Faithlife Sermons

Change the Narrative

Notes
Transcript
Bill White of Paramount, California talks about being in Compton, California, working with volunteers from several different churches on a Saturday doing projects to serve the city. At lunch time, he was headed down a narrow side street when he saw dozens of church volunteers (maybe 50 in all), all dressed in yellow shirts, streaming out of one of the sites. They had just completed a makeover of a local house.
Bill was six or eight houses away when he passed a married couple working in their own yard. He paused to compliment the woman on her roses, and she asked him what they were doing down the street. Bill told her that they represented a band of churches united in their desire to serve the city. Then they continued to talk about how that neighborhood had been radically transformed by these Christians' simple acts of goodness.
When the woman's husband saw Bill's yellow "volunteer shirt," he turned off his weed-whacker, set it down and started walking straight towards his wife and Bill. Bill says, "I will never forget his words. After looking into my eyes," Bill says, "he nodded approvingly towards the renovated house down the street and then said, 'I love your heart. Where can I get a heart like yours?'"
Flabbergasted, Bill simply replied, "We got our hearts from Jesus, and he would be glad to give you one like his, too." And before he left, they had a great conversation about the unparalleled gospel of Jesus Christ and his power to change hearts, homes, neighborhoods, and cities.
That's how it's done, my friends. Simply BE who you are in Christ and reflect His love to a dark and broken world.
(From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Living Stones, 5/19/2011)
Peter wrote to exiled believers who were persecuted and often misunderstood. Last week we saw that believers need to fight a battle of lust on the unseen battlefield of one’s inner being. Tonight we will see that believers must fight an external battle of perception and communication. Believers are often maligned and misunderstood. Tonight we will see that we must do more than wring our hands and pooch out our lips about what those mean unsaved folks say about us… we need to change the narrative.

Change the Narrative With an Honest Conversation.

1 Peter 2:12 KJV
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
The word “honest” is the translation of a Greek word that speaks of goodness which is beautiful, an outer goodness that strikes the eye. Alford translates it “comely”; Robertson, “seemly.” Our manner of life is honest when our lives are in accordance with what we are inwardly, cleansed, regenerated children of God. We give others an honest testimony and picture of what we really are inwardly. “Seemly” also speaks of the necessity of maintaining an outward testimony that is in conformity with our profession. The word “Gentiles” is from the Greek word referring here, not to Gentiles as in contrast to Jews, but to the unsaved world, the world of people without Christ.1
1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 59.
“Having” has a durative aspect in the Greek. It is a steady holding of our conversation up to a certain standard. “Conversation” is the translation of a Greek word speaking of one’s manner of life. The word meant that when the a.v. was translated. Today, the meaning of the word is limited to the act of speaking. We must be careful to note the obsolete words in the a.v., and not interpret them in their present day meaning.1
1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 59.
So our manner of life on the outside must match the cleansing and transformation that we have already experienced on the inside.
If we live in the flesh on the outside, our manner of life is not an honest representation of what God has done.
If we do good things simply to mask the darkness that lurks within, that is also not an honest manner of life.
Once we can get our every day life, thoughts, conversation, and actions to match the cleansing and transformation that God is working in the hearts of believers, then our testiomony becomes strong enough to win the souls of those who are watching.
Proverbs 11:30 KJV
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; And he that winneth souls is wise.
Romans 13:13 KJV
Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
2 Corinthians 8:21 KJV
Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Change the Narrative With Good Works

1 Peter 2:12 KJV
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Here is timeless truth. Whether we like it or not, all Christians are an advertisement for Christianity; by their lives, they either commend it to others or make them think less of it. The strongest missionary force in the world is the Christian life.
In the early Church, this demonstration of the loveliness of the Christian life was necessary above all because of the slanders that were deliberately circulated about the Christian Church1
1 William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 233.
1 Peter 3:16 KJV
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
This narrative does not change when we demand that folks respect us.
This narrative does not change when we cloak our real beliefs and values as not to offend others.
This narrative changes when folks see our genuine manner of life coupled with good works consistent with that life.
Matthew 5:16 KJV
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Titus 2:7–8 KJV
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

Change the Narrative By Bold, Open Living.

1 Peter 2:12 KJV
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
The word “whereas” is literally “in what thing,” that is, in the very thing in which the world speaks evil of a Christian, namely, of his Christian life, which latter makes it necessary for him to diverge from the things of the world and live a life of separation. The words “speak against” are literally “speak down,” referring to the act of adversely criticizing a person. The separated life of a Christian is one of the most powerful means God has of convicting the world of its sin. The world does not like its sin uncovered, hence the persecution which it directs against the separated Christian. How the people of the world watch the Christian. The word “behold” in the Greek text means “to view carefully as a personal witness.”1
1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 59–60.
“Day of visitation” (KJV, NASB) was good Old Testament language for God’s coming day of judgment (e.g., Is 10:3); many texts reported that the Gentiles would recognize God’s glory in the end time (e.g., Is 60:3).1
1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 1 Pe 2:12.
Dan Blocker was my favorite character, Hoss, on the TV series Bonanza. When he died unexpectedly, Hoss died. The producers knew they could not replace him. The story was that woman was caught in a flood. Hoss held her above the water with one hand and held a branch with the other to keep them from being washed away. He died, but he never let go. He died, but she lived.
Fans almost mourned for the fictional character, but they agreed it was a fitting way for Hoss to die.
In the 80's, I saw an article about a new TV series, Bonanza, the Next Generation. The story was that the original Cartwrights were dead. Ben’s brother ran the Ponderosa. For various reasons, Adam’s son, little Joe’s son, and Hoss’ son were coming there to live.
Hoss died without marrying. The new series said he had a illegitimate son and died before bringing the mother to the Ponderosa.
Test audiences were scheduled with fans of the original series. They were furious. Ben had three sons by three wives. Maybe he had another son somewhere. Adam, sometimes a scholar and sometimes a Casanova, may have had an illegitimate son. If Joe had an illegitimate son, no one would be surprised. But Hoss? HOSS??? NOOOOOOO!!! Fans refused to believe it. Test audiences were so angry that producers cancelled the series before the pilot even aired.
Fans refused to believe Hoss’ immorality. If a fictional character can inspire such belief in his character, how much more should we?
1 Peter 2:12 KJV
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
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