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Suffering Servants: Pleasing God, Following Christ (Part 3)

1 Peter: A Living Hope for Holy Living in a Hostile World  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:15
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Suffering Servants: Pleasing God, Following Christ (Part 3)

INTRO:
“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” - C.T. Studd
In a context where we are discussing suffering for the sake of doing good, this is a much-needed perspective. When we are called on to suffer like Jesus in the Christian life, even when treated unjustly, we must remember whom we trust in and whom we aim to please. When we suffer unjustly in order that perhaps those very ones who are mistreating us might see the sacrifice of Jesus in us and turn in saving faith to Him, it is absolutely worth whatever sacrifice we make. If it means that we are like Jesus, that we fellowship closely with him, that we follow him in his primary mission in coming to earth, to rescue the very ones creating the need for his unspeakable sacrifice, we rest in the assurance of knowing that we are becoming like the One who paid the highest cost for the greatest reward.
Oh, that we might gain this perspective and live out this anthem: “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”
PRAY: Lord God Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, you have chosen to reveal yourself in all your goodness and glory through sending God the Son to earth as a man. God, we readily admit that it confounds our finite minds, that the God of the all glory should give himself as a sacrifice for the very ones who have rebelled against His good and gracious authority as our Maker. Tri-une God, we confess that it is ultimately always against you whom we sin. Father, we confess our need for such a sacrifice. Jesus, we confess our need for you to be our Lord, our Master in order for us to be restored to God. And for those of us who have had such a faith before today, we confess our wicked and selfish inclination to forget the cost that was paid for us to be free from our sin and to live for righteousness. We have often behaved as though the greatest, the highest cost had not been paid. Lord, teach us again, through the work of your Holy Spirit in us, to be motivated by the love you have shown us. Teach us to truly have the heart of Jesus. Amen.
Let’s quickly review the context for the verses we are looking at closely today:
The Setting (18) - Peter was meeting people in their situation.
We discussed at length the context of slavery and how the Bible handles it in order to help us understand the point that Peter is making for not only the MANY who were in fact slaves but for all Christians in their submission to authority.
The Motivation (19-20) - God is pleased if by our submission we suffer unjustly for the sake of doing good.
As these earlier verses indicate, we are motivated by aiming to please God just as Jesus submitted to the Father’s will and was well-pleasing in his sight.
Imitate Christ (21) - Our Instruction
To this you were called - In your calling to saving faith in Jesus Christ, you were called (concurrently, part and parcel) to have a genuine relationship with Jesus so as to follow Him. Peter tells us then that his people have been called to patiently endure unjust treatment while continuing to do good. In the process of His suffering that atoned for our sin and acquired our forgiveness (received by faith for those who belong to Him), Christ also set the pattern for us to lay down our lives as he did and trace the pattern that he set for us.
Patient endurance in suffering for good puts the gospel of Jesus Christ in neon lights. (see context at 2:12)
How, Specifically (22-23) - Our Pattern
How to suffer injustice without sinning, without being false, without retaliating…
Jesus never sinned in his action, and he wasn’t deceitful in his speech. And he didn’t retaliate in any way. Jesus didn’t return reviling with harsh words of his own. Even in his suffering (almost certainly a reference particularly to his betrayal, trial and crucifixion), Jesus never once threatened his adversaries (not even threatening them with the truth of judgment that awaits those who don’t repent!).
Instead, he continued trusting everything into the sovereign care of God the Father, whom he knew always judges justly… The Father knew the innocence of the Son, which is what allowed him to be a substitute for the guilt of others. The Father perfectly understood and situation, and the wrongdoing of those unjustly treating Jesus. Jesus Christ knew that this was the Father’s will and that he does and he will judge justly. Those who remain in their unrepentant rejection of God’s authority and his offer of restoration through Jesus will be judged justly at the end of this life and this age according to their unrepentance. And those who turn from their waywardness and to faith in Christ to submit to God and belong to Him will be judged not according to their sin but according to the righteousness of Jesus.
So that’s where Peter goes in vv. 24-25. Peter uses this concept of God being a just judge to also swing back to what he said in v. 21, “because Christ also suffered for you.” In order to patiently endure unjust treatment for the good of the one mistreating you… Consider again the suffering that Jesus endured for YOU. - In a more detailed description of the significance of Christ suffering for us, Peter lays out further motivation (in vv. 24-25) for following him in suffering for the good of others—remembering the price he paid to purchase our forgiveness and the path we were on before He brought us into his fold and gave us new purpose!
1 Peter 2:24–25 ESV
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

The Uniqueness of Christ’s Sacrifice (24) - Our New Purpose & Power

We find in this verse…
The unique purpose and power of Christ’s suffering and death: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree… by his wounds you have been healed.”
This statement is at the heart of the gospel, that in his sacrificial death, Jesus became the perfect substitute to atone for sin. - … an atonement that is effective for all who call on the name of the Lord (in a way that proves their submission to God’s authority through faith in Jesus).
What if we have someone in our lives saying, “I never asked anyone to die for me.”? Just because you didn’t ask him to, doesn’t mean you don’t need him to. What is really lacking is an understanding of your need. - Isn’t it astounding that the rebellious human spirit can be so blind and dead in sin as to arrogantly believe that we don’t need God’s authority over us, that we don’t need restoration to God, that we don’t need a sacrifice for our sin. - We must pray for God to grant the ability to see the truth.
Romans 3:10–12 ESV
as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Romans 3:23 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
And what is the penalty, the cost, of said sinfulness?
Romans 6:23 ESV
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Death... not just a physical death, but a spiritual deadness that keeps us separated from God, no matter how hard we might try in our own efforts to reach him. It can’t be done.
In his perfect knowledge God has always known that and has always had a plan: See 1 Peter 1:18-21
You see it is the… the uniqueness of Christ’s person is what makes the uniqueness of His payment
The uniqueness of Christ’s person = the uniqueness of His payment
The cross wasn’t unique… but his sinless perfection, his innocence… and his unique position/person as the God-Man - There has never been nor will there ever be again another who can accomplish what Christ did. He is indeed the only way.
The result: forgiveness; deliverance from the penalty and power of sin
(“by his wounds you are healed”) The healing offered here is spiritual; it’s forgiveness of sin.
Through the unique purpose and power of Christ’s suffering, we find too...
A new purpose and power by which His people live: “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”
True saving faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ is supposed to have this impact on us: that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. - We have died to not only the penalty for our sin but also to the dominating power of sin. Now we are able in Him to live for God, to make progress in holiness in the Christian life.
There are a whole lot of people out there, and probably some in here, who don’t yet have a handle on this clear teaching of scripture on what it means to follow Christ, to imitate him, and so to be MORE like him and grow in nearness to God and appreciation for God’s power at work in and through you. We can behave as though God allowing us to escape punishment and gain heaven at the end was the entire goal. “Now I can just sit back and enjoy my life to the best of my ability.” Really? Is that really what God has called us to when he draws us to saving faith in Jesus? Or does he call us to die to sin and self and live to righteousness and pursuing Christ’s example?
When I was five, by faith I said a prayer asking Jesus to come in to my heart and save me from being punished for my sin in hell. Through the teaching of my parents and a Sunday school teacher, I was convinced I qualified as a sinner, I understood that my sin was punishable by eternal separation from God in hell, and I understood that Jesus paid the penalty for sin in innocently dying on a cross, and that meant that he could and would grant forgiveness of my sin if I believed in His power to save me, confessing my sin and asking him to rescue me. (now I don’t know if I could say it as clearly as I can now, but I know what I understood that and could have explained it in somewhat similar terms)
When I was 7, by faith I realized that by believing in Jesus I was gaining a relationship with God and that Jesus wanted all of me. - When I was 9, I prayed, “Here am I, Lord, send me,” committing my life to being used by God in ministry however he saw fit. - In the following years as a kid and teen, I sincerely aimed to follow Jesus, while sometimes (if not often) being selfishly distracted by wrong or lesser desires and pursuits. But in my sincerity of faith, God graciously kept drawing my heart toward him and teaching me to understand my faith better and to learn to desire to be like Jesus.
As an adult, I became fully committed to being used of God anytime, anywhere, in any way, and with anybody God might choose. But it wasn’t until I was a couple of years into ministry here among this church family that I realized something really essential to Christian growth and ministry: I needed to serve God and strive for godliness not in my strength by relying on His. - It makes perfect sense. God wants it that way because then it’s all by His grace and all for His glory. I don’t get credit for my salvation, and I don’t get credit for God working in me and through me.
The point is, a mature Christian perspective understands that God does in fact call us by faith in Jesus to die to sin and live to righteousness, to follow Jesus in leading a life that is genuinely submissive to God’s authority, trusting him for strength and trusting him with the outcome in our own lives in all our situations, even entrusting to him those who may persecute us but still need Jesus.
Since we dealt at length with putting off sin and pursuing godliness in a recent message dealing with the text in ch. 2 vv. 11-12, I’ll steer you toward that so that we can keep going onto v. 25 today. - Find it on our website: “Mission for Moral Distinction” - Aug 18 (https://bransonbible.com/sermons/466027--mission-for-moral-distinction)

Turning to the Shepherd and Overseer (25) - Our New Master

V. 25 explains why we need the healing described in the end of v. 24… for you were straying. V. 25 reminds us again of who we were and how we were behaving ourselves previously, but now to whom we have turned, and to whom we entrust ourselves, and whom we therefore follow.
Aimless, Lordless Sheep
Deceived and wandering: aimlessly going about without any direction or destination.
You guys have seen peewee kids playing a sport right? *** - Our culture has an idiom for it: It’s like herding cats. (You know why right? Cats don’t seem to care about what you say or think about what they should be doing. They do what they want because they know better than you and they aim to please themselves, not you! - I don’t know if I’m being fair to cats :-), but I am certainly describing what we are like as unbelievers in how we handle God!)
To go our own way is to be deceived that it is heading somewhere good or our own choosing when in reality it heads directly to our own destruction, to an end that is anything but good. - Straying sheep are completely deceived.
And there must therefore be a…
The Turning
You see, we are culpable straying sheep. - The Shepherd of the universe is standing there, he has revealed himself, and yet you go on your own way like you don’t need him.
And because you are straying away from him, there must be a turning. This word means to turn, to change direction, to repent, to be converted. It means to change one’s beliefs, to change your ways, to turn around. It means you must come back from where you are heading TO Jesus. There has to be a change of direction from your way to His way. You must redirect your attention, redirect your trust, to him instead of to yourself. Instead of trusting yourself and doing things your way, you turn in faith to him and submit to his way.
The truth is, after you trust in Him, you’ll someday realize that you couldn’t even have turned to him on your own, without him helping you to do so. But for now, God is calling you to respond to Jesus. Will you do that?
Do you remember Christians that such is what you have done? You have turned away from worldliness, turned away from self-confidence, to place all your trust in Him and to devote all your obedience to Him.
Here why: You have come to realize that he is…
The Shepherd Who Rescues and Rules
God saves us to make us is own, yes. And in making us his own he becomes or Lord, our Master. Thus the emphasis here with “Shepherd and Overseer” is his authority over us. - It is indeed now our way but HIS way. And he is the best and most benevolent master. He can tell us indeed that his yoke is easy and his burden is light, that we can come to him and find rest for our souls. But in accepting the high cost that he paid to rescue us, we are accepting the high cost of following him in order to receive our reward. - Jesus paid the highest cost for the greatest reward: To bring about the greatest glory to the Tri-une God throughout eternity... and in time and history, to reveal the perfect character of God and the purest example of true love. - Where does that leave us as his people? Every day is an opportunity to live like Jesus: to pay the highest cost for the greatest reward!

What will you do today with this truth from God’s word?

Are you certain that you have TURNED to God through faith in Jesus? Can you and others really TELL whom you claim to follow?
A mother of three children went to a counselor. In the course of the session he asked, “Which of your three children do you love the most?” She answered instantly, “I love all three of my children just the same.” The answer seemed too quick, too glib, so the counselor probed, “Come, now! You love all three just the same?” “Yes,” she affirmed, “I love all of them equally.” He replied, “But that’s psychologically impossible. If you’re not willing to level with me, we’ll have to end this session.”
With this the young woman broke down, cried a bit, and said, “All right, I do not love all three of my children the same. When one of my three children is sick, I love that child more. When one of my children is in pain, or lost, I love that child more. When one of my children is confused, I love that child more. And when one of my children is bad--really bad--I love that child more. But except for those exceptions, I do love all three of my children just the same.”
The cross says that God especially loves those who are hurting--those who are under the penalty and power of sin. If you will turn to Jesus Christ and put your trust in what He did for you in taking your just penalty for sin on the cross, He will deliver you from sin’s penalty and from its power. He wants to be your Shepherd and Overseer. He loves you just as you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way. He wants to heal you from the devastating effects of sin. Will you turn to Him?
(Steven J. Cole - https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-13-meaning-cross-1-peter-224-25)
Believers, none of us should pretend that suffering unjustly, even when we know we are doing good, is easy. So we need motivation, we need a reason… and we need a good reason. No paltry platitudes will do. We need the gritty but gracious truth. We need earth-shattering, life-changing, eternal perspective-altering truth. And here it is: Remember the price Jesus paid to purchase our forgiveness and the path we were on before He brought us into his fold and gave us a new purpose! And now that new purpose is to live pleasing to God by putting away our sin and laying down our lives for the good of others, that they may see God rightly and glorify Him through faith in Jesus.
Discussion Questions:
Since Christians have been delivered from sin’s penalty, is it ever right to feel guilt?
How would you answer a non-Christian who asked, “Why can’t God just forgive everyone apart from the cross?”
Can a true Christian be continually defeated by sin? How would you help such a person?
Does the power of sin grow weaker the longer we walk with Christ? Give biblical support.
(question credit: Steven J. Cole - https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-13-meaning-cross-1-peter-224-25)
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