Summary: First part of Sermon Series from the Letter by Peter
TITLE: Living Pure in Babylon
TEXT: 1 Peter 1:13-25
THEME: Christian living, faith, holiness
P.S. In a world that is going the wrong way, Swindoll says, we are left as lights- stop lights, directional lights,
I listened to a radio talk in show this week. The topic was whether the Catholic School board should allow a gay teen attend his graduation prom with his partner. One caller called in and said that it is impossible for the school board to do so because it would be a denial of what they believe the Bible teaches regarding homosexuality.
The radio hosts comments were both startling and telling. He asked the caller, “Do you mean to say that people are actually supposed to live what the bible teaches?”
Statistics suggest we are in an integrity crisis. An Ipso Reid poll reported this year that 85% of Canadians believe that the bible is God’s word. But only 55% believe that there is an absolute right and wrong. It would be easy to sermonize that these were non-believers who responded. However, in a similar poll taken among evangelical Christians, the same number said that there was not a clear right from wrong.
Underlying these responses is the philosophy that, “As long as I do not hurt anyone, it is O.K.” If the end is positive then the method is right.
Now that we are saved, how does God expect us to live in this world? Swindoll asks, Wouldn’t it be great if God would save us and then, within a matter of seconds, take us to glory.? We would not have to worry about temptations, trials or tears in this life. We would never have to battle with the world, flesh and the devil. We would never have to worry about the probability of messing up our lives.
The Bible declares that it is Gods will that we live our lives in such a way that brings Him glory. Some have mistakenly opted to separate themselves physically from their world. They believe the only way to live a victorious life in Christ is to not be a part of the world at all. This is what I call the, “hermit’ syndrome.
But God in His wisdom has chosen to leave us in this world,. Has God made a mistake? Of course not! The Bible declares that we are His lights in this dark, sin infested planet. In fact, just before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed this prayer for His disciples and for us as well.
I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world anymore than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.(John 17:14-15)
Jesus doesn’t ask His Father to isolate his disciples from the world but to insulate them from the influence of the evil one. He has left us in the world on purpose for His purpose. In a world that is going the wrong way, Swindoll says, we are left as lights- stop lights, directional lights, illuminating lights- as living examples, as strong testimonies of the right way. In the light of this, how then is the Christian to live His life in this crooked and perverse world?
This is the question Peter is addressing in his letter. As we begin, notice two things.
First, notice that this passage begins with the conjunction “therefore’. Peter is not going to give a list of good ideas to consider, but a reasoned argument. It is pointing the reader to what has just been written. In the first `12 verses, Peter declares the certainty of our hope in Christ. Then in verse 13, he writes, therefore, or because our hope is alive, sure, and eternal there are certain things we need to know in order to live this new life.
This brings me to the second thing to note. There are four commands that Peter employs: Fix your hope(prepare your minds)...v13; Be holy as God is Holy...15; Live in godly fear...vs17; Love one another...v.22) These four commands indicate the products of our hope and salvation: hope, holiness, fear and love.
1. Fix your hope(Prepare your mind (Verse 13): Peter writes in verse 13,
Prepare your minds for action: be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Christ is revealed.
Peter says to live our lives in light of the return of Christ. This is what gives us peace and confidence in a shaky insecure world. It implies that our faith is looking towards the future. In other words, we are to live in the future tense. Our decisions are governed by this hope.
How do I prepare mind for Jesus return? In the light of Jesus return, I need to, firstly have a disciplined mind. The KJV renders this, ‘Gird up the loins of your mind.” The image is that of a robbed man, tucking his skirts under the belt, so he can be free to run. We could put it this way today: “Pull yourself together, get a grip, roll up your sleeves.”