Faithlife Sermons

Becoming: Genuine

Pastor Jerry Funston
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1 Peter 2:11–25 (ESV)
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 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.
It hurts us when things that were supposed to be real turn out to be fake Like wrestling - remember when U found out wrestling was fake?
That 1 really hurt me - What’s funny is I was 1 of the last people to find out People would tell me it’s fake & I would argue w/ them that they were lying Let me say, if you’re just finding this out, your world is being rocked right now to think that the WWF isn’t totally real & unscripted
Some of us fall in love & we think it was real, only to find that the other person didn’t feel the same way - it makes us wonder if anything is real
Some of us invest in friendships b/c we thought it was real but found out they were just using us - it makes us wonder if anything is real
Some of us have had people who made us promises, only to find they broke the promise - & it makes us wonder if anything is real
Everything looked real, felt real, seemed real, but in reality, it was all fake
When it comes to our faith, the way we know our faith is real is when we bump up against the real world B/c it’s easy to be a Christian here - we’re all singing songs about Jesus, the Air conditioning is on, everyone is nice
But when we walk out in a world that’s hostile to the things of God & we still stand up for what’s right - that’s when we know our faith is real
We’ve been in this series called , “Becoming” b/c there’s a person all of us want to become, but we don’t know how to get from here to there
•So Peter gives us 1 of the most important lessons in becoming all that God wants us to be & all that we are hoping we’ll be …. Be Genuine
•We will see that he gives us 3 areas where we can show genuineness … the authenticity of our faith
•Here’s why this is so important - if U have friends & family who don’t know Jesus, they are watching U
•But they aren’t just watching how U handle yourself when things are good
•They are watching how U handle adversity, how U handle setbacks, how U handle rude people & people who go out of their way to hassle U
•They want to know if the things we celebrate & say we believe on Sunday will affect how we live Monday - Saturday
-----(v. 11-12)----- 1 Peter 2:11-12 “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

#1 - Genuine Faith Lives Honorably among All

•Here’s what people are looking for - a Christian whose faith is sincere
•Now, sincere today means that a person is passionate & caring
•But in the ancient world, sincere meant 3 words: “Sun will judge”
What does that mean? In the ancient world, people made statues of marble & stone - Whatever they decided to use, it was totally made of that They would hire a sculptor to make whatever sculpture the person desired They’d pay & the artist would begin shaping the stone But let’s say the sculptor got down the end & as he was putting final touches on a statue of a warrior & he chiseled the nose off What do U do? Start over? Some did, others did something else
They’d take some dust & pieces of pottery & stone & make the wax the color of the stone & replace the stone nose w/ a wax one
Then owner would pick up his statue, put it in his house, & then the sun would come out & the statue would get a runny nose
The sun would melt the wax & the reveal the fracture
So in those days when you bought your sculpture, you asked the person if the statue was sincere - or w/o wax
Here’s what people are looking for in U & me - are we w/out wax?
Are we living the life that we say is the best life?
Peter says in the verses we read that we should live such honorable lives that when people who aren’t Christians speak evil of us, no 1 believes it
Why? B/c our works are speaking volumes “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Here’s why Christians need to really live for God & live w/ integrity: B/c people are looking for an excuse not to believe & when they see a Christian living like everyone else, they slap the hypocrite label on them
Then they feel like they’re off the hook - I don’t want to make it that easy for them - I want them to see how U live your life & know that God is real
Restaurant owners tell me servers don’t like to work on Sundays b/c they say people who go to church are bad tippers
We should be the best tippers b/c we’re called to be generous If you’re going to be a bad tipper, don’t tell them U come to to Journey B/c people are watching U
But the outside world is watching how U live
- they’re watching how U treat your wife & your kids
- how U speak to your neighbors
- how U handle problems
-how you behave on social media … how you talk about your church, school board, dog
-the people in your life who don’t know God are watching U b/c they want to know if your faith is real...
-----(v. 13-17)----- 1 Peter 2:13-17 “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

#2 - Genuine Faith Shows Honor to Leaders

No 1 wants to be controlled by “The man”
- Who’s the man? Lots of people are “The Man”
- Teenager = your parents/ live in a development, your HOA
If U have a job, your boss is “the man” even if it’s not a man
But everyone under authority dreams of the day they can be free of the man
Let me be the bearer of bad news for a moment - everyone is under authority
Whoever U think “The man” is, he’s got “the man” is his life too
I’ve learned that people who reject authority usually don’t accept God’s authority either
-They won’t attend a church faithfully & submit to the leadership, so they say, “No. It’s me & the Lord.”
- And the Lord always seems to hold all of their opinions
This is true in our personal lives & it’s true when it comes to government
Sometimes we think, “Well, God wouldn’t have written that if He knew who would be in the White House”
- I disagree ... When Peter wrote these words, the Caesar was a guy named Nero
This guy was completely insane - this guy would kill Christians for sport
This is the guy who burned Rome down so he could rebuild it & when people got mad he blamed the Christians
This guy would dip Christians in oil, set them on fire in his garden while he drove naked in his chariot yelling to them “You truly are the light of the world”
This was the demon possessed lunatic who was running the show
Romans 13:1–2 ESV
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
So we’re called to obey the law - even the ones we don’t like
You can pick the law you think is stupid … seat belts, masks, taxes
Students … dress code, homework, curfew
If the government institutes a law that violates a command of God, then we’re compelled to obey God above men - other than that, we’re called to obey
Why? B/c obeying the law, listening to the authority in your life, honoring the “man” gives U the maximum opportunity to show the genuineness of your faith
-----(v. 18-25)----- 1 Peter 2:18-25 “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 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.”

#3 - Genuine Faith Endures Challenges like Jesus

Here’s the challenge when we read this passage - Peter says that being a Christian brings persecution at times
Matthew 5:10–12 ESV
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Jesus is saying that those who are hassled are doubly blessed
Most of us would see persecution as a sign of being cursed not blessed
Jesus is saying “If you’re really living the Christian life, this will be the result”
So why would God allow those things in our lives?
Sometimes he has to use difficult circumstances to get us ready for the next season of life that’s ahead
What if the challenge you’re experiencing right now is the very thing that has to happen for God to do the big thing He wants to do in your life?
Here’s the challenge
- Our desire is for our rest, comfort, & everything going our way, whereas God’s desire is to make us like Jesus
God is way more interested in our holiness, than our happiness. - S Boothe
Romans 8:28–29 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
So when a challenge comes into our lives we start thinking, “Oh no! Where’s God when I need Him?”
He’s right there w/ us using that situation to grow our faith & trust in Him so He can make us more like Jesus & do great things in our lives & w/ our lives
God is working out circumstances to a greater degree than we ever could
The story of David & Goliath is amazing, but most don’t realize how it starts - it starts w/ David being asked to deliver cheese to his brothers
David was a shepherd boy & the youngest in his family & his 7 brothers were in the Israeli army fighting the Philistines
He showed up & heard the things Goliath said & decided to take on Goliath
1 Samuel 17:33–37 ESV
And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”
How could David be so courageous to want to fight this giant?
Here’s how - you’ve been in tough situations before & trusted God, so when this situation comes up, U realize that God has been preparing U for this moment
David had been in the field keeping his father’s sheep & when a lion or bear tried to take 1 of his sheep, David would attack the lion or bear & kill it … it was an expected part of the job
David became the champion of Israel b/c he was willing to trust God when no 1 was looking & those moments led to victory when the greatest challenge came
Listen: if U run away from the everyday challenges, don’t expect courage to materialize when the giant shows up
David’s life shows that preparation in little things, leads to better opportunities
Matthew 25:21 ESV
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
So here’s what I’m asking you: Take on the lion & the bear
Pick up a stone & realize that the living God is w/ you
Many of us aren’t living courageous lives b/c we haven’t made decisions that build courage
That’s why we need to take on the lion & bear when they come our way
What’s the lion & the bear to U? For married couples, it’s forgiving today
In your career, it’s doing the right thing today
Now let’s be honest … we aren’t David … most of us don’t fight our lions or bears … the idea of courage in the face of things that are scary/terrifying/hard … we have wilted in the past, and as much as we might desire to stand up the next time … we aren’t real sure
Maybe a difficult circumstance is what brought U here & U wouldn’t have come to church today to seek God w/o that circumstance
Maybe that problem that won’t go away is what God is using to draw U to Himself so He can show U how strong He is & how powerful He is
Could it be that everything is going according to plan & God’s desire for U is to take a step in His direction today
U might be here & you’re a Christian, but you’ve walked away form the Lord
Today is your day to come back to Him b/c He loves U
U might be here & you’ve never opened your heart to God You’ve never invited Him to come into your life to forgive U of all your sins
Listen Jesus was the best David ever … He saw the Goliath of Sin/Death/Eternity apart from God Himself - He saw that every 1 of us is a sinner - we’ve all fallen short of God’s standard - but God loves U so much He sent Jesus to die for U
That’s radical, scandalous love & it’s available to U today
•You’ve wondered “Where is God?” - He’s right here, right now & He’s calling U & inviting U to come back to Him
•God wants to forgive U - He wants to set U free of all that’s holding U back
•He wants to give U new life eternally starting right now
•Jesus wants to set U free of the hurt, anger & bitterness you’re living with
•Jesus didn’t wait for U to do something - He did something - He came to earth, He hung on a cross - He paid the price - He died for U
•Now it’s your move - will U respond to His offer of forgiveness & life?
•Now it’s time for U to make a move in His direction b/c He has already taken a step towards U...
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