or gold
· But with the precious blood of Christ
o Like that of a lamb without blemish or spot
o He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
§ Who through Him are believers in God
· Who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory
§ So that your faith and hope are in God
· Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love
o Love one another earnestly from a pure heart
o 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 flowers of grass
· The grass withers and the flower falls
· But the word of the Lord remains forever
o 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
· Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation
o If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
· Verse 13 and the ‘therefore’ actually connects with the beginning verses starting with verse 3.
1 Peter 1:3-13 (ESV)
3 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, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 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, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. 13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
· There is a part that we can actually ply in all of this.
Readings and other material for preparation
· From Scot McKnight commentary
· Peter exhorts his readers in 4 areas, each is grounded in a reflection about salvation
o He exhorts them to hope (1:13), (1 Peter 1:13 (ESV) 13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.) grounded this exhortation in the salvation of 1:3-12 (notice that this starts with the word ‘therefore’)
o He exhorts them to holiness (1:14-16), (1 Peter 1:14-16 (ESV)14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”) grounding this exhortation in the assumption that they are obedient children, an expression denoting their conversion, and the character of God (1:15-16) (1 Peter 1:15-16 (ESV) 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” )
o He exhorts them to fear God (1:17-21), (1 Peter 1:17-21 (ESV) 17 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, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.) grounding this exhortation in their new relationship to God – they can address the very Judge of the Universe as their Father (v. 17), and they have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb of God (vv. 18-21)
o He exhorts them to love one another (1:22-25) (1 Peter 1:22-25 (ESV) 22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.) grounding this exhortation in their purification (1:22) and in their regeneration (1:23-25)