Summary: 3 of 5 messages on 1 Peter 1 & 2. This message is on the corporate and individual responsibility we have to live with respect for God. The second message on Valuable Cargo was given by a guest speaker.

Voyage to Eternity

Navigating a New Course

1 Peter 1:17-21

This is the third in our series on the Voyage to Eternity. We began with “From a Rock to a Good Place” on New Years Day as we discovered that the church is the vessel that transports us from one world – the rock – to a new world – a good place with God.

Last week Paul Kissling shared with us about he work that God has done in us to bring us into the kingdom of God – we are the valuable cargo!

This week we are going to look at what the purpose of the church is and how to set a course that accomplishes that purpose. Peter lays it out for us in 1 Peter 1:17.

Before we go there let’s remember who is writing this letter. Peter is the author. This is the same Peter who was called by Jesus to follow him, whose roof was opened to let down a crippled man that Jesus healed, who walked to Jesus on the water, who confessed him first as the Messiah, who refused to have his feet washed, slashed off an enemy soldiers ear and then later denied him as his friend in the courtyard outside the temple.

This is Peter – forceful and weak; firm yet unsure, excitable but misguided in his efforts. We see him throughout the first twelve chapters of the record of the Acts of the Apostles – a powerful preacher, a stubborn leader, and a growing servant of Jesus.

We would do well to listen to his counsel today. He teaches us in verses 17-21 something that is very important. Here is a lesson that Peter wants to impact our lives – individually and as the church of Jesus Christ.

I urge you this morning to hear and listen on both levels. Individually, every one of us would do well to imprint the message in our minds and carve it into our soul. Corporately, as a body, the lessons taught here should shape our mission, our vision, our work, and our destiny.

As separate and individual servants and as the body of Jesus known far and wide as Meridian Christian let us learn and put into practice what Peter teaches us today.

Live with Respect for God

You pray to God and call him Father, and he judges each person’s work equally. So while you are here on earth, you should live with respect for God.

I Peter 1:17 NCV

Did you catch it? It’s the last line in the 17th verse. So while you are here on this earth, you should live with respect for God.

Let me tell you about Henry from my years in St. Joseph, MI – this was about 1975.

Henry’s parents joined a commune called the House of David in Benton Harbor, MI so as he was growing up he learned a lot about religion and nothing about God.

He ran the House of David Greenhouse and was searching for meaning and purpose in his life when he began reading the book of Ecclesiastes. He called me late one evening – about 9:00 PM – and he said, “Is this true? (speaking about Ecclesiastes), because if it its, I might as well just kill myself and be done with it.”

I told him that, “yes it is true, Solomon had discovered the uselessness of striving after pleasure but that you need to see his final conclusion on the meaning and purpose of life.” And I asked him to read the last couple of verses in the book.

Here is what it says:

Live with Respect for God

13 Now, everything has been heard, so I give my final advice: Honor God and obey his commands, because this is all people must do.

14 God will judge everything, even what is done in secret, the good and the evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Solomon said it first and Peter said it again, “Live with respect for God.

You don’t have to climb a mountain and search out a bearded prophet to find the answer to question of the meaning of life. The answer is right here. Honor and obey God. Live with respect for God and serve him.

The question is not, “What is the meaning of life?”

It all ultimately comes down to two simple – and complex – questions: “Why?” and, “How?”

Why You Should Live with Respect for God

Let’s look at the question “Why?” first. As we look again at the text we’ll see that Peter gives two succinct reasons.

Your position is privileged… we talk to God and call him “father”

This reason is huge. It is sufficient by its self. The Almighty God who created the universe by his word, this is my Father. That’s what I call being born into privilege! Talk about being part of the elite and being born with a silver spoon in your mouth!

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