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I'll say bless the Lord if you say oh my soul.
"Bless the Lord."
[Oh my soul.]
"Oh bless His holy name."
Good morning, my name is Eric Warren and I have the pleasure of serving on staff as your student pastor and on occasion I'm asked to step up to the platform and preach God's Word before God's people and trust me I never think it any small thing.
We have been marching through this helpful epistle over the past number of weeks and there is such great benefit in this approach for reasons like what we'll see today.
When you move through Scripture methodically, there is nowhere to hide for the pastor. When you commit to line-by-line exposition... you can't cherrypick. You can't only select passages that go down easier like honey. But frequently you run into passages that are difficult. They are difficult to study. They are difficult to preach. And they are difficult to receive.
I'm the youngest in my family but there is a story that has reached legendary status amongst us. My mom, like any caring mother would, made my brother a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch one day; however what she did not know was that she committed the unpardonable sin of using strawberry jelly as opposed to grape jelly like a sane person would.
What proceeded from there could only be described as a battle of wills. A standoff between an unstoppable force and an immovable object, Brett sat there for hours on end in protest, cemented to his seat under the orders of my mother that he could not get up from the table until he ate what she prepared.
Beloved, the Lord has a Word for us this morning. And while it may challenge you greatly, you can rest assured that it is a word from a loving and good Father who desires His children. Let's receive it in humility and not in rebellion.
2 Timothy 3:16–17 (CSB)
16All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness,
Let's go to the Lord this morning and ask for His help as we dive in.
Heavenly Father,
We come to you this morning praying that you will humble us.
God we pray for Your Spirit among us, softening our hearts and opening our minds; Lord that we might see more clearly that you are sovereign and you are good.
Lord may we see that in every season and every circumstance your loving hand is always steering history for our good and for your glory.
What we know not please teach us. What we have not please give us. What we are not please make us. Speak now, Lord. Your people are listening.
As I said we've been marching through 1 Peter together, today we find ourselves in chapter 2, we'll start our time in verse 11, but before we read we would do well to remember anew our 3 principles for this series, namely that this earth is not our home, God uses trials and hardships for his purposes, and the end of all things is drawing near.
And we see so much of that at play in our text today.
Those are our distinctives for our series but if could sum up our time together today it would be with this statement.
Main Point: Your present posture towards authority and trial reflects your value of Christ and the life to come.
So where are you, church? Where are you in your journey of faith? What season of life do you find yourself in?
For some, if not many of you, life is incredibly hard right now. Situations at home, with family, at work, other trials have you constantly asking yourself, how do I get out of this mess right now, where our Scripture today would say its not about getting you out of trial.... but it's how you endure through trial that embodies your faith.
So Peter... writing to scattered Christians, living an oppressed life under Caesar, challenges them, not to focus on escaping trial, but to live honorably through it.
So we begin in verse 11 and we see first of all that we are called to, 'live honorably amongst people."
vv.11-12 - Live honorably amongst people
11Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul.
So much of 1 Peter to this point has spoken about your identity in Christ. That you are a chosen race... a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light.
We've covered that. That's who we are... now in light of our identity, this is how you respond.
He begins by calling these dispersed ones... these Christians on the run, "dear friends," some of your translations, I believe if you're reading the ESV it will say, "beloved," which if you know me you know that I love using that word when I'm speaking to all of you.
Beloved... dear friends, I speak to you that way because that is how the Bible speaks to believers. You are His beloved.
But notice how quickly the tone shifts from one of affection to an unfortunate reminder... "You are beloved... but you are also strangers and exiles in this land." So right from the jump you and I have something deep and rich to take from this passage....
God's favor, His blessing, is not contingent upon worldly circumstance.
Though you may feel downtrodden and out of place so frequently in this world... beloved if you are in Christ, you are seen and you have a home. So it is right to call you a stranger and an exile. Again we say... this is not our home! We live as sojourners. Pilgrims. Travelers.
So hold on loosely... but don't let go. If you cling too tightly... you're gonna lose control." - See, Mark thinks he's the only one who can quote song lyrics in a sermon... difference is that he'll quote DJ Kahled and I loop in 38 special.
But I digress...
What's Peter saying to these beloved travelers?
Keep from sin. Not just for morality sake. Not just to be pleasant and nice... but Peter puts plainly what is at stake when we talk about our sin...
These desires... these fleshly and sinful desires that you and I have... it's not a matter of... "oh darn... there I go again." as if I'm Beaver Cleaver getting into a little mischief. No, Peter plays up the severity of sin here saying that these things are waging war against your soul.
And so too it is with you, Christian. Be serious about sin... because it is certainly serious about you.
Jesus himself would caution that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Not to trip, trick, and prank.
Beloved, I beg of you, I beg of us all... start seeing sin as the Bible sees sin... as cosmic treason of the highest order.
We have grown ashamedly good at downplaying sin. And it won't be until you grieve sin, knowing that it makes your heavenly Father weep that you will have any real motivation to repent.
So beloved, do you hate your sin? Or do you excuse it?
Does it make your soul ache or do you try and shift the blame to the other guy?
But I ask these things because something is at stake.
Verse 12
12Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day he visits.
We are not seeking moral perfectionism for our own pride. We're not seeking perfectionism at all, but we are seeking to live honorably... why? Peter says here that the Gentiles are watching.
In this day and age that we speak of... there was a growing faction of Christians in the first century. Right? Christianity grew in the face of immense persecution, why? Because it's true.
You want evidence of Christianity as the one true faith worshipping the one true God? Look no further than Christians being killed for their faith and we still grew like wildfire.
Christians in the first century lived lives counter to the status quo. They rejected the supreme authority of the Roman government and they were looked at skeptically because of it.
Peter is telling Christians here to live honorably among the gentiles... do so in a manner that when not if they bring charge against you that it will be laughable.
He's urging you to live a life that when your enemies come to ridicule you that they would instinctively see how wrong they are and come to know the Lord...
Can you imagine having such character?
What Peter is saying here is to live a life that is so obviously saturated with the goodness and beauty of the gospel... that your accusers would be laughed out of a room.
It's been a bit over a year now that I lost my grandfather who was one of my biggest role models in this life. You talk about an upstanding man.
Granddaddy loved Jesus unequivocally. He was so firm in His faith and so, so gentle in Spirit. It's funny how so your different senses trigger memory. Maybe it's grandma's recipe or you have a keepsake that brings it all flooding back for you...
For me, I can still remember my grandaddy's cologne. It smelled like a grandfather's cologne and he wore a good bit of it. So much so that I'd go in and give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek and it wouldn't be a strange thing for someone to ask me later in the day... "Eric, you wearing aftershave?"
I'd quickly say, "No, it's my grandfather's." And it would quickly snap into place and become obvious for everyone else that I had spent time with granddaddy, that I was close to him.
Peter is saying here to live a life that is obvious that you have been with Jesus. That your inseparably close to Him, so much so that you smell like him.
He goes on to paint an even broader stroke, beginning in verse 13, Peter charges us to live honorably amongst authorities.
vv. 13-17 - Live honorably amongst authorities
13Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the emperor as the supreme authority
14or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good.
Peter starts out in vv.11-12 with how it is that we are to properly witness our faith in front of watching people... and now he's jumping in and saying that we will properly witness by how we submit to the God's appointed authorities. Emperors, kings, governors.
Lest you attempt to make an excuse for our present day and age because you are not a fan of the current administration... let's remind ourselves of the context in which Peter was writing...
Christians were in exile? Why? Because they were being persecuted. Not to a degree that we might call persecution, but much, much worse.
Christians weren't called names and their feelings hurt. Christians were fed to the lions in gladitorial games for entertainment. Christians were burnt alive.
Peter is telling dispersed Christians to submit to governing authorities and Nero, the emperor of the day is famous for murdering his own mother.
This is the government that Peter is telling Christians to submit to!
I say this as a point of application for us all.
Be a good citizen. Submit to appointed authorities knowing that they were put there by God himself. God's will and his plans are not thwarted or subverted because a particular party holds the oval office. Be humble. Be gentle in spirit.
What I am not saying is to lay aside your convictions as Christian men and women in the political arena.
We should advocate for policy that supports the pursuit of Christian values in the world around us and I certainly wouldn't ask you to do anything different.
But beloved I have seen some of you online... I've seen some of the things that you say... and I say this with love... some of you, at least periodically, have lost the heart and the mind of Christ in the name of trying to be witty.
And if you've ever posted, yelled, or worn clothing that says let's go Brandon... you're not funny and to endorse that "subtle" vulgarity... it's not Christlike.
15For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.
Verse 15 doesn't say that it is the will of the Father for you to disparage opponents.
Peter uses words here like foolish and ignorance, not as a put down... but uses it in a way that Solomon writes in Proverbs when he says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge...
You are foolish if you do not fear the Lord. You are foolish if you do not walk in His ways...
So what do you do? Do you chirp back at them? Do you revile the revilers? No.... you will put them to silence by your good deeds.
"Good" here, and it was used earlier in verse 12, more literally translated means beautiful...
You will silence your oppressors by doing and living the beautiful life of Christ.
Would they say that about you, Christian? Would they say that though you disagree, you care? Though you are a man or a woman of conviction, you are one of compassion and love.
16Submit as free people, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but as God’s slaves.
Peter says submit... do not use your status as redeemed, loved, and saved as if you have anything to boast in. Brothers, sisters, do not walk around with your chest puffed out because you call yourself a Christian thinking that you have arrived by any of your own merit. You are God's slave... you have no right to boast.
That's what Paul would say in Galatians... if you have anything to boast in... it's the cross of Jesus Christ... not your own doing but what He has done for you. So submit. Be humble. And take verse 17 to the depths of your heart.
17Honor everyone. Love the brothers and sisters. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Peter doesn't give much wiggle room. Or any...
Honor - everyone. Love the brothers and the sisters. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
vv. 18-25 - Suffer Well
18Household slaves, submit to your masters with all reverence not only to the good and gentle ones but also to the cruel.
19For it brings favor if, because of a consciousness of God, someone endures grief from suffering unjustly.
20For what credit is there if when you do wrong and are beaten, you endure it? But when you do what is good and suffer, if you endure it, this brings favor with God.
Let me speak away something real quick... you and I hear the word slave as an American and our brains race to antebellum south and chattel slavery... know that this is not that, this is closer to an indentured servitude where someone owed a debt and was then enslaved to someone's house to work off that debt... Peter is writing in a situation that is heinous and people are being abused and I want to point out what is hopefully obvious.
it has always flown flagrantly in the face of the value of a person to 'own' a person.
This text has been abused by many to misrepresent that the Bible in any way endorses slavery -- it does not. Peter is writing to a people who are suffering at the hands of injustice and he is instructing them how to live rightly in light of the sinful oppression weighing down on them.
To put it shorter -- he is writing with the knowledge of the reality of this injustice... not endorsing it.
So Peter lays bare for us all a difficult truth that really sums up how we are to live honorably and winsomely in the presence of many...
He takes a relationship that is so overwhelmingly characterized by injustice and says... not even there are you to return evil for evil. But instead, Christian... in your hardest times... in your deepest moments of hurt, your testimony unto the goodness of God will be by how well you suffer.
So how bout it? What sort of Christian will you be in your suffering?
Beloved will you trust him as you endure mistreatment?
Will you trust him knowing that He is good?
Will you trust Him knowing that He is sovereign and this is not your home?
Will you trust Him knowing that your have an inheritance stored up for you where moth or rust cannot touch?
Will you trust him to not to get you out of it... but to be with you through it.
The Christian life is not one devoid of suffering but rather is one that is that clings to hope through it.
Many are tempted to ask how could a good God allow for bad things to happen... there must be no good God...
To which I say what a sad world it would be if my suffering had no meaning.
For Joseph in Genesis... he wisely saw that what was once intended for evil... God used for good... a reminder to us all that while we see a thing or two that God is doing in the world... he is actually doing trillions upon trillions, not to mention upholding the cosmos by His sovereign will.
Suffering is not pointless... but rather it is purposeful. Something that Peter reminds us in verse 21.
21For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
You are called Christian... you are called to be with Him and to be like Him.
That's how Peter closes here. A reminder that we are to look to Him, the author and perfecter or our faith and follow suit. We shown here a number of ways that we are to follow our savior. How we are to arm up in grace and live not for this world, but for the next. Here we see 8 ways we suffer in a Christ like way...
22He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth;
Live Righteously - This is the life of Christ. He pursued holiness and virtue and so should we.
23when he was insulted, he did not insult in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.
Don't Respond Sinfully
Mark mentioned that we all love a good Cinderella story last week and I'd agree. We all know Rocky or at least enough to get the gist of the movie... he's a rags to riches story and he just. keeps. getting up off the mat. Christian... you are to be a Rocky in grace. You might be tempted to seek revenge but embody the forgiveness that he has dealt you, over and over and over and over.
So Don't seek revenge
Trust God's Judgement - Will you trust Him? In a world that tells you, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," will you trust that God is just, not only some of the time, but all of the time?
24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Remember the cost of sin - Always be humble, Christian. As the hymn goes it was my sin that held him there, until it was accomplished. Again, be purveyors of the grace that so desperately and so frequently need.
Remember we are dead to sin - You are free, beloved. Though we may still struggle, though we may still suffer, we are a free people made able to pursue righteousness by His power. We see here this sort of great exchange happen. Die to sins, live for righteousness and again we are reminded of the great exchange that happened for our sake. Beloved we are the prisoner that has been set free. We are Barabbas! Our heavenly Father sets us free despite our guilt and lays it on the suffering servant.
Remember His forgiveness - Dwelling richly, remembering that we have been forgiven greatly of this immense debt.
25For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Remember your master - You belong to another. Your life is not your own.
Will we walk in the way of Jesus, Glade Church?
Will you live honorably like Him? Will you suffer like Him?
Beloved how you live today speaks volumes.
Are you living for the here and now... or the hereafter?
We will know a day with no more tears and no more suffering, but for now as we walk this earth, let's live like Him.
Your suffering is not pointless, but it makes you more like Him.
[Heavenly Father
May we see when it is most difficult to see, that in our suffering and in our heartache we are never more close to you. That as we oftentimes walk these impossible paths, Lord you are with us and you are not calling us to anything that you have not endured yourself.
So Lord, I pray that we would be a people that would suffer well; that we would not be a people that seeks selfish gain, but like your Son we would lay ourselves down for the glory of your kingdom.
May it be so in the mighty name of Jesus,
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