Summary: 1st Peter talks about holiness and says we should "set our hope on the grace." What does that mean and how can we know when we've done it?
Henry Ward Beecher was a fiery preacher in the 1800’s and was a strong opponent of slavery. Early in his life, there’s a story about how he became the kind of man that he did. When he was a boy, there was a story about something that happened at school. According to the story… his teacher asked another boy a question. The boy answered. But the teacher furious and angrily shouted at the boy: "Sit down!" Confused… the young boy sat down. Several boys were asked the same question and gave the same answer and rebuked the same way and they all sat down.
Finally, Beecher was called upon and gave the same answer as the other boys. "Sit Down!" shouted the teacher. But Beecher refused and insisted that the answer was correct. For a few moments the teacher stormed at him, but seeing Beecher stood his ground the teacher smiled: "Well, boys, you were all correct, but Beecher was the only one sure enough to stand up for it.”
Abraham Lincoln once said “Be sure you put your feet in the right place. Then stand firm.”
Our text this morning is from I Peter … and it deals with holiness (in fact this whole series is about holiness). We’re told (in I Peter) that we are called to be holy. It says we should be holy in all our conduct, and that God has declared - "You shall be holy, for I am holy."
Despite what some theologians will try to tell you holiness, it’s a very simple concept. Holiness simply means “being set apart.” The Sound booth people are separated from you… so they are “holy” in comparison to you. This group of people in this section are separated from the rest of you by this aisle. They are thus “holy” compared to the rest of you. It’s that simple.
• When we’re told GOD is holy – that means God is set apart from everyone else. He is pure, high and lifted up and is above everything that He has created.
• When we’re told God has MADE US HOLY – that means God has set us apart for salvation. When we believed/repent/confess/baptized – we have been made holy - set apart to be His children.
• When we’re told that God expects us to MAKE OURSELVES HOLY – that means God expects us to live differently than the world around us.
But what caught my attention in this morning’s text shows up in I Peter 1:13 “SET YOUR HOPE fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Set your hope fully on the grace. SET YOUR FEET! Know WHERE you’re standing, because if you don’t set your feet right, you might think you’re living holy but you won’t be able to stand.
ILLUS: Back when I was a boy my dad owned a trailer resort on Silver Lake (just outside Angola, IN). He had built a pontoon deck that he anchored about 20 feet off shore and it had a diving board on it. One of the games we kids would play was “King Of The Diving Board.” And I was good at that game! The objective was for one of us to stand on the end of board and try to keep the next person from pushing us off. It was one on one, and invariably I could stand my ground and the other guy would go in the water. I was rarely pushed off… and usually when that happened, I usually took somebody with me.
My point? The ONLY reason I could be so successful was – I set my feet. I knew how to balance myself so that I almost always had the advantage over anyone who challenged me.
In the same way, the only way WE will be able to stand in holiness before God is to set our feet. If we set our hope fully on the grace. If we don’t do that… we WILL NOT stand!!!
(PAUSE) Now, part of the reason we need to set our feet is because we have an enemy. We have someone who is stated goal is to knock us right off the diving board. And who might that be? (SATAN)
1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” THAT SOMEONE… IS YOU!!! Satan hates God and therefore he hates you. If he can hurt you he can hurt God. And he’d just love to knock you off your holiness
Now, the problem is that too many times church goers help Satan get the job done. And one of the ways Christians help Satan is by not wanting to be too Holy (too committed to God).