Sermons

Summary: Series No. 1: Because we are redeemed children of God, we are to live holy lives.

LIVE HOLY LIVES

Four Factors that Promote Genuine Holiness

1 Peter 1:13-25

Late one evening an interesting conversation took place in a college dormitory room. One student posed the question, "What do you want to be?" Several different responses were thrown out by various students. Some thought it would be great to achieve academic distinction. Several thought it would be wonderful to win athletic awards. One or two had set their goal to be a professor. One young man surprised everyone by saying, "You fellows will laugh at me, but I want to be holy."

What do you think about the young student’s expressed desire for holiness? Is being holy an attractive idea to you? Does it sound like something you would want for yourself? Is holy living possible for ordinary people like you and me? Or is holiness only for spiritual titans? The apostle Peter knew what it was to desire a holy life. In his writings he sought to convey to his readers what it means to live as a Christian in a pressurized situation.

The Books of I and 2 Peter fairly bristle with inspirational motivation to grow as a Christian in personal holiness.

In our world the cultivation of holiness may seem unattainable or even negative.

You may think of a holy person as someone with an overdose of counterfeit religion or a "holier-than-thou" attitude. A holy person may seem too serious, never willing to relax and have fun.

On the other hand, holiness may make you think of a very positive picture of a spiritual hero, a Christian whose faith stands out in an attractive way. You may think of someone whose life enriches others by personal righteousness. That image is consistent with the biblical picture of holiness. To live a holy life is to experience an improvement in the quality of life because it is lived within the will of God. A person pursuing a life of holiness stays liberated from giving in to former sinful desires, shows Christlike love for others, and senses profound satisfaction in life. Some people have the faulty impression that you have to be already arrived as a holy person and fully finished before you can start the Christian life.

Peter saw the prospect of a steady growth in holiness. His epistles take any vagueness out of the idea of holiness. You do not have the impression that Peter was writing about something he had never seen or personally experienced.

In I Pet. 1:1319,23 Peter identified four factors that promote genuine holiness. He stressed what God has done through’Christ to permit and provoke holiness.

1. As Christians, we are to live holy and pure lives because God our Father is holy (vv. 13-17).

Here is the character factor. We are summoned to be like the God in whom we believe rather than merely reflecting the passions of our past before becoming a Christian. It stands to reason that we should reflect the character of the God we love. It is a worthy goal to want to be like God.

2. As Christians, we are to live holy lives because of our confidence that Christ is coming again (v. 13).

This is the hope factor. Here indeed we find incentive. The hope of Christ’s coming which the apostle spoke about was not dry doctrine but a dynamic for living. The same hope can be a vital factor in our own lives. Hope can engage a person and inspire an individual to move forward in holy living rather than to remain where he or she is.

3. As Christians, we are to live holy lives because we have been redeemed by "the costly sacrifice of Christ" (v. 19).

This could be called the cross factor. Because you have been redeemed by the costly sacrifice of Christ, you have had delivered to you the necessary spiritual power for living a holy life. The Bible teaches that you could never be holy had not Christ set you free by His cross.

4. As Christians, we are to live holy lives because we have been "born again" (v. 23).

Here is the regeneration factor. Fresh possibilities exist for human development because of a seed planted within us. Holiness becomes a possibility not be

cause you are a nice person, but because you have undergone a transformation through the implantation of "the living and eternal word of God" in your heart.

The miracle of new birth occurs when a person responds in faith to the gospel message. The new birth releases new energy and opens up new options. Holiness does not result from simple human achievement but from the miracle of spiritual regeneration.

If you want to be holy, reflect the likeness of God in your life and radiate a vibrant hope based on the confidence that Christ is coming again. Remember the

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