Summary: Do you conduct yourself with fear in your Christian walk?
As we continue in the book of 1 Peter, we come to verses 17-21 of this first chapter. This is the eighth sermon in our journey through this wonderful and timely book.
Peter is beginning to get into some challenging subject matter here. Seems as though he’s moving us farther and farther from the ways of the world and closer and closer to godliness; distinguishing us from those in the world.
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I hope you’re beginning to see how this letter of 1 Peter is shaping up. When doing a verse-by-verse series through a book of the Bible, the danger is that you lose sight of the big picture, the overall purpose of the book or in this case, the letter or epistle.
The first twelve verses in this first chapter were sort of a reminder and a celebration of what God has done for His people. He has caused us to be born again; given us an imperishable inheritance; given us reason to rejoice through trials; and ministered to us through the prophets, preachers and angels so that we may know the good news of Christ. Remember how we said how God invested so much in our salvation!
Then in verse 13, he begins to give these exhortations or commands to his readers (which include us in our day and age). These exhortations which continue all the way into chapter 5 are intended to encourage the readers to walk in a manner worthy of God in the midst of their harsh circumstances, where there are trials and persecutions and all kinds of struggles.
We considered last week how we are experiencing certain struggles in our lives here in 2013. And just like the readers of Peter’s letter some 2000 years ago, we need to hear these words in order that WE may be encouraged and equipped to live our lives in a way that honors God, because our surroundings are getting more and more hostile as the days go by. The church is the called out ones, separated from the world to live for God in Christ. We are different from the rest of the world, yet we still have to live in it for a time.
So Peter is sort of raising their eyes and our eyes above and beyond the circumstances of the present condition of the world and all its challenges, and sets them on things above, on the God who loves us and is guarding us through faith until our salvation is made complete.
In verse 13, you remember from two weeks ago, he exhorts us to set our hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Exhortation #1
Verse 15, he exhorts us to be holy in all our conduct. Exhortation #2
We’ll look now at the third command or exhortation which is tucked into verse 17, “conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile…”
“Conduct yourselves with fear…” That’s an odd thing to say, isn’t it? To understand what he means, we have to look to the words preceding this exhortation as well as to the words following it.
WE ARE TO CONDUCT OURSELVES WITH FEAR BECAUSE WE WILL BE JUDGED:
“And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds…”