Summary: If someone tells me that the more they look like and act like those of the world the greater a chance of evangelistic success they have, my response is BOLOGNA! And I don’t care how you slice it, it remains BOLOGNA. If we look like and act like the world
Sermon Title: Self-Made Outsiders
Sermon Text: 1 Peter 1:1-9
Bethel Christian Church
Date: October 8, 2000
Once again, this morning we are going to be looking at one of the books which wasn’t quite easily accepted by everyone. Last week we looked at a section of the book of James, which Martin Luther referred to as the Epistle of straw. This morning we are going to begin a walk through the first letter of the apostle Peter. This walk through the entire text will probably take us a good couple of months, however when we are through I hope we have all grown to appreciate a better understanding of the Words that God chose to communicate through Peter. If you have your Bibles this morning and care to follow along, we will be reading from the book of First Peter, chapter one and the first nine verses.
Now remember the difficulties in acceptance that I talked about earlier? One of the arguments against this particular book of the Bible is that Peter was a fisherman, an uneducated and untrained fisherman. For those of us that have had our lives changed by Christ, how hard is it to believe that someone who was in the company of the Master Communicator for an extended period of time could transcend their beginnings and circumstances and have their abilities amplified through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. I find no difficulty believing that Peter was intellectually transformed by our Lord and Savior.
Please join me in the reading of God’s Holy Word!
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 1:1-9
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
Now I know the style of letter writing back in the days of the early church was quite a bit different then our style of today. In fact with the invention of the telephone and the ever increasing use of e-mail, letter writing is almost becoming a lost art. What a shame and I so much enjoyed the taste of the adhesive from licking a stamp and licking and sealing an envelope. In the first verse Peter identifies himself and then gets right down to business. There are no pleasantries, no time for fancy flowery words, Roman Emperor Nero was persecuting the Christians and this was just the beginning of the torture and torment to come. In this section of the Scripture, Peter brings to our attention the following, and in our consideration of these points we need to realize just how valid they are for our society today as well.
Ø As Christians, we reside as aliens in our very own neighborhoods and circles of friends. When I hear the different stories of being Christians that fit in with the world around us in an effort to win them to Christ, I have difficulty accepting that particular premise. If someone tells me that the more they look like and act like those of the world the greater a chance of evangelistic success they have, my response is BOLOGNA! And I don’t care how you slice it, it remains BOLOGNA. If we look like and act like the world then, surprise – surprise, you have just become the world. Our home is heaven.
Ø As Christians, although we may not have the easiest time in the society in which we live, we can look forward to our possibilities of obtaining an inheritance unlike anything the world that persecutes us can imagine. I look at the phrase “GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT” and see that our hope lies in the future. I look at the world and their hope in instant gratification and at times wonder what more can I say to them to tell them and show them that they are lost.