Summary: Only God can give us the gift of freedom 1 Peter 1:17-21
Scripture: 1 Peter 1:17-21
A. We can define freedom in many ways.
1. A phrase like "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" covers a wide range of ideas.
2. "I want to do what I want, whenever" often begins at the age of 2 years, and extends well into adulthood.
3. Some husbands define freedom as their control over the TV remote.
B. Holidays like July 4th are a time to equate independence with freedom. We have parades, wave flags, host cookouts, and are awed by fireworks. Often, in the midst of such celebrations we forget the true cost of freedom.
1. The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men who pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. Indeed, 14 of them died in battle or as prisoners of the British. Another 12 had their homes burned. Some of the more wealthy like John Hancock lost their fortunes and family, as well as their homes.
2. The Revolutionary War came at a cost of 25,000 lives. Our deadliest war, the Civil War, resulted in 750,000 battle-related deaths.
3. For more than 2,000 years there was another war involving our freedom. It was the war God waged against sin. In one respect, there was only one death; Jesus Christ died on the cross for all of us.
a. Jesus was sent to proclaim freedom for prisoners like you and me (Luke 4:18).
b. He paid the ultimate price for our gift of freedom.
C. The apostle Peter understood this gift of freedom that came by way of Jesus Christ. He wrote an epistle to the Christians that were scattered in Asia Minor. He offered these "dispersed pilgrims" the hope of freedom given only by Jesus Christ.
Reading of 1 Peter 1:17-21 (NIV)
A. Peter did not seem to be offering much freedom when he encouraged to "live as strangers in reverent fear" (v 17). The key to understanding what he meant comes from a literal translation of the phrase, "pass your time on earth in reverence."
1. If you are not clear about what freedom really means, then it is hard to live as a free person.
2. Illustration: Morgan Freeman played the character of Red in the movie "Shawshank Redemption." Red had been in prison a long time before he was finally paroled. His first job was bagging groceries. Each time he wanted to go to the bathroom he would ask the store manager, "Boss, permission to take (a bathroom break)." Finally the manager said, "Red, you are free now. You don't have to ask permission each time you want to (take a bathroom break."
B. Jesus described a similar permission when He told His disciples, "Hold to my teachings ... you will know the truth ... and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31, 32). Peter wrapped this truth around 3 truths of his own that described God's gift of freedom.
A. The 1st truth is only God can set us free from seeking PERISHABLE CHOICES for our lives (v 18).
1. The word "perishable" comes from a root word in Greek that means "ruin by moral influence." Peter ties this ruin of our moral influence to silver and gold. Money is considered perishable by God when it destroys our morals. Achan lost his life after the Israelites were defeated at Ai (Joshua 7:11-21). God prohibited taking of plunder after Israel had captured Jericho, but Achan thought no one would care if he took some shekels and gold. He lost his life not for stealing, but for putting money between himself and God.
2. Paul wrote it is the LOVE of money that causes all manner of evil (1 Timothy6:10).
a. George Lorimer once said it is good to have money and the things it can buy. However, once in awhile we need to check and see if we have lost things that money cannot buy.
b. Things live unconditional love, healthy families, faithful churches, and even our salvation.
3. Seeking perishable choices not only takes up most of our time, but also clutters our lives with things of no value.
4. Illustration: We moved from Washington, DC to New Kent County, VA. Everyone in our small development of 50 homes would routinely take their trash to the county dump. Friends who lived in an exclusive suburb of Washington were aghast we actually put trash in our car and drove to a dump. We all know you can put perishable stuff in trash bags. But if you keep the bags in the garage, eventually they will take up all the space; in addition, the bags leak and give off a foul odor.
5. Apply: Let me give you a working definition of perishable choices: anything that will not stand up against the scrutiny of the Lord.