Summary: talk on the freedom Christians have from sin So That we may go and live a healthy life of righteousness through the comfort guidance of Christ Jesus.
Text: 1 Peter 2:21-25, Title: So That, Date/Place: NRBC, 3/25/12, AM
Opening illustration: We used to do this game with students at the environmental ed center that I used to work at where we gave them antique tools and other implements and had them guess what they might have been used for. When they had an answer, we asked them how they would do that. Interesting. We might say that the same would apply to the cross. Used for: get to heaven. And while that would be right, it would be incomplete. So as we approach Easter, let’s rejoice together in the work of Christ on the cross.
Background to passage: Specifically in this passage, Peter is dealing with submission of slaves to masters, or in our case, employees to employers. But he assumes here that this relationship would bring about hardship at least at some level (explain the differences in slavery then vs. in 19th century America.) Therefore what we find in our passage is an instruction on how to suffer well. So, while the immediate application goes toward vocation, the general principles apply to any circumstance in which we are suffering unjustly. And as far as general application toward work and our attitude toward it, here is the nutshell version: 1) view your labor as a calling from God, 2) as a Christian you should be the best worker on the job, 3) you should be the best boss that one has ever worked for, 4) and your work should reflect and honor the Lord in every way.
Main thought: But this morning we are going to exult together in the atonement of Christ. He suffered so that:
We might die to sin, live to righteousness (v. 24)
For the Christian, the bondage to sin and its consequences is destroyed. We are no longer under its power nor are we liable for its judgment. Sin and its lifestyle is no longer who we are; there has been a definitive change because of the cross of Christ. We have ceased to exist with regard or respect to our sin, sinfulness, and its nature. Something has been broken within us about our relationship to the slavery to sin. All people are bound to sin, slaves to it, but the gospel is freedom. This is also why believers are free from guilt, condemnation, shame. The punishment for them has been levied on the cross! God sent His Son to expunge the record of your guilt; to receive the punishment earned by you; to die the death that you deserve; and to give you the power to live to righteousness! The Holy Spirit is the power to embrace a life of righteousness that you cannot live! Walking in step with, under the influence of, and in moment by moment obedience to is the way to do that.
Rom 6:1-23, John 8:36, Gal 5:1,
Illustration: “Becoming a Christian is to have the sovereign captain of the battleship of righteousness commandeer the slave ship of unrighteousness; put the ship-captain, sin, in irons; break the chains of the slaves; and give them such a spiritual sight of grace and glory that they freely serve the new sovereign forever as the irresistible joy and treasure of their lives” –Piper, an Alabama slave had said in 1864 when asked what he thought of the Great Emancipator whose proclamation went into effect that year. ‘I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout Abraham Lincoln,’ he replied, ‘cep they say he sot us free. And I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout that neither.’ The Japanese soldiers who didn’t get the news of the surrender, and kept fighting,
You can be, no, YOU ARE FREE. You HAVE died to it. You do not live for it. You do not have to obey it. It means that when sin comes knocking at the door, you can ask Jesus to go answer it. It means that you work to kill sin in your life because you ARE forgiven! Do you really believe this? Are all your past sins still binding you down? The fact that Christ commandeered your vessel and bound the power that enslaves you will ravish your life if you let it. All the shameful events that happened in your life have no power over you! Isn’t this good news! You don’t have to sin anymore! You will, but no longer “you must.” There is still a sense in which the battle rages, and the fight is still real. You must reckon yourselves dead to sin, present your members as instruments of righteousness. But know that you do that under the power of a new master!
We might be healed (v. 24)
Peter is quoting here from Isa 53, which he does frequently, especially in this passage. Christ’s sacrificial, substitutionary atonement healed us spiritually. All men are broken, messed up, scared, sinful, and in need of healing of the sickness of sin. The cross of Christ provided for your brokenness to be healed.