Summary: Our freedom in Christ calls us to be servants to God.
“Set Free to Serve”
Freedom… we champion our freedoms in our country. The freedom of speech, the freedom to bear arms, the freedom of religion…
As Christians, we champion our freedoms as well:
· Our past, as painful as it may have been,
· The attachment to the things of this world, knowing that they are only temporary,
· The veil of Satan who would desire to keep us blinded from salvation,
· The vain effort of earning salvation by our own merits,
· (Most importantly) The penalty of sin which is eternal death.
But Peter T. Forsythe was right when he said, "The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master".
We have been set free… for the purpose of being servants of our God.
Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil,
but use it as bondslaves of God. (v. 16)
So, how do we as spiritually free men and women in Christ serve our God in a sick and sinful society? How does He want us to serve Him?
From I Peter 2:11-17, let’s take a look at 3 ways God would have us serve Him in our fallen world. How we serve Him is also a powerful testimony of God’s own character, so we want to take special note of that as we look at our passage today.
1. We’ve been set free to serve God as vessels of honor. (v. 11)
This is an issue of our private lives. This is where it all needs to begin.
Notice that Peter calls the Christians aliens and strangers. Why?
1) These Christians were scattered throughout Asia Minor at this time. (1:1)
2) Their value system was entirely foreign to the pagan culture around them.
Do you remember the words of Paul? “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil 3:20)
Illustration: Christian Aliens
The story is told about some Christians who were traveling in the Middle East. They heard about a wise, devout, beloved, old believer, so they went out of their way to visit him. When they finally found him, they discovered that he was living in a simple hut. All he had inside was a rough cot, a chair, a table, and a battered stove for heating and cooking. The visitors were shocked to see how few possessions the man had, and one of them blurted out, “Well, where is your furniture?” The aged saint replied by gently asking, “Where is yours?” The visitor, sputtering a little, responded, “Why, at home, of course. I don’t carry it with me, I’m traveling.” “So am I,” the godly Christian replied. “So am I.”
As Christians, we need to think of ourselves as travelers who are just passing through this sinful world. We are not permanent residents, but pilgrims on a journey to a better land. Therefore, we need to “travel light,” not burdening ourselves with an undue attachment to the material things of life.
a. The Command: Abstain from fleshly lusts!
“Fleshly lusts” are selfish natural appetites that appeal to our sinful nature.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1 John 2:16)
Notice that Peter isn’t telling us not to be tempted. That’s impossible! Even Jesus Christ was tempted. But it is what we do with the temptation that is of concern here. Don’t follow after the temptations that come your way… stay pure at heart!
b. The Reason: Because we are battling a war within.
This is a private issue that is between ourselves and our God. We can put on a good face in front of other people, but God sees our inner person.
Ten ways lust “Wages war against our souls”:
1. It cultivates a taste for sin
2. It dulls our appetite for the Word and for righteousness
3. It darkens our understanding
4. It makes us more vulnerable to sin, Satan, and the World
5. It erodes our joy
6. It diminishes our power
7. It causes us to forfeit blessings
8. It defiles our conscience and breed guilt
9. It weakens our integrity before others
10. It displeases and pain our God
Bottom line: Personal sin cripples our service toward God.
There are alternatives to striving to be a vessel of honor for God:
1) I can be an isolated Christian
The way some Christians have attempted to flee the lusts of the flesh was by fleeing from society, living in isolation from the world. But it doesn’t take one long to realize that you can’t escape from sin, for sin comes from within!