Sermons

Summary: WHEN WE GET UP IN THE MORNING, WE EXPECT THE DAY TO BE JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY. THIS MESSAGE DRAWS ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY" AND WE COULD BE CALLED INTO GOD'S PRESENCE AT ANY TIME.

CHANNELS OF GOD’S GRACE

1 PETER 4:1-11

EVERY DAY IS SUPPOSED TO BE JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY LAST SUNDAY IN SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, TEXAS. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY AT A COUNTRY CONCERT IN LOS VEGAS. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY ONE DECEMBER IN NEW TOWN CONNICUT, JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY AS STUDENTS WENT TO SCHOOL ONE SPRING DAY IN LITTLETON COLORADO. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY IN NEW YORK ON SEPT.11, 2001.

WHAT PETER IS TELLING US IN THIS PASSAGE IS THAT AS CHRISTIANS WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE AMBASSADORS OR CHANNELS OF GOD’S GRACE WHEN SUCH ORDINARY DAYS OCCUR. IN ALMOST ALL CASES OF NATURAL DISASTERS, AND AT SOME OF THE TERRIBLE MASS MURDERS, THE CHURCH HAS BEEN IN THE FOREFRONT, OFFERING PHYSICAL HELP, AS WELL AS COUNSELLING SERVICE TO THOSE HURT.

PETER IS ALSO TELLING US WHY WE SHOULD BE CHANNELS OF GOD’S GRACE. FIRST OF ALL, IT IS BECAUSE SOMEONE CHOSE TO BE A CHANNEL OF GOD’S GRACE TO US, AND WE NEED TO PASS IT FORWARD. SECOND, BECAUSE GOD HAS BEEN SO GOOD TO US, WE SHOULD WANT TO PASS IT FORWARD. THIRD, BECAUSE OUR TIME IS LIMITED IN THIS WORLD, THERE IS A DAY OF JUDGMENT COMING, WE NEED TO PASS IT FORWARD.

WE KNOW OF THE CARNAGE AND DEATH THAT OCCURRED ON THESE ORDINARY DAYS AND OTHER DAYS OF GREAT LOSS, BUT ONE THING THEY ALL HAVE IN COMMON IS THAT EACH OF THE PEOPLE WHO DIED DID NOT KNOW THAT THIS WOULD BE THEIR LAST DAY OF LIFE ON THIS EARTH.

IF WE WERE TO STOP AND CONSIDER THE BREVITY AND UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE, I DOUBT IF ANY OF US WOULD WANT TO CONSIDER ANY DAY AS “JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY.”

JAMES 4:14-15:

WHY, YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN TOMORROW. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE? YOU ARE A MIST THAT APPEARS FOR A LITTLE WHILE AND THEN VANISHES. 15 INSTEAD, YOU OUGHT TO SAY, “IF IT IS THE LORD’S WILL, WE WILL LIVE AND DO THIS OR THAT.”

THE BIBLE IS CLEAR THAT THERE IS ALSO COMING A DAY OF JUDGMENT, WHEN THE LORD IS COMING BACK, AND THIS WORLD AS WE KNOW IT WILL END. OUR RESPONSIVE READING THIS MORNING TELLS US THAT ONLY THE FATHER KNOWS WHEN THAT DAY WILL BE. PAUL TEACHES:

1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-2:

NOW, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, ABOUT TIMES AND DATES WE DO NOT NEED TO WRITE TO YOU, 2 FOR YOU KNOW VERY WELL THAT THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT.

WE HAVE NOT ONLY THE PRIVILEGE, BUT THE RESPONSIBILITY TO SHARE OUR FAITH WITH OTHERS. PETER IN THIS PASSAGE OFFERS US FOUR WAYS BY WHICH WE CAN BE CHANNELS OF GRACE TO OTHERS. HE ALSO REMINDS US OF THE BLESSING OF OUR SALVATION IN THE FIRST SIX VERSES OF THE CHAPTER.

POINT ONE: CONTEXT:

PETER WROTE THIS LETTER DURING A TIME OF GREAT PERSECUTION FOR MOST LIKELY EXILED CHRISTIANS UNDER EMPEROR NERO. CHAPTER ONE TELLS US THE DIFFERENT CONGREGATIONS WHO WOULD SEE THIS LETTER.

NERO BLAMED THE CHRISTIANS FOR THE BURNING OF THE CITY OF ROME. THOUSANDS WERE BRUTALLY EXECUTED, WHILE OTHERS LEFT THE CITY FOR THEIR OWN PROTECTION. THE AREAS THOUGH WERE STILL UNDER ROMAN RULE AND THE DANGER OF CAPTURE EVER PRESENT.

COMBINED WITH THIS IS THE FACT THAT THE CHURCH WAS NEW, AND PART OF THE CHALLENGE TO THE NEW TEACHING, WAS THE PRESENCE OF MANY GROUPS INVOLVED IN FALSE TEACHING, ONE OF WHICH HAS SURVIVED TO OUR PRESENT DAY.

THE WORD “THEREFORE” IN VERSE ONE INDICATES TO US THAT A CONCLUSION IS ABOUT TO BE REACHED CONCERNING THE MATERIAL OF CHAPTER THREE. CHAPTER THREE DEALS WITH CHRIST’S SUFFERING FOR US AND HOW HE WILLINGLY CHOSE TO DO SO.

PETER ACKNOWLEDGES THE FACT THAT THE CHRISTIANS HE IS WRITING TO MAY SEE THAT PERSECUTION, AND SO HE ENCOURAGES THEM TO HAVE THE SAME ATTITUDE THAT JESUS HAD CONCERNING HIS SUFFERING.

HEBREWS 12:2-3:

FIXING OUR EYES ON JESUS, THE PIONEER AND PERFECTER OF FAITH. FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM HE ENDURED THE CROSS, SCORNING ITS SHAME, AND SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD. 3 CONSIDER HIM WHO ENDURED SUCH OPPOSITION FROM SINNERS, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT GROW WEARY AND LOSE HEART.

PETER REMINDS THEM THAT TRUE BELIEVERS LIVE THEIR LIVES FOR THE LORD. THEIR PERSECUTION THEN, WOULD BE A BADGE OF HONOUR, AS THE ONLY REASON THEY WOULD BE PERSECUTED WAS BECAUSE THEY WERE STANDING FOR THEIR FAITH JUST AS JESUS DID. PETER WAS TELLING THEM THAT THEIR POSSIBLE PERSECUTION WAS IN FACT A BADGE OF HONOUR.

THE SECOND ISSUE PETER WAS DEALING WITH WAS THAT OF FALSE TEACHING. THERE WAS A GROUP DURING PETER’S TIME CALLED THE LIBERTINES. THEY ARE ONLY MENTIONED ONE TIME IN SCRIPTURE.

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