Summary: We often try to get away with putting forth the least effort possible in order to achieve the greatest results. But this is far from a Biblical concept. God has a better idea in mind, as he has already shown in Christ.
Passage: 1 Peter 1:13-21
Intro: One of the most prevalent tendencies among human beings is our desire expend as little effort as possible to achieve our goals.
1. weight loss without diet or exercise, pill.
2. destroy Iraqi regime in a week.
3. “what do I need to do to pass this course”
4. how much effort do I need to expend to keep this job?
5. in the Christian life, the question surrounds how we can live the life that will achieve the “well-done” of God without bringing too much suffering or hardship into my life.
6. it’s no surprise that this type of minimalism is not a Biblical concept.
7. just the opposite, the Christian life and walk is presented in Scripture as a full-bore, all-consuming adventure that will often bring pain into our lives.
8. Peter writing to suffering believers.
9. not to commiserate, but to encourage, to lift their sights as to the wonderful calling they have received to be children of God
10. understanding the nature of the Christian life will help us accept the suffering we experience, and even rejoice in it. Miracle!
I. The Life We are Called to Live
1. starts with therefore, so based on former
2. he has reminded them of what God has done, even in their suffering.
3. told of the great privilege of being the people before whom God’s promises have been fulfilled.
4. and now, how they are to respond, the expectations God has.
5. “tuck in your robe”=”roll up your sleeves”
6. people do this when they are about to commit themselves to a task that requires their full energy
Il) as far as sports go, football the best example.
Like dressing for war, with helmets and pads . Some QB’s wear flak jackets.
7. “self-controlled”=sober-minded, not at the whim of emotions.
8. emotions, feelings, are often very mixed, often filled with fear, uncertainty when considering obedience to God’s call
9. “what’s it going to cost? Can I make that kind of sacrifice?
10. read the Word, proceed in faith, not fear
11. “set your hope fully”=completely, without competing idols.
12. the Christian life is a complete transfer of my focus, from temporal, worldly pursuits to eternal, heavenly pursuits.
13. from hoping in my job or my health or my bank account or my connections, to hoping in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, who will appear shortly.
14. this kind of transfer of hope manifests itself in a change of priorities, as v14 points out.
15. “do not conform”, verb form means “don’t let yourself be conformed to evil desires”, so it takes an active resistance against a natural tendency.
16. and then the coup de grace, “be holy” like the one who called you.
17. there is no doubt that what God has called us to be and to do flies in the face of not only our own flesh, but of the values of the sinful world in which we find ourselves.
Il) how can we be “like God in true righteousness and holiness” when we are surrounded by slick advertisements calling us throw off all restraint and join the world in the pursuit of pleasure and self-indulgence
18. God’s call is for us to be self-controlled in a world that hates control, hoping in Jesus alone when we are awash in idols that promise us everything and anything, refusing to conform to a world that peddles conformity as independent thinking, and to be holy in the midst of tremendous sinfulness.
19. and so it’s no surprise that our response is to search for a compromise position.
II. The Temptation to Compromise
1. we know deep down that to live the kind of life Peter calls us to here means suffering
2. it is a radical life unique in a world that values conformity, it means living as strong lights in the middle of darkness
3. and given our resistance to suffering, we begin to look for ways to live the Christian life in such a way that we will make it to heaven but with a minimum of trouble here on earth.
4. we search for the path of least resistance, to live our lives here “under the radar”, being privately committed but publicly flowing along with the crowd
5. we seek to find a comfortable spot where we are obedient to God and still cozy enough with the world’s system to not “stand out”
6. we want to be known by God as “saints”, but be able to live as full-citizens of the world.
Il) two brothers who terrorized the town where they lived for decades. They were unfaithful to their wives, abuse to their children, and dishonest in business. One day, out of the clear blue, the younger brother died. The older brother went to the preacher of the local chruch and said, "Preacher, I’d like you to conduct my brother’s funeral. And it’s important to me that duruing the service, you say my brother was a saint." The preadher said, "I can’t do that. We both know he was far from that." The older borhter pulled out his checkbook and said, "Preacher, I’m prepared to give $100,000 to your church. All I’m aksing is that you publicaly state that my brother was a saint." On the day of the funeral the preahcer began his sermon this way. "Everyone here knows that the deceased was a wicked man, a womanizer, and a drunk. He terrorized his employees and cheated on his taxes." The preacher paused for a second and then continued, "But as evil and sinful as this man was, compared to his older brother, he was a saint."