Summary: Exposition of 1 Peter 2:11-12
Text: 1 Peter 2:11-12, Title: Lifestyle Evangelism, Date/Place: LSCC, 9/4/05, AM
A. Opening illustration: Deborah and Jane’s story p. 16-17 in The Unchurched Next Door
B. Background to passage: After giving these suffering Christians the definition and purpose of the church, Peter transitions back to how shall we live. Some commentators think these verses summarize the whole message of the book of 1 Peter. The specific emphasis of these two verses is that of how the life of a Christian should be a positive asset to reaching others.
C. Main thought: So, Peter gives us some key instructions for evangelizing with our lives.
Maintain credibility (v. 11)
1. Peter instructs these believers to abstain from fleshly lusts. The verb is present tense, middle voice, meaning you yourselves continually abstain. Peter knows the truth that when one is born again, and the Spirit takes up residence in their lives, that the bondage to sin is broken. Therefore the believer can abstain (resist, keep oneself back from) our own desires. However, the redeemed spirit is still abiding in an unredeemed body. It is not necessary to equate desires of the flesh with sexual sin only. In fact many sins of the body and old man are implied here. And it is not that strong desires are inherently bad. Peter knows that when Christians claim Christ and participate in sin their witness is shot. Give some statistics of Christians vs. non-Christians, and camp out on the differences that should be apparent.
3. Aside: these sins war or fight against the spirit. So, not only do they harm your witness, they harm your walk with the Lord. You will become spiritually weak and ineffective.
4. Illustration: tradition to go out to dinner after church, what if all the church members streamed out of churches into restaurants, prayed with the servers, graciously didn’t complain, tipped well, shared Christ, and demonstrated grace in their lives, Timmy and Jessica in Maryland, one of the things that drove Brian Warner to become Marilyn Manson and lead a debased life that openly attacks Christianity is that his supposedly Christian grandfather had an addiction to hard core pornography. Tell about the Sextons who almost stopped going to church because of the behavior of a contractor church member who was also a Sunday School teacher. The Muslims refusing to kill a missionary because of his lifestyle
5. This doesn’t mean that we isolate ourselves. Do you have areas of sin in your life that would harm your witness? Are their things about your life that you would be embarrassed to share with unbelievers, or with your SS teacher? Go through the list in Galatians 5. Make sure your attitude is not holier than thou. Is your life noticeably different from your non-Christian friends? One of the keys to not fulfilling the desires of the flesh is walking in the Spirit of God. I believe that it is also important that when we fail, we acknowledge it, ask forgiveness for it, and boldly turn from it in front of non-believers.
B. Display charity (v. 12)
1. This is the positive counterpart to the previous command. Peter tells them not to do some things, but to do others. He says to have excellent or honorable behavior. The word means to be beautiful, winsome, and attractive to those that are watching. Behavior is a constant day-to-day pattern of life. Not an exhortation to plastic surgery, but instruction to live life doing things that will make the gospel of Christ in a sense beautiful to outsiders. Peter links good life and evangelism directly.
2. Phil 1:27, 2 Cor 1:12, 1 Thess 4:12,
3. Illustration: tell the story of the guy named Bill who was a wild haired college student who just got saved, walking into the stuffy legalistic church, and the deacon who came to sit beside him. Pastor: what I am about to say, you may never remember, but what you just saw, you may never forget. Radically Unchurched, p. 19-20, John Avant befriending a man named Harry on the plane, taking him to lunch, meeting with him for coffee, answering questions, and building a relationship, then sharing Christ. Robert visiting church after an accident that left his daughter in serious condition, and the man who followed up with him the next day at his office, then a week or two later in a parking lot. 51-year old Linda who gave her life to Jesus after a servant evangelism team paid for all her laundry at the laundromat.
4. We must be known for what we do, not just don’t do. Just go out of your way for people. Not just church people, but all people. Do someone near you need a helping hand? Is there a need in the life of another that you can meet? Is this your pattern? Many times, simple acts of kindness can open the door for discussion of the ultimate act of kindness. Do the good that you do without the expectation of reward, but acknowledge that you are showing the love of Christ. This is one of the ways that God shows love to people. One of the best ways to get over a feeling of depression is to begin serving others, once a day.