Summary: How can we get a hearing in lost society? How can we influence our world for Christ?
1. What a week: last week’s sermon three thumbs down.
2. Tribune call: a man was fishing….took photo…shadows looked like Jesus; they called me for my comments.
3. Highland Park Christian (?) Church… a catch 22… We are just Highland Park Church, but if I see we are not Christian, how does that make us look? We are Christians in the Biblical sense, not the Campbellite sense. Some things you just have to leave alone.
4. But, if we are to make an impact in our world, we have to love people and participate in life and society, not as spectators or sideline critics, but players. We need to maximize our Christian influence.
5. Webster has a number of definitions for "influence," including: "an emanation of spiritual or moral force" and "the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways."
Main Idea: How can we get a hearing in lost society? How can we influence our world for Christ?
Peter shares God’s strategy for maximum influence. We can live out that strategy through several means.
In last week’s sermon, we tackled the first two means:
I. By Means of DEPTH (11)
A. A sincere faith begins on the INSIDE
B. We all have a WAR within.
II. By Means of LIFESTYLE (12)
A. Many Christians are worried about IMAGE.
B. But here, the image flows out of REALITY.
C. We do not WITHHOLD who we are.
D. We are simply OURSELVES.
Peter shares a third means of influence, and this is where we want to pick up:
III. By Means of Being a TEAM Player (13-15)
A. SUBMIT to legitimate authority (13)
General principle, not without exceptions…
Frank Gabelein writes, "Peter is speaking of ordinary situations and not of persecutions…."
Nero was the emperor (64AD); two years later, he would start abducting Christians, tying them to poles, covering them with tar, and lighting them on fire to illumine the tracks for chariot racing at night…
B. Appreciate the PUNISHING of evil (14)
Proverbs 17:15, "Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— the LORD detests them both."
C. Promote the RECOGNITION of good (14)
D. Good works: ACTIONS speak louder than words (15)
IV. Through BALANCED Living (16)
A. Gnostic DUALISM
B. Neither LEGALISM nor LICENTIOUSNESS
1. Legalism: adding rules and "spiritual disciplines" to God’s Word ---. Colossians 2 -- 16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
20Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21"Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
2. Jude 1:4 " For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord."
3. We are free from man made rules, free from trying to gain brownie points with God for we have been accepted by faith in Christ, but we are not to abuse that freedom. We have a new nature that wants to please God, whereas lost people must only be restrained by fear.
C. Our own Personalities can drive us to imbalance and distortion
1. We tend to believe what we want to believe… it takes real conviction to overcome a natural bent … but that is the sort of wisdom Solomon advises
2. Man from his limited perspective has brought to us many error-filled ideas that one day will be exposed as foolishness.
At the turn of the century the world’s most distinguished astronomer was Sir Percival Lowell. He was esteemed for his study of the solar system and had a particular fascination with Mars.
He was certain that he had determined that there were CANALS on the surface of the Red Planet and that these canals were proof of intelligent life there.