1 Peter Part 4
1 Peter 1:1-25
Leviticus 11 (entire)
4 Foundations of Living the Gospel Here and Now
THE AUDIO FOR THIS SERMON IS AVAILABLE HERE
1st. Tool: Dual identity – Elect/Exiles (vss. 1-2)
2nd. Tool: A Praising heart for a stupendous salvation. (vss. 3-12)
3rd. Tool: 4 parts of a whole.
Given what we’ve seen already, we know that Peter does not see Christians as passive victims, even though they may have no power to change their outward circumstances in the slightest way.
He is speaking to his readers – to US – in such a way that they & we might learn how to live and act.
To take advantage of what CAN be done, and for the RIGHT REASONS, rather than being left to endlessly stew over what can’t realistically be changed.
Peter sees his readers as spiritual men and women.
Born again in Christ Jesus to live in a whole new way.
They have rights and privileges that extend far beyond their geographical location, cultural setting, linguistic isolation, and government imposed exile.
They are God’s people.
Made for God’s purposes.
Indwelt by God’s Spirit.
Informed by God’s Word.
Thrust into the middle of God’s sovereign work in the world.
In the process of being conformed to the image of God’s Son.
And destined for an eternal inheritance of unspeakable glory in, with and through Christ Jesus – the Lord of all.
[[SLIDE]] SO – “THEREFORE” (13) Preparing (or HAVING prepared) your minds – to think soberly.
SOBER: “a broader range of soberness or sobriety, namely, restraint and moderation which avoids excess in passion, rashness, or confusion” (GELNT domain 88.86), hence self-control.
- Grasping your dual identity as Elect/Exiles…
- Living overawed at your great salvation which is yet to be fulfilled…
And live out that sober-mindedness out virtue of 4 things:
1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
[[SLIDE]] 1. (13) Set your hope FULLY on the resurrection.
NOTE: This is NOT some spiritualized or religious technique to finally get things changed. It is the way to proceed forward regardless of whether or not things change.
Sometimes, even Christians can take on a somewhat superstitious approach to adversity.
One that says inwardly – “if I just do X or Y, God will magically be happy and change everything.”
So, I’ll Pray more.
Read the Word more.
Make sure I don’t skip Church.
Etc., etc., etc..
In reality your circumstances may, or may never change in this life.
If they change, they may change for the better, OR for the worse.
If they do not change – how do you live here and now?
Informed and encouraged first and foremost by God’s promises for the future.
How utterly foreign this is to all worldly mindedness.
Our hope doesn’t rest in earthly change. But in what is to come because of Christ.
“Peter’s point is that one sets one’s hope on future grace, not by idle wishfulness or unfounded optimism, but by a mental resolve to live in such a way as to manifest the “living hope” of the Christian believer. The Christian hope is a reality to be recognized and acted upon now.”
To set our hope fully on the grace that is to be brought to us when Jesus appears – is to be constantly mindful that when He does appear – the wonder of the fullness of God’s undiluted favor poured out upon us in that moment is so transcendently high and wondrous, that in comparison, nothing we’re suffering now is worthy to impact our thoughts and actions. GLORY IS COMING!
If instead we live like the world for its values: We lose “sobriety”.
[[SLIDE]] 2. (14-16) Pursue holiness now. (Guido Reni – 1631)
1 Peter 1:14–16 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Reject former patterns of sin.
By living in accord with your destiny – pursuing holiness above everything else, since you are destined to be conformed to the image of The Holy One.
Peter makes a couple of important points about this.
- Sin is connected to the “passions of our former ignorance.”
To continue in the things Jesus died to save us from the penalty of and the ravages of – is to live like Jesus hasn’t come, hasn’t paid for our sin, hasn’t sent His Spirit to indwell us, and hasn’t guaranteed us an eternal future in Him in the resurrection.
It is to live as though blind and unaware of the way things really are.
Which is as ignorant as it gets.
- God is holy. And the privilege that attaches to those in Christ is that we get to be holy too!
NOTE: – We WILL be holy.
He is in the process of conforming us to the image of Christ. So doesn’t it make sense to live in accord with where we are going?
Does it make sense to Head to Toronto if your destination is Miami?
So does it make sense to keep walking in sin when your destiny is to be like Christ?
- God is “other” than anything else in this world.
So as His People – He wants us to make that otherness known by who and what we are as His.
It is in this context Peter takes us back to Leviticus 11.
One of the interesting things which often occurs when reading a passage like Leviticus 11 – is that we have this almost uncontrollable urge to figure out practical reasons for all the details.
Why not eat camels, pigs hares or rock badgers? Is there something inherently bad or unhealthy in consuming them?
Why can’t we even touch their carcasses? (v 8)
Why only seafood with fins and scales?
What’s God got against lobster, crabs, oysters and clams?
Some birds are OK, some not.
Some insects are OK, and some not.
[[SLIDE]] I know every time I see the GEICO Gecko, I imagine he might taste like a plump chicken wing.
A little honey Bar-B-Q sauce and some bleu cheese and he’s gone!
[[SLIDE]] But God tells His people – NO.
And what about all the special cleaning rituals?
No doubt, we might be able to attach some scientific or health reason to all of this – but God tells the people that above all else – He has THIS reason: (v 45). “I am holy, and therefore YOU are to be holy.”
What has THAT got to do with it?
The word “holy” means in the first place, set apart, consecrated. Unique.
And God, in demonstrating that He is utterly unique, not like the idols that men create and fashion out of their own minds –
And not one and the same with the creation – like sun or moon or earth gods
And last of all not like US.
In making His “otherness” known, He sets apart things that mark out His people as unique among all the peoples of the earth.
And some of these markers are put in place for no other reason that to mark them out as uniquely belonging to the unique and only true God.
And that’s enough.
You are my Children. Let it be known that you are not like everyone else – because you belong to me.
And if they cannot see the reasons behind my statutes – so what?
They set you apart in a fallen world as living unto an authority that transcends all else.
Don’t be afraid to be MINE.
Reject the culture’s views on morality and sexuality and so many other areas. And show yourself to live as unto me.
I am other – so as mine, you be “other” too.
NOTE: We don’t have invent any oddness of our own in this enterprise.
Not bending to the Culture in terms of morality, religion, ethics, materialism, self-love, etc. – will grow more and more into aberrant features to the World.
As 1 Peter 4:4 says, they will be surprised enough when they see that you don’t buy into and follow the World’s forms of excess.
God knows that is sufficient.
[[SLIDE]] 3. (17-21) Judgment AND deliverance – Remembering God WILL judge (your persecutors will not be unaddressed) and how blessed you are in comparison.
(Rubens – Lot fleeing Sodom)
1 Peter 1:17–21 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Again – Peter has a couple of thoughts to consider about this.
- It is good to fear being partakers in the things God will judge.
- It is good to jealously guard the gifts and the position that has been granted to us in Christ.
- It is good to fear losing anything of what was so dearly purchased at the cost of the Blood of The Lamb.
- It is good to fear going back into your former bondage to sin.
Remembering God’s timing in sending Christ when He did for you.
How privileged you are to see first-hand the things the OT prophets only saw in dim shadows.
How privileged you are that you partake of things the holy angels who dwell in the very presence of God WISH they could fully comprehend.
How privileged to know that your salvation is not an accident, but that Christ’s predestined sacrifice for human sin included His thoughts of saving you from all eternity.
If you know these things – live like they are true and let them govern every decision you make!
[[SLIDE]] 4. (22-24) Love one another. (Dirck Van Baburen 1616)
1 Peter 1:22–24 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls,
The purifying of your soul in salvation, your obedience to the truth of the Gospel, has now enabled you to love in a way the world knows absolutely nothing about.
And it is one of the things you have been born again for – to “love one another from” this newly purified heart.
A heart no longer set on the world’s values and selfish desires – but on higher, spiritual, eternal things.
For Peter, loving one another is wrapped up in living for Christ in every aspect of life.
This is such an un-Worldly way of thinking about love.
The World puts the weight of love on the shoulders of our emotions and personal passions being fulfilled by someone else.
It is why people talk about falling in an out of love.
What they mean is: Sometimes I have an emotional affection for someone, that at other times I do not.
And while Christian love also impacts our emotions – it doesn’t find its root or its residence there.
It is not just how we feel about each other, it is how we think about ourselves as being bound to each other in Christ – as members of the same Body.
Far above the pragmatic – this is Biblical thinking in terms of loving one another.
I cannot love someone in Christ by exposing them to sin – mine or others.
I cannot love someone in Christ by venting my spleen at them.
I cannot love someone in Christ by living in a state of constant frustration and anger.
I cannot love someone in Christ by adopting the World’s morality.
I cannot love someone in Christ by living in fear and faithlessness.
I cannot love someone in Christ by indulging in sin secretly.
CONCLUSION: (25) This is how the Gospel is lived out.
1 Peter 1:25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
Everything the World lives for – will perish.
Only the Word of God – the working out of the Gospel in lives lived in joyful submission to Christ Jesus will endure.
Since that very Word of the Gospel that saves us alone will endure.
[[SLIDES]] Prepare your minds for action in the midst of this exile where you live Christian.
Do it with all godly sobriety.
Set your hope fully on the grace to be brought to you at the appearing of Jesus Christ – not on any earthly goal or circumstance.
Pursue the holiness you are destined for – now.
Remain overawed at the wonder of what it cost to ransom you from your sin and the way the whole world lives.
And in these realities – live a life loving the brethren, by making these things the foundation of how you live.
 Jobes, Karen H. 2005. 1 Peter. (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
 Jobes, Karen H. 2005. 1 Peter. (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.