Faithlife Sermons

Holey, Wholly, Holy

Rock Steady After the Storm  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Empty

Empty things that don’t work. Or, more specifically, things that don’t work when other things are empty.
Cars and quads when your gas tank is empty.
Phones, iPads, computers, flashlights when your batteries are empty.
Sara wants to watch a cooking show I’m not particularly into. That’s okay. I’ve got my iPad, it’s dead. My computer, dead. Phone, dead.
Why not just read a book? B/C all my books are eBooks on my iPad.
Making a sandwich when the mayonnaise jar is empty.
How disappointing to find an empty jar in the fridge and all we have is Miracle Whip.
I’m moving on. That sandwich isn’t happening.
When the TP roll is empty. Not getting into that, but that’s not going to work.
We found that out in a big way when ppl panic bought it all up. What are you going to do?
That brings us to our situation now.
One of the things that happened over the last couple of months b/c of the things we’ve had to do w/out we’ve learned more about how we don’t work well when we are empty.
There are things, activities that fill us up and help us to function better.
Like coffee in the morning. We function better, our minds are a little clearer after a caffeine hit.
When our stomachs are empty we don’t function well.
Hangry.
Can’t get to the store to stock up.
I remember being at the store the day President Trump was about to declare a national emergency. It was crazy.
Sara was in Tucson, I called her right away and told her to get to the store for her parents before everything was gone.
For some of us maybe we need to empty out our stomachs a little bit. We ate all the good stuff in the house. Now we’re working thru the pantry and all the fattening stuff.
Our brains have emptied out. We’ve read all the books we have and we’re left watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island and old Magnum PI’s.
G.I.G.O.
More seriously, for many of us our hearts have emptied out.
We don’t function well, we make poor decisions when our hearts are empty.
We can become desperate, make rash, maybe foolish decisions.
We’ve so missed the social interaction. People who live alone may have gone these 2+ months w/out touch another person. No hugs, handshakes, fist bumps.
That is a dangerous situation to be in. We need these things to fill us up.
When ppl get desperate, that’s when bad decisions are made and bad things happen.
Even those of us who are in great marriages, as active as we can be, finding ways to interact; we can go to be all filled up, emotionally strong and satisfied. Then, wake up in the morning empty again.
Why? B/C we leak. What we fill up on leaks out. Sometimes rapidly. It depends on what we filled up on.
We can do some real harm to ourselves in these situations.
Self-medicate, distance ourselves even farther from the ones who are most capable of filling us back up, wreck our marriage, blow up friendships, leaving us farther isolated.
Just b/c we’re empty not functioning well.
Whether consciously, or sub-consciously realizing we’re empty we instinctively pursue being refilled.
That pursuit, those choices are challenging when we’re not functioning well.
That’s how we end up doing things that don’t really fill us up. Or, if they do, it doesn’t last and we’re back in the same situation again.
Can lead to addictions.
I dulled the pain of the emptiness once, felt better for a while.
But, when I woke up I had 2 problems. The original one was still there and now I’m hungover.
Or, shopping therapy, spending addictions.
Wake up empty again, but deeper in debt.
Guilt of regret piles on.
When we are empty inside, we don’t function well.
There are so many things for us to pursue that either don’t full us back up at all or fill us only temporarily compounding our emptiness issues.
They may fill us temporarily, but it all quickly leaks out leaving us emptier than before.
That’s the scenario we are in right now.
We’ve had to do w/out some things for a few weeks.
As our society opens up again, things are still different, what are we going to do?
Over react? Under-react?
As we instinctively set out t/b refilled, are we going to fill up on things that last or things that leak.
The c.1 church was in the same kind of place only worse.
They had left so much behind when they ran for their lives b/c the persecution in Rome and Jerusalem was intense.
Friends and family had died. And, nothing will empty you out more or faster than grieving the loss of someone you love.
Left their church, small group, pastor, worship, everything when they scattered to the surrounding villages.
Left their house, job, neighborhood, kids’ school, friends, network.
They had left and lost so much more than we have.
They were starting over in every way.
Peter wrote this letter to encourage them.
They were as empty as any group of ppl could be so he wrote to them to make good choices about how to fill up again.
Fill up on things that last and not on things that leak.
In this passage he starts out with how.
5 pointed directives on how to fill up on things that last, not things that leak.

How to Fill Up on Things that Last

1 Peter 1:13–16 NIV
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Remember, these ppl are starting over. They didn’t have their support system they’d been used to for years in the big city in the big church.
Now, it’s just them and maybe a few more.
If there was a church in that village, it was a small one.
And, the tenor of the culture around them was trending anti-Christian.
So, in a society and culture that was pushing back against their belief and behavior, Peter is encouraging them to live their lives in a way that honors God.
They needed friends. Peter said, “You need t/b faithful.”
Yes, you need friends, friends will fill you up. But faithful behavior, w/ or w/out new friends will fill you to last.
5 Directives about how to do this.
Prepare your minds for action.
Literally, in the Greek: “Bind up the loins of your mind.”
Gird your loins. Soldiers or athletes would wear robe-like uniforms. They would tuck the tail into their belt in preparation for action.
Ladies, you know how hard it is to run in a long skirt.
When I graduated from college, walking up the stairs on stage to receive my diploma, my toe got caught in the hem of my gown and I nearly did a face-plant.
In preparing for battle, for athletic competition, or picking up a diploma, we might need to tuck our skirt into our belt.
That frees up you legs for quick and mobile action.
Don’t get caught off-guard. So many were caught w/ our skirts down low when this virus crisis came on us.
Your mind is your evaluator. It involves your head and your heart.
In preparation, study, gain knowledge. Fill your head w/ the information you need. And, engage your heart. Be passionate about action that God would want you to do.
You may not know what to do right now. But, you can know God’s character so you are prepared to act consistent w/ it.
Your mind is your evaluator and your will is your chooser.
Your will will choose what your mind evaluates t/b your best option. So, you will will choose the action your mind determines t/b the best thing for you to do.
Prepare your mind for action. And, the action should be consistent w/ God’s character.
2. Be Self-Controlled.
Ironic coming from Peter. Known for his rash, sometimes foolish decisions. But, he learned and wants us to learn from his mistakes.
We have the ability to not say hurtful words or do hurtful things.
We can, if we’re prepared, only do and say things that build ppl up.
2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
We have the ability to say ‘no’ to bad stuff and ‘yes’ to good stuff.
We’ve been given a spirit that is not afraid, is powerful and self-disciplined.
It’s a tool, a resource, that we have available to use. We don’t have to. But it would be foolish not to.
“Fully sober” Meaning, not under any external influences. Only under the influence of the HS who resides w/in us.
Drugs, alcohol, power, envy, fear, peer pressure. These are external influencers.
If we are under any of their influence, it is near impossible to control your car or your tongue. And, the resulting damage can be far worse than what a little germ can do.
The 3rd directive on how to fill up on things that last versus things that leak:
3. Set your hope fully...
Not partially. Don’t hedge your bet.
Don’t diversify your hope. It’s good to diversify your investments. That way, if one company fails or one industry fails your retirement will not fail w/ it.
So, pick only winners. Jesus will be the only winner in the end. Jesus will never fail.
You want t/b fully invested in Him.
Hope: Look forward to, w/ confidence, not doubting. This is what will ultimately fill you up permanently.
Until Jesus returns, we have to constantly go back to the hope we have b/c our hearts will even leak this. Slower than most. But we need to refill on the hope we have.
Our society trains us to find hope in education, status, wealth, marriage, family, a healthy lifestyle, affairs, multiple sex partners, don’t tell me I shouldn’t do it, don’t judge.
Some of these good and important. But, know their limitations.
These will all let you down and empty you out faster and more efficiently than the lasting filling of Jesus.
Ironic this is from Peter. Imagine how empty his life was between the time he denied Jesus until Jesus restored him.
Wondering if he’d finally messed up so bad he’d never be welcomed back.
What hope did he have? But he learned. Even when you mess up that bad and emptied yourself that quickly and thoroughly, you still have the hope that Jesus will fill you up.
Hope only in, fully in, look forward w/ certainty to the time when Jesus will fill you permanently. In the meantime, this hope will fill you temporarily but regularly.
4. Do not conform to the ungodly characteristics from your past and presently around you.
You see the progression.
Prepare your mind for action.
Be self-controlled.
Hope only in Jesus
Now, don’t chase after things that are not Jesus that will leak out fast and leave you emptier than before you started your pursuit.
Paul said it this way in Romans 12:2
Romans 12:2 NIV
Do not conform 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.
Your mind gets renewed by God so your life is transformed and you make better choices, more in line w/ the character of God. Only Jesus.
An unprepared mind, combined w/ a lack of self-control, and hope that is diversified among all the things our society says is more filling, will lead to behaviors leak.
Our minds would evaluate things inaccurately. We would rate behavior as better for us than they really are.
It would lead you to choose lesser things expecting greater results.
Like gorging yourself on cotton-candy.
What seems wonderful and filling now leaves you filled w/ only regret.
Regret is not getting what you want b/c you got what you wanted.
Don’t conform. These behaviors leak fast and leave you emptier than before you started your pursuit.
So, if we don’t pursue these b/c they leak, what should we pursue that will last?
5. Be holy in all that you do.
Not most that you do or some that you do.
Every area of your life.
Social life, entertainment, recreation, marriage, parenting, finances, intimacy, computer activities, credit card use, movies and TV shows, vocabulary, private conversations, and public behavior.
Be different than those around you.
In a society where they tried to fit in. They had to move to a new society. No longer around all the other Christians. Now, new neighbors w/ old habits.
Be different.
W/out the support system where more holy living was practiced and more normal.
Now, maybe, very little. Be the example. Swim upstream.
Another reason why preparation and self-control would be so important. Lots of temptation living in a non-Christian culture.
Peter is referring back to Leviticus where Moses quoted God 4 times, “Be holy b/c I am holy.”
Their minds were transformed, better evaluators and choice -makers. Self-controlled to say ‘yes’ to only the right things, under the influence of the HS, and hoping only in Jesus.
Setting their thoughts and actions on the character of God doing only what God would do if He were there to do it with them.
God had unapologetically instructed Israel t/b different. Take 1 day/wk off. How to worship, who to marry, what to spend your money on, a specific percentage to give to the temple, what not to eat.
God was not trying to embarrass them. Or make them odd. He was setting them apart from every other ppl group around them.
Israel should not want to be like everyone else. Everyone else should want to be like them b/c of their relationship w/ God.
By not participating in the practices of their society it made them strangers in their own home town.
Us, too. God is not trying to embarrass us or make us odd ppl out. But He is setting us apart t/b different.
And b/c of the relationship we have w/ God and how He blesses us, the ppl should want to be more like us. Rather, more like Him, like us.
That’s how we do it. Now, why would we do that way?
You’d think we’d get tired of the emptiness and this would be enough to pursue things that fill us that last rather than leak.
Sometimes we need a little more reason.
So, beyond that, here’s why.

Why Fill Up on Things that Last

1 Peter 1:17–19 NIV
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
Holy living is motivated by the personal relationship we have w/ God. We get to call Him Father.
He has so many titles. So many names.
But the most important one we get to use is Father.
The term reverent fear means respect, value. We never live in terror of God. Believers never face God’s wrath, extreme anger. We only get is love.
Part of love is discipline. It hurts. But, it’s b/c He loves us. And He knows we can do better.
Live by a different set of standards than those promoted by your culture. Live like a foreigner.
The few times I have traveled internationally the customs, idioms and jokes just don’t work b/c we are speaking different languages.
We have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. To continue to live as if we haven’t is insulting and it devalues Jesus.
His death on the cross for you and me is priceless.
It was unnecessary for Him. Vital for us. He was content even though we were lost.
He wanted a relationship w/ us and the only way for that to happen is the barrier had t/b removed so we could.
Only He could do it.
For the relationship and b/c of the priceless value of the action Jesus took for us.
This has tremendous value to us. Filled in ways that don’t leak but last. A personal relationship w/ the Creator of the Universe who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving. B/C Jesus did something for us that we could do on our own.
Let me summarize it another way.
We were holey and everything that fills us up leaks out.
If we wholly surrender to Christ, in every area of our life all in, He gives us the HS as a resource w/in us that makes it possible for us to live powerfully different lives.
We can beat bad habits, addictions and strongholds.
So, our holy actions produce a deep and satisfying fulfillment that lasts.
We can be content and at peace while living in tumultuous times w/ viruses, economic downturns, relational strains, and financial struggles.
If we were pursuing things that leaked quickly before this virus crisis, then we entered it running on empty.
It will be a challenge to be able to stand strong, be rock steady when it’s over.
But, if by habit and routine we pursued the fulfillment that only Jesus provides it will last long after this threat is gone.
When we’re empty, things don’t work. Marriage doesn’t work. Family won’t work out. Any hope of a positive outcome will not work.
When we are filled up w/ what lasts everything just seems to work better, the way God intended and we will be standing strong when it’s over.

Applications

Mind prepared?

How are you evaluating your options?
Do you know the character of God?
Are you passionate about what God is passionate about?
Gird the loins of your mind and get ready for actions.

Sober? Self-controlled?

What outside influences are you letting in that are intoxicating you?
You have the HS. You don’t need t/b under any other influence than Him.
What/who do you need to tune out so you can tune in to God?

Hope?

What are hoping will fill you and make you feel better?
Are you diversifying your hope like you have your portfolio?
“Ya sure Jesus. But, I’m going to party this weekend. That will make me feel better.”
Hook up w/ a guy.
Run a marathon,
buy a lottery ticket.
I’m going to take control and fix everything and everyone around me.
What is it? Ya Jesus, but I’m also going to....? what?
What/who do you need to cut loose so your hope in only in Jesus.

Holy?

What actions, words, behaviors that are not holy do you need to cut out of your life?
I don’t need to prompt you here.
The HS is a much better convicter than I am.
Pay attention to God is telling you what you are doing that is more like someone who does not know God and less like the character of God.
If you’re doing something like this, You are leaking fast.
When we are empty inside, we don’t function well.
There are so many things for us to pursue that either don’t full us back up at all or fill us only temporarily compounding our emptiness issues.
They may fill us temporarily, but it all quickly leaks out leaving us emptier than before.
Peter wrote this letter to encourage them.
They were as empty as any group of ppl could be so he wrote to them to make good choices about how to fill up again.
Fill up on things that last and not on things that leak.
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