Summary: A word we don't like is submission. We certainly don't like it when we feel as if we're being wronged somehow. “Submission” is the key ingredient that enables a Christian to live a good life among the ungodly!
I’m confident that in the years that follow, there will be plenty of articles and books written about this chapter in world history and in church history. And they will address the question, “what lessons did we learn from all of this?” And I’m confident that much of that will be helpful. Looking backward is always done with a 20/20 vision.
But we’re not there yet! We’re still living in the moment of this momentous time. This is the season of COVID-19 and the question right now is “how should we as Christians be living out our faith during this historic moment in history?” That is the focus of this sermon series we’re in that I’ve called: COVID and the Christian.
When you look back on this time, what do you want to be able to point to and celebrate as a follower of Christ?
o Unwavering faith?
o Steadfast resolve? (God is in control)
o Christ-like behavior?
Last week we were in the book of 1st Peter, and I’d like to ask you to turn there again today. I love the book of 1st Peter because it just so practical. Peter was writing to Christians who really weren’t all that different than us! They were Christians who were enduring an extremely difficult season.
And NO, their difficulty wasn’t a virus outbreak, but it was something that caused them to suffer. And what Peter shares with them about their difficulties and how they should be responding to them as followers of Jesus Christ speaks volumes to us today!
I do believe that the book of 1st Peter could easily be seen as the Christian’s manual for enduring COVID with your faith intact!
I’ll again strongly encourage you (Like I did last week) to read all of 1st Peter! When you do, you’ll discover that a theme emerges in Peter’s letter. And that theme is this:
Christians should live exceptional lives in the midst of suffering because such behavior brings glory to God.
That’s how I feel about these strange days we’re living in caused by the Coronavirus. The word of God cries out to us today that we too should live exceptional lives as followers of Jesus, even in the midst of virus outbreak because such exceptional behavior brings glory to God.
Listen to what Peter writes in 2:11…
1 Peter 2:11–12 (NIV)
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Peter flat out lays down a challenge to the church! Live good lives! (And not just because it’s the right thing to do)! Live good lives because God is going to use your good life to do something much bigger than you could imagine!
If we could just climb into their shoes for a moment (those Christians who received Peter’s letter)! Hardships all around them because of their faith in Jesus. Mistreated, mocked, discriminated against were just a few of the hardships these Christians were living with because of their faith in Jesus. Don’t think for a second that there weren’t some Christians who wanted to retaliate; to lash out; to make other people look stupid for a change.
Peter is like: “You guys just live an exemplary life—WHY? Because even the pagans (which means those who don’t believe like you or believe something completely contrary) – Even the pagans who mistreat you will see this exemplary life (your good deeds) and glorify God.
He’s calling them to live their lives with the “End in Mind.” (The bigger picture)! The way we are living has a purpose. God is using my life for bigger purposes which are dependent on me living a good life (and exemplary life). This isn’t just about me, it’s about what God is doing in me, and what he wants to do with others through me!
Friends, a big concern of mine when all this COVID-19 stuff started raining down on us was how Christians would choose to respond to this incredible hardship. Would the church (would Christians) respond in a way that would reflect glory and honor back to God, or would we respond in a way that makes the church look ugly and hypocritical?
Would an unbelieving world be impressed with how Christians have conducted themselves through this trying season and perhaps consider our claims about Jesus as being something they to should investigate?
Or, would the unbelieving world have a bitter taste in their mouths with how Christians have conducted themselves through this trying season and perhaps even be pushed away from the opportunity to know the Lord simply because they were so unimpressed with our behavior.