Summary: Peter’s purpose is to tell his audience how to respond and stand fast in the Godly loving lifestyle in the midst of suffering and persecution of their faith. Living for God and not your circumstances! Living a life of hope, holiness and love in the mids
Be A Living Witness
Be a Witness: Personally (Holiness)
(the key Center, Verse 2:12)
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which 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 (v12 Key Center).
Exegesis: We are set apart as aliens and stranger to the world. This term is Peter is referring to be in regard to moral and ethical setting part. It literally means someone who dells alongside or is in exile, but his home is elsewhere. Living according to the God principles in an anti-Christian environment is to Christ glory when He comes back. Despite what the world may accuse these believers of doing (starting a fire the Rome, orgies etc.) it’s how they live that is going to glorify God. It’s what we do that’s going to set the example of Christ likeness in everything that we do, weather or not people are looking or not. The “sinful desires” Peter calls it, is nothing more then the pull of the worldly system: Perigee, power, and money, influence, all of which are of the world. We will see that Peter is demonstrating that our relationships we have authenticates our Christian testimony, a hard but truthful wisdom in the mist of unimaginable perpetuation. It’s interesting that Peter uses the word “war.” Here Peter identifies the enemy of our souls, not as Satan, but our sinful desires. This is an interesting point to make considering his audience he writing too who are persecuted and hunted down at the hands of Nero. Peter does not tell his audience about the enemy of Satan and his army of demons, instead he redirects them from the external temporal enemy (Nero) to the eternal vexing enemy of our souls which is found inside of us: our sinful desires. War is something that is intentional not passive or half-heartedly commitment too. War is strategic and well though out. Peter is pushing his audience towards being proactive in regards to holiness and living the good life from the inside out and, thus be a living witness to those around them. This is a logical conclusion because the next verse gives us a directive imperative. Peter informs us about the nature of the battle, then gives us a battle plan as to how to implement our strategy while engaging the enemy of our soul, our sinful, selfish nature.
Illustration: It is the picture of a foreigner who is in a country for a while, long enough to rent and least a house, but is not a permanent resident. He is a stranger, an exile who dwells in a strange land. Noah was told to build an ark. It wasn’t what others said, what others accused him of (crazy), it was what he was doing and whom he was doing for. Holiness is to doing and saying what’s right when no one is around. Having a clear conscience before God is priceless. That’s what holiness is to the believer.
War: Find a good war stories
The goal of war is to conquer and dominate without hesitation. Those who have really seen war really don’t stop seeing it. The enemy is ruthless and relentless.
Application: (Read and reflect the key Center, Verse 2:12). We are to live like who we are, and whom we belong too, not where we are and who were with. Although we are aliens and stranger to this world, we have absolutely no obligation to live like those to whom we are visiting. Our moral conduct should come not from this world but from above. It not what who may say, it what you do and who you do it for, and who you are that’s going to make the difference. Just because we live in the world just not mean we have to act like the world. The genuine mark of a personal walk with Christ is love. A loveless believer will never reach a lost world. When Christ comes back it’s how we treat one another that are going to make the difference when all is revealed and laid bare before Him.
Transition: Now that we know that we are to be witness personally, we also need to realize that it also extends to our life as we live in society also that makes or breaks our witness as believers. (Read key Center, Verse 2:12, out loud)!
Be a Witness: In Society
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.