Summary: A sermon on throwing out other people’s opinions and only be concerned with One’s opinion, and that is the Lord’s. Based on 1 Peter 4:1-5
Sermon for 5/1/2005
Napoleon—when he conquered Europe took his family and he sat them every one in great places over the many kingdoms and states and nations of Europe that he’d conquered. Whenever he’d conquered a country, he’d put his relative over it to be ruler. He took his entire family and spread them around over all of those conquered nations of Europe. Well, in the days of his glory, Napoleon heard of an uncle that he had never known. He was a humble preacher of little church miles from Florence and the town in which he ministered had less than a hundred people in it.
And when Napoleon heard of that humble preacher, his uncle, in that little place, he called his general in and sent him, with twenty men, to that little town and said, “When you see him, you tell him that no kinsmen of Napoleon Bonaparte ever is to be in a humble ministry, but he’s to be the leader, to walk in aristocracy and in pride and in glory. And when you see my uncle, you bring him to Paris and you tell him we will make of him a bishop. In time we will make of him a cardinal in the church.”
So the general went, with his twenty men, and came up to this humble place, this humble cottage where that preacher lived in a little town of a hundred people, and said to him, “The great Napoleon has asked me to come to you and to bring you to Paris. You can be a bishop of any diocese that you choose. In time we shall make you a cardinal and give you a cardinal’s hat.”
And the humble preacher replied, “No. These are my people and I am their shepherd and I’ll not leave them.”
The general pressed it upon him and the humble preacher said, “No. These are my people, my sheep, and I’m their shepherd.”
And the great general said, “Then I shall take you by force. We’ll take you to Paris and make you a bishop or a cardinal against your will.”
And the humble man replied, “Sir, if you do that, what would these dear people think and what would the Lord think? That against my will you forced me into this exalted place when the Lord wants me to be a shepherd with these people?”
Crestfallen, the general returned to Paris and made his report to Napoleon. Napoleon thought him a fool but that humble uncle stayed at that church until he died.
A. Last week we said that we need to take time to exercise! (1 Tim 4:7 NIV) Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.(1 Tim 4:8 NIV) For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
B. Many people are embarrassed to exercise physically and spiritually. What will other people think?
C. Who controls your time?
Thesis: Let’s talk about persecution this morning.
1. We are different, strange.
A. As Christians, WE do not live for fleshly concerns. Peter tells us that the time for that is past.
B. We do not live for:
1. Detestable or abominable idolatry- This is referring to the worship services for a god or goddess in the pagan or Gentile world. It sums it all up. In each Gentile city they would have feast days for specific gods and goddesses. This would be a holiday for the whole city. This worship would consist of a feast full of food and wine and women. The men of the city would get drunk and then engage in wild sexual immorality. Many times after a few hours of drinking and eating the temple priest would hire prostitutes, loose women to come in and entertain the men and then they would engage in sexual activities. And this was the worship service. If someone in the city did not engage in this worship service then they were an outcast.
2. Not only did the whole Gentile city have feast days for specific gods but many times unions and trade guilds would have their own days to worship their own gods. Let’s say that you were in the construction union. There would be a god to protect the workers in the construction union. You had to pay dues to this god. One day out of the year there would be a feast day for your union to worship your god. This worship would basically consist of food and wine and women. If you did not participate in this worship service, then you were not part of the union. If you were not part of the union, then you would get past up on many construction jobs.