Summary: Christ's Lordship, Readiness to Witness, Hope, Respect
The 3 C’s of a Healthy Church - Always Be Ready
1 Peter 3:15 (p. 851) February 12, 2017
A few years ago I was walking out of one of our worship services after it was over and I walked past a staff member who was having an animated conversation with a gentleman that was really upset and letting our staff member know it. I heard this comment: “Are you telling me you financially support a ministry that involves hispanic people without making sure they are all legal?”
That got my attention…and you know me (I’m usually soft spoken and gentle and avoid controversy) . Maybe not (lol).
My first question to this “fired up” individual was “Are you a Christ follower?” And after he said he was I asked “What do you think as Christ followers should be our first concern when it comes to people…no matter their race?”
He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “I don’t get you?” And I said, “Our first priority should be eternity, our first priority should be God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. Don’t you agree?”
He got madder and said: “If that’s how you are going to use my money, I’ll never give you another cent.” And I felt anger but also compassion. I remember saying…“Put first priorities first and then the Holy Spirit can guide individuals to doing what’s right even if it’s hard.” He said something else about not giving anymore money and I ended the conversation with “If that’s how you feel you can take your $2.50 and head down the road.” He did.
The reason this conversation came to mind as I prepared this message involved the horns of a dilemma Christians are facing in the world today. How can we be Matthew 6:33 people who “Seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness?” How can we be individuals who have “revered Christ in our hearts as Lord…and are always prepared to share the hope we have…with gentleness and respect? In a world that is divided and angry.
The Apostle Peter is writing to such a world in his first letter…There are individuals who view their Jewish heritage and it’s laws and traditions as giving them elite status with God…and there are gentile believers who are now part of God’s family…and both live under earthly authorities in this world. Peter writes:
1 PETER 1:9-17 (p. 850)
If we really want to fulfill God’s mission for our lives…in our world.
I. RESPECT AND GENTLENESS ARE VITAL
Christians who were Jewish…Christians that had been pagans…gentiles…all living under a Roman system where the Emperor of Rome was to be worshipped. Women, who before Christ, had very little authority, but now were lifted to equal salvation status…slaves and free, old and young, priests and blue collar workers.
“Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy…each are now together “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.” (1 Peter 1:9-10)