Are You Prepared? 8-9-2020
We humbly come into your presence this morning. May your word we are rule your spirit our teacher and your greater glory are Supreme concern through Jesus Christ Our Lord. It isn't his precious name. We pray. Amen when you may be seated. If you have your Bibles with you this morning, please turn with me to 1st Peter the first Peter letter written by Peter. Now as we begin this morning, I want to ask pretty open-ended question. Are you prepared? Are you prepared?
And I'll leave that just for a moment for you to think about that. Are you prepared?
Unless you thought I'd be curious what immediately came to your mind. When asked the question. Are you prepared being that? We're in a church service, maybe something like eternity will come to your mind. Are you prepared if you are watching the news this morning, maybe you were thinking about the coronavirus. Are you prepared for its impact maybe you were thinking about some of the news about riots that you saw are you prepared if they were to come here if you're going to be starting up school soon. Maybe you were thinking are you prepared for school if you felt the ball in the air, maybe you're thinking am I prepared for Elk season coming up?
We like to be prepared for the things that come because if we're not fear anxiety and worry off any often accompany on preparedness. They are friends of unpreparedness. And if you are not equipped or organized or ready for what's right in front of you you can most likely expect fear anxiety or worry to be tagging right along but when you are prepared there is confidence and boldness that accompanies you to whatever task you're entering into the Nets preparedness or boldness doesn't even mean that you have to win something you're just prepared and your just ready I think of maybe the individual who is not as big or muscular as the athletic jocks in the school, but he has a sense of righteousness and will stand up for what Right and when he sees someone weaker being bullied is willing to stand up against that bully fully prepared for the beating that may come in yet because she is prepared he can get up over and over and over again standing bold for what he believes is right. This one is prepared. One part of being prepared is that preparedness never underestimate your enemy never underestimates what can come because we don't like being surprised. The worst thing is to think you're prepared for something and then you get surprised and you get totally off-guard and all of a sudden everything you've worked so hard for just seems to go out the window because your blank you are on underestimated what you were coming up again. So it's so preparedness along with preparedness. There is boldness there is courage you're not under estimating whatever is in front of you but you're ready and as humans, we always desire to be prepared and the good mentors that we have teach Those who they're training how to be prepare coaches train their athletes to be prepared for the competition teachers train their students to be educated to be prepared to come into the world parents teach their children to prepare them for what's going to come pastors Shepherd their flock to prepare them for the world that we're living in. And I want to go back to our opening question. Are you prepared and now I'm specifically that the clothes in that's open ended question and make it specific. Are you prepared to live as a citizen of Heaven in this hostile and hateful world. Are you prepared as a citizen citizen of Heaven to live in this hostile and hateful world what we're going to hear from Peter Indies versus and the verses to follow and this letter Only makes sense. If we are Kingdom citizens Born Again by God through faith in Christ Jesus and have our identity in him. Peter has spent the first part of this letter preparing the recipients with their identity in Christ. This is who you are in Christ. This is what you have received New Birth that that is unimpaired shable undefiled unfading it cannot be taken away from you Christ the King and the Lord and Savior will bring his church to completion. He is the Cornerstone he's prepared the church with their identity, which is absolutely necessary for us to be assured of to be affirmed in for what he is going to share next as Peter prepares the church for what they're going to have to endure a citizens in a hostile world. What I hope to accomplish this morning by God's mercies and in doing so is to give you a seneschal information for your preparedness to live as a citizen of Heaven in a hostile and hateful world and Peter what he does in these two verses were going to look at is list four realities that the Christian is going to face in a hostile world four realities through Christian is going to face and and I structured this outline this way because it's Christians. We don't want to be taken off guard. We don't want to be surprised. We want to be prepared for what we're going to face in a hostile world. And that is the setting these elect Exiles were facing with Peter wrote this letter so number one. Number one Christian you are a foreigner in this world. You are a foreigner in this world. Now before we enter into this, let us just read these two verses quickly once more as we as we enter into it to the body of this message and Peter writes in chapter 2 verse 11 and 12 beloved. I heard you as sojourners and Exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh which war against your soul keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable so that when they speak against you as evil doers they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. So four realities the Christians going to face living in a hostile world. Number one that Peter mentions, I urge you as sojourners and Exiles is that Christians we are foreigners in X-Files in this world. What does that mean? It means that our practices and RV Views are different than what the world practices and values are and there's going to be hostility because we are not a people of this world were God's people living within an army of Satan's Catherine patrons living in an army of Satan's people know we might cry out when we faced the persecutions of the world. I'm I'm innocent. Why am I facing or why am I having to endure these hardships coming against me in this foreign world? But being prepared is to remember the word hostile territory. They don't judge us by the values. We hold this world doesn't doesn't function or play by the same rules that we play by In This Book. They have a completely different set of standards. They lie. They cheat they hurt because their father is the father of Lies. He is the very evil one. So we shouldn't be shocked when we see the response of an evil World against a righteous church. This was most notably seen when Jesus was present in the world. Perfect righteous, he came casting out demons healing every disease providing food when there was no he had he had complete Authority even over nature. And get the hatred against Christ was such that they crucified him. They killed him. They sent him to the Cross being prepared as Christians in this for the world is knowing that we are foreigners in a hostile world and yet as foreigners we can have boldness Paul encouraged Timothy and 2nd Timothy 1:7 that God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and of love and of self-control He says a little bit later. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord North me his prisoner but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God who saved us and called us to a holy calling. We are foreigners we experience persecution, but we haven't received the spirit of fear, but one of love and of power and of self-control so we don't become a Shame by the testimony of the lord. We don't come ashamed by those who might be persecuted because of the world's hatred towards them but we share in the sufferings for the gospel by the power of God who is saved us and called us into a holy calling. God has given us the spirit so that we don't live with a victim mentality in this world. But we march on victoriously in the strength. The Christ has given us. I know someone who who lives in that victim mentality, it's it's very difficult to help bring them out of that.
But if we understand what our position in Christ is before fully assured of the identity that we have in Christ Jesus, we don't see ourselves as victims wrongly and unrighteously persecuted. We see ourselves as God's children that nothing in this world can take nothing in this world can take us away from that. So we live in boldness. We live in power. We live in love. We live in self-control and we stand firm in the faith. What is part of being prepared? We live in a fallen world.
And that's what it's going to be for all Christians. It's all God finally returns and we are with Him fully in heaven. number two Christian you are at war with the passions of your flesh. You're at war with the passions of your flesh. This is reality number to that. We want to understand now as we begin this point, it's important to understand that only those who have been born again can't understand this only those who have been made new in Christ. Jesus understand what it means to be at war with the flesh because we love the Commandments of God. We love his Holiness. We love his righteousness. We love what he has established for us in the law. And when we break that are heartbreak, We don't like living. In sin because it offends our holy God and I emphasize that wheel of God's Commandments because the world can experience war with passions of their flesh. You don't have to be a Christian to experience war or trial or struggle with a passion of the flesh the difference between the Christian and the world is that the Christian is so attached and so in love with who Christ is and is worried because of the new heart that whatever is revealed to them from God's word. Conviction shapes their heart makes them want to follow and honor Christ, but someone who is just struggling with less a an addiction. That doesn't love Christ. If you begin to show them the truth of the word they may be struggling with their addiction, but this word will hold no value over their life. So only those who know Christ and him have been born again or going to understand what it means to be at war with the flesh. In the Christian wars with the passion of their flesh because Satan has declared war on our souls and we engage everyday in a spiritual battle to may not maintain our integrity and our obedience before Christ. Now Paul gets a list of what are some of these fleshly passions that we fight against and he says in Galatians 5 that the works of the flesh are evident sexual immorality in Purity sensuality idolatry sorcery and the T Strife jealousy fits of anger rivalries dissensions divisions Envy drunkenness orgies things like these Peter even expand that in a little list that he gives in chapter 2 verse one where he says so put away all malice all deceit all hypocracy. All Envy all slander the idea of Flesh involves the entire body not just things that we do with our flesh. But what happens in our heart what happens in our mind what happens through our actions? It's kind of the whole person and the drawers of the flesh the passions of the flesh that would lead us against Christ and we fight not to let those passions win. And concerning this battle with the flesh living in the world that were part of. We Face an unprecedented level of exposure to send. We are exposed. More than almost any other at any other time in culture in history with entertainment and social media. The world's ways are forced upon us to tempt us. To get put into our thoughts and ways that that we would history that had probably never ever imagined and we see it happening all the time and Satan knows how to use what we are exposed to to tempt us. He knows how to use what were exposed to to try to draw us a way to make us weak in the war in order that we might succumb to the passions of the flesh so we can never take exposure lightly lest we get caught off guard.
And we lose that war we lose that battle against sin.
How can we apply this? Culture says sexual relationships are outside outside of marriage are okay culture says that homosexuality is okay abortion law stand and so on and the church continually exposes themselves to us to that kind of material the more we expose herself. It's like biting on to the enemy's bait. To get hooked and drawn into sin. Because it's Works supposed to things that will tempt our minds with thoughts or feelings that maybe we had never even had before.
Culture didn't have to think about homosexuality in abortion and lost in the same way that our culture face is it but because it's there because it's everywhere because our children are exposed to this there is going to be unnatural temptations by exposure that are going to wage war against the Flesh and is we experience that exposure in those Temptations. We hate them. And when things get into to our minds that we think we're did this thought even come from how could this have even entered into my mind? And get it there because of the enemy's tactics. Now remember Christian the reason these things bother you is because you are at war with the passions of The Flash. Let's let our hearts praise God When we struggle in our hearts and our minds with sand because that is how God strengthens us to be able to fight and resist those Temptations, but let us not be so surprised and caught off guard that we fall into the those Temptations and sin, but you will hate what happens in your mind. Something's will come maybe into your minds that you will even question your faith be coming in because of them or you will become so in barest by what's happening in your mind at that. You would think what if someone found out what just ran through my mind what what if someone saw these these thoughts can I even be around them? and people will fall and see themselves maybe even falling out of Fellowship because of what is happening in here because of those Temptations because of that war that the Christian is struggling through And that it did this war it tears us apart because we're trying to submit our thoughts to God, but that Temptation keeps coming. Sometimes you don't even mean to see you're mean to hear what comes into our minds it just happens because there's so much exposure in this world. It just happens and it's hard and it's tiring. and sometimes that war can be so difficult that we might feel that the best option is just give in Given that's going to be the easiest option.
Peter's preparing us at war with the passions of your flash. So don't don't give in this is the battle. This is the reality of the faith. This is what Peter is preparing you for so that when these Temptations come you're not surprised but you endure them you fight against them you wore with them so that you can stay strong and win the battle by the power of Christ.
Fitness made us a Target Peter said later in the slaughter your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour resist him in your face knowing that the same kind of suffering are being experienced by your brother's throughout the world. James says submit yourselves therefore to God resist the devil and he will flee from you. This is our war game submit to God resist. The devil preparedness is being ready knowing that win the battle comes we must set our eyes on Christ the Savior rather than give in to the passions of the flesh. when those Temptations come there will be times where people will become so full of self disgust or anger or depression or embarrassment or shame that they're going to struggle in their battle because they're so self-focused on on what is happening in here that their eyes are not on Christ. If we're prepared to know that we're going to battle the passions of our flash rather than being so overtaken by what's happened here. Let us fix our eyes on Christ and use the weapons of war that we have been given is God's children to resist those Temptations to set our hearts and our minds on Christ. Jesus to be victorious is to take our eyes off of self and place them on Christ to pick up the weapons of war given to us by God. Put on the whole armor of God. Paul said that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the rulers against the authorities against the cosmic Powers over this present Darkness against the spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand the devil the evil day and having done all to stand firm stand therefore having fastened on the belt of Truth having put on the breastplate of righteousness and as shoes for your feet having put on the Readiness given by the gospel of peace in all circumstances take up the shield of Faith with which you can extinguish all the Flaming darts of the evil one and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God praying at all times in the spirit with all prayer and supplication. This is the hope. This is the armor that we have been given to resist the enemy to resist his schemes to stand strong and Faith as we war against the passions of our flash. Jesus said in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation but take heart I have overcome the world. We're prepared knowing that we live in a hostile world were prepared knowing that we are going to war with the passion of our flash but being prepared means that God has given us the tools to endure in the world to fight the passions of our flesh and to be victorious because of the tools and the armor that he has given us. Thirdly Christian you're going to be slander. You're going to be slander.
Peter rights and verse 12 keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorably honorable so that when they speak against you as evil doers and then we'll just stop right there for a moment not if but when they speak of you as evil doers part of being prepared is knowing that is Christians living in this Hospital World waging with the war the war of the passions of our Flash. We're going to be slander. We're going to be slander. And maybe at some point in your life. You've done something nice for somebody you've helped them. You've encouraged them. You've gone out of your way to accommodate a person only to have them speak evil of you or slander you or hurt you or throw you under the bus in some capacity. Now that hurts. It hurts to be condemned. It hurts to be lied about for doing something pure and loving.
It's one thing if you're slandered by someone who you expected from cuz you're prepared when we expect it. We're prepared for it. We can handle it a little better. It's another thing when the person that Slanders you as someone you trust someone you had never expected this from We see this happen in the church. It's hard when a pastor who served with an elder board. 4 years teaches the same gospel practices the Same Love of shepherding and then all of the sudden the path Elders say this is a man of the devil because of what he believes. Or because someone said a Pastor said something that someone didn't care for they start spreading lies. I came into a church service one day when the music team was prepping for the Sunday morning and a lady just because she didn't like the pastor began to go to each person while they were practicing for music and spreading terrible lies about the pastor that were not true slandering him hurting him saying these things against him. We expect slander to come from the world, but it's hard when we see it in the church. And yet just because we're slandered doesn't mean that we can think or do or say whatever we want. We're still held accountable for how Christ calls us to live. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable. If you outside world. Accuses us her or even those within the church and Peter prepares the church for this evil. So that it does not change one's commitment to Christ. We don't want what someone says to us. To fill our hearts with malice and anger and envy and bitterness and deceit and hypocrisy peers already said you've got to get rid of this. We don't want what someone says about us to dictate how we think what we say what we do. We want Christ to be the one who fills our hearts and hold us accountable to how we act as Christians and how we act as believers.
As Christians we honor Christ. We follow his command because he is our leader.
Paul said this in Romans 1 for I'm not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes not ashamed of the Gospel.
has there ever been a time in your life where you knew because you were in a hostile world and The way the World Views and speaks against in speaks to Christians that maybe there was a time where you were ashamed. And you didn't pray or you didn't speak up or you didn't share your faith the way that maybe you would have been. Convicted in in would have liked to have done but because you know that the world comes against Christians to make them look foolish to slander them to to speak against them. You saw it. It would just be easier to not say anything at all. We hear Paul's words from not ashamed of the gospel and we pray with him. Give us boldness. Give us boldness. Just because we're Christians in this world. We're going to be hated. You might be the most caring kindest nicest person. in the world But if you are firm Christ, there are those who will hate you no matter what they will slander you. And yet because our identity is in Christ in our strength is in Christ. That doesn't dictate how we respond Christ dictates how we respond so that we can always act in Christ. Like, you know, it's unfortunate. To see how the church has kind of adapted to this hatred of the world. By becoming more worldly in order to accommodate or be attractive to the unbelieving world. Let's take crosses down because crosses are offencive. Let's talk less about sin because sin is offencive. Let's Vale Christ to be more like the world in order to attract the world and this makes no sense at all.
Peter says nothing about us, becoming more like the world. He says become more like Christ, even if that means I'm just suffering Christ should be just as evident in you suffering unjustly as when you were worshiping together in the fellowship of believers. You may have heard the saying don't be so Heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.
What do we even do with the statement like this when we hear it in the church? Don't be so Heavenly minded that you are no earthly. Good what good it all are we if we are not Heavenly minded. This is what God calls us to that. Our hearts would be fixated on Christ Christ calls us to live righteous lives so that he will be exalted. That is what the world sees.
Colossians 3 1 and 2 Paul says if then you have been raised with Christ seek, the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God set your minds on the things that are above not on the things that are on the Earth. We hope to be so Heavenly minded so fixed on seeking to honor and and love Christ and follow his Commandments that that is what the world sees what we don't want to feel that. We don't want to feel Christ. Paul says again in Philippians 4:8 whatever is true, whatever is Honorable, whatever is just whatever is pure whatever is lovely whatever is commendable if there is any Excellence if there is anything worthy of Praise think about these things, this is where our heart this is where our mind wants to be at where it must be its work Christ calls us to be
We're going to get slander. Going to happen. You're going to lie about us and those lies are going to be false. And yet we can't say. If we just Veil Christ. In this manner may be more attractive to the world. We're going to bring more people into the church.
now we want to live for Christ and exalt him and let him shine. It is most unfilled Glory. We want our lives to set that example. To honor Christ in our hearts and in our minds and in our actions and in our words cuz we're countable to that. What is the testimony to the world? christlikeness That's our testimony and that's the fourth reality. We're countable for thoughts and our actions because our christlikeness has an example in the unbelieving world.
Look at your first 12 again. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable so that when they speak against you as evil doers they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day day of visitation. What's Peter saying here? I believe it's similar to what Jesus said in The Sermon on the Mount in the same way let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven. When we live in the righteousness of Christ in the midst of unjust suffering. The world takes no. Now we can be enduring suffering unjustly. We maybe even die by our persecutors. And yet our testimony. Could impact that individuals life later on. We have tremendous examples of this in history.
We serve Christ. We let him shaper heart. We let him. Share with us and tell us how to live so that we're not ruled by the things of the world.
The clingers were missionaries was a husband and a wife and their son. They got arrested in war during World War II at a Japanese War Camp in the Philippines and the Commandant there konishi. Was a very cruel and diabolical man, and he would divide plans to hurt. the torture his prisoners one of the Ways that he did this stupid that the clintons documented in their Journal was that he decided he was going to up the food rations? But rather than give them more cooked rice, he gave them unhusked rice, which I very sharp edges and to eat the unhooked on unhusked Rice would mean that those sharp edges would go down into the intestines would cut the intestines which meant those who ate it could bleed out and die within a matter of hours. Or these prisoners could try to to grind off these husks, but in doing that would use up more calories. Then they would receive from the rice. So they were in a lose-lose situation. and dyskinesia devised these plans to torture his prisoners. and by God's mercies these missionaries and those in the prison camp were rescued brought into safety Canisius Kate began to live his life.
It was later found as a groundskeeper at a golf course in Manila. He was put on trial for his Roark war crimes and he was hanged. before his execution He professed faith in Jesus Christ. And what was his reasoning? His reasoning was because of how deeply affected he was by the missionaries. and his prison camp years later their conduct for righteousness had such an impact on this evil and wicked man's life. But he placed his faith in Christ. Jesus were countable for our thoughts were accountable for our actions. Because how we live as Christians in this world impacts. The unbelieving world around us.
an effective evangelism close out of the power of a righteous life.
Peter prepares his readers. These are the realities you're going to face because what I'm going to share next. Going to be hard. submit to authorities Servants be subject to your Masters wives be subject to your husbands husbands. Love your wives. Suffer Well This is what comes next this is what he's preparing us for how to live as faithful Christians in a hostile world and he gives these four reality so that we're not caught off guard but can stand strong and firm on the cornerstone Jesus Christ were foreigners in this world were at war with the passions of our flesh. We're going to be slandered and we're accountable for our thoughts and actions getting all of God's mercies. There is joy in these things because of our identity in Jesus Christ, We will enjoy these hardships victoriously because of our unshakable identity in Christ.
And I hope you see why Peters preparation is so necessary for how we live in a hostile world like this and I hope you understand how much you need Christ the stand firm in to stand strong in a world like this and I hope your neck recognize why your identity in him is so absolutely necessary. So absolutely necessary to stand firm in this way to stand. And this perverse and broken world can only be done standing on Jesus Christ the Cornerstone. May we all keep our eyes on Christ. Jesus our lord let's pray. a glorious Father in heaven with all of the uncertainties that we face in this life. We have comfort and confidence because you have assured us that our citizenship in heaven is secure and unshakable through faith in Christ Jesus and no evil of this world can strip that away from us. May we be fully prepared to live as citizens of Heaven in this hostile World forgive us our sins. Forgive us our weaknesses forgive us our doubts. Vanguard us with increased in strength and faith and your son Jesus Christ didn't his name we pray. Amen.