Date Written: August 11, 2007
Date Preached: August 12, 2007
Where Preached: OZHBC (PM)
Sermon Series: A Study in 1 Peter
Sermon Title: This World is not our home!
Sermon Text: 1 Peter 1:17 - 21
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who thru Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Today in England, there are some independent radio stations, but 40 years ago (in the 1960’s) the British Broadcasting Company had a monopoly on the airwaves in England.
In 1965, a free-spirit named Roy Bates, decided to set up his own, independent, illegal, pirate alternative radio station which he called Radio Essex. Being against the law, and he was quickly arrested and fined £100.
Not willing to give up his radio voice, Mr. Bates moved his operation offshore. England’s territorial waters at the time extended only 3 miles off the coastline. Roy Bates knew of an old abandoned fort six miles off the coast, just far enough to lie within international waters.
It was a military platform built during WWII to protect the Thames Estuary – the harbor at the mouth of the Thames river and it housed up to 200 men, and had a helipad.
After the war, the platform had been abandoned. Roy set up his radio station on this offshore haven because he was safely in international waters, and he was able to broadcast his own brand of entertainment over much of England.
In 1967, Roy realized that because his home was in international waters that it was claimed by no country, so he decided to claim it as his own sovereign realm...his own country.
Roy and his wife Joan declared the off shore tower to be the “Principality of Sealand,” and to be an independent country. They crafted a constitution, named themselves Prince Roy and Princess Joan of Sealand, and swore loyalty to their new country, using their newly created flag and national anthem.
By late 1968, the British navy had become aware of the new situation and dispatched a naval cruiser to quietly resolve the situation. Prince Roy took exception to this invasion of his territorial waters and fired warning shots – basically plinking the side of the naval warship with a shotgun loaded with bird shot.
Since Prince Roy was still an English citizen, he was accused of several serious crimes against England and was summoned to a British court. In this widely publicized lawsuit, the court decided that it could not exert any jurisdiction outside of British national territory, which many interpret as the first de facto recognition of the Principality of Sealand.
This case actually ruled that Sealand was not part of the United Kingdom, and it also inferred that there was not any other nation claiming it, so therefore, Prince Roy’s declaration of a new Sovereign State was upheld.
A well-recognized international precedent known as the Montevideo Convention states that one test of the legitimacy of a nation is when it is recognized by other states. England, by specifically NOT claiming it, was recognizing it.
What would you do with a country of your own. What kind of laws would you pass? Sealand instituted an international ferry service consisting of a rubber Zodiac. In order to board the Sealand vessel at the dock in England, you had to present your Sealand passport and submit to customs inspection.
Smoking and swearing were both subject to banishment, as was taking more than three five-minute showers per week. Sealand printed international postage stamps and used them to mail letters in England, which the British postal service subsequently delivered, again recognizing Sealand’s existence and rights.
But dark days soon fell on the brave new country…
In August of 1978, a number of Dutch men invited Roy the continent. It was later found that these men were part of organized crime families wanting to take over this small country! It would make them legitimate and beyond the laws and reach of other nations.
Roy left Sealand under the control of his Prime Minister (the German night shift disc jockey, who was later discovered to be tied in with these gangsters!
And while Roy was away, armed men boarded Sealand and staged a coupe, imprisoning Prince Roy’s son the His Royal Highness Prince Michael. Prince Roy became suspicious and returned to his country.
After he discovered what had happened, he declared war on both Germany and the Netherlands, and went back to Europe and hired a mercenary unit, to lead a helicopter assault to retake his country.
They were successful in regaining control and no lives were lost! The traitors were declared prisoners of war and imprisoned. During the time that he held the prisoners, the Governments of the Netherlands and Germany petitioned for their release.
Then, in the most definitive recognition of Sealand’s sovereignty, Germany sent a diplomat directly to Sealand to negotiate for the release of their citizen.
Roy first released the Dutch citizens, as the war was over, and the Geneva Convention requires the release of all prisoners. The German disc jockey was held longer, as he had accepted a Sealand Passport, and therefore was guilty of treason, but was later released as well.
This German disk jockey still claims to this day that his government was entirely legal, and now he claims to be the ruler in exile of Sealand, living in Spain.
In the 1990’s Sealand offered to join the coalition of nations supporting both the first and second Gulf Wars, and they even issued statements of condolences and offers of assistance to the United States after 9/11.
In 2003, Sealand also appointed its first official athlete - Darren Blackburn of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Blackburn has represented the Principality at a number of sporting events, including marathons and off-trail races.
While Sealand has been the pride and joy of Prince Roy and his family for well over 30 years, his recent poor health has caused him fundamentally to review the arrangements which have been in place for decades and to look to the future of his Principality.
So pastor, what is the point of this long story? Well, Roy Bates gives us an extreme example of a man who set up an actual kingdom for himself here on earth.
As cool as that sounds, the Bible tells us that we have a kingdom in Heaven. We are citizens of that country, not this. We are just strangers here.
And that is what Peter is speaking about here in our passage tonight. He is sharing that we are NOT citizens of this world, but we are citizens of heaven… citizens of God’s kingdom! And as such, God is our Sovereign ruler and king… and judge!
1. God will judge our works…(v.17)
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear…
For many people this statement may seem to be a contradiction to Ephesians 2 where the Bible says we cannot DO anything to earn our salvation… if so then why are we going to be judged on our works!
Well God is going to judge ALL peoples of the world, and His judgments will be based on the Law He set forth in the 10 commandments! If you have broken a law… you will be judged accordingly.
The Bible shares with us that ALL have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory… God’s perfection! And in that, we are ALL going to be judged by God because we have fallen short!
BUT, the next part of that verse is where believers are separated from the non-believers. But the gift of God is eternal life. When we come to know Christ, it does not remove God’s judgment of our works, but it does remove the punishment that comes from the judgment!
On the final day we will be judged, but Christ who is our advocate will intercede on our behalf and because of what He has done on Calvary, we shall be held blameless for our works, and righteous in the sight of God because of our affiliation in Christ Jesus!
So do NOT fear because the Bible shares that you will be judged on your works… Christ has intervened for you and you will stand before God blameless on that great and final day of the Lord! This idea is detailed further in the next verse…
2. We are NOT redeemed by what we do…(v.18)
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers…
Here Peter relates that our works cannot redeem us! Our works are nothing more than corruptible things… things like material possessions or money… we cannot buy our redemption… or things like the traditions of men that lead to aimless or shiftless or self-centered actions or conduct on our part!
The implication here is that nothing in this world can REDEEM us… and in v.19 Peter clarifies just WHAT it takes for the redemption of the soul!
3. Redemption only comes thru Jesus Christ…(v.19)
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot…
Here Peter clarifies our redemption as being directly from Christ and what He accomplished on the Cross of Calvary. The Bible shares with us that without the shedding of blood there can be NO forgiveness of sin.
In the OT the nation of Israel was instructed by God to sacrifice their best lamb each year, and the sins of that year would be pushed into the future, but the sin was never washed away. The nation as a whole would take a goat and place all of its sin on its head and send the goat out into the wilderness away from the people.
The idea was that the blood of the animal was shed for the sin of the individuals, but the animal blood was NEVER sufficient to FORGIVE them of the sin, merely push it one year into the future!
In this verse we find Peter making note of the ‘precious blood’ of Christ. Why was it so precious? After all Jesus was human like us all, but it was precious because Jesus lived a spotless and sinless life!
And because of that sinless perfection, he was without sin and without stain… He became the perfect sacrifice…and the shedding of His ‘precious’ blood not only addressed our sins, but forgives them and removes them as far as the east is from the west!
4. This has always been God’s plan…(v.20)
20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you…
Jesus was sent to this world by God in the 1st century… some 2000 yrs ago! But what we must understand is that God did not wake up one morning in heaven [He never sleeps anyway] and say WOW I need to come up with a plan to save these people who have been stained with sin! I think I’ll send Jesus.
God forordained this plan before the foundation of the world… it has always been His plan for saving His creation. God has always known that Jesus would be the One to come for the salvation of humanity, just as He has always known who would accept His gift of salvation as well. There is NOTHING that surprises God!
And in this verse, Peter is revealing to the church in Rome and to all believers of his day that it is only now that God has chosen to manifest His plan to His creation. It is NOW that God has determined that humanity would have access to that plan!
Today, we have the complete revelation of God’s plan for humanity. There are NO other revelations that are ‘in the works’ or ‘coming our way’! God has made evident His plan, His mercy and His salvation, it is up to us to accept it or reject it!
If anyone comes to you and says, the Bible is good, but it doesn’t carry the WHOLE truth, you need to turn around and get out of there as fast as you can! God’s word is the complete and total revelation of God’s plan for humanity.
5. It is only by God’s Power we can be redeemed…(v.21)
21 who thru Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God…
The redeemed stand in redemption and citizens of a heavenly realm, not because of their works or because of what they have done or said, but it is for those who ‘believe in God’ that this redemption comes to…
Do you remember John 14:1, where Jesus said, “… you believe in God, believe also in Me…” Here Peter reiterates the need for us to ‘believe’ in God to be redeemed and made into a citizen of the heavenly realms.
But we are not only to believe that Jesus lived here on this earth, but we are to believe and accept what He has done for us… and that it has changed us in a radical and special way! And when we look at what God’s word says, we can rest assured that this world is NOT our home, and that…
We are NOT citizens, but strangers passing through this life!…