SALT 14/9/03 1 Peter 1:13-25
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." 17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 18 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 forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you.
Larry Walters, was a 33-year-old man who decided he wanted to see his neighbourhood from a new perspective. He went down to the local army surplus store one morning and bought forty-five used weather balloons. That afternoon he strapped himself into a lawn chair, to which several of his friends tied the now helium-filled balloons. He took along a six-pack of beer, a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, and a BB gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.
Walters, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air, was caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky right into the middle of the air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. Too frightened to shoot any of the balloons, he stayed airborne for more than two hours, forcing the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon, causing long delays in flights from across the country.
Soon after he was safely grounded by
the police, reporters asked him three questions:
"Where you scared?" "Yes."
"Would you do it again?" "No."
"Why did you do it?" "Because," he said, "you can't just sit there."
In today's reading Peter is telling his readers that they can't just be unmoved by their trust in Jesus. It has to affect the way that they live their lives.
Last week Shaun started our sermon series looking at the first twelve verses of 1 Peter 1. You discovered how those first Christians were suffering for their faith and how God is faithful and has a wonderful eternal inheritance for all believers. This certain hope is a comfort and joy for all believers, whatever problems they may have to endure in the short-term.
Verse 13 starts therefore. Peter is saying because you are saved, elected and have a living hope live like this...
He refers to three types of Christian conduct.
Hope and holiness, verses 13-16.
Reverence before God, verses 17-21.
Love for other believers, verses 22-25.
Hope and holiness, verses 13-16.
"Catch Me if You Can" is a movie is based on a true story about Frank W. Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio). When Frank's dad, Frank W. Abagnale Sr. (Christopher Walken) is chased by the I.R.S. and ultimately divorced by his self-indulgent wife Paula (Nathalie Baye), the split has a profound effect on the sixteen-year-old high-school student, whose successful pretense as a substitute teacher gives him the idea that he can go much further. Impersonating a Pan Am co-pilot, a physician, and a lawyer, he is able to pass hundreds of fake cheques partly because the clothes make the man, more because he possesses enough charm to acquire information, hotel rooms, flights around the world, and oodles of cash. A determined F.B.I. agent (Tom Hanks), tracks the young man across continents and finally gets his man.
Arrested and sentenced to 12 years jail at the end of the 60's, the 26 year old was given a second chance by the American government - early release in return for his skill and expertise. As a secure document consultant to the FBI and thousands of corporations around the world, including the company that produces Australia's passports and credit cards, he is now known as one of the world's leading experts on document fraud.
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
Peter is saying that having been saved from sin and death Christians have to be genuine their words and deeds have to agree. There is to be no deception, we cannot con God. Our behaviour shows God and other people that our faith is genuine. We are to be 'holy'. The word literally means 'set apart', normally for a particular things or purpose. We are to be set apart for God and follow the ways of God. The word also carries with it an element of moral purity.
How can we live like this?
Peter gives several pointers;
( prepare your minds for action; verse 13)
Imagine a lady in a long flowing dress hailing a taxi. It starts off just before she reaches it so she gathers up her dress and, unhindered runs after the taxi to catch it. "Prepare your minds for action" (NIV) replaces KJV's literal translation "Gird up the loins of your mind." The figure is of a man gathering the folds of his long garment and tucking it into his belt so that he can move freely and quickly.
Our minds should be ready and focused on doing God's will, unhindered by the cares of this world, confident in his love and provision for us. We can only do this in the power of the Holy Spirit, led by God's word the Bible, inspired by the example of Jesus. We need to feed our minds by prayer, Bible study, worship, and sermons. We need to teach, support, guide and encourage one another in the church as we journey through life.
We can remind ourselves that we are not citizens of this world but the next. set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed, verse 13. We have already received some of the grace, or undeserved favour of God through Jesus but there is a lot more to come. Perfect resurrection bodies, no more sickness, suffering, death or mourning but being in the presence of God forever, serving and worshipping him with all the other saints. Our life on earth will be fleeting compared to our life in eternity. The certain knowledge of this will inspire us to live for God. To invest in the future.
Jesus said, Matthew 6:19, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."
We are to be holy by being self-controlled, verse 13. One of the fruit, or natural consequences of the Holy Spirit ( Galatians 5:22f ). Being filled with God's Spirit does not have to result in some ecstatic, out of body experience where we filled with emotion. God's Spirit can be equally involved in allowing us to be self-controlled. To say 'No' to our evil desires that characterizes the sinful nature which is ignorant of the ways of God and devoid of the power to break free of sin. Verse 14, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
This is the first of a two stage process, the negative if you like. The positive is being holy, acting in the right way.
Peter calls his readers obedient children, verse 14. We are children of our loving, heavenly Father, chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood, verse 2. Our relationship is secure because it depends on God the Father's choice. We are sanctified, 'made holy' by the Holy Spirit. The end result of that election is obedience. Just as a child with a loving father knows that his/her father's will is for their own good, so Christians should know that God the Father's perfect will for us is for our benefit.
From 'The Message'; 1 Peter 1:13 "So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. 14 Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. 15 As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. 16 God said, "I am holy; you be holy."
( Hope and holiness, verses 13-16. )
In The Chronicles of Narnia, an allegory by C.S. Lewis, the author has two girls, Susan and Lucy, getting ready to meet Aslan the lion, who represents Christ. Two talking animals, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, prepare the children for the encounter. "Ooh," said Susan, "I though he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion." "That you will, dearie." said Mrs. Beaver. "And make no mistake, if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knee's knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."
"Then isn't he safe?" said Lucy. "Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the king, I tell you!"
Reverence before God, verses 17-21.
17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 18 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 forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
Chloe occasionally calls me 'Jim'. Now, of course, that is my name but I refuse to answer to this and tell her to call me 'Daddy' which is more appropriate for a child who is not yet three years old!
We are to have respect for our Father whom we can 'call on' in prayer, verse 17. This does not mean that we can be casual or flippant or over-familiar with God. After all, in the Lord's Prayer we say Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. That is to say that we treat God with the greatest honour and respect and pray that His name will not be misused or abused.
Before Jesus God was rarely if ever called "Father" but names were used by the Jews that referred to his magnificent qualities such as His glory, grace, and sovereignty. Today we have lost the initial joy and wonder that those first Jewish Christians must have had in calling God "Father". Perhaps we are over familiar with him.
The knowledge that God will judge everybody ( cf. Hebrews 9:27 ) should be a sobering one for everybody, even those who would call themselves 'Christian'. After all Jesus said of the day of judgment, Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Obedience and faith have to go hand in hand.
On 17th May 1995 a 100.10 carat pear-shaped D flawless diamond was sold at Sotherby's in Switzerland for over £10.5 million ($16,548,750 ).
What is the most valuable thing that you own?
The most valuable thing that you own is your faith in Jesus because it is priceless. It cannot be bought with money. It cost God His one and only Son who was even more flawless, more perfect than that stone. Because Jesus is so precious and God was prepared to give Him up to death for you and me that means that we are valuable. You and I need never feel worthless or unloved because of the cross of Jesus.
Jesus has 'redeemed' us. The Greek word redeem("lytroo") goes back to the slavery in ancient Rome. Any representative first-century church would have three kinds of members: slaves, freemen, and freed men. People became slaves in various ways - through war, bankruptcy, sale by themselves, sale by parents, or by birth. Slaves normally could look forward to freedom after a certain period of service and often after the payment of a price. Money to buy his freedom could be earned by the slave in his spare time or by doing more than his owner required. Often the price could be provided by someone else. By the payment of a price (lytron, antilytron), a person could be set free from his bondage or servitude. A freed man was a person who formerly had been a slave but was now redeemed.
The blueprint to save humankind was drawn up by God before Adam sinned, verse 20,He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. God's plan of salvation was revealed in time through the person and work of Jesus and it is only through Jesus that we can have a right relationship with God the Father. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
The three types of Christian conduct are;
Hope and holiness, verses 13-16.
Reverence before God, verses 17-21.
Love for other believers, verses 22-25.
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you.
Jesus had told his followers John 13: 34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
This wasn't new in one sense. Leviticus 19:18 'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.' This was one of many commands given to Moses by God after the Israelites had been delivered by God's undeserved favour from the slavery of Egypt. However, the final acts that secured deliverance involved the power of God in killing the firstborn sons and drowning the Egyptian army.
As we have just seen, the act that secured deliverance for Jesus' followers is a demonstration of sacrificial love. This is presented as a command. It is not primarily a matter of feeling or liking or talking. It has to do with the will, obedience that is commanded, so to love our neighbour or even our enemy is not something which is up for negotiation. If it is commanded then it is possible.
But, when we compare our love to that of Jesus we will feel inadequate. But the Bible stresses that our love for our fellows is in the way of a response. It is a response to the love of Jesus; we love because he first loved us. It is a response to and by the Spirit within us: he sheds the love of God abroad in our hearts. It is a response to our being united to Christ, being 'born again', verse 23. The seed that is imperishable and eternal has been planted and is growing. Love is its fruit.
Notice that this is the word that was preached to you. We should not forget the importance of preaching. It is only by understanding and applying the word of God that is the Bible, in the power of the Holy Spirit that we can grow to be the people God wants us to be.
This love for one another is a new command because it comes from the new covenant that Jesus brought in. He had referred to this when he shared the bread and wine with his disciples something we celebrate in this service.
Jesus said love is the mark of his disciples and, therefore, the church. It is to be a witness to the world. Love has to be lived out. There is always a specific person, here in front of us in a concrete situation. Love is the greatest of gifts. Love is a matter of action. It shows itself in a thousand different forms - in hospitality, in greeting, in not being snobbish, in not keeping a score of wrongs, in weeping with those who weep, in encouraging, in giving up your `rights', in speaking out, in working together, in seeking reconciliation. It is the `more excellent way', as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13.
So we are to live out our lives as Christians with Hope and holiness, Reverence before God, and Love for other believers.
A man stopped his car in front of a house that Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter had helped to build for Habitat for Humanity. A little boy was standing in the front yard. He was probably five or six years old.
The little lad ran out and put his hands on the side of the car, and said, "Man, you sure got a pretty car."
The man in the car replied, "Well, you sure got a pretty house. Which one of these houses is yours?"
The little fellow said proudly, "That one."
The man in the car asked, "Young man, who built your house?" He thought the boy was going to say, "President Jimmy Carter built my house." But, instead, the lad gave a big smile, and said, "Jesus built my house."
The little fellow was right. I am sure that Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter would gladly testify that they do their good works because Jesus Christ has touched their lives.